Encyclopedia and other poems

by Mitchell Krockmalnik Grabois



Juan Pio Periz
finished the eight volume
Encyclopedia Yucatanense
completing the work
Father Pedro Beltran had labored over
for decades

Father Beltran had willed himself to stay alive
until he finished his labors
but did not succeed in this
partly because he was divided against himself
at least sometimes against himself
at the best of times ambivalent

Father Beltran was half man/half dog
but because he always wore a wide-brimmed hat
and his face and head were mostly human
and also his hands
he was able to keep the dog part of him
under his robe

until after his death
when his secret was discovered

His secret wife was half reptile/half bird
and spent most of her life
lounging among rocks

but did not have responsibilities
other than to Father Beltran
so hiding who she was
was not difficult


Anthony of Padua
the patron saint of marriage
carries baby Jesus with him
like a football
tucked firmly in the crook of his arm

He constantly feels a failure
So much marital maladjustment
So much divorce

The Mayan God of Bees
constantly criticizes him
but Anthony has a come-back
He angrily asks why the bees are dying off

The Mayan God of Bees
who is
in the large sense
a climate change denier
also denies the bees’ imminent demise
(if the bees go extinct, he will be unemployed)
and Anthony argues that marriage is still viable
Do you see how gays are fighting for the right?
Fighting for the right to be miserable,
says the God of Bees


With my flat forehead and crossed eyes
I am the most beautiful woman on the planet

My parents practiced cranial deformation
and also, early on
started me in the practice of
cultivating a convergent gaze
which is also a form of meditation
so I am not only alluring
I am enlightened

Dental mutilation has given me
a unique smile
and finally
body paint adorns my ample flesh

I am aware of the characterless anorexics
that the enslaved Norte Americanos worship
in their machine empire
and I feel sorry for them
They are static while I
easily move from the earthly level
to the divine
and back again

The gods made several attempts to create
the human being
and with me
their efforts
ended in triumph


It’s mean to say:
That chick’s so fat she’s got her own zip code
but I’m sitting in my Studebaker
outside the Chase Bank
on Oracle Street in Tucson
waiting for my old lady to come back
from exchanging

when this enormously fat white woman walks by
right in front of me
past the twin ATM’s
where the brick wall says: Chase What Matters

She turns and walks up the pebbled slope
to the bank’s glass doors
and I see the tattoo on her upper back:
Damn if she doesn’t really have her own zip code!

She pulls open the glass door and struts into the bank
as if she’s about to rob it

I ask myself: Is that really her personal zip
or is it something she shares with others?
so I punch the numbers into my i-phone
It’s the zip code for LaBobo Bankurung, Indonesia

My Dentist, My Lover

Even on Thanksgiving
my lover harangues me about my teeth
and gums
about Acid Erosion
and Periodontal Disease
Baby, you’re way beyond gingivitis, she says

Her concern is understandable
She’s not only my lover
she’s also my dentist
She “sexually assaulted” me
on my first visit to her office
while she had me helpless on nitrous oxide
I knew that cocaine enhanced the joy of sex
but I’d never realized that the same was true
for nitrous

This woman, my dentist, my girlfriend
is eleven years older than me
and sometimes I catch her examining herself
in the mirror
with a worried expression
She thinks I’ll stop loving her
as she ages
as wrinkles appear
and the flesh on her arms gets loose
She works out with dumbbells as we
watch TV in the evening
I think she’s gotten stronger than me
but I’m hesitant to test it out

But she’s right:
my gums and teeth are a mess
Maybe she’ll stop loving me if I don’t consent
to expensive and painful treatment
But I guess I’ll take the chance

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Mitchell Krockmalnik Grabois has had over eight hundred of his poems and fictions appear in literary magazines in the U.S. and abroad. 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.

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painting by Skot Horn