Posts Tagged ‘John Grochalski’

drooping sunflowers

i look at the cut sunflowers
at the entranceway to the grocery

three for seven bucks

only they are already drooping
in their big, scratched plastic vase

how depressing to see sunflowers this way!

i think of van gogh’s sunflowers instead
the tranquil feeling of monet’s painting as well

how many people have stood in front of them
from peers to assholes with ipads
who take their quick tourist photos
and then move on without really looking

those immortal sunflowers on canvas
always vibrant and full, never heading toward decay

i think those museum pad-holes deserve
to look at these grocery sunflowers
instead of those painted by the masters

let them take their photos of these dying monstrosities
and post them onto facebook or tumblr or instagram

for people no longer experience anything
as the general course of their life

but must always be the focus
like everyone has become a three year-old child

so they might as well save themselves
the twenty-five dollar museum entrance fee

there is no hope for these sunflowers
i could buy them all and give them a proper burial

some will get bought
most will get tossed with the expired meat and eggs

i think of drooping sunflowers
wilting in the late summer sun

then i go inside the grocery store
to buy two ripe pink lady apples
from a cashier who looks so angry

like i ruined her day just by saying hello

or perhaps she’s bent out of shape

about the sunflowers dying too.

the joint i won’t smoke


the joint i won’t smoke

is sitting in the junk drawer in the kitchen

it is buried beneath my student loan breakdown

and a menu to a chinese place

that makes some decent won ton

it was given to me by larry dial on christmas eve

who came stumbling in the place

reeking of cognac

and said, here kid, merry christmas

before shoving something in my shirt pocket

i didn’t even know it was a joint at the time

i just thought that it was larry being an asshole again

stuffing his garbage in my shirt

until i started smelling sweet skunk later on

then i knew

the joint i won’t smoke is wrapped tightly

it’s a pro job if i ever saw one

i wonder if it’s of the medical marijuana variety

because larry has a lot of shit wrong with him

bum knee

bum wrist

bad eyes

an ex-wife who still gives him shit

that might be why he’s always on the cognac

and has pot to give out to ungrateful guys like me for christmas gifts

but i won’t smoke the thing for some reason

even though i could use a good pot high

and i’m always bemoaning the fact

that i don’t know any dealers in this city

i’ve gotten much more suspicious in my old age

and i don’t trust larry as far as i can throw him

i keep thinking maybe he spiked the j with something

because he seems so surprised to see me now

but that might just be me being paranoid

i mean just yesterday i told my wife

that someone might rob us for our toaster

just because you could see it through our kitchen window

that toaster can’t even toast a bagel

so i don’t see why anyone would want it

plus i don’t think larry is capable of murder

assault maybe

but not murder

it’s this kind of thinking that tells me

i should probably smoke that joint

loosen up a little bit

throw on some marley

some a tribe called quest

and let the crazy ride

but i won’t

my faith in humanity has sunk to a new low

that i can’t even allow myself to get high that way

my trust factor is the pits

i’ll guess i’ll just keep letting the liquor store man poison me

at least that shit comes with a seal

that you have to break before imbibing

and i’ll let the joint that i’ll never smoke

sit in that junk drawer forever

turning brittle

forgetting all about it

until the student loan people come calling

or the wife and i

are in the mood for some decent chinese food.



cops outside the apartment again


the cops are outside the apartment again


i know it’s the cops without even looking

i can hear their little radios

hear their dull voices as they question

the same loud bitch they always come here to question


having the cops come around here is boring


it’s always for the same shit

some domestic dispute on the third floor

involving a child and two immature parents


the loud bitch always gets involved and calls the cops


i think she’s the grandmother

regardless she’s always the one outside

giving the boys in blue her rote soliloquy

while those of us on the first floor are held captive

by her grating tone

by the child running free and screaming in the lobby


i wish the cops would come around here

for something else


drug crimes or dog murder


but then i’d probably have to move

because i don’t feel like living around that shit again


when you reach a certain age you search for comfort


but this is so dull and played out

it’s not even worth looking out the window


but i do anyway

hoping maybe for something else


like the father becoming irate

storming out of the building and lashing out at everyone

having to be subdued with handcuffs or a taser


while the mother screams and cries

grandma implores the cops for mercy

and the child stands there holding her doll



but it’s just the same act

like it is most sundays


the two cops nodding and writing shit down

the loud grandmother waving her arms

and pointing toward the third floor

the child yelling in the lobby or running around outside

because cops are second nature to her


while the mother chain smokes

and the father is nowhere in sight


it’s like watching a rerun

when the cops are outside the apartment


hopefully next time they come it’ll be for something

a tad bit more scintillating


a crime of passion

armed robbery

the crazy bitch across the street

kicking in her door again

or one of the old people found dead in the basement


but i’m sure it’ll be for this circus


and i’m sure i’ll take time out of my busy schedule

to give the action a good look


unless it’s football season


then i’ll just shut the window and turn up the volume

on the television


crack a beer or open some wine


wait for them all to go the hell away.



