Saturday, August 31, 2013

John Grochalski- Three Poems


nobody had a clue
what they were always fighting about
but every so often
they’d slam down their beers
and put up their fists
they’d dance around the small bar
like a couple of worn-out heavyweights
ducking and jabbing
while the rest of us tired bastards
made love to our drinks
and tried to listen to the jukebox
tried to carve out a few hours
before bed and work the next day
of course someone had to shout
knock him the hell out!
but then just like that
the fight would be over
and they’d go back to bullshitting and drinking
like they were the best of friends
it would be sooner rather than later
that one of them would start again
then the fists would come up
and the dance would begin anew
ali and frazier
fred and ginger
they’d sometimes take it into the street
and do their little routine for the stiffs
carrying pizzas and ice cream
a lot of us waited for some citizen to call the cops
and someone in the bar would always shout
for the love of christ, lock the goddamned doors!
but no one got there in time
and they’d be back inside again
the best of pals
arms slung around each other’s shoulders
like war buddies
ready to fight and drink off and on all night
until one of them passed out
or stumbled the hell home
we never figured out what it was between them

but they were something to watch
in between the mets innings
and grateful dead songs

even though they never landed a punch

when the joint closed for good
and the bunch of us went scattering for other stools
i always thought i’d end up somewhere
and see those two guys again
doing their crooked waltz as the sun came down

but eventually all the great ones retire or they get too old

they lose the zest for violence

and the rest of us blood thirsty fools
get nothing in return for our patronage
but stale beer and adele songs playing for hours

some old fuck muttering to himself
or the seven o’clock news
blaring from two wide screen televisions
on another useless friday night

enemy state

passing the street festival
twelve days of work and one off

and the people are smiling
sitting in the cruel sun drinking sodas and light beer
eating corn on the cob and greasy wieners

all that i can think
waiting to cross the street with my wine bottles
my red eyes and the merciless pain in the small of my back

is how disgusting they all look

how they look like grinning, chomping road kill
a rested and well-adjusted farce if ever i saw one
and that each and every one of these slap-happy cretins
from the youngest to the oldest
have become my true and stark sworn enemies
this place morphed into my fucking prison

my enemy state with cheap carnival rides
fried dough and another shitty local band
playing covers of dreadful radio songs
and when the light changes
i turn from this obnoxious circus and walk on
somnolent and brow-beaten
by the hapless art of my existence

but still so very very glad
that i’m not an ounce like any of them
and that i
don’t own a gun

to the girl getting out of the elevator
last saturday night

my sense of humor
is often ill-timed
but my aim is true
so when you came popping out of the elevator
in that golden halter top and mini

looking as deadly
as a tank in tiananmen square

and didn’t see me at first

i probably shouldn’t have smiled at you
and chuckled embarrassedly
when you shouted, holy shit
and clasped your chest
like you were heading for a heart attack

but i couldn’t help it

and no offense over the dirty look you gave me
as you and that ass of yours walked away

it was well-deserved
for an old creep like me

who’d failed to apologize
for having nothing better to do
in the magic of a saturday night

but stand there in the hallway
with a bag full of cat shit and garbage

accidentally scaring the hell
out of pretty girls.

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