Wednesday, April 16, 2014

M. Krockmalnik Grabois

Five Poems


My car
the Marvelous Maytag
churns like a washer in an unending cycle
agitating clothes from coast to coast

My girlfriend sits beside me
flexing her muscles
and tracing the lines of her tattoos

I regret breaking her out of prison
It wasn’t a big deal—minimum security
the same thing I get from her
That’s all I want
I don’t even want that much

People magazines
and empty cans of Red Bull
litter the back seat

I’m taking the Marvelous Maytag
demo derby
That’s the only foreseeable way
out of this life


I had to extricate myself
from the tangle of pathologies
that held my brother Allen to his wife

Their toxicity was contagious
like second hand smoke
or influenza

But when my sister-in-law broke
a decorative ceramic squirrel over Allen’s head
and stabbed him with a sharp shard
I found myself back in the fray

Allen showed up at my door
needing a place to “hang”
and I couldn’t say no

His wife followed him, of course
furious that he’d called 911
and she’d been arrested

It was a matter of survival, he told her
as she stood outside the door
It was a matter of survival for me too, she replied
Her psychology was infantile
and this was how she invariably handled conflict
by turning around what was dished to her
and feeding it back

I asked: Your survival depended
on him bringing home a six-pack?
He promised, she answered

It was cold that night
below freezing
and now that I’d dared challenge her
she felt justified in pushing her way in

They began battling again
My wife, Amy, got angry
Before we met she’d been an MP in the army
Allen’s wife had either forgotten that
or never knew it
Amy threw them out

We watched them skulk down the sidewalk together
heads down
plotting revenge


The girl sits in the upstairs window
holding a green balloon
green as grass green as money

Earlier in the day
the girl’s father jumped out this same window
and killed himself

No one believed he could kill himself by jumping out
the second floor window of an English country cottage
but he was a ballet dancer in his youth
and learned body positioning and control

He was melancholy
because his daughter’s balloon was green as grass
green as money
but he couldn’t afford to send her to private school
and believed that if she attended the village school
she would become a dolt

and marry a dolt
who chewed like a cow
and whose father was a pastor
but who had an impressive dick
(he once chanced to see it)
which caused his stupid daughter
to lose herself in distasteful fantasies

The roof line of the cottage
is an inverted ‘L’
and he felt it accused him of being a Loser

Every inanimate and animate thing
accused him thus
and he couldn’t take the truth
that he was a bad father
and a bad husband
which is why his wife had died
and left his daughter half an orphan

The girl has her own delusions:
that her father has not killed himself at all
but only pretended

and will come back and play chess with her again
and put shaving cream on her green balloon
and shave it


The security of Target’s card-swipe machine
was compromised
and seventy million people clog the corporate phone lines
terrified that Christmas will be followed by
Identity Theft

Meanwhile, a phalanx of geese
who live across the street
at Slone’s Lake Park
make their determined way through the
Target parking lot

causing consternation among drivers
who are mostly drunk
or at least buzzed
They don’t want the soul of a goose
against them
in this sacred season

The geese head for the front door
The electric eye finds them
and the doors swish open

The geese pass the Customer Service Desk
without a look in that direction

Their sliding steps on the polished linoleum
reminds them of sliding across the ice
of Sloan’s Lake

They don’t know why they’ve come
or what they’re looking for
but they’re confident they’ll find it


You cannot save people
you can only love them
--Anais Nin

Or you can hate them
for inflicting themselves on you
--Mitchell Krockmalnik Grabois

© M. Krockmalnik Grabois 2014

M. Krockmalnik Grabois’ poems have appeared in hundreds of literary magazines in the U.S. and abroad, including MUDJOB. He is a regular contributor to The Prague Revue, and has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize, most recently for his story “Purple Heart” published in The Examined Life in 2012, and for his poem. “Birds,” published in The Blue Hour, 2013. His novel, Two-Headed Dog, based on his work as a clinical psychologist in a state hospital, is available for 99 cents from Kindle and Nook, or as a print edition.

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