Monday, August 10, 2009


right place at the wrong time
today at the supermarket
again my luck ran out
because in the parking lot
I began to push a cart
with a badly broken wheel
at first I thought
to hell with it!
a broken wheel
cannot stop me!
and as I pushed and pushed
towards the building
I began to feel superior
to all the other customers
who were pushing their carts
in from the parking lot
because I had a bigger heart
I accepted the cart with the broken wheel
accepted it for what it was
a broken cart
yet still I felt compassion for it
more compassion than I would have felt
for a perfectly fine cart
I wanted to grab men by the shirt collars
and flick old ladies in the ears
and say, “look at me! The merciful
on the poor and beaten down!”
but as I made my way inside
my thoughts began to focus less on myself
and more on my cart
my crippled, bastard cart
it swayed to the left
when I pushed it straight
and when I tried to correct it
the wheels went haywire
and the cart wanted to go nowhere
it just skidded along
as I traversed the aisles
then came the people
watching me push my gimp cart
laughing and talking and yelling
like the poor often do
and a woman came up and said,
“hey, what’s that tattoo on your arm say?”
I told her it was a secret
and she said, “is that why you got it? So that you
could tell people it’s none of their business?!”
she was ferocious and angry
but she buzzed right
past because she had a cartload of kids
who wanted a cartload of groceries
and whatever the tattoo on my arm said
it wouldn’t change that
and so I traveled the aisles
tossing in a box of cereal
a tub of dip
a bottle of hot sauce
when I made the checkout
the bagger boy recognized me
from one other single encounter
and he started heckling me about walking dogs
how many I walk each day
whether or not it was my only job
how much I charged
this little prick couldn’t have been more than 14
and he was slow as anything
about transporting the groceries
from the conveyor to my cart
my bunk cart
my feeble and pathetic cart
but when he did
and when I’d gotten my change
I tore out of there like a bat out of hell
and when I got back to my jeep
I wrote this down: Wednesday, 4 PM
another dismal time to go food shopping
try much earlier or much later
and be sure not to go to the line
with that specific bagger boy
oh, and also
no more pity on the carts
in the end they always bite you in the ass

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