The Stages of Death

Obviously, surprises aren’t always good. / There are so many areas / where someone can get lost / and not even realize it until they’re lost. / You did find hints along the way / – memories, but no nostalgia. / There’s in you some of the stuff / that you don’t want to be there. / It’s like a gray alien woke you / from a normal night’s sleep / and showed you the moons of Saturn, / leaving rocks in your heart. / And then it’s not like that at all, / and then it is again, and then it’s not, / and everything is blurred / and a million times nicer.

Howie Good, 2018

Remixed works:

Tragically Lost in Joshua Tree’s Wild Interior, by Geoff Manaugh
An Interview with Lynne Tillman, by Nicole Miller

 

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

Self-Portrait with Tears

Why would anybody take a photo of a dead person? Why would anybody do such a thing? I just want it to be over already. I just want a little normality back in my life. I didn’t steal. I didn’t kill. I stumbled down the stairs, shoeless, scared, holding my iPad. Yes, it was just weeds and vines. But those weeds and vines are there for a reason. They themselves become the flower, and when you’re there, you become a part of it, too. You might twist an ankle. You might see insects and reptiles devouring each other. You might say to someone, “L as in lost.”

Howie Good, 2017

Remixed works:

BBC article
New York Times article 1
New York Times article 2

SOS

Who owns the moon is a complicated subject. My first instinct was, what the hell? Did a rock hit it or something? My only dream was how to reach the shore safely. I was toying with various things on the submarine. And these were all out in the middle of the countryside set off from each other by wild vegetation or ornate gardens. Lots was happening at the same time – the TV on, a record playing, the radio on. “Wow,” I thought, “work is a pretty taxing place for many people.” We suddenly became archaic remnants of the pre-digital age. That was the hardest moment. But I didn’t really realize the implications of it when I was a teenager. We’ll never be more than unwitting missionaries, doing magic tricks to dazzle the crowd.

Howie Good, 2017

Remixed works:

New York Times article 1
New York Times article 2
Hyperallergic article 1
Hyperallergic article 2
Cape Cod Times article

After November 8

Her coda is her confession and
her request for absolution,
but also her catharsis.
She has nothing left to lose.
We imagine, as does she,
what it would be like to lose the caution,
to ditch the calculation,
to be irritated and blunt,
to not care too much,
to go out in a blaze
of fury and candor—

Hillary! You are entitled to rage.

Sofia Kwon, 2017

Remixed works:
New York Times 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