The poetry of John Kropf

American Crayons

Crumbling black brick
with white lettering
index finger smokestack
dismantled machines
lost workers
Instruments of color creation
kindergarten perceptions of broccoli
stalk trees and beaming suns
an artist’s rendering gauzy scenes
of a Bordeaux countryside
cylinders of orange, mauve and maroon
poured, molded, dried
cut, packaged shipped
opened in rooms of A, B, C, 1, 2, 3
and abandoned on a June afternoon
a worn palette of nubs
rolling around
in a busted box

Author’s Note: The American Crayon Company was founded in Sandusky, Ohio by my great-grandfather and other relatives. The factory manufactured “American Crayons” brand crayons for over 100 years. In the 1990s, the equipment was dismantled and moved to a factory in Mexico, but not before the Ohio workers trained their Mexican counterparts. The factory closed its doors, the building fell derelict and was demolished in 2018.





Continental Drift

Australia is a trifecta of
country, island, continent
like a whole whale fish
swimming toward
shapely South America
who looks east
at her heavy-set sister Africa
indifferent to the chubby bouncing Buddha
Asia swinging its Kamchatka tassel
balanced on a slender high-heeled Malaysian peninsula
while kicking up an ungainly
Arabian Dutch clog
and shaking his Himalayan girth
in a wild waltz
with the baroque lady of Europe
rough and ready North America
eyes the mismatched couple
cracking the whip of his Aleutian braid
and coiling the overgrown prehensile tail
of Mexico in the warm waters below
leaving Antarctica alone
to spin as a top.
in its own cold abandon

John Kropf is a Washington, DC area attorney born and raised in Ohio. He has written a travel-adventure book, Unknown Sands: Journeys Around the World’s Most Isolated Country, and contributed poetry to Burningword Literary Journal and Verse-Virtual, an online poetry magazine. John keeps a blog, Compulsively Aimless, about books and poetry updated at unscheduled times.  He’s currently working on a memoir about the growing up in Ohio and his family history with the American Crayon Company.

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