Ode to Starbucks
O great logo of green and white, hated by many and loved by more,
First destination of early mornings, and harbinger of latest nights,
You are loved and hated not for your quality
(admittedly better than average) but for the ubiquity of your name.
Once you resided in malls, in airports, but now you swallow them whole:
Smaller shops tremble in fear of your popular mass-production
While longtime patrons resign themselves to your inevitable takeover.
Your odd vocabulary has permanently infixed itself in our tongues;
Your name has come to replace "coffee" as the label for our addiction.
(And so-- O Starbucks-- I have observed it!
From nothingness you rise.)
O great symbol, the world loves and hates you for what you represent.
Some throw stones or write angry editorials;
Others drink happily, surrounded by the constant hum of propaganda.
One bright summer morning in a small English town,
I wake to see a crowd shouting obscenities outside your window;
"Down with American capitalism," the placards say.
I walk through the line, deliberate and determined:
"For capitalism and America," I say, "Make it a venti."
Nevertheless, America is more than Starbucks uber alles;
It is freedom and choice and opportunity for all.
I pray that we do not one day lose this freedom
Under an oppressive banner of green and white.
It is true that we as a nation cannot break our addiction
To these wonderful beans, nor do we desire to do so.
We wish only some choice in where, and how, our bodies are mistreated.
(And yet-- O Starbucks-- I have foreseen it!
The rise of empire and the fall of man.)
O Starbucks, I cannot bring myself to love or hate you.
You are a force like the weather, your presence overwhelms.
Sometimes I seek the reassurance of your constant-chic decor;
Tonight I try to flee from your rich and omnipresent aroma.
I run for miles into the night, thinking myself wild and free-willed,
But when I stop to rest, I find myself leaning against your window.
I am surrounded: there is no escape.
I float with the tide, I follow the crowd:
I walk up to the counter and order a mocha,
Handing the cashier five dollars and my soul.
(And so-- O Starbucks-- I have lived it!
To nothingness we return.)
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