Poem for Display in a Shopping Mall Food Court

No porridge here!
Everything is always
just right.
Times & temperatures are set
by central decree.
They strain the plankton from the fryers
once a shift.

Here, you have choices.
You can pick a different
transnational brand of transfat
for every course.
You serve yourself — who better? —
in bucket-shaped seats.

Discrimination has no place here;
there’s room for everyone
with six dollars in their wallet.
True, the fixed gap between seat
& table edge may make
hunchbacks of some
& force others to sit sideways,
the prow of a distended gut
catching crumbs in lieu of a tray.
But they’re neither too hard
nor too soft, these seats.
E pluribus unum:
all asses conform
to Formica.

For the Read Write Poem prompt, political poetry. Other responses here.

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3 Comments


  1. I love this one. The universal vanilla-ness of us all. Sadly, in our malls some of us are happy to ‘conform’ to the one size fits all seats, because a number of the fast-food places have standing room only eating. Try explaining a table that is adult height, wrapped around a pole, and has no chairs, to a small boy. I think I sat him on the too tall table.

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  2. Hi Joan – I’m glad you liked the poem. I’m not too sure about it myself! But I was actually half-serious about the oasis of comfort that a mall food court can offer, especially after hours of standing or slow walking.

    y the way, in case you’re not in the habit of checking my ‘gleanings from the web’ links, don’t miss the Salon piece about the couple who lived in a mall.

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  3. Yes, it’s good to have a place to sit down in a mall (even if the seats are engineered to keep you from sitting too long.) But the food is how you describe it here: the same “stuff” in different shapes. Ugh.

    BTW: my family’s from the Western edge of Western PA.

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