Poem #53: “A Vice of Excess”

I wrote some poems this week, and I’m going to try to reach my yearly goal while I still can. I’ll have to write about 45 or 50 more poems, but I might be able to do it. We’ll see. In the meantime, here’s one of my recent poems:

A Vice of Excess

What is this strange affliction?
I sit for hours and hours,
pressing the button
again and again,
mesmerized by the spinning reels.
Sometimes I lose.
Sometimes I win.
But always, always, time passes by
and is lost forever.
Why do I do it?
What is this fever-filled madness
that drives me, this perverse hope
for a massive win that so rarely comes?
It’s not even real
Pavlov would love
my slavering tongue
when the bells and whistles
ring out, bringing with them
news of a bonus won.
Will it be a good one?
Will it be a bad one?
Ah, the anticipation of the thrill
or the disappointment.
There is a tiny part of my brain
that reinforces this behavior,
a little clump of cells
in the cerebellum
that gets excited
by the intermittent reinforcement
B. F. Skinner so cleverly designed.
But understanding
the mechanisms of this addiction
is not quite enough
to overcome it,
no matter how desperate I am
to stop.

© 2017, all rights reserved.



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