Here I am taking my place with the day-old bread and dented cans. You can find me among the damaged goods and packages beyond their shelf-life; anything on this table eighty-eight cents. More and more, lately, I’m able to do less and less.
The shopping cart is my walker. I’m in the line that doesn’t move. The man who waters the lettuce gives me a drink. I’m getting my news from the National Enquirer. Half a mermaid was found in someone’s tuna fish sandwich. Obama is leaving Michelle for 37th time. JFK was cited in some Louisiana swamp.
Life is happening in the express lane. Eyes affixed on apps with bulletins and news breaking into bar codes. We are practically unmasked. Naked in our consumption.
There goes Walt Whitman hearing America singing and smoking leaves of grass. I’m hearing Benny Goodman Sing, Sing, Sing.
There are no women to come and go speaking of Michelangelo or even Joe DiMaggio. Where have you gone, Clifton Fadiman? We need your Information, Please. There really are experts with answers.
Yet, it’s all here. This garden of tulips still breathing Amsterdam air. The Impressionism of the Produce Dept., melons pregnant each with their own palette. Monet, splashing. Jackson Pollock, dripping. Picasso making daffodils from a bunch of bananas. Rauschenberg is smiling at the collage on the conveyor belt beeping away and bagged while Calder studies the balance of the display at the end of a gondola.
There’s a wedding procession coming down two aisles to take their vows at the check stand, reception in the parking lot. Here is the marriage of everything, baked and frozen, fresh and wilted, organic and forbidden. Tops off the carrots. Peel me a grape.