Monday, June 29, 2009

Two poems by John Grochalski

by John Grochalski

for the guy
whose dinner i bought

and charitable
are both the same thing
and in this economic
you got to be drunk
to blow money
but you looked sad
sitting there
eating a hot dog
and fries
in the packed bar
with no teeth
and bags over your
to keep in the warmth.
you looked like
my grandfather
and i felt fat
and charitable
and i never did a thing
for my grandfather
except wait him out
and carry his casket
when he died.
so i gave the waitress
and told her to keep
and you,
maybe you thought the world
had one last
miracle to give.
maybe you didn't
even care
who paid the bill.
what does it matter
three days later
when we are both
hungry and stuck in the
unforgiving world


you can be the muse too

there is nothing to do here
but wait on the end or death
so i start watching a girl
with a sketch book.
she has a good pen and is
holding it sideways
sketching the guy sitting in front
of her.
she is working on the beard now
a long, red sage-like one
a whitman beard
that he keeps stroking while
someone speaks.
the girl has to keep stopping
but she's patient to a point.
it looks just like him.
then she puts the drawing away
and grabs another piece of paper.
she begins sketching the old woman
to her left.
the old woman is much easier.
doesn't move.
and soon the girl has this fine ink
sketch of the woman, the back of her chair,
and even some of the speaker's podium.
i look at the drawing and admire it.
in my notebook are bad poems
and a haiku with too many syllables.
my wife eyes me
then gives me a look.
i point to the girl, who has taken up
her drawing of the bearded man again.
"look," i say, "we have an artist
in our midst."
my wife looks at the drawing
then turns to me and whispers
"oh, i see that all the time.
people are always drawing other people.
there's probably even a sketch
of you somewhere."
i sit back in my seat to consider
the idea
a sketch of me sitting in someone's
notebook or in a pile of their papers.
then i go back
to looking at the girl.
she's on to someone else now
giving up on the bearded guy a
second time.
this time it is a woman with bright red hair
that tangles instead of curls at the end.
she's doing a good job on her sketch too.
then i turn away
and look at my watch,
as the sun drops a little bit in the sky
and the tress begin to droop
toward the west coast.

Author bio:

John Grochalski is a published writer whose poems have appeared in your journal as well as Avenue, The Lilliput Review, The New Yinzer, The Blue Collar Review, The Deep Cleveland Junkmail Oracle, The ARTvoice, Modern Drunkard Magazine, The American Dissident, Words-Myth, My Favorite Bullet, The Main Street Rag, Thieves Jargon, Underground Voices, Why Vandalism, Eclectica, Zygote In My Coffee, the Kennesaw Review, Gloom Cupboard, Octopus Beak Inc., Re)Verb, The Smoking Poet, Ink Sweat and Tears, Cherry Bleeds, Indite Circle, Lit Up, and the Orange Room Review. His short fiction has appeared in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Bartleby Snopes, The Big Stupid Review, and will be forthcoming in Pequin, Battered Suitcase, and the anthology Living Room Handjob. His column The Lost Yinzer appears quarterly in The New Yinzer ( His book of poems The Noose Doesn't Get Any Looser After You Punch Out is out via Six Gallery Press.

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