by Justin Longacre
Walt Whitman is working the counter at Libidinous Prongs, a fireworks shack on the shady side of the state line. There is a twenty-foot high fiberglass Uncle Sam out front, salvaged from a defunct waffle stop. He’s holding a sign that says “E Pluribus Unum” which, here, means everything is two-for-one.
The screen door tingles a cracked bell and Whitman either nods or does one of those quiet reflux burps. Either way, he doesn’t bother to set down his dripping coney, which has just brushed his mustache with mustard. Inside it smells like sulfur, funnel cakes, and bodies. Go ahead and pick up a gross of Eagle Tears, a couple dozen Kalamazoo Cloud Rippers, a fistful of Barbaric Yawps. Do not scorn to spend thirty dollars on a fire fountain called Granny’s Magic Gravy Bomb, forty on a brick called Little Turtle’s Revenge. Throw it all into a cart that still says Dollar General on the handle.
You didn’t hear this from me, but if you peek out the back door, you might see Dock Boggs and George Clinton working an oil drum grill. “Don’t ever turn your back on a chicken thigh near an open flame,” one might say, as they both Rothko on the sauce.
Meanwhile, Whitman will have finished his coney, gone off for a walk. In his place, Henry Ford is lighting Magic Blooms off his greenback cigar, laughing, and tossing them into the aisles just to see what might happen.
Image: Painting, acrylic medium and fabric dye on panel (2014), part of a series exploring the movement of translucent colors.