Occupy Poetry

refugee

BY Mariel Pauline

why did you come here?
were you tired? poor? a member of the huddled masses?
did you yearn to breathe free?
did you read Emma Lazarus’ dream-
turned unglamorous satirical scream for what used to be
while your parents ached for AMERICA
and all that could happen here
while they worked 20-hour days in the local “We Don’t Call Them”-sweatshops,
just trying to scrape by, so you could reach our hallowed shores
and MAKE SOMETHING of yourself...
maybe even become President.
…. yeah, i’d be disapointed too.

here’s the situation-
your mum and dad’s american dream was just fantasy... reality is:
we still live in the nation of milk and honey-
you can pick them up at the Shop-Rite
but better get there fast, before the honey turns to rock and the milk goes sour
don’t worry though, it’s right ‘round the corner,
just next to the Wal-Mart, on big box store alley.

purchase your
Super Roll Back
Rock Bottom
Bargain Basement
Lowest Price Ever
plastic
soon-to-be possessions at
prices predicated by the oligarchy,
while incessant layaway offers are preached through the aisles,
a mile-long grid of smiles and sales and
“OH MY GOD YOU NEED TO BUY THIS FOR ME NOW MOMMY!!!!!!” wails.

a constant consumerist battle rages on
on the cul-de-sac
where extremely-limited-gas-mileage SUVs stuffed with shopping bags attack like torpedoes
and drive
you further into debt.

this bayonet of greed
slices through your wallet
and into your ass.

you’ll only remove it on Black Friday
to stab through the 4am crowds at Target to
be the first one reaching for the revered prize of a
just-off-the-assembly-line 72-inch, flat screen, HD, 3D TV
for you to slovenly watch, transfixed, during Prime Time Tele-Viewing hours
as corporations shove the next big thing down your throat.

product placement used to be an art,
now it’s all i see.
more messages to BUY! BUY! BUY!
and you will go buy it, because you’re brainwashed
and don’t want to be the only kid on the block without The Next Big Thing.

and i do mean BIG;
otherwise
how would UPS stay in business?

as you parade your breeder-manufactured pooch
around your manicured lawn, you yawn
not seeing how artificial everything is.
withdrawn from any semblance of its natural state-
even the trees, seen as so fab by the garden consultants
meet every expectation of preFABrication.

trees too perfect, but so is your wife...
in her thirties, but parts are only two or three months old.
trading herself in for the next newest model
remodeling her faces alongside kitchens overflowing with the entire William Sonoma catalogue
except the only things sitting around the kitchen table
made from 100 percent guaranteed rainforest-free (but not really, at all) wood
are the discarded droppings of the day’s backpacks and briefcases -
while your microwaved-frozen-processed dinner is eaten in your room.

unless you’re out and about, spending seventeen dollars on seven ounces of shiraz-
a mediocre bottle at best-
and not nearly enough to drown your profound sadness.

the noble goals you once had for your life,
now shreaded in your cubicle-
alongside any remaining dignity
not sold to the sleazy bosses
who run the mindless job you keep
just to be able to buy MORE MORE MORE.

all the money you bring home
is a drug.

heroin for the masses-
giving us the invisible hug
in the form of everything we’re told to need:
the NEW iphone that’s exactly the same as the one before but in WHITE!
the NEW red is tangerine, so a Neiman Marcus trip is required!
the NEW Prada is Ferragamo... and you don’t want to be the only one without the new “it” bag.

we are insatiable. vapid. vain. i’m so proud of us.
this capitalist dream
deferred your dignity and boxed it up with a giant red bow
to be given back by Santa
in the form of the faux-fur-rabbit coat you’ve been coveting all month,
since the woman across the street got one.

at what cost are you selling your soul to big business?
searching for salvation
by shopping malls and black American Express cards
won’t actually save your soul.

doomed for damnation
because no matter how much we fill up our homes
with needless junk...
nothing will fill that hole in your heart-
beating to the mantra of
“more. buy. need. now.”
and oozing self-worth,
unable to define itself outside of stuff.

are you sad this american dream wasn’t all your parents’ wanted?
dreams of a better life for you turned constant struggle to be the best shopper you can be?
good luck.

it’s more like a nightmare to me.

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