You Can’t Write a Poem About McDonald’s by Ronald Wallace
Noon. Hunger the only thing
singing in my belly.
I walk through the blossoming cherry trees
on the library mall,
past the young couples coupling,
by the crazy fanatic
screaming doom and salvation
at a sensation-hungry crowd,
to the Lake Street McDonald’s.
It is crowded, the lines long and sluggish.
I wait in the greasy air.
All around me people are eating—
the sizzle of conversation,
the salty odor of sweat,
the warm flesh pressing out of
hip huggers and halter tops.
When I finally reach the cash register,
the counter girl is crisp as a pickle,
her fingers thin as french fries,
her face brown as a bun.
Suddenly I understand cannibalism.
As I reach for her,
she breaks into pieces
wrapped neat and packaged for take-out.
I’m thinking, how amazing it is
to live in this country, how easy
it is to be filled.
We leave together, her warm aroma
close at my side.
I walk back through the cherry trees
blossoming up into pies,
the young couples frying in
the hot, oily sun,
the crowd eating up the fanatic,
singing, my ear, eye, and tongue
fat with the wonder
of this hungry world.
Why do we like fast food? Is it because it is fast? Is it because it is so bad for us? Is it the French fries? I will readily admit to stopping at McDonald’s just about every single morning for my daily dose of coffee now — they have a mocha that is, well, darn good and cheaper than the coffee shop! And sometimes I will even splurge on a bacon bagel sandwich, all cheesy and greasy and fatty and full of all things bad for me. Why do I do it? Because it is there, it is yummy and it is simply awful for me – don’t we always want that which we aren’t supposed to have? I rounded out today with something bad for me at every meal time. Mocha and that tempting bagel of bacony goodness for breakfast on my way to sit in a waiting room for 5 hours; a crème de menthe doughnut that smelled as heavenly as it tasted from Sweetwater’s Donut Mill on Sprinkle Road after leaving said waiting room; a Whopper with cheese sans pickles and onions and dripping with saucy awesomeness to share with Mom for dinner while on our way through Three Rivers during the drive home. I will admit that today the food choices were a matter of convenience, but I will also go so far as to say that the Whopper’s flame broiled patty had a party with my taste buds – it has been forever since I had one of them.
At least I skipped the French fries today…..