The Real Art of the Deal

Close Encounter, Girona, Spain, 2018 — photograph by Ben Weinberg

“Don’t you just love the way I look?
I feel so special in my — —
(fill in the brand),
What’s in a name?
Oh darling, must you ask?
You can’t expect me to wear those again.
So last year, 
utterly passe, 
one of the herd, 
one of the great mass produced.
Is that what you think of me?”

“Must have, go on, you know you want it,”
the peddlers of obsession wink and whisper
lewd and husky. “You deserve it. Treat yourself.”
’Tis the special of the season,
limited time offer
one-click and its yours.

(Ever think to look behind the scenes?
Whose dreams went into every stitch
whose childhood lost in a blur of days,
cities drowning in a toxic haze, 
rivers now brilliant hued dye pools
all so you could strut your stuff.)

“Look at me,” the selfie nation proclaims;
image obsessed,
lost in self-absorbed preoccupation,
dutifully consuming all that is on offer.
Shining cogs in the wheel of consumption.
Preening and pleased in their land of make-believe;
make believe there are no consequences,
make believe I earned it all,
make believe anyone could have it too — if they only
wanted to?
tried a little harder?
deserved it?

For some, the happy accident of circumstance
gives chance to have and take,
while others live lives bleached of hope.
and so it goes,
until.