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We Sailed the Indian Ocean for a Dime

We sailed the Indian Ocean for a dime
And went into Africa for a penny
Refreshing Argentina
Rewarded us with many silver cars
For our toy train We went to Kansas City
In the hope of finding quarters there
But instead we sailed the Manila Sea
Old sea pencils without landing quarters
Five dollars drew us to Tangiers
We saved up enough dimes to purchase the bill
There it lies all crisp and green and light
Take it pick it up in your hands it is mine

We spent the five dollars in Biarritz in seven minutes
But at least we had a good meal and now we set sail
I've heard that Milwaukee is full of dimes and quarters
and that Cincinnati is the place for half dollars
I can see all that silver I can see it and I think I want it
Can see the sunlight lighting those silver faces
In far-off Cincinnati
The slim half dollars lying in the leaves
In the blue autumn weather behind the Conservatory of Music
Oh give me the money
That I may ascend into the sky
For I have been on so many boats and trains
While endlessly seeking the summits of my life!

                     ~ Kenneth Koch (from The Collected Poems of Kenneth Koch