Friday, September 18, 2015

John Grochalski- Three Poems

pocket change again

as broke as america wants me to be
these bars
these damned clubs robbing me blind
for a little bit of clarity
but we skip class anyway
pocket change again
i’m a bleary broke follower
kris has all of the answers in his smirk
to bookstores
down used cd alleyways
cups of coffee in the beehive
that burn our flesh as we walk rickety steps
but we won’t sue
though i could use the cash
it’s good to not be on the campus
it’s taken our soul and our money
left only questions and desolation
i have debt i haven’t even realized yet
kris says he’s moving in with angie
once we graduate
from these environs
this student loan subsidized respite
from the countless women i can’t stop chasing
like a low bent groucho marx
cigarette in my mouth on the cathedral of learning’s lawn
when i’m not chasing them drunk
on friday saturday nights
can i graduate from this life too?
he says, maybe you could move in
an instant vision of poems
of novels
of coffee and soft music
but i’d just be infiltrating a young love nest
also and give my mother nothing to worry about
when i’m stumbling in drunk somewhere else?
but there is d.c. to consider
colby and whatever dilapidated hell he’s discovered
calvin wants to get a place
but his mother still cuts the crust off of his pb&j
i’m so west so i’m west
go west young man
like kerouac
but i’m so broke
i shouldn’t even be discussing moving out
so we discuss the world instead
the hours pass
somewhere in whatever class it was we skipped
someone has made a point
someone else has refuted it
student loan subsidized intellectuals
soon we’ll all have jobs
that’ll make us as sad as our parents
and everyone else
one grand nationwide parity in pursuit of the dream
this afternoon could last forever
afternoons only last in poems
and kris
and me
we parted company
so soon
you see
i walked the cold
pittsburgh streets

feeback from our trip
to ford’s theatre

i’m sure we would’ve loved
to have seen where lincoln’s legacy lives
we had plans to do the whole tour
high noon
every single event
after a good breakfast at some renowned
washington d.c. diner
coffe eggs bacon history in that order
i was looking forward
to showing my wife where lincoln had been shot
the theatre museum
the home across the street where they took him after
is honest abe’s blood still on the pillow?
but see we never made it to d.c. that week
no momuments
no national gallery or air and space museum
no smithsonian or side trips to georgetown
and no long walks along the mall
they had to move my wife’s radiation appointment
you know how that goes
and her parents stayed with us for five days too
shuttling back and forth
to their own cancer treatments in the city
they don’t know about
my wife’s breast cancer
so…you can pretty much guess how the week went
but we did get back our money on the hotel
all twelve-hundred bucks
my wife played the cancer card
she told them that she was just diagnosed
it really wasn’t a lie
and who’s going to judge a thirty-seven year old
with cancer anyway?
we didn’t cancel the tour with you guys
i mean what’s forty dollars when we were given
so much back
besides the guys at ticketmaster can be cocksuckers
we took the hit on that one
to be honest i almost forgot that we’d booked
a tour with you
because things have been so busy lately
until this feedback email showed up
in my google account
for obvious reasons
i’m going to have to pass
on giving you any feedback
so there’s nothing to tell your tour leaders
and it would be silly
of me to do the survey
still, thank you guys for thinking about us
we’re thinking of trying for d.c. again
once the radiation is over
or maybe next year once the weather breaks
do the whole national capital thing
when the cherry blossoms are in bloom
and our luck seems on
the up and up.

marilyn ascending

she sets next to me
in this comparative religion class
that won’t prepare me for anything in this world
except to think that all religion is daft
clean jeans she is dress shoes
tan cardigan sweater
jet black 1920s flapper hair
coal black eyes
fair-skin red flushed cheeks
trying to get ink off her hands
marilyn, i think marilyn harlow
a name right out of hollywood
how in the hell had i not noticed her before this?
this so-late-in-the-semester-graduating
trapped in cassandralnad
wasting away again in portialand
marilyn really wants this ink off of her hands
almost whines
i wonder where’s the elegant man with the pocket handkerchief
not i dressed like a bum again
no wonder the girls on this campus won’t talk
won’t stop a minute
my old man tells me
let’s see how long you can look like that in the real world
is she really marilyn harlow?
i look on her desk for some sign
black book bag unpacked l.l. bean
notebook cover with nothing
mine has doodles
poem scraps and mary’s old bubble script
inside the names of our fake kids scratched off
mary i’ve finally gone two weeks without hearing from her
carnie batting her eyes at the bus stop
all the women in the world for me
except the ones i want
i give this marilyn and her inky hands
the side glance the whole hour
would father coughlin my presence all over the air waves
if i could
but in the end i have no courage
and she walks out of this class a sashaying peter
denying that our kid exists.

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