Monday, April 11, 2022

Robert Cooperman

DEATH BY VENDING MACHINE

"Thirteen people a year are killed by vending machines." —Charles Rammelkamp

What about us? How many of us
are killed each year by thugs?
Every time someone stomps up
with a fistful of change or bills,
I cringe, fearing if I don’t spew out
the candy or soda or condom
in a nanosecond to the horny bastard,
I’ll be beaten and stomped.

I have cracks in my window, dents
in my casing where I’ve been brutalized,
though so far, lucky not to be junked for scrap,
like so many of my brothers and sisters.
But I dread that day is coming.

No wonder we lose it and strike back: the thief
trying to steal a Mars Bars or scoop out
all the change and bills in our bellies?
Call us Old Testament, but shouldn’t
he lose a hand because of his thieving fingers?

The thug who shoves us like a bully
threatening a scrawny, eye-glassed kid
toting a load of library books?
We’re justified in falling on the cretin,
and if the ambulance shrieks up too late,
or not at all, well, vicious should hurt.

And if our attacker fumes our chocolate
looks older than a redwood, drier than the Gobi
is that our fault? Blame the greedy stock-guy
holding back fresh bars and letting sodas go flat
as dinner plates kids ruin their appetite for,
by scarfing the crap we’re made to dispense
and wouldn’t, if we had any say in the matter.


Gerald So reads "Death by Vending Machine":



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Bob confesses: "I thought why not take the beleaguered vending machine's point of view and complain about the abusive treatment the machines are subjected to by humans, how we take out our frustrations on inanimate objects and how'd we like it if they decided to get even."


ROBERT COOPERMAN's latest collections are REEFER MADNESS (Kelsay Books) and GO PLAY OUTSIDE (Apprentice House). The former is partly about Cooperman's misspent youth and partly inspired by a news article that stated the Girl Scouts of Colorado were cool with troop members selling cookies outside of pot shops; the latter is a love letter to Cooperman's lifelong unrequited romance with basketball.

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