matt martin

midas son of gordias son of midas son of gordias      each king of phrygia bestowed his father’s name upon his son      one midas is said to have invented currency      this may or may not be the same midas cursed so that all he touched transformed to gold      since coinage transmutes each thing to its monetary price      even human beings      as midas discovered when he held his daughter      the curse was lifted by washing his hands in the river pactolus      releasing liquidity into the market      so the river’s sands were hence replete with gold      another midas or maybe the same was blighted with donkey’s ears after he undervalued music of apollo      this midas hid the ears under a phrygian cap      only his barber knew the secret      but couldn’t hold it      the barber hissed “midas has ass’s ears” into a hole and then covered it up      wealth grew out of this buried talent      the reeds whispered “midas has ass’s ears midas has ass’s ears” as breezes stirred the yield of sound investment      a variant of the myth spread to turkmenistan’s yenisei basin      this barber whispered the secret into a dark well      overnight its waters rose to submerge the kingdom beneath lake issyk-kul      capital’s offensive once more totalised      then there’s gordias      father or son of one midas      he tied a knot that no one could undo      and promised that whoever solved it would conquer the world      at last alexander the great cheated and cut it open      gordias had invented the same thing as his father-son      revealing how capital entangles itself throughout space and time      but which of these feats is greatest

     •    the first minting of coins
     •    the gordian knot