31 August 2010
In Memoriam: Jim & Jo's
from a trailer hard by the midway,
jim & jo’s
have proudly sold their chili dogs
at the minnesota state fair.
limeade is the only drink served – and is
“made with spring water”.
while the midway has lost its burlesque, its freak show, and even it's fat lady –
jim and jo’s have soldiered on
in a crusade against… bad chili dogs.
this may be more noble than it sounds.
foot longs with everything: chili, cheese, onions.
you may add ketchup and mustard
if you must-
but jim & jo won’t.
in the same way a
London barkeep once refused me a “black and tan”
years ago – “take your bleedin’ tourist ass else-a-where’s.”
there is only condiment proudly offered is Tabasco;
the one and only god worshiped here at jim & jo’s.
one god that has not abandoned us -
that revels in pain as pleasure,
that knows Eve
and doesn’t care.
Oh Tabasco! you bastard, you
sideshow shill, you huckster extraordinaire,
bless this frank.
Jim, grinning through a fat cloud of foul cigar smoke,
perched in his aluminum rig,
surveys his supplicants,
and, wiping his greasy hands on his pants,
counts all the chili stains
bleeding down our t-shirts
- richard russeth