Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Time To Change Liquor Stores Again...

John Grochalski
 —Poems by John Grochalski, Brooklyn, NY

poem in which i wonder why
i’m not more upset about the death of my cat

maybe it’s because
she was seventeen years old
and blind and deaf
still i can’t figure out why
i’m not more upset about the death of my cat
i know people who’ve been mourning
their pet for a year
people who call their pets their children
get tattoos of them on their back
maybe it’s because
the cat used to spend hours
walking around the apartment in circles
meowing and caterwauling so loud
i thought the neighbors would complain
or how the minute i came home from work
and sat on the couch with a drink
the animal was all over me like a horny teenaged boy
yet i can’t figure out why
i’m not more upset about the death of my cat
aren’t writers supposed to love cats?
t.s. eliot with his plays
hemingway with his key west brood
and bukowski with all of those poems?
maybe it’s because my cat pissed on my couch
and it still smells faintly of urine
and cat piss poems don’t have a lot of traction
or because i have a vet-sized hole in my savings account
but the money complaints just makes me feel selfish and petty
yet here it is only three weeks
since i put her down into eternal rest
and some days it doesn’t even feel like she was ever here
i even took her picture off my facebook account
i’m not trying to suggest this says a lot about me as a person
i can be sensitive to a fault and people heal at their own rate
but hell, not even a gloomy thought on the walk to work?
i’ve tried making myself upset
i’ve tried thinking and thinking about her
how sick and sad and clueless her end was
but all i end up doing is thinking about how nice it is
to have a drink on the couch
without pushing some animal off of me
again and again like it’s some sisyphean task
or watching her walk in circles
driving us both to a complete and total madness
oh, maybe i am a heartless defective
a man without empathy, devoid of soul
because i’m really not more upset
about the death of my cat
all i can think about right now sitting here
is how unbelievably quiet it is
about the two hundred dollars in boarding money
i’ll save now when the wife and i go away
or how when i wake up tonight to take a piss
how i’ll no longer have to dodge all the piles of shit
that she used to leave for me to step in
right by the toilet or somewhere else close by
on the liter-strewn bathroom floor


time to change liquor stores again

these are temporary loves
you should know this by now, i think

but dusting off the embers of these trysts
gets harder and harder with each separation

on any block i pass the dusty visages
of old dalliances gone bad in a sudden twist of fate

an indiscretion here that become too intimate
anger and judgement pushed too far

a price that became too expensive
for my loyalty and trust

or really just hanging around
much longer than i realized
my welcome was wanted

today he wants to discuss rebates
all next week eight dollars off smirnoff

an inane pillow talk that i’ve suffered before
for the sake of the relationship

the drill is to smile and act interested
the way that old couples do
when they tell each other the same story yet again

interject an oh yes, and hmmmm, there and there
while keeping hold of that familiar plastic bottle
as if he were waiting to grip ol’ faithful from my hands

i think of how it used to be when this all started

silent judgment that was easy to tolerate
the cold cash exchange at the register
not unlike a backseat transaction with a whore

how i long for those days
the ones before the hellos and goodbyes
the good afternoons and how was your day, honey

those extra hits from pourer girls
on wine and whiskey tasting fridays
that we never made mention of by monday

but we’ll never get back to that now
we’ve come too far with this

all my relationships have died
the minute they expect me to change

yet like a fool he’ll expect me here all next week

obedient and dedicated like the most beaten of dogs
the way the others have done in the past

but i’m nobody’s slave

i’ve left bigger and better in the dust
over as little as a crossed eye and a torn plastic bag

and there’s this new kid on the block
only five minutes out of my way

a giant grand opening sign in the window
and a face behind the register

blank and unfamiliar, an empty vessel
who knows nothing about me

with whom i can be free
or anyone i want to be…for now.


Our thanks to John Grochalski for popping into the Kitchen this morning, all the way from Brooklyn! John is the author of The Noose Doesn’t Get Any Looser After You Punch Out (Six Gallery Press 2008), Glass City (Low Ghost Press, 2010), In The Year of Everything Dying (Camel Saloon, 2012), Starting with the Last Name Grochalski (Coleridge Street Books, 2014), and the novels, The Librarian (Six Gallery Press 2013), and Wine Clerk (Six Gallery Press 2016).  Grochalski currently lives in Brooklyn, New York, where he says the garbage can smell like roses if you wish on it hard enough. John’s poem, “upon seeing my first book of poetry deleted from the library’s online card catalog” appeared on Medusa’s Kitchen last Sunday, Nov. 27, and you can read more about him at Welcome to the Kitchen, John, and don't be a stranger!


Today’s LittleNip:




Celebrate words, wherever they come from—
Celebrate poetry! 

And don’t forget that tonight is the annual 
Sac. Poetry Center Annual Fundraiser 
at the home of Mimi and Burnett Miller
1224 40th St., Sacramento. Food and drink, plus
 music by the Golden State Brass (with Tom Goff), 
and poetry by Susan Kelly-DeWitt
General admission is $35; SPC Members $30. 
Scroll down to the blue column (under the 
green column at the right) for info about this 
and other upcoming poetry events in our 
area—and note that more 
may be added at the last minute.

Photos in this column can be enlarged by clicking on them once,
then click on the X in the top right corner to come back
to Medusa.