Thursday, October 29, 2015

John Grochalski Returns To ZLR

John Grochalski is a published writer whose poetry and prose have appeared in several online and print publications including:  Red Fez, Rusty Truck, Outsider Writers Collective, Underground Voices, The Lilliput Review, The Main Street Rag, Zygote In My Coffee, The Camel Saloon, and Bartleby Snopes.  I have two books of poetry The Noose Doesn’t Get Any Looser After You Punch (Six Gallery Press) and Glass City (Low Ghost Press), and a novel, The Librarian forthcoming.

eureka moment

we pour out of the metropol
onto ice covered
smallman street
and yes
they are in front of us
steve won’t let it go
he says, all of these months, dude
all of these months
going to clubs
going to bars
trying to meet chicks
and one practically falls in your lap tonight
he says,
dude, what was the problem?
she too good looking for you?
you two have too much in common?
calvin adds,
she was pretty cute, ski
because he thinks he and i have rap names
and she’s only a few paces ahead
i think if she looks back
just once…
but steve stars in again
dude, what club, what bar
are you gonna go to where you’re going to meet
an english lit major
from your own fucking college of all things
he says, next week we’ll be here again
and she won’t
that’s a fact
and you’ll be moaning and complaining, dude
we finally get to the car
wait in the cold blast for steve to stop yelling at me
open doors and get in shivering
i realize i still have half a forty of bud left
in the backseat
it tastes like steinbeck’s
beer milkshake
from here on cannery row
where i didn’t even get her name.

i’m a genius writer

twenty-six years old
alto girl
head to toe in black
black skirt and black nylons
short red hair dancing
under purple smoke lights
of the metropol
hip chick, at least she thinks
beatnik chick
tells me
that i’m too young to be dancing
to 1984 throwback music
but i’m on two 40s of budweiser
some shots
a couple buck-fifty special yuengling bottles
so i’ll dance the dance
because i don’t care
even if she takes the brand new cigarette
out of my mouth
smokes it to toward the last drag
while we stand there
glistened in club sweat
she thinking me too young and she thinking she’s too old
waiting for whatever the night brings
and i can hear
calvin and steve hoot-call throughout the club
their fruitless cattle call
when she finally says,
i love the 80s
like it’s a grand statement
i think to tell her nostalgia is a hole
but she laughs
throws my smoke on the ground
crushes it with black heels
rolls her eyes at me
just another failed male on a saturday night
turns back to find her friends
leaving me
screaming to her shimming back
but i’m a genius writer
inhaling dry ice on the comedown
instead of that camel light.

John Grochalski

simple kiss

sits sideways
window cracked
our smokes to their butt end
the evening
into night into morning
she says
we both have to be there early tomorrow
like a harbinger of doom
hurrying me along
to get where we need to get
this forever night of beer and darts
coming to an end
this year crawling to its close
cassandra sighs and laughs
because i’m frozen where i sit
she grabs me
before i know it
mouth on mouth
sweet immortal simple kiss
she let’s go and is out the car
before i can get a word in
watching her
walk to her door
motion light
i anticipate eternity
but this angel
she doesn’t
even look back.

big picture

we steal ron p’s ritalin from his desk
munch mini thin diet pills for pep
drink pitchers of beer in the phi on our lunch break
we’re not thinking big picture here
i complain to randy about cassandra
she asks me what’s wrong, i say
you stopped calling me stopped talking to me wrong
i’ve spent more time on the phone with her mother
at work i watch cassandra make faces with brandon
huddle over grad school homework with brandon
tattooed union socialist brandon
come to brandon’s punk show, she says
my red-eyes bulging out of my head
ritalin mini thin beer cocktail
what am i gonna do at a punk show?
but i take calvin to the 31st street pub
tattooed brandon on stage screaming into a microphone
a sea of porcelain cassandras fawning over him
on lonely penn avenue
we hear soul music coming out of a club
jacked-sweating-ritalin-beer we go in
the only two white faces in the joint
a sea of ebony anti-cassandras moving to keith sweat
last time like this with ron p.
in a joint on penn avenue east liberty can’t remember the name
only white face then in the joint
smoking weed and buying stolen nike hats
the bartender slams down two cans of budweiser
like drink ‘em fasts boys
we walk around the joint like little ghosts
ace ventura, she says, coming over to me
beautiful black under purple club lights her shirt glows
drags us over to her boyfriend/friend
she says, ace ventura! ace ventura!
nursing beers we play darts with them for an hour
keith sweat turning into guy turning into jodeci into her moving
we stumble out into the street
the punk show ending down the block
a sea of white faces pouring out into the night
cassandrabrandon somewhere in the mix
ritalin hangover we walk back toward the car
calvin saying, ski, i always liked black girls
better than white girls anyway. 


and then
there is portia
portia with her boyfriend
sweet portia whom i’m infatuated with
and you want to know
where i was on tuesday?
face deep in three pints
because i couldn’t be anywhere near you
sit next to you in this class anymore
january to april and i’m worn down of you
because some tortures are too simple
portia with her boyfriend
and your cat got out?
and your dui last summer?
and how you shouldn’t be buying
or drinking alcohol?
so much happens in a week!
portia wants to know why i haven’t
visited her at aussie’s yet
portia with her boyfriend
she says she’s quitting come the twenty-second
portia talks like she’s on speed
and because i want her to keep going
i interject as little as possible
she wants to know
what i think about her maybe staying
in the city this summer
i think the sun and moon and stars about it
but i tell her that’s pretty cool
portia with her boyfriend
at the arts festival regatta fireworks at the point
on the south side shadyside squirrel hill
polish hill lawrenceville bloomfield north side
her big eyes red hair lip ring
in my bars in my clubs
a damned shroud over junejulyaugust
portia wants to know why i still haven’t
come down to the sharper edge for a pint
i laugh i tell her i will really will
once i pick which of one of
these three blessed rivers
i’m gonna go down
and drown my sorrows in

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