Tag Archives: shopping

The Hero

I am like the angel-savior guy – he said to me
He was standing in line at the liquor store
He hoisted his twelve-pack of babysitting fluid
off of the counter and under his arm
It’s like I can take his kid to the park and buy him a hamburger
That’s going to have impact his life – on both their lives

The bottles were sweating inside the cardboard case
But I gotta use his phone – man – that’s how I work
I work with a lot of paper and stuff and the telephone
But I want to be a hero to this guy and his kid
If his kid recognizes me when I get there tonight
I’ll be the hero for the whole family


The sharp angled faces and the heaving bosoms of the counter girls
Stare at me as I drive my car through the parking lot
It feels like I am moving in slow motion – the liquor store lady takes an extra look
It’s not the hot liquor store chick – it is the snaggle-toothed liquor store lady
I try not to look back at her – I try to be invisible
The counter girl’s breasts are a distant dream of a heaven I once knew

Don’t Buy the Dead Man’s Bass

Everybody is six-foot two and gorgeous – simply gorgeous
Except for me and Buzz but we just came in
To waste some time
We just came in – maybe to buy a guitar
Mostly to stay out of the rain

We sat in the cramped music room in the tiny music store
I sat and played scales on the electric bass
Buzz stood in the doorway scanning an escape route
She sat in an overstuffed glider chair and began to cry
Her round chest and head hitched and bobbed
She recounted faceless John’s untimely demise

“His mother came in and bought that,”
She pointed a Vienna-sausage finger
At the bass I was playing
A cheap black copy of a better model
“Paid in full, she did.”

“Of course I gave her a full refund,” she said as she wept
“What could I do? He was so young.
He was six-foot two and gorgeous – simply gorgeous.”

I stood up slowly and eased the bass back into the rack
Buzz bid a quick but polite retreat back out the front door
The rain would have to be more comfortable than this

It Must Be Sunday

Women with haunches like Clydesdales
Canter past me grasping beef-neck boyfriends
My stomach is fighting a losing battle
With last night’s bourbon
My eyes wrestle with the slender rays of sun
That slip past my sunglasses
My elbow throbs and oozes
The path home obstructed by construction
I can’t even taste the cigarette
That is burning my chest
It must be Sunday

It is almost a White Christmas

It is almost a White Christmas
Behind the old library where
I used to go when I needed to be somewhere

I never needed to be somewhere
More than I do tonight
But the library is closed
And all of the children are blurry-eyed

It is almost a white christmas
Tuesday night opera is on the radio
I need the heat up and the volume down

I remember when I needed the heat up
As much as I do tonight
I turn the radio down
Korsakov can make me a careless driver

Christmas Eve in Millennium Park

Santa Works for Chicago Trolley Company

Sit down here a moment, child – I got the scuttle
About what happened on my Christmas Eve shuttle.

I was doing the red route up to the old tower.
That one block of Randolph just seemed like an hour.

The snow just kept falling – it was so unforgiving.
Traffic a cluster – I do this for a living?

The lights along State Street somehow lost their glow.
The huge tree in the plaza obscured the Picasso.

The tip box was full – but it’s not folding money.
That handful of nickels and dimes wasn’t funny.

At the Marshal Field’s stop I shifted it into park.
When I saw something above me piercing the dark.

Just over the band shell – that metallic eye-sore
I saw the red blur and I heard a loud roar.

“Hey kids,” he shouted when he finally touched down
“I’m in kind of hurry. You better gather ’round.”

He kicked the door open and he hit Wrigley Square
His beard caught the snowflakes that whisked through his hair

He reached in and a grabbed a big sack from his trolley
It had all kinds of toys – every plushie and dolly

He set up a crèche with a twist of his wrist
“We wouldn’t have anything if we didn’t have this.”

The children were all giddy – the mothers beguiled
The fathers worked cameras – I just stood there and smiled

He handed a brightly wrapped gift to each child
He turned to leave and the crowd just went wild

“I have to bring joy to the rest of the world
Then get back in time to catch the ‘Gilmore Girls’.”

He flicked the gear shifter – lifted off with a jerk
He pulled on the cord, but the bell didn’t work

I walked back to my trolley – a new lease on life
The ticket on my window wouldn’t get me tonight

So that is the story of Kris Kringle’s visit
I’m glad I was working and I didn’t miss it

K-mart: Saturday

These women always smell like 1974 and cigarette in an alley with a kid named Louie
They have a submissive accent as they push their cart full of cookies and cokes past you
The accent disappears when the phone rings or when the kid helps them find pop-tarts

The arrogant little Mexican kids with their adult hair cuts and fashion statements
Who zoom in and out of aisles touching everything and feeling nothing
They always hit just about below the belt and are dangerous at high speeds

I just came for a few things but am hypnotized by the bright lights and the banal music
I was looking in the home improvement department for something to patch my heart up
All I found was a diploma sized frame and an outdated action figure