Picture of the Day
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December 30, 2002

China Buffet, Urbana, Illinois, like kids
in a candy store, my fellow Americans
stuff their faces on a lurid strip swept
over by cars, insects on a carcass.
i sit back & watch, wishing my camera
worked, wishing i hadn't let sarah talk
me out of buying a new one at any
of the many big box electronics stores we saw,
red signs in the night, so i sit back & memorize:
the grossly obese moving tables to squeeze in,
a teenager making funny faces for his date,
forks poked into pink open mouths working
at mounds of food heaped up on plates,
the frightened look of a young father
just counting the days, the gray-haired man
collecting food for his wheelchair-bound
wife who waits at the table with more dignity
than the rest in this place and i get all weepy
inside any time i see kindness so i look away.
i eat 2 plates, 2 bowls of soup, a coffee with some
vanilla soft serve pinched off like a turd. we pay,
i poo, and the toilet flushes blue. it feels good to
get away, back on the interstate. it's something
like 60 degrees, a record, more climate change,
and no one's going to do a damn thing to stop it
b/c it's already too late, 240 million Americans
treating the planet like an all you can eat buffet.