There’s no shortage of truly Texan items or brands that excite folks around the state.
Up there with the National Beer of Texas and the grocery store where Everything’s Better is that place that provides “honey-buttered chicken blessings:” Whataburger.
The fast food titan, born in Corpus Christi, means so much to Texans that an ode was written to it by acclaimed slam poet Amir Safi.
Safi recently performed “An Ode to Whataburger” at the Texas Grand Slam Poetry Festival — which he cofounded — in Bryan-College Station. The piece set off a frenzy on social media and even inspired Whataburger to post a poem in honor of Safi himself.
Safi tells the Standard about how a food-themed open mic he hosted for Write About Now Poetry inspired the ode.
“Naturally, Whataburger came to mind,” Safi says. “And I just start to write ‘What are all the things I like about Whataburger?’ and then this poem came to fruition out of that.”
Safi’s work typically touches on issues of politics and race. On the role of the poet and his ability to switch from light to heavy themes, Safi cites the film “Dead Poets Society.”
In his own words, Safi says: “That’s the duality of life, and the duality of life translates to the duality of writing.”
Safi performs a portion of “Brown Boy. White House.” for the Standard:
“The best birthday present I get every year is a telephone call from my grandmother.
I remember walking with her through department stores as people would stare.
I remember getting very angry because I was taught it was impolite to stare.
I was taught that was not the purpose of a hijab.
I feel this is why people have stopped wearing their faith,
Unless it can be conveniently concealed under their shirt.
Maybe if people don’t stare then God won’t either.
Growing up in Texas,
One learns to practice patience,
Practice repetition patience,
Patience makes perfect.”
See a full “Brown Boy. White House.” video below: