Author’s Note: Once you’ve read the following piece, please feel free to watch the video of it as well. You can see it right here on TNB-TV.


To The Judgmental, Rushing-to-Conclusions Cashier at My Local Supermarket:


Just because I came in at 2 a.m. last night to purchase almond milk, Astroglide and graham crackers doesn’t mean I’m some lactose-intolerant, sport-fucking insomniac with a sweet tooth. It just means that for a change I’m in love. Real love. Capital L. Capital O. Capital V. Capital E: LOVE. All in bright, blinking lights and spread across the evening sky.

So please, judgmental, rushing-to-conclusions cashier at my local supermarket, the next time you see me, stop rolling your eyes and shaking your head. Just take my money, gimme my goods and change and I’ll be on my way. Cause waiting for me at home is love. Real love. All that capital letter, bright blinking light love. My love, she’s the one whose steady breath is a calendar marking my days. She’s nothing like those cheap Merlot girls I’ve known before; the ones lacking body, heavy with acidic wit and leaving me feeling like shit the next day.

So please, judgmental, rushing-to-conclusions cashier at my local supermarket, even though you may think I’m some babbling Hollywood street freak shaman of oddities, understand that you and me, we’re not so different. You, you’re constantly being pummeled by Muzak, rude customers and fluorescent lights. And me, I’ve also had my share of crushingly catatonic days; feeling way beyond torn, loco as Dahmer, no longer on speaking terms with my soul’s personal embalmer. Instead of a happy man floating on air I was a dead man walking.

So please, judgmental, rushing-to-conclusions cashier at my local supermarket, don’t think I’m some 21st Century twist on Jack the Ripper should I come in late one night buying kitchen gloves, razor blades and heavy-duty dental floss. Really, I’m harmless. All I’m trying to do is make sense of love. Capital L. Capital O. Capital V. Capital E: LOVE. Yeah, with my love I’ve learned that muscle memory is far trustworthier than prayer. So I just keep on swinging from the trapeze of her irresistibility, knowing that should I let go she’ll be there with absolute grace, pulling me into her embrace. And the way we move—flesh against flesh, confession against confleshion—it’s like lullabies and locomotives are stitched into our skin.

So please, judgmental, rushing-to-conclusions cashier at my local supermarket, stop looking at me like you’re writing me hate mail on the backs of your eyeballs. I’m just trying to make a point here. Just baring my soul, trying to make sense of love. Real love. All that capital letter, bright blinking light love. With my love, I’d gladly bury myself alive deep within the pleasure tomb of her wanting. It don’t scare me that there are no visible exit signs written into her blood, cause there’s nowhere else I’d rather be but love. Real love. Capital L. Capital O. Capital V. Capital E: LOVE. Yeah, my love, she’s the 13th apostle in Faith’s good-luck gospel. Knows her semiotics and semi-automatics. She’s locked and loaded at the 11th hour. Wielding her salvation gun, she’s ready to shoot me not down, but up. Oh, astronomy, Deuteronomy, Nostradamus, Monopoly. While it all might sound like a game here, I’m not kidding.

So please, judgmental, rushing-to-conclusions cashier at my local supermarket, stop looking at me like you’re S.W.A.T., just biding your time, waiting for a clear shot. Hear me out when I say that love, real love, my love, all that capital letter, bright blinking light love, she’s my Hope Diamond treasure. My telepathic push-me, pull-you of pleasure. Her lips are assassins doling out bullets of uncomplicated bliss. And when we kiss: Present, past & future, I never know what tense I exist in with her anymore. Cause it all feels like Now.

So please, judgmental, rushing-to-conclusions cashier at my local supermarket, know that love, real love, my love, she’s all hips and hydrogen bomb. Blows me away every time I see her walking down the street. She’s my lowdown, sweet and dirty mystic angel, swirling Jersey pirate radio. And oh how I play that station all night long. No more sorrow songs. Those were ten moons and an ocean ago. Back when I had the words early grave tattooed on my psyche. Back when misery blew me away so badly they needed a dustpan and broom to clean me off the walls of Kingdom Come.

So please, judgmental, rushing-to-conclusions cashier at my local supermarket, stop giving me those dirty looks the next time I come in to shop. Especially if I’m buying more almond milk, Astroglide and graham crackers. Believe me, it’s all for a good cause. That’s what I’ve been trying to tell you here. I’m just trying to make sense of Capital L, Capital O, Capital V, Capital E: LOVE.

