Poetry from Howie Good

Choose Love

It’s impossible when looking around

not to imagine some prior tragedy,

a figure on a cross, tears spouting from his nipples.

And what’s this supposed to be a drawing of?

A snow-white angel? A ballerina under sedation?

Given a choice, I would choose you,

standing amid strangers in a busy street

and grinning up at the face in a cloud,

and every day would contain the secret

to the perfect something – that if less is more,

then nothing must be even more.

Dispatch From the Crash Site

1

Somewhere nearby is another me that I can’t see but that sees me denouncing his parents to the police. The other I has a recurrent dream in which a target is pinned over his heart. Assuming the firing squad hits the target, the heart ruptures and death quickly follows. I tell myself, “Don’t think about it – just don’t.” In the background are bodies hanging from lamp posts, the eyes like rusted bullet holes.

2

Often eyes become red, and all because four-hundred bullets per minute go roaring off on joyrides. That’s when I start thinking, “Whatever happened to the right to be lazy?” The world has developed a taste for the miserable, the beheaded Christian prisoners who can’t quite get things together. There’s actually a kid in full goalie pads outside the Stop & Shop collecting money for a pantheon dedicated to them. My life also seems kind of Laurel and Hardy, a kiss of fire accelerant, the whole jamboree vulnerable to the odd stick of dynamite. Souvenir hunters won’t even bother to wait until the ashes cool before they begin searching through the wreckage.

3

Sitting in a pensive lotus position came to be considered the ultimate act, more than just suicide. Moments of exhaustion led to a glimpse of everything being pulverized. The largest pieces were the size of a small car, while the black flecks scattered across a remote mountain included two babies. Halfway through Tuesday afternoon, the weather deteriorated, with a chilly rain falling, so I thought it sounded just like that, the head of a sobbing woman.

Waking Up in Dreamland

When I woke up, I was here, surrounded by objects I might trip over in stepping back to take in the view. There was a crow, or at least what I thought was a crow – it was hovering and it wasn’t an aircraft. I felt as if saints in red robes were discoing inside my head. How could anything bother me on such a day? Just then it started raining. I mean, something happened, something I didn’t actually see, broken people and animals far at the bottom of a grievous dream.

Mentor

Resist the charms of adjectives and adverbs, at least until you reach here. Don’t even pause on the way to receive blessings – or grammar advice. Just keep going. If you encounter a gang of outlaw angels, which can sometimes happen, offer to unclutter their minds by uncluttering the language of dreams, and as they huddle to consider it, run. Ahead is a city that’s now mostly abandoned, with spacious white rooms, like the space between words. Arrive by dusk, and you may get to see what I saw, not only fish and birds, but also faint threads of light stitching them beautifully together.

Howie Good’s latest poetry collections include Fugitive Pieces from Right Hand Pointing Press and The Cruel Radiance of What Is from Another New Calligraphy.

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