Saturday, March 29, 2014

Beware the Salesmen / We are the Worm

The author, a founding member of the Worm Party here in Brooklyn, New York, stopped using toothpaste almost a decade ago.  He gave up on soap several years later, and on his weekly one-drop-of-shampoo about a year ago.  He feels much better from escaping these horrors.  He still brushes his teeth regularly and showers on occasion.

His washing-obsessed wife (whom he has wisely not attempted to persuade in this regard) and his equally obsessive dentist, whom he visits once a year for no good reason except his wife’s insistence, do regularly give him above-passing marks in the hygiene, odor and dental integrity departments. 

He never did get into cars and gadgets, as he couldn’t afford those.  He is the accidental and reluctant owner (and timorous operator) of a computer.  He also has a regular telephone as well as a primitive cell phone. He acquired the latter so he could get assignments in time when he was subbing at the schools.  He considered buying a VCR for about a decade, mainly for teaching purposes, but then found that these had been replaced by DVD players, which were too high-tech for him. 

He possesses one pair of gravely worn-at-the-heels but otherwise functional shoes.  He bought his last clothes over a dozen years ago, but his wife buys trousers for him, once every few years, as they get worn out or shrink from washing and drying in the neighborhood laundromat. He totes his clothes to this place once every two weeks or so, while wondering how he could avoid this laborious task, which takes up several hours of his highly priced, executive-level time.

He has been working, with varying degrees of success, including failure, on getting away from other commercial products and services, while still looking, for reasons he will not divulge, to recruit members for the Worm Party.  If you or anyone you know is interested, please direct them to him.
When he last checked, the membership tally for that party had reached a stable plateau at unity.  He holds all the high (and low) positions in that party, but is willing to share a few with qualified and recommended candidates.
Beware the Salesmen / We are the Worm

Beware the salesmen, selling yet more stuff,
As if we haven’t bought, of these, enough.
But pity them, for they are pistons too
Of that machine that runs on me and you.

And one is selling soap – another, grease,
A third, more desperate, a nubile niece.
At marketing, the Brits and Yanks were best.
To beat them, others vie, as we’ll attest.

And so it is that things are sold and bought.
They’re mostly useless.  Some cause endless harm.
But what to do?  We’ve been conditioned, caught.
We buy yet more, as salesmen vie to charm.

They’ll sell you potions, vitamins and drugs.
They’ll sell you on their ventures sly with thugs.
But when their thug gets feisty, then you’ll see
They’ll sell you war.  A patriot, you’ll be!

We’ve magazines and TV sets and more.
And all of these are used to push the sell.
We’re fattened and then told to lose that fat.
We’re led to sin and frightened then with hell.

Beware the men in suits who market God,
Yet pity these as well, and smile and nod
In passing by.  Our souls are desperate.
If there’s no God, there’s still a need for it.

Avoid the salesmen who are slick or sly.
You’ll lose the battle if you ask them why.
It’s better, yes, to flee than try to fight,
For they’ll convince you that what’s wrong is right.

For who can question gravity or dollars,
Or those who daily don their whited collars?
And who can argue with a knotted tie,
As polished shoes reflect the practiced lie?

You’re deficient.  This, they’ll let you know.
And then, what’s needed, with a flourish, show.
And when you’re hooked and struggling on the line,
They’ll chalk one up, for Company Divine.

There’s caffeine and nicotine and gum,
And stronger stuff, like heroin and rum.
We die from sweets and from the blackened lung
And still buy gadgets, guns and devil’s dung.

They’ll sell you candy and they’ll sell you ‘phones.
They’ll say, “Buy this, and see how loud she moans.”
And they can sell you learning, faith and books,
Or even how to join their gang of crooks.

But there’s a way that you and I can join
To render worthless that commercial coin,
On which all business runs.  For we can shy
Away from shysters, whistling, “We don’t buy.

“We do not buy the things you sell, oh no!
With all of these you came – and now can go.
Perhaps you’ll sell your stuff to Indians.  They
Were murdered here, but live there – that a-way!

“And now, they are a billion strong, we heard.
In China too, you’ll find a human herd.
Go sell them soaps, computers, betterment.
And leave us be, to smile in merriment!

“And if you’re smart, you’ll make your products there.
Detroit is broken.  More will surely break,
As factories are blooming, east and south.
In time, there will be nothing, here, to make.

“For labor there is cheaper, still, than here.
And so, you’ll make your profits, large and clear.
And if they organize, in worst of cases,
You’ll move again, or call in help from bases.

“But still, we’ll buy, as we’re conditioned to.
We’ll sell our mothers for that IMad II.
We’ll buy on credit and we’ll lose our homes.
On why this is, you’ll find no dearth of tomes.

“And when the labor here becomes as cheap
Or cheaper, you can then return in glory.
The profits here and there, you’ll slyly reap,
And all dissensions mute, with methods gory.

“For though we’re good at selling useless stuff,
We’re even better, yes, at buying it.
In truth, it seems we’ll never have enough
However much we groan, decrying it.

“And tops among the stuff we buy are these –
The guns and bombs and planes and missiles that
Ensure that we can slaughter at our will
And even bomb the Himalayas flat.

“To those, who ask for reasons for our wars,
Say simply this.  ‘Behold, this street with cars.
It’s better that we fight our wars abroad,
Than here, where Christians drive to worship God.

‘And since it seems that war or just the threat
Of it suffices to maintain and spike
Production of the arms and so ensures
Employment, profits, you – can take a hike!’

“But growing, here, within the beating heart
Of Capital, there is a nibbling worm
And that is us.  We do not buy at all,
And work to make, of this, the future norm.

“We are the worm. The worm is us.
We do not buy.  We have no use for soaps.
So Capital will die.  There’ll be a fuss.
But what to do, when Cash is on the ropes?

“Oh, there’ll be violence and much, much worse.
There always is.  Behold Egyptians’ plight.
So Capital will struggle, murder, curse –
And then depart.  We’ll bid it then good night.”

2014 March 28th, Fri. evening & 29th morning.
Bensonhurst, Brooklyn, New York

No comments: