But what was the question? I didn’t think
we heard it all over the loudspeaker, the
morning announcements padded between
“Rapper’s Delight” and “Free Bird,” and you
with your head down in home room
on a stack of grubby books. Oh no,
it’s new all right, fresh off the rack
with the tags still attached.

Listening to yet another man read something
vaguely from a sheaf of printout, we knew
this wasn’t for us. Far better the brusque and gay
life of the entrepreneur, selling and buying
and getting laid.

It thinks in me. I cannot resist it. As if all
our darting attentions were waterbugs on
a stream of commodities, channel-switching
infomercials for rubber band body-building
machines and alarmingly cute ceramic
animals. It thinks in me. Like yesterday’s
sirloin on its peristaltic odyssey.

That machine grinds loud again. And it
was cold last night — I wanted a set
of fingerless Fagin-gloves to sit and scribble
in. A vacuum leak will keep the car
from starting dependably. Occult technology, as good
as magic.

Bathing in sun and air, wind over
limbs, wind-chimes competing
with the earbuds’ cacophany,
it’s not at all hard to feel exchange-
value licking at the pores
of the body (of course we do not enjoy
what we do not understand) —

the common life, continuous curve
of images cast onto our
sensoria, from dawn’s electronic
chirp to the flaking scalp’s
settling into a dented pillow. In the bath
of air and sparkling
water a voice sounds blown
over unseen ripples, dark waves
sirens calling out emergency or crowd
control trundle down pavements
the sun massages, strokes
and crumbles.

Mark Scroggins (© 2009)