by Howie Good
I should leave. It doesn’t feel safe. The police throw their enemies out windows. At least that’s one explanation offered for all the lost pets and missing children. When I look back over my shoulder, I always only see old lost broken things, mysteries where there are none, faces I can’t identify. People who grew up here exchange mournful glances. Certain of the men claim they can taste the salt of tears in the wine. And I was just about to ask them, “What advice do you have for young people?” Everyone is sick of dealing with the obstinacy of objects. Imagine rival empires of medicine bottles, office chairs, bicycles, rolled-up carpets, wheelie suitcases, safes, washing machines, fire extinguishers, and umbrellas. I don’t want to live anymore by the law of everyday life, coping with “Being” as opposed to “being.” The woman seated behind me on the train chatters on her phone the whole time but never once mentions the crushed velvet of bees or the remembered light reflected in their black, black eyes.
A deranged tourist plans to slash any paintings in a gold frame. It’s easy to do. The vulture lifts him to the other side of the abyss. And so the God of our fathers tumbles out of the sky. Given how much is going on, more than a few friends botch their latest suicide attempts. I pull the cushions off the couch, the books off the shelves, try to pull up the floorboards with my bare hands. Tomorrow, if not today, spring will follow, a small, wildly twitching snake between its legs.
What was your childhood nickname? What was the last name of your third grade teacher? What is the first name of the boy or girl that you first kissed? Almost anyone — a shoelace vendor, clerical staff, Peruvian neo-Maoists — can guess the answers. It’s easier than you think. The fact is, they know why you keep stopping what you’re doing to stare with various degrees of consternation at your phone. Better for all if you turn up the collar of your coat, hide your face behind dark glasses, and walk faster, a lot faster, like Sartre when he thought he was being followed down the street by lobsters.
Howie Good is the author of Danger Acts Starring Unstable Elements, winner of the 2015 Press Americana Prize for Poetry.