Travelers Welcome

Travelers Welcome

Sunday, October 21, 2012

beer drinker

by John Grochalski

the beer drinker turns away
finishes a bottle of bud at the bus stop
opens up another one
that he has hidden in a paper bag
but he’s not fooling anyone
he’s doing it more out of respect
for the other people waiting for the bus home
people not used to seeing men
drinking beer in strange places
people who wouldn’t understand the need
after eight hours of selling your time down the pipeline
people for whom this way of life
is just the expected, inevitable norm of human civilization
the ones who will never find another way
the beer drinker tips the new beer
pours a waterfall of gold into his mouth
his eyes are red with weariness and booze
his hands are thick and black with grease
his clothes are stained brown from dirt
to say he is the standard and the stereotype
of the fading blue collar ideal
would be an understatement
he’s the american hero incarnate
but still the people recoil and move away
clutching their bags and their briefcases
no one here wants to associate with the struggle
although politicians stake their claim on his type
every election cycle
they just want to read about guys like him on the nightly news
and shake their heads at the way the country is going
the beer drinker, he just wants another beer
and probably a day off
he pours himself another waterfall of missouri piss
then cracks the next bottle a little bolder this time
he lets the paper bag go sailing down stillwell avenue
as the good  ecological people huff and pull on their clothing
people who’ll never know a beer buzz at lunch
people who know no desperation
because it sits manifest like a rank cloud over everything
so thick it blinds their hunger and need
chokes them on their own conceit
before they ever see the natural
light of day.

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