Wisdom, Trumpet and other poems

by Mitchell Krockmalnik Grabois



Madame Armadillo has four children
North, South, East, West
The sun rises in the east
and sets in the west
on the Father, Son, Holy Ghost, and Holy Criminal
Nothing new

I lay in bed
my head to the North
feet to the South
Wisdom is easy
if you don’t add complications

I’m awoken by the sound of trumpets
coming in my glassless windows
A mosquito is sucking on my eyeball
I swat it
but make things worse
Wisdom is easy
if you don’t add complications

One of my wives calls me for coffee
My other wife is frying eggs
and drawing pictures on flour tortillas
with magic markers
One of the tortillas has
my name on it
written in Spanish
She’s misspelled my middle name
like this: Crack-Malnick
It doesn’t matter how many times I tell her
I don’t smoke Crack anymore
she keeps tormenting me

Sometimes she writes: Meth-Malnick
I tell her I’ve never done Meth
and don’t intend to start
even though her brother is cooking it
out in the desert

My first wife tries to look severe at my second wife
but can’t keep up the pretense
They drink tequila from the bottle as they finish my breakfast
It takes two women to make my breakfast
Wisdom is easy
if you don’t add complications


Orgasm has coated me
like non-stick oil sprayed on a pan
like egg yolks
on a rare foggy morning
I cannot open my eyes
don’t want to either

even though it is the first day of
the Fiesta of the Sacred Cross
and I am the star trumpet player
in this village
The call me El Krochmalniko

When I was a child
my father beat me
because I refused to learn to play the accordion
his favorite instrument
He couldn’t play it anymore
because a drug cartel
chopped off one of his hands

I didn’t like it
It was too heavy
It hung from my shoulders
like the Titanic
threatening to take me down
to the bottom of the desert

He beat me for my obstinance
I picked up my trumpet
and sent a blast to his
cauliflower ear
then ran like hell
never stopped running
til I arrived in this town
with its sculptures of Los Muertos

My father is dead now
I did not go to his funeral
I am alive
I spit on his accordion
I raise the trumpet to my lips
and send a blast out my bedroom window
over the pigs
and chickens
into the village
an announcement
like those Arab mullahs in their towers

It is the Fiesta of the Sacred Cross
Everyone get out of bed!
Get up!
Join me for a drink
Then I’ll raise the horn to my lips
and won’t put it down
until my lips are bruised and bloody
and I can no longer play
and the village worships me
as a martyr

Metal Horn

My horn is made of metal
and comes from Chicago
How it got down here
I have no idea
How does anything get down here?
How did I get down here?
Life is not what we were taught
in the School of Rational Living

That school was a monster hoax
The Universe is irrational
and so am I
So are you
and so are the twisted words that
run between us
and so is the music that pours from my horn

but the irrationality is beautiful
so you light a joint and
kiss your woman
and sway to the smog
and crime and luck

With Nine Bands

Nine-Banded Armadillo
slipped over borders
during His Holy Migration

From South America
through the Isthmus
over peso’d avenidas
sidestepping Los Muertos
finally across the U.S. border
on His way to becoming sacred

The Supreme One
was never detained
never asked for documents

The Sacred Armadillo left
claw prints in the dust
as He made His silent
stealthy uninterrupted journey north
ever north and east

The last of the
New World armored mammals
to survive,
His survival was not a prerequisite
for sacredness
only a foundation

He bore a vague nostalgia for his extinct kin
the New World Sloths and Anteaters
an undefined sadness
the sadness of the planet
as another door closes
and a substitute
fails to open

The Sacred Armadillo
trekked across the Arizona desert
peered down into the Grand Canyon
and the mile wide crater created
by one angry meteor
stumbled mindlessly across huge tracks of Texas

skirted the bayous of Louisiana
had tribal pow-wows with the giant bayou rats
known as Nutria
with whom He developed spiritual and political confederacies
and crossed the sand hills and wiregrass
of Alabama

In the Florida panhandle He feasted on fire ants
whose spice complements peanuts
collard greens and other Southern delicacies
favored by both the possum and Himself

It was a Holy Feast
a last supper
the last performance
of a famous garage duo
this time with no audience
no groupies
no drugs
the last hurrah for the one who goes
and the one who’s left behind

The possum thrust out his snout
ever angry
and cursed his own lack of holiness
The Sacred Armadillo
quietly left the backyard
cut across a strip of woods
behind the used car dealership
and moved on

Not a Chair Misplaced

Not a crumb of bread anywhere
nor a misplaced grape nut
not a red grape escaped from
a still life
with apples and oranges

Everything is in its place
awaiting the death of the human
who lives in this mausoleum

The television is tuned
to CNN
in perpetuity

The news unspools,
the tragedies
the human interest
the same loop of platitudes
linked to different faces and different names
interspersed with commercials
for all the things you’re too old to buy

because that thread has also unspooled
You know none of it will
make you happy
Some famous person gives their name
and says: This is CNN
Another celebrity does the same
They line up to have CNN
tattooed on their wrists

I think I’m going to visit my ex-wife
She lives in an apartment building
not far from here
another Section 8 building
nothing we ever lusted after
but these places aren’t bad

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

Mitchell Krockmalnik Grabois has had over six hundred of his poems and fictions appear in literary magazines in the U.S. and abroad, including IN OTHER WORDS: MERIDA. He has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize for work published in 2012, 2013, and 2014. His novel, Two-Headed Dog, based on his work as a clinical psychologist in a state hospital, is available for Kindle and Nook, or as a print edition. He lives in Denver.

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


art by Kreso Cavlovic


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