The Great New American Slavery Project

In the giant retailer’s tiny training
room a select group of serfs, I mean
new hires, watched videos designed
to inspire and teach them the exciting

ways of up-selling modern fashion
to the well heeled, smart set still
prowling the aisles for deals on
brand name champions, even in the

waning light of the empire’s last gasps.
The slaves, I mean associates, hunched
over for hours, stared glumly at the bright
cheery images, managing a thin smile

now and then, trying to get enthusiastic
and motivated, while the criminally
insane rate-of-pay (8 dollars an hour!)
howled at them from the darkness.

The indentured, I mean the-lucky-to-
have-any-job-at-all in the crumbling
capitalist zoo slipped deeper into
depression as two coolly dressed actors

ranted against the rabid evils of Unionism
and that the peasants, I mean bright
and shining lights of sales, must resist
all solicitations by the demonic Unionist

forces and beat back their soulless
advances. Then the two actors relaxed
and beamed, urging them not to forget
that hefty slave, I mean employee,

discount they could use to buy the company
store’s bountiful merchandise crafted
by real child slaves in far off, hidden
factories, just in time for the holidays!

Paul Lojeski's poetry has appeared in journals and online. He’s also the author of the satiric novel, The Reverend Jimmy Pup. He lives with his wife and daughter in Port Jefferson, NY. Read other articles by Paul.