Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Attentiveness Is Currency

Attentiveness Is Currency

Limping grocery cart
in the store, and the one
full of trash in the park.

Tangled mess of lobsters
in the supermarket tank,
yellow rubber bands
ringing their claws.

Delicate plastic for
the produce, how we
shake some air into it
to open it.

Chanted needs hovering
in the mind: pepper
pepper pepper.

Voice from behind
the milk that we hear
when we open the case,
I’m tellin’ you, man.

Coffee shop within
the store. Bored barista
adjusting muffins.

Encoded fruit, every
orange numbered.


  1. I hear faint echoes of Sylvia Plath in this. A really fine, strong poem.

  2. So true about the bored barista. I love this one Hannah, and that artist -- of the image -- is brilliant.

  3. I like the way your recent poems have loosened up to become more playful with sound, to give us a new pleasing voice to guide us through your mind-bending journeys.

    I've struck by many things here: the contrast between the title "Attentiveness is Currency" and the lines full of hard-edged commodification: tanks, bands, product, needs, cases, numbered. The poem re-orders the senses (as the wonderful picture suggests) simply by paying attention --oh, I get it.

  4. I think my grocery store experience will be different after this poem because I think I have paused at all of those instances...thinking or not thinking for a split second : ) I am thinking about the title though? Could we post this poem on the front door of each grocery store? Brilliant!

  5. Great title. Some nice alliteration (rubber bands ringing, plastic for produce, bored barista). I also really like how you follow the fourth stanza ("Chanted needs hovering/ in the mind") with the opening of the fifth ("Voice from behind/ the milk....") linking the thoughts.

    Always thought-provoking.

  6. A portrait of our times, for sure--at least a partial one.

  7. Yes, the devil is in the details. Just like the poem is in the images. A gestalt that creates the ontological presence of an art that seeks to define truth and knowledge. First lesson, too, in school---attentiveness. I, thought, then, it was the most difficult thing to do--to be attentive. On my dotage, I find that I must have spent little on it. I want to buy more now, if I had the currency. Like this. Bravo, Hannah.


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