Todd Robinson

A McDonald’s in Nebraska
What thoughts I have of you tonight, Jim Daniels, for
I slapped the burgers down on the griddle with a headache
Sixteen and looking at the full future.
In my hungover fatigue, and scrounging for cheese, I went
Into the steel doored stand-in fridge, dreaming of your enumerations!
What buns and what braggadocio! Thirty cheeseburgers
And thirty fries! Whole families
Waiting in line! Drive-thrus full of minivans! Apple pies in their
sleeves, hamburgers in their wrappers!—and you, Ronald McDonald, what
were you doing ordering a salad?

I saw you, Todd Robinson, hustling, sweaty young cook,
Sneaking chicken McNuggets from the warming drawer and eyeing the counter
Girls. I heard you asking questions of each: who expedited these
Fries? What price a McLean Deluxe? Is that you, Allen Ginsberg?
I wandered in and out of the present and the past
Following you, and followed in my imagination by the
We strolled through the kitchen together in our
Black masks tasting Big Macs, possessing every frozen
Delicacy, and never passing the cashier.

Where are we going, Mayor McCheese? The drivethru closes in
An hour. Which way does your billyclub point tonight?
(I touch your buns and dream of our odyssey in the
Cooler and feel absurd.)
Will we work all night closing this joint? The
Manager is shady, goes out to drink, we’ll both be
Will we toil unending for the new America of wageslavery
Flipping frozen discs of conglomerated cattle scraps forever?
Ah, dear short order cook, sweaty old pressure-teacher,
What America did you have when Ray Kroc first dreamed his franchises and
you got out on a smoke break and stood watching the future
appear in the gray concrete of another strip mall?

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