Howie Good

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rock, paper

A pimp stabbed you in the chest, just missing your heart. Or maybe I misheard. I had half-hoped, half-expected to see the splashes of blood. Stupid people on smart drugs wandered in and out of doorways and side streets. Everyone just assumed that paper always defeats rock. If I were you, I wouldn’t go out again without a companion. The sun will shine for at least another 6 billion years, cruel and often difficult, like a man locked up in a madhouse for touching the local woman.



The great windows of the synagogue
were missing their stained glass.
A firing squad stood off to one side, relaxing.
The day was disturbingly bright
like the gold pried from a tooth.
“Nothing to see here,” the policeman said
and shooed away the curious.
What jobs society inflicted on its poets!
Why I love trees more than people.


in case of emergency break glass

Everything that could emigrate, even the insects, has. I have nobody with whom to exchange worried glances. The darkness peels away in long, thin strips, exposing an even greater darkness underneath. Anybody who isn’t a victim is a suspect. “Here!” I shout, “I’m over here!” as the street begins to fill, little by little, with those remaining. The old woman finally turns in my direction. It’s my mother but not my mother, red in the face, eyes clenched shut, mouth deformed by sobs. God must be a bearded hitchhiker out along the highway, the famously unknown serial killer. I smile. It’s something different to do.


Howie Good, a journalism professor at SUNY New Paltz, is the author of the forthcoming chapbooks The Complete Absence of Twilight (Mad Hat Press), Echo’s Bones and Danger Falling Debris (Red Bird Chapbooks), and An Armed Man Lurks in Ambush (unbound CONTENT).