Two men there were, both billionaires, both seemingly quite smart
Philanthropists, entrepreneurs, and patrons of the arts.
The first his name was Adolf, born in 1934;
they said he built his fortunes from of the rubble of the war.
The second he is Richard; he’s known for a balloon
He thrills the world with crazy stunts – half madman, half tycoon.
The first sold pharmaceuticals, and sugar and cement
He started with a wealthy dad, but up and up he went
Til Forbes.com placed Adolf at number forty-four
Amongst the world’s most moneyed men; fewer had much more.
Richard was dyslexic, and wasn’t great at spelling
But he had great charisma; he was charming and compelling.
He started selling budgies, but that didn’t really last
He opened up a record store, which soon expanded fast.
Rick, despite his muchly wealth, was far down Forbes’ list
Though well below 200th, he didn’t seem too pissed.
Now as you know, last year sometime, the subprime market crashed
And soon the world economy was looking somewhat bashed.
Housing prices nosedived; banks ran out of money
Businesses came tumbling down; the whole thing wasn’t funny.
And while the lowly workers were getting unemployed
It was the superwealthy that were famously annoyed
Their stocks all took a plunging dive; their fortunes crashed and burned
It was not a time for anyone to think of what they’d earned.
Now both these men of industry took devastating blows
Both lost in the billions, or so the story goes.
But here is where they differed most, when the shit greeted the fan
And this is where the story reveals more of each man.
Adolf saw his business fall and could not bear the pain
He threw himself onto the tracks before a moving train.
I pondered when I read the news, what broke in him and how,
What hope was shot, what purpose cracked, and what it all means now.
How did he lose his will to live, why did he want to die?
Could he not have watched that train, and let it pass on by?
Richard is still out there, with his grin and his ideas
And we’ll never know for certain where his fortunes meets his fears.
(C) L Greenstein 2009