It begins like this—a Pretenders’ song made Muzak (because the pipe organ has
seenits time, shot into an alternate galaxy of side-scrolling 2D 80’s arcades with
names like Time Out or Fun Zone), each lightly painted shame, translated note a
subliminal serenade of satisfaction.
Enter the patrons. They are unaware of themselves and confuse need with want.
They carry clean bags with items made from dirty hands. I watch them walk,
because there is something soothing about degrees of decadence on display.
I make mental notes: Marceau Marceau of the mind, wanting to hand out each
personalized snap judgment that read like this:
To the hairy, wandering Pakistanians ogling skinny-jeaned Bohemian-
sandaled indie girls like Bollywood beauties brought to life: You can
NEVER have them. 9-11 made villains of us all.
To the thick-hipped chicks covering cankles in furry boots: Don’t mistake
trendy for concealment. You’re not fooling anyone.
To the lonely old man sitting in front of a Nouveau fountain counting change
from his palm like lethargic, misplaced years: Don’t worry; you’ll see her soon.
To the young men who should be failing an Intro to class instead of peddling
cell phone plans and calling me Boss: You work in a Kiosk; stop playing
dress-up and go back to school.
(To Mary M. who worked at Forever 21 when I, when he was twenty: It was no
coincidence the kid who sat in front of you in junior college English Lit.
showed up in your line claiming to buy a Christmas gift for his mom. It’s just
the day of the final he was too shy to give you the note that asked for your
number, leaving it folded, abandoned, bookmarking a Dickinson poem. By the
way, he recently looked you up on Facebook and congratulates you on the
To the young Latina mother mired in mascara pushing Jr. in the stroller while
her three other kids wag behind like lost puppies: Tell them everyday how
much you love them. Spend quality time together. Sit them on your lap and
read silly poems, poems they don’t have to ponder, in which the author and
the speaker are interchangeable, and there is no hint of hurt, or embedded
(to be published in Summer edition of Pear Noir!)