delivery, in five decades or less in poetry

  • Aug. 19, 2023, 10:08 p.m.
  • |
  • Public

Irene, good night
Irene, good night
Good night, Irene
Good night, Irene
I’ll see you in my dreams

I’d always kind of thought that Herkimer’s Pizza-Hut
would manage to survive the heat-death of the universe
cockaroaches and tardigrades collecting Personal Pans
from the Parents As Reading Partners school programme
playing on that ancient mustard yellow tobacco-stained
two-player Pac-Man cocktail table from nineteen-eighty
right up until God Herself yelled out “last call, bugs”
and began to turn the last handful of stars off by hand

It had always just kind of been there on Albany Street
between the ever-shifting tableau of low-rent commerce
usually a car-parts shop and one of the off-brand banks
goddamn Wal-Mart murdered nearly everything in Herkimer
King’s Court Mall, the Coffee Bar, Last Unicorn records
but the one little Pizza Hut almost no one ever went to
it seemed immune to the humiliations and degradations
that come with late-stage capitalism and passing time

There was never good reason for Pizza Hut in Herkimer
the Mohawk Valley has always had the third-best pizza
in the world after New York City and the Actual Italy
you can throw a football in any direction around here
and hit solid family-owned pizzeria or, failing that,
a bar, our bumper crop of despair still props up bars
it seems like the only things left around here that
aren’t owned from Bentonville, Arkansas or Beijing
are quite good pizzerias and truly depressing bars
but there it was just surviving there inexplicably
down the street from that one Dollar General store
that I am completely convinced is merely a front
for one of the Seven Mouths to Hell on Earth
I’ve seen people buy toilet paper there
with loose handfuls of nickels because
they spent their paper money on that
bag of cheap rum in their other hand
which I will also blame on Wal-Mart

I don’t know what the final nail was
in the burnt-deep-dish-cheese coffin
but it was probably COVID or anyway
some money-asshole will say it was
as excuse for distant profiteering
destroying ten more jobs out here
that they might get three yachts
this Christmas instead of two
like some kind of dumb pauper
as is their way of things now
tearing copper out the walls
of our entire civilization
for yet another stupid Tesla
rolling time-bomb car now

There will be no one else
to eulogize that Pizza Hut
so here I am now, middle-aged
and sentimental for the stupid things
I thought has always been here
and would always be here
just because there were
here when I got here
our too short lives
creating optical illusions
of object permanence
where none ever exists

Good night, wilted kale
decorating the salad bar.

Good night, red plastic cups
so cheap that they would shatter
even worse than they been glass.

Good night, Guns and Roses singles
in the old jukebox once there.
Good night, jobs for the working class

In retrospect, you didn’t make much sense
but for those of a place and time to not notice
your ridiculousness will be remembered fondly
and some day down the road
may the same be said of me.

Irene, good night
Irene, good night
Good night, Irene
Good night, Irene
I’ll see you in my dreams

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