A Day At The Races by John Grochalski

wheeling downs
steve and calvin
gambler sprint to the entry
already sweating big bucks predictions
they shout back and forth their egos
we check out the dogs
lined up and tongues panting
it must be ninety degrees here in west virginia
a stone’s throw from where i spent one miserable year
i start drinking beer in the concession
to block out memories block out that year/this year
watch concession girls dip low with heavy sud trays
as men shuffle back and forth
can’t find a blonde can’t find a brunette
wheeling downs is one big sausage factory of stinking male
getting drunk in the mid-day sun
i find papers and start writing poems
letters to colby to tell him of this saturday sadness
steve and calvin racing back and forth
less jovial less confident than before
covered in sweat shouting
checking numbers on digital boards
and then almost smacking into each other
heading to place bets
a great wash this great loss american dream
they lick their wounds in a wheeling strip club
half-dead one fat blonde dances totally naked
to old men watching steelers pre-season games
there’s your glorious blonde, i drunk tell myself
west virginia is depression
all life is suffering…but i’m no buddhist
could ride home all the way on that blonde’s ass
i’m so hard-up no ass since mary almost a year ago
steve sulking at the bar
calvin front and center when the blonde becomes a brunette
caesarian marks she shakes for the damned
a gentlemen’s club full of desolate gambles gone south
the brunette on her stomach
face down ass up
drunk calvin stands and points at her backside
unshaven wondrous glory hole too
he shouts, i’ve never seen one in person before.


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, in the section that doesn’t have the bike sharing program.


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