POETRY
Imagine Paul Ryan
John Grochalski
Writer of the Month

in his d.c. office cum apartment
three miller lights into it
spit shinning his portrait of reagan for the third time
making the sign of the cross
a chunk of wisconsin cheese in his hand
after a hard day of obstructive legislative work
if only the democrats understood the benefits of privatization
that rubber-faced frown almost etched
into his face these days because of donald trump
sad blue puppy dog eyes
barbells at his feet, he looks into the mirror and says,
clinton, clinton, clinton
as if wishing a terminal disease away with words
eddie munster widow’s peak frayed
his tie slightly askew
the suit coat already on the back of his wooden chair
american flag pin button upside down on the lapel since lunch
but damn if mitch mcconnell would tell him so
paul, he shadow boxes obamacare
then slowly undresses in the sad sunset of a humid d.c. night
maybe there’s dead silence
or the sound of interns as they scatter down the hall
toward lobbyist banquets with all the free booze they can drink
maybe there’s a little hootie and the blowfish playing
to remind him of those old college days
when newt was all the rage
and his only thoughts were of jennifer aniston
or that chick in his poly sci class
man, it’s too solemn tonight for the ac/dc or the led zep
four black men dead in 48 hours
protests scattering across the nation
five cops killed in dallas by snippers
the NRA wondering when we’ll hand out guns to kids
on the first day of school to kind of stop this shit
and, of course, the brewers are in fourth place
his presumptive republican nominee
an orange-faced, baby-dicked
bigoted, sexist, xenophobic, anti-semite
and good christ that’s just the stuff he knows about
tired from the talkin’ email blues all day with the FBI
our kid slips on his aaron rodgers jersey
stares as his brett farve poster
and wonders what’s next for this fractured, violent america
paul sits in his favorite chair brought straight to the capital
from good ol’ janesville
thinks no on that fourth miller light
takes out his phone and stares at a picture
of him and mitt that time they went fishing
on the fourth of july
was 2012 really four years ago already?
but mitt won’t return his calls these days
fucking trump, paul says
then he calls janna, dear, sweet, reliable janna
but it always takes her three rings to pick up
something with the kids
something he’s missing in between the cracks
of his floundering political career and pushing that GOP agenda
and when the call goes to voice mail
he doesn’t even say hello
it’s me, it’s paul
but just starts crying into the void
tearing at his jersey
falling to the floor like a petulant child
paul somehow gets himself together
thinks what would ayn rand do
then whispers into his phone
oh janna
oh baby
i just wanna come home.


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 novels, The Librarian (Six Gallery Press 2013), and Wine Clerk (Six Gallery Press 2016). Grochalski currently lives in Brooklyn, New York, where the garbage can smell like roses if you wish on it hard enough.