Dear Big Discount Liquor Store, I Love You

Dear Big Discount Liquor Store
I love you
I love your strange inventory, your friendly flirty clerks
Your black girls with smooth round shoulders just the perfect color and size
For strapless dresses on the fourth of July
And your always at least one sort of crazy guy in the store

Frogtown, I love you too
Your lazy pedestrians
Your threatening thugs, who are just teenagers
With low self esteem, it turns out.
Your parks with basketball boys
Your bus stops with ancient Hmong
holding umbrellas to block the sun
And Your Big Discount Liquor Store,
I love you

In the shade of my brick warehouse studio
In the courtyard surrounded by the artists
And assholes, and holy healers
Looking out from their windows
Down at the children, who trail after one another
Oldest to youngest, bound in the unbreakable way
Of children, seemingly oblivious, though probably not,
Of the differences that mark them because they are
Children of Frogtown, and
I love you too.

From my window I can see a woman in a sequin hijab
Floating like (of course) a mirage
Past the sinkhole on Como Avenue
Through my window I can hear the kids at the playground
I can smell the fireworks, the fireworks! for days I’ve heard
their sizzle boom crack. I smell the fire of 100 barbecues,
BBQ, chicken legs, charcoal, sweat.
I’m drinking the cold can of beer,
From the Big Discount Liquor
On the fourth of July.
I’m looking at you America,
You stupid, big, galumphing giant,
If only you could see yourself like I do,
You might love yourself
a little more.

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