Howie Good is the author most recently of Stick Figure Opera: 99 100-word Prose Poems from Cajun Mutt Press. He co-edits the online journals Unbroken and UnLost.
Love in Time of . . .
The spring has started off all wrong.
It’s been dark and murky, and I’ve got
no idea why. I’m struggling to keep
the screech of panic out of my voice.
Chinese! The sky is full of them. Maybe
what I need more than isolation or
bleach is the soft, reassuring weight
of your body on mine. The grim faces
on TV advise completely the opposite,
but we’re meant to be held by each other,
amazed by how much we can touch.
Apathy for the Devil
This is the country you heard rumors about, where the sky acquires the greenish sheen of sickness and birds are forced by the diseased air to fly close to the ground, where memory lasts just a very short time, where school hallways are spotted with blood and the cops have a penchant for suicide, where deranged angels hoot all night in the tree outside your window, where thought is folly and endings go spectacularly wrong, where love, invisible until now but always there, spreads like a spider crack.
Maybe if I shorten my name, quit Facebook, lose the gut, I can escape everyone’s notice. I don’t care what the police say; today it’s cold and getting colder. People are acting more than just a little crazy, running around and around and not realizing they’re always running in the same spot. At this distance, I can’t hear all the cries or actually see who that is writhing on the ground. Whoever it is, they’re beating him bloody with baseball bats. It’s like Moses striking the rock and thinking, Be water: blossom everywhere.
We’re always evolving, always about to become something else, always both here and not here. Seen from space, we’ll appear at times to be moving away from something, but at other times to be moving toward it. I have to walk really carefully or there are consequences – dark energy, space-time decay, bubbles of nothing. Wherever we go, however long we stay there, God is a joke nobody gets. Most of us develop our own variant of “oh well.” It’s why the soul weighs just 11 ounces.