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The Manchurian Consumer

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Message Vi Ransel

The Manchurian Consumer

Bob sits, swaddled
in the infant-like comfort
of his pillowed, massaging Recline-O-Lounger,
shoveling down bushels of chips and gallons of soda
with such machine-like, ritual precision
he doesn't even need to be conscious
of what he's doing,
while viewing the glimmering glow
of his glorious, high definition
54-inch plasma television,
eyes open wide to imbibe
the signals emitted and injected
by means of his retinas
into the most primitive part of his mind.

Bob's literally hypnotized
as he absorbs the latest corporate advertising
designed to stimulate him into buying
with as little thought as he gives
to eating fiberless, food-like products,
void of nutrition, sky high in profits,

mainlining high fructose corn syrup,
aspartame and partially-hydrogenated fats
that won't melt at less than 300 degrees.
And since Bob's a tepid 98.6
they build up as atherosclerotic plaque
that obstruct his major arteries,

just as his freedom of choice is blocked
by corporate choices previously made
and displayed there on the big screen
as a massively multitudinous buffet

which allows no choices outside the boxes provided,
so how could Bob's choice possibly be freely made
let alone considered thoughtfully and undertaken
of his own volition when any change

he himself might come up with,
if not forbidden,
technically doesn't exist?

The synchronized, mesmerizing
audio/visual blips quickly changing
deliver the drug:  consumer programming
leaving him numb, narcotized and alienated
from anything except his own
self-obsessed, infantile cravings,

which underscores the depth of his inescapable possession
by the Medusa of consumer capitalism,
pinned like an lacquered insect specimen
by the blinking light there in his abject submission
in the comfort of his pillowed,
massaging Recline-O-Lounger.




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Vi's works appear widely both in print and online. She conducts Poetry Workshops and gives readings in Central New York. Her latest chapbook is "Sine Qua Non Antiques (an Arcanum of History, Geography and Treachery).
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