In the Convenience Store, Peter Schireson

Dale Champlin, Flower Madonna, Collage, 2021



In the Convenience Store


The door of the convenience store opens
into the company of everything.
I stand astride my senses
bathed in the whispers of low-fat yoghurt,
my childhood echoes among the foiled mints—
the sounds come to my ear, my ear goes to the sounds.
Perfume rises from the spicy wings.
The fluorescence spills over me,
over the Flaming Hot Nacho Tortilla Chips,
over the gummy bears squirming in their lucite bins
like prehistoric creatures.
My eyes roam over the aisles,
as outside across the parking lot,
an orange sun trembles behind the smog,
as if a great jewel forming in heaven.

Peter Schireson


Review by Robert Nisbet

In the third poem, “In the Convenience Store”, we get the mundanity of the grocery products eventually superseded by the sun and the smog outside, like a “great jewel forming in heaven”. And yet before we get to that final vision we get an evocation of both the store’s products and the childhood memories they evoke, in a vision of the quotidian which has its own exotic appeal, its own “fluorescence”.


Review by Massimo Fantuzzi

Trembles. We can’t escape the sensation that something isn’t quite right in and around the aisles. Something in the reality we recognize as ours, something in the backdrop we call home, something of one of the most familiar scenes, doesn’t add up.

I stand astride my senses: the poet’s perception and ability to inhabit both sides of the five experienced senses makes it impossible for him to miss that something is off kilt. Objects of the most common use, old friends of the most comforting and familiar shout, reach for us with the emotional overload and apprehension of a last goodbye.

Supermarket goods, with their captivating whispers, domestic echoes, perfumes and hypnotic fluorescence: the spell they have on us won’t keep for long; festering inside them, something is squirming. Too much of everything that comes at us from all sides, a cacophony fighting for our attention in which I sense the panic of a prehistoric lifestyle clinging to itself, begging to be kept alive.

As in his previous poem, the lifebuoy comes from a place outside across. I’m afraid this time is not entirely good news: we stare at a star that now sits trembling, almost dethroned in a sky too busy and polluted.




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