A Bastard Supermarket Terzanelle

Here is a poem I wrote a long time ago for my favourite (no, seriously) check-out assistant at a Brisbane supermarket. I had always intended to give him a copy, because I wrote this with a lot of affection, but I figure some people might be offended by being labelled a satyr in disguise. But I saw this character again recently — looking much happier in his human skin, by the way — and remembered this paean.

He does not belong in Woolworths

He does not belong in Woolworths,
He does not belong in Woolloongabba.
Even those with no imagination

can tell; they avoid his check out,
avoid his lopsided smile.
He does not belong in Woolloongabba.

He’s not a bad-natured Thing;
he’s just awkward in his human skin.
Avoid his lopsided ‘hullo’ grin

if his gaze makes you fidget; I understand
he tries too hard at small talk.
He’s just awkward in his human skin,

and it isn’t nice to stare; after all,
he’s only trying to fit in, though
he tries far too hard at small talk.

He walks as though his legs are hocked.
His goateed chin juts out before him,
but he’s only trying to fit in.

His feet are uncloven by bitumen.
He catches my bus, but I doubt he goes home,
though he follows the snout that juts out before him.

Have pity; he’s not a bad-natured Thing
and he can’t pay a tailor for that ill-fitting skin.
He doesn’t belong at Woolworths, but
you’ve got to admire his attempt to fit in.

 

Zenobia Frost
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