In a place where one can buy freely, I reflect on my contribution.
Have I become part of the problem, or have I been destined to be one with a solution? Yes, this is a poem based on destruction; please lend me your conscious eyes.
I want to be part of ending the world’s pollution, not one that assists with causing the earth’s demise. There is a problem with this concept, I am living in a consumer’s dream. I am trapped in a materialistic nightmare; it’s enough to make my broke-ass scream.
I wake up each day with gratitude, for that is all I can afford. While I am at peace with living in a simple manner, I always find myself wanting more. I pull up to work in my used vehicle; that adds to the planet’s terrible emissions. While the nurse rocking out in her Tesla next to me adds to my ego’s jealous addictions.
I take a bite of my Starbucks sandwich in sorrow, drinking from my single-use plastic cup. Wondering how I can get ahead in my career, wait, where does this plastic even go, what the.
I walk into work with my painted smile, hit the time clock about five minutes late. The patient coming in is over 80, so her plastic mattress I inflate. When she gets discharged, I throw it in the garbage wondering what whale I just murdered with that plastic thing. I’m fully aware that in proper disposal, no one has ever been trained. I head for break and when it is over, I toss my plastic utensils into the blue bin. EVS collects that with all the other garbage, so was it really recycling then? I could’ve purchased reusable bamboo on Amazon; I was told about it once. Instead, I chose to save the 30 dollars so my kids can afford to buy lunch.
My house is full of love plus a television, table, and a couch on which we sit. My cabinets are full of the most organic foods I can buy, so my kids do not eat like sh*t. I stay away from processed garbage—the best I know how. I also have my days I am exhausted from overtime; we decide to just eat out. The drinks two times too big for all of us, plastic just the same. I have thought about it more recently. Am I just as much to blame? The food I have at home could’ve been cooked, but I chose convenience instead. The only difference here I find is that this messes with my head.
My addiction to convenience and plastic runs deep like most addictions do. I could buy a stainless steel water bottle, but a case of Costco water sells for roughly 2.82. I had to fudge that number for the sake of rhyming.
My kids do not ask for much; they know I struggle daily. I pay the rent, the utilities, Covid stimulus checks have saved me. My daughter loves her thrift stores; the toddlers could care less. My teenage son is slightly bougie; he always wants to be best dressed. What factories am I supporting, when I pay 200 dollars for some clothes? What fuel was used to produce the machines that made them? Does anyone really know? How many trees did it cost for this house that I live in? The Amazon boxes piling up next door. Did those get put in the right bin? I am not a true conservationist; the questions just keep coming.
The more things I learn about our consumption leaves my heart hurting.
The anger begins to rise, as I go deeper into the rabbit hole of spending. The rush to buy technology because Apple, Android, and whatever else is trending. AT&T plays the next card because I’m sure we all really needed that new phone. The truth is we did because they could not leave well enough alone.
Corporations need to suck the people dry while they ruin the planet we inhabit. The makers of vehicles flash their sales and that shiny car shows the world your status. We have become forced to believe that our worth is dependent on how much we make. Then we turn around and spend those dollars on things to create happiness; it’s all fake. We drown in a never-ending cycle of buying and destroying. While our planet is being raped of its resources, and the pockets of the corporations just keep growing. Our faces are attached to high-definition screens while the wonders of the world suffer and soon will exist only within our dreams.
I do not place myself above others, while sometimes I know that’s how I come off. I see with different eyes when it comes to the value of what consumerism costs. I also realize this is not merely the fault of our own. We do as we are taught, and for some, that is all that is known.
How do we break free of a world that is based on dollar signs? How do we begin to see when technology and media have made people so blind? The broke are forced to buy what they can, be it fast food and poorly made things that break. The rich gather what they believe makes them stand out among the race. All the while, our Mother Earth sits idly by and wastes. She wastes away because she is forgotten about in some respect, hosting parasites that steal what she provides until her untimely death. What if the media focused more on the death of our trees? They are too busy pinning us against each other and scaring us with a disease. A disease that we might be responsible for but I will save that for another time. The actual condition here is us and the infection lies within our minds.
I am guilty of contributing in my own selfish ways. I am just too poor to buy all the things advertised to us, the modern-day enslaved. Yes, enslaved. We are enslaved to wages that leave some of us wondering why we aren’t enough. Meanwhile, Bonnie Sue and Jimmy Dean next door get to live it up with all their “stuff.” That is just a part of the reason we are stuck in this nightmare of consuming our planet. We have forgotten we are enough without the “stuff” dammit! I have repeated this a few times; we live in a society that promotes the wrong definition of self-worth.
We were not born onto a planet with iPhones and technology growing out of the soil of the earth.
With this being the close of my poem, I want to say I have a piece of the puzzle to hand over. The puzzle of helping a world drunk on material things that is in desperate need of being sober.
Put away the media and phones, step outside to take a hike. Take your kids out next to the ocean and try riding next to it on a bike. Inhale the fresh salty air and stare at the vastness of the deep blue. Take a moment of silence and let the answers come to you.
I want to contribute to ending the world’s pollution. Learning to live without “luxury” is only part of the solution. When your day ends, and you find yourself lying down, as do I, be grateful for the things you have that money did not buy.