The Poor Man’s Mall


A comedian
Once said that there are two malls
In every city:
The one where white people go
And the one they used to go to.

I’m at the second.
Air’s thick with the aroma
Of the pork tacos
At the small taquiera
Run by friendly Latinas.

Once upon a time,
In a small shop near the Sears,
Wiccans sold their beads,
Lacy scarves, fairy statues,
And wooden dragon carvings.

It is long gone now.
New tenants are no less slaves
To conformity.
New tattoo parlor ink
A dragon tat on your skin.

Around the corner
Is a Music Hall, a girl
plunks away at keys
It’s a very simple tune
Likely for a recital.

It becomes a Church
On Sundays; A theater
During other days.
Down the hall, a small kiosk
Will share the Word of Hubbard.

At the hair salon
A lady with festive hair
Will lather your skull
And talk about how crystals
Are an old source of power.

Over near Macy’s,
There is a massage parlor
For your knotted backs.
A party store with balloons
And favors is down the hall.

There’s a comic shop,
Dress and suit alterations,
Tee shirt spraypainters,
Anime merchandiser,
And a massive dollar store.

The one pretzel place
Is a knock-off Auntie Em’s.
The center foyer’s
Decked with paper butterflies
Made by eager high schoolers.

A strange energy
Seeps through here; a confluence
of the many faiths.
Faith in God, faith in Hubbard,
Faith in nature, faith in stones.

Faith in common man.
Everyday people working
Everyday business.
Striving, clawing, and sweating
For that American Dream.

It is eclectic.
Yet the vibe is electric.
Humble artisans
Breathe life into the vibrant
Spirit of the poor man’s mall.


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