Wednesday, April 15, 2009

low low prices

the escalator to the center of the earth
is just past housewares,
and behind the customer service desk
you can disregard the chain over the stairs,
and the "Caution! wet floor!" triangles

the first few flights are the same as our floor,
only with chained doors
after about fifteen floors , they have labels,

every three floors there is a restroom, every seven a waterfountain

the music keeps playing,
and the lights flickerin that never-quite dying
way that fluorescents have
i've callen maintenence at least thirty times: they feign ignorance

eventually it is darkand the music gets fainter
finally there is just the sound of the stairs
it is hard, in the dark to notice
when it finally opens up into the caves,
maybe you catch a cooler breeze or the scent of the bats
eventually, between flights, you no longer feel the linoleum,
there are a few floors with mud, or batshit then stone

there is a flutter of wings in the dark,
and then the walls start getting hotter,

then it's linoleum and lights and waterfountains again

some of the doors here are open though,
one is a library that is always on fire
another is the ashes of a church
there is a rainy ditch, a trashheap
stockpiles of rusting ammunition
rooms of lost things

frank, from menswearsays one of the rooms has an old plane in it
i myself have heard something roaring
behind one of the doors
that's as far down as anyone has been

we were hoping you could tell us
what the upstairs is like
you're the first customer we've ever had
that came from up there

with apologies to thomas disch, jorge luis borges and jean paul sartre

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