Poet Slam by Mitchell Krockmalnik Grabois


Poet Slam by Mitchell Krockmalnik Grabois

In early middle age, the poet laureate travelled the Skunk Passage, youth’s tattoos fading from her skin, the snakes, the roses on her breast, the grinning skeleton head. They faded until they were gone, and her skin was fresh and pale. At the end of that road, she was a skeleton made of yarn. Pimps and dealers transformed to cowbells, and dropped around her with dull clangs. She was going to meet the new pope. He was meeting her on the F train.

In later middle age, the poet laureate was on her bike, a Classic Schwinn, red and chrome, that she polished as a zen exercise before each ride. The bike was on the asphalt, rolling forward, propelled by her pedaling feet and legs, but the poet was in her head (no longer in the “holy here-and-now” about which she’d written so many poems). She was in her head, playing with onomatopoeia and variations of the word “vermiform” and contemplating metaphors when she collided with a garbage truck. She ran right into its side. It was hard to figure how she could do that, given the truck’s size and color, bright green like a piece of sun-dappled forest, and its smell of horridly ripe refuse, and its loudness as it compressed the latest submissions thrown over the transom of its maw.

The answer, of course, was that she wasn’t in the world. She was 100% in her own head and later, when I heard this sad news, I remembered attending a workshop with the poet laureate. The moderator of a panel asked whether poetry could save one’s life, and she answered enthusiastically and warmly in the affirmative. But the moderator didn’t ask if poetry could kill you.

Fortunately her collision with the garbage truck, one of thousands owned by Waste Management, allegedly a Mafia business, didn’t kill her. She sort of bounced off it, not as cleanly as a rubber ball off a wall, but cleanly enough not to get dragged under its massive wheels. The poet laureate suffered only abrasions and contusions, words that were as significant and concretely dense with meaning as a red wheelbarrow.

**** THE END ****
Copyright Mitchell Krockmalnik Grabois 2015

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