Joseph Beuys Listening to Joe Hill’s Kahiki Restaurant Story
At the Kahiki, things were real.
Polynesian bamboo twisting in homage
to the grass-fitted ceiling. Clamshell spoons,
seashell soap dispensers, coasters woven of reeds.
All the mollusks sat at the bar
lined with charismatic island potions.
As the night wore on, the drunken men
stumbled to the table to feast upon the wicker
fiber of innate id. Fabric of silk—swatches
of foreign caresses upon taste buds—the essences
of pineapple melancholy—three men. None of them
had lived with a wolf inside an art exhibit.
When the waiter brought out fluffy cotton
hand towels in tiny palm baskets steaming from the
bath of a sterile cauldron, Joe Hill, a boy then,
thought they were precious, delightful desserts made of coconut.
At the Kahiki, Joe Hill’s uncle awoke,
table placemat pattern zagged across his cheek
and asked: “What did I have to eat?”
Joe Hill answered: “The Mahi-Mahi.”
“Good,” his uncle replied. “That is my favorite.”