TAGS: , , , , , , , ,

RICH FERGUSON has performed nationally, and has shared the stage with Patti Smith, Wanda Coleman, Exene Cervenka, T.C. Boyle, Jerry Stahl, Bob Holman, Loudon Wainwright, Ozomatli, and many other esteemed poets and musicians. He has performed on The Tonight Show, at the Redcat Theater in Disney Hall, the New York City International Fringe Festival, the Bowery Poetry Club, South by Southwest, the Santa Cruz Poetry Festival, Stephen Elliott’s Rumpus, and with UK-based poetry collective One Taste. He is also a featured performer in the film, What About Me? (the sequel to the double Grammy-nominated film 1 Giant Leap), featuring Michael Stipe, Michael Franti, k.d. lang, Krishna Das, and others. He has been published in the LA TIMES, Opium Magazine, has been widely anthologized, spotlighted on PBS (Egg: The Art Show), and was a winner in Opium Magazine’s Literary Death Match, LA. His spoken word/music videos have been featured at poetry film festivals throughout the world. Ferguson is a Pushcart-nominated poet, and a poetry editor at The Nervous Breakdown. His poetry collection 8th & Agony has been published by L.A.’s Punk Hostage Press.

55 responses to “To The Judgmental, Rushing-to-Conclusions Cashier at My Local Supermarket…”

  1. Brad Listi says:

    I can’t believe you put Astroglide on graham crackers.

  2. Actually, I put the Astroglide in the almond milk. Makes it go down so much easier.

  3. Zara Potts says:

    ‘Back when I had ‘early grave’ tattooed on my psyche’

    I’m so glad you had this tattoo removed, Rich.

    Capital B, Capital R, Capital A, Capital V, Capital O: BRAVO.

    I LOVE this.

    • Thanks so much, Zara. Coming from you, that means the world to me. And now I suppose this might be the point where I could let fly a curse word or two. But it seems like there’s been enough cursing for one day what with that saucy video of yours. Well done, my dear.

  4. dw says:

    …hips and hydrogen bomb…you’re a lucky man Mr.Ferguson! Great piece as usual Rich.Still hoping to catch a live show soon.All the best to you always! dave wulfekuehler

    • Hey Dave:

      So great to hear from you! Hope the drumming’s going well. I need to make it up to your neck of the woods one of these days to visit N.L. and see you play. Cheers.

  5. James D. Irwin says:

    Absolutely awesome man.

    Bloody cashiers. I often but weird assortment of goods in supermarkets. They always look at you weirdly…

    But I don’t have LOVE as an excuse. I just really need toilet roll and really want some chocolate biscuits…

    • Thanks for reading, James. Yeah, I’d love to go shopping with you some day. I bet you’re a real hoot. Especially once you’re armed with that toilet paper and those chocolate biscuits.

      • James D. Irwin says:

        I quite enjoy shopping. Not so much the purchasing of items, more the wandering around looking at stuff and making fun of the shit other people are buying or judging their tastes in film or music…

  6. Irene Zion says:

    Rich,
    This was fabulous!
    I know this look:
    “So please, judgmental, rushing-to-conclusions cashier at my local supermarket, stop looking at me like you’re writing me hate mail on the backs of your eyeballs.”
    But I could never have written it so perfectly as you did.
    I’m so glad you’re in love.
    Lucky, lucky woman!

  7. angela says:

    aww!

    love the cadence and rhythm and musicality of this piece.

  8. dw says:

    Yeah Rich! But I need to visit you down there some day!…Although, we do have some great funky late night supermarkets with those nacho cheese stained index finger dippin double barrel shot gun eye sockets n stitched up undies causin constant wedgy attacks sour mouth gesturin mumble something rude if you say hello to em and royal piss off if they have to unlock the beer fridge doors n “oh and you’re gonna make me rip off a lottery ticket too?” hand on the telephone as I walk to my car like I’m gonna steal their piece of shit ’79 Dodge Colt cashiers too!…ha! I tried man! Sorry!ha Hey I’m gonna send my tele number to yer Facebook…give me a text or jingle sumtime…we gotta get together and jam! Have a nice weekend brohamulous!dave wulfekuehler

  9. Brother Steve says:

    Blown away man… top notch as usual.

