While The Building Superintendent Builds Model Train Sets In The Foyer by John Grochalski

the landlord doesn’t return phone calls
so i’ve got proust holding up the bedroom windows
and in the living room
there are so many cracked blinds
it might as well be high noon around these parts
i look around the place and think
maybe i should’ve learned a trade
instead of going all in with fiction and poetry
it feels emasculating to have to wait on these people
for every little thing
to write the same note after note
next to the others tenants who aren’t getting their things done
expecting no result
and there are divots in the linoleum on the kitchen floor
and the wood is splintering in the bedroom
and the toilet sometimes doesn’t work
when you flush you can hear water and cracked wall fragments
rushing down into wherever behind the wall
brown water keeps backing up into the sink
the landlord he could be in florida for all i know
spending my rent check on margaritas
and a disappointing piece of ass
and while the building superintendent
builds model train sets in the foyer
his drunken wife smokes cigarettes outside my bedroom window
letting the blue-gray cancer permeate my living space
and as his kid screams bloody murder
running up and down the halls
he tells me he has too many projects
to fix the kitchen sink that leaks water on the floor
to fix a broken shower that dribbles water as hot as dragon piss
on my dry and reddened flabby ass
and as the garbage piles up in the basement
and the mice and cockroaches converge
to wage another world war on this building
i pick up the phone to call the landlord again
but then throw it back on the coffee table in frustration
fix myself a double vodka drink
as the sounds of televisions and music from the other shitholes
come wafting through these thin walls
like a symphony of despair
a soundtrack to this pitiful existence
that people around these parts still want to call freedom.


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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