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Saturday, March 22, 2014

Poems By Mitchell Krochmalnik Grabois

Poems By Mitchell Krochmalnik Grabois

Kung Fu

She was taller and heavier than me
and had a belt in kung fu
not black, a more dangerous color
I never saw her use it
but she was emotionally volatile
like my mother
so her deadly skills
were always on my mind

One day
she was showing me
a driftwood burl
she’d found at the beach

We were intimate
but she was standing
too close

She asked:
Are you afraid of me?
I decided to be honest
and said: yes
She seemed surprised
After high school we were married
I achieved my childhood dream
of becoming a mail carrier
She worked in a shop that sold yoga clothes
to rich women
Altogether we had a good life

except for
her penchant for karaoke
every Friday night
Her voice was atrocious
painful even
but I couldn’t tell her

I was still afraid of her
She’d dropped kung fu
but karaoke was her substitute
Her voice beat me about the ears

punched me in the gut
until I could hardly breathe
and Jack Daniels was powerless
to help


I am thin, but flabby
My muscles have atrophied
When I was young I could bench press
three hundred pounds
but that was an eternity ago
That person was not even me

but I serve my purpose in the world
I echo Joseph Conrad:
Your strength is… an accident
owed to the weakness of others

and your youth is turbo-charged
owed to my advanced age


Taking Mark Twain’s advice
she went to Heaven for the climate
but found it too chilly

Don’t you remember
you gave me thyroid cancer?
she complained to God
I don’t have a thyroid
I’m freezing up here
Can’t you turn the AC down
or give me some better clothing
These wings are fine 
but if I wrap them around myself
I can’t fly
I just have to sit here
and it’s boring
I never liked to sit still
If I didn’t have anything else to do
I’d clean my house

So compassionate God
sent her to a place even warmer than Florida
where she had a whole new set of complaints

Mitchell Krochmalnik Grabois’ poems have appeared in hundreds of literary magazines in the U.S. and abroad. 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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