Tuesday, February 3, 2009

And now there is WalMart

Hey, Coyote--

There used to be a marsh here, sure,
but now look what we have:
the ample parking, the rows
of matching blue-handled carts, tamed into submission
by a remote control cart pusher.
A dream job! Imagine the power
of being the one with the remote.

There is room here for an RV city,
the lineups of old folks
at the in-shop McDonald’s each summer morning
a testimony to the success
of replicated retail. We know

just what to expect from the lurid rows
of fluorescent lights,
the stacks of matching merchandise
and the greeters in their blue vests.

We know just what to expect.

There used to be a marsh here, but now
there is WalMart. Hey, Coyote--
looking for dinner?
Lurk here long enough between the cars,
head down, and sooner or later
someone will cast you their leftovers,
the trickle-down effect of this
new commercial reality. There is no need, now,
to track down dinner by its footprints
in the snow; there is no need

for each experience to hang on its own
in the moist air, invented in the moment.

Rachel Westfall
February 3, 2009

A sister poem: At the dump


LORENZO said...

Walmart, the Coyote's new roadrunner! The message and impact is clear- A sad society that has all its values in the wrong places. I enjoyed this one immensely, it grabbed my attention from the get go. All the best. LL

christopher said...

The picture, there's something about it. It makes me angry. I have a soft spot for trickster gods. This is just no way to treat coyote. I know that they actually survive the onslaught of civilization a little better than most, but they are hunted down a little more than most also.


I was a god once,
maybe not so graceful then
but definitely
clever, maybe not
so compassionate my heart
but definitely
needed. Now you chase
me, shoot me, feed me only
by some accident
and I'm wandering
in search of someone who will
dance the old dances.

Meandering Michael said...

Of all the poems of yours that I've read so far, this one is my favourite.

And the accompanying picture of the gas station is awesome. I didn't notice the coyote in it the first time.

Crafty Green Poet said...

oh poor coyote, it makes me so sad to see countryside covered over by supermarkets etc.

RachelW said...

Lorenzo, I like the roadrunner image, MM, it would have been a better shot if I had been able to set my camera up right, but by the time I'd fiddled with the settings, the coyote had headed over to buy gas. Crafty, yeah it is sad! Thank you all, for your feedback.

Christopher, your poem is one of my favourites of yours. I love the magic in it, and I share your anger. You are right, this is just no way to treat Coyote, turning his home and playground into a parking lot!

Catvibe said...

Coyotes biggest joke is that all of those stores are going to close now. Maybe not Walmart tho...but who knows, maybe even that will crumble in Humpty Dumpty's great fall. I absolutely love your poetry.

Poetikat said...

Rachel - Another great one! This reminds me of the "Power Centre" just south of us - before they finished all of the big box stores. There was an empty lot, mucked and chucked full of construction debris - a barren landscape, but black pools and birds - gulls and geese. I said to Kevin, "It's the end of the world - the Apocalypse has arrived."


RachelW said...

Cat, thank you! I've been enjoying exploring your work, too.

And Kat, yeah I know that feeling... it's awful to see the beautiful wild creatures having to make do with the mess we have created.

Lisa said...

wonderful- i am happy to have found you xx

RachelW said...

Lisa, welcome-- and likewise!