John Grochalski

wonder of the world

 

people in the neighborhood

are impressed by the mound of shit

planted there in the middle of the street

 

they say, wow, watch that shit!

watch that poop! if they are with kids

 

it looks more human than canine

 

the middle schoolers and high schoolers

like to come by after class to look at it

 

the middle schoolers use the crap mound

as a chance to try out their swear words

 

shit, they say….ew gross, fucking shit

 

the high schoolers just roll by stoned and say,

dude…shit…. dude

 

still, they all look at it like it’s the next wonder of the world

unbroken by torrents of rain or high winds

 

occasionally someone steps in the shit mound

they seem pretty unimpressed by it when that happens

 

personally, i wonder if the building’s super

has seen the mound of shit

 

maybe when he’s taking out the trash or blowing around leaves

 

i wonder if he’s as impressed by the shit mound

as the people in the neighborhood

 

it has to be why he hasn’t taken out the hose

and washed the shit mound away down the street

sending it off to shit mound hell

 

that’s okay though

the other day some cherubic family came lolling up the street

 

most probably from the park

 

they rode two huge strollers through the shit mound

the kids landed in the middle of it with their new sneakers

squishing it and sending shit streaks everywhere

 

you could hear them outside cursing

wondering who would leave a festering mound of shit

right there in the middle of the street

 

trying to get the shit off the stroller wheels and sneakers

for at least fifteen minutes while their kids cried

 

it was like something magical had died

seeing that shit mound reduced to rubble

 

but i didn’t have to take heart for long

two days later someone left another shit mound on the street

 

human…canine…take your pick

only this one more impressive than the first

 

and now the middle schoolers and high schoolers are back

saying, shit, man, shit man, fucking shit-man-dude

 

and people with strollers are careful to go around it

 

it feels like i live right outside the egyptian pyramids

and i’m thinking of charging admission

 

tell all the people that if they look hard enough

into the center of the turd

 

that they can see the face of jesus christ

 

then call in on the super

and see if he wants to go 50/50

on whatever it is we make.

 

 

exegesis

 

tricia

came from westchester

where parents handed kids cars

on their sixteenth birthday

the way others peeled off a five spot

and told their needy spawn to have a good time

that’s not to say she’s pampered

tricia’s parents

only bought her two cars

they only paid for her grad school twice

and are on record as saying they’ll only pay for one marriage

first she was a scientist then she was a lawyer

now she’s a teacher but she hates that too

tricia hides in the bathroom on her lunch breaks

and updates her twitter and facebook statuses

to make it seem like she has a much better life

than the rest of us

she always asks, is it wine o’clock yet?

always has some anecdote about a student who needed saving

tricia says she’s sacrificed her health for her job

she chokes down her salad when she gets the chance

otherwise her happy pills

will upset her empty stomach

and her therapist says that tricia doesn’t need

anymore drama in her life

she’s already married to a guy named bill

who can sing and draw and makes the most wonderful foods

only he won’t do anything with his talent

bill is content to just go to his office job

who just goes to an office job? tricia’s mother always asks

no one from westchester that’s for damned sure!

oh, and bill leaves piss dribbles on the bathroom floor

this kind of stuff enrages tricia

both the lack of ambition and the pee on the floor

she tries to get bill motivated

get him to read good books and go to art galleries

just like her mom did taming her dad

she tries to get him to sit down when he urinates

but bill doesn’t seem to care about any of it

so he and tricia spend their weekends in their apartment

streaming tv shows and playing on their phones

taking happy pills and eating popcorn

that is until tricia wrote a book

a wonderful kid’s book

all about a turtle who’s afraid to come out of his shell

two hundred words that took her two years in secret

in the bathroom of her job to write

she says it’s about self-acceptance

but tricia’s mother says, why not write a REAL book?

she says it’s about bill

but bill doesn’t see himself in it

he shrugs and says, if you say so, dear

only tricia wasn’t going to do anything with the book

but a lack of ambition on her end would’ve been hypocritical

and thankfully she has an old high school friend and ex-flame

from westchester, blair

who’s a big shot literary agent in midtown manhattan

a down-to-earth guy

and…oh…if you’d only reacquainted herself with him first!

tricia’s mother squeals

a guy with all of the ambition that bill doesn’t have

blair…whose parents only bought him one car

blair…whose parents only paid for his grad school once

so he understands the value of a dollar

blair…. whose still unmarried and straight and probably pisses in the bowl

so….

thankfully tricia was wise enough to send her book to blair

all two hundred words that took her two years

of inhaling salads and her colleague’s farts

and her mother’s criticisms on sunday night phone calls

so that blair could read it and fawn over it

and give it to his editor friend at the big publishing house

where the book will be out in time for christmas next year

and when you ask tricia how she did it

how she reached out into the clear blue sky

and snagged her own little piece of the american dream

she doesn’t think about westchester or

cars or college or teaching or bill or piss on the floor

or how growing up everyone told her she was pretty

but not as pretty as her mother was at that age

tricia always says it was, hard work and tenacity

as she fingers her bottle of happy pills in her purse

and watches blair schmooze some blonde from across the room

as bill nods his head until it becomes awkward for everyone

and he goes off alone, scratching his ass

to get himself another helping of that delicious shrimp cocktail

that they always serve

at even the most mediocre

of literary events.

 

 

today’s drunkard

 

is stumbling around

incoherently

pulling encyclopedias off the shelves

and throwing them onto tables

with slaps loud enough to wake the dead

 

today’s drunkard

keeps opening doors that he’s not supposed to

while we employees

shout

but sir…. but sir…. but….

 

occasionally he stops and shakes

like he’s having an epileptic fit

 

he scares children

but their parents keeping saying

don’t worry, honey, everyone is different

and that’s what’s so great about the world

 

right about the time

today’s drunkard bends over and makes

like he’s going to vomit on the floor

 

then the parents aren’t so open to diversity

 

they take their kids by the arm

and pull them out of the building as quickly as they can

 

as today’s drunkard

stands tall and farts and laughs

and bares his broken yellow teeth

 

looking around to see what he can do next

 

while i man a mop

and clutch the telephone

waiting to see if i have to clean up

today’s drunkard’s

puke or excrement

 

or if i’ll have to dial

911

once again.

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