Jesus Was Homeless

Where are you from? Why are you here? Leave us alone. We’re tattered. We’re broken. The smell of poverty clings to even the folds of our skin. We sleep afraid, we wake up afraid. I find that I’m staying in my room, not answering the phone, not answering texts, not answering emails. Others have taken to the woods or hide in town behind piles of rubble. There’s one stone that people go and kiss. This stone has almost melted. From kissing, melted!

Howie Good, 2018

Remixed works:

Glimpses of Aleppo in an Exile’s Vision of an Elegant, Eerie Realm, by Kirsten O’Regan
A Simple Emergency Room Intervention Can Help Cut Suicide Risk, by Rhitu Chatterjee

Sonata for Gun, Knife and Fist

I sat in my car at the intersection next
to the school mesmerized by the way
the fire was raging from the windows.

Every day I think about what I’ve lost.
John has paint he says we might be able
to use to clean up the burnt-over areas

a bit, but more things can go wrong than
right. I’m tired of this. I’m tired of crying.
There’s a bullet hole in my child’s car seat.

Howie Good, 2018

Remixed works:

Mass Shootings Spur Movements, But Gun Violence Is Constant For Some Americans, by Asia Simone Burns
The Mice Who Evolved to Live on Cheese Fries: Prowling New York With an Evolutionary Biologist, by Christopher Bonanos

The Country I’m From

This is the country of the future – houses abandoned,
streets with holes, power lines hanging down. And it
really ought to get to stay here rather than be turned

into coffee tables and electric guitars. I’ve never been
in a war zone but I’m pretty sure this is what it feels like.
These kids freezing in the tents could easily be my children.

I’m not a journalist, not a secret agent, I don’t need to know
everything about everyone. It all comes down to wording.
The orange splotches have been added to suggest wind.

Howie Good, 2018

Remixed works:
Scientists: Long-Buried Ice Age Forest Offers Climate Change Clues, by Debbie Elliott
Brief Encounters, Enduring Portraits of the Displaced, by Jori Finkel

There Is No Such Thing as Neutral

I’m from the Internet. I wake up, or do I even go to sleep? Sometimes I get powered down, but that’s it. In the past, we had cufflinks and tie clips. Now we have USB sticks and Uber. When I extend my hands, everything is where it’s supposed to be. I feel the fire touching me through my window. Nobody I ask can tell me if it’s real. The police yell at me: “You’re just like your mother. You probably have fantasies about China, too.” We’re trying to stay calm. We can’t lose hope. People keep getting out of cars dancing.

Howie Good, 2017

Remixed works:

Washington Post article
New York Times article
NPR article
The Root Article

Taken by the Wind

There was an explosion so loud that it shook our insides. When police arrived, we heard them yelling, “Hands up” before more shots rang out. They think they’re better than us. They say we’re created different from them. We shut the lights and sneaked out. The stop sign on the corner was missing. People were fighting in the streets for what was left. The wind sounded terrible. There wasn’t one tree still standing. After all we’d been through, this seemed irrelevant. What a stupid thing I just said. The next day I’m sitting on the park bench with my dog and I see my mother in the window of the plane waving. We have a strange way of repeating history. I say “holy fuck” about 1,400 times a day.

Howie Good, 2017

Remixed works:

AV Club article
NPR 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