Infirmities

1
I saw a black mass of smoke.
I felt the fire touching me through my window.
I heard a snap or a crackle.
I saw the flames rising.
A bird gave this to me because I freed her wing
from a tangle of balloons.

2
Stranded between one act and another,
jump, turn clockwise,
cut with the kitchen knife
through the beer belly of the Republic.
The more a visitor is willing
to play in my nightmare,
the more all of us will receive.
The island sinks now, but it’s still there
just beneath the waves.

3
They came and knocked on the door.
Why didn’t you open the door?
My daughter could have been in there bleeding.
I can’t keep doing this.
The bridge is going to collapse.
They’re saying I have to walk,
but it’s raining and dark.

4
Whatever happened here,
it was at the wrong time, wrong place.
This place is very dangerous.
I imagined that there might be someone with a gun.
Crowded places, we try to avoid.
Malls, we try to avoid.
So much is coming at us.
It’s like watching your heart outside your body.

Howie Good, 2017

Remixed works:
Hyperallergic article
AJC article
ABC News article
New York Times 1 article< New York Times 2 article

How the Heart Hardens

You move around like a fish,
searching for possibilities.

You should invest in failing.
Invest in losing. You should

create a room to get lost in,
a room where you lose names.

Don’t ask why something meant
something to you. That’s actually

not such a nice way to grow up.
If you go to bed with French fries,

you will lie there, thinking about
what it means. You have to be

the beast. There is a child world
that needs to be destroyed.

Howie Good, 2017

Remixed works:
Hyperallergic article

Work Dream

I dreamed I was a book. The missing letters were missing so that, no matter what I thought they were, I could never be quite certain. There are no real gatekeepers. And no mission. Have you ever wondered is Florida real? Funny, right? You can do a lot of stuff. The guests at a wedding breakfast reach for their swords and hack the would-be groom to pieces. It’s like deciding to be a samurai or a dandy: you’re in for a miserable end, but one you’ll be able to face with honor. We cope with liquor and drugs and sex. That’s not going to change. It’s probably something we have in common with small punk rock record labels. Never talk to cops. Eat with your hands. The best work should scare you.

Howie Good, 2017

Remixed works:
Quotes from small press editors, at Entropymag

The Far Side of Zero

My life has been a migration. The last
movement is the sound of a waterfall

in a hurricane. Debra wants to hear oldies.
We will sing today with a child almost

hit in a crosswalk by a pickup truck –
yes, something possible everywhere.

Howie Good, 2016

Remixed works:
Your Deathbed Playlist, New York Times, Nov. 18, 2016
Police log, Nov. 8-15, 2016, Times Argus, Montpelier, VT

How to Fix a Monet after Someone Punches It

You can see Syria from here,
fish in a dead landscape,
starry nights and astronauts,
the soft edges of time.

What year is it?
Don’t you think it’s time for love?
Everything else has failed.

Fuck it, I’m high.
Let’s walk to the middle of the ocean.

White roses sing and sing.

Howie Good, 2016

Remixed works:
Titles of artworks by Alma Thomas, Hema Upadyay,
and Kung Me

Missing Persons

1
Do you see the donut?
Do you just see the hole?
But if you see the hole,
then where is Mary?

2
Stop crying.
It’s simple,
like strikethroughs
on a typewriter.

3
I’m killing you –
in my dreams.

So?

Nobody ever
dies of it.

Howie Good, 2016

Remixed works:
Assembled in part from Mercy Hospital,
a series of drawings by Ida Applebroog