The Accidental Islamophobe by John Grochalski

i don’t know why
but i got on this bob dylan trip
with my wife
as we were walking through the neighborhood

talking about bob
making all of these sinatra old timey records now
and how sometimes it just takes people longer
to become complete and total bores lacking in vision

my wife said,
you know, bob is playing a whole bunch
of those standards at his shows

big surprise, i said
another artists letting down the masses
with mediocrity and self-indulgence

she said, maybe people will revolt

people will take what’s handed to them,  i said
but it would be nice to see people shouting

hey, play like a woman!
play like a rolling stone!
enough of this old fart music!

of course, most of those songs are over fifty years old too

i bet bob would walk off the stage, my wife said.

nah, i said, he’s probably part of the zeitgeist now
he’ll probably stop playing and shout down to the crowd
fuck you people, this is donald trump’s america!

which i shouted out loud
just as two muslim girls met us at a crosswalk

having no context for why i barked such putrid inanity

they both gave me the dirtiest looks from women
that i’d seen in a long time

and then kept going their way
as we kept going ours

over battered sidewalks and sink holes
traffic and bass permeating another garbage-strewn block

all the refuse of life that ties us together
from the things that work so hard to rip us apart

not really saying anything
until we were far enough away

when i finally said,
i hope dylan at least plays jokerman
or maybe tangled up in blue.

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John Grochalski 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), the novel, The Librarian (Six Gallery Press 2013), and the forthcoming novel, The Wine Clerk (Six Gallery Press 2016). Grochalski currently lives in Brooklyn, New York, in the section that doesn’t have the bike sharing program.

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