- Man pleads guilty but mentally ill in 2013 murder
- Telephone, computer network outages at 22 Rockford schools
- Byron native selected as Sailor of the Year for Navy Band Southwest
- Illinois Tollway awards $337 million in contracts, sets budget
- 44 earn bachelor’s degrees at Saint Anthony College of Nursing
- Goodwill opens Donation Express site on Perryville
- Rock Valley College to manage TechWorks program
- University of Illinois at Chicago names chancellor
- Salvation Army to distribute food, toys to nearly 2,000 families
- American Manufacturing Competitiveness Act signed into law
Literary Hook: Poem captures life ‘At the Grocery’
By Christine Swanberg
Author and Poet
This poem was written about 15 years ago in January. I had begun noticing that the large grocery where I shopped was a microcosm of human oddities. If I were to write this poem now, I would have to incorporate cell phone usage into the mix of disconcerting trends at the grocery.
I used playful references to astrology because it seemed there were forces beyond control at the grocery, socio-political changes that began to appear seemingly out of nowhere.
This poem was published in Who Walks Among the Trees with Charity (Wind Publications) and The Red Lacquer Room (Chiron Press.)
At the Grocery
Perhaps it’s Pluto’s transit
or a mild case of entropy
or maybe your eyes don’t refuse to see
the old men bagging groceries
red knuckles grasping
at control, usefulness,
this paper bag labeled Work Ethic
about to rip down the middle
while green-haired grandsons
wear ragged, clown Bermudas in the snow,
eat only food that requires no utensils,
all the way to the mall.
Perhaps it’s Mercury Retrograde
or a terminal case of mid-life crisis
or just some hot, chocolate-covered
when the perfect summa cum laude Princess
who’s been married to Prince Charming for 20 years
dumps him for a frog
who’s much more interesting on his motorcycle.
She’s wearing a black leather Harley vest,
popping Rolling Rock into her cart.
It could be Neptune in the first house
or a major case of had-it-up-to-here
or just some hot, creamy goddess worship
when at least two
crones suddenly shear their hair,
shop together, declare
that papaya looks delicious this time of year.
Christine Swanberg is a local author and poet who has written several books of poetry
From the Jan. 27-Feb. 2, 2010 issue