On the supposed namelessness of money

“Money had no name, of course. And if it did have a name, it would no longer be money. What gave money its true meaning was its dark-night namelessness, its breath-taking interchangeability (Haruki Murakami, The Wind-up Bird Chronicle)


There is no traffic, when it comes to

the sheaf of paper, orange, red, violet

green, blue.

One arrives as another leaves

The same is true of copper, and silver, and nickel,

perfectly round, dead heroes

emblazoned on them.


They interchange, with

one another, with fried chicken, or a Blackberry,

or an escort service, or a pair of socks.

a continuous flow –

unbridled unlike the usual traffic in the

metro’s busiest streets.


The absence of traffic makes one

pay no attention.

Pass them on, to the cashier,

to the minimum wage worker, to the

Yosi vendor, to the business partner

in coat and tie

to manong driver.

They have value, some worth,

but no names.


In perfect, smooth circulation,

someone pays, someone takes her change.

Names, they don’t have them.

One works to find them, and find

ways to spend them.

Usually swifter than when they

were earned.

The seeming harmonious flow of

nameless objects, central to everyday

Economics of eating, commuting,

dressing up, shopping, living.


Coming and going, naturally,

From one palm to another.

Precisely, the namelessness of


The absence of traffic.

The smoothness of circulation.


There are no names, nor traffic

Only feigned smoothness

And an overarching pathway

Where the flow of what I earn

And what you can spend

is owned by someone –

who has a name.



9 thoughts on “On the supposed namelessness of money

  1. First of all, I remember reading that line from Wind-up. Such a great experience reading that in spite of its length.

    This poem is very thick and filled with what you are trying to say. The flow of words has its own music. Write more!

      1. Yeay, thanks for these comments. They are quietly encouraging. 🙂 I then start asking myself when would I be writing something about Wind-up Bird and the reading experience too. It took me weeks to finish this, and I am happy that that is because I was just a mostly busy guy. Of all the little stories here, that of Kumiko and Toru was my favorite, marital fissures leading to personal crises, and the shy persistence to recover.

    1. Uy karl, salamat!At bakit mo ko minanong? Hehe. Im reading your poetry too. At salamat, nainspire ako mag-dabble na rin sa Filipino poetry. Let’s keep getting better. At last, I envy you for being in that workshop in Tarlac. 🙂

  2. Nice focus on a single subject–such an ordinary, daily sight at that. I see, you’re no longer messy. Try not to be a gentleman in barding money. Nakakatuwa masyado.

  3. Hehe, thanks for this, Nivea. When was I messy? Earlier works? Class recitations? Hehe. And is that a good thing, this poem being “nakakatuwa masyado?” Murakami should deserve some credit, i guess. I had a poem because of his sentences. 🙂

  4. And I quote myself, “Nilikha ang mga pangalan upang magsilbing marka, palatandaan ng pagkakakilanlan para sa iba pang nilalang na piniling huwag mapag-isa. Lahat tayo’y walang ngalan kapag nag-iisa, dahil ang pangalan ay nilikha hindi para sa ating sarili, kung hindi para sa iba, upang sa sandaling piliin nating iwan ang pag-iisa, may maitatawag sa atin ang daigdig.”

    Your lyricism is the greatest find of the evening.

    1. Hey thanks, Marjohara. Pangalan lang ay pinakamainam namang identification, na pinakamalungkot dahil ito ang pinakamalapit sa “identity,” at hence mas hinahighlight ang fact na hindi tayo magkakaroon ng complete settlement with AN identity. 🙂
      This play is getting more fun and lucrative,

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