Tuesday, November 1, 2011

John Grochalski - One Poem

Smelling Like an Ocean Breeze

standing in this shower
that doesn’t drain right

the water never hot or strong enough for me

always coming out like warm piss

the shower in this apartment
feels like what it must be like to be pissed on

i look at the row of shampoos and soaps and think
today i want to smell like an ocean breeze

there are a lot of shampoos and soaps in my shower

a hazard of living with a woman
but i’ve gotten used to it over the years

bottles promising to bodify my hair
whatever in the hell that means

others promising to make it shine
give it bounce

but this morning i want to smell like an ocean breeze

so i grab the plastic bottle
filled to the top with electric blue goop
and begin washing my hair
while i look at all of the other bottles

the ones smelling of lavender
the one smelling of strawberries

the body wash bottle promising the scent of rain
all of my wife’s silver tubes of hair dye conditioner

it beats looking out the small window we have
the one oddly placed in the shower

it beats watching the cheerless neighbors going off to work
or taking their dogs out for a shit

watching the joggers sweat it out another block
the kids heading off to school for another day
of forced socialization and disappointment

the cluster fuck of traffic
caught in another construction site vortex

it beats watching the garbage men leave
boxes of trash, paper, cans,
and old food smeared all over the street
from bags they’ve dropped and split open

it keeps me from wondering why
they don’t just pick it the fuck up

i mean they are garbage men for christ sake

it beats watching the sun rise on another hopeless day
in this godforsaken city

washing my hair with the scent of an ocean breeze
conditioning it with the scent of an ocean breeze

i suddenly get depressed

i come to the conclusion that
these products don’t smell of salt and sea at all
or even sand for that matter

they smell like sugar and cheap perfume

like no ocean that i’ve ever been to
or want to rest my fat white belly on

and that i’m going to spend the day
smelling like some hussy in a french whorehouse

they are just an illusion these shampoos

a pipe dream

another con job compliments of
your local neighborhood corporation

this one promising beauty and bliss

a clean breeze coming off the ocean
a hopeful moment away from this constant mess

and in my thirst for something
just a little bit outside the norm

something just a little bit better
than the constant flow of mediocrity
that i see outside this shower window
each and every sad and uneventful morning

i fell for it hook, line, and sinker

because deep down i know that an ocean breeze
doesn’t smell like this

the ocean smells of shit and death

just like everything else around here.

John Grochalski’s poems and stories have appeared in several journals including The Lilliput Review, Underground Voices, Zygote In My Coffee, The Big Stupid Review, and Bartleby Snopes. Grochalski is the author of two books of poems The Noose Doesn’t Get Any Looser After You Punch Out (Six Gallery Press 2008) and Glass City (Low Ghost Press, 2010). Grochalski currently lives in Brooklyn, New York, where he constantly worries about the high cost of everything.

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