National Poetry Writing Month 2019 Day #27 (pt. 2)

Here is my poem for Day 27 using the POETRYisEVERYTHING prompt: Pick a canned phrase and expand on the sentiment in an extreme and overly detailed way.

‘Would you like the receipt?’

In 1992
the question was ‘would you
like a bag?’ I’d already noticed that tattoos
and body piercings had taken over the culture

along with a weight gain of about 30 lbs. per person—here I was already ahead of the curve

but I couldn’t comprehend why bags
were somehow now optional
It used to be that walking out of the store with merchandise not in a bag
would get you nabbed at the exit

In 2019, the ‘would you like a bag’ question is just one part of the interrogation
‘How’s your day so far?’
‘Did you find what you were looking for?’
‘You know that you have to pay with cash or debit for this, right?’
‘Do you have a rewards card? Or a phone number?’
‘Did you see what the price was on this?’
‘Would you like to use your rewards for this?’

Add to the equation:
‘Would you like the receipt?’

In some places, the question is now multiple-choice:
‘How would you like your receipt?
Print, email, or print and email?’

This can be quite the conundrum
as even the shortest receipt now is the length of a small novel—
a pack of gum a day for 30 days
would be enough to wallpaper my living room

In others, the additional demand:
‘If you go to this website, we’d love to have you take our survey to let us know how we’re doing’

I’ll let you know when I’m done with my living room

(27 April 2019)


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