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Amazon letters (Daniel Arp et al., 2000) World / Corporate Poetry / 2000 co-winner
This co-winner of the 2000 Corporate Poetry Contest threatens to widen the corporate poetry genre considerably. Please visit www.deadletters.com for more such work by Daniel Arp.

Date: Tue, May 2, 2000 12:10 PM -0700
From: lawn-news1@amazon.com
To: da3a@andrew.cmu.edu
Subject: New stores are springing up at Amazon.com

Dear Amazon Customer,

I have an extreme case of spring fever. And Amazon.com's new Lawn & Patio and Kitchen stores have a lot to do with it.

Our Lawn & Patio store has everything you need to spruce up your yard. Weber grills, Black & Decker mulching mowers, Fiskars tree pruners--the selection is amazing. And if it's information you're looking for, we've got buying guides and articles that will turn brown thumbs green and green thumbs greener.
Come explore: http://www.amazon.com/lawnandpatio

Does spring bring out the chef in you? Then try our new Kitchen store. It's brimming with thousands of culinary essentials for novices and gourmets alike. Calphalon, Cuisinart, Henckels, KitchenAid--we've got all the top brands. While you're there, check out our hands-on editorial reviews and fresh ideas for springtime entertaining from world-renowned chefs and celebrities.
Go to: http://www.amazon.com/kitchen

So stop by Amazon.com today. And get the things you need to make the most of the season.

Sincerely,

David Risher
Senior VP and Avid Amazon.com Shopper
U.S. Retail

P.S. Our other stores are joining in the excitement of the Lawn & Patio and Kitchen store openings too.

- In Books, save 40% off all American Horticultural Society titles and Cook's Illustrated titles.

- In Toys, ride-on bubble mowers and Easy Bake Ovens are 50% off.

- In Software, enjoy a $20 rebate on the deluxe version of Complete LandDesigner 3-D Design software.

P.P.S. I hope you enjoyed receiving this message. However, if you'd rather not receive any future notices of this sort from Amazon.com, please visit your Amazon.com Subscriptions page:

http://www.amazon.com/unsubscribe

Please note that this message was sent to the following e-mail address:

    da3a@andrew.cmu.edu


Date: Tue, May 2, 2000 4:34 PM -0400
From: Daniel Arp <da3a@andrew.cmu.edu>
To: lawn-news1@amazon.com
Subject: Amazon dot me faster

Dear Amazon.com:

I've got the fever too. For you, Amazon. You feel the spring in the air? I feel it in my step. Your new Lawn & Patio and Kitchen stores have a lot to do with it, but then there's also the tremendous savings on books and music and toys and ideas. Webers and Deckers and Pruners (oh my!) -- I can feel the surge in my blood, the ache and the longing of this crush. Will it ever end? Or is this courting of corporate favor destined to go unrequited?

You ask me, "Does spring bring out the chef in you?" You are such a tease, Amazon. That's what I admire about you. I say "admire," because that is truly what I feel toward you: admiration and respect. This is more than consumer lust -- the impulsive desire to buy, buy, buy you out till we're both dry and empty, panting for breath and mouthing the words "supply," "demand," "supply," "demand," with each in-breath and out-breath.

No, Amazon. Though this physical desire resides within me, my feelings toward you as a corporation are infinitely more complex. Shall I shop and compare thee to a summer's day sale at Wal-Mart? Thy lawn product prices are more moderate, and more fair. And why? Why you, Amazon? I want to figure you out, get inside you and see what makes you tick in that upbeat, virtual way of yours.

I want an hour inside your corporate lair. Just an hour to wander through the halls, stacked with plastic-wrapped nuggets of consumer joy. I want to explore these lanes and aisles: a, b, c, d, e, f, and g. Especially g. I want to run up and down, up and down your g-aisle and press into your g-products with the force of a train. This is about more than consumption, Amazon. It is even about more than obsession. It is about love. There, I said it: L-O-V-E.

And now we both can rest, in our corporate-choked corners of the world, and suffer our fates: I a mere individual, you a gluttonous corporation with all the attendance of a bargain-hunting populace at your feet, each of us aching with our own loneliness and the impossibility of union. I a Montague, you a Capulet. 'Tis the east, and Amazon is the sun! And this sun speaks of a new season -- a spring that ushers in new epiphanies and purchases, new aches and pangs of consumer frenzy. An awakening of the soul, the mind, the dormant winter wallet: I will buy, buy, buy, Amazon, until I can buy no more, getting the things you and I both need to make the most of the season.

