Tuesday, July 5, 2016

John Grochalski - One Poem

Watching The Fat Kid Play Video Games
he hasn’t been in here for months
because the other kids were making fun of him
this afternoon, they’re leaving him alone
caught up in their own stupid boy/girl dramas
he’s as good as the mildew stain on this wall
….for now
fat kids pray for small miracles like this
moments of calm within the maelstrom
of insults and indignities
i know because i was one
obese double chinned sweatpants wearing
bad hair pimpled glasses wouldn’t fit over my face
tailored polyester pants xxl t-shirt man tits
wouldn’t go bare chested on a beach or in a pool to save my life
especially if there were girls around
until i starved myself for a small vanity at seventeen
told myself a little conformity never hurt anyone
i still carry that fat kid with me
into every relationship
you just never get too close to people
because the past has shown you  just how easily they turn
i wish more for the fat kid sitting here
playing video games on his phone
more than a life of caution and a well of distrust
small moments that evaporate
with the blink of some bastard’s eye
i hope he learns how to come through the fire
better than i ever did
hope he carves out
some simple kind of happiness
finds his niche his crowd his tribe
learns it’s okay too to make it alone
i think how a little bit of optimism
never hurt anyone either
but soon the conversation
of the other kids dies down
the taps on the shoulders and the whispers
and the giggles through cupped mouths begin
the fat kid playing video games
can tell it just as well as i can
this sixth sense we’ve been saddled with
and as he gets up to leave before the onslaught even comes
i want to tell him something
something that’ll make this all right
but i just say, take it easy, man
and he doesn’t even answer me
just breaks for the door and is gone like a phantom
before the first cackle bursts
from the cacophony
of those ignorant, well-formed
well-adjusted mouths.
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), Starting with the Last Name Grochalski (Coleridge Street Books, 2014), the novel, The Librarian (Six Gallery Press 2013), and the forthcoming novel, The Wine Clerk (Six Gallery Press 2016).  Grochalski currently lives in Brooklyn, New York, in the section that doesn’t have the bike sharing program.

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