Men Pushing Shopping Carts

Hordes of middle aged men pushing shopping carts
Like herds of wind whipped buffalo

Streaming through gleaming grocery store aisles

Of the American plains of retail sorrow

Baffled by the question,

Is this all?

Is this all?

Men who push shopping carts

At 10:00 a.m. on a Wednesday morning

Study the cans of tomato sauce

As if they were the next big deal.

Men who push shopping carts

Eyes cast down.

Fumbling through coupons clutched tight

Comparing price points

Wondering why we still need Swiffer sheets at $10 bucks a box

When there is no shortage of rags.

Men who push shopping carts

Out of supermarkets and into alleys.

Plopping open garbage cans to pluck out aluminum

And whatever else they can,

Men who push shopping carts

Their parade numbers swelling larger.

Dressed in the grey dark tones of winter

None of them warm enough

All of them thinking

Once I was


Sometimes in winter

As they motor all the carts to the Food Pantry line

Like they were once again commuting in some timeless rush hour traffic jam.

And a report was due, or a deal done or a widget rushed into production and there were complications so they had to make the call or send the e-mail and be sure to not miss the kids play or the soccer game because you have missed the last six.

Men leaving shopping carts lined up outside.

In line for the meal.

And the lady behind the counter that hands them the food is ninety one years old.

She is just one of the broken, imperfect crowd

Trying to figure it all out together.

But as she hands one man, one plate

Surrounded by their brothers and sisters

There is a life light the flickers in the one man’s eyes.

A light that darkness just can’t put out.

From that flickering light

Without any reason or measure or creation of their own

Men who push shopping carts

Still envision

One fine morning.

One fine morning.

In the bleak midwinter

Men without shopping carts can see one fine morning.

Flickering in the eyes of a 91 year old woman

Handing them their plates of food.

One Response to “Men Pushing Shopping Carts”

  1. Paul Haider Says:

    Roger, you are also a poet, and I didn’t even know it! Yes, there is nothing as good as street poetry to reflect these hard times for an honest man. Now, as for the dishonest men, they’re still fully employed and working on Wall Street; it should be renamed Gall Street.
    Paul Haider, Chicago

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