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9 The Market

window9THE SKEW IS NOW THE CENTRAL cognitive aspect of option trading. The first thing you
want to know when you walk into a pit is, What’s the skew?’

His backpack frontwards, holding his nose, he tiptoes around large
puddles – till the next tsunami sluices the floor. Live turtles, pickled
ginseng, a cage of frogs, unlucky chicken’s feet. Next day he brings his
girlfriend. It’s one of the new-fangled cleansing days, the elderly in
disarray, troops in masks and white combat gear scanning for replicants.

1st – The Slave Market
His sketches capture sometimes submission, sometimes defiance: empathy
or anger in the eyes. Slipping away, he dodges the crowd gathering its
forces like an antibody. ‘An Abolitionist, for sure. I’d pay a Negro twenty-
five cents to send him on his way with his busted ass in his hands.’

2nd – The Market of Corrections
The comma tourists are out in force with their clipboards. This could
almost be a wet test for the national curriculum, a spot of field study, risk-
assessed, video’ed for learning from mistakes. Later, stallholders pick
apostrophes out of their banana’s, like so many stowaway tarantulas.

3rd – The Rain Market
The ocean-going rig tacks across the square, sails bulging with rainwater,
sloshed out in bucketfuls. How did breadfruit get here, if not across a
storm-tossed sea? Some of these young blades refused the shilling. The
salty old lags, with doubloons in their blood, are not past wiving yet.

4th – The Risk Market
Glass ceiling jokes abound – there’s a real one, a spidery dome like a
conservatory of the lost empire, a balloon sent up to scout for survivors.
Headwinds are modelled; sentiment is modelled. When algorithms fail,
you repress emotion, as you might if your spleen had let you down.

5th – The Market at the Back of Beyond
The empty quarter is mountains and plains, impossibly hot or cold. Drones
the size and weight of angels’ wings are tested on a breeze-block village in
a quarry. Suits and uniforms mingle, cigars are compared, fire water is
drunk. Eagles soar. Handshakes are filmed in secret, from a satellite.

6th – The Goblin Market
Stolen ducal placentas, a termagant’s vajazzle: antidotes to clarifying
crystals, diving beneath their radar. From one of these scales you can grow
a mermaid the size of a seahorse. ‘Eat me, drink me, love me,’ shrieks a
fruit from a desert oasis. Save the pips: seven will buy you a goblin.

All six – The Spice Market
This is bear root: first food of the bear awakened from hibernation.
This is copal, from lightning-struck trees: blood of forest beings. This is
cedar leaf: trauma is diffused with positive vibrations. This is sweet grass,
or mother’s hair: it offers a prayer for a better world beyond thought.

Introduction to Six-Way Mirror | The Index of Hexagrams and Cantos


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