The Best Meal at the Mid-City Mart is the Broast Chicken.
Skin burnt, meat bland,
the Mid-City Mart has the worst
broasted chicken you’ve ever tasted.
Your tongue feels like a cactus after,
your bowls—like agent orange.
So on the way there, after I see a man in a large brown
leather coat sleeping on a buststop bench with a plastic Walmart sack
to relieve his eyes from the sun,
I park my baby blue Lebaron near the air meter, which is the only one near enough
now that works,
and a man whose eyes look like he’s eaten from food stamps his entire life,
his hair is a grey and white bowl-cut, and he is wearing a tan
zip-up sweatshirt despite the weather being in the eighties. The man chatters on,
his voice a bad connection on a cell phone,
distorting “fifty cents” and “tummy grumbly” as he pats his cloth belt.
“Bark like a dog,” I say, angry
because the coin slot for the air meter has two quarters stuck in it,
and the Lebaron’s tire is flopping at twenty-three. “For real?” “Yes.”
The man, no joke, kneels on all fours and barks. “Oh,
My. What else will you do?” The man wiggles his butt like he is wagging his tail.
This really happened to me. You don’t believe me,
but it did, and since you don’t trust me anyways,
I won’t bother to tell you that I bought him the best meal
inside, which is the worst broast chicken
he’s ever tasted. I watch him peel
back the skin, peel
back from the smell, his face, as he eats it, like the face you might make
when you think of what I did to this man
to allow him to eat with oil-stained fingers
the entire chicken then and there.
I never said I was a good person.
But we both know neither are you
who thinks that just your reading
poetry changes the world.
Philosophy is a Pseudoscience Unless We’re Talking About Memetics in which Case You Better Fucking Believe It’s On Point.
He follows me into the bathroom today.
We weren’t even talking about philosophy.
He was wearing a hawaiian shirt, red with green palms,
and I think the top button had been, like me, lost
or tired of being near him. Earlier I had been in a good mood
because I hadn’t been to work in a week, so I asked him
why his students always said they were taking
psychology. There have been many mistakes in my life
and this was one of them. The Stanford Prison
Project. Rats. Group Think. Microbes patched to nerve endings.
Freudians, Hillary Clinton, and orgasm therapy.
He only took a semester of psychology.
As I began to walk away—“mmhmm, yes. I have to
pee.”—he leans into the bathroom doorway
so that I must listen to him
talk about logic
while I smell my own piss.