Two Prose Poems
first as tragedy, then as farce
The directions said head west on Excelsior, take the third right onto Maple, and continue to Greenfield. No mention at all of cows staring out from behind barbed wire. And such wind! Like the mistaken zeal of Socrates’ executioners. You thought but didn’t say, We’re lost. Far-off, a hawk floated – unless it was a crow. Kindness itself is a kind of love, wearing only one shoe and a ridiculous party hat.
The sky is less like sky than it used to be. Clouds mope about. Stars collapse. At the first drops of rain, the leaves start to tremble, little children raised on a bleak diet of curses and slaps. I sit in the window, imagining myself one of the immigrants who crowded the ship’s railing for a first look at their new home or a last look at their old.
“Oon,” our 2-year-old says. He means “moon.” The closer I listen, the darker it gets.
Light and shadow refuse to stand still. I shut my eyes. When I open them again, a torn and bleeding god is shuffling down a street of pawnshops and check-cashing stores. “Always keep a gun by your side,” a voice meant for radio says. Someone else asks if that’s the ocean or a flood. Rumors abound as to the slow sunrise of a woman’s body. I fight to stay awake until then.
Howie Good, a journalism professor at SUNY New Paltz, is the author of the forthcoming poetry collection The Middle of Nowhere (Olivia Eden Publishing) and the forthcoming poetry 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). He co-edits White Knuckle Press with Dale Wisely.