Friday, February 1, 2013

John Grochalski- Three Poems


my mother believes in miracles
and i don’t seem to believe in anything

she’s seen them happen
and i’m curious as to where

she tells me that the she believes
in a personal god
and i laugh at her

which is wrong

i tell my mother that i try finding god
at the bottom of a wine bottle

which is worse?

she tells me not to talk like that
that life is good if you want it to be

i think optimism is much harder to swallow
when it comes from family

maybe i just expect more from genetics
than everyone else


my mother believes in miracles
the heavenly and the concrete

she has a whole list of things
that she’s seen and can’t explain in this world

and maybe
i have too

which is why we’ll never see
eye to eye

on this.


the sounds
of the teenagers
on this bus


whatever it is
that they have

that i don’t this evening

a careless constitution
a ceaseless joy

unburdened youth

or simply the music of
such a finite ebullience

makes me spit out
the pink saliva and blood

caught between
the red swells of my gums

and brown tartar
of my slowly


i have this problem
i can’t stop checking things in the apartment

like the faucets
to see if they’re turned off

or the radio

the living room windows
the shower to see if it’s leaking

it’s like my mind is fucking with me
whenever i want to go somewhere or go to bed

then these demons of doubt arrive

they drive me nuts
i drive my poor wife nuts with this most days

christ, i feel so bad
but i just can’t help myself

because i’ve been doing it
even since i was a kid
and the old man fell asleep with the doors unlocked
the occasional cigarette burning in the ashtray

checking the electric range to see if it’s still on
examining outlets not in use

the hum of the refrigerator

or right now
standing at this front door
just like old times

pulling on it so much to see if it’s really locked
that i’m surprised i haven’t broken the knob

rousting the super’s wife
out of her apartment and into the hallway

with cell phone in hand
to see what’s the matter
hoping to catch a creep in the act

but seeing only me
sweating and overwhelmed

the drunken fool from apartment 1R

telling her that everything is all right
before giving this door a few more tugs for good measure

and wondering whether or not
i left the hall light on

praying i won’t have to go back inside
and start this whole, torturous process
all over again.

bio:  John Grochalski lives and breathes in Brooklyn, New York

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