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Two poems about McDonald’s at 56th Street and Eighth Avenue in Manhattan


Two poems about McDonald’s

at 56th Street and Eighth Avenue in Manhattan


By Patrick T. Reardon




Three hundred and sixteen days later


The man is preaching to a table

of Bible study men and women in

the McDonald’s on 56th Street

at Eighth Avenue in New York City,

and I wish his Lord Jesus

was the on-off switch he describes.


You rejected the light-switch Jesus

you couldn’t find.


I heard Jesus in the music.

I smelled Jesus in the incense and shit.

I felt Jesus in the Alleluia spaces

of the churches and the city.  I

walk the streets of Manhattan and

Chicago and I touch Jesus in the red

bricks of apartment buildings

and see Jesus in the golden afternoon

sun on the apartment building wall.


The lady at the Bible study table

is praying to the Lord for a son with

sinus illness and throat illness,

for blessing from the crown

of his head to the soles of his feet.

Your pain was to the soul.

Could you have walked these streets

with me?  Could I have given them

to you?  Even thought to have given?


You were in the furnace and

the flames ate you.


You were in the lion’s den and



She is praying for her brother now.


I pray God hugged you in heaven

who did not hug you on earth.


Oh, David.  I failed you and

you failed me.  We failed our-

selves.  And made our way.


She is blessing McDonald’s now.


I went through the jungle and

found the jungle.  You went into the

jungle and lost your way.


We can only fail.  We

can only hope.  We struggle or



I affirm.

You took control

and brought the end.


You were blinded by the

religion of the boulder

goddess who was an

eggshell skin over a

bag of fear.  She taunted you

out of her dread.  Her shell

was too thin to let you in but you

could not see.  I only saw the need to



This poem originally appeared in Requiem for David, published in February, 2017, by Silver Birch Press.




Eighth Avenue McDonald’s, Manhattan


The Bible study women and

men are praying somewhere

else this Monday afternoon as,

near their empty table, six

button-up business men and

women cup around the guy in

the tan jacket and ruminate on

the ponderables of fast-food

-drink lids.  Do the Bible

study women and men still

pray for the woman’s son and

for McDonald’s as they did

when my brother was new

self-dead? God bless the

corporation. God bless the

baby.  And God bless me.



This poem originally appeared in Poetry Quarterly, Spring, 2020, published August, 2020.


Patrick T. Reardon


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