Poetry from John Grochalski

collecting the mail


collecting the mail

after being gone two weeks in europe

and my mind is sullied


i don’t know what it is


maybe being gone for so long

i expected something different coming back


but it’s the same ugly faces

doing the same ugly things


and nothing will change any of us


the woman behind me

in the postal line is angry


about her kids running around

or no longer being young and beautiful


about it being a saturday

and she’s stuck in a post office line

with ugly people

living dull and ugly lives


she keeps ringing the service buzzer

even though the clerk is off getting my mail


presses and presses the bell

like its personally offended her


i turn and say, look, lady…

but she’s not having any of me today


so we stand there

and she rings the buzzer






and i think about how europe is over-rated


the postal clerk comes back

with my mail


she throws it at me

because she thinks i’m the one

whose been making all of the noise with the buzzer


explaining myself isn’t worth the words


so i take the bundle

off to sift through


while the lady behind me

begins to yell at the postal clerk

about a lost package

or the fact that there is no god


there is nothing in my mail of any value


just fliers for politicians i won’t vote for

ads for plays and symphonies i won’t see


a package of worthless coupons

a wedding announcement for someone i don’t even know


and a book by a young, hip poet

that i’ll take home and toss with the others

never to read


unless i find

i’m bored out of my mind one day


and thinking about the king of england

just ain’t doing it


for me.

the politicians at the street festival



in booths


between fried oreo stands

bounce houses

and people selling plastic figurines


they sit and smile

and are impervious to sun and rain


to the ten bands on the street

all playing shitty beatles covers at once


they look like

they’re made of wax


dumb smiles all around


that one is pro-choice

that one is pro-life


this one has a banner

that says love is love is love


but doesn’t really say anything at all


they sit there

at their cluttered tables

with flags and stacks of papers before them


the politicians at the street festival


papers full of all of the items

they stand for or are against


more trees have died for their nonsense

than one could hazard to count


and they would be

the biggest idiots here


if it weren’t for all of the people walking around


eating hot dogs

and fried dough


all of the clueless citizens who voted

these grinning hucksters into office


in the first

goddamned place.

capitalism will kill us all


we burn teachers in effigy

while revering false populists and rapist athletes

as golden gods on the mount


burn ourselves out into oblivion

for someone else’s wealthy stake


as the kids marching to school in death masks

breathing in the infected air

are tasked with repeating the cycle


past the honking cars

of the tired and angry peasants

who came before them


simple fools

with angry mouths and quaking chins


trapped inside a madness

that we were all born into


left with nothing

but tv shows and a timely death


as our only escape.

talk to the plants


the brunch faces

have me down


i can’t understand

the way they can smile and hiss

over orange juice and champagne


i am hungover and hungry


i have walked these blocks

longer than some of them

have been alive


and have nothing to show for it


but piles of paper

full of silly words


i tried to become some thing

but something always held me back


or the gods just said

kid, we simply don’t need you


to perfect the art of nothing

is to perfect the art of man


or some bullshit like that


but the brunch faces

they don’t understand


they laugh and laugh

and eat their runny eggs


order more orange juice and champagne


as if the world doesn’t

have them clamped down too


i can’t stand them

i’ve written enough about them


and there is nothing left to do now

but get off of these streets


go home

stare at the wall


as the sun fades on another stupid

wasted day


that desires me to talk to no one

in this world


but the plants.

making art during the fall of democracy


dead in the water nation

seventy-seven-degree morning


up before five a.m.


collecting the gnats

that have gathered

in the dirt ring in the shower


as the wars rage on

as women lose their rights


as government comes for the queer community


these theocratic proto-fascist

christian taliban zombies

slobbering on their social media bully pulpits


as the supreme court

scorches the earth


while the geriatric president stands there

scratching his senile balls


talking about nothing but the economy


as gas prices burn suburbia

into budding fascism


and the plague plays on and on and on


as july shows its ugly face

and every true blood

sticks an american flag up their tight asses


calling it democracy


i stare at another massacre of words

on the computer screen


thinking this is good

or not nearly good enough


i guess.