Why this?

The occasional poem of my own and a generous helping of work by others that I find inspiring. Site is named for a beloved book by one of my favorite writers, Italo Calvino, whose fanciful work lights--and delights--my soul.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Food Court

If you want to talk about America, why not just mention
Jimmy’s Wok and Roll American-Chinese Gourmet Emporium?—
the cloud of steam rising from the bean sprouts and shredded cabbage

when the oil is sprayed on from a giant plastic bottle
wielded by Ramon, Jimmy’s main employee,
who hates having to wear the sanitary hair net

and who thinks the food smells shitty?
And the secretaries from the law firm
drifting in from work at noon
to fill the tables of the foodcourt,
in their cotton skirts and oddly sexy running shoes?

Why not mention the little grove of palm trees
maintained by the mall corporation
and the splashing fountain beside it

and the faint smell of dope-smoke drifting from the men’s room
where two boys from the suburbs
dropped off by their moms

with their baggy ghetto pants and skateboards
are getting ready to pronounce their first sentences
in African-American?

Oh yes, everything
all chopped up and stirred together
in the big steel pan
held over a medium-high blue flame

while Jimmy watches
with his practical black eyes.

--Tony Hoagland here

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