Poetry

Hikama and other poems

by Mitchell Krockmalnik Grabois

 

Hikama

My first hangover in two years
and it feels like morning
It is morning

It feels like love
like the reincarnation of an old friend
like a poltergeist is handling the details
of my life

Red wine is redder in Mexico
I eat a crunchy white vegetable whose name
I cannot remember
though that vegetable is like a brother to me

When I get full-blown Alzheimer’s
I will wander the streets crying
trying to get someone to tell me the name
of that vegetable

but no one will know
what the fuck I am talking about
and they will tell me
Go home, old man

Someone will put me on a bicycle taxi
pedaled laboriously by my old friend
Delgadillo

Delgadillo will say:
What does it matter
the names of things?
You can’t remember my name anymore but
you still love me
and I love you
though I wish you hadn’t become
so damn obese

Pedaling you
is a burden
and my chain clanks from the strain

 

3 Fingers

My hostess has only three fingers
and I wonder if that’s the consequence
of her terrible auto accident

or whether she was born that way
I can’t keep myself from staring
as if a missing finger is a
big deal

I distract myself
by asking her husband, Rolando
why he decided to move to
Merida Mexico
as opposed to settling somewhere
in the balmy American South

I’m Mexican and Black, he says
I don’t want to live in Mississippi or Alabama
or anywhere primitive and racist

I don’t tell him that my father was from Mississippi
and my mother was from Alabama
I squelch my Southern accent

When I was in college I taught myself to do that
so no one would know I was from
the ass end of some southern backwoods

but when I go back home
my true voice emerges full flower
and I eat collard greens
and drink tea so sweet
it makes my teeth hurt

and when my niece is colicky
I put Coca-Cola in her baby bottle
as we’ve done for generations

I notice Rolando
has a blowup of a magazine cover
a photo of Barrack Obama
and as I study it
I notice that Rolando has a remarkable resemblance
to Barrack
and I want to comment on it

but I don’t want him to think that
white people think
all colored people look alike

especially if he’s gotten a whiff
of my accent

 

Guzman’s Monkey

Santo Domingo de Guzman—
his halo is a big, tarnished ten-peso note
and his holy book
is a loaf of stale bread

He’s fulfilled every boy’s dream—
he’s got a pet monkey by his side
but his monkey is unhappy
He’s got a bad cold and needs
a decongestant

but Guzman doesn’t have a decongestant
and he doesn’t want to go to town to get some
It’s too far
and it’s too hot
and he doesn’t have the money for it anyway

Guzman is sad his monkey is not feeling better
It’s depressing when you have a pet monkey and
he’s depressed
Hopefully he’ll feel better soon

The Virgin of the Immaculate Conception
is his neighbor
in the stucco apartment court
She is also having trouble

It is a day for monkeys and virgins to have trouble
and be depressed
and it depresses Guzman
The sun is shining and everyone is depressed

Guzman grabs the wrist of Jesus’ older brother
and pulls him from the jaws
of the Puma Devil

The Puma Devil’s mouth
is full of flames

Guzman says:
See! We can do something about our fates!
Life gets better every day!
Cheer up, people!
It’s morning in the Mezo-American Empire!

* * * * * * * * * * * *

M. 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.

Grabois was born in the Bronx, and now splits his time between Denver, an old schoolhouse in Michigan and occasionally, Merida Mexico.

* * * * * * * * * * * *

Angie107

photo by Angela M Campbell

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