Portrait Of The Artist At Twenty One by John Grochalski

the so-called writer
(at least that’s what he’s telling everyone)
sits outside in the cold
of a february night
while inside his mother
berates his old man
for drinking too much beer
and spilling coffee on everyone
including the tablecloth
twenty-one
he’s writing immortal poems in a blue notebook
left hand chapped and shaking
cigarette on the end of the stoop
with a bottle of
oh-my-god
four dollar mogen david wine at his side
complaining to the gods
that he can’t even get drunk on it
doesn’t know anything about drunk
just drink vomit repeat like a rock star
he thinks the stars and planets at night
are distant souls
he’s thinking about the blonde
who kissed him months ago
but never returned for another round
he’s thinking about the red-head in art class
he needs three beers at the panther hollow inn
to go and talk to
the multitude of women
on that regrettable college campus
the writer sits shivering
tipping the bottle of gloried grape juice
into the porch light
as muffled voices bitch from behind him
mister-everything-is-beautiful-everything-is-holy
doing victory laps around his half-formed life
the next jack kerouac
with chattering teeth
an unread copy of visions of cody
freezing at his thighs
haiku notebooks and dream journals
on his purchasing horizon
and of course all of his friends are saints
they’re walking pieces of art
stalking the pittsburgh city streets
the streetlights behind them making halos
he doesn’t know it yet
but the world doesn’t need another
dumb romantic writer
taking up space
recycling the same old same old
an empty vessel
a silly useless cliché
at such a ripe young age
i think we’ll stop here
and let him rest.

John Grochalski 3
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), and the novels, The Librarian (Six Gallery Press 2013), and Wine Clerk (Six Gallery Press 2016). Grochalski currently lives in Brooklyn, New York, where the garbage can smell like roses if you wish on it hard enough.

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