poems gigs misc. why don't you EMdC home
Consumed

saving money these days means
bus fares, bike parts, boot repairs,
while one-off taxis take the ache from
nightime's weary, drunken slump,
and shopping from a list with
kitchen cupboards' consultation
(concessions thanks to aisle ends'
brimming baskets full of sweets)

it's hesitating to enlarge my
stagnant hat collection
and striding widely by
charity shops' seductive windows,
with their decades of essentials &
rails pleading with potential
(but there's leeway for cheap paperbacks,
10p each or 6 for 50)

it's remembering books at home
stacked or shelved, unskimmed, undelved
since they were freshly plastic-bagged,
desirable new deals
and rooting crumpled treasures from the
wardrobe's musty floor
(with an airing and a wearing
they could look good as new)

it's not that I'm secretly saving for
a trip to San Francisco
or a tv, cd-rom,
dvd or new pc
I'm not keenly trowelling out
the debt-collector's ransom
(even though the student loans folk
are still barking up my tree)

and I'm not neo-puritanically
not into having fun
& I wouldn't say self-righteously
that this is how to be
I'm not an anti-materialist
or eco-tastically uptight
(but why don't government ministers
ride about London on hand-me-down bikes?)

it's more why-the-hell-should-I?
& who-says-I-have-to?
consume and comply with
the advertisers' game
in the high streets' lure when the
new things charm?
(though I'll act to Jenners' staff
that I'm just about to buy)

ambivalence down to my M&S socks
is my take on this retailing riot
consumer choice isn't a wish-granting god:
but a spiral of infinite come-ons and put-downs
and marketing folk train their sights on our purses
our preferences, fears, our potential to spend
(so what do I do about Christmas presents
and still feel that I'm being me?)

so I wonder if the spell's the same on
second-hand spending sprees
as charity's cheap-thrilled throngs
of great white bargain hunters
spur a most respectable cycle: from buying to
boredom to bulging black binbag
(if getting's better than having
why should getting rid feel so good?)

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