Friday, January 1, 2021


the ballad of joe

joe owned a bar
joe had a wife
joe had three kids
and a big house down on shore drive
joe had grandkids that he loved
joe loved the jets
even though they broke his heart
joe was a beatles man
but joe loved the stones
just as much
joe had buddies
who sat with him in his bar
listening to the beatles and the stones
as Fox News played
on big screen tvs on mute
joe’s best friend was his bartender bart
joe and bart went back forty years
back when the neighborhood was safe
and you could go to bed with your doors unlocked
joe loved america 
joe was a patriot
joe thought trump was tough
just like joe
just like the guys in the neighborhood were tough
you had to be tough
to love the jets
joe thought covid-19 was a hoax
that’s what Fox News told him
that’s what trump said
and trump was tough
joe bought cruise tickets back in february
a little something nice for him and his wife
joe didn’t care what the newspapers were saying
joe wanted to sail to spain
his kids begged and pleaded 
for them not to go
joe told them to be tough
like trump
stop believing the left wing media, joe said
so joe and his wife went sailing to spain in march
it was a good trip
the trip of a lifetime
made all of those years in the bar worth it
but when joe got home
he didn’t feel so well
his throat burned
and the fever was unreal
his body ached
joe couldn’t sit in the bar at all
he told bart to watch the place for him
and then joe went home
then to the e.r.
they gave joe a hospital bed
then they gave him a ventilator
joe said goodbye to his wife and kids 
and grandkids on a cell phone
as Fox News played on mute
in the background
by the middle of march
joe was dead of covid-19
his best buddy bart the bartender
in a hospital room
two doors down from joe
dead of covid just a few days later
and all of the tough guys in the neighborhood
put flowers
and their jets hats
on the ground by the door
of joe's bar
because life was tough
when you were a tough guy
all of the time.

---John Grochalski

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