John Grochalski

by Horror Sleaze Trash on March 22, 2013

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 novel, The Librarian.  Grochalski currently lives in Brooklyn, New York, where he constantly worries about the high cost of everything.

et tu, pork chop?


it seems to me

as though we’ve crossed

some sort of line as a society

when bass comes emanating out of cop cars


or are they just being ironic?


i wonder


bored cops trying on the things that people like me

bitch to them about


i think new york city has gotten too safe

if two piece of pork like these

can ride slowly down the block


bobbing their head like gangsters at a stop light

while shielded from criticism in 5-0 blue


surely there’s a rape or murder

happing somewhere


one spouse beating the other

because their sports team dropped another big one


a mugging or a robbery in progress


half of the streets in this god forsaken city

smell like marijuana all of the time


from idiot kids standing on street corners

pissing upon their already limited future


that alone

should give you boys in blue hours of fascist fun


and sometimes there’s nothing better

than watching some quiver-lipped teen reprobate

slapped against the side of a patrol car


unless you happen to be one


i don’t even need a crime per se

i just wish that these two doughnut commandos

would turn the music down a little bit


as if i needed another reason to hate the cops


i mean

just be good little piggies

and turn on your sirens to breeze through this red light

like the rest of  new york’s finest


take the bass to another part of town, hot dogs


you boys aren’t jay-z or lil’ wayne

rolling around in as conspicuous ride as that


you flatfooted assholes


so cut the shit starsky and hutch

and get that blaring heap of motor city tin

the hell off of my block


before you jacks really see

my taxpayer dollars at work.



the precious child’s voice


the little girl sitting across from me

is singing with a voice so terrible and off-key

that it is making my eyes water


i wish that her mother would tell her to please stop


instead of smiling at her

encouraging her

telling her, good job, dear


look, i know that it’s frowned upon

in today’s society

to break a child’s spirit

and tell them that they are no good at something


but sometimes a little honesty goes a long way


at the very least turn the child on to something else

like ballet or accounting

so that she’s not wasting her time


don’t sit there like some proud fool

giving false hope to such acute and glaring mediocrity


sub-mediocrity actually


but that won’t happen on this bus

and soon the child is on to another song


her precious child’s voice warbling some top 40 crap

with the same cadence as a cat drowning in boiling water

while her mother smiles at me


and i do the only thing

a sensible man like me can do in this situation


i put on my headphones

and turn on my magic music machine


to listen to someone else who sings so badly

that they pay them millions of dollars

to do so.



junkies at the bus stop


late morning drunk

watching the junkies argue at the bus stop

across the street from a middle school


two whiskeys on an empty stomach

and i feel foolish and miserable for getting drunk so easily


swearing at the sun

sweating in a fifty degree morning heat

when it was twelve degrees three days ago


the junkies are in winter coats and snowcaps

stumbling all over the place


they don’t seem to be affected by the weather at all


they were laughing at first

but then they started pushing each other into an iron fence

where kids are playing basketball on recess

and eating their early lunches


the junkies are one man and one woman


the man seems to have the upper hand on this one

so he must be a republican


the woman keeps smiling at him

trying to bat him away


i think she thinks he’s still joking


but he keeps pushing her into the fence

blocking her out when she angles for some space


and there are cops riding by doing nothing about this

and cars honking at each other at yellow lights

and i am cursing myself for getting somewhat drunk before noon


two whiskeys on an empty stomach

proving to me that i’m not as solid iron as i used to be


the male junkie just won’t stop his harassment


he keeps pushing and pushing the woman

wiping the smile off of her face with a shove to the chin


i wish they’d kiss and make up

leave this scene to go and shoot up somewhere


have junkie sex and pass out to soap operas or talk shows


it’s got to be bad for the school kids

to see something like this


or maybe it’s common and i’m the prude today


my sensitivity heightened

from the whiskey and heat


and by the time the bus comes

i’m desperate to leave this behind me


to again look upon the good in humanity


but all i get are people on the bus

moaning and mortal

frowning and constipated by life


coughing and sneezing their disease


bitching at someone else

on a cell phone


ruining their day as well


as those junkies and my stupidity

have ruined mine.




this thing of beauty


there are frozen puddles

of dog piss

on the street

and frozen streaks of dog shit

with ice crystals

frozen men

on frozen street corners

dressed in NYDOT orange

smoking cigarettes

and arguing

while staring at a frozen mound of water

caked around a fire hydrant

and there are frozen boys and girls

smoking dope in cars

doing idiot sex dances

on the way to high schools

that have frozen out education

to become prisons



amongst it all

i feel like a frozen puddle of dog piss too

wiped and useless

devoid of language and strength

thinking that having a car hit me would be a mercy

but  at the end of my ropes

i step over a heap of frozen vomit

outside another shitty local bar

advertising disco nights and karaoke

and look up into the ugly sky

to catch the sun

as it is being squashed by two gray clouds

that cast their shadow

over all of this bullshit

and misery

thinking this thing of beauty

this goddamned thing of beauty

that will get me going

to the next disaster

on the next block


is almost worth it.





glorious black ass


she’s never really polite to me

but that’s okay


never says anything back when i say hello


just rolls her eyes

and bags my shit


she sings the 1980s songs that they always blast

in this store


songs that were old when she was born

songs that i’ve hated going on thirty years now


but she knows all the words

in ways that i don’t


a hazard of the job


as she packs my meat, my beer, my toilet paper

and the few vegetables that i ‘ll allow


when she gives me the receipt

there’s not even a thank you


which is fine too

because i’m well versed in the twenty-first century

customer service drill


plus she never minds that i often drop the receipt

behind the register


causing her to bend over

exposing her glorious black ass

for all and sundry


making old ladies gasp at the sight


while we built this city on rock and roll


plays on and on

poking bright holes in those glory days





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