Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Big Grab

I think this poem originally came from one of the humor issues of Poetry. If not, it could have.

By Barton Springs

The corn chip engineer gets a bright idea, and talks to the corn
chip executive and six months later at the factory they begin
subtracting a few chips from every bag,

but they still call it on the outside wrapper, The Big Grab, so the
concept of Big is quietly modified to mean More or Less Large, or
Only Slightly Less Big than Before.

Confucius said this would happen: that language would be hijacked
and twisted by a couple of tricksters from the Business Department

and from then on words would get crookeder and crookeder until no
one would know how to build a staircase, or to look at the teeth of
a horse, or when it is best to shut up.

We live in that time that he predicted. Nothing means what it says,
and it says it all the time. Out on route 28, the lights blaze all
night on a billboard of a beautiful girl covered with melted

See how she beckons to the river of latenight cars; See how
the tipsy drivers swerve, under the breathalyzer moon!

We're in the wilderness now, confused by the signs, with a
shortness of breath, and that postmodern feeling of falling behind.

In a story whose beginning I must have missed, without a name for
the thing I can barely comprehend I desire, I speak these words
that do not know where they're going.

No wonder I want something more-or-less large, and salty for lunch.
No wonder I stare into space while eating it.

I feel like this poem should be an email forward or something. It’s just like that stupid old cliché (when a butterfly flaps it’s wings…). There’s not much depth to it or hidden meaning; it’s just fun to read.

The last stanza makes me laugh out loud. “No wonder I stare into space while eating it.” I dare you not to think of this poem the next time you see some idiot on the street or in a car or at work who is staring blankly ahead while eating chips from a small crinkly bag. I dare you. I’ll bet you can’t do it.

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