Mark Young

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Et in Shopping Arcadia ego

  1. Eat your heart out, Zeno

  2. I am sitting under a stylized
    horseshoe in a major arm of
    the shopping arcade. It is Venn
    diagram time. Half the crowd
    is wearing flip flops or sand-
    als, half are of an older demo-
    graphic, & half are pushing
    their mothers in moon boots

    around in wheelchairs. Another
    half is wearing hi vis workwear
    as they rush into department
    stores; & half are ordering lunch,
    of whom half will eat in & half
    will take away. I'm in that half,
    but unsure which half of the
    half I will end up being part of.

  3. Before the farmers arrive

  4. Clowns insert themselves into
    open spaces in the shopping
    arcade. Crowds line up, as do
    small black flying things, to
    interact with them, as in "play
    for pay." That's when the birds
    of prey arrive. It's a military
    town, so tattoos outnumber
    masks: & since I don't have a
    smartphone to capture the QR
    codes, the contract tracers are
    unable to follow us around.

  5. NASA wants people to live in a Mars simulation

In front of me is the down-
ramp. To my left the up.
I am trying to keep my
feet on the ground — both
metaphorically & physically —
by picking a spot between
the two. A taxi pulls up, a
brace of skeletons get out.
They are going shopping.
The taxidriver starts to ask
me if I wish to replace them
but the conversation is inter-
rupted by a little old lady
in an electric chair who
approaches at 100 kph. She
stops behind a pillar to re-
arrange her shopping bags
& smoke a cigarette which
smells far too attractive to
the downwind me. I have
to get away. I look for the
taxi. It is still there, smiling.


Mark Young's most recent books are The Toast, from Luna Bisonte Prods, & The Sasquatch Walks Among Us, from Sandy Press. Songs to Come for the Salamander, Poems 2013-2021, selected & introduced by Thomas Fink, will be published later this year.