howie good

(from “How to Become a Shadow”)

I had just turned six. The universal symbol for handicapped hadn’t even been invented yet. New York was full of snow and poets. If Goodwill wouldn’t accept a donation of books, someone would. I spent that Hanukkah watching Christmas lights blink on and off on the house across the street.

I reached port by dusk, like a solution that somehow precedes discovery of the problem. Ethics was what isn’t done rather than what is. A voice warned against betting on which sugar cube the fly would land on. Just then a man walked in and slammed a severed head down on the bar. “Give this bitch a drink,” he said. That ended our night, but there was always tomorrow, with its iron bed and torn shade and ghost child playing on daddy’s knee.

Migratory birds that should be hopping a ride on the wind stroll between our legs. When did it become unlawful to squeal in pleasure? you ask. I shrug. What I call an attack of conscience another person might call the amygdala. I’m the most aggrieved of all the people on line, with a heart like a booby-trapped car.

I wished I was a wolf in the mountains. Wolves, you used to say, don’t wish to be found. After receiving another politely worded rejection, I washed an apple at the sink. All the windows facing the other side of the world were open. Veiled women beckoned me into the Kasbah. The X on the sidewalk marks the spot where I landed.

Howie Good, a journalism professor at SUNY New Paltz, is the author of the new poetry collection, Dreaming in Red, from Right Hand Pointing. All proceeds from the sale of the book go to a crisis center, which you can read about here. He is also the author of numerous chapbooks, including most recently The Devil’s Fuzzy Slippers from Flutter Press. He has two more chapbooks forthcoming, Personal Myths from Writing Knights Press and Fog Area from Dog on a Chain Press.