John Grochalski

fear and loathing at the hibachi restaurant

the suburban goth girl
with the blue hair
and purple eyeshadow
didn’t know you could refuse the side salad
so it sits there coagulating
under the hot lights
as the blonde at the table next to us
drunkenly shouts across the room to her pals
something about ruining her new shoes
from dropping some of her third drink on them
something about her husband’s birthday
and the president being close to god
she’s had three sexy ladies tonight
and if she doesn’t vomit
she says there might be room for a fourth
and
wink
wink
a special surprise for hubby when they get home
as everyone around her
laughs and laughs
doing the puritan end-of-the-work-week rage
and i wonder what a goth girl
with blue hair and purple eyeshadow
is doing in a hibachi restaurant
on a friday night
other than tilting the perfect picture
making things a tad askew
contributing another food waste in wasteful america
but this big, dumb colossus of stolen land
is full of surprises
and growing up in small cities
breeds a kind of useless rebellion
and plastic discontent
that can only be found at the mall
you can make mountains out of molehills
in the knowing light the chain store’s come-hither stare
i wonder what i’m doing here
hundreds of miles from home
anchoring the dead weight of citizenry
unnecessarily sober at a hibachi restaurant
stuck inside of buffalo, new york
with the brooklyn blues again
coming off a panic attack on the i-81
where i couldn’t breathe
and had to pull the car over to the side of the road
as idiot patriots with bumper sticker prophesies
zipped by me
going 90 in a 65
but across from me the hibachi chef
he knows my fate
he’s squirting sake into the mouths of babes
red faced business men
with their necks too fat for their oxfords
frat boys with their hats on backwards
greasing up their dates
for their own patriarchal surprise later
a sea of jaws undulating, filling up with all of that booze
spilling out of their mouths onto the table
because people can never get enough
of the free stuff
the chef asks me if i want a taste
i want to tell him that i think anxiety is just another word for america
i want to tell him that i’m thinking art is dead
how i’m ready to capitulate
move to the burbs
buy a car and complain about the traffic
hoist that fucking flag every morning
learn to live for the weekend
and how to love parades
each a hibachi dinner with my wife and good pals
each and every single friday night
buy the boss a christmas gift
and learn how to change a flat tire
burn all of my books
and walt whitman in effigy
at a neighborhood weenie roast
but i say no
and go back to my flat beer
keeping my flat opinions to myself
as he squirts some oil on the grill
and sets our world ablaze
with a flame that reaches almost to the roof
red and yellow and orange
tickling our fancy
we ooh and awe like cavemen in discovery’s first light
catching broccoli in our mouths
from an expert flip
huffing and huffing
at its heat
filming it all on our cell phones
as dead meat fries and sizzles
as sexy lady number four is presented to the table
to claps and chants
and soft debauchery
as the blonde woman screams and screams and screams
her useless constitution
and hubby knows
that
wink
wink
will just be her passing out again
as he circle jerks the witching hour
toggling between espn and fox news and internet porn
while back here on hibachi mother earth
a mountain of crystal white onion on the grill
burns like a tire fire
from a fizzled-out riot
in an abandoned strip mall
parking lot
of the mind

and to be perfectly honest with you
…i didn’t eat my goddamned side salad either

2 thoughts on “John Grochalski

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