Wednesday, November 27, 2013

poem of the day 11.27.13

conspicuous consumption

my parents were always on me
about how i spent my money

is that what you’re using that money for?
my mother would ask
when i grabbed a box of baseball cards
from the top shelf of the thrift drug

seems a waste to me, the old man said
to the stacks of comic books and music mags

there was one time that i wanted a monkees boxed set
four cds of hits and extras and unreleased stuff

what can i say?  i was fourteen
and i loved the old reruns

you’re spending your hard-earned money on that?
my mother asked me outside a strip mall oasis records

if she only knew that i’d still be listening
to the set twenty-five years later
maybe she wouldn’t have given me such a hard time

i never understood why my folks
gave me such shit about the money i spent

it wasn’t their money
it was paper route money that i hustled at 5 a.m. for
part-time job money suffering at the goddamned mall

it was birthday money or christmas money
with the caveat that i spend it on whatever the hell i wanted

i figured it was because we didn’t come from anything
and every dollar that they ever got
had to go toward the essentials like food and shelter
tuition and car payments

they wanted me to keep the money away for a rainy day
save it for when i really needed it

as if the fifty-bucks i spent on the monkees
could’ve wiped away my student loan debt
or helped me purchase the house and car i never wanted

having a little bit of cash just makes some people nervous

i tried not to feel bad about my purchases back then
but there was always a shine that seemed to slip from the items
once bought and the critiques began

the magazines were never as good
the stacks of cards came with guilt

a new fitted baseball hat sitting on my bedroom floor
picked up and dusted off because

you spent twenty-five bucks on that hat
and you’re just leaving it on the ground?

the albums i’d consider a waste
if i didn’t play them constantly

i carry that feeling to this day
i can’t buy anything without considering the pros and con

i’ve gone back to stores two or three times
for movies and music
and still walked away empty handed

i feel a small shame whenever
last train to clarksville comes on my ipod

it drives my wife nuts, i know

this indecision
this waffling over the simplest of purchases

but i can’t help it
i never know if i’m going to need
the ten bucks i spent on a book for my lunch
the twenty i dropped on a dvd for laundry

the fifty dollars that i wanted to blow on baseball tickets
to use for gas for a trip home to see my parents

so my old man can show me his new ipad
and all of the cool things that it does.                 

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