Sunday, June 20, 2010

John A. Grochalski

Dear Mr. Logan:

I am a published writer whose poems have appeared in your journal as well as Avenue, Lit Up, Rusty Truck, Thieves Jargon, The Lilliput Review, The New Yinzer, The Blue Collar Review, The Deep Cleveland Junkmail Oracle, The ARTvoice, Modern Drunkard Magazine, The American Dissident, My Favorite Bullet, Words-Myth, The Main Street Rag, Underground Voices, Eclectica, Zygote In My Coffee, the Kennesaw Review, Octopus Beak Inc., Clockwise Cat, Ink Sweat and Tears, Cherry Bleeds, Indite Circle, Lit Up, Gloom Cupboard, Alternative Reel, One Night Stanzas, Re)verb, American Tanka, Tattoo Highway, The Smoking Poet, Why Vandalism, The Delinquent, Delirio, The Chiron Review, Gutter Eloquence, Opium Poetry, Mad Swirl, Deep Tissue Magazine, The Loch Raven Review, The Hidden City Quarterly, Poetic Desperation, Red Fez, Eviscerator Heaven, Viral Cat, Leaf Garden, Down in the Dirt, Black Listed Magazine, Poetry Super Highway, Calliope Nerve, Ghoti, The Plebian Rag, Front Page, Gnome, Poor Mojo’s Almanac, Carcinogenic Poetry, Thirteen Myna Birds, This Zine Will Change Your Life, Children, Churches and Daddies, Fosebook, and the Orange Room Review. My short fiction has appeared in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Fictionville, Bartleby Snopes, Retort, The Battered Suitcase, The Big Stupid Review, Pequin, The Legendary, The Moose & Pussy, and will be forthcoming in the anthology Living Room Handjob. My column The Lost Yinzer appears quarterly in The New Yinzer ( My book of poems The Noose Doesn’t Get Any Looser After You Punch Out is out via Six Gallery Press, and my chapbook Glass Cities is forthcoming on Low Ghost Press. I am sending five poems to you: “this bitter redundant pill,” “hungover on a bathroom floor in paris,” “little girl pounding on the drunk and hungry doorway to my soul,” “happy anniversary,” and “cats,” for consideration to be published in a future issue of Record. Thank you for taking the time to look at the poems and I look forward to hearing from you.

this bitter redundant pill

standing outside another

jack kerouac home

this one he lived in from


someone stole the plaque

commemorating this feat of existence

so we go across the street

into the bar where jack used to

put back pints

with neal cassady, allen ginsberg,

and his oedipus complex

we have done this so many times

you and i

visiting these old tombs

from new york to frisco

all over london and paris

we walked until our feet bleed

the history poured out of our souls

taking photos next to fading plaques

and even more opaque memories

drinking in taverns, like this one,

places of legend without the shine

it satisfies for a moment

but it never gets us anywhere

i mean we never

really get to touch the times we’re seeking

we just fester in our own

half-forgotten already

before we even had a chance

i tell you

you know, seeing all of these places is fine

but it’s like swallowing a bitter sometimes

knowing that no one will ever do it for you

you look at me like i don’t know

what i’m talking about

i think

that’s good

that’s good

because maybe i don’t know

what i’m talking about either

and once we finish our beers

i promise that i’m going to get myself together

because we need to get on the train

back to brooklyn

because the address for henry miller’s

boyhood home

is burning a hole

in my back pocket.

hungover on a bathroom floor in paris

hungover on a bathroom floor in paris

i have a headache and my stomach is burning

i have just thrown up wine and peanuts

from a night of debauchery at la rotonde

there is a tallboy of heineken in the refrigerator

it is half drunk and i don’t remember buying it

but my wife has a digital picture of me

holding the beer and leaning on some stranger’s scooter

with the le dome in the background

and rodin’s statue of balzac off to the right

i have been like this on many bathroom floors before

in pittsburgh, in new york, and in buffalo mostly

i’m not new to this

but this is my first international trip to give alms

to the porcelain god

i didn’t throw up in london

i don’t like this bathroom

the white tile feels warm on my skin instead of cold

and the sink has a mirror that wraps around it

so that i can see how black and blue my eyes look

how pale green my face is

how sweaty and matted my hair and beard are

my legs when i get the shits

i can see wine and peanuts on my t-shirt

i can see what an asshole i look like

hungover on bathroom floor in paris

the bile rising in me again

and the head pounding its too typical beat

a beautiful sunny day trip to the eiffel tower

probably wasted

because i wanted to die too much the night before

because i always want too much.

little girl pounding

on the drunk and hungry doorway

to my soul

our favorite burmese place

in the city has been closed

for i don’t know how long

we find this out after getting drunk

in the bar around the corner

we are sad because we’ve shared many

a monumental meal at that place

we take the train back across

the east river

feeling there’s nothing to do

but head toward home

we find an italian restaurant on

3rd avenue

we both have to piss

but i’m a gentlemen so i let

my wife go first while the homosexual waiter

seats us

and asks me about the usa versus england

soccer game

i tell him i always root against america

especially when we’re on the world’s stage

he frowns at me

but then my wife comes back

and i head to the pisser

which is locked

i shake the door, pound, and curse

i want whomever is in there to know

what they’ve done to me

i go into the women’s room

i have no choice

it is a single bathroom, so i’m not

disturbing the natural course of existence

i open up and begin to piss

it feels good

hours of beer running away

like bad memories

when there is a pounding on the door

someone shaking the handle

i think it’s the prick from the men’s room

getting me back

so i start shouting drunken threats as i piss

the piss is taking a long time

but i think i’m going to knock this man out

when i get out of the bathroom

he doesn’t say anything

to my threats

just keeps pounding at the door

shaking the handle

i finish and don’t even wash my hands

i go to the door

unlock it and fling it open

there’s no one there but a little blonde girl

in a brown dress

her eyes like big black diamonds

she looks up at me and smiles

i step aside and she goes into the bathroom

locking the door behind her

you just got lucky kid, i shout

because i have nothing constructive to do

with my anger

when i get back to our seat

my wife is there with the waiter

he still wants to talk soccer

but i feel drunk and hungry and done with the day

i say to my wife

how about some pinot noir

she seems to agree with that

so we order a bottle

and the waiter goes and bothers

somebody else.

happy anniversary

my mother calls

at the last minute

of the last hour

of the last day

and my wife throws the phone

at me from the bedroom

where she has not been sleeping

while i’m trying to make

a go of it on the couch

happy anniversary, my mother says

why are you calling so late? i ask

i wanted to get you

before your anniversary was over


i look at my wife

she is pacing the kitchen now

slamming the fridge

getting herself a glass of wine

while i sit here with an empty glass

but it’s been that kind of a day

one with the best intentions

having gone to shit

i figured you’d be up, my mother says

yes, i say

i am up because my wife and i have

been fighting

swapping rooms and insults for almost

an hour

six years ago she was wearing a skimpy

white outfit and we fucked for an hour

but i don’t say this

i ask her again why she is calling

is it late? my mother asks

for some, i say

well i figured if i was up, the two of you

were up

my mother is a fucking detective

we are, i say

well, happy anniversary, she says

thank you

then i hang up without another word

my wife comes back in the room

she has that “don’t start with me,” face

i toss the phone on the coffee table

but it bounces off of proust

and smacks onto the living room floor

well, i don’t think we’ll be hearing

from my mother for a while, i say

then i get up and get myself

another glass of wine

thinking that i have another year, hopefully,

to try and get this particular day


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