Thursday, April 29, 2010

evil eyes

she comes up

the subway steps

with two fleshy shoulders

and a thinly strapped dress

that’s cut just so at the knees

it shows some good thigh

when the stale air

makes it move

she comes up

the subway steps

with her blonde hair thrown back

into a ponytail

her beach tan radiating

wearing black heels that

enhance the curve

of her calves

i look

all the men look

all of us suffering the sun

we all watch the way she sways

toward the stop light

she is natural perfection

and she knows it

but i don’t think she wants any

of our lusty gazes

she comes up

the subway steps

clutching one of those eco-saving

grocery bags

her mouth turned down

beads of sweat on a face

that has no make-up running

and she has the most perfect set

of evil eyes

that i’ve ever seen

saying so much more

than the smallest word of protest

lingering as an echo

on this sweaty block

discussing art

i like watching

the rain fall down

washing out a summer day

the way the gray clouds

and abundant drops of water

keep a gallimaufry

of indistinguishable people

off of the street.

call me sentimental, i guess.

and i like you too

sitting there with that glass of bourbon

after breathless sex

discussing francis bacon

and what it means to make art.

i’ve never really wanted to do it

before, you know,

discuss art,

but there’s something about you

the way you look in the pale light

holding that sweating drink

that makes the topic seem all right.

or maybe i’m just caught in the afterglow

my mind floating

my heart made into mush

sitting like dough in my chest

waiting for you to levigate out the lumps.

i’m just a dog when i get like this

wagging my tail

i’d follow you anywhere.

and i think i’ve learned how to swoon

after twelve years in the mix

with you baby.

that is to say, i feel no trepidation

in my soul

when your eyes beckon me back

toward the bedroom

as the rain begins to fall harder

and all conversation

comes to a stop.

i’m just glad you keep bringing me

along for the ride.

we are all animals, all of us

some guys moves his head

to music and presses against me

on the train

the ugly beat of the song infesting my ears

while she takes up three seats

and won’t move for anyone

as these kids laugh

and put their hands in the doorway

so the doors will keep opening

and closing

so the conductor will keep yelling

over speakers so old

and the train won’t move

as the guy across from me watches

some woman’s ass swivel

and keeps saying, “goddamn, goddamn,”

until he has the whole train

looking at him and the woman’s ass.

but she’s trying to act like

the comments aren’t pointed at her.

i cannot read or think.

i look around me

at the dead flapping their gums

going over files and essays

slobbering on themselves while they sleep

talking trash, reading trash

or playing solitaire on their phones

everyone’s mouth full of yellow, sharp teeth,

and i think

we are animals, all of us

it would take so little just to get us

to tear at each other’s flesh and bone

maybe just a few dollars

or an argument over a television show

i think about this and i smile

then i elbow the next man

who gets on the train, welcoming him

to this hell

i get him right in the gut

he moans but he doesn’t even look at me

just presses up against the wall

as the doors finally close

and we all move on in the dark.

toward the end of the week

i mention how quick but long this week has been

while we sit on the couch having the first

of the five drinks we will have tonight

you tell me yes that it feels that way

then we sit in silence again as the wind

moves plastic bags and soda cans down

bay ridge parkway, and the cats fight

until i tell you that the radio is broken again

i can’t stop


if i get on a train

and there are legs

and a short skirt

across from me

i can’t stop

because i might get

the blessed flash of the panty

or better

and when a woman bends over

to look for a book

or to fix her kid’s coat

tie shoes

and she is wearing low hung


with the thong

the top of the ass crack showing

i must stop whatever

it is i’m doing and watch

until she is done

i can’t stop

i’ve been looking down

women’s shirts since

i was twelve

i used to do ass walks

through parks to pass

the time

i sit through bad films

purely for the nude scenes

even now

with the flash of tit or ass

on the silver screen

i am like a thirteen-year-old boy

i can’t stop

we’ve been together almost

twelve years

but whenever my wife

comes out of the shower wet

red from the hot water on flesh

i have to put down my book

and stare

sometimes i follow her into

the bedroom

and nature takes

its course

i can’t stop

and if there are packs

of young girls

on the street

mean little whore teenage girls

with their tight pants

and cell phones

taunting boys

i take my place against

the wall

and wish to be abused

by them too

i watch them until they

are gone

i can’t stop

i don’t want to stop

i thank the gods every day

for women

such joy

such pleasure

such fantastic misery

all in one

i just can’t stop

i can’t quit any of you

until i’ve eaten you all up

in my mind

and licked the bones

of your souls


John Grochalski

Helpless I do not know if good intentions prevail among the elected, among the appointed, leaving me apprehensive that the fate ...