Sunday, February 17, 2019


men standing outside the catch-22 bar

the boozy semi-circle
of bud light vapor

i know it too well

and obviously they aren’t discussing socrates
or china’s roll in southeast asian policy tonight

they’ve got tits and ass and violence
on their minds as always

whose ass it is they’ve got to hit or kick

from their shambling silhouettes
against the streetlights
i know that i’ve pushed down
pints of the green poison with some of them

back at a bar the nyc health board
had the good sense to close years ago

but it’s good to see people
keeping up with their hobbies in a new space

there is a sense of satisfaction
in the sameness of a city night

to tell the truth
i don’t frequent bars too much these days

i never really fit in when i did
with my college degree and steady pay

as if the desire to self-medicate
to the point of delirium
was an economic situation alone

it took those guys months
before they’d talk to me

and then it was about shit i didn’t care about

the NFL or cop shows
whose wife was ragging on who
or that muslim, foreign born president we had

in hindsight i missed the silence

which is why
i probably stopped going there
and started drinking at home

still i’m curious to see
what would happen if i walked in there now?

declared ain’t nostalgia grand!
caught the tailwind of the whisky they’d chugged
and followed those boozehounds back inside

found myself a seat in the corner
graced the confines of the catch-22 with my presence

would there be a sense of recognition?
a waltz of déjà vu?
a little of the old ultra-violence?

some hot tuna or the dead on the juke?
fox news out of every cattycorner?

or would it be a sodden fitzgerald type
sitting there telling me i told you so old sport

nothing but the wreck
of reflections in the barroom mirror

everyone and anyone
waiting on their deaths

or for the ghost joseph heller
to come strolling in.

--John Grochalski

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