This French phrase means luxurious, fashionable, sophisticated young people;
it translates literally to gilded youth
* * *
They gather at the local Co-op store, which
I associate with
the return of profits to consumers
via stamps to be licked and stuck in
books. "Do you collect stamps, love?"
The once dowdy Co-op is now open twenty four hours selling
maple-syrup-saturated pastries with pecan nuts, Häagen Dazs ice cream and
expensive bottled beer, all to be paid for in graduation debt.
When the store is busy it is filled with a hormonal fug; everywhere
the restless, gilded youth look at one another while appearing not to
Longing trembles in the frozen foods aisle and
serendipitous fingers linger over spiny courgettes.
A boy boldly seeks a (redundant)
opinion on cooking times, as a pretext to
begin a conversation with an attractive other,
but mostly such approaches are endlessly postponed;
inconvenient desires are suppressed
amidst convenience foods.
Outside, they seem unwilling to leave, perhaps sensing that
youth once lost can only be recovered imperfectly
So I see a boy with a mobile jammed to his ear, hoping for news
of a party, hoping he is not missing out on some unrepeatable happening.
A group of girls, lounge on the bollards in front of the store,
waiting for friends, waiting for something yet to be clearly defined.
An old homeless man sits
to the side of the store entrance unseen by them. All I can
make out of him is his weathered face,
he is disappearing into
a pile of ragged blankets. His eyes are rheumy, perhaps because of
stirred memories, or the wind whipping over the low wall of the car
He was once a young man; what boundless
possibilities did he imagine then?