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the Mall

interloper's picture

Climate controlled consumption
Line forms here.
Time released mineral hydration
Now hiring greeters, $12.00 per hour.
Senior speedwalk, Sears to Macys.
Code two to home fashions
Segway security
High school outcasts trying to buy cool
Ancient eyebrow threading
Adolescent courtship in the food court
The great denim event
Misshapen men sipping sodas.
Teen moms push plastic racecar baby strollers
Dial up your dazzle.
Double meat, just add $1.29.


interloper's picture

There are a few parts to this

There are a few parts to this answer.

About half of this poem was my own observations and half was actual quotes of stuff I read or heard in the mall. I didn't want to use quotations in order to make the two halves more of a continuous thought, though. Since the numbers are quotes from written signs I left them as I read them. Second, since the numbers represent money, and money is a huge part of the ugly/humorous action here, I wanted them to represent businesslike and not be pretty.

Third. like you, I think it also sounds different to me whether I read numbers as words or as numerals. And I didn't feel like this poem was any place for my coffee-pot cattleprod phrases. :) So I left them as numerals for that reason too.

I did write out the number two in the sixth line. That was an announcement I heard over a loudspeaker, and I think I heard/saw it as "two" and it created a rhyme too; two - to!

What do you think?

jrlewis's picture

lets keep thinking through this

I think the issue of how we read versus hear is very relevant to the work of poets.  For example, is reading a poem only with the eyes different than with the voice?  If so, should all poetry be read out loud?  Should we post recordings of our poetry here instead of printed entries?  Should poets switch from trying to sell books to CDs?  I wonder if such a change in medium might not make poetry more acceptable to the general public?  If people won't read, will they be read to? 

interloper's picture

sight vs. sound

I think read poetry and heard poetry are both valid, but different. In the case of the numbers, for example, if the audience was read to, they wouldn't percieve any difference between numerals and words, it would sound the same, and only appears different when "seen". The poet manipulates the audience's interpretation visually. On the other hand if the poet reads a piece out loud, the poet can manipulate the audience's interpretation of the poem with sound. 

Isn't music sometimes poetry that is acceptable to the general public?

jrlewis's picture

Money, money, money

I'm interested in your use of numbers here.  This is something new I see in your writing.  You who are usually so converned with sound.  What does twelve dollars sound like?  Does it sound different as $12.00?  When I read numbers, I don't notice sounds of the words.  I only see the sounds when the word is spelled out and then listen for them. 

interloper's picture

See my response above, once

See my response above, once again I missed the correct thread.