I walk out without you
into the greasy smoke of evening.
After thirteen days in bed,
there’s so much still to suffer
that lifting your face
for a goodbye kiss
feels like an interruption.
an empty train
in the cold
to a country
I look up.
Row upon row
rise out of sight,
in each one.
I’m dressed in a French-cut suit
the color of a cloudy day.
A cadaver dog approaches,
hesitant and mannerly.
There’s no effective pill.
There never was.
A kitchen chair
out under an enormous
whose right hand
THE GOLDEN AGE
Everyone’s head was full of words and stories, maps of sorts, and when they shut
their eyes, they saw a white summer dress dashed with blood. People were rarely
lonely. If they killed, it was for the same reasons that bridges sometimes fail.
Dot-dot-dash in Morse code means “u.” A man jammed a fistful into his mouth. He
had climbed the iron staircase toward a rumor of angels, what they call Rembrandt
Lighting. Somewhere a heart was powering down. A horse-drawn ambulance
eventually shambled into view. The sky by then was small and vague.
The weather inside isn’t that good either, soft, gray flakes, like the warm ashes
of clouds. I’m getting ready to go to the other room. If you want something to
happen, act like you don’t and then maybe it will.
Is it still winter there where you are? Do you have a dancing monkey to help you get
through it? Here everything calls out to everything else. No one regrets that the first
paint was probably animal blood. Only the birds seem kind of glum, black-capped
chickadees with pebbles for eyes.
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:
https://sites.google.com/site/rhplanding/howie-good-dreaming-in-red. He is
also the author of numerous chapbooks, including most recently The Devil’s
Fuzzy Slippers from Flutter Press.