Laugh and the World Laughs with You; Weep and You Are a Soft Pillow
Different people come in and take turns beating us. Sometimes they’re trying to get information. Other times they’re just amusing themselves. They ask all sorts of questions: Where’s that ocean at? What happened to your ear? Do ants eat each other? Last month, I went a week without sleeping. It was bam-bam-bam, the sound when a dude keeps his finger on the trigger. Most men just like killing stuff. Babies were tossed onto a pile of burning rubbish. If the color of the fire was in a dress, it would have been beautiful.
“Holy cow!” I say. “Come over here guys.” The fireflies have brought me to water. And we all start laughing because it’s hard to believe. People, animals, birds, they all change. My grandmother when I was little would pick up a spider she found in the house and put it back outside. There's two places I want to go. They're the only two. It could be England, it could be France. It could be the moon.
Bodies arrive in shreds. Some arrive in halves. There’s no place anymore where you can say that it’s safe. If you have a carefree attitude, you’ll be an easy target. One guy was like, ‘Oh, not a big deal, nothing will happen, sit down.’ So, obviously, he didn’t understand our circumstances. Try to notice the cold, wet sensation. It’s tomorrow in the shape of a teardrop.
All That Is Solid Melts into Air
This could be a former crime scene anywhere. One room in particular has never gotten over its ferocious past. I like to see things that maybe I’m not supposed to see. The dog is a he, but the table is a she. I couldn't really make out what they were saying, it happened so quickly. People should be concerned over what will disappear next. Today there was even a shortage of coffins. I tell myself, “Breathe, just breathe. We’re here. We’re working. We exist.” But it’s all a bit of a blur. The last time I felt like this was probably when my mother died. Any minute now I might look up and see her in the window of a plane waving.
I thought he was going to offer me a ride, but, as I approached the car, a mountain rose to confuse us. I said, “Hey, man, you all right?” It was a warm spring day, and the universe was presiding over its own prolonged rebirth. Birds that hadn’t learned to fly yet were about to be hauled away in trucks. The neighbors just stood there texting. “What does it mean?” the guy asked. He was lucky he had any teeth left. In general, people are beaten, hurt. I saw a black mass of smoke. I heard something that sounded like an orchestra of broken instruments. That was me trying to understand what a friend was.
Howie Good is the author of The Loser's Guide to Street Fighting, winner of the 2017 Lorien Prize and forthcoming from Thoughtcrime Press, and Dangerous Acts Starring Unstable Elements, winner of the 2015 Press Americana Prize for Poetry.