A FOOTNOTE TO MY SPIRITUAL JOURNEY
Friend of the profligate, the drowsy, the distractible, saying you’re pretty isn’t the same as saying I’d want to listen to you complain that every conversation with me feels like a vocabulary test. You woke up hoping that today is the day you qualify for the grand-prize drawing, a six-figure salary, full lifetime membership in the disappearing middle class. I woke up hoping to get through the next thing & the next & the next with my soul sort of still intact. You keep stopping in the crosswalk to do shit with your cell phone. I keep waiting for this light to change. It never actually will, will it?
EVERY AUTHOR A MERCILESS GOD
A man bends down & picks up a stick. He tosses the stick in the air. He watches it rise. He watches it fall. He contemplates the stick after it’s landed. One end of the stick points east; one end, west. The man begins walking west. As he walks, he rolls his shoulders, loosening a kink. The road is slow & dusty, barely a road at all, but the man appears content with his progress. How horrible of me, then, to send a large dog trotting toward him, a severed hand hanging out of its mouth.
HUDDLED MASSES YEARNING
God bless, the squeegee man says after I roll down my window & drop a couple quarters in his begging cup. On the radio Major Thomas E. Kennedy (of West Point, N.Y.) died when an insurgent detonated a suicide vest. I used to be jealous of the ironic young poets with cool hair. Driving back from a reading, maybe I still am. It’s a typical summer night in Boston, black & white like an old-time newsreel, constellations of strangers speeding across the windshield.
Howie Good, a journalism professor at SUNY New Paltz, is the author of five poetry collections, most recently Dreaming in Red from Right Hand Pointing and the forthcoming Cryptic Endearments from Knives Forks & Spoons Press. He is editor of twenty20 journal and co-publisher of White Knuckle Press with Dale Wisely and co-editor of cur-ren-cy with Wisely and F. John Sharp.