Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Poetry By Mitchell Krochmalnik Grabois For The Final Day of National Poetry Month

Sometimes poems come in and I want to put them up right away. I'd be a terrible editor of one of those prestigious, academic journals because my mood and tastes are so mercurial. I like these poems so I'm publishing them. I like the one about comparing being a poet to being a minor league baseball player because I identify with it. After twenty-five years of publishing in the small presses I feel like the Crash Davis of poetry. It seems unlikely I'll ever get a major league at bat at this late date, but I love the game and all the places I've played it. Here's some poetry by Mitchell Krochmalnik Grabois for the last day of Poetry Month.

Saints and Fuck-ups

Doctors complete the marathon
then sprint to the hospital
to perform amputations

Interviewed by CNN
they speak modestly
like Albert Schweitzer
a medical missionary
who devoted himself to the health of Africans

Their demeanor is saint-like
and even if we don’t admit it
all of us fuck-ups
who did drugs in high school
ignored our assignments  
and cut school to
go to the beach and surf
comb out our long blonde regrets
overestimate our neglected intelligence
and think:
That could have been me

if I’d applied myself
like my parents always nagged me to do
I could have been that holy  


So many geese
and French nudists at the lake

When one monsieur falls asleep
some dumb goose
tired of being a vegetarian
thinks he’s spied a fat worm

Now that naked man is so traumatized
he’s lost the coordination to hula hoop
and he’d flown all the way from Marseilles
to San Francisco to propose to “Hoop Girl”

who’s become a YouTube Sensation
and has appeared on Good Morning America
and the Jerry Springer Show
(someone still needs to explain that to me)

who juggled fire until she burned herself
then switched to a milder discipline
one in which she could show off
her killer abs and hips

Poor snail-eating nudist descends into a
death spiral  

and is brought by his colleagues
to the French Embassy
for emergency repatriation

The Minors

I like my poetry’s batting average:
for every ten rejections or so
an acceptance

I’m batting only .100, yes
probably less than that
and if I want to make this metaphor a four-bagger
I could observe that I go through slumps

but I’m a minor leaguer
with no hopes for the Bigs
No worries

The random appearance
of a colorful magazine
in the mailbox
in front of my house
at the edge of a dirt road
that runs straight between corn fields
is a day I’ve hit a home run

There’s my name in the Table of Contents
There are my words on the glossy page
My wife can hardly believe it
me not even a high school grad

but my grandpa set the stage
His stubby pencils could show up
anywhere in the barn
Even after he died
even after my dad died
I still found them
for decades in fact
like I used to find arrowheads
in the fields

The old man wasn’t schooled much either
but he wrote poetry
whenever it hit him
about cows, fruit trees, corn
things he ‘d seen all his life
was well-acquainted with
knew all the wrinkles of

He published poems in farm journals
and in the local paper
under the pen name ‘Al Falfa’

Sometimes his friends would see him in town
and yell, “Hey Al!”
(His real name was Clement)
“Now, is that Alfred, or Albert, Alton, or what?”
He didn’t mind the jokes

I know some wrinkles he probably also knew
but never got around to jotting
The farm journals are out of business
and the local paper doesn’t publish poems anymore
though it still has some farm news
so I send my poems
to “literary” magazines
and sometimes they show up in my mailbox
with my poems in them
and my wife says: “Look at that”
and takes them to show her sister

Those magazines use the same trick
I use with my dogs
I give them rewards
and it keeps them working

On the Tenth Anniversary of Victoria’s Death

Victoria wrote erotica
and read it to me
as we lay under the pier
until the light failed
and we had sex
our bodies propelled by memory of surf
and her prose

I once asked her what it was that
most made her Mexican
and she said: What makes you think I’m Mexican?
Aren’t you?
I tell so many lies I have to write them down to keep track, she replied
Being Mexican is one of them
Still, I did train as a flamenco dancer
What are you really, then?
Armenian. I’m one of the million Armenians who were murdered by the Turks

She slid back and forth on me
as she did between
her conscious mind
and what came up from her Unconscious
no door between the two
only some thin strips of cloth

She wanted to be reborn
but not as a Christian
not as a human being
or as an animal, plant or rock
As always
she evaded categories


Tourist stops and takes a photo
of a dark spot in the road
where a victim has fallen

Mitchell Krochmalnik Grabois was born in the Bronx and now splits his time between Denver and a one-hundred-and-twenty-year-old, one room schoolhouse in Riverton Township, Michigan. His short fiction and poetry appears in close to two hundred literary magazines, most recently The T.J. Eckleberg Review, Memoir Journal, Out of Our and The Blue Hour. He has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize, most recently for his story “Purple Heart” published in The Examined Life in 2012. His novel, Two-Headed Dog, published by Xavier Vargas E-ditions, is available for all e-readers for 99 cents through Amazon, Barnes and Noble and Smashwords. A print edition is also available through Amazon.

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