A seagull rises in a white flurry from the blacktop with a series of heartrending shrieks, a vocabulary very few of us understand, such a waste of wisdom. It’s why Rimbaud, for all his poetic genius, sighed in his lover Paul Verlaine’s ear that sometimes he just wanted to be a beggar in Africa. And yet ballsy acts of creation as destruction do occur. After a day of drinking wine, for instance, I view things through a kind of reddish mist. “Stop the car!” my passenger screams. “Let me out!” I push the accelerator all the way to the floor.
Without a Trace
When someone complains to me about trivial stuff, I’ll say, “Oh yeah, try going through life as a Howard.” In Judiasm, at least as practiced by my parents, one is named in honor of a person who has died. I was named in honor of my mother’s father’s brother. I never met him. I’ve never even seen a picture of him. He died long before I was born and without leaving a trace – except for the 100-year-old man, a former guard at the Sachsenhausen concentration camp, arrested in Germany on 3,518 counts of being an accessory to murder.
Republic of Tears
They were traveling incognito, George Washington with a moustache and Abe Lincoln without a beard. It was spring in name but not in substance. The land, to their amazement, seemed to constantly rearrange itself in wild new patterns of rage and decay. On the border, they saw small brown children languishing in lockups. On city streets, they saw young black men in police chokeholds begging for breath. There was something they had to do. They didn’t know how they would do it exactly. They just knew from the pressure of tears behind their eyes that it had to be done.
Howie Good is the author of more than a dozen poetry collections, including most recently The Death Row Shuffle (Finishing Line Press), The Trouble with Being Born (Ethel Micro Press), and Gunmetal Sky (Thirty West Publishing).