Wednesday, December 13, 2017


poem to the fruit stand check-out cashier

i come in here
crushing daisies

i’m hungry for bread and red meat

but it smells so vegetal in here
it makes me want to throw up

and i can’t get all of these old people
with shopping carts out of my way

america is full of old people pushing carts

getting fat off of tax breaks
frowning at me and refusing to die

while the rest of us sift through trash
take happy pills to prove
that we can still have a good time

and i don’t care what kanye and kim are doing
or about american princesses shaking up london

or your fucked-up brother in albany
waiting for the opioid epidemic to end

all i want is this freshly squeezed orange juice
to put a lid on his hangover

until i can hit up the bodega next door for aspirin
and a garbage bag full of lottery tickets

and, no, i don’t have your member card

i mean need i remind you of what groucho marx said?
or doesn’t he show up on your twitter feed?

look, i haven’t written a decent poem in weeks
decent poem don’t grow on trees, you know?
and it’s so warm in december my ass is still sweaty

come to think of it i don’t like your smile either

tuesday mornings are the worst mornings
for that kind of artifice…so cut it out

america was probably founded on a tuesday morning

but i like the way your smiles fades
when you catch that never trump pin on my jacket’s lapel

that woke you up, didn’t it, sister?

yeah, we’re everywhere in this neighborhood
breathing your air and getting drunk at night
buying freshly squeezed orange juice in the morning

spending american dollars like we still belong here

but don’t worry….deep down i know it’s your country
and not mine

from what i’ve seen in all my years
you can keep it too

wrap yourself in the american flag
until you turn red and choke

just give me the fucking juice and my change

so that i can get out the hell out of here
and back out on the streets

where it’s nothing but bloodshed
and dog eat dog to the bone

avenues full of nothing to place your hopes on
but the setting of the sun

and abandoned shopping carts.

--John Grochalski


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