Safeway on a Rainy Day

In my apartment on a Saturday, alone
Half watching Gallo’s The Brown Bunny
Half listening to PRI’s Web stream, a Radiolab replay
The one about our words and our developing language

I see your face, and I let you own me

Julian Plenti’s voice unwinds in my head
As Chloe Sevigny goes down on Vincent Gallo’s racing bunny
The TV screen flashes, shivering RGB as separate fields
Rainbow-like in the corners
Thirteen years, is that too long for hardworking tubes or electron cannons?
Time for a new set, I think

I feel you shake, and I want to let you unwind

It’s raining, sharp threads of Oregon gold engraving concrete and flowerbeds alike
I go outside and get in my car to drive around the streets for awhile like Bud Clay on his cycle
Empty mostly and slick
I’m not wearing a jacket so I drive until I see the Safeway
I park carefully in the middle by a little Honda
I get out noticing the precision with which the Honda is parked
Sexy, I think

Running across the parking-lot with hands lamely covering my head I get wet
NOTE: Human fingers are not an equivalent umbrella
My socks get wet too because I step in a puddle on the way and my Lakai’s are worn through

Cold produce section inside, everything is so shiny
Wax, I wonder?
Bananas even
Why wax a banana?
The Brown Bunny, I think

I’m feeling the waxy red peppers, turning them over, as a girl says aloud to the stock boy:
“I came to the Safeway because I was bored and hadn’t talked all day, and now I want to drink a Pepsi.”
The stock boy looks confused and bored
Dr. Pepper, I think, must have one now
Strangely, I note, some part of the girl is familiar
Not the whole girl, mind you, just some small part of her
It’s not the hands or the chin or the ears
And not the face, although beautiful and intelligent looking
It’s her right eye
Sexy, I think

Then I hear the stock boy say to the girl and her stated Pepsi desire, “Good for you.”
His words do not surprise me
The girl replies, “Yes it is,” smiling as if the two are oldest, dearest friends
Stock boy says, “What is?”
Beautiful girl with one familiar eye replies, “Coming to Safeway to get a Pepsi is good for me.”
Shiny happy waxy mound of red peppers swells in front of me
And then, surprisingly, the girl says to the stock boy, “Do you wax the peppers to make them shiny?”

I wander away toward the bright “Cold Beverages” sign to get a Dr. Pepper

At the check-stands I aim my forward momentum toward the “Express Lane”
Queued, I hear the girl with one familiar eye’s voice behind me talking
She’s saying, “I see that you’re buying red peppers. Do you ever wonder why they look so shiny?”
With a round and bumpy face, a gray-haired man in front of her turns to respond
“I don’t wonder things,” the gray-haired man says
The girl says, “The boy who stocks the red peppers told me they usually wax the red peppers every morning with candle wax and that’s why they’re so shiny all the time.”

As I pay and drift out of Safeway, I have the feeling the stock boy didn’t actually use that many words


8 thoughts on “Safeway on a Rainy Day

  1. Thanks! Kolembo, we seem to be having a conversation sometimes in our poems, an unintended complimentary back-and-forth. I’ve been inspired and influenced by more than one of your excellent works. And I’m glad you continue to read and respond to mine.


  2. Very cool poem. I’ve often wondered about the shiny produce myself! You set an odd mood with this poem, don’t quite know what to call it, dreamlike, perhaps-maybe that is what happens when you write while thinking about “Brown Bunny.” Definitely a memorable piece of work.


  3. I would love some Oregon gold, soggy socks and all. I wonder if the next time I park my Honda I’ll think “sexy.” Probably, so I have to thank you for sexy thoughts. Waxing peppers, waning time. I feel a kinship with the girl in the store (perhaps it is her right eye) and feel sorry for the old man that doesn’t wonder. Great write, sexy even 🙂


    • Thank you. Sexy 🙂 I’ve often wondered if you were her, and if that Honda was your Honda. 😉 Have you ever participated in any teleportation experiments? Oh, and is it kinda hot and dry where you’re at? You should come to Oregon/Washington sometime…


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