Inferno

I thought I’d read the 
Inferno

aloud to my wife
while we were house-sitting in Umbria
in a drafty old farmhouse
with inadequate heat
but after a while
Hell got boring
It didn’t take very long

We started watching TV instead
the Italian version of

Wheel of Fortune

with former Miss Sweden
Victoria Silvstedt
playing Vanna White
Vanna Unchained

Victoria strides across the stage
her endless legs
then turns
her skirt swirls
for the benefit of the “buttocks cam”
below stage level

My wife’s intrinsic lesbianism
usually well-hidden
ignites
and she falls to the floor and writhes
as one possessed

It’s only when I change the channel to
Arabic porn
that she settles down

though her eyes pinwheel
at the sight of  
burka versions
of Victoria’s Secret

She begins building to a new seizure
when I hold up the 
Inferno
 in my left hand
and the 
King James Bible
 in my right
and say:
Your choice of antidotes  

***

Brigade

A brigade of women
                          (romance writers
                           producers of digital pulp
                          with candy-apple covers
                           of ab-rippled men)
has found me

I am trying to teach myself to play
Leonard Cohen’s 
Hallelujah

on the harpsichord
accompanying myself on harmonica
when they swarm into my house
their collective perfumes
like a nuclear powered 
Glades plug-in

and, chemically sensitive at the best of times
I choke

can’t breathe can’t breathe

and pass out

I hit my head on the marble floor
the Pope had put on consignment
and I bought for a pretty lira in Rome
in a shop staffed by women in tuxedoes

I knew their secrets

The women of this new brigade of romance writers
have no secrets
They are one-dimensional
but the handcuffs that they use
to fasten me to the bedposts
are four-dimensional

The arithmetic average
makes things seem
almost human

***

M. 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 nominated for the Pushcart Prize, most recently for his story “Purple Heart” published in The Examined Life in 2012, and for his poem. “Birds,” published in The Blue Hour, 2013. 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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