Image by Gary Stearman


the madrigal, volume iii

"If it's square, it's a fish, if it's round, it's a burger."

by clem flowers

“Taco Bell!”
“Shit, is it still open?”

Midnight in a battery park small town, where the local idea of


is a church social that goes to 9 p.m.

We thought we were hellions
thru the humid side streets in grandpa's Cadillac
Menthol and clove blooms
out the ragged plush windows
Searching for some haven
Some refuge
Some space outside stifling kudzu death grip southern suburbia

Bells of freedom rang

with the sight
Of the plum
& fuchsia North Star

Next to Blockbuster

We thought we were so clever
Singing along to the Third Eye Blind song

Smug that we knew the lyrics
Were really about heroin addicted misery

While we gobbled down
Our quesadillas & Mexican pizzas

But there was no one else
Within miles of that Warhol- inspired Tex-Mex beauty of a hellscape

Save for the stoned dirt bombs
In the polyester behind the counter
Who loved us because we never
Called the manager over their Anthrax blasting
Out the kitchen
Or the skunky smell
With the Grilled Stuffed Burritos

We thought we were cementing

Lifelong friendship
Memories mingled
With the grease & azure backsplash

On our favorite booth in the back

But we grew up
Grew apart
& a few nasty breakups
& most of us quitting smoking

Really expedited the whole thing

I remember
When they tore the Taco Bell down

To build a big new bougie one
Just off the interstate
All my old friends
Gathered behind the fence
To watch the bulldozer
Render the echoes of our shared past

To a Walmart parking lot extension.

Still order cinnamon twists & Gorditas

All the time
But they’ve never tasted the same

Clem Flowers (They/ Them) is a soft spoken southern transplant living in spitting distance of some mountains in Utah. Maker of a fine omelet, but scrambled egg game needs some fine tuning. Nb & bi, they live in a cozy apartment with their wonderful wife & sweet calico kitty. They can be found on Twitter at @hand_springs777