All I ask in return is your Amazonian love.

Sincerely,
Daniel Arp
Rabid Amazon.com shopper


Date: Wed, May 3, 2000 3:29 PM -0700
From: orders@amazon.com
To: Daniel Arp <da3a@andrew.cmu.edu>
Subject: Your Amazon.com Inquiry

Dear Daniel,

Greetings from Amazon.com.

What a refreshing message! I so enjoyed your accolades, and am very glad to know that we have such a devoted customer in you. It is so nice to hear that you enjoy shopping with us so, and you are not afraid to tell us! Thank you so much for taking the time to write in.

I do hope that you will continue your adoration, and that we continue to show you the best service, prices, and selection that you could ever find. Please let us know if there is ever anything we may do for you. I hope that you are able to find a treasure or two soon, as to quench your thirst for Amazon.com.

Thank you so much, Daniel, for your kind and heartfelt words. I look forward to your next visit. I hope that you have a pleasant day!

Best regards,

Jenna Lowell
Earth's Biggest Selection
http://www.amazon.com


Date: Wed, May 3, 2000 7:09 PM -0400
From: Daniel Arp <da3a@andrew.cmu.edu>
To: orders@amazon.com
Subject: Re: Your Amazon.com Inquiry

Dear Amazon:

Oh wow. Wow wow wow. Wow wow wow wow. You're so turning me on right now to savings. I want to gobble em up like candy. I've never been so hard up for cash as at this point in my life, yet you continue to service me with hot, mind-blowing consumer satisfaction, at prices that get me off my couch and on the internet.

I hope you don't consider it too forward of me that I sent you an e-card, Amazon. (It's a little note with a picture of the suicidal virgins. Hope you like it!) I just wanted to repay you for your warm, affectionate reply to my message. It meant a lot to me, as has the witty back-and-forth I've enjoyed with you while surfing your web site. "Click here, Daniel Arp." "Click there, Daniel Arp." You big tease. I'll click anywhere you want, Amazon. Where do you want me to click next?

I just had an impulse: Could you give me an address to send you flowers?

I'm usually not this forward with corporations, but I really think there's something special about you, Amazon (Who else in my life knows that I totally want a book on ballroom dancing? Not even my estranged wife would have known that! Amazon, you literally keep a single guy on his toes!)

Let me give you my address, so this isn't so weird: 5208 Beeler St.; Pittsburgh, PA 15217. My phone number is (412) 681-6578. (Whoops! I just realized you know all that already! Ha ha, silly me! Oh well, for what it's worth...)

Whoa, I just thought of something: Do you sell flowers? Cause if you do I could just order them from you then send them back to you. Hold on, let me check your web site. Back in a sec...

Damn, no flowers. I guess I'll have to get them elsewhere. But I don't want to go anywhere else. This is where I want to be: right here with you. I feel so close to you right now, Amazon. I feel the warmth of spring touching us both, as though our pink quivering flesh were newborn and raw. Though we are separated by a concrete ocean, we are still touched by the same sun. Isn't that a comfort? To know we are that close?

I would like very much if you gave me a call, Amazon. You could tell me some of your special offers. I could provide you with some special offers of my own. It wouldn't have to be a big deal, Amazon, we could just talk about whatever came to mind. I could tell you my idea for a tattoo.

Enticed?

Daniel Arp
Earth's Biggest Predilection
.for you, Amazon


Date: Thu, May 4, 2000 5:01 PM -0700
From: orders@amazon.com
To: Daniel Arp <da3a@andrew.cmu.edu>
Subject: Your Amazon.com Order

Dear Mr. Arp:

Greetings from Amazon.com!

Thanks you for you kind words and your card. While we appreciate your offer for sending us flowers it certainly is not necessary. Your kind words are more than good enough for us.

It is because of customer comments like yours that we strive to be the very best. I would like to extend our thanks to you for your loyalty and very kind feedback. Without such customers as you, we could not continue to provide the service and selection you've come to expect from our store.

Your comments are greatly appreciated, and I sincerely thank you for choosing Amazon.com!

