Tom Vaughan: Up The Amazon

Based on your recent purchase
we recommend for you
Hague’s Wilberforce, and then of course
his Pitt the Younger too.

Well . . . Are you trying to jolt us?
Or did you really want
de Sade’s Justine, and why the text
in such a massive font?

That’s better – Harry Potter . . .
Unless you’re fighting back
and this is just a clumsy feint
to throw us off your track.

But don’t take things too far – I mean
The Works of Cardinal Newman!
Our algorithm’s wondering
if you’re really human . . .

Nevertheless, please buy at least
one Yuval Noah Harari
and join the rest of us on his
intellectual safari.

You fooled us this time, we admit.
Rumpole at the Bar . . .
What will you go for next? Maybe
Mary Beard’s SPQR?

Or are you plain mixed-up – why choose
both the Pope’s Laudato Si
and Donald Trump’s Art of the Deal.
Who are you trying to be?

And there you go again – this time
with a sudden, single click
Flaubert, Jane Austen, plus the great
(in our view) P. K. Dick . . .

. . . then the Koran! Surely you know
that means we must inform
both M. I. 5 and M.I.6
who’ll kick up such a storm –

although perhaps they’ll calm down now
you’ve ordered C.S. Lewis.
But are you gay? Or why else choose
E.M. Forster’s Maurice?

What about music? Larkinesque jazz?
Or maybe you’d prefer
Bach’s B Minor Mass, done by
John Eliot Gardiner?

OK that wasn’t up your street.
Well, how about instead
The Basement Tapes, or a CD from
the ghastly Grateful Dead?

We should have guessed you’d pick John Cage –
a gesture with a shock in it
designed – we take it – to prompt us
henceforth to put a sock in it.

Unfortunately that cannot be,
and even if it could
it’s much too much fun prodding you
to boost our livelihood . . .