  10. Brother Steve says:

    …and I see you are also blown away these days. That’s the best part of all.

  11. Gloria says:

    I think confleshion may be my new favorite word.

    Also, “No more sorrow songs. Those were ten moons and an ocean ago.” Gorgeous.

    I delighted to hear about your new L.O.V.E.

  12. Richard Cox says:

    I only made it to first line before I laughed so hard I had to stop.

    “Just because I came in at 2 a.m. last night to purchase almond milk, Astroglide and graham crackers doesn’t mean I’m some lactose-intolerant, sport-fucking insomniac with a sweet tooth.”

    Okay, now I’ll go back and finish the rest.

  13. Richard Cox says:

    Yeah, great piece, man. Congratulations on your L.O.V.E. I also liked this quite a bit:

    “And when we kiss: Present, past & future, I never know what tense I exist in with her anymore. Cause it all feels like Now.”

    But nothing, really, could ever top “…doesn’t mean I’m some lactose-intolerant, sport-fucking insomniac with a sweet tooth.”

    Hahaha.

  14. Jessica Blau says:

    I love, capital L, capital O, capital V, capital E this piece!

    Who is your real love?! Can’t wait to hear more about her.

    I also love (caps L, o, v, and e) graham crackers and almond milk. I don’t know what astroglide is, but maybe I’d Love (caps, L, etc.) it, too.

  15. Lenore says:

    rich, i love watching you do what you do. and it makes me so happy that astroglide is equated with love. i miss you buddy.

  16. Try buying Probe and Wheat Thins on a Sunday night in Ohio. Man, I love any post, ANY post that rhymes Dahmer and Embalmer. After that you can do no wrong….

  17. Hey Sean: Thanks for reading and thanks for the kind words. Yeah, Dahmer and Embalmer. I like that one as well. Peace.

  18. TammyAllen says:

    I love, capital L, capital O, capital V, capital E YOU.

    Your beauty slays me.

    Please hand a copy of this to the Rushing-to-Conclusions Cashier at Your Local Supermarket

    XO

    Hope to meet someday.

  19. Simon Smithson says:

    “Just because I came in at 2 a.m. last night to purchase almond milk, Astroglide and graham crackers doesn’t mean I’m some lactose-intolerant, sport-fucking insomniac with a sweet tooth.”

    Oh Captain! My Captain!

    Always love The Love, Brother Richard.

  20. Aaron Dietz says:

    I’m in love with almond milk. That is amazing stuff! There are not enough people in the world who understand this.

  21. Matt says:

    Man, it seems these days all I come across are cheap Merlot girls, and they won’t even let me have a taste. I could use a little capital L-O-V-E.

    My hat’s off to you, sir.

  22. I’m a fan. You had me at your sweet cowbell moves and now this.
    I mean, I’ve seen you do your stuff before (as Greg is a fan), but
    now I’m just hooked.

    All three of your grocery items make perfect sense to me.

  23. Dana says:

    “Yeah, with my love I’ve learned that muscle memory is far trustworthier than prayer. So I just keep on swinging from the trapeze of her irresistibility, knowing that should I let go she’ll be there with absolute grace, pulling me into her embrace. And the way we move—flesh against flesh, confession against confleshion—it’s like lullabies and locomotives are stitched into our skin.”

    Wow.

    I have a confleshion to make — you’re the MAN.

    And congratulations on the big L. :sigh: Nothing better.

  24. Hey Dana: Thanks for reading. And commenting as well. And I have a confleshion to make as well: you’re hella cool, my dear.

  25. Erika Rae says:

    Never before has almond milk and graham crackers seemed so sexy. I gotta get me some of those now. Might have to send my man to the supermarket in the fresh night air.

    Lovely, this collection of words. Hits my soul like kamikaze birds. Deliverance laced with a one-inch punch of gin right before the twisted old fuck bites off an ear with a grin. Bareback on a rippling steed. Underground, a fragile seed. Clean-up wanted on aisle five. Casanova supernova. Nobody but us getting out alive.

  26. Carl D'Agostino says:

    “confleshion” cool word

  27. Marni Grossman says:

    “Yeah, my love, she’s the 13th apostle in Faith’s good-luck gospel. Knows her semiotics and semi-automatics. She’s locked and loaded at the 11th hour.”

    Love this. Such dexterity with words!

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