Loving Shoes

Posted: March 18, 2010 in Poetry

Ready for the Slam this Saturday?

CONTEXT: April, 2008

This poem remained unwritten for a few months. I didn’t know what I wanted to do with it – I just knew that I was appalled by the ad I saw on the bus.

For the record, I was on one of those advertising theme buses where the outside and inside are decorated all by one advertiser. In this case it was St.Laurent Shopping Center, here in Ottawa.

One of the ads on the inside stated… well, you will see in the poem.

I really thought it was disgusting.

    Loving Shoes

I was minding my own business
Riding transit into work
When I saw this ad.
I wasn’t sure if I should be mad
Or just confused
Because it told me
“It is okay to love shoes
More than people.”
It took a moment for that to
Sink in.
“It is okay to love shoes
More than people.”
How does one respond to such text
As you watch for the next stop
To leave the mysterious missive
I gave it more thought
And decided to break
It down.

Okay is a slight affirmation
Giving permission to entertain
A thought or action,
Either acknowledging a universal rightness
Or an authoritative permission
From some sort of governing body.
In this case, a mall.

Instead of many different words for love
We have many different loves for a word.
A warm feeling of closeness or desire.
An elevated fondness that surmounts
And supercedes mere like,
As it is one of the things (like art)
That makes life worth living.
Take joy and beauty and friendship
And caring and passion, mix it all
Up in a box shaped like a heart
And call it love.

Shoes are a clothing item worn on the feet
To protect the wearer from the ravages
Of the elements around them,
Whether that is for cleanliness
Or physical protection.
Alternately, a fetishized piece of apparel
That sums up value judgements,
Both internal and external
– But I have to admit that those
strappy red numbers with the
Stiletto heels make your
Legs look really damned fine.

Uh, sorry.

More is a comparitive measurement that
Quantifies only in relation to another
It does not give you a precise figure
But it allows a ranking of importance
Or volume between two or more things –
In this case, between shoes and people,
Using love as a scale of measurement.

People is a reference to non-specific
Human beings, rather than any
Sub-group of these beings.
It does not mean ‘your family’
Or ‘your friends’,
But both of those groups
Are sub-groups within the larger
Set, identified as ‘People’.
This includes everyone,
No matter gender, racee,
Political leanings, socio-economic
Class or standing.

You have been granted permission
By a mall to have affection
For a clothing item in a greater
Quantity that the affection
You show towards the other
Inhabitants of this big blue marble.
…Including yourself.

Why concern yourself with the welfare of
Your fellows when you can save
Yourself a lot of issues by loving
Your footware instead?

Shoes can’t hurt your feelings.
A new handbag doesn’t demand
Anything of you more complicated
Than some fashion co-ordination.
A shiny new Rolex even gives
Something back for your love.
It makes sure you know the time,
Down to the split second.

Yet walking down the street
With an Armani suit, Gucci loafers,
And Rolex so precise,
Stepping past a man whose only
Tiem concerns are DAY and NIGHT
And where lunch time only happens
When somebody helps get him
Some food…

Who then really knows
What time it is?

So the next time you see a sign
That says “It is okay to love shoes
More than people”
Stand up and say

And maybe we will all remember
What it truly means to love.


Next up is a rarely heard attempt at a poem for the 2008 Slam Finals.

  1. nadinethornhill says:

    While I was out shopping yesterday, I came across a store with the words “Smart has the brains but stupid has the balls. Be stupid.” scrawled across it’s windows. I was appalled and vaguely confused. Perhaps that flavour of marketing works for some people, but I found it so off putting, that I -a self-confessed shopping whore – wouldn’t go within 100 feet of that place.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s