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John Howard Reid

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Courting Food at a Shopping Mall
by John Howard Reid

Friday, April 24, 2009
Rated "G" by the Author.
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Here's another of the poems I contributed to the Anthology, "Across the Long Bridge", in an attempt to inspire poets -- who planned to enter either the Tom Howard or Margaret Reid Contests -- to expand the range of their subject matter. Both my Associate Judge, Professor Dee C. Konrad and I, are getting a little weary of reading nature poems and laments for lost lovers.


Courting Food at a Shopping Mall

by John Howard Reid


The fast food gods have pitched their tents.

Let lips beware, the games now commence:


Guitars a-strumming (electric, of course),

muzak curls every inch of the bourse,

tempting slaves and serfs, low-lifes and mean,

sergeants, corporals, privates green,

retirees, taxidermists, chaplains too,

even gallants and hi-do-hoes — an Irish stew!


No distinction’s offered, no tables high nor tables low,

just plastic benches, all neon aglow,

stools to match, floor coverings nix,

throwaway knives, nothing that clicks,

styrofoam cups, cardboard boxes, paper plates —

every cutlery item a true gourmet hates.


No need to tout for Fashion’s trade,

just cater for prols, you’ve got it made!

Let them queue six deep, they don’t mind at all.

Charge them double, we’ll have a ball!


Singing and dancing at the end of the day,

we’ll dig out the Rolls (or hire a cabriolet),

collect our favorite friends, and off we’ll go

to a High Society’s barbecue bash

or theater or ballet or supper show.


We’ll wine and dine and grease the palms

of every comptroller-general we need to know.

That’s one tasty tidbit we’ll never rue:

the refined remarks, the heroic shouts,

the redemptive accolades of your High’s gadabouts.


But no flinging lucre to the misruled mob! No alms

for walletless beggars adrift in the uncoined snow!

We’d much rather feed a thousand homeless gazelles

than spirit our leftovers to dollar-dreary, down-and-out hostels.


So wage toilers all, come hither and pay;

show us your billfold, and make our day. 

Muffin money! Nugget notes! Calamari cash (soy sauce dearer)!

Donut dough! Hotdog drachmas! Sushi shekels! Fast-food francs!

Pizza pesos! Rice cake rubles! Won ton yen! Jurassic lamb lira!

Crumbly cakes, rancid ravioli, weak-kneed teas — many thanks!


Dollop Honest Abe, Old Hickory into our tills, old mates,

we’ll happily siphon, serve and snub you too.


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Reviewed by Cynthia Buhain-Baello 4/25/2009
I put off reading this poem because food is my waterloo, and going through these lines was sheer torture! You write about mall fast food sooo well! (My favorites are calamari with hot sauce and sushi and wan ton noodles with beef strips...yummy!)


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