George J. Searles

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Chivalry in Cooperstown

He was on a spending spree
in one of those souvenir shopsArtwork by Gene McCormick
near the baseball Hall of Fame.

He’d loaded a whole pile
of useless crap onto the counter
and was taking out his wallet

when he remembered one last thing
he wanted to buy. “Almost forgot,”
he said, “I need a Phillies bumper sticker!”

But let’s face it: He didn’t. I’ll bet
that if he thought about it for a minute
and was the least bit honest with himself,

he’d agree that what he really needed
was a crash diet, a smoking cessation kit,
an entirely new wardrobe, a shave,

a good hot shower, and a woman—
in that order. I put the woman last on the list
deliberately, to be kind to her.


Too Much Education

Having majored in theater,Artwork by Gene McCormick
Jessica couldn’t find a good job.
So, weary of waitressing and dog-walking,
she decided to become a porn star.

“May as well use my degree and do something
I might actually enjoy,” she explained
to her folks, who disapproved
(though her mom’s new beau was more supportive

than Mom herself, whose objections
were many, various, and emphatic).
But there was really no cause for alarm;
Jessica couldn’t seem to break into the business.

None of the X-rated film studios would hire her.
They didn’t understand, and kept rejecting,
the stage name she was insisting on:
Hedda Gobbler.


George J. Searles teaches English and Latin at Mohawk Valley Community College, and has also taught creative writing on Pratt Institute’s upstate campus and graduate courses in workplace communications for The New School. He has published many poems in small quarterlies, along with three volumes of literary criticism from university presses and six editions of a widely-used writing textbook. In 2002 the Carnegie Foundation named him New York State’s “Professor of the Year.”