five bangs


he holds up his meaty privileged right hand

his fat virginal fingers


five bangs, he says again


the other kid stands there looking at the hand

like it’ll produce a moist cunt


he stands in awe of his friend

tallying up the amount of bangs in his head


unaware of his close proximity

to such a bullshitter


five bangs, i repeat to myself

still waiting on the bus


more than likely, five bangs in his head


of course, you never know these days

with the way these kids dress just for attention


they leave nothing to the imagination anymore


their young asses

their young legs


maybe all of these kids

are little fuck monsters now


maybe five bangs

is a low ball estimate for this idiot

and i’m just getting too old


married and long past

five bangs with a young girl


too blinded by trivial adult survival

to see a player playing his game

right before my tired and squinting eyes.


packs of girls


packs of girls

sit huddled in

bright rooms


complain about

the air conditioning

complain about

the heat

can tell the


between regular

cookies and

diet cookies

eat bag after

bag of tortilla chips

say the worst

things to each

other tell the

worst stories

about each

other tell

each other

to shut up

call each other

cunts and whores

laugh at

fat people

laugh at

boys laugh

at old people

laugh at

their parents

talk about


and how they

get so bored

that all they

can do is eat

and watch


worry that they

are getting fat

tell their friends

that they

are getting fat

make fun of



smell each other’s

breath to see

who has the worst

drink coca-cola

by the gallons

have no

inside voices

watch the dumbest


read the worst books

pack of girls

are like aliens

stalking this planet

trying to claw

out each other’s

hearts and minds

packs of girls

become packs

of women

who do the same

terrible things

to each other

packs of girls

make me glad

that i was born

with a sack of balls

a penis

and a shorter


on this god forsaken





coming back

on the job

after only one day off


exhausted and hysterical

i tell her

that i daydreamed

the office burning down

with nothing left

but hot embers


in the fog gloom morning

to which

she told me

that hating your job

is a sign of depression

which made

me realize

that i’ve probably

been depressed

ever since

i was a paperboy

and tossed that first newspaper

inside that first doorway

back in the good old year

of 1987.

requiem for a bartender #1

he used to stand behind the bar
like a cowboy in pressed jeans
with his plaid shirt tucked in
it was high noon whenever he worked
the way he stalked behind that corroded wood
hitching up his pants
like he had two silver six-shooters
strapped to his hips
scaring the shit out of anyone who dared ask
what he had on tap
read the sign, he’d say
in a midwestern pugilist’s tone
pointing at the drink board
as quick as any two-bit son-of-a-bitch
who had the guts to walk into the fire
between that swaying door
and if it took a man too long to decide
what to drink
he’d sneer at him like he was a coward
then move off toward somewhere else
making the poor fool chase him
only to take his good old time pouring your draft
wiping the bar down like a spit shine
before grabbing the metal tap
belittling the tenderfoot to the regulars
who crowded around him
like a gang of roughnecks
those of us who took years to get into
his good graces
who had bared pleasant witness
to the soft cadence hidden beneath the gruff
hearing the drawl of his badland tales
the ones about the drunken indians
sitting on spittoons
in the back of nebraska watering holes
who knew about his six wives
the fast cars, the horses
and the charred friend he buried in a tuba
those of us who never saw him shine in the sunlight
or held his hope in our confidence
or knew that he had the voice
of a pavarotti nestled
somewhere deep inside of him
that he hadn’t let out in years.

daydreams of albuquerque

the new york blues
the life blues
the tired of work blues

staring in the mirror
at the beginning of another life cycle

nothing but the same tired flesh

having intense discussions
about what’s for dinner
because the source material has run dry

the stagnant pulse of the pension
thumping in my chest

checking the television for something

the nielsen blues
the neighbors shouting out the window blues
the pack of idiot teenager blues

nine years burning at both ends

unable to sleep
never at rest

i think there must be
a place out there that doesn’t wear me down
like this

with vast stretches of road
and rock mountains erect into the infinite

a rio grande resurrection
for the weary

moving slowly below the burnt orange sky.