WHAT WOULD MAKE ME HAPPY
wake up from naps in the late afternoon
and look around my one room apartment
sad and lost, maybe for what I dreamed
and can't remember, maybe because
the light in the windows is going down
and the A train keeps rattling by seven stories below,
and I know that in the fluorescent lit cars
they are sad. I have seen them
riding with their lives like friends
they have been friends with too long,
the chubby men who don't tuck in their shirts,
the men in suits with newspapers folded in four,
the women who stare down at their chipped nails
and the clothes they chose that morning
and were seen in all day.
Sometimes I think of the popular people from college
who have married one another and now have double
incomes and kids in Connecticut and D.C.
This according to the Wesleyan Alumni Newsletter,
a document I've gone to great lengths to avoid
but it keeps coming, and I keep turning
to my year, looking at the names in bold
and what's written—more marriages, more
kids, promotions, Fulbrights. Someone
climbed a mountain, someone made a speech.
Just once I'd like to read about a drug bust,
a messy divorce, a retarded baby.
But what would make me happy
is someone washing dishes in another room
and placing them carefully in the drying rack
so as not to wake me up.
What Would Make Me Happy first appeared in the
Alaska Quarterly Review
Douglas Goetsch has published a full-length
collection, NOBODY'S HELL (1999, Hanging Loose Press),
and three prizewinning chapbooks, most recently FIRST
TIME READING FREUD (2002, Permafrost). His work can be
found online at Billy Collins' "POETRY
180" site; an interview at
Samsara Quarterly and an audio recording Live
Prairie Lights. He teaches creative writing to
incarcerated teens in the The Bronx.