Saturday, January 24, 2009

poem of the day 01.24.09

pears and oranges

some people don’t know
when they are killing you
like i was in the grocery store
and i realized in line that
i had been in the grocery store
three times that week
because i kept forgetting things
like milk and cat liter
and the apartment started smelling
like cat shit
and there was no milk for morning tea
so there i was
and it was friday, work had been hell,
and all i really wanted
was a goddamned drink
before life caved in again on me
so i stand there
with my milk and cat liter
and fake cheese slices
and the cashier is ringing up
this haggard beast in front of me
who looks like the world kicked her
in the face most of the time
and she’s doing the health food thing
with pomegranate juice and oranges
and pears and leafy lettuce
and herbal tea
i watch this beast looking at her
groceries as the cashier rings them
and throws them in bags
and i wonder what the point is
why we trick ourselves so badly in this life
when the lady starts bitching about her
and how they are $1.49 a pound not
$1.69 each
She flusters the cashier who has to leave
her check-out line to go and check on the pears
but the sign says the pears are $1.69 each
and they are the pears the beast has
but she, like a good american human, insists
they are not the same pears
but no one, not the cashier, or the store manager
or christ himself can find the $1.49 a pound pears
but they all leave the check-out stand
and the beast starts huffing
she turns to me and apologizes but she doesn’t
mean a goddamned word
then she starts complaining to me about
the pears
and who in their right mind would sell pears
for $1.69 each
i tell her i don’t honestly know
because i don’t know, don’t care
and i look at my groceries wondering
if i need the milk and cat liter
if i can stand the cat shit smell one more day
when the cashier comes back with
the store manager on her heels
and they both apologize to the beast
and sell her the pear for $1.49 a pound
which almost pleases the beast who takes
her package and moves toward
the sliding glass doors, blocking everyone,
so that she can check her receipt
and of course the cashier is going to take this
out on me
so there goes the milk carton smashed
and the cat liter bag torn
and the fake cheese slices being slammed around
i keep thinking about that drink at home
while the cashier dreams mine and yours, and everyone’s
quick death
and the beast is still in the store, up against the glass,
checking the receipt
when the cashier hands me my bag
and i take it
and i make to leave
but by then the beast is back in line
blocking me from leaving
wanting to know why her oranges cost
$.60 a piece
and the cashier looks at her, at me,
as i check the sliding glass
and watch the world outside
moving toward the end of another dumb night
on this unforgiving street.

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