On the Selling Floor

Here’s where the action is. Here’s where
the rubber meets the road, here’s where
all the work pays off (Hey, it’s damn hard
hiding those falling down factories full

of children sewing their lives away
for pennies in darkness like characters
in a no-budget horror flick.). But here
in the bright lights of retail’s Homeland,

glamour machine, mobs of the almost
broke citizens rampage down the aisles
in a holiday frenzy, knocking each other
aside in a mad hunt to save a few dollars

on a shirt or sweater for Uncle Morty
or some cheap towels for Aunt Liz.
They tear through pile after pile of sweats
and ties and jackets, looking for non-

existent deals in the X-Mas flim-flam
run every year by the tanned and perfectly
coiffed bosses watching with gold-plated
smirks pasted on their sallow mugs

on monitors in their temperature-controlled
offices. I am there in the middle of the
onslaught, hired on as holiday help for a
few quarters (part of the army of the old

caught in the vice grip of rampant, militaristic
inflation) to follow in the wake of this
hysterical wave, refolding and restacking
everything they’d ripped apart only to look

over my shoulder to spot another regiment
of bug-eyed consumers flailing about to
the pounding beat of some rapper’s growling
version of Silent Night. And on it goes, hour

after hour, the din of registers ringing never
ceasing, the cries of shoppers a relentless
song, my back pounding like a base drum,
and all as the next shift of children begins to sew.

Paul Lojeski's poetry has appeared in journals and online. He’s also the author of the satiric novel, The Reverend Jimmy Pup. He lives with his wife and daughter in Port Jefferson, NY. Read other articles by Paul.