Three Poems by Howie Good

Writing Life

Leaves fly
like red kites.

A boy kicks
an apple
the street.

I can hear
his voice,
but not
his words.

The wind
its beak
into me.

The Butterfly Garden of Absinthe

The first time
I heard April becoming April,

I heard jewels in the mail,
futuristic apparatus, weird haunted frogs,

Bang, bang,
I heard Little Red Riding Hood say,

and above the accidental crimes of birth,
I heard schlock deities moving

to untidy local motels,
telling most roses and wild apples

dot dot dash

Eternal Recurrence of the Same

One week it’s an uncle in Jerusalem who shatters. The next week it’s my father who calls. What can cause more harm if misused, love or hate? The question confuses me. Some nights I need to take a pill to fall asleep. A motel sign advertises cable TV and no vacancies. I go to bed still bleeding a little, like a man from a country where no one else lives.

He wouldn’t take off his hat. To live well, he said, you must live unseen. He had a rope around his neck and one leg over the railing. A passerby happened to notice the bank clock said 11:11. The most mysterious thing is a fact clearly stated. I inquired at the desk. The sun will shine for another six billion years. At least.

I stood there with an umbrella under my arm, a mournful observer. Others ran. It was what machines dream about, but covered in flames and the maps of missing countries.

During dinner, the trees dropped leaves in the pond. She said something about guilt and forgiveness. The orange cat that had adopted us was licking itself under the table. I nodded as if I understood. Night frost lit up the fields, a language that has no word for the past.

HowieHowie Good, a journalism professor at SUNY New Paltz, is the author of five poetry collections, most recently Cryptic Endearments from Knives Forks & Spoons Press. He has had numerous chapbooks, including A Special Gun for Elephant Hunting from Dog on a Chain Press, Strange Roads from Puddles of Sky Press, and Death of Me from Pig Ear Press. His poetry has been nominated multiple times for the Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net anthology. He blogs at