Toilet Paper

And speaking of news, today our prompt (optional, of course) is another oldie-but-goodie: a poem based on a news article. Frankly, I understand why you might be avoiding the news lately, but this is a good opportunity to find some “weird” and poetical news stories for inspiration. So here is my NewsPoem.

SYDNEY: A fight over toilet paper in an Australian supermarket on Saturday prompted police to call for calm after the latest violence sparked by coronavirus-induced panic buying in the country. This video widely shared online shows women pulling each other’s hair and screaming as they struggle over a large pack of the highly sought-after commodity in the aisle of a grocery store in Sydney.

A lady in a red velvet gown
visits a store downtown.
She plans to buy a red lipstick 
that matches her red gown.
Searching the makeup aisle 
she tries on various scarlet shades.
Couldn’t make up her mind, so 
decided to come back in a while 
and try few more rosy shades.
Just then she spot few families 
with their carts brimming and full
home supplies, oil, sauces 
 loads of toilet paper rolls
but not just a handful !! 

She stops to ask one such family 
is there an offer for today?
or a running sale
Buy 2 get 5 free types?
They don’t answer and just move away ! 
Disturbed and embarrassed she 
now pretends to look down at her phone.
Stumbles upon a WhatsApp forward
That shows the same mayhem around.
Everyone hoarding endlessly
Is it the end of the world already ?
Oh ! I must pick some too, 
she panicked and rushed along.
outraged she was, 
as she saw a couple stocking the last one too.

Lifting her flowing red velvet gown 
she leaped like a leopard
though she looked like a clown,
to claim the last one down
from this hungry family in town.
She tried to snatch it from this lady
who looked like a sumo
wearing a red lipstick.
A shade, perfect like the one she wants
would match with own her gown !
You already have seven !! 
Let me have this one , she pleaded
But the sumo was in no mood to let this one go.
She pulled her hair , with one hand still on the roll.

Off to the left and off to the right
they drifted, while the husband stood there 
sole audience to the fight.
This is mine , no, this is mine
Let it go - You let it go
Ah ! all this for just a toilet roll ?? ! 
Brutally the sumo lady with the seven ashamed rolls
Bit the thumb of the contender  
then ran to the billing counter
to claim the prizes she just won.
The poor lady in her red velvet gown 
crying and hurling abuses all at once.
but just then she saw the lipstick mark on her thumb.
from that sumo lady who was not a nun.

Remembered why she came downtown
shunning the toilet paper in thoughts
feeling hopeful and beautiful now
she reached the cosmetic aisle
to hunt for a red to adorn
her perfect smile and her velvet red gown !! 

©Preeti S Manaktala

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