Thursday, February 28, 2008

March 2008

This month features Howie Good.

To what should I attribute it,
the influence of sunspots

or the general decay of manners?
Please don't say it was me,

the dull sincerity of my words,
their untreated depression,

that sent you rushing off.
Let me think there was a man

(with a ponytail, perhaps)
a vase of dried wildflowers,

a bedroom wall on which
you put a hand for balance

as you stepped out of your skirt,
your micro panties, and then yourself

and delicately into a love poem.

Invite a word inside, doesn't matter which,
they all suffer the same strange inability

to distinguish between bright and dark,
the spastic black shadows of a candle flame,

but if it refuses to tell where the loot is hidden,
or even how many birds constitute a flock,

shove its fingers in a drawer and slam the drawer shut
so that neighbors can hear a concerto of screams,

and when you're done, and it's mashed and misshapen
like a nail repeatedly and inexpertly struck,

fix it a drink and might as well have one yourself.

There's no wait this early.
I hang up my coat and climb into the chair.
He flips a gold barber's drape over me
with a practiced twest of his wrists.
I've known him a long time, 22 years,
ever since we moved to town.
Talking to my reflection in the mirror,
he says they've found a spot on his pancreas.
He asks what the pancreas does.
I try to remember from 10th grade biology.
My wife, he starts to say, but stops
and shakes his head, and then the only sound
is the bonelike clicking of the dancing scissors.

Howie Good, a journalism professor at the State University of New York at New Paltz, is the author of three poetry chapbooks, Death of the Frog Prince (2004) and Heartland (2007), both from FootHills Publishing, and Strangers & Angels (2007) from Scintillating Publications. He was recently nominated for the second time for a Pushcart Prize.

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