Snake oil cures

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

43 responses to “Snake oil cures

  1. 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
    and
    ‘He sells his mother; pawns his son;
    you trade your soul for snake oil cures
    and then he leaves you all alone’.

  2. 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!❤️

  3. 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.

  4. ‘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!

  5. 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.

  6. 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!

  7. “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.

  8. ‘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.

  9. “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.

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