Poem of the Week - Ali Alizadeh reads 'I ♥ (this) Life?'

Poem of the Week

Poem of the Week - Ali Alizadeh reads 'I ♥ (this) Life?'

Poem of the Week

In this episode of 'Poem of the Week' Ali Alizadeh reads 'I ♥ (this) Life?'. ABR Editor, Peter Rose, introduces Ali who then reads and discusses his poem.



I this life (?)


For every         $10                          I produce (in, say, 30 minutes)

                           $6                           goes to the boss. Join

the club? And then

I pay                 $4                             for some crap (say, lukewarm coffee, to keep me

                                                            that cost the boss

                                                                                                  of s/he who made it

                          $1             =                I'm worse off
              by       $10                              in 30 minutes. Such

is life? My boss's bosses
demand growth, so soon

the extracted
                          $6                                 must become, say
                          $10          =                  I'll have to produce
                          $14                               in 30 minutes

to keep my job/salary
by working longer/harder. Then

of course, the owner of the cruddy coffee shop
also ogles profit, so

the watery beige rubbish in the cup
(to which I'll be sadly addicted) will cost

                           $6.                         Nota Bene: it will still cost the café captain
of industry      $1                            to produce the commodity – the exchange-

value of my or the (undertrained) barista's labour power
hasn't grown
                          so that it won't impede
capital's expansion. I'll have

had                    $19                        sucked out of me. Par

for the course? Well, I forgot

to mention: since the price of coffee
will go up & my income                           won't

I'll also be                                                    broke. The question,

then      =        for how long

I              (and you, and she, and he, and you, and they, and we

and we) will go along
with this                        kind of                               life?
The day after tomorrow

infinite growth           =           I'll have to create at least

                        $18                     in 30 minutes
                                                    to abide by boss's projections. My back
will be sore. I'll be needing
the ghastly
thing (made with expired milk) that passes for beverage
                                                    even more. It'll be
                        $8 (at least)
– I'll be         $4                        out of pocket. Nota Bene: since the hapless barista
                                                    will have been replaced by a (rusting) machine
the coffee will have cost the caffeine crook
only                 $0.5
bosses will be
at my expense – I'll have accumulated
                         $4             in debt                 in 30 minutes
despite being employed. Monkey

see, monkey do? Well, no. I hope not. I hope one day                we
                                                                                                                (exhausted, aching, sick)

will find it
                       historically inevitable
to say:

                       No. Fuck off. No more.


Ali Alizadeh


Ali Alizadeh's latest collection of poetry, Ashes in the Air (UQP, 2011) was shortlisted for the Prime Minister's Literary Award. His latest book is Transactions (UQP, 2013) and he lectures at Monash University.

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