Monday, February 20, 2017



americans only know tragedy
when sports teams lose the big game
or standing in line at the post office

and there is a big line in this one
and people are sweating and cursing

looking at their phones and watches
as if there is somewhere of intrigue to actually go to

looking at the big clocks down both ends of the office
like it’s times square in alcatraz this morning

of course there are only two tellers on duty

and two of the customers are ready to duke it out
at the express window

but i was here first, one says
into this big vacuous void of apathy

some people just have no respect, the other says

well, some people don’t know
how to take turns, the other one retorts

and on and on and on like relearning the wheel
of fourth grade recess bitterness and contempt

until someone in line tells them both to shut the fuck up

and we shuffle at the invective
looking like gray waves at a sad and empty beach

you can smell a riot in here this morning
the earthy mist of moss before a microburst pops off

some of us won’t make it out alive
some of us won’t make it out with our souls intact
some of us have sports teams that will carry us

and that will be enough to call this game a life

it used to be that the world
gave you a bit of privacy,
one says to the other

it used to be that people were competent
enough to pay their bills on time, the other says to the other

they blend in like a perfect violence

and when the bell rings i step to the teller like a dazed prize fighter
having no clue why i entered this ring in the first place

two dozen sets of eyes on me
waiting to see what misery i will throw down

then she says, can i help you?

so i say, a book of stamps
a book of stamps with anything on it

but that goddamned american flag.

                 -- John Grochalski


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