Rocket Science


I climbed into you, you climbed up me,

zero times zero, a recurring blue-green sequence

of harmless violence, people everywhere

mistaking skeptical for cynical, & just when

the nickel-plated voice overhead warned,

“Thin wall. Do not push,” a whole hospital of dying children,

hearts obscurely defective, reached escape velocity.

Only the Birds Know What The Birds Are Saying

The path was slow and dusty, barely a path at all, and when I got to the end, I still hadn’t found a Mister Cash machine. It was a sunlit picture of hell, an arbitrary moral system, with illegal blue running lights and passages of plagiarized music, but no female gravediggers yet or specified stages of mourning. Oh, how I longed to tell somebody about the new sex position that the men’s magazine called “Lying in a Dentist Chair.” Everything must do after its own kind.

Border Crossing


There are rules about touching blood, whose and why. Another form asks that you list the seven last words of “our” savior. The travel guide never mentioned we should smile when confronted with the heat and glare and traffic fumes or with a large dog calmly trotting toward us, a severed hand clenched in its jaws.


I wore my only suit. A dog dozed amid decorous hints of pubic hair. Babushkas ran about, pulling fire alarms. The great windows of the cathedral were missing their stained glass. This wasn’t the kind of pain I had experienced at birth. I returned home with rivers and clouds and birds filling up my shoes.

To An Absent Love


Thinking of you tonight,

I’m filled with dancing horses

& flying Russian peasants.


One must have a bit of chaos

in oneself. Polka dots as well.


Because whatever happens –


a pile of German helmets,

say, rusting at Sevastopol –


happens to be crying.

An Armed Man Lurks In Ambush


A bird whistles like a bullet from a high-powered rifle. I pick up a stone and put it in my pocket just in case.


Jews are each given a brush and a can of paint and told to number the trees. It isn’t raining, but later it might.


The arrival of a man everybody calls Red can only mean one thing – a baby will celebrate its birth with tears and anguish.


I take a piss against the wall, a wrinkled old woman peeking over my shoulder. The words “mushroom” and “music” are contiguous in most English dictionaries.


“Do what you feel,” we tell each other and misaddress packages intended for India to China. The ground shakes at shorter and shorter intervals.


And such wind! Like a sword waving in glittering circles above our heads!


The train could leave at any moment. She has one foot on the platform, one foot in the air. Then I remember that cavemen depicted running animals by giving them eight legs.


Weeds and stones grow to monstrous proportions. The birds fly away as if there were actually someplace else to go.


Soldiers wore black uniforms, police wore brown. To get red, you need dust and haze. Pollution makes the sky so beautiful.


There are many empty chairs. Soon there will be more.

A Footnote To The First Law Of Ecology


If “Everything,” as the bumper sticker states,

“Is Connected,” trailer parks and slaughterhouse


and also open fields, there’s nowhere to go

to escape my propensity towards sadness


or the blaze with which light delicately touches

the dripping wounds of late evening skies.

Violators Will Be Towed At Their Expense


Every heart

is a failed

crop of roses


whose gate

closes rapidly


& the author

of the last thing

worth reading,


with hills

like James Dean’s



a color referred

to as Lighthouse






Only birds know what birds are saying

high on cold medicine


& receding into the distance

the saint of safe travel


an arbitrary moral system

packed in sawdust & iridescent suds


on the road out to Meyer’s farm

a private electric spaceship


our bodies pressed together

like palms in prayer


a flower that Wall Street predicts

will someday make a magnificent ruin



eight poems by Howie Good

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