July 1, 2002


ITALIAN STEAM, MYTHICAL GREEK PROPORTIONS

Frank hooked well
a Kettle One martini to the left
a flame-licked filet mignon uppercut
saute pan in hand
that primo five-star culinary climax
the wry smile
the good wine and
Thank you very muuuuch
garlic roasted irony
and wit, like that night
he chef'd in naught but an apron
for his lovely wife
his buns sunning
themselves in the re-laxed
high class pine-flanked
Riviera on the Hill
and earlier still
going way back
to Hollywood
swinging hips with Weird Al
and legend has it
second in line behind Travolta
for the role that defined the 70s
in a disco dago frenzy of night fever.

Frank the spirit of Sinatra.
Frank the big brother pumping iron,
pumping up the world
clearing room for all us
and for those who left too soon.

But living for the dead and
lifting up the heads
of whole communities
can dim the bright light of a man
for even Frank's 1000-candle watt conviction
couldn't crack the thick skulls
of the daft dons of the ass-stab-lishment
the safe lions of the status quo
hiding in their fort-dresses
and finally fighter Frank
came down in the fourth
and stayed down
for years
and all the king's horses
and all the king's men
didn't even bother.

So we passed the years fishing
for meaning
and occasionally the Kettle One
flowed again and whole garlic
roasted in the oven
and we sat `round the bonfire
of our broken treasures and smiled
with strained enthusiasm
recalling better days
of table-dancing wives and girlfriends
and with the last of our trophies
smoldering out and
ugly dawn approaching
we went our separate ways.

I became a wrangler of ghosts
following the herds to Arizona,
Oregon, Texas, New Mexico
while Frank fired off rounds of
Maker's Mark and Absolut
for the California Raisin crowd
a bunch of dried-up bad seeds with
fortunes to blow, and
only Clio knows where the poets went
scattered to the four winds
sailing on the wings of muses
or slinging hash in some dingy Dennys
who can say?

Then I got the postcard from Betty Ford
that the last smoldering embers
of the shithouse had come tumbling down
burying the lovely x-wife
in a pile of xanax rubble and slumber
and thank God they dug her out alive
and maybe it was her conviction
that woke up the fervor in Frank
and bam! just like that
Frank left the desert
and went clean
found the twins
bear-hugged them
like a father
and bore with them
as they vented righteous anger
at their daddy's lost days
but what the children can't yet know
is that hard times hit us all
but the strong ones
the Frank Ferros of the world
chock full of Italian steam
kindness, talent and big dreams
such men always rise again.

And oh what a gleaming phoenix
sweet Frank pulled off
rising again and smiling wide, saying
WELCOME MY FRIENDS!
and Aroma was born
and by all accounts it hopped
and it rocked
and all the kingdom turned out to taste
the culinary treasures of their patron saint
but most of all they came
to bask in the magical air that is
Franky Baby.

Aroma filled the mountain air with sweet song again
and the poets called it a renaissance.
And for three years it reigned supreme with Frank
at the helm of the ship.
Then whammo.
Greed and envy got the better
of the over-stuffed, trust fund turkey
with the purse strings
and the maestro, the hero, the mayor
was sent packing.

And this vagabond wandering poet
missed it all
but i am not sad.
For when just last night I visited
that hollow shell of a restaurant
I saw everywhere and in everything
the exquisite taste and gourmet touch
of el Franko.

So I know it's just a matter of time
and wait with eager eyes
to witness the next great rise
of the undisputed Culinary King of the Hill,
great lover of women
and friend to all men.


-RSM




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