vague memories of a Burger King in 1994

vague memories of a Burger King in 1994

It’s me and my dad.
The whole place is empty
like somebody else’s memory of a Burger King.
I get a kid’s meal with a burger in it.
Dad gets a Whopper.
We sit down and there’s a TV playing.
In my memory now it’s a flat screen
but I know that’s impossible.
Some cartoon hobo cats are on the TV.
They’re coveting some fish bones
like they’re a Whopper.
I am awed by the size of my dad’s burger.
He eats such big things.
I’ll know I’m big when I can eat big things.
The toy in my meal is the guy with
the laser eyes from the Burger King commercials.
He’s the cool one.
Everyone knows.
I eat my burger.
My burger tastes like literal poop.
Dad says eat it anyway.
I try. It’s poopie.
I eat the fries instead.
I will not eat Burger King for another 20 years.


“NORM!” is what the audience yelled
when they knew they were in the presence of Norm.
Imagine now
maybe tens of thousands (hundreds?)
yelling “Norm” in their living rooms.
The 1980s were built for yelling “Norm”
There’s no iteration in the multiverse
wherein people didn’t yell “Norm” at the TV in the 80s.

Recliners cracked to full easement.
The rabbit ears soak in all the laughs
from thousands of miles away
where a bar nestled between Narnia
and Never Never Land
showed us the misadventures 
of wacky characters.

A lamp sits on a floor
in a room half-painted
the lamp bare-bulbed.
There is no other furniture
and a pizza is on the ground.
The smell of fresh paint fumes…
and Sam Malone has gone to a convent
to convince Diane Chambers to leave.
It’s a weird episode and it feels like theatre
and the pizza is eaten
and nobody laughs much
but somehow that doesn’t really seem the point
not here

The gnashing of snow boots and the 
dismantling of flannel
The storm seems hell/bent.
There’s a fire
and this is probably Truckee, CA
and there are cans of shitty vegetables heating
and the fire isn’t hot enough
but everybody puts aways their snarling
to yell “NORM!”

There’s the episode 
when Frasier is a whiny little asshole
because Diane broke his little heart
Nobody ever feels sorry for Frasier 
because he’s rich like Diane
but unlike Diane
he never attempts to 
empathize with the proles.
It is the eternal American struggle
between SNOBS and SLOBS

There is a humidifier
and a mattress is on the ground
and it is bedtime for children
but nobody is sleeping
Grown ups are boring but
they get to stay up forever
and they have the TV
The theme song powers through the house
and deep in the human heart
everybody wants to go where 
everybody knows our names
and they’re always glad we came
So the kids break into the hallway
to hear the song
and maybe here some “jokes”
and get to hear people yell “Norm”
and that was better than dreaming