Little Dog Cart

Mitchell Grabois

 

I started out with a two-hundred dollar Studebaker

but later in life

I was reduced to a little dog cart

 

I started with a big dog

but ended with a dachshund

and a dachshund can’t even pull a short man

like me

 

I went to Mexico

and had my stomach stapled

but the dachshund

still looked at me with disgust

 

Like all dachshunds

he was bitter

and stupid

 

His IQ test had showed

that he was in the lower quartile for dachshunds

so he was even stupider than most dachshunds

 

I’d paid a psychologist

ten dollars

to administer the test

ten dollars

I really couldn’t afford

 

Then true misfortune befell me

They wouldn’t let me back in the USA

even if I promised to leave the dachshund behind

 

even if I abandoned my cart

even if I left my battered saxophone

even if I stripped down to my

grey underwear

and hobbled into the homeland over  

sharp gravel

 

What part of no don’t you understand,

asked the immigration official

 

They confiscated my passport

The underling said: Go be a prostitute

and earn the money to hire

some bandito

to guide you across the desert

to the border

 

But I decided I would stay in Mexico

become a Mexican

and use the money to buy another Studebaker

one that shuddered

even when the engine wasn’t

turned on

 

 

Kim Chee

Mitchell Grabois

 

I worked too hard

in a room that wasn’t even a room

just a roof

 

Smoke from stripped bark

and other burning tree trash

blew in and burned my lungs

 

My Korean coworker

brought me pickled cabbage

that he’d buried in his back yard

and redeemed one jar at a time

 

The kim chee burned my throat

and masked the

damage to my lungs

 

Woman should be like sheep

he told me

meek and mild

 

but I was confused

because I thought he’d said ship

 

Actually he had said ship

but he meant sheep

 

I finally figured it out

I tried to imagine

my wife, a farmer’s daughter

as meek and mild

and had a good

laugh over that

 

She wasn’t the vixen kind of farmer’s daughter

that figured in a traveling saleman’s jokes

She was the kind that labors

because there are no sons

in the family

My wife could kick that Korean’s ass

 

She forbid me to eat kim chee

in the house

It made her nauseated

so I had to eat it outside

I also had to smoke outside

 

I did those things outside

while my wife watched stupid TV shows

 

They say that TV shows

have gotten stupider

over the years

but I remember those shows

she watched

and I don’t think anything

could ever be more stupid

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