Monday, January 5, 2015

Paper Bags

A birthday poem written by the old bag labeled Dennis Hunter.

This being human is a paper shopping bag.
Inside the bag is a parcel we carry from womb to tomb.
Most of our lives are spent staring at the bag,
identifying with the label it represents: “me.”
We build our lives around a brand, a fiction,
proudly sporting it through the world
and comparing it to other people’s brands.
We all want to have the best brand, to be seen
carrying the shopping bag with the finest label.
We have forgotten the purpose of a shopping bag,
and confused the bag and the brand with what's inside.
Stop for a moment, dissociate yourself from this bag of bones
and all the labels and brands it represents, and look inside.
Try to remember why you picked up a shopping bag
in the first place, and what it contains.
It’s raining now, and your paper bag is wet.
Already its fibers are weakening; soon it will break
and spill its contents into the street.
Don’t wait until then to open the parcel and see what's inside.
Open it now!
You’ve forgotten you ever went shopping in the first place,
and here you are, crying out against the rain,
holding a disintegrating bag from the great Store.

But this is where the metaphor breaks down…

The parcel in your bag is not something you bought,
for you cannot acquire or own what you are.
The parcel is you, and you never left the Store with it.
You only carried it around for a little while
in a shopping bag made of space, time and flesh,
from one part of the Store to another:
this laughable parade of paper bags and colorful logos.
You can neither purchase nor shoplift yourself.
Nothing ever leaves the Store, but everything returns to it.
Remember this, and be free from the illusion
of imprisonment inside a crumbling bag of bones, skin and personality.
Forget your brand, remember this, and embrace the deathless state.
The great Store, and everything in it, is you.

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