I stand at the check-out line when I see you.
Doing as the line permits; checking you out.
Through unmovable motion, frozen eyes
And designer poses. Perfectly, your imperfect
Pallor, five o’clock shadow, is white
From the light coming in from outside,
Mirroring your glossy image.
Beside me, the semi-rhythmic beep, beeping
From the mass-produced suburban byproducts
Of consumption, passing over the electronic face.
The cashier takes up generic, high-priced
High-fiber, low waste cereals, soft breads—
Too bad they’re so bad—and dried
Pasta shells dancing inside cardboard boxes,
Singing to me, amidst the typical music
Playing to the typical people. The mean drivers
Drinking elegant coffee, swearing and barking
Elegantly into their cell phones—“Can’t you see
I’m in a hurry?!” —while their teenagers
Chicken talking inaudibles, fragments
“Like you know?” and, “I’m like!”
Through the inane chatter banter ranter of commercial
Musical synthetics that play on loop between ads
That tell me I’d look O so nice, if only
I worked out with their torture devices
Since the pills they sold me couldn’t work magic
Woven from Mrs. Craig absent from
Her own weight-loss meetings. Then I could find my soul-mate.
Should I simply log on for a free trial.
But my soul-mate is staring back at me, knowledgeable
Without his knowledge. Because he’s better than
All of this. And all of me. Yet, enquiring minds
Want to know, where he lives
What he eats, and who he’s sleeping with.
If only I could put myself in Harm’s Way.
That’s across the street from Vine.
To find the right job that’ll land in the right
Apartment, of the right neighborhood, to walk out at
Just the right time, to intentionally
Unintentionally collide with him, without
Logging on for a free trial.
Then it can be me, who the next me
Can stare at when she too, finds herself trapped
In the same line, in the same life, humming along
To the songs she hates, and see how happy we are
Encased in publicity. Where we share a life
In the Promised Land, buying our food
From a better store, and prowling under
The patchwork quilt from the shaded trees like calico cats.
Then the line starts moving, and when the movie’s over
We all come to our senses. I hand over my coupons
And small talk, to close my eyes and acknowledge
That I am not one step closer. Because he doesn’t care
What I eat, I can’t afford it. And he doesn’t care
Where I live, because it’s not in his neighborhood.
And, he certainly doesn’t care who I’m sleeping with
Because we’ll never share a kiss. Though no one else seems
To mind him between the zero-fat, low-fat, fatty-fat snack
Items on the shelves. And as I walk out, stepping
Back to where I can’t leave, because no one ever leaves,
I can see those around me have what I don’t. Here, they marry
High-school sweethearts, knock-ups
Hook-ups, and reunited logged on what-nots—
In country clubs and street side
Churches, going to work in their mid-sized
Leased or no-money-down-trade-in for what you have
Luxury sedan; to the insurance agency
Real-estate firm, shopping mall facility. And they
Can’t wait to go home, to start this all over again.