3 Poems by Mitchell Krockmalnik Grabois



We’ve lost
Gabriel Garcia Marquez
to Alzheimer’s and Death

I sit on the sidewalk
against the high wall
of his Cartagena compound
pink stucco hot against my back
my way of saying
I love you, man
I’m sorry

Down the street are the old dungeons
and the Palace of the Inquisition
A woman with a platter of fruit on her head
walks by and kicks me with her sharp toe
I can tell she did it on purpose

I walk into an antique store
full of heavy colonial furniture
I see an old water meter
with Spanish writing on it
pick it up and run out of the store
but it must weigh a hundred pounds
and the young man whose mother is the proprietor
easily catches up with me
I am already soaked with sweat\
breathing like an asthmatic

He is gentle as he pries the meter from my grasp
sets me down on the sidewalk
uses his cell phone to call the police

The police take me away and put me in a cell
I try to call my wife to get me out
but then realize that we were separated
then divorced
then she was hospitalized
then she died
so there are four walls between us
as thick as the walls around
Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s compound
but they let me out anyway

I return to Boca Raton
to my mother’s house
find a hatchet
the same one I used to destroy the hard drive
of my father’s computer
so no one could steal his identity
even though he was dead

I take the hatchet
and split my skull open
insert my copy of A Hundred Years of Solitude
signed by the author:
to Mitchell Krochmalnik Grabois
Best of luck 

Old ladies on the street complain about the blood
from my head running onto the sidewalk
Fuck ‘em
If they’re not complaining about that
they’re complaining about something else 

My head absorbs Gabriel’s deathless prose
then repairs itself quickly

I walk down to the community pool with a big smile on my face
get into the hot tub
set at 125 degrees
Two old ladies smile at me
lift out of the water to show me
they are topless

I ejaculate seeds of
magic realism into the frothing tub
and a jungle of flowers blooms
A parrot shrieks





Her overmedicated, glassy blue eyes
are a perfect match for the faded denim shirt
that hangs on her bony shoulders

There’s too much in her face
for me to wake up to
Those eyes are windows to
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
She had to raise her own parents
she had to suckle them at her breast
It was too much for her

She was too much for me
I had to put on a life jacket
and jump from the second-floor window
into the flood

I floated by a rowboat
and pointed with my thumb
to where she waited for rescue


Free Use


We have an apartment in Paris
in a building
that was a carriage stop
in the eighteenth century
Horses entered under the arch
and stomped their feet
on the cobblestones

Our apartment looks out on the rail yard
Trains enter and leave all day
and night
cause the earth to rumble
shake the building
My wife is unable to distinguish
between external stimuli
and internal stimuli
a symptom of her mental illness
so she is unable to sleep
or concentrate 

She begs me to take her away from this wretched place
but the apartment is free
and we have it for an unlimited time

The owner
doesn’t even know we are here
She is renovating a houseboat in Germany
(or actually, having it renovated
by a troupe of former barmaids
who have started a construction corporation)
and is not expected back
any time during this century

So I insist:
This is where we are
and this is where we’ll be

My wife builds a rough crucifix
in the middle of the living room
and with the assistance of some
local meth heads
ties herself to it
This is so derivative, I say
I am taking you back to the asylum

Fine, she says
Anywhere is better than being here
with you


Work by Mitchell Krockmalnik Grabois appears in magazines worldwide. Nominated for numerous prizes, he was awarded the 2017 Booranga Centre (Australia) Fiction Prize. His novel, Two-Headed Dog, based on his work in a state hospital, is available for Kindle and as a print edition. His poetry collection, THE ARREST OF MR. KISSY FACE, published in March 2019 by Pski’s Porch Publications, is available here. Visit his website  to read more of his poetry and flash fiction.  


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