He paints a canvas of concerns
each sooty headline is a scar,
his brow is wrinkled, skin is burned;
and when he sighs you think he cares
But it’s just a game; his heart is black
he wears his mask of empathy
pretends and preaches, still he lacks
a human sense of chemistry.
He mirrors every word you say
He nods and seems to understand
He looks you straight into your eye
and promises with outstretched hands.
He sells his mother; pawns his son;
you trade your soul for snake oil cures
and then he leave you all alone.
To trust in him is premature.
I leave it open to you to put in your least favorite snake oil salesman here. Posted for Open Link Night at dVerse. Kim hosts.
October 5, 2017
Love the title, Bjorn, and your portrait of a quack. It reminded me of the film Johnny Got His Gun, footage of which is included in the video for Metallica’s ‘One’. I used to have a video: it’s is a little dated but still a powerful anti-war film.
My favourite lines have to be:
‘each sooty headline is a scar
‘He sells his mother; pawns his son;
you trade your soul for snake oil cures
and then he leaves you all alone’.
Isn’t it so that any human can be a metaphor too… a butler or a librarian
I wonder if that snake oil at least tasted good.
No remedy tastes good… then it’s not a remedy
My goodness this is good!❤️ Especially like; “But it’s just a game; his heart is black he wears his mask of empathy pretends and preaches, still he lacks a human sense of chemistry” .. I have know such a person.. perhaps one too many! Beautifully rendered!❤️
Peddlers of snake oil are all too common
Excellent and heartfelt. Too many snakes, too much oil…
He did look fairly trustworthy…perhaps we all get conned into using snake oil one way or another..
I think we are all conned
As I read your poem, I kept thinking – this is how “Brexit” happened.
I feel that it applies to so many places…
Magnificent metaphor–for me it has Trump all over it, but as you say, it could apply to many others. Snake Oil (elixir) always tastes good, and it has nothing to do with health.
Or Boris Jonson?
‘He mirrors every word you say He nods and seems to understand’ is one of the oldes tricks in the book and alas, it can apply to so many people trying to sell goods, ideas, services or whatever else they think will bring them profit at the expense of others. Wonderfully penned Björn!
Current cares well put – reminds us to be wary of charlatans wherever we find them. Run them out of town I say, and let the snakes run free.
tar and feather….
I have to say that I loved the idea of this dodgy salesman- you inspired me to write on the same theme. Good one!
I thought you might have been on the same line…
Quite a warning in this. It sounds to me like too many politicians – both left and right.
Easy to promise an easy cure… should be a lesson, but we are always fooled
You know what they say: Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. Shame me thrice, just plain stupid.
Wonderful prose! I can think of a few in my life.
There are indeed so many of them. And most don’t even bother to offer snake oil in exchange for your money and your trust.
Oh, this could apply to so many! Well put.
BRAVO! I had no trouble at all inserting a charlatan of the nth degree. Brilliant write!
portrait of a sociopath, this snake-oil salesman. Glad I’m not buying!
An intriguing title that paints a picture before the poem even begins. My favorite line, “He sells his mother; pawns his son.”
And so many comments. I had to scroll forever to leave a comment and then wondered how long ago you posted this. I just looked, it wasn’t that long ago.
Masterful bit of art here! Clearly painted.
Cute. Nice rhyme and fun jab at a guy just trying to make a living like about another 30% of the populations of any country.
Oh I hope it’s less than 30% who betrays like this.
I think there are too many snake oil peddlers. They come door to door with their pamphlets and promises and in the end all that remains is broken dreams.
So much in this one Bjorn!
“pretends and preaches, still he lacks
a human sense of chemistry.”
these lines makes one ponder on a whole new sense. A very striking piece, Bjorn.
Slithery slimy ……..snake oil!! who would want that.
Awesome. sounds like Nick Cave lyrics 🙂
Very well worded, know the type.
I think I’ve met quite a few in my days! This is wonderful, Björn.
‘still he lacks a sense of human chemistry”. Wow. That goes to the quick. Very good poem, and goes deep into the psychology of a quack. You always bring good verse to my eyes, Bjorn. enjoyed this greatly.
I really liked this. There’s an old-fashioned feel to the verse. For some reason, I was reminded of the poem, Richard Cory.
There are way too many snake oil salesmen, and too many people fooled by them and their empty promises.
Snake-oil, however, began as a real thing: http://www.npr.org/sections/codeswitch/2013/08/26/215761377/a-history-of-snake-oil-salesmen
Too many, past, present and probably future folk speak with that forked tongue.
So many snake oil salesman and all selling the same thing…
“Villains who twirl their mustaches are easy to spot. Those who cloak themselves in good deeds are well camouflaged ” Captain Jean-Luc Picard, Star Trek: The Next Generation episode “The Drumhead”
Your poem captures this sentiment perfectly. Well-crafted.
Such a rich character profile, of a charlatan. Love it.