Product Guide To Modern Life

E. Coli is growing in the supermarket,
and people are falling ill from all that
pop music, stalled in the aisles and
depending on the experts to
inform them that pessimism over
Fed action is causing declining averages.
And then the new cars roll in, and I see
you can do it with just a dollar down.
I can live in a house of spite and surround
myself with fridge magnets. As the night
cools down, I can box the talking heads on TV
with my matching oven mitts.
The night tumbles on ahead;
a smooth old voice calls, trolling for
donations. I tell him he’s mistaken me for
some other customer. According to
my horoscope, today’s an 8 for me, I suggest
he try someone below a seven. And what of
the sixes, fives, fours, threes, twos, ones
at the air show? The Blue Angels buzz
over the suburbs. The heads of the men in
attendance swivel and lock back into position.
They know they are nothing more than
gamete vectors, designed to deliver a payload
and then hang on afterward, pressed forward
by an overwhelming force like that
man whose wheelchair got stuck in
the grille of a semi and was whisked along
the highway doing 50. The authorities said
it was a good thing he was wearing
his seat belt or he might have spilled across
the pavement like his soft drink.
But there’s no use crying over spilled Coke.
Another plastic bottle will arrive in time for
the next crisis. The supply chain doesn’t break.
I can keep track of an endless arsenal
of modern product, sift through it quickly,
on the screen of my Hello Kitty laptop.
Its one paw is raised, waving cheerfully at me
while I wait to become some kind of sucker.



Tim Kahl

About Tim Kahl

Tim Kahl [] is the author of Possessing Yourself (Word Tech, 2009) and The Century of Travel (Word Tech, forthcoming). His work has been published in Prairie Schooner, Indiana Review, Ninth Letter, Notre Dame Review, The Journal, Parthenon West Review, and many other journals in the U.S. He appears as Victor Schnickelfritz at the poetry and poetics blog The Great American Pinup ( and the poetry video blog Linebreak Studios []. He is also editor of Bald Trickster Press and Clade Song []. He is the vice president and events coordinator of The Sacramento Poetry Center.
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