First, a big thanks to Brian Daldorph and Coal City Press. Brian, you always commented on how you loved the poems I sent you, and I appreciate your words, your presence, and your enthusiasm. Really, you are a big reason for why I continued working on these poems, hoping to get a book-length collection.
I have other people to thank, too, like the editors who published some of the poems in their literary journals: Kevin Rabas, Amy Fleury, Mickey Cesar, Katie Longofono, Mary Stone, and Matt Porubsky.
Also a big thanks to Aldrick Scott for the cover art.
I started on these poems back in 2002, finished in 2015, about a time of my life from 1986 through 1993. It was years in the making on both counts.
Eric Schlosser comments in his 2001 book Fast Food Nation, "Instead of relying upon a small, stable, well-paid, and well-trained workforce, the fast food industry seeks out part-time, unskilled workers who are willing to accept low pay. Teenagers have been the perfect candidates for these jobs, not only because they are less expensive to hire than adults, but also because their youthful inexperience makes them easier to control."
When I asked on Facebook how many poets ever worked fast food, the response was astonishing. I found out that Jon Tribble has a manuscript, too, about his experience working for KFC. I also learned Mark Nowak did during the entire Reagan presidency (1980-1988) at Wendy's in Buffalo. Also, Amy King worked at McDonald’s for years. I did, too.
I certainly wanted these poems to speak to my formative years, to the epiphanies and heartbreaks of feeling trapped in a job. I do not want to make this collection political, but can’t help but think of the work we still need to do. Food, Inc., A Place at the Table, Super Size Me, and all of the documentaries in both film and book form trying to point out the truth in a time of the need for overhauling all systems. Please also check out Chew On This: Everything You Don't Want to Know About Fast Food. The film Fast Food Nation is the fictional account of what is found in Eric Schlosser’s book and worth viewing, too.
Workers’ rights, the food industry, and big business: Will it take a reshifting of the hierarchy of power into a shared power? Can it be something healthy, local-based, self-sustaining, job-creating, and on the side of everyone’s best interests?