A Convenience Store in Toronto

Benjamin Jenkins, poem, poems, poetry, writing

The concrete

Streets were as

Cold as the weather.

April was

A month of

Rain and mud.

I walked down

The sidewalk

Shopping for



Screaming, at the streetcar stop.

Clinging to the train, posted to lamp posts.

Written in jet fuel on a blue canvass sky.

Pecking in the grass and plastered, wind-rippling, to a chain fence.

Chalked to windows, floating about the man-made floor.


Flashing provocatively

Like badges upon

The fire crowned girl’s-

Green summer jacket.

Whose fingers link mine.

I try to avert

My eyes from those ads

Right when she smiles.

Dodging the wrong shell

To my beating heart.

I come eye to eye

With the pavement

And the trash I tread over

And my own images

I follow the commercials to

A store around the corner,

Dubiously dubbed:



I tinkle a coin

Into a stubbled,

Down trodden man’s

Raggy-glad tin coffee cup.

While he preaches

From a sewer pulpit.

I step in-

The doorway.

Shopping for


A man stands before a

Wall of silver buyer beware doors.

There were plenty of

People purchasing

At seven p.m.

Adolescent school girls

Flocking around the sugar

Amorously eyeing

Multi-colored, candied keys.

Some buzzed professionals

In the Miss Vickie’s.

A lone yoga instructor

In the XXX water.

Godmothers in the

old avocados

an unintentional prop

affirming that the

store has everything.


And, is that you?

Allen Ginsberg?

By the shake N bake? A peephole?

Eyeing the ladies licking keys?

Or the narcotic tobacco?

Over Ginsberg’s gaze

through the Shake N Peep

I spot the wayward

Grizzled man step in.

Swinging his tin cup.

His grey beard points down

Empty offerings.

Three sixty-five,

A bottle cap with

A cigarette smoked

Half, puckered and brown.


Is printed on the coat,

Hunkered shoulders.

An ironed felt badge

Over his heart tagged:



The overseer of the register

Tongs him a sweating dog

From the grease splattered green house.

He wipes the coins and butt

Back into his cup

And leaves gumming

Into that frozen wind.

I dash, bumping my voyeur mate

Spilling pasta and toilet paper

The sense, the senses, the sensations!

I banged through, the door jangled

Hoping the sound caught

That grizzled man.

I was only in the cool city.

Wind swirling with a

Whisper of snow.

The unnatural trees poked

Through their allotted plots

In the concrete as though

They chose to grow there.

Where are we going?


Where are we going?


6 thoughts on “A Convenience Store in Toronto

  1. Ben, this poem, for me, erupts onto the page. Full of power and the telling detail. You ability to observe at depth and then to render observation with sensation and emotion is compelling. I could not STOP reading this until I’d read the whole thing.

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