Adobe Motel. A Poem by Mitchel Krockmalnik Grabois

Each room number
in this adobe motel
has a symbol
Our room number
has a yellow quarter-moon beside it
and some black stars
Next door
the number106
is pierced by lightning bolts
My wife and I spend a quiet night
and watching evangelical TV for its comedic value
It is far funnier than Comedy Central
Many of the jokes are stale
but not as stale as Leno and Letterman
while the neighbors in
scream at each other
as if there was never anything in the world that they hated more
than each other
The next night they begin again
My wife and I look at each other
Without saying anything
we nod in agreement
I knock on their door
at first quietly
then more vehemently
as if I were a cop
and had the right
The husband comes to the door
wearing a wife-beater
a tattoo of a marijuana leaf on his left shoulder
Who the fuck are you? he asks
I motion with my head. I’m next door, I say
TV too loud for ya, he asks, in a threatening voice
I can hear perfectly well—there’s no TV, only him and his wife
I hear her grumbling
as if angry at their being interrupted
My wife and I, I say,
were wondering if you’d like to change rooms
He looks at me, suspicious. Do you have a fridge, he asks
A little one. A hotel fridge
Does it work?
I know because my wife had put some cuties—little tangerines—in there to keep cool
Ours is broke, he says, I hate warm beer
So we switch rooms
As soon as we get in, my wife and I
feel our tempers rise
It’s not a Stephen King thing
a cursed car, a cursed hotel
we’re just ready to let go
to get in the spirit of
the intersection of madness and violence
The previous couple
had left an old metal cowbell on the bed
I’m thinking, a cowbell?
as my wife picks it up and hurls it at me
I don’t know if she’s trying to hit me
or is just performing a symbolic act
but in any case I duck
and it misses
and smashes into the wall
the wall our room shares with 107
our former room
We hear the couple stop making love
They’re noisy fuckers and when they suddenly stop
I hear the Sounds of Silence
as Paul Simon put it
I was trained in the Israeli martial art Krav Maga
the deadliest fighting form ever invented
The last time I used it was when I was in the Israeli army
when I was eighteen though twenty
I killed two Palestinians
When I got out of the army I decided not to immigrate to Israel after all
even though I had been so enthusiastic after the 1967 War
which occurred when I was still in high school
Facing my wife, her hands free of cowbells or other weapons
I feel the old Krav Maga training churning through my muscles
My wife looks around for something else to throw
She decides on the TV but it’s bolted to the table

Mitchell Poet
Mitchell Krockmalnik Grabois’ poems and fictions have appeared in hundreds of literary magazines in the U.S. and abroad. He is a regular contributor to The Prague Revue, and has been thrice nominated for the Pushcart Prize. His novel, Two-Headed Dog, based on his work as a clinical psychologist in a state hospital, is available for 99 cents from Kindle and Nook or as a Print Edition
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