The School of Apocalypse

There’s nothing natural about barbed wire
with a piece of horse’s mane stuck on it.
Or a grizzly bear using a highway overpass.
I don’t know what went wrong. It all keeps
bouncing back and forth. This could be my,
like, shamanistic, right-brain diabetes treatment.
Everyone says it’s unforgettable being
in the path of totality. Give me 10 minutes
so I can think about it more. I’m not really sure
if we could ever discover how to reach God
through exercise. You see charred black bodies
hanging from trees, and white folks picnicking
under them – young children smiling. And then
on the back of the postcard, “Wish you were here.”

Howie Good, 2017

Remixed works:
Hyperallergic article 1
Hyperallergic article 2
Hyperallergic article 3
Rapid City Journal article

The Fireworks Galaxy

1
Go to a farmers market,
buy a new candle,
drive with the windows down.
This is our revolution,
a fast way to get killed.

2
When I come back the next day,
the office is closed.
Still, through the window,
I sense the atmosphere.
There are holes in the floor,
new cracks in the walls,
a Madonna washing
her clothes in the toilet.

3
You asked for justice;
they shot you in the face.
It’s hard to believe
it really happened,
and everyone is sitting here
having a good time
and the music is still playing.

Howie Good, 2017

Remixed works:
New York Times article
NPR article

Time Bomb

We didn’t know what it was, whether it was
a train crashing. There were children, blood,

shoes, splattered all over the floor. Everyone
was crying and screaming. I felt so helpless.

A man walked past us, just covered in blood.
This can happen anywhere, at any time.

How can I explain any of this to a 14-year-old?

*
This is the world we live in now.
Even the police are bandits.
We have to face up to it.
A very horrible morning of death.
Kids were getting crushed.
I didn’t know what to do, where to go.
I didn’t have a phone.
I just kept screaming for Patty.
She needs to grieve.

*

Backpacks aren’t allowed.
Drinks are taken away from people.

But getting a car or knife is easy.
And it usually involves other people.

To make matters worse,
Senegalese have less and less money.

*

Everybody’s constantly looking
at the clock. The clock’s ticking,
the clock’s ticking. Got to go, man,
got to go! Otherwise you kind of
get trapped. Yeah, it’s the same
sun, but it’s different everywhere.
Nobody knows which way to go.
Keep on running, keep on running.

Howie Good, 2017

Remixed works:
New York Times article 1
New York Times article 2
New York Times article 3

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