John Grochalski 2

by Ian on December 8, 2012

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), and the forthcoming The Sun Causes Cancer.  Grochalski currently lives in Brooklyn, New York, where he constantly worries about the high cost of everything.

His chapbook In the Year of Everything Dying can be viewed via Camel Saloon’s Books on Blogs series:

Check out his first feature on HST here.

seeing the famous comedian
seeing the famous comedian
in a theater named after a famous poet
and the kid next to me doesn’t care
he’s too busy typing away on his cell phone
texting his friends about seeing the famous comedian
updating his facebook status
with the famous comedian’s old jokes
this kid is so preoccupied he’s not even laughing at the new ones
maybe the famous comedian has lost a step
gotten too soft since getting married and having kids
maybe he’s only funny in the context of his fame
i mean i chuckled a bit
and i’m certainly not bored like this kid next to me
but i’m not belly laughing either
like the assholes sitting behind me are
i’ve mostly been thinking about the subway ride home
or if i have enough whisky
for three stiff ones and a spit before i hit the bed
this kid next to me has his earbuds in
who knows what he’s thinking about
it’s certainly not the famous comedian
maybe we’ve lost a bit of our humor as of late
having gone through a hurricane
a presidential election
and a nor’easter in in just under two weeks
that’s a lot of shit to undertake
and try as he might
the famous comedian with his famous long island whine
and observationist humor
cannot get this kid and i out of our malaise
can’t lift our spirits
like he’s done so many times before
i think i’m going to give the famous comedian
a cursory snicker or chuckle
maybe a huge belly laugh if i can get it right
this kid can go on typing away on his phone
missing this and everything else
times have been so tough lately
i just feel like i want to be a part of something
just once
like seeing the famous comedian on a thursday night
and i don’t give a good goddamn
if this kid sitting next to me
wants to be so selective and aloof.

the only poet in this place
she starts talking to me about my writing
i think she thinks that talking about my writing
connects us in some way
it doesn’t
it makes my stomach turn to hear her mention a poem of mine
or a short story
because she and another co-worker had been
looking me up for months
printing my poems and playing dumb to my face
looking for themselves in each line
reporting me to human resources when they read
something they didn’t like
once i found a stack of my poems sitting in her desk
when i went looking for staples
she says to me
whenever i put on these stretchy pants
i think about that story that you wrote about me
it wasn’t about you, i tell her
but i was a character in it, she says
characters are made up of a number of people, i say
she looks at me like, yeah right
she thinks it’s her
and she’ll think it’s her no matter what i say
but i tell her that i wasn’t thinking about her
i was thinking about a woman i used to work with years ago
she wore the shit out of black stretchy pants, i say
whether this is true or not
i don’t know
i just don’t want her to have the satisfaction of my story
or any of my writing
she’s had that satisfaction for too long
and now i want it back
she says, you know, i could compose a poem about you right now
then she starts
there he sits all day
every day
reading the news on the computer
all of that knowledge in the world
that he shares with no one…
but i stop her before she can finish
not because it was a bad poem
but after all the shit she helped put me through
all those stories that she’s made me rip apart and analyze
the poems that have been
scanned over by the hr department
after all of the googling and giggling behind my back
if anyone is going to be the poet in this place
it sure as hell is going to be me.

jesus cross in the garbage
i threw a small jesus cross
in the garbage
i felt good for about a minute
then i dove my hand
into all of that trash
pick it out and placed it back
where it was
realizing that no matter what i did
those bastards still had some part of me
and that they’d probably never let me go.

i lay there
listen to beethoven’s
egmont overture
with the aches and pain
of everything
plus existence
the end result
of drinking every last bit of booze
in the place
save the drop of amaretto
left over from christmas
this is death
or a bad hangover maybe
a real dandy
coming on
for the first time in months
but at least this isn’t boredom
it’s more like making art
i guess
conducting my own orchestra
of the damned
the way men construct buildings
and ugly people in ugly cars
race toward
another fruitless day
a construct of their blind optimism
i lay there
all red eyes
and sloppy contentment
as beethoven ends
and the audience roars
then i rise like a maestro
to take a bow
my back knotted
my legs like jelly
only i head for
the bathroom to vomit
of facing the adoring

the david’s penis
the david’s penis
is everywhere in florence
it’s on t-shirts and magnets
cooking aprons and calendars
buttons and pendants
you can buy a postcard
with the most famous cock in the world on it
mail it to your parents or your best friend
they have hats with the david’s penis stitched on
by some chinese sweatshop worker in beijing
sweaters with an embroidered david’s cock
just in case it gets cold along the arno at night
there are coffee mugs and shot glasses
with that marble rod staring right back at you
meant to be viewed on work mornings
or in the placid aftermath of the work day
there are lockets and key chains
so that you can keep the david’s penis
with you always
taking it out at times to stroke it
or admire the sheer artistry of the design
there’s even a bust of just his junk
a crooked piece of cheap ceramic
with that small protrusion sticking out
in all its renaissance glory
i’m not sure who they make these things for
most probably americans tourists
because they seem to be the ones lining up to buy
all of these cocksure trinkets
the fat american women giggling
and eating these treasures up
while the fat american men laugh with envy
before buying a pair of boxer shorts
with the david’s penis right on the front
just like michelangelo envisioned it
five hundred years ago
a little souvenir for the boudoir
a conversation piece
the next time he hops horny into bed
and the wife needs a little extra something
some culture
to get her well-traveled ass in the mood.

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