Retail Egyptology

Doug Tanoury


In the supermarket
Where navel oranges are stacked high
With great precision
Like the great pyramid of Giza,
And Santa Rosa plums
Form a lesser monument
For a more mediocre monarch
In The Valley of the Kings.

I am the jackal -faced god,
A duster of old bones
And petrified flesh,
Who breathes the desert air
At 5:00 a.m. and peers wearily
Over the meat counter,
For a fleeting glimpse
Of the floating head
Of Queen Nefertiti
In hopes her regal gaze
Will fall on my English cut roast.

Awake Osiris to the sound
Of the Nile's water
And sea birds calling from the reeds
To catch the gleam of light
On stainless steel countertops
For it is the deli meats
Hanging in long strands from the ceiling,
Indeed it is the garlic bologna and hard salami
That unites the upper and lower kingdoms.


Rolling In The Aisles

In my little corner of the cosmos confusion reigns
And randomness has taken a rather malicious turn.
Causality has conspired so comically against me
It would make even Shakespeare slap his thighs
And writhe with the most mad and unmanageable mirth.
It would send the audience rolling in the aisles.

But me, I'm feeling rather somber and not the least amused,
For I fail to see the humor of a fortune so befuddled,
Where providence wears the most profoundly puzzled look
Of an old woman standing dazed in the aisle at the local grocery,
Staring silent and stupefied over a stainless steel meat counter,
Unable to speak, all her plans and purposes momentarily forgotten.


Venus Rising

I have seen a vision of Venus
Standing statue-like on the escalator
And rising as if on the waves,
Wearing a summer garment of many colors,
A pagan goddess walking amid
The merchandise in the temple of commerce,
As a chorus sings and instrument strums
From invisible speakers, the melodies
Seeming to emanate from the very air,
And I am breathless before an image
Botticelli would paint,
Of fresco smiles over wet plaster teeth,
And I understand now the judgment of Paris
Was a no-win dilemma, an Olympian gottya
So inescapable and impossible.
This is the fickled goddess of bargain days,
The patron of retail sales that I kneel before
In abject genuflection.
Awaken you Muse!
Arise you Greek Poets!
Rouse yourselves Athenian Playwrights!
For I have seen Aphrodite walking
Up the marble temple steps
Wearing only one leather sandal.


Lazy Geometry

Lying prone in the backyard hammock,
In the combined shadows of the maple and the ash
I study the invisible movement of the sun toward zenith
And the afternoon light that pushes back the shade,
And when the breeze blows, just so, in the trees
I occasionally feel the sunlight on my face,
Fulgurant and fleeting,
A brightness penetrating just for a moment
The sleepy darkness of closed eyelids.

I have observed for long hours,
The serrated edges of each maple leaf,
And the teardrop foliage of the ash,
The boughs and branches rising,
Like arms of the devout uplifted in worship
They reach to touch the soft circumference
Of a summer sky,
Found only in the lazy geometry
Of a July afternoon.

© 2003 Doug Tanoury

Doug Tanoury is primarily a poet of the Internet with the majority of his work never leaving electronic form. His verse can be read at electronic magazines and journals across the world. Collections of poetry by Doug Tanoury can be found at Funky Dog Publishing and Athens Avenue . Doug grew up in Detroit, Michigan and still lives in the area.

Doug Tanoury credits his 7th grade poetry anthology from Sister Debra's English class, Reflections On A Gift Of Watermelon Pickle And Other Modern Verse (Stephen Dunning, Edward Lueders and Hugh Smith, (c)1966 by Scott Foresman & Company) as exerting the greatest influence on his work. He still keeps a copy of it at his writing desk.