Sunday, November 13, 2011

CHECKOUT LINE

CHECKOUT LINE

Without an excess of time
for art, for poetry, for leisure
or that thing called "having a life,"
I prepare for work in the corporate world
by lining my eyes with indigo and kohl,
assuaging the tired bags with eyescream
made from the rarest coffee extracts
& expensive organic emollients—
really just chi-chi variants of Preparation Haich
(shhh! Lord Barrymore's "morning after" secret).

When I fill out my pale eyebrows with powder
the model Brook Shields is invoked
so that the customers will like me 
as they buy an excess of food
pre arranged, pre packaged, pre pre.
And yes, the blank space is invoked
like the fatal flaw in a Navajo rug.
No hyphen need apply
because that would suggest connection
and subject-noun agreement
when there is no ambiguity
when it come to the 1%.
The grand prix price fix is shrink-wrapped
into mortgages and loans, how mort
death is invoked. A 99% accurate gauge.

I have few islands of time
in excess of five-minute increments
in order to write, before launching
my smiling self onto the public realm
so that they will buy buy buy for/from The Man.
No matter that I work for a good company
we are still all drones to/for The Man,
to staged commerce, to the treadmill of buying.
My teeth aren't quite white enough,
I'm considered a tad too old for this job.
Should I dye my hair and drink less coffee?
I desperately need a new bra and knickers.
And Freecycle just won't do. Not enough uplift.
But I've managed to hold off for years
because I am shocked by what people buy.
Not basic necessities or staples,
but a plethora of pre-packaged luxury items—
thinking that this is their just due
for having earned The Good Life.

But they are merely eating their way
deeper into debt.
My register beeps in demonic supplication 
& I am part of the system
I refused to join for ages.
I joined—not on my own volition—
but because I am afraid of the future,
of medical bills, of paltry retirement stipends,
of the erasure of what was once good,
the loss of the idea of security,
or chicken every Sunday, the family
sitting down to break bread together.
Instead, we are the lost pieces 
of a jigsaw puzzle called America
waiting for our exit line,
pursued by the bear of hunger
and want and need.

11/13/11


Robert Lee Brewer: write an excess poem. In today’s culture, there seems to be an excess of excess–even with the state of economy. From an excess of advertisements and political posturing to an excess of electronic gadgets and debt, there’s an excessive number of ways to attack today’s prompt.

Molly Fisk: "Exit, pursued by a bear."
- William Shakespeare, The Winter's Tale, 3.3

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