A Poem and an Excerpt

Mike Andrelczyk

U.S.A. Mint Poem

I have to write a story for the newspaper about a 19th amendment-themed commemorative coin designed by a local artist

I’ve already done an interview with the artist but now there are the official hoops: emails, extra steps and other random processes required by the U.S.A. Mint

it is very annoying

I am looking at an image of the coin and thinking about how putting faces on money is like a kind of curse

I am looking out the window at the parking lot and thinking the phrase: pissed at the mint

as in: I am pissed at the mint

I’m looking out the window at the space in the parking lot under the weeping willow and in front of the old midwife center where a man was shot and killed last Valentine’s Day

the heads side is called the obverse

I’m trying to see the other side

but it won’t open up

I try to see all the way to Philadelphia but the sky is very gray

I keep thinking the phrase pissed at the mint

Short excerpt from “Submarines” - a novel

I was walking on the beach looking down at the sand. The sand was soft and I was sort of sinking into it as I walked. I was searching for early 17th century Dutch coins, pieces of pottery or other small treasures. So far I’d found nothing except a dead jellyfish, a condom wrapper and a beer can. I’d noticed since I’d heard about the possibility of treasure appearing along the shore, my neck had been bent down to the ground. Before I knew about the treasure I’d typically look at the water, the sky or the horizon. The possibility of money, I thought, makes a man stop dreaming. Forces his neck to the ground. Yes, yes.

I looked up. I saw the osprey in the distance drumming his wings over the bay. I saw a submarine in the wind. I thought I saw the Commodore’s ship flying the British flag but when I looked again it was only a cargo ship. Probably full of car parts, chicken parts, painkillers, spaceships or brightly-colored plastic whistles.

I looked back down. The sand was glistening jewel-like in the surf. I was a man made of sand. Mr. Sandman. I sang: I’m Mr. Sandman. I live in a dream. I have seen enough of this scene. Chewing the meat. Isn’t life grand? I’m a sandman with a hand made of sand. Then, having enjoyed that, I added a little refrain: Da-da-di-da-ba-be-da-be-da-de-la-da-di-da-be-ba-di-ba. I pretended my hand was made of sand and blew on it and watched its grain-like cells disappear and mix into the air and sand on the ground. I could see the future. The future that didn’t include me. That was ok. Yes, indeed.

The future was stone ground down by weather and eternal ocean waves.

I saw a silver flash in the sand. It was a coin. I picked it up. The man at the hotel was right. There was treasure here. I examined the coin. But it was just a quarter from 1998. I threw it into the water. Future treasure for a future treasure hunter.

Then I found a smooth rock. I threw it submarine-style across the water. It skipped. One, two, three, four, five, six, seven times then sunk. My Grandpa taught me how to do this. I turned around and walked toward home to check on Grandma. I thought about all the undiscovered buried treasures and trash that I was walking over.

Mike Andrelczyk is the author of “Gateway 2000 & Other Poems” and a professional layabout.