Wednesday, July 14, 2010

mornings like this for harvey pekar: John Grochalski

The Pittsburgh-reared, Brooklyn-based poet John Grochalski has written a wonderful tribute to the late Harvey Pekar and posted it at his fine blog, Winedrunk Sidewalk. I liked it so much, I asked for and received permission to reprint it here.

mornings like this
for harvey pekar

mornings like this
with the scotch burning a new hole
in the stomach
with the coffee tasting stale
and the rejection letters stinging
a little more than usual

mornings like this
with the dumb sun breaking through the dark
shaking off violent dreams
worrying about the last month
of paychecks coming

mornings like this
sitting in front of the machine
hoping for magic
or a soft single into shallow left
with the gods playing on the radio
and the bad news of the world
untouched by the eyes

mornings like this
where anything is possible
mornings of great poems and stories
mornings like this
of words slapped on paper
of the solitary act of saving your own life

that’s what this life is all about
mornings like this
or nights just the same
under the hot lights
under the gun of your own genius

so many of us try for it every day
so few of us have it
even fewer will let it grow
and that’s why hearing about you, harvey
makes mornings like this
a bit more somber
knowing that we, the crazy souls,
the ones up while the fat world rests
have one less of us out there
scratching insanity and soul onto paper
hoping for just a sliver of bliss
John Grochalski
Winedrunk Sidewalk

RIP, Harvey Pekar.

the master being dead
just ordinary...
cherry blossoms
translated by David G. Lanoue


PS Thanks, Jay.


Bruce Hodder said...

I didn't know Pekar had gone. It's been a bad year for what might (sentimentally?) be called our side. But that's a wonderful poem. And true.

Bruce Hodder said...

The haiku says it too, with perfect economy.

Issa's Untidy Hut said...

Yes, we are going to have to call up a lot of rookies to fill all these spots. Harvey, it would seem, is irreplaceable.

So is a rose.

He was beautiful. And it is a wonderful poem, showing, as it does, not telling.

And Master Issa - makes us laugh one minute, cry the next ...

John Grochalski said...

thanks for posting the poem, don. Have been heavy with the loss of Pekar all week. Concluding my tribute tonight by watching American Splendor, which is a fine, inovative movie in its own right....and the master did say it best.

Charles Gramlich said...

I've got to visit a place with a name as cool as Winedrunk sidewalk.

Glenn Ingersoll said...

When I was a superhero crazed comic kid I thought American Splendor unreadable. But once I got into poetry I rediscovered Pekar. The man was a poet.

In one of the more recent issues of American Splendor published by DC (Superman's publisher!) Pekar recounts a visit from a young man who finds Pekar's name in the phone book (Pekar said he kept himself listed for just such an eventuality) and invites himself over. The youth is hoping Harvey will make some magic and get him into comics as it seems like a nice career. Mostly they just sit on Harvey's porch trying to think of things to say to each other.

When I was thinking of making a trip to Ohio last year I decided I would include Cleveland and call up Harvey Pekar, and take him out to lunch. The Ohio trip didn't happen and now I've missed yet another opportunity to meet someone whose work inspires me. Cherry blossoms!

Issa's Untidy Hut said...

Thanks,Jay, lots of folks digging the poem.

Charles, you won't be disappointed.

Glenn, thanks for sharing that. A Pekar story if ever there was one. The final panel: no words, just cherry blossoms, falling.