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Lunchtime Concert at the Mall
Charlotte Mandel

His hair a banner of white
Her waist a column of pink
            What a day this has been . . .
Atrium vibratos of neon
Odors of french fry and ketchup
            Lucky Wok    Sea Kelp    Nintendo
Arpeggios of escalators
Shoppers     crescendo
Perched on balconies
licking mustard          humming along
            . . . it’s almost like falling . . .
Archly her plump finger
pokes his starched tuxedo bib
            . . . you’re not sick you’re just . . .
Her throat throbs towards the skylight
spotlight of sunbeams         . . . that I
            dwe-elt in ma-arble halls . . .
Whistle-thin old man beside me
“Oooh that’s a looov-ly song —
            she sings just like a bird.”
© by Charlotte Mandel.
Used with the author’s permission.


Charlotte Mandel is winner of the 2012 New Jersey Poets Prize, and was featured reader at the Journal of New Jersey Poets presentation at County College of Morris in April, 2012. As a suburban wife and mother, she wrote no poetry until her true poetic self came to the fore in midlife. That self has now accomplished the publication of seven books of poetry, including two poem-novellas of feminist biblical revision; literary articles; essays on the role of cinema in the life and work of poet H.D. (Hilda Doolittle); publishing and editing Saturday’s Women, the Eileen W. Barnes Award Anthology; teaching—she recently retired after several years teaching poetry writing at Barnard College Center for Research on Women; and earning awards that include more than a dozen fellowships and residencies. Learn more about Charlotte at




Post New Comment:
Larry Schug:
Believe me, the LAST place you'll ever see me is at a mall none the less, I love this poem; it feels so good coming off my tongue and through my lips when read aloud. Good work!
Posted 11/10/2012 07:52 PM
I love this poem. I am envisioning every detail as I read. Brilliance!
Posted 11/10/2012 03:21 PM
I am really enjoying this Charlotte. I wish I could write from the vernacular.
Posted 11/10/2012 10:02 AM
Lovely poem, Charlotte. You bring that mall and the "concert" alive!
Posted 11/10/2012 08:25 AM
Thanks for bringing us the concert AND the mustard!
Posted 11/10/2012 08:02 AM
Janet Leahy:
I too would love to witness one of these concerts but we are there in your poem and it is fun. Thanks Charlotte
Posted 11/10/2012 07:28 AM

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