Thursday, December 26, 2019


seasons greetings

at the holidays
they had us working
twelve hour shifts
from open to close
and the place was a madhouse
of people off for
their holiday breaks shouting
their wine orders
and making dinner plans
with their asshole friends
on their cell phones
as the rest of us hauled
cases out of the warehouse
and stocked the shelves
as fast as we could
only to do it again moments later.
and they kept the holiday music
going the whole time
sinatra, dean martin,
good old bing crosby
who beat the shit out of his kids
for christmas
while the people in the store
picked out their wine
in bright jackets and festive hats
as they sang along with the music
as we ran around speaking
exhausted gibberish
hoisting more cases of wine
throwing the bottles of red and white
into slats
listening to the same twelve hours
of manufactured cheer
all those long hours
while the owner of the store
smiled benevolently at his customers
from his perch
and tried to figure out how
to cut our paychecks down to the minute.
and there was never a break from the music.
it played in the staff room as you
shoved down lunch
it played in the bar across the street
where we went for secret pints
and shots on our dinner break
it emanated out of cars in the cold
buffalo night
and it played on the radio
as you drove home beaten
and demoralized
through another december snow
it played in your drunken dreams
at night as the street glowed those
ugly christmas colors.
all those terrible, merry songs sung
by the smiling famous and the dead
silent night
the first noel
oh come all ye faithful
jingle bells
and the rest of that miserable pap
that gave you no comfort or joy.
it stayed with you like a venereal disease
that whole long and final month
of another bad year
burning and aching
so that when december twenty-sixth
rolled around
and everyone else was tired
from the yuletide and miserable
you suddenly felt like a million dollars
driving down the street
bleary-eyed and finally gone mad
blasting rudolph the red-nosed reindeer
with a tallboy of silver bullet
between your legs
in ear shot of every straggling bastard
coping with an egg nog hangover
heading back toward that job
for another twelve hours
as the world geared up
to ring in the new year
in just under a week.

--John Grochalski


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