Midnight at the Grocery Store

.……………….‘Are you John Denver?
           ……..You look like John Denver!’

‘Ma’am, you must mean John Lennon?’

………………‘No, I mean John Denver!’

‘Thank you, but no,’ I say and note:
Her Rocky Mountain High is crack.

…………….. ‘Well, anyways, could you loan me $5.’

‘Miss, sorry, you’re asking
The poorest patron in the store
I guarantee.  I promise you.’

She shadows me to shelf’s delight
Intent to follow how I shop:
Econo cans of chicken breasts
Another twelve of turnip greens
(But 40 years my high school weight!)
I say again, ‘I’ve nothing, nothing
Lest you count my latest rout
Of wretched, robot dead-end work.’

 ……………….‘Uh huhhh. I know that feeling…
………………..Baby, let it all hang out!’  

‘Well, thank you, if I may offload…
Would you believe they bum’s rushed me,
Braced by armed security to my old
And beat-up truck, power getting off on it:
Indeed with such a smug dispatch you’d think
Indictments pending…cocaine trafficking…
Child rape….’

.………………‘The hell you say!’

‘But really just a way with words
My crime, my greeting
The CEO’s first inspection tour
Of this, his latest, most expansive ‘world class facility,’
My crime, my mere salute:
Poet reporting for duty, sir.
I pluck your chickens by the word!
That’s all. He didn’t answer
Nor remember
As did I, in vivid image,
Before he got his MBA the class
We took in school together, a scant
Four decades earlier…”

………………..‘What class?’

‘Humanities 111.  Nor who got the only ‘A.’’

………………..’‘I hear that!  You go, John Denver!’

‘Miss, I think you mean John Lennon.
But more to the point:  Some luck up
And some luck down. In the parking lot
That noon the goon squad still escorting me
Sort of loosened up a bit:  Management’s
Doing you a favor, pal.  This is the world’s
Most PRODUCTIVE chicken-plucking plant.
They didn’t hire you for your mouth
So leave and don’t look back nor, God forbid,
Blow your brains out while on the property.
Got that?’

……………….‘You own a Glock?’

‘FULL VERBAL JACKET! I shot back:
Oh, you needn’t worry—
Not a chance.  Aye, look up!
I’ve that Sun for consolation!
The blooming oak, the sidelong pines
The rapture of the land and sky!
The all-embracing warmth of June
In stores of radiance building up.
Why, John Lennon—John Lennon!–
Remember him?
Gunned down at forty, at his peak
Begs trade his groupie fate for mine,
For this blessed day, this sunshine
Glancing on his face, this one extra
Magical day to IMAGINE, and he begs
Notwithstanding it entails
Plucking chickens these five years
In your fuckin’ world renown
Chicken-pluckin’ plant–
Got that?’


Go! they slammed me in my truck.
Today it didn’t need a jump.
 Say Amen, John Lennon!’

Long pause, her stare as distant
As a star. 

……………….‘You said that?’

‘I did!’

………………‘Well, I can mighty tell you this:
.…………….. I’ve done crack and I’ve run trains
…………….. But you’re the craziest man I’ve ever seen.
…………….. Goodbye and good luck in your future endeavors, Mr. Lennon.’

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