DAYDREAMING IN PUBLIX

 

I’m tired of Apple Jacks, Apple O’s, Apple Crisps,

Apple Cheerios, Apple Cinnamon Toast Crunch,

Apple Chex (Gluten Free), Apple Pebbles,

Apple Raisin Bran, and Apple Frosted Flakes,

but they are always, for some reason, on sale.

 

*

 

Standing in the pink menagerie

of meats, I realize that at twenty-five

I still don’t know the difference between

ground chuck and ground round.

 

*

 

I scry my future

through the expiration dates

on milk cartons:

 

hundreds of empty jugs

towering towards the sky,

surrounded by the shadows 

of seagulls.

 

*

 

I know there’s a man in a mint green shirt 

standing in the darkness behind these shelves 

in the milk crate city.

 

I’ve seen his phantom hands

pushing new cartons out.

Why this urge to reach 

and embrace them?

 

*

 

Crisp cold bags of butterhead lettuce,

big-stalked celeries, savoy cabbage

rimpled like the folds of a big emerald

brain, yellow and orange bells.

 

I don’t have enough money

for any of these.

 

*

 

O red-haired girl

leaning over 

the freeze-dried plums,

blouse drooping

like a night-worker’s

eyelids,

 

can you teach me

the intricacies

of prunes?

 

*

 

I hate the way my hair looks

in the stale white light

of 600 LEDS.

 

*

 

Charon hauls the carcasses

of spoiled fruit-stuff

behind the swinging double-doors

and down into the underworld.

 

*

 

I think of pushing 

my bum-wheeled cart

into the stacked pyramid

of Budweiser cases—

the implosion, fugitive cans 

bursting against the dur-a-flex floor,

spinning and shooting foam 

to the tune of Enrique Iglesias.

 

*

 

The fourth grade in me wonders why, 

with so many pounds of gelatinous cuisine,

nobody’s thought of starting a food fight.

 

*

 

My father taught me

what the color

of the bread ties mean

but among the whole grains

I remember nothing.

THE NIGHT CHET BAKER DIED (MAY 13, 1988)

 

Yes, you died with no teeth,

each one beaten out of you

by thugs. You were in

deep—heroin, wasn’t it? 

Your embouchure lost, 

that James Dean face

greyed like an old sweat rag.

 

They found your body

in a big heap under the hotel balcony,

your trumpet on her stand

in a pawnshop window, dusty.

Eddie Krzeminski is a graduate of the MFA program at Florida International University. His work has recently appeared or is forthcoming in The Indianapolis Review, Gravel, and Sinking City. In his spare time he reads, writes, and plays bass.

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