When the cowboy rides into the sunset
The film credits will roll
While he turns in a badge and his holster
Angels scrape off his soul
You'll commemorate him with a library
An aircraft carrier too
Me, on the day he died
I got a Ronald Reagan tattoo
In a couple of weeks I'll be hosting the annual Kitchen Poet's Vault - poetry reading / tasting. The event will be held at the bakery, and is a great way of melding folks from the food show with the Twin Cities literary crowd.
Growing up poor and fulfilling the role of an indentured servant has often times skewed my perception of people of wealth, people who have embraced education. I have constructed reasons to validate not only my worth, but the worth of others who have known nothing but the hospitality industry, and whatever level of "cool" I have placed myself at, has almost always come at an upper castes expense.
But as I got older, and I would walk through the shop and eavesdrop on what were thought to be covert conversations, I learned my tribe wasn't as innocent as I would have liked to think.
In particular.....2 thugs were running ciabatta early on a Monday morning and were so grooved (this is when you become so entrenched in repetition that the world around you vanishes) that they started to gossip about some of the bakery employees.
One of the guys mentions that one of the bakers must be gay, since during yesterdays shift he read a Hemingway book on his lunch break.
This is when I started to realize that ignorance knows no social or economic class. At this point I walked into the boys personal space and decided to bust their b**** a little bit.
"Guy's if reading makes you gay, then I am the gayest cat you've ever worked with. I even like poetry!"
Guy #1 looks at Guy #2 kinda confused. He looks back at me for a sec, and then he turns back to his colleague "He likes poetry....yeah that is gay, but that's OK boss, gay is cool."
Honest to Pete, dude wasn't trying to be discriminatory, he was processing what somebody had taught him. Some of the guys I work with are from other countries where different value systems are in place. So to make a long story short (or shorter).....I started writing poetry with different food industry workers and columnist from food periodicals.My hope was through words, maybe our collective ignorance could be erased.
I think inadvertently I was trying to bring 2 classes together. When you take on a mission that is rooted in buildinging others, preaching coexsistance and stuff like that. It's EZ to direct your focus outword, but thats why poetry is such a definitive medium for a project like this, because it also forces each participant to review their own work, which will in turn reflect the deeds of their own soul.
At some other point, I'll tell you about the time I baked for Presidents Reagan and Gorbachev, but that's a story in itself. I've always been intrigued by the Cold War. I have always been fasinated by the Russians as well.
I believe with every drop of marrow in my bones that Polish Jesus Karma paved the roads that have brought Klecko across the entire Motherland.Was this payback for Klecko efforts, i don't know but............
President Reagan grew up in poverty, he had humble beginnings, he did play by play for Cubs Radio, he discovered and launched Marilyn Monroe, and best of all.....he brought down the Berlin wall.
But after his terms in office, his mental faculties slipped very fast, and I think he was swept out of the publics eye, and under the carpet until his death. I remember I was driving down Snelling Avenue....right in front of Cheapo Records and I heard on the radio that he had died.
Now I know when people want to add climatic drama they add emotion to their stories, but Klecko is not a drama fan, but none the less....when I heard that "RONALD REAGAN HAS DIED IN HIS........." Blah-Blah-Blah, I had to pull into the Super America parking lot. I felt sick.
Some people process pain by going to a therapist, others get high, while criminal elements will lash out and process their sorrow on others through violence.
Klecko gets tattoo's.
So that's what I did, Girlio drew up the ink tribute and plastered it onto my powerful Polish bicep LOL.
But I must confess, I have what...25-30 tats, all my family, my dogs, a back piece, Johnny Cash?
They all are dear to me, but there is something extra special about the Reagan tattoo.
Several years ago a national magazine called Franchise Times did a piece on tattooed workers and how their "tributes" effected common company policy. They ran a pic of me flexing the portraint of our nations 40th President. In biblical accrostics the number 40 denotes "completion" like Noah's 40 days and 40 nights, or Moses was how many years in the sand dunes? Jesus went off into the wilderness for how many days?????
Yeah - 40, what does that mean, nothing really, but in my head I would like it to account for something bad a** LOL!
So time passes as it always does, and I go to a dinner party at the parents of the captain from my summers little league team.We won the championship that year toppling a juggernaut squad. Eventhough I love the kids equally win or lose, I can't deny that teams (like families) will find reasons to get together more often if there is achievment to be celebrated.So a modest sized mob were nibbling on apps ands taking Mad Dog shots (Vodka-Rasberry something and Tobasco sauce.)and the energy of this party shifted up a level.
The house was flooded with lawyers, doctors and people who don't have to take a mandatory shower when they return from their place of employment.The kitchen was more fantastic than some commercial spaces I have worked in, and the host worshiped flavor.All of a sudden the Commissioner of our league pulls me aside and asks
"Dan, how on earth did you worm your way into the Huffington Post?"
I responded by telling him that I had know idea what he was talking about, and further more "What is the Huffington Post?"
Remember, I live in the Twin Cities where only me and God vote G.O.P. But to all the lefties....reading the Huffington Post is as ritualistic as me reading the Twins box score on sunny July mornings.
So a kid runs by with a laptop and Googles Huffington Post - Worst Tattoo's Ever,and sure enough, there I was in the crowd of Tat's that ranged from wicked funny to just plain wrong.
It started with George "W" baring fangs and biting into the Statue of Liberty's neck like a vampire. Then there was some portraits, one guy had Jimmy Carter on his right a** cheek, another dude had JFK on the back of his hand, and then there was the Abe Licoln portrait with a bullet hole in his head with blood gushing out.
Some bird legged guy had Sarah Palin's image with cross bones underneath and the word Poison inked in bold letters.
The one that wigged me out the most was a simplistic version of stick people diving head first out of the Twin Towers as they were being destroyed with the caption "It's Raining Men." Seriously, I am not into placing judgment, but WOW.....somebody's gotta go to Hell for that one.
So like I said, there was a dozen of them, and after some more time has passed. I googled the article this morning so I could research the artwork for this poem I'm working on, and to Klecko's dismay, what he didn't realize was that the viewers got to vote as to which tattoo was the worst political tattoo ever, and yes...you guessed it. Klecko won.
Don't get me wrong.I was flattered.I wasn't the worst of the year. I had the worst fricken tat EVER!!!! On a National Level.
As a Republican I took solice in this new found achievment, it gave me right wing street cred that would let me even topple Rush Limbaugh for a stint,. but as a patriot, I was seriously sad that people felt that way about somebody I respect so much.
Then it occured to me that pledging allegiance to political parties was probably just as near sited as thinking that one social caste is more relevant that the other.
At 47 Klecko is still trying to figure this out, but in the meantime, if you are cruising the TC's on Saturday March 12th, the reading/ tasting launches at 10:30 a.m.
White Collars and Blue Collars will come together, and even if for just a brief moment, we will enjoy each others effort's and journeys.
Oh yeah....the food will be FETCH! See ya there kiddos.