M.J. (Michael Joseph) Arcangelini

M.J. (Michael Joseph) Arcangelini
was born 1952 in western Pennsylvania. He has resided in northern California since 1979. He has published in a lot of little magazines, online journals, & over a dozen anthologies.  He is the author of five collections, the most recent of which are “What the Night Keeps,” Stubborn Mule Press 2019, and “A Quiet Ghost,” Luchador Press 2020. Arcangelini has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize. He can be reached at poetbear@sonic.net

ONE DAY AT THE BANK (1982)

Friday, payday, 4:45 PM, long line
snaking toward the teller windows.
He slammed his checkbook onto the
polished granite counter, looked straight
at me behind my desk and yelled,
“You fucked up my checking account!”
Everyone in the lobby heard him and
were watching to see what I’d do.
I got up, walked to the counter,
leaned across and quietly,
so no one else could hear, said
“No, sir, most likely you fucked
up your checking account. Would
you like me to show you how?”
I could have gotten fired for saying that.
He was stunned as I took the checkbook
out of his hand and headed for the
microfiche viewer in the back room.
I researched his account and started sweating.
What if I was wrong and this was a
bank error; it did happen at times, if rarely.
After what I’d said to him it better not be.
Usually it was a simple math error or
forgetting to enter a transaction;
he had both in his check register.
I ran an adding machine tape to
show him where his math went wrong
and printed a picture of the check
which had not been entered.
Then I headed back out front.
As I discreetly showed him his errors
he shrank in front of me, all that
pent up steam seeped out of his body.
When I was done, he delicately
took his checkbook and left,
five minutes after closing.

DISSATISFACTION

Two owls
in the final
moments
of night,
their gullets
not yet
satisfied,
chatter on
to each other
protesting
the coming
dawn,
prepared to
argue
with the
sun itself, if
necessary.
That is,
until it
rises on
their
indignant
entreaties for
more time
to hunt
and they
fall
silent
into the
blinding
day.

SATISFACTION


Two owls
in the final
moments
of night,
their gullets
satisfied,
bellies full,
chatter on
to each other,
bragging
about their
kills, their
hunting skills
while
the coming
dawn,
fed up
already
with their
boasting,
prepares to
shut them
down with
sunlight,
to stop
their braggart
swaggering
and allow
the birds of
morning
to sing
into the
blinding
day.

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