Book - 2009
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Excerpted in Geist magazine

Billeh Nickerson's first poetry book, The Asthmatic Glassblower , was shortlisted for the Publishing Triangle's Gay Men's Poetry Award. The hilarious and illuminating poems in his new collection, McPoems , are based on his years working at a particularly well-known fast-food restaurant; they paint a vivid picture of life behind the counter and will resonate with anyone who has ever held a fast-food job. Hold the pickle!

from the book...

100 Cheeseburgers

An elderly man you recognize as someone who moves slowly and pays for everything with change scrounged from the bottom of his pockets surprises you when he pulls out a wad of bills and orders 100 cheeseburgers. You get him to repeat himself a couple of times, 100 cheeseburgers, 100 cheeseburgers he says, tells you he intends to freeze them, they'll get him through the winter, no need for pesky walks on cold days, no danger of slipping and breaking a hip. 100 cheeseburgers will keep me going for a little while longer at least, I don't need much.

Hot Apple Pie

Burns your tongue so badly
you can't taste anything
three days later
when you order another.

Publisher: Vancouver : Arsenal Pulp Press, 2009.
ISBN: 9781551522654
Branch Call Number: 811.6 N632
Characteristics: 79 p. ; 19 cm.


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Jun 15, 2010

A nice collection of poems about working in an unnamed fast food joint (but you know it's McDonald's). Looking at all aspects of working in such a place, including product recalls, crazy customers, and equally crazy co-workers.

Perhaps the best poem in the collection is the dyptych poem on time change. Spring forward brings angry customers who can't get breakfast. Fall back brings angry customers who can't get lunch. Seeing that dilema from the staff side makes you realize how petty your rage is about not getting exactly what you want when you want.

This is a short book that is a quick read, but there are images in the poems that stay with you. Like the sudden appearance of the name Gloria spelled out in ketchup or fries. The realization that it is an old woman spelling out the name and the poets act of sitting down beside the woman to find out who "Gloria" is and why she is trying to capture her name in ketchup or fries is actually quite haunting.

I will pick up more of his work.

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