Will I ever stop learning from poet Sam Hamill? I hope not. I am pretty sure he introduced me to sake. This time he shared the article “5 Food Companies Run by Radical Right-Wingers.” In case you don’t follow the link and happen to be running out for food that is bad for your health, you should know that the companies are White Castle, Chick-fil-A, Carl’s Jr., Domino’s Pizza, and Waffle House. Turns out their food is also bad for your political health.
Although I know that all money is dirty and at some point in the day you are bound to unknowingly contribute to some reactionary, when possible I like to be conscious of where I spend my dirty money.
I don’t recall ever walking in to a Domino’s Pizza, but I have certainty eaten the crap before. At one point in Chicago I lived within 10 minutes of both a Domino’s and a White Castle. Kept telling myself I would walk into the Castle one day to find out what all the hype was about (White Castles are like a Mecca for some folks). A friend explained it was really all about the munchies (you can actually buy a “Crave Case”).
I never made into the White Castle, but the place did make it into one of my poems for tragic reasons:
by Michael Warr
Warriors fall dead around us.
Murdered on corners buying burgers.
Outside White Castle they scramble
for cover. Five-0 squats, poised for attack,
but can’t find the source of the gats
and crack. Warriors fall. Their wounds
stain the stairs of their families’ homes.
Cracks in the sidewalk channel their blood
to the next killing. The killings. The next
mother. The same mother. Her son dead.
Her sons dead. Cracks connect them.
Systematically. The killer is many killers.
In different colors and clashing cultures.
Chain murderers packed in suits of
“Bigsby and Kruthers.” Bangers with
nothing but bullets. American fascists
parading in jurisprudence. Cracks in the
system hook them up. A deadly circuitry
links them to us. Phone screams stab our
ears in the night, with chronic news of our
warrior children. Poverty their serial killer.
Delivering another child unwanted.
We watch them die young, as they start
to grow wise, threatening to become more
than a gangsta tribe. The loss lives in
Patricia’s eyes — tears of their second
mother. The stats of death not safe
this time, hidden in twisted headlines.
These are casualties we know.
Sticking like sights of Oklahoma. Bombed
and crying. Debris rising. Children dying.
Their cities burned down everyday. Ignited
by things they do not own. Detonated by
things denied. They become warriors –
clashing in despair-occupied cemeteries
for a pure breath of life.
Published in The Armageddon of Funk, (Tia Chucha Press). Recipient of the 2012 Black Caucus of the American Library Association Poetry Honor Award.