Paul Cooper

The Hard Sell

Catalogue splits like a fish,
And three plastic-sheen ads thump
like rubber stamps.

“Love,” says the first,
the word puffed out,
Swollen like a pig’s bladder,
And a cartoon cupid
Surveys the border.
“Nothing else like it.”
Of course, there’s the termite-swarm
Of small print burrowing into the foundations,
And the gaudy health warning
Put there by the government.

The second advert is smaller, clearer,
For discount sunbeams,
The first sunbeams of summer,
When you feel them warm
Your back and you
Because everything is. All.


This ad is minimal
Because the product sells itself.

The third is black and white,
Just a few lines of text.
It sells sorrow.
“Sorrow is cheap,
And gets things done.
For the end of the day,
When the race is run.
It’s the dead-eyed way
You look at me,
Buy one sorrow,
And get one free.”

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