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NOTE: This poem was first written earlier today in the Facebook group Poets All Call, managed by Socorro Olsen. Group member Bob Kabchef, a car-loving friend of mine, posted title suggestions for the group earlier in the week.  I used his title “Fossil Fools” but took it lowercase, as is my habit. Grateful thanks go to Socorro and Bob, without whom this poem, and MANY others of my best, would never have been written.

Have a good Earth Day, Friends. Be as kind to the environment as you can, please.

2019 0422 silver arrow

fossil fools

“wise men say”
sang the king
“only fools rush in”
but
what about the oklahoma land rush?
what about the california and then yukon gold rush?
and what of standard oil?

getting in on the ground floor involves rushing
many processes are best breakneck-sped
opportunity knocks AND THEN GOES AWAY

and fortunes are made
rumrunners
gunrunners
numbers runners
runners to your marks

speaking of marx
he wrote DAS KAPITAL
and changed die Welt
and decades later
MAD magazine publisher william m. gaines
took some of his crew to russia
as an incentive vacation
and people followed him reverently
because he looked exactly like karl marx

i don’t digress
his dad max gaines made a pile
being in on the ground floor of comic strips
and then comic books

and he
and john d. rockefeller
and henry ford and edsel ford and henry ii
and olds and pierce-arrow and hispano-suiza
and many others (cough*studebaker*cough)
co-created capitalism’s answer
to those godless commies

and behold we did consume
we did demand we did sign up
we did see the u s a in our chevrolets
and we spread the word about burma shave

and fossil foolishness spread its fog machine
far wide and deep
and corporations became predatory
and fed on the bottom line

and now we want…sustainability?
listen to the c-e-o-ish laughter
sustain this you m—–f—–s they sneeringly reply

and behold we do sustain them
we pay their bloodmoney bonuses

and we lonely few
taking hours on public transport to get across town
weep

Manage

 

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frozen fun and ruskin rationale

long ago a magical shop opened near where i then lived
and soon my family would go to ’31 flavors’ for dessert
though the official shop name was ‘Baskin-Robbins 31 Ice Cream’
evolving as it did through the partnership of ‘burt’ baskin and ‘irv’ robbins
with a boost from the helpful mentoring of irv’s dad

none of which mattered to the eight-year-old i was when i first savored the product
and the fact that at ten cents a single-scoop cone was affordable
even on a dollar-a-month-allowance budget
a two-scooper and three-scooper were a logical 20 and 30 respective cents
but in the arizona heat three-scoopers were only for the daring

there was a framed quotation from john ruskin on the wall from the start:

“There is scarcely anything in the world that some man cannot make a little worse,
and sell a little more cheaply. The person who buys on price alone
is this man’s lawful prey.”

this confused my kid-brain
not least because ‘ruskin’ and ‘baskin’ were so similar
i thought they might be related or in cahoots
and you know after fifty years of reflection i conclude that they are
spiritually anyway

i have found that the converse is true:
“there is scarcely anything in the world that someone can make a little more fancy or fancifully
and sell for a little bit more
and the person who buys on product recognition alone is that someone’s lawful prey”
and wowzers–the predators are out in a big way

there is an item whose purported purpose is to tell its wearer what time it is
it is worn on the wrist and its approximate price range is five dollars to nine thousand dollars
paradoxically the five-dollar item keeps better time than the nine grand one
and there are lawful prey who will buy a hamburger for more than a hundred and fifty dollars
just because its ingredients are flown in from here and there

i do buy fancy ice cream nowadays
but my phone is cheap
and my wristwatch is not at all
even so i realize there is no way in this here and now to avoid being
someone’s lawful prey