Thrust Back into Levittown

Grocery stores, of course, are all alike with their
Disgusting lights, cold and blue, like those which
Let the coroner complete his work. The produce,
Shown so, isn't pretty. Meat is, well, it's carrion,
And packaged goods are stark and sterile. I am
Home, and almost nauseous, gliding glumly past
A cornucopia of shitty food: “cheese,” which
Cannot be distinguished from the plastic sheets
Onto which it was squirted days ago, bologna,
Wan and without merit, something made by
Someone with a clipboard, who had read
The surveys, “bland is best; it never fails,”
And beer that tastes like German urine,
“Feed them all with garbage” brought
By trucks from places far away. Feed them
Fruit which feels like granite. Feed them
Bags of flavored flour. Watch them turn
Into balloons, which rise, and lightly float
Away to come to rest against the needles
Saving them with insulin, and I, as I said,
Almost nauseous, also rise and drift beyond
These soulless sidewalks and the endless plots
Of land reserved for cars. I think back to
The cold blue light of one street-corner grocer
Steps away from where we laid our heads.
J, who's trying out her French, is looking for
Some cider, since she doesn't like the local
Wine. I am snatching bottles which seem
Cheaper than they ought to be, to have with
Baguettes, almost costless, and real meat,
And cheese which tastes of mold and caves,
As cheese should taste, and, all around,
The motor scooters flit, and, at the tables
And the bars, a dozen along any street,
Parisians meet. They drink and smoke,
And talk. The sun sets somewhere to the
West, out by the Eiffel Tower. J and I,
With little bags, climb up the stairs into
Our room. We eat. We drink, and I say,
“Here's to our two lovely lives,” and she
Says, “Never let them be besmirched
By grocery lights.”

Poetry by Lawrence Beck The PoetBay support member heart!
Read 47 times
Written on 2017-10-20 at 02:06

dott Save as a bookmark (requires login)
dott Write a comment (requires login)
dott Send as email
dott Print text

Ashe The PoetBay support member heart!
I do believe the magic of France did reach you in this poem. A nostalgia for real food and the small pleasures of life. I like this.

I like the way you shift the tone in the poem. From resentment to anger to indifference. Not to mention the ending tinged with hope.
On a different note, it's amazing to see how Paris never did its magic on you like it did on Hemingway and Fitzgerald. It's bewitching to see Paris from its flip side.