999: clap-on

999: clap-on

999: clap-on


I’m Major Jackson and this is The Slowdown.

When I realized I repaired my old car at a price that was well above its fair market value, I decided to buy a new vehicle. I trekked it to a Subaru dealership. A cheerful car salesman greeted me. We took a Forester for a test ride. On the drive, we talked NFL football, Vermont’s covered bridges, and winter driving, some of my favorite topics. I felt like I was purchasing a new car and gaining a new friend. I settled on the car which screamed Major. He ran my credit.

I sat at his desk scrolling my phone for ages. The application approval took nearly an hour. Yet he only came off a small amount from the suggested retail price. I countered. He said what became the dreaded words of the day. Let me check with my manager. It was nearing lunch when he came back and countered with some extras. I gave another price. He said, Let me check with my manager. An hour later, I walked by the manager’s office to the men’s room; he was yucking it up with a group of other salespeople. I realized then he was waiting me out, hoping I’d wear down to an agreed price. I exited the dealership incensed that I wasted four hours of a precious weekend.

Today’s poem reminds me to be on the lookout for such unsavory business practices, dominant in industries where we are most vulnerable.

by LaTasha N. Nevada Diggs

                     is the coppery shellac chiseled silver slicker comfort con. he. is.
                     a gold-capped incisor w/                                          of rust from Camels

a funeral director recommended. most celebrated according to
his pitch is his posture. buckwheat honey oats to widows.
the ring cascades & rocks. drip dazzler, he holds gentle this hand of torment
what he hawks is better than Dove body wash.

                      but you see? that how he sells his goods
                      proceedings of every variety phrased w/ all the cool of
                          anthropomorphic cool
                      each three-ring binder a circus upscaled serviced. he 
                          downgrades the grief
                      for every budget. organist & pastor.
                                                                                                                   that right package.
tis this a distinguished business                        family dynasty of little wonders

       clients shouldn’t have to dwell deep on the end route toward
           sanctuary & memorial
       in times of distress, he can guide you.
                                                                                          forgotten your name?
                                                                                          which address should one enter?
                                                                                          your telephone number or hers?
                                                                                          how many will be attending?

the expression most serious most endeared. see, he gets you w/ that
     feline Fritz twinkle
paid for compassion. he’ll handle the policy. cash out. funeral director
     gets first dibs.
                                                                                                             leave it in his hands.

               to close the deal once the body is handed over, the vault been
                  paid for.

                     a token of appreciation. something like a Christmas candle 
                     cheap cardboard
               battery operated          alabaster bone/ish in taupe
                     the bulb takes shape of a flame ignited
                                                                                          off & on
                     better to just unscrew flame & off it goes.
                     best as night-light beside kitchen outlet.
                     or for children fearing the dark. ghosts of cold turkeys past.

dearly departed, stencil in her name.     not his.
paste a dull glare toward some pre-lawn area upon another payment to
     chisel onto marble
                       embedded here till who knows
               complimentary tote bag w/ swag not included.

“clap-on” by LaTasha N. Nevada-Diggs from VILLAGE © 2023 LaTasha N. Nevada-Diggs. Used by permission of Coffee House Press.