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Two poems

In Poetry on September 1, 2009 at 8:42 pm

Mice in a Fish Tank

Old students remember me saying things
I don’t remember saying. They say I said,

“Never write a boring sentence – never.”
They say I said, “Work your life around your art,

not your art around your life.” They say I said,
“Talent is dedication.” And maybe I did.

It sounds like something I’d say, a dead flashlight
masquerading as music. But I should’ve said,

Avoid the jealous notice of the assistant prosecutor.
I should’ve said, Conspire with would-be celebrities

against sleep. I should’ve said, Bark as if you were mice
in a fish tank, or the tattooed heart of a drunken sailor,

or the heretic upstairs getting ready for a date.


After Rejection

I stopped at a yard sale.
The woman nodded hi.
There were many odd items –
matted hair from the heads of madmen,
baby clothes that had been worn
by a miniature pinscher,
a jar of eyeball jelly.
I asked about the typewriter.
She said it had spent
its whole life up to now
in a dark basement.
And as she spoke,
she randomly pressed the keys
as if for luck.

Howie Good, a journalism professor at the State University of New York at New Paltz, is the author of eight poetry chapbooks. He has been nominated three times for a Pushcart Prize and twice for the Best of the Net anthology. His first full-length poetry book, LOVESICK, is forthcoming from The Poetry Press. Visit his website at Apocalypse Mambo.