by Daniel Kolos
(With apologies to Lewis Lapham)

Comfort Zone is the key concept
that drives the economy,
that drives moderate politics,
that allows small wars
in far corners of the world,
that makes us accept little famines
and big lies
and turns us blind to discomfort
in our own back yards.

Where is this Comfort Zone in North America?

It is hanging out of my trousers,
feeling good in my distended belly,
distended by comfort foods.

It is in my wallet,
comfortably stuffed with bills,
doled out by machines at every street corner,
at every convenience store and supermarket,
so that I don´t have to be uncomfortable
facing a human teller when the account runs empty.

Comfort Zone is having two cars
and three bedrooms
and being able to get what I need
when I need it, whether I need it, or not.

Comfort Zone is knowing
that the depleted uranium bombs
with which we destroy the infrastructure
in Serbia or Afghanistan or Iraq
will not stop Sony Walkmans from being sold
in my local electronics shop.

Comfort Zone is believing
that nobody will invade
my private space without a warrant,
except, perhaps, for a hug.

It is the certainty that,
in case of a Stock Market crash,
my hedge funds will hold their value.

Comfort Zone is the satisfaction
that the Holiday Inn at Timbuktu
will serve catsup with my hamburger
and French Fries,
and that my insurance plan will pay
fifty thousand dollars
to replace my heart valves
in case I don´t feel like changing
my eating habits.

Comfort Zone is an Anglican or United Church,
where nobody will ask me about Jesus,
whether I have him in my heart or in my pocket.

It is knowing that no matter
what kind of promises
politicians make during their campaigns,
it will make no difference to my lifestyle
whether or not they keep them, once elected.

Comfort Zone is knowing
that there are enough fanatics in Hotel America
that when pollution, inhumanity, poverty,
government encroachment,
big business arrogance or banking abuses
threaten my comfort level,
they will come out and march
and protest and speak up
and get pepper sprayed
and arrested and shot and thus,
keep my comfort level constant.

Comfort Zone is knowing you by a label,
which tells me all I want to know about you
and not having to listen
to all your petty theories
on human values, moral bankruptcy,
your patented stories
and vacuous conversations.

Comfort Zone is expecting that
when I say “Hello’ to you
and ask you “How Are You?’
you know enough to stop after replying,
“I´m fine, and you?’

March 9, 2000, revised October 16, 2001
Read at Words in Bloom, a gala annual Poetry reading festival of the Words Aloud poetry coop, at Stonyground, near Walkerton, Ontario, June 8, 2000
Read at the Poetica series open mike at the Relaxo Lounge, Toronto, on October 15, 2001

Published in Slipped Out, a poetry collection by Daniel Kolos (Pendas Productions, London, Ontario) 2003

copyright 2003 ã by Daniel M. Kolos
reproduction, reading or publication in any medium requires the author's permission
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