Happy Yak

I was so surprised to find the yak in the kitchen at 3 a.m.,

especially at this altitude in the middle of summer,

wearing a kilt, rummaging through the fridge

in search of salad greens, and drinking my last beer,

that I was initially speechless, but I eventually

collected myself enough to ask, “Wouldn’t you

be happier at a higher elevation in a significantly

colder climate?” But he only grunted, waved

away my question with a cloven hoof, and

said, “You can research habitats on the internet,

but that doesn’t make you an expert on happiness.”


Copyright 2018

T. Allen Culpepper

What We Need to Make Us Happy

On the deck at the coffee shop,

just me and an elderly gent.

A scruffy young man from the street,

brown buzzed hair with top shock dyed red,

comes up, solicits cigarette.

We can’t oblige, so he moves on;

plenty of time, he’ll find a smoke.


The older man’s been looking for

a chance to talk, so he tells me

he quit smoking in the Sixties;

it was the second hardest thing

he ever did.  I think I’ve heard

the old joke, but don’t remember

the punchline, so I take the bait;

the hardest thing–I should have guessed it–

was to stop talking about it.


It’s a marvel to see how straight

men of his generation find

it so easy to make small talk

when it’s so hard for me to do.

Anyway, my iced coffee’s down

to the dregs. I’ve only stopped by

at the end of a long bike ride

to try the new shop, post a card

to promote my poetry blog.


It strikes me what simple things can

make us happy for a time, a

cigarette, a conversation,

a real audience to write for.


Copyright 2013

T. Allen Culpepper