Making Art At The Vietnam Veterans Memorial by John Grochalski

i can’t get the juxtaposition of one of the black slabs
and the washington monument quite right
should i have the big white phallus
front and center or slightly off?
would be nice if i could see
the new african american museum from here
get that in the photo
it would be some kind of statement
only i’m not sure in regards to what
that little girl in the neon pink coat
if she’d just move slightly to the left
i could get her in the distance
add a splash of color to all this dreary gray
even the park ranger’s green coat
looks like a rain puddle this morning
what about that group of tourists
make this whole scene kind of an in action shot
change the whole focus
from slabs and monuments to people
although i do wish we were deeper into the autumn
get some of the leaves off the trees
then i could see the lincoln memorial in the distance
have the whole shebang landscaped exactly how i want it
this monument sure is overbearing though
it’s like being drowned in a series of names
a guy my old man fought with is on here
actually there’s dozens that he knew engraved on this
but i remember years ago coming here
and looking up just his name
i can’t remember it now or how he died
friendly fire, i think
when my old man got in touch with his family
they didn’t even know he went that way
thought it was obvious it was the vietnamese
amazing what the government won’t tell a grieving family
wish i knew the name though
could maybe get that in the picture too
or those two people standing alone and away from everyone
in biker jackets and bandanas, still and so solemn
the man keeps biting his lower lip
and the lady keeps wiping her eyes with a black cloth
yeah, those two
if i could get my camera on them
that would be the killer shot for sure.

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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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