Sunday, June 8, 2014

John Grochalski- Three Poems

summer fair people

there they are
the bored and the dull

they come out every year at this time
to suck on fried dough and undercooked italian sausage

to listen to terrible bands playing bad cover jams

the fat mothers and fat fathers munching kettle corn
their fat children bouncing around
in inflatable rooms that look ready to burst

teenage boys ready to pop the cherries of teenage girls

the dozens of happy young couples
eating dripping ice cream cones

pushing around wailing children in the humidity and heat

the old soldiers with their wwii and vietnam frocks
stumbling down the dirty block to drums that are off beat

the locals drunks coming out of local watering holes
leaning into corners to watch the action

they are all here sweating and dying
taking a respite from work and each other

watching the hot dog and pizza eating contests
that still bear witness to american gluttony
and the tepid might of our ever-dwindling spending dollar

laughing as their children vomit
from ancient spinning rides that look more
like torture devices than amusement

all of these slap-happy summer fair people
with this month’s catch phrase
plastered along their wide bellies and wide asses

the good citizens eating more shit that they
can shove in their faces

the good neighbors buying more shit
to sell to everyone at next year’s yard sale

the whole community walking around like grinning zombies
with balloon animals strapped to their heads

taking photos with corporate fast food mascots
and politicians who are just as swarthy and deceptive

be careful or you’ll end up just like them

waddling around drinking two gallon sodas
farting and burping and pissing the american dream

mad slow and stupid on fat sugar and salt

as the pigeons and rats and the homeless look on
waiting for it all to end again

so that they can finally feast
on all of this seasonal bounty.

thursday afternoon

there are five of them
waiting on the platform at 20th avenue

two girls and three boys

when they get on the train, loud and vicious
they split up

the girls go toward one end
the boys sit next to me

they give the girls a chance to sit down
and then smallest one
(isn’t it always the smallest one)

he cups his mouth
he shouts, ya’ll a bunch a pussies
ya’ll cunts
you too, maria
ya’ll a bunch a pussies, he repeats

so that only the deaf and the dead haven’t heard him

no one responds to the kid
not even the girls

maybe we’ve all grown too accustomed to this shit
or we just want to get the hell home

christ, he’s not even that old
leaning more toward thirteen than a young man

up with fellas
down with ugly bitches, he shouts

and it echoes through the train like a cannon shot

then the boys slap each other five and laugh
they are all dressed the same
in clothing telling them to OBEY

well, i guess they’re off to a great start in this country
i look down toward the girls
they are laughing and playing music

if the boys have gotten to them you’d never know

but girls have to learn early here
they have to learn to scrape indignity off with a smile

bitch whore cunt pussies

at 61st street the little boy rises with me to leave
but not before getting in one more shot

ya’ll is ugly pussy bitch, he shouts

then he gets off the train laughing
but it doesn’t last too long

his face turns into a permanent smirk

i look at him
i wonder what it would take to grab him in the station
right here
right now
put the fear of god in the little punk

tell him if i ever catch you talking to women like that again….

this strutting piece of american privilege
on a thursday afternoon

he wouldn’t listen to me anyway
i’d be another pussy

so i let him go toward his connecting train
and i go off toward mine

doing my part to let the misogyny perpetuate
wondering what in the world  i’ll say about this

to my wife
our mothers
your sisters

to everyone’s daughter and niece.

when old friends become devoutly religious

at first there is some shock
or it is like watching a bad horror film

or there is no shock and it was always inevitable

but there is a hollow sadness
not unlike standing around someone’s wake

and you wonder if there was anything
that you could’ve done to save them

maybe called more
invited them out for a beer and some conversation
been the one to lend an ear and offer advice

instead of spending years stuck in your own malaise
looking for the kind of answers
that only come through bathing in fire

still you can’t believe that this is the guy
yes, that one posting photos of church breakfasts online
telling everyone that his favorite book is the bible

was once the dude who screwed everything that walked
behind his wife’s back

or how that one is now this foreign specimen
who enjoys christian rock and no longer drinks alcohol
was the one who used to beat his woman for no reason

or he was the one who always went to strip clubs with you

the one who got drunk in bars
and then made you spend hours casing downtown
looking for whores

it’s hard to look at these transformed hypocrites
dressed in their sunday best with their lifeless families

praising jesus, jesus, always jesus
hating gays and immigrants and all other enemies of the state

when you were once with them
swinging baseball bats at senior citizens
on snowy highways caught in a sweaty speed pill fervor

stealing tip money and dumping beer
on drunk girls in even drunker bars

listening with jealous glee as they told you blow job stories
done in church parking lots on the cheap

or how you sat idly in parks on humid summer nights
as they molested underage girls on clay tennis courts

you wonder what it was that caused them to fall so badly
to take up such a fragile and transparent yoke as organized religion

age or boredom or both?

and what kind of seething, perverted rage
still exists deep within the well of them

when it could come out to shine anew

you hope to hell that this is just temporary
but deep down you know that the religion trap lasts forever
and that there is nothing else to do for these lost souls

but close the internet browser on them
don’t answer the emails and never pick up the phone
when they call

mourn their memory until the pain no longer exists

get on with the living
instead of becoming as they have

just another one
of the walking dead

waiting on the afterlife.

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