Walking Mall Blues


Walking through a mall triggers instant angst,

fluorescent glare, glitter of chrome, a glass enclosed formica palace

full of fetid air and sodden food, eyesmarting residue

of synthetic fibers and flatulent fat men,

a banal parade of sixty-seven brands of sneakers.


Muzak for galumphing shoppers, ersatz music of the synthesizer,

syncopation of electronica, glass-shattering teen pop

exploding eardrums, Grateful Dead waking the dead.

Mozart, Bach apoplectic, Stradiverius plugs his ears.


Prosperity run amok, little everyman hypnotized,

stuffed to the gills with stuff, detritus of rainmaker deals

cranked out by third-world kids fills the caverns

of K-Mart, K-Mart and K-Mart.


Suits with cigars call the shots, greed the smog of the day.

Good guys finished last playing with a loaded deck.

Vacuous values stick to the young like fly-paper.

Ennui is epidemic, "La Dolce Vita" has arrived.

Shopperholics abound, credit cards maxed out.

Can body piercing help you to feel more alive?


Milton P. Ehrlich