Fall 2011, Volume 11

Poetry by Howie Good


I am a city full of dust, smoke, fever, dirt, parading and singing and holding banners aloft. A lot of people are being shot. The assassin worries that assassins have been hired to assassinate him, too. Police shadow an old couple on their afternoon walk. Everyone they meet communicates in code. The word “rain” would mean that you have been arrested, the word “snow” that you have disappeared.


It starts getting dark if you believe it is.
Please, the passengers beg.

A crying man is consigned
to the incurable ward.

Bullets break branches off the trees.

The fear is always there,
a black uniform accented with red.

The Chemistry of Crying

A stricken crowd. The paddy wagon taking the innocent away. Such scenes of theft and murder! Police shoot first and yell “Throw up your hands” afterwards. The face in the window stares blankly, but is always there. Tears can drown even the strongest swimmer. . . .

Late summer. Everyone is talking at once, everyone, even the birds. How do we keep our word when there are so many words to keep track of? Unseen from the road, wild grapes hang down in dim bunches within a tangle of vines. If I had a pail or you with me, I would stretch to my full height and pick some.




BIO: Howie Good, a journalism professor at SUNY New Paltz, is the author of the full-length poetry collections Lovesick (Press Americana, 2009), Heart With a Dirty Windshield (BeWrite Books, 2010), and Everything Reminds Me of Me (Desperanto, 2011).