Saturday, April 1, 2023

Selected Works, John Guzlowski


Kafka and Me at Starbucks

He scratches on a notepad
And I ask him what he’s writing.

Nothing, he says, just some words.
Blue, lunch, Mildred, faith, and love.

Why these words? I ask.

He looks at me and smiles and says
For a writer, you ask too many questions.

Kafka on War

Let me tell you
What you already know. 
Man is a beast.

Look at him 
standing next to you.
One minute 
He’s laughing.
The next he’s eating 
your mother’s 
Tits and belly.

All you can do
Is shoot him.

Then have some coffee
And a donut.
You’ll feel better.

Kafka Alone at Starbucks

Kafka sits at the table 
drinking coffee 

He wonders 
why it's so quiet here 

He remembers all the coffee
He ever drank

and stirs the star of words
into the cup

Kafka Pauses

Kafka waits by the door.
There’s something on the other side.

He can hear it.
A breath. A scratch. 
A foot moving back and forth
Almost as it were dancing.

He wants to open the door.
But he’s enjoying the fear too much.
If he opens the door, 
The fear will scatter like a cat.

Kafka and God

Kafka passes the temple,
Wonders what he’d do 
If he were God for a day.

He knows he would drink
More coffee and eat
A bigger piece of pie.

Kafka’s favorite song?

It was California Dreaming,
though he never heard it.  
He died before John and Michelle 
ever wrote it, even before 
they were born, but Kafka knew 
the song, the cold that wouldn’t stop, 
the church a Jew could never enter.  

The sense of a gray street 
that leads nowhere.

Over a writing career that spans more than 40 years, John Guzlowski has amassed a significant body of published work in a wide range of genres: poetry, prose, literary criticism, reviews, fiction and nonfiction.

His poems and stories have appeared in such national journals as North American Review, Ontario Review, Rattle, Chattahoochee Review, Atlanta Review, Nimrod, Crab Orchard Review, Marge, Poetry East, Vocabula Review. He was the featured poet in the 2007 edition of Spoon River Poetry Review. Garrison Keillor read Guzlowski’s poem “What My Father Believed” on his program The Writers Almanac.   

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