Travelers Welcome

Travelers Welcome

Sunday, June 19, 2011

it was just a place

by John Grochalski

i have walked passed it
nearly every day
since the new york city board of health
slapped a sticker on the place
and shut the joint down
touched the sticky metal of the door handle
looked inside the dusty window
with the unplugged beer signs
hoping for a sign of life
but the old pint glasses are still on the bar
half-filled the way that they were
when the company man came by
and did his civic duty by kicking everyone out
bottles of alcohol are now out on the bar
sitting next to cardboard boxes
the booze glittering in the sunlight
like a stained glass window
waiting to be packed away
one of the television sets are down
the pictures of ireland are off the wall
and the jukebox is black
i think of nights of staggering desperation
of pointless joy and stunted conversation formed
in the afterglow of whiskey shots
and beer draft illuminations
i think of high drama on a sunday afternoon
johnnie walker infidelities
fueled by the futility of this american life
i think of nowhere else to go but here
and i am as sad as i’ve been in a long time
these people watching me stare at this dilapidated shack
the ugly ones walking along the street
with ice cream cones and yapping dogs
them and everyone else
the ones who are glad to see this place gone
to them it was just a glowing nuisance
a festering hole in the wall
that kept its lights on year round
to them it was just a place
but to me, it was a gershwin tune
paris in the spring
the sistine chapel
with little michelango scribbles
splattered on the ceiling.

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