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Ode to 7-Eleven

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How are you tonight, 7-Eleven? with your smell
of departure and annoyance, your white bread, your drain cleaners,
your puddings, your cockroaches fanning out over the parking lot
like glossy marzipan soldiers lugging fearsome shadows.
It must be lovely to watch for dawn
coming over the EverTrust Bank and the Chevron station,
it must be trying
for the lively man with the turban (sales associate #33323)
to hang out with the seven moving objects of the sky,
the eleven ounces of the heart
and the sturdy sixteen-year-olds
picking their noses by the soda fountain.
7-Eleven—benign, broad-minded firebrand of night—
the great inward journey begins with you,
inexhaustible Christmas of green red orange HELP
WANTED Do we think we understand you, 7-Eleven? How sweet
the industrious freezer, the implacable milk,
the pounds of glaze, fritters, muffins,
“freedom of choice,” Hispanic, Hmong, Chinese,
the painful joy of brainfreeze™,
10,000 pots of coffee for Tarzana
apotheosis of the hot-dog-loving state
that stares at Popular Mechanics and Soap Opera Weekly
when all at once a man looks up, catches
his own image timid in the window
and a girl examining her nails in an idling van HELP
and beyond that a string of bungalows and porches
and flagrant Union 76 balls WANTED
from here all the way to Downey, Bell Gardens, City of Industry,
past where the freight trains jangle and yelp
though perhaps no one can say for sure where they’re headed
or what they’re freighted with.

 

SourceCider Press Review

Alex M. Frankel has published poems, stories and book reviews in journals such as The Antioch Review, The Comstock Review, The North Dakota Quarterly, The Gay and Lesbian Review, Chautauqua Literary Journal, Faultline and Sanskrit. He hosts the Second Sunday Poetry Series in Los Angeles.  His book, Birth Mother Mercy, is due out by the end of 2013.

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