Travelers Welcome

Travelers Welcome

Saturday, August 4, 2012


by John Grochalski

seth is a good bartender
but seth always has problems

a man walks into a bar to forget his troubles
but seth likes to give you his on a silver platter

he stock line is, you know,
it’s usually the patrons telling the bartender their troubles
but today we’re going to try something different

and then he’ll tell you
about some uncle of his dying
or how he lost three friends to cancer

seth tells his sad stories as he cuts fruit for drinks
and takes beer orders

sometimes he makes you feel worse about your own shit
sometimes he makes you feel bad
for feeling so lowdown in the first place

especially since seth survived a gunshot shot wound
and you’ve never been pierced by a butter knife

i’ve witnessed seth cry more than
some old girlfriends of mine

he tells you how he wants to cry about it
and then he goes ahead and does the deed

of course, it’s a well-known fact
that he majored in drama in college

for some of us it’s the price we pay for the cheapest drink
on the block

others have found some way to ignore the drama

they put on stones songs
read books or the village voice
talk about their netflix queues to no one in particular

but i can’t seem to ignore the tears
or seth’s conversation
he seems like he really needs someone in this world
and since i walked into the bar
the fates must’ve deemed me the guy

so i sit there patiently and take sips on my draft
as seth tells me about the bartender who died
how his neighbor was almost raped
or his grandmother in a coma

i tell seth how goddamned cruel the world is
because it really is

that’s my stock line

a couple of times he’s held my hand
but it was only for comfort, i think

and when i get ready to leave the bar
i ask him how much for the beer

seth waves his hand
and says don’t worry about it, man

so i don’t

and when i walk out into the blinding sunlight
of the busy city
feeling a great weight lifted off of my karma

i’m happy to be alone
with all that patient noise and overwhelming heat.

1 comment:

  1. Great piece!

    I enjoyed the read, and getting to know Seth.

    Thank you for sharing it.