Jerome Sala

The Consultation Business
October 22, 2023 Sala Jerome

The Consultation Business


If I consult the Philosopher’s Tarot to guide my thought
is it a con game? Do those who avoid oracles
escape the universal con?
Is the universe a con game invented by a quantum storyteller
whose purpose it is to promote STEM programs?
I ask the Harvard professor who claims history is reforming itself
if his saying that is to provide
a morning talk show version of thinking
to boost book sales.
I don’t really ask him — that’s a con.
What I’m doing is talking to the air remembering
the 15 episodes of Celebrity Ghost Hunters
I’ve watched in the past week.
I’m thinking of the medium staring into the built spaces of a home
speaking in a Long Island accent
telling us “I sense a lot of activity behind that stairwell
and not all of it is good. We’re not talking about Casper here.
My heart is starting to beat faster.
Do you smell that? It’s like whiskey or something.”
“But I can tell from being around you
that you’re a very sensitive person.
The ghosts can see your light—
that’s why they’re attracted to you.
You’re like a magnet that glows.
You’ve got a huge spirit protector watching over you.
I’m going to give you this amulet, so you can call on it
when you need some help.”
And if she said that and gave that amulet right now
to me or to you
would that be a con?
Or is my skepticism an even bigger con—
trying to convince the Big Other or whoever else is out there
that some part of me doesn’t at least half believe
she is telling the truth?

Jerome Sala’s latest book is How Much? New and Selected Poems (NYQ Books).  Other books include cult classics such as Corporations Are People, Too! (NYQ Books), The Cheapskates (Lunar Chandelier), and Look Slimmer Instantly (Soft Skull). Widely published, his work appears in Pathetic Literature (Grove Atlantic) and two editions of Best American Poetry (Scribners). His blog, on poetry, pop culture and everyday life, is espresso bongo (