Tuesday, March 27, 2018

John Grochalski Laments When The Vodka Does The Talking, First World Problems, Burnt AND Cold Pizza, And The Service Fees Of Being An American

blah blah

he does it most nights
stands a stone’s throw
from my living room window

talking nonsense into his cellphone

blah blah blah
murmur murmur

his fat ass jiggling in the estuary breeze

he is always pleading with someone
in undertones that are still loud enough
to ruin my neil young records and solace

sometimes i’ll stand at my window and watch him

who is losing hours of their night
talking to him on the phone?

blah blah blah
murmur murmur

incantations of unrequited love
on his way home with another lonely pizza box

the last time he did it
i couldn’t stand it anymore

i’m getting that fucker, i said to my wife

i slammed down the vodka glass
and shut off the neil young

i opened up the window and stuck my head outside
hey, you fat fuck
some of us are trying to have evenings here

some of us are trying to escape a suicide

but that didn’t stop him

blah blah blah
murmur murmur

he didn’t even know
that i was speaking to him

his fat ass kept jiggling in the estuary breeze

when i popped my head
back in the living room
my wife shook her head at me and said

that was mean

fuck him, i said
i was a fat ass once too
but i never stood in front of anyone’s window
and tried to kill them with words

well…that lead to a fight

my wife said things that she’d regret
i said things that i’d regret

the vodka did a lot of talking for both of us

she stormed off to bed
and i made my own on the couch

i tried to put the neil young back on
but all was lost

so i just laid there in the dark
listening to another bullshit brooklyn night
fart out an ending

blah blah blah
murmur murmur

as he finally waddled past my window
and down the block

incantations of unrequited love
and his fat ass jiggling in the estuary breeze.

burnt pizza

it was pulling teeth
to get a good day lately

it was mornings
sitting in front of the machine
wordless and devoid of talent

it was your book rejected
the overall malaise of city life

some call these “first world problems”
but fuck them…what do they know?

our sorrows are roses
poking blood red out of a scorched terrain
of our own doing

all we wanted was pizza
and vodka, copious amounts of wine

the music of old gods on the verge of death

as we lived on the couch like a soused king and queen
with no worries and responsibilities to speak of

yet there we were an hour later
promises of a speedy delivery broken

our heads poking out of separate windows
like expectant dogs

the two saddest, hungriest idiots in brooklyn

our gums numb
from cheap liquor and loose words

waiting for the pizza to arrive
burnt and cold and not worthy of a peasant

staring up at us from a winedrunk coffee table

like the mocking face of a serpent in hell
daring us to make another plan tomorrow.         

fear and loathing at the ATM machine

i’ve surely
come at worst times
to find this ATM machine down

like when i needed a drink
more than i needed human contact or love
or i hauled my ass over three avenues
hungover with no headache medicine
in the cabinet at home and no cash in my wallet

but why in the hell are you down
at noon on a thursday?

certainly a conspiracy
with the credit card companies

that or you never had your debit card
compromised by little shits at the grocery store
who spent four-hundred bucks on camera equipment
and video games

and you were afraid to use the card again

this is horseshit
this beats all

your little haiku of denial can piss itself

sorry for the inconvenience
but this machine
is out of order

what in the fuck
am i going to buy my turkey sandwich
and nasal spray with?

my charm?

we live in a world where people
can have things in an instant

where people buy and sell each other over lunch

but i can’t even take
twenty bucks out of this crummy machine
to fill my belly and clear my nose

i’m so missing out on the bounty
of self-serving greed that is america

and yes i know i can use my card
at several other banks

but there’s a service fee
and you people have no clue
just how cheap i am

and why should i pay for your incompetence?

your institution must be republican owned
screwing over the little guy like this

you know what?
to hell with you…i’ll starve

we live in an era of protest
and today an aching belly will be mine

a runny nose to show the world
that the people won’t take it anymore
least of all from a piece of shit bank worth billions

who can’t even do their jobs
who can’t even fix a machine for christ sake
who don’t even have the decency
the moral currency and certitude to…

oh wait
there’s ten bucks rolled up in my back pocket

fuck it
never mind.

John Grochalski is the author of The Noose Doesn’t Get Any Looser After You Punch Out (Six Gallery Press 2008), Glass City (Low Ghost Press, 2010), In The Year of Everything Dying (Camel Saloon, 2012), Starting with the Last Name Grochalski (Coleridge Street Books, 2014), and the novels, The Librarian (Six Gallery Press 2013), and Wine Clerk (Six Gallery Press 2016).  Grochalski currently lives in Brooklyn, New York, where the garbage can smell like roses if you wish on it hard enough.

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