I’d intended to take a recent poetry prompt at This Is Not A Literary Journal very seriously. But instead, it took me in a silly, tongue-in-cheek direction. Even the decision to put the poem in couplets is a little too obvious. Anyway, it’s wise to follow the muse where she takes us. It makes her happy. And just maybe it makes her more amenable to helping out in the future. So I followed her.
Apparently, I’m obsessed with the grocery store (I wrote about it last time, too). I am as surprised as you are. I actually hate stores in real life. I avoid them ’til they’re absolutely necessary.
More than likely, it’s not just the grocery store these poems have in common. Maybe they’re uncovering a theme that the muse is telling me to explore: not getting what you’d hoped? looking in the wrong places? misguided expectations? I have no idea, but it’s bigger and more interesting than what’s reflected in these recent pieces… which means there’s more writing to do.
‘Til then, here’s my response to one of my own prompts from the new poetry prompt site:
Miss Loveless Goes to the Grocery Store Before the Big Game
She has recipes in mind.
She intends to stick to the list.
The avocados have drawn a crowd.
There’s a line three deep around them.
None escapes being squeezed. But Miss Loveless
circles avocado on her list, skips produce
for now. In front of rows of salsa,
she cannot decide between.
And in the aisle for tortilla chips,
they do not have the one
she likes. So she goes for the blue ones,
talks to herself out of habit: Blues on sale,
and I’m buying. It becomes a song,
and she imagines a deep baritone,
strong bassline, jazz club, velvet dress.
There’s a crowd around her
avocados. She walks away again,
heads to frozen foods. Mostly cold and empty,
the shelves contain very few options.
From what’s left she chooses.
On the way back to produce,
she sees the sign: Caution.
Wet floor. Something shattered, broken.
It’s always a jar of pickles.
NOTE: Even though this isn’t a “serious” piece, I’m pleased to with how it came about. I had a bunch of waiting around to do at an activity for my boys recently, and as pledged in this recent update to my writing goals, I jotted shit down in my notebook instead of scrolling through Facebook. Score one for the redhead!
Grocery stores are so interesting how each has their own particular character… what a series it could be. Having said that, I like how this one works. The lines break so well that each couplet is its own moment. I really like how the speaker keeps coming back to and then veers away from the avocados. Interesting symbolism in the avocado too… Mr Google indicates that the avocado symbolizes things like love, fertility, lust, acceptance. Perfect in this poem.