MUST BE GENETIC
Everything’s online – guns and victims and suspects. Click a link. The turmoil is irresistible. Must be genetic. Language itself is a kind of treachery. Why perhaps a horse’s ears quiver. I have been meaning to ask, What’s it like to be the last fire engine in hell? Busy, probably. The son of man raises a warning finger before anyone can comment. I’m wise enough not to say what I think, but not wise enough not to think it.
GONE TO MEXICO
He vanished over the border. It’s been a hundred years and still no trace. I’m waiting for you outside the Starbucks in Buzzards Bay. I could be waiting for him to stroll up, an English-Spanish dictionary under his arm. A woman at one of the sidewalk tables is talking on her cell about cutting everyone’s hours. She’s twenty-something and almost pretty. I watch the afternoon heat rise in waves from the blacktop. “It is what it is,” the woman says. She glances at me and then away – not ashamed, just uninterested. Every day is a heart hooked up to a monitor, another cat shot with an arrow.
The wind is out of focus. Soon you and everyone else related to me will begin to suffer the effects. The wind screams something about invisibility, spyware, a garden of beheaded flowers. It screams all night. In the morning, I sit at the kitchen table, unable to concentrate on what I’m reading. I listen in on the inane conversation of the birds at the feeder. There are tremors and a drooling sky. Juror No. 3 doesn’t seem to like me. I call the emergency number. I’m the emergency.
You’re whichever tree, the beech tree or the silver birch, sheds its leaves first. Blood that should only flow out parts of your heart flows back in. There are no secrets allowed, and no do-overs either, a line of buildings in the distance like so many tall knives. If thoughts made a noise, the noise my thoughts made would be moderate to severe, the flap-flap-flap of winged skulls hunting insects in the dark.
OBSCURE SIGNS OF PROGRESS
A man watches from somewhere nearby. The existence of angels would constitute a violation of U.S. airspace. You had been hoping for a quiet night tonight and, in the morning, caves of brightness. The man shields his eyes. You’re either a victim or a suspect. There’s always a choice. Repeat after me, Love is death turned inside out.
photo: André Kertész, «Long Island» 1936
Howie Good, a journalism professor at SUNY New Paltz, is the author of the forthcoming poetry collection The Middle of Nowhere (Olivia Eden Publishing) and the forthcoming poetry chapbooks The Complete Absence of Twilight (Mad Hat Press), Echo’s Bones and Danger Falling Debris (Red Bird Chapbooks), and An Armed Man Lurks in Ambush (unbound CONTENT). He co-edits White Knuckle Press with Dale Wisely. firstname.lastname@example.org