Friday, July 17, 2020


the great american pandemic poem

sitting here
trying to write
about the great american pandemic poem

but where to start?

government apathey and maleficence
the gop death cult

or simply death itself?

138 thousand of us gone
at the time of this writing

the most in the world

and i think i finally understand
what american exceptionalism is all about

truth be told
i don’t want to be writing
the great american pandemic poem

i want to be at a ballgame or a bar
or pissing away my free time
in a bookstore or at a movie

you know…the shit we all used to do

i want to be in paris or berlin
watching deer roam on the island of miyajima

this poem isn’t even that great

all i’ve done in it
is throw out some statistics and bitch

name drop some places scattered all over the world

and all i’m going to do
for the rest of this poem
is feel bad for myself

write about how dumb and selfish
americans are

what a worthless piece of shit donald trump is
while i call him a bunch of names

then let the poem peter out
like most of my other poems
have a tendency to do

because ending a poem is hard

i’d rather be writing about
some lunatic at my job
that dog that won’t stop barking
or that car alarm that won’t shut off

that woman who smokes
in front of my living room window
instead of anywhere else
in the entire universe

but all i notice
is that the dog owner and the smoker
aren’t wearing their masks

and i don’t really
miss my job at all

i miss the triviality in a line, though

i hate contemplating my mortality
the complex and profound

i’m true red, white and blue in that way

and i hate this pandemic
i hate its stupid name
and number

i hate that there are 138 thousand of us gone

that our ignorant
rapist, racist misogynistic
kremlin owned
baby-dicked president
only cares about the stock market
and his own inflated vanity

while dead bodies sit in cooling vans

i hate that americans
are too selfish or pig ignorant
to put on a mask

or consider somebody else

if only for a moment, a few days,
or a few weeks

i hate that getting your haircut
seeing some super hero movie
and going to disney

are all more important
than whether or not your neighbor dies
or spends the rest of their life
with a fucked-up lung

i’ve grown to hate a lot of things these days

like trying
to write
a poem
about a pandemic

the great american pandemic

the greatest, most beautiful american pandemic
that pandemicing has ever seen

the kind of pandemic
that we should drape in the american flag

finally claim it

call it
our own.           

--John Grochalski                                                          

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