Black Friday – A Poem
For most Americans the day after Thanksgiving, known as “Black Friday,” marks the start of the Christmas shopping season, when retailers around the nation dramatically lower their prices and welcome in mountains of consumers for early morning bargains. Though, according to Wikipedia, the term was coined back in 1965, it hasn’t been until the last five or so years that Black Friday has elicited such a blatant attempt by retailers to encourage materialism and gift-giving as the new message of love.
Last year’s Black Friday, however, portrayed a very different message–one of naivety and destruction. On this Black Friday, at a Wal-Mart in Valley Steam, New York, Jdimytai Damour, a 34-year-old temporary worker, was trampled to death by a mob of shoppers who had busted through closed doors, desperate to purchase goods at discount prices.
While this received moderate coverage the following few days, I believe this plight holds far more gravity than suggested. To me, this is a sign of a serious disease which has afflicted Americans, and we’re all to blame for it. But the first step to ridding ourselves of this culture that defines family through objects and takes lives for falling prices is to acknowledge our faults.
As a way to communicate the significance of this situation, I’ve prepared a poem which I hope helps communicate a need for awakening.
The usual whoosh of gliding guards and
warning bells are forgone by bodies pushing through.
The condemned one holds defiant as shards fall and
a hail of frenzy rushes through an open vessel.
Preaching sanity and tranquility,
he directs traffic of blinded shoppers
all seeming to say, throw cares away.
Tearing with aggression, exhausted by depression, poverty and 9 to 5
cut from the molds of class and commodity,
of siphoned fear and big screen TV,
a culture that lives by the sale, dies by the sale.
Oh Valley Stream, New York
drip blame from your soles.
Watch as you topple arms outstretched for help,
a man’s arms, Jdimytai Damour’s arms,
arms of my brother, Joshua, who I’ve grown with
and love, who you would have sacrificed without hesitation as well.
Oh Valley Stream,
witness blue vest press to black linoleum tiles,
pounding sneakers nail palms and feet,
flashes of fluorescents blotch into camouflage,
as body is absorbed by a giddy and churning bazaar of
spearing knees and elbows.
His airless lungs squeal,
and not you,
not Jdimytai’s friends or family or coworkers
before the sun blessed upon humanity a new day
old scripture became tomorrow’s headlines.
Head bowed and died,
bargain toys rang,
while people sang
songs of good cheer
Christmas is here!