not getting served at the subway inn, poetry by John Grochalski

not get­ting served at the sub­way inn

ten min­utes before this
we were still in the hos­pi­tal room
watch­ing my moth­er-in-law wrestle
with a peanut but­ter and jel­ly sandwich
just some­thing, the nurse told her
to get in her stom­ach to take away the nau­sea from chemo
we were dressed like haz­mat techs
in gloves and smocks and some­thing to cov­er our mouths
the steel­ers were los­ing to the jets
two min­utes left in the game and my wife shut the tv off
so her moth­er could get some sleep
but that was all right
the foot­ball gods will always live to see anoth­er day
and besides i stopped watch­ing the NFL almost two years ago
i have ceased tying my fate to that of any sports team
only here in the sub­way inn they have tele­vi­sions all over
play­ing games in between commercials
for SUVS, lux­u­ry cars or join­ing the marines
the few peo­ple in here are shouting
some drunk chick keeps screaming
but i don’t know at which screen
and though it may seem sexist
i’ve always held a spe­cial hatred for the female foot­ball fan
my wife and i aren’t get­ting served in the place
we prob­a­bly need a drink
more than any two peo­ple in man­hat­tan this sun­day afternoon
only the bar­tender is gone
or he’s one of the peo­ple sit­ting at the bar
watch­ing foot­ball and wait­ing us out
most like­ly he’s chang­ing a keg or tak­ing a shit
the bar has signs hanging
ask­ing peo­ple to help save it from
twirling mous­tache landlords
and the inevitable new york city rent hike
you can tweet or twit or join face­book to spread the word
at the end there’s a ban­ner pro­claim­ing the bar saved
the same leg­endary sub­way inn
only now it’s mov­ing four avenues away
where the rent hikes will take anoth­er ten years
to make their way east
and they’ll have to do this shit all over again
i con­sid­er the sub­way inn and its change in venue
how it real­ly won’t be the same
no mat­ter what these peo­ple fool them­selves into believing
we change and morph and nev­er real­ize it
because we’re too hung up just try­ing to live
like my moth­er-in-law in her hos­pi­tal bed
telling us that she sud­den­ly feels like an old person
or how i’m forty and now often times
i’m one of the old­er guys in the bar
won­der­ing where in the hell my drink is
or where the tired­ness and all this gray hair came from


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 nov­el, The Librar­i­an (Six Gallery Press 2013). Grochal­s­ki cur­rent­ly lives in Brook­lyn, New York, where he con­stant­ly wor­ries about the high cost of everything.

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