Vendoland Sestina

The vendoland holds many squat machines,
Awaiting people, in the English building.
They come with silver money, clutching coins,
Some feed crisp dollar bills into the slots,
And then they leave, the machines left alone
In the vendoland, under the dim light.

At nine, the vendoland sees morning light
Reflecting off the glass of the machines.
The people come in groups, seldom alone.
Coffee aroma throughout the building,
Money rushing, pouring into the slots,
Cash boxes overflowing with their coins.

A CS student, nervous, jangles coins;
Walks hastily, his footsteps very light.
He thinks that students must fit into slots.
He doesn't know words well, he knows machines.
Looking uneasy in the wrong building
In his face, you can see that he's alone.

Kid in a blue jacket, walking alone,
Fumbles in his pocket; finding no coins,
Looks around, sees no one in the building,
Hits the soda machine. His touch is light
At first, then harder. At last, the machines
Reward him with a soda from their slots.

A group, back from spring break, from Vegas slots,
People that never want to be alone.
They crowd noisily around the machines,
They do not notice when they lose some coins,
They banter carelessly, their tone is light.
It's quiet when they finally leave the building.

At night most people have left the building.
Far away, a teacher smiles as she slots
A graded paper into place. Her light
On the third floor, west wing, is all alone
And she will not want to spend any coins
Tonight. No one else will use the machines.

Silent, the light shines onto the machines.
In silence, the slots wait for future coins.
The building, inanimate, is lonely.

-- Bryant Durrell
April 1991

TooMUSH: The Art