the loneliest man on the morning bus
by John Grochalski

no one sits next to me on the bus
not ever

this isn’t a complaint but a fact

the bus could be crowded
yet the seat next to me is left unoccupied

with people standing and getting knocked around
by potholes on the street

even the elderly won’t give me a shot

i don’t know what it is about me
i used to think maybe it was that i was fat
and took up too much room
or that i was ugly or smelled bad

but there is much worse on the bus than i
the only conclusion that i can come up with
is that i simply do not exude
the dopey charisma and go-getter vibe
that it takes to make it on weekday mornings in america

and that these people who sneer at me
and chose to stand
rather than sit in relative comfort

can plainly see the failure
and lack of ambition that must flow from me
like a niagara falls of catastrophe

as we all ride this trap
toward our work-a-day fate

…or maybe i’m wrong
and i really do smell

IMAGE: “Man on Bus” by Gustavo Azael Torres. Original art available at To see more of the artist’s work, visit


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: John Grochalski is the author of The Noose Doesn’t Get Any Looser After You Punch Out (Six Gallery Press 2008), Glass City (Low Ghost Press, 2010), In The Year of Everything Dying (Camel Saloon, 2012), Starting with the Last Name Grochalski (Coleridge Street Books, 2014), and the novel, The Librarian (Six Gallery Press, 2013). Grochalski currently lives in Brooklyn, New York, where he constantly worries about the high cost of everything.