The Supermarket Poems

Robert Maddox-Harle

Robert Maddox-Harle (aka Rob Harle)

Primal Desire

fingers tap a tune of stress
as lasers fail to hit their target
impatiently, sagging in her boredom
she taps the numbers in by rote.
a glance sideways heaves a sigh
the five dollar digital chronograph,
her only link with the world outside,
disappoints vague desire.
lunch break way too far over the horizon,
not even a mirage of hope
to appease her weariness.
more tapping
more red blips
more - plastic - packaged - pulp
black conveyor belt of sustenance
jerks me back from transient coma,
am I an alien in this landscape?
or the landscape an alien in me?
I fret
will I be able to survive this torture,

Just Once More?

Can I suppress the urge to run wild,
to answer deep human needs?
Yes! Yes!
next week I’ll steal, secretly, silently
a shiny, red apple
waxed - cooled - irradiated - sprayed
that will satisfy my primal desire for adventure ,
for life.

The Dark Night of the Troll

Hiding in seedy back-street alleys
intractable vagrants
loitering in the dark corners of car parks,
multiplying like warm yeast cells
these trolls are dangerous to humans.
Evolved from underworld trolls of the past
they have morphed into clone-like entities
with bodies of chrome-steel and plastic,
their wheels hideous genetic mutations.
They have infiltrated our cities
like corporate viruses,
lurking patiently
deceiving us with their apparent servility,
do not be fooled
these four-wheeled monsters,
like their Gopher cousins,
are enigmatically evil.
Trolls damage goods,
trolls damage bodies,
teasing us to overfill their bellies.
Oozing out from The Palaces of Hell,
with bloody Achilles' heels
blood-smeared knuckles
torn shoulder ligaments,
we shudder along behind.
Self-determined the trolls charge forward
ripping the paint from the sides of cars,
smashing the corners off concrete columns.
Like all shrewd parasites

trolls do not mean to kill 

but bring turmoil and torment.
Join your nearest Anti-Troll Society soon,
demand implantation of human-friendly control chips
demand modification of their DNA.
We must have happy subservient trolls
we must help these tormented wretches,
help them emerge from their Dark Night.

Death by Supermarket
she approached ... cautiously
the palace of infinite possibilities,
turning the key in the lock of transcendental time
the kingdom of treasures dissolved
like ecumenical mists,
like quickly dissolving paracetamol,
she felt like a needlework surrealist
unravelling a tapestry of geometric anomalies.

moving forward ... cautiously
floating over the subcultural fringe dwellers
feeling the fleshy frugality
the palpable human frailty,
tasting an inner fragrance of bewilderment
like fragments of a lost melody
she crashed into the fluorescent glare.

moving further into the realm of lost souls
she fell through a dark hole in the planetary ground,
plummeting downwards
like a burnout balloonist
she felt heavy with fear,
lost in the ruins of someone else's nightmare.
shoving her leaden troll
pulsating with plastic packets
up through the hole in frozen confectionery
she lurched towards the crumpled
check-out chick,
a red-haired, big-breasted brute,
obese with red-brick reasoning,
with surgical scanner and surgical smile.

approaching the brute the spinning started,
turning and spiralling,
falling into the glittering chrome troll,
suffocated by pulsating plastic packets
and unrelenting exhaustion

her life exploded.


some knowing reaches beyond barriers
beyond restrictions of medicated simplicity
beyond the impediment of Supermarket Society.
push the troll
carefully, carefully,
packets, tins, bottles watch impatiently
JUMPING at my face,
labels vying for “ATTENTION”.
processed processions of blankness
disappoint the blandness of Home Brand,
an invisible voice screams
distorted beyond clarity,
and sanity,
urging participation in
Today’s Special,
BBQ Chickens  ( +  stuffing).
Caution! Caution! Slippery Floor!
footprints of glass and tomato sauce fade
disappearing into the distance of Aisle 9,
a wide woman pushes past
knuckle skin smears the edge of troll steel
my blood trickles out
drip, drip
the cardboard of Cornflakes turns red
I reach for the toilet paper
And  Paracetamol

Troll(ey) to A(isle)9

row after row after row
silver steel trolls
stacked silently,
awaiting the grip of my warm hands
a jerk of the wrist
violent Coitus Interruptus
and we wobble on our way.
stack upon stack upon stack
cardboard cartons of eggs
stacked silently,
waiting and swelling and hatching
eggs become chickens
miniature battery hens
Eveready to solve the universal paradox.
shelf upon shelf upon shelf
sturdy steel stairways to heaven
provisions for the mythical mystical journey,
I slip past, a sly smirk
saviours, savouries, sauces
shadows in the chessboard, chequerboard floor,
my move,
Troll to A9.
light upon light upon light
burning cold
burning into my back,
burning coldness
coldness, colder than midnight graveyard vigils
chilling my grip on the troll steel
chilling my grip on childhood,
I wobble off, terrified
sadistic troll dragging me into A8
and Checkmate.

Fat Duck Road

Gazing down from the Devil's Pulpit

I see temptation in all directions,
obese signs at the start of Fat Duck Road.
Check-out print-outs pass the metre mark,
fast food, manufactured fast, in a hurry
running fast down Fat Duck Road,
high carbs, globules of lard saturated with salt
make my journey slippery,

Scanning around the Devil's Pulpit
I see desperation and confusion,
freedom to choose everything,
flash, seventy-nine varieties
chemically fixed, colourated, saturated
cracker snackers
I'm too long into the journey now,
too late to turn back,
too late to exit,
like a jammed wheel on a troll.

Crossing the Devil's Pulpit
I tailgate a bent old lady,
little legs braced by plastic, elastic stockings
her uncontrollable troll
with frozen wheels and rust
bashes into the crackers.
I move to the passing aisle,
damn it, no horn on this troll,
too late the kid slips
Caution Wet Floor,
the sign means nothing
the brat is three or four, on the floor
head first under my troll,
screaming and snivelling for the blob
the blob with great bulging naked belly,
hanging like blubber over grey torn trackies.

Staring out from the Devil's Pulpit
I see deserted shops,
empty monuments to retail greed,
the grandeur of Fat Duck Road is fading.
Surrounded by mountains of food,
I am still starving.

Surrounded by flashing neon promises of satisfaction
I am still unfulfilled

Trolls attack me from all sides
red blips, electronic chirps, flying pin numbers
pierce my head,
I pay with plastic
as the plastic, packaged pulp
moves along the conveyor from troll to plastic.
Have A Nice Day.

Palaces of Hell

Bags checked on Exit!   Security cameras in Operation!
to the Palace of Hell,
a fat lady’s remark
by chance I remember
cast caustically, cynically
as she smeared a dead pig with lard.
Aisle 11 - kitchen utensils - pasta - garbage bags!
cold steel shelves stacked high
subservient to grotesque utility,
bathed in fluorescent coldness,
I coerce my recalcitrant troll forward,
Aisle 12 - rubber gloves - condoms - bleach,
uncontrolled and uncontrollable child monster
hurls packages from the twisted troll,
woman screams, out of control stress surges
overbalance, Factor 10, screaming
child hits the floor
blood trickles from its filthy nose,
more stress surging screaming,
security guard materialises
appears from behind the Rice Bubbles
snap, his huge hand secure
resting, poised on his hip-holstered handgun
I coerce my recalcitrant troll forwards
towards Aisle 15 and freedom.

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