Christian Thorsberg

The ruckus begins like a jazz scat set       Live from the Hong Kong Nile Club
(some yuppie pub on Clark
_________________________ vigorous and dumb)

From stools lampooning this that and our tab, now leaving,
We trudge like broken-bodied rockstars, all cocaine and vocal chords,
Towards yet another sweating golden corona,
Turning over the prescriptiveness of a     Happy Meal

Poetics smear in the drippy haze of       ONE MILLION BURGERS SERVED

Its letters crocked, the sign’s second                      L
something broken and masquerading

Like the upturned mascara a hospital clown wears
who loves with an enlarged heart, in
enlarged shoes,

And partaking in this supersizing of radioactive night,
filling an enlarged cup with Diet Cola RB     Other

Into these shoes I dip my numb toes, gin-soaked fries,

Wiggling in the viscous ketchup a

brain-buzzing makes,

Sipping on the fizz of a plugged-in subwoofer,

That static ambience of when the Stones meet the stoners, or
When Dylan meets Electric.

Gorging Kleinzahler like salt, a pen instead of straw
Scrawling fifties white script on red brick
While ink and mustard taste buds want for
Nothing but     Sex, Drugs & Rock and Roll.

Some fifty years after Ray Kroc baptized this grease in the name of rockabilly,
Colin Powell and Elton John scarf down their Big Macs while the ever-erudite

Vincent Vega educates Jules on the noblesse of     le
_________________________________________Royale with Cheese

A red and yellow Hendrix welcomes Grand Marquis-driving eaters
Doubling up
____________stacks       at the double drive-thru speakers;

Overfilled trash cans bark hey thanks in ten different languages
To a man with a jello neck overfilling his white collar,

The Beatles and Supremes splay bedazzled, and inside they’re playing their
8-track tapes about pet rocks and other nuggets of high culture –

But after the demolition there’s more politics than music on the menu, and it just
makes you want to swirl a glass or a city, sixty
flatfoots after Jake and Elwood on Wacker with a full tank of gas;

And arching at last over a toilet bowl filled with cigarette butts

It’s all very much Elvis’ face at a Rapid City show before he died,

“Framed in a helmet of blue-black hair from which sweat sheets down
over pale, swollen cheeks,”

I turn to Kleinzahler and ask if he’s hungry,

Orders a root beer and a pet rock and plucks that pen-straw from my grasp,
pops in a spitball wrecking ball and says to

this fluorescence that never quits,

get all of it, boys, every brick.


Christian Thorsberg is a journalist and poet from the Northwest side of Chicago. He drives a Grand Marquis and roots for the White Sox. His favorite film moment: “Zed’s dead, baby. Zed’s dead.”