angst und schrecken in der david quelle

By John Grochalski

Posted on

these stairs are designed to murder a man
who’s had too much to drink

narrow, they wind like a medieval dungeon
to a bathroom that smells like death

upstairs where i left my wife alone
you can hear the six german men laughing

crowded around the tiny bar over their bottles of astra
and that black liquor the bartender keeps pouring out

i can still eat their cigarette smoke in the air down here

fourteen years off of those things
and i still think about cigarettes every day

think about them more than love or my own mortality

i wonder what i’m doing here clasping the sweating wall
in a german dive bar where i don’t belong

four thousand miles away from brooklyn problems
beers deep into an early hamburg afternoon

i’ve understood next to nothing that anyone has said to me today
i’ve done nothing to make myself heard

the light from the bottom of the stairs
looks like an oubliette

and i’m tired of trying to make this world my own

if i ever make it back up those steps
i think i’ll grab one of those german’s cigarettes
smoke it until i’m sweating and sick
like the first time i ever had one of those things

ask those laughing bastards
what their german word is for sadness or loss.

John Grochalski