first-world problem

you pay a company
to tell you what to eat
to lose yourself
in fractions
adding up to the mass
of an 8-year-old,
because other companies
sell food in boxes
easy to cook, but hard
on arteries, but few
sell discrimination
so you vacillate,
gain and lose
that same 60,
a pendulum of flesh
from substance
to sustenance

About Susan L Daniels

I am a firm believer that politics are personal, that faith is expressed through action, and that life is something that must be loved and lived authentically--or why bother with any of it?
This entry was posted in New Free Verse and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

50 Responses to first-world problem

  1. F#({|ng Brilliant!!!
    “a pendulum of flesh”…Jesus what an image!

  2. nelle says:

    If everyone did their part… food companies were true to foods and not engaged in deceptive practises or marketing of less healthful foods, it would work… the trouble is they look to make the cheapest possible product for the maximum possible dollar, disregarding what fuel is best for human beings.

  3. brian miller says:

    from sustenance to substance….you are esonating a bit with laurie kolps OLN poem today as well….pendulum of flesh is a great line…and isnt it amazing too how expensive it is these days to eat healthy…

    • Crazy expensive to eat healthy this time of year. In the summer, I volunteer at an organic farm and have LOADS of fresh free veggies, plus whatever I grow from my own garden–so that helps a bit with the cost. Going to go check Laurie’s out now 😉

  4. Tony says:

    So long as it looks right, who cares what’s in it? Well, over here we’ve been finding out that there’s all sorts of stuff in our food that shouldn’t be there. Add to that a debate about whether or not fizzy drinks/soda is a contributing factor in the rising rates of obesity in our country and should therefore be taxed. However, unlike the world’s poor, we have the means to solve our own problems. The question really is, do we have either the desire or the willpower?

    • Exactly, Tony. All the wealth in the world, all that “stuff” out there, but can we “fix” ourselves, the problem without the desire for change or willpower to get it done?

  5. claudia says:

    a pendulum of flesh
    from substance
    to sustenance…dang…. a first world problem for sure..

  6. ayala says:

    So true and brilliant!

  7. Laurie Kolp says:

    Oh, yes, Susan… ours certainly do go together… I learned long ago in a college health class that we all have a set point weight we’re meant to be at… so many try to get smaller… media is a major culprit.

  8. Laurie Kolp says:

    P.S. I love the title… it certainly puts things in perspective.

  9. So true… very, very true! 🙂

  10. Mary says:

    Oh, this is a never ending battle for some. Weight Watchers is probably one of the best approaches, as you can eat using that plan for the rest of one’s life really. I wondered if you were referring to plans such as “Jenny Craig” when you talked about those plans that sold food in boxes. That always seems less sensible to me, as how long can one keep eating these prepared boxes. Glad the pendulum is swinging in the right direction for you.

  11. Alice Keys says:

    When did access to healthy food become a hard to find luxury. Excuse me while I gnash my teeth in rage.

    • I KNOW! Don’t get me started. I used to volunteer at a food pantry. The people who came for help got loaded up with all sorts of crap–very little good, good for them things. Healthy food is a luxury (although if you are near an organic farm/CSA, like I am blessed to be, I volunteer there in the spring and summer and have all the fresh, good stuff my family needs for nothing. This also supplements what I am able to grow in our own garden).

  12. It seems food is big news these days, CSG and Coal mines seem to be robbing the land here, so many farms going under…it’s sad I think go back to old fashioned way, buying at the daily markets straight from the farmer, now wouldn’t that bring some excitement back to our daily lives as well as good food. Great poem.

    • Thanks, Kat. I agree. I get my eggs from a woman down the road, and in the summer I volunteer at an organic farm, so we are up to our eyeballs in goodness here–but that is a blessing of location.

  13. unfetteredbs says:


  14. I’ve never fm been good at dieting. Too picky

  15. heidi says:

    I love the title…it sets the mood immediately.

  16. Joseph Hesch says:

    Great title and a skilled and great take on our Bizarro 3rd World problem of over-excess, even in trying to lose weight.

  17. Stan Ski says:

    Everything in moderation… easy to say innit…?

  18. Irene says:

    “you pay a company
    to tell you what to eat
    to lose yourself
    in fractions” – Poignant!
    This is brilliant, Susan.

  19. chenayimoyo says:

    We sure a pendulums of flesh
    Slaves to our bathroom scales
    I pray it’s not horse meat!

  20. wow, what skills with words and meaning. Suddenly you give “Swinging” a totally fresh and fleshy meaning! And “from substance to sustenance” is so well said.

    You describe so well how (your poem inspired this instant attempt at forced alliteration)

    “the effluent of affluence flows
    as flapping folds of fat flailing
    funnily on former firm frames”

    and all this self inflicted!

    • I love the response, the alliteration with all those fat “F’s,” and yes–all of it self-inflicted, because we refuse moderation. Much, much better to pack on the pounds and then pay someone to help us diet them off. What a world. I should probably say what a country…

  21. Pingback: The disease of Affluence « visionvoiceandviews

  22. Blue Flute says:

    Unfortunately true, I’m also “affluent” 😛

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