the electrician three days with not heat no hot water vodka after vodka after as a blizzard falls we breathe heavy into the amber-dimmed room to see if we can see our breath while in the hallway some tenant screams accusations and obscenities at the super, at his wife at their two year old daughter chalkboard slangy valley girl blonde ditz voice who’s never been cold a day in her life looking for someone to blame because daddy told her on the phone not to take this inconvenience lying down the younger they get the more they bitch the less empathy they seem to have some have taken to scrawling revolutionary script on paper throughout the building begging us to call 311 for salvation calling bullshit on the dead boiler but still the snow falls and the wind howls and the hard wood gets colder the extra shirts and blankets and socks and hats are outliving their usefulness the alarm clock flips slowly on these desperate hours and the kitchen light won’t turn on four double vodkas and no food suddenly i’m an electrician a high wire act on a shaking chair i fall and land on shoulders land on knees next to a frozen cockroach as my wife rushes over as the cat circles and cries while outside my door ditz blonde ditz screams echoes into our little world that she’d not going to take this kind of stupid shit
winter nights in brooklyn fail me like no other nights when they fail to keep the people off the streets talking politics into the melting slush the dogs with their endless moaning barking death rattles steaming shit piles waiting for idiot feet brooklyn new york the big shut up these thawing ceaseless winter nights of televisions and car horns of boredom and futility the hurt psalms of a woman screaming down this street her romance dying on her cell phone for everyone to hear and from an idled truck the radio news tells me that lady liberty is on her knees but i need only look outside my window past this din to see her faltering in the harbor moonlight to know we’re all going down here like fallen soldiers in the mythic persian sand.
sports fan (take two)
jostled out of sleep three in the morning half-drunk on wine white my sick stomach a shambles from a weekend with the flu and the shits hospital emergency waiting room my wife still asleep on my shoulder the television suddenly alive and blaring at this the witching hour mucus film on my eyelids the florescent harbinger of lights to prove i’m awake squeak of basketball shoes permeating this room sound like baby seals getting clubbed to death i look back exhausted and there he is sitting at the guard’s desk boring docile dull the average sports fan in rent-a-cop blue not even watching the goddamned game or highlight reel whatever the sports world does at 3 a.m. i get up with murder on my mind to go and check on my mother only to be stopped by this buffoon suddenly curious as to where i’m going away from you and that fucking television, i tell him but when i try the door to the patient area it’s suddenly locked and i have to stand there like a fool until the basketball reel is over and he smiles lets the door go buzz then click and just like that i’m on the losing team once again.
Bio: John published writer whose poetry has 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. I am the author three books of poetry The Noose Doesn’t Get Any Looser After You Punch (Six Gallery Press, 2008), Glass City (Low Ghost Press, 2010), and Starting with the Last Name Grochalski (Coleridge Street Press, 2014). I am also the author of the novels, The Librarian (Six Gallery Press, 2013) and Wine Clerk (Six Gallery Press, 2016).