November 11, 2010

At Home (BTP prompt)

 ( I just love the negative, yearning emotions pictured in the old advertisement above)
 I used the non-fiction best-seller “At Home” by Bill Bryson.  Just finished reading it and BOY do I recommend it to anyone who is interested in the history of how we came to live the way we do.  (I could not put it down…)

Relaxing at home
in your mortgaged "McMansion"
with a big screen TV,
espresso machine,
and monumental refrigerator,
under forced air conditioning
that keeps you quite comfortable
no matter the weather.
Nearby the dishwasher sloshes,
although it’s half empty.

You sprawl so contented
on your leather recliner,
while drinking yet one more cocktail
as you hear the ice drop in the
constantly cycling
stainless icemaker.
The pantry stands bulging
full of tasty but plastic
non-foods so convenient
to just pop in the microwave.

The computer screen’s glowing,
The cell phone’s recharging,
as you snuggle down deeper
in your adjustable mattress,
thousand count sheets,
and fluffy down comforter.
While you lay there contented
do you ever much wonder
the cost so profound of
this gluttonous plenty?

Meanwhile the rest of the world,
(no matter what country),
confused by our excess,
shake their heads sadly,
(or beat their fists madly)
as they claw for their dinner.
Try as they might, they can’t
begin the consumption
that we take blindly for granted
as our right and our privilege.

 (I'm just as guilty as anyone...)


  1. Hi Cynthia! I was just getting comfortable there and you went and made me feel guilty! Although I understand and appreciate your message I can't quite imagine what the world would be like if we did away with consumerism, except an awful lot of us would be unemployed!

  2. Thanks for visiting and commenting Derrick! You are very right, but I constantly ask myself, how much is too much? Clearly, we've been doing something wrong or the economy wouldn't be in such a mess!

  3. I like the way your litany kept piling up the images under the weight of consumerism until the the question at the end.

    I.too, think that part of this country's problems —both economically and morally— reside, in part, with our blatant need to consume. (Although I don't want to paint everyone with the same brush)

  4. We need all shades of it work or consumerism...

    electronically yours

  5. Liked the way this kept building in momentum,perfect example of content served by form. Also like that you weren't afraid to state the obvious which is sometimes the only way we see the truth.

  6. Cynthia,
    I never thought about this until I moved to Mexico. Seeing people less privileged than me was a real awaking. For six years we lived in a very small and poor town in Oaxaca. Some of the people didn't have running water. And being an American, I thought how is that possible? I like what you have written here.

  7. that 'family' in the ad do not look like having everything makes for happiness - makes me wonder what it was an ad for... :) great poem, thought-provoking

  8. Provocative piece. We always seem to be on the see-saw of this side and the other - would be nice if we could be a little more middle-middle, maybe. Nice work for sure!

  9. Cynthia, so nice to see you writing once again. You HAVE written a thought-provoking piece, but I also know what Derrick is saying!

  10. Love the line "You sprawl so contented" and how it fits the person and the society.

    [Not to start an argument on your blog :-) but part of the problem is the roots of our consumer society. The surplus of labor doesn't go to the common man, but to the industry that will use it to make that man's and his children's labor unnecessary. Blah, blah, blah. Not that I want to dig a ditch for a living, but fulfillment is not why consumption was created.]

    Glad to see you writing!

  11. You nailed this one, Cynthia. It sounds like it is a good book. You really distilled the essence of the problem.

  12. I think anyone with just a smidgen empathy and insight will get your message. Wonderful, wonderful poetry.

  13. Thanks for writing of the uncomfortable - one of a poet's many functions.

  14. I plead guilty...except for the 1000 count sheets. You make such a good point though. Our ice maker broke down last week and it was like a major crisis. Very thought-provoking, Cynthia.
    Victoria C-S

  15. relaxing at home can be lotsa fun, it matters not whether he is rich or poor, for being contented is the state of mind, nothing to do with have or have-nots :)) nice poem thought:)

  16. I'm a big Bill Bryson fan and I'm really looking forward to reading his latest. Love what you've done here. I've been away from the blog for a while, but am looking forward to tackling this week's prompt.

  17. small matters do impact big pictures.
    thought provoking piece.
    well done.

  18. Thought provoking on a subject close to my heart. Really well done.

  19. Greetings, How are you?
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