Frank Fanello Played Guitar, poem by John Grochalski at

Frank Fanello Played Guitar

Frank Fanello Played Guitar

written by: John Grochalski



like clockwork
every time us kids
came out onto the cul de sac
with a wiffle ball and bat
or a nerf football

frank fanello played guitar

he brought out his black electric
with a portable amp

and an extension cord
that he plugged into a jack in his garage

then frank stood there on his driveway
in front of his big, blue station wagon

led zeppelin
jimi hendrix

the star-spangled banner over and over

he kept our wiffle balls
if they went into his yard

held them for us to see who’d try and grab it

frank called us punks and wimps
tossed the balls into his garage
and went back to playing clapton

older neighbors said he was crazy

rumor had it that frank killed
his girlfriend’s dog back in the 60’s

he once told us kids
that he used to drop children out of airplanes
back in vietnam

frank was a noted draft dodger

one time
he chased his wife
around their yard
with a steak knife

frank grabbed her
and put the knife in her hands

and yelled, do it, go ahead and do it, you coward

that was a crazy memorial day weekend

crazy like how
frank fanello played guitar
every time we played ball

how he stood there on his driveway
back arched and knees bent

like he was playing guitar
in madison square garden

instead of on a dead-end street
in the pittsburgh suburbs

antagonizing a bunch of kids
because he had nothing better to do

kids who hated him
who hated his guitar

kids who’d let frank know
just how much he was despised

on those nights
when the sun went down
and the street got quiet

when frank fanello
was so tired from playing guitar

that he forgot
to put his big, blue station wagon

back inside the garage.

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