Wednesday, February 8, 2012

John Grochalski - Three Poems

I Don't Wish to be Rich But…

i wouldn't mind
being able to live the way
that i've been living
without having to go to work
or maybe i could splurge a little
have someone come in
and make my food
clean the shit stains out of the toilet
as i toil on the couch
with the great works of philosophy
and plastic bottles of wine
just have enough in the bank
so that i can spend my regular salary
from here until the end of me
after taxes of course
get up a little bit later for breakfast
and lunch
spring for a cab when i get sick of the bus
start drinking the better scotch
i mean i don't wish to be rich but
maybe the gods could give me an allowance
okay, just a little bit more
than the salary i make right now
so that i can buy the fresh vegetables
or take my wife to a nice restaurant
so that i don't have to wait for dvd
to see the latest film by so and so
hire someone else to clean the cockroaches
out of the sink
just enough for a couple domestic flights a year
so that i can visit the family
and show them how good i'm doing
take an international flight
tell paris that i hope its doing well
i don't wish to be rich but
i wonder if i can petition the government
for a yearly stipend
or one of those NEA grants that they give to so many
half-assed artists
i'm not lazy, mind you
i've been published here and there
and i'm willing to do my share for the money
i'd plant a garden and tend to it every day
i'd stay away from facebook
and all of those other traps
just write and write and write
until the tips of fingers turned numb
start submitting to the big boys and girls out there
attend poetry readings
kiss some poetry ass
attend concerts and other cultural events
write about them in innumerable blog posts
i don't wish to be rich but
what i think i'm trying to say here
is that i never asked to toil out in this wilderness either
i mean i wasn't born with a plan
to be saddled with misery and debt
to pay the electric bill and the landlord every month
that stuff was establishing long
before my mother shit me out
and i'm not moaning or complaining
but it's pretty goddamned obvious
that i'm a victim of circumstance here
a dupe
a target
another casualty on the consumptive human wheel
and i just want a little bit of compensation
for my suffering
something green to take away the pain
of this existence
something for my anger
a payoff for making my wife so upset
all of these hard years
a little dough to buy an island
in the middle of the dead sea
i wouldn't even build a house on it or anything
i'd just thankfully lay in the white sand
and count the stars
hum some songs from all of those
top ten desert island albums
that i've been keeping track of
ever since i was a little kid
and the world seemed like a big box
of cracker jack.


i go into the one room in the office
and she has her head on the desk
what's the matter? i ask
god is punishing me, she says
my laptop, it's all gone
the internet and all of my files
i pay my bills online, she says
i go over to check out her computer
sure as shit everything is gone
you have that malware, i tell her
one of those fucking viruses
those little anarchist pricks have plagued us with
this happened to me once, i say
cost me two hundred to get the machine working again
god is punishing me, she says
god isn't real
and if he was he wouldn't punish you
for looking at porn, i say
she lifts her head
i wasn't looking at porn
well, i was, and that's how they got me
i don't want to tell you how this happened, she says
i get up from her laptop
and go into my office to check my email
and pray for a better life
because god is punishing me too
by burdening me with certain aspects of this one
she comes to my door with tears in her eyes
i have to be honest with you, she says
i was looking up your poems again
i look at her sideways because
we've had this problem before about a year ago
i thought my cover was blown at this place
but she never said a word to anyone else
it's just that your stuff is so deep and real, she says
you come off as dull and boring at work, but you're not
i'm just a good liar, i tell her
i really am this dull and boring
no you're not, she says
you're lucky, she tells me
i always wanted to do something like that
but i never could
there was never any encouragement
i just did what my parents told me, she says
i got married and i had a child
there's always time to get the word down, i tell her
she shakes her head
god is punishing me, she says
this is what i get for being nosy and interested in something
malware, i tell her
that's why i'm giving you up for lent
i have to give you up for lent, she says
and then she laughs
tell your wife there's a crazy woman at the office
who's giving you up for lent
i probably shouldn't, i say
god,i bet you find this so hysterical
then she leaves the office
to go back and tend to her broken machine
thinking that some god has punished her
for trying to be more than this criminal world will allow
and i sit there, as always,
trying to find the humor in anything
and everything else in this life.

Supervisor's Psalm

over all of the wrong things
he looks at me like i'm his enemy
because of some false title
but what he can't see
is that i don't care
for as sure as this day is long
i don't care about him
or anything else but

John 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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