Best regards,

Michael C. Lenington
Amazon.com
Earth's Biggest Selection
http://www.amazon.com


Date: Mon, May 8, 2000 2:05 PM -0400
From: Daniel Arp <da3a@andrew.cmu.edu>
To: orders@amazon.com
Subject: Re: Your Amazon.com Order

Dear Amazon:

And so now these desires drip drip drip like rain off a rooftop, funneling fears of the emptiness of death through a sieve of optimistic purchase. I am death, and you are life, Amazon. I count the hours between each rendezvous as though counting the drip drip drip from that sad old rooftop, a Chinese water torture of waiting, waiting for the next check, the next mouse click and impulse buy, my leg jerking as though from electric shock waiting to buy and purchase and own. If I could only own you, Amazon. I see the smiling face of your founder, Jeff Bezos, inside a shipping box on the cover of Time Magazine, and I think, "If only..." How much is Jeff Bezos' smiling Man-of-the-Year mug worth? Alas, too much for my meager means. Shipping alone would be a nightmare of cost and consequence. They would have to sedate him and send him in a cage, like a circus animal. To subdue him they'd have to shock him repeatedly with a cattle prod.

I don't want that. Especially since they'd have to do the same for me, while I waited in my lonely afternoon corner for the delivery of a lifetime, the delivery of you, Amazon, to my vacant residential doorstep. Oh, what an ugly word: residential. Don't you agree, Amazon? Corporate: a much better word. Corpe Diem. Incorporate the day, Amazon! If only we could. If only this day could be corporatized, the way my life has become corporatized, swallowed up and pixellated in the service of you, my field of vision now a 17-inch flat screen displaying 1024 by 768 pixels in millions of colors (all the pretty colors!). I have entered the Amazone. I see you everywhere, wherever I walk, your zippy logo imprinted on the leaves of trees and blades of grass, the ground I tread sprinkled with the rose petals of your name: Amazon, Amazon, Amazon, the aching wounded primitive call.

This is worse than my crush on Sallie Mae that lasted several years after college. But she was a hussy compared to you. She kept demanding, taking from me even after she had stopped giving, demanding interest, interest, pound upon pound of flesh for services once rendered, now withdrawn. But your services, like the cycle of days upon days, is neverending. Will the sun not come out? Will Amazon not ship my order, usually within 2-3 business days? Will the earth not spin, spin upon an axis of power and exchange, the swirling worldwide daily buzzing of bees begging for honey, for venture capital, bodies and companies aching to merge like oceans till the world is blanketed under the raging waves of their market values, crashing and rising according to the pull of an economic moon?

I and my shadow say: you and I will be united, released in this moment of corporate marriage. I will drown in your waters, my shadow will disappear, or perhaps I will disappear and my shadow will remain, a pixellated (pixillated!) ghost exploring the links inside your virtual warehouse, a stick figure riding around in a shopping cart. I will be reduced and satisfied as an icon on a screen, a commercial for myself. Or rather for you. This is all I want, to sell you, since I cannot be sold the way you can be sold, since I am only a human being whose wares, alas, could not be shipped without the above-mentioned difficulties and exorbitant costs, human flesh without a web-presence, without even a web-absence, as spiritually bankrupt as an Okie in the Dust Bowl, a graveyard ghost like Steinbeck's Muley, hiding out in a ruined plantation and seeking purchase for his dead seed.

But I am not worthless. I will go West, West to the land of the Amazon. I know I can help you. Why did you never call when I asked? Why did you refuse my offer of flowers? I want only to make you happy, Amazon, to hear your voice. My idea for a tattoo? Your logo across my forehead. Your logo on my back. Your logo running like racing stripes down my legs. I am willing to become a human billboard to please you! How can you refuse my offer? There has never been a more devoted customer, for customers treat corporations like dust or rocks, treat them only like they are there, not like they are the living, breathing, sweating presences they are, teeming with life and desire. So sweat on me Amazon. Bleed out your icons, your slogans, your mergers and acquisitions, and make sure all that drip-drip-drips falls on me, your devoted servant, the one below you on bended knee.

And in closing this time, because my own words seem so poor, allow me to quote a favorite poet, T.S. Eliot, whose collected poems are only $14.70 on your site, a savings of 30 percent off the damnable cover price. Without further ado:

   "Let us go then, you and I,
   When the evening is spread out against the sky
   Like a patient etherised upon a table;
   Let us go, through certain half-deserted streets,
   The muttering retreats
   Of restless nights in one-night cheap hotels."

Let us go then, Amazon, and see what sells.

Your panting devoted slave-monkey,
Daniel Arp
Earth's Biggest Genuflection

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