“War,” the little girl says, “is when papa is gone.” If you look out the window, you too might see the horizon line fizzing like a lighted fuse. It began years ago. More and more words were allowed to choose their own meaning, and now we find ourselves surrounded by random fragments of abstruse codes. Don’t you think it’s time for a gumball machine that dispenses eyeballs? Everything else has failed – duty, honor, country. We need to have a conversation, decide on a plan, something, before unfamiliar birds visit us in our sleep, stripping dream bushes of every last berry.
A Religious Feeling
Masked gunmen toting Kalashnikovs roll in on clouds of 9/11 dust. Everything everywhere seesaws whenever one of them fires off some rounds. The police quickly fall to arguing as to how best to proceed, by land, sea, or air. What a story it all makes if you just suppress certain details and invent others. Even a dictatorship ends eventually, but a story is like a self-replicating virus capable of overspreading the so-called “civilized world.” According to one that gets repeated often, we didn’t see what we think we saw when we saw God trying to splash us with someone’s blood.
A Whole Other Puzzle
What a windy day it is! Everything around rumbles, bangs, booms. I want to share it with you anyway. We watch the news, cops beating in some guy’s head, and can think of nothing that doesn’t make us dark. My mom went into the hospital 13 years ago and never came out. Sometimes it just happens, a spontaneous shrine at the death site, a funeral procession of stuffed animals and roses. Lord, protect me from black flies, fog, gas station signs, laundromats, so every morning I can start a poem. There’s a beauty in inventing things that serve no purpose.
Howie Good is the author of three recent collections, I’m Not a Robot from Tolsun Books, The Titanic Sails at Dawn from Alien Buddha Press, and What It Is and How to Use It from Grey Book Press. He co-edits Unbroken and UnLost journals with Dale Wisely.
About the illustrator: Bob McNeil is the author of Verses of Realness. Hal Sirowitz, Queens Poet Laureate, described the book as “A fantastic trip through the mind of a poet who doesn’t flinch at the truth.” McNeil was published in The Shout It Out Anthology, Brine Rights: Stanzas and Clauses for the Causes (Volume 1), San Francisco Peace and Hope, and The Self-Portrait Poetry Collection, etc. Furthermore, McNeil’s work as a professional illustrator, spoken word artist, and writer is dedicated to one cause—justice.