John Grochalski, 10/12

dead wood

they can try to hide
the remnants of us old drunks
by putting big screen televisions all over the bar
and a fake fireplace in the corner
they can try to mask our leftover odor
with scented candles
and the perfume of a dozen trampy women
clad in miniskirts
clutching their cell phones
and squealing at martinis
but the truth is
right in that corner
is where benny threw a chair at the wall
because mona had been fucking
all of his friends
and in that corner
is where don used to hold court every night
with his short beer, take-out chinese
and whiskey shots
and even though the bathrooms work in this joint
like they never did before
you can’t fool us because we know
who snorted what in the men’s room
before you turned it into the women’s room
we know who fucked whom on the corroded toilet
before you guys put in those new ones
that don’t stink of decades old vomit and shit
so you can go ahead and charge us
six dollars for a pint of colorado piss water
to try and keep the lot of us from coming back
and you can call it a sports bar all you like
but when we pass by
in our heads it’ll still be the same old dive
full of drunken characters and manic saints
and even though you put a new coat
of gloss on the bar
made it real nice and shiny
for all the new nice and shiny people
that you’ve brought in to dull the place
beyond recognition
the truth of the matter is
it ain’t nothing but dead wood in here
and dead wood don’t last long
before it starts to rot.



John Grochalski’s poems and prose have appeared in several online and print publications including:  Red Fez, Rusty Truck, Outsider Writers Collective, Underground Voices, The Lilliput Review, The Main Street Rag, Zygote In My Coffee, The Camel Saloon, and Bartleby Snopes.  He has two books of poetry The Noose Doesn’t Get Any Looser After You Punch (Six Gallery Press) and Glass City (Low Ghost Press), and a third book, The Sun Causes Cancer forthcoming. My chapbook In the Year of Everything Dying can be viewed via Camel Saloon’s Books on Blogs series (

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