Ecclesiastes in the Showroom

Monday, December 5th, 2016

Published 1 year ago -

By Andrew Kuhn

5 December 2016

Vanity, vanity, all is vanity—
Or countertop, or cabinet,
Or sit-down all-stone shower-bath
With pulsing sensurround adjustable flow—
But even these: vanities, all.

For in the showroom of the world
All things are as floor samples.

You may think it is full-grained leather.
You are mistaken.
Pleather, if you are fortunate.

Lo, the Posturepedic does nothing
For your posture, it is in no way
Pedic. You will lie rigid upon it,
Thinking of the payments.

For who is man to seek comforts
That are wall-to-wall, and subject
To off-gassing?

The floor lamp, the table lamp,
The bedside lamp, lo, even unto
The chandelier, their light is but brief,
Before they become, like you,
A burnout.

And what does it profit a man,
To purchase at heroic expense
His dream recliner, the original brand,
The eponymous La-Z-Boy,
And the 72-inch HD TV screen
With Bose speakers and a huge sub-woofer,
When his home teams are lousy,
And depressing to watch?

A man who takes comfort and pride
In his goods and chattels is a fool,
For his goods will develop unsightly stains
That won’t come out; the promise
Of Scotchgard will prove overstated.

His chattels will be the ones who caused
His goods to develop those unsightly stains,
Though they deny it up and down.
And then they will go away, and decline
To take with them the degraded goods
He had planned to be their inheritance.

Therefore it is better to eschew goods
And chattels and wander the wide world
As a mendicant, seeking wisdom.

Good luck with that.

In the course of becoming a poet and psychologist, Andrew Kuhn has sold firewood, rebuilt apartments, done aid work, and worked as a journalist. His poems have appeared in Able Muse Review, Chimaera, The Mailer Review, Vending Machine Press and The Heron’s Nest; work is scheduled for publication in Common Ground Review. Kuhn also conducts interviews with distinguished poets in support of the Katonah Poetry Series, an organization that has brought live poetry readings to Katonah, NY for almost fifty years. Sometimes when he’s thoroughly drenched himself in a poet’s work, he shakes himself like a dog, and affectionate parodies appear on the wall, which he copies down before they dry and disappear.

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