Howie Good

The Little Ice Age

The moon had just been restored. I went looking for the place where it hung. Instead, I found humble cherished heirlooms that had been stolen from the poor. I found the remote footprints of the arrestees who had vanished. I found midnight, and it was bluer and crueler than I had imagined midnight would be. “Stop!” my parents pleaded, “stop!” But I couldn’t, not when there might be a better word for “blue” in Roget’s Thesaurus.

As usual, I arrived late. A book of 425 poems about the death of the poet’s child had just been willed into existence. “Did I miss anything?” I kept asking. Where the Colored Orphan Asylum once stood, the centuries now crisscrossed, spider eggs braided in wild witchy hair. The worst part wasn’t even the decaying faces, gray and lopsided, but the screams of passersby. It was a strange way to learn that the voice I needed was the one I already had.

The Department of Internal Difficulties and Natural Impediments has been open for hours already. I stand outside the glass doors, counting the number of suicidal poets who enter the building, some with their wrists bandaged, others still bleeding. A week earlier, the sky acquired the surface consistency of sand. I thought that it was the long-anticipated end of the American Century, but it was just the beginning of another set of dreary, complicated procedures. Only one thing to do now – hope. Somewhere near here, there must be crows in an evergreen watching it snow.

Shot in the Heart

Lovers reemerged bare-assed
into the world of alphabets.

Everything meant something.
Even secret knowledge traveled fast,
like a helicopter tilting at takeoff.

I don’t see how the perfume of their cities
would have been involved.

It’s really all about light,
a little country store that sells
groceries and ammo.

Zombies of the Stratosphere

I can hear the plague bell ringing. Better that, perhaps, than having to listen to the brittle tittle-tattle of parvenus. There was a time when our leaders would insist on simplified spelling – thru for through, or tho for though, or iland for island. O zombies of the stratosphere, I not only received a sign after praying the way they said, but it was bright red. Hardly anyone ever tells me anything anymore. I’ll go on erupting gently despite this sudden irrelevance, the darkness like the motion of apple trees somehow still in bloom.

Howie Good, a journalism professor at SUNY New Paltz, is the author of the forthcoming poetry collection The Middle of Nowhere (Olivia Eden Publishing). He co-edits White Knuckle Press with Dale Wisely.
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