Danny Caine: Three FLAVORTOWN Poems from HFR Vol. 9

Last Will & Testament

When I die bury me at Randall Park Mall
beside the pebbled fountain where coiny water
once bubbled, by the stage where Tiffany sneakers
once danced and twirled. For the service set out rows
of Brookstone massage chairs so the whir of the Shiatsu
hums as my Auntie Anne delivers a prayer through salty
tears. Let her introduce my eulogist, one of the KB Toys
robot dogs who will yip the story of me and backflip
as he barks “amen.” Later, throw a party. Give the hordes
of mourners Orange Julius and circulate among them waiters
in red aprons and silver trays who keep interrupting hilarious
Danny anecdotes to ask again if anyone wants to try some
Bourbon Chicken. Build my coffin of Legos and erect
a Playmobil train set atop my grave so children can play
God crashing trains as I watch from beneath the terrazzo.

Flavortown Gossip

Calling him a guy is like calling The Boss a boss—
true, but there’s so much more. I heard he’s a Republican.
I heard it’s a wig. I heard he’s gonna run for mayor.
I heard he paid for the statue himself. I heard he doesn’t
even pick the restaurants for Triple D. But did you hear
he’s kind of a jerk on-set? No way, he’s a saint. After all
the dude spends his life giving small businesses free
publicity. I’ve had Donkey Sauce and it’s delicious.
I heard he didn’t leave his house for days after Pete Wells
published that review in the Times. He’s a people pleaser.
All he wants is to be liked. He rolls with the jokes, leans in
to the persona, but all he wants is acceptance. And ribs.
We shouldn’t psychoanalyze. We’re not his therapists.
Sure. But know what? His therapist is in my book club.

Now That I’ve Made It to Flavortown, I Just Want to Go Home

Everything here is too spicy.
I’m tired of making a statement
every time I pick a restaurant.
There are no trophies
for most likes on a picture of ribs.
I miss going to whichever drive-thru
is on my way home. I miss
my uncle’s burgers, so overgrilled
they become domes. I miss sitting
around a table and thinking
only about the friends across from me
instead of who can say “authentic”
first. When everyone at the table
goes full Meg Ryan after every bite,
how can we even talk about anything?
Take me back to where a sandwich is free
to just be a sandwich.

Danny Caine is the author of the poetry collections Continental Breakfast (Mason Jar Press 2019), El Dorado Freddy’s (collaboration with Tara Wray, Belt Publishing 2020) and Flavortown (Harpoon Books 2021), as well as the book How to Resist Amazon and Why (Microcosm 2021). He lives in Lawrence, Kansas, where he owns the Raven Book Store. In 2019, the Midwest Independent Booksellers Association named him Midwest Bookseller of the Year. More at dannycaine.com

Image: yahoo.com

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