ode to a shopping mall

“Go to the mall,” the car engines hum
to the young, weary would-be heroes
the Amazon grooming before battle
the blood-letting liberator of thought
the defender searching for the righteous
the artist without patron or audience.

Through a plane glass door
on a brick horizon the procession
by car, foot, bus, train
leads into a huge refurbished hive
terraced like a box theater
but without the central stage.

On the lowest level
a teriyaki combo
at Kabuki Steak & Seafood
Cajun charred chicken
offered with a smile
and a Chinese accent
a quick slice of greasy pizza
burgers, bagels, chocolate orgasms
strawberry cheesecake, frosty fruit shakes, iced screams
a black man sits with his son over a meal of buffalo wings.

On another level
pairs of shoes crowd shelves
music stores play
through the minds of browsers
books, perfume, jewelry, posters
rocky shores of glassware
beds of chrysanthemums
under a never cloudy sky
stalks of stainless steel
and among it all,
newly ripened lovers holding hands.

The prices remind of money and hope:
a four leaf clover for the price of three.

Can a coffee maker with a timer
and a bread machine ease
one out of other dreams?

Surely not I, I have no need
it’s only the wonder of that place
I never buy.

“God bless you,” a beggar says
extending to passers-by
a shaking hand
while a hustling man
with a tie and a gas can
asks for a few dollars to
get his car home.