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Wednesday, September 14, 2005


by Lucille Gang Shulklapper

If I were a product and not a person, I'd be Take Control, a butter substitute. I'd spread myself thin or thick, depending on my surface taste. I'd skim corn meal and smear pablum. I'd coat Scott McClellan's tongue but it's already thick with saturated oils fighting fat.

If I were Take Control and not a person, I'd fight my way out of my plastic container. I don't like artifice. I'd have to change my own chemical imbalance to live up to my name. I want to be an organic compound, respected not for my desire to be free, but to decide my own culture. Is there no one I can butter-up to? Or will I be melted down and out-sourced?

Perhaps, I should give up. Competing products outnumber me. Take oil, for example. It sells more than I do. Its stock is more valued no matter how much digging a customer does to find it. Put that in your pipeline and smoke it.

Lucille Gang Shulklapper is a workshop leader for the Florida Center for the Book, an affiliate of the Library of Congress. Her poetry and fiction appear in Switched-on Gutenberg, Into the Teeth of the Wind, Slant, and other literary journals. She is the author of three collections of poems: What You Cannot Have, The Substance of Sunlight, and Godd, It's Not Hollywood. Recent work appears in Portrait, Poetic Voices without Borders, Whispers of Inspiration, and Still Going Strong.