What weather! We hang around the house all day, increasingly edgy, like assassins for hire without an assignment. On one channel, there’s a question about who invented the combustion engine; on another, the start of a celebrity death watch. You and I were friends before we were a couple, but unreliable narrators before we were either. Light gathered us to itself, and I think I could hear, if you’d turn down the TV just a little, the music said to reside in the silence between notes.
I had the worst case of writer’s block. That’s what you get, you said, for asking who wrote Shakespeare’s plays. The trees were weighed down with apples. I shed my overalls, and you, your dress. It’s called Arrangement in Gray and Black, No. 1.
You don’t believe in looking nervously over your shoulder, but what happened to the ancient kingdom of Kush could happen to us – a fluttery heartbeat, followed by general and rapid decline. It’s a mystery how we’ve survived this far the cows and red barns and the onset of winter light. Girl with acetylene green eyes, empty the tip jar and let’s get out of here. The going always seems so much longer than the coming back.
An old young man in a stained T-shirt
and with a bruise under one eye
lunges out of the convenience store.
A dog sniffs the rear end of another dog.
Mister, got sixty cents?
Once there was a great painter
without money for paint and brushes.
I reach into my pocket.
Hey! a seagull cries. Hey!
though I am miles from any sea.
HERE’S THE DEAL
Be a pale & lean earthquake,
& I will be a heap of broken violins,
be the circus girl resting
atop a staircase in flames,
& I will be a dynamite explosion
in a foreign language,
be a pair of six-foot pink lips
painted by sheet lightning,
& I will stop on my way home
to pick up the milk & bread.
* * *
Howie Good, a journalism professor at SUNY New Paltz, is the author of five poetry collections, most recently Cryptic Endearments from Knives Forks & Spoons Press. He has had numerous chapbooks, including A Special Gun for Elephant Hunting from Dog on a Chain Press, Strange Roads from Puddles of Sky Press, and Death of Me from Pig Ear Press. His poetry has been nominated multiple times for the Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net anthology. Howie’s new chapbook of prose poems, The Complete Absence of Twilight, is forthcoming soon from MadHat Press. Howie blogs at http://apocalypsemambo.blogspot.com.