I was gathering my purse and coat after the last reading of the year for Arden's Student Reading Series (Selena Anderson and Kristin Taylor were wonderful) when a nice-looking fellow approached me with a question. He wanted to know if he could find my goat poem anywhere, that he and his wife had both enjoyed it at my reading in October. Two things occurred to me: 1) I rarely get requests from people who don't look crazy. 2) I haven't even sent the goat poem out to publishers, and I have no good reason for that. This poem is a lightweight and has been read several times at readings in Oregon.

Of course, it helps to be in the same place for longer than 6 months at a time; a permanent address makes submitting work a hell of a lot easier. I haven't submitted to more than 10 journals or so in the past year. However, I think I might be in Colorado for at least one solid year (starting next month) and should probably consider pushing my work "out there" more often. Any suggestions on a nice home for my poem "What I Need"?


what I need is a goat
a mountain goat, a billy goat
a pretty little pygmy goat
with knobby Puck-like horns
salt-and-pepper coat
tight as a drum
a big balloon belly
I need a goat
to keep in our yard
to follow me everywhere
to take to work
I need a goat
who’s appetite incarnate
who would swallow
the moon
if he could but reach it
a goat to eat
tin cans pizza boxes
orange peels and
dirty napkins
eat gifts we don’t want
broken bookcases
worn out shoes
the chess set we never use
recipes gone bad
beer bottles band-aids
pictures that make me
look fat
I need a goat
to choke down books
with bad endings
stupid poems
utility bills
magazines with celebrities’
butts on the cover
I need a goat
to help me teach high school
devour late essays
uncomfortable chairs
broken pens bad erasers
sticks of chalk
pounds and pounds
of coffee grounds
makeup bags compacts
confiscated ipods and porn
I need a goat
with an appetite for words
who will gobble up
every fuck! I say
when I should’ve said darn
every wrong definition
every mispronounced name
every last crumb
of ridiculous chit-chat
I need a goat
a pretty little pygmy goat
to live in the yard
so every time you said
something you wish
you hadn’t we could
pour it into his dish
stroke his prickly ears
while he slurped it up
and ate the bowl
washed it down with a pair
of mismatched socks
we could name him
Poppy or Sunflower
or Butchie or Bert
and we would feel better
the house would
stay cleaner
life would be easier
if I had a goat



Bryan said…
I love this poem! It is the perfect anthem for anyone who has had a bad day, or is stressed over a mess in their life. Whether it be a literal mess of clutter at the house, or a metaphorical mess of incoherent thoughts and negative emotions. If only we all had a goat to gobble up all the trash in our lives we would all be happier people. Thank you for what you do in bringing joy to the world with your words. You are truly amazing. - the nice looking fellow.
The Poetess said…
Thanks, Bryan! A friend of mine has sent me some publisher ideas. I'll post news here if it's picked up.

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