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I think of my poems - the better ones at least - as stories. They aren't your usual stories, though. They are more like shards of stories: short, ambiguous, fragmentary. That's because the meaning of things isn't a given anymore, but must be pieced together, often in half-light and after the fact. You and I pass through this broken world, and this broken world passes through us, and if we're interested enough and lucky enough, we might just be able to recover some wisdom, a few poems, an occasional glimmer of beauty from all the waste and heartache and loss.
Howard Good, a journalism professor at SUNY New Paltz, is the author of a previous poetry chapbook, Death of the Frog Prince (FootHills Publishing, 2004). His poems have appeared in numerous print and online journals, including Right Hand Pointing, Stirring, Poetry Bay, The Rose & Thorn, 2River View, Prairie Poetry, Eclectica, Remark, ken*again, and Lily. He was nominated for a Pushcart Prize in 2006.
From the book:
That night in the motel I listened
to the sounds of the highway
and the ragged, decrepit rain,
looking in the only mirror,
the face of a stranger staring back,
taut and slightly tarnished,
like the knuckles of a fist,
and thought about the miles,
how far I'd get tomorrow,
to you, maybe, in Grass Lake,
the heartland, but the next morning
when I started out, it was still dark,
and the maps in the glove box
were old and of the wrong places.
is a 28 page hand-sewn chapbook - $7.00
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Howard's First Book from FootHills
In gathering the poems for this collection, I was surprised to find that I return again and again in them to certain subjects - family, Jewishness, the terrible human penchant for cruelty, the intractability of nature, and the thin, oscillating line between love and loss. But poems are more than their subjects. They are, or should be, experiences in themselves. I hope that the poems here, though few and relatively brief, provide the kind of refreshing experiences that some go to the wilderness, and others to the bar, God, or therapy, to seek.
From the Book:
The man in green looks at me narrowly
as if for an explanation of my name, my age,
the half-moons of sweat under my arms.
He asks insidious questions - where, how long,
why - to which I give approximate answers
while my suitcase lies open on the counter
and he bends over the common articles inside
like a doctor delving into a chest wound
to squeeze the small pink ball of my heart.
The line behind me grows numerous,
unaware, or perhaps just unconcerned,
that outside the modern glass terminal,
starving dogs prowl the city in packs
and the smoke of burning tires persists.
The man in green straightens up, nods.
This is whatever sign you say it is,
whatever year of whatever war.
DEATH OF THE FROG PRINCE
Forgive me, frog, for what we did
long ago with our jackknives
behind bunk 6 at Camp Kahagan,
so little blood that it seemed like play
when we stabbed out your eyes
and laughed at your predicament,
11-year-old boys from all over
wiping our blades clean on the grass.
Death of the Frog Prince is a 28 page hand-sewn chapbook.
ISBN: 0-941053-32-6 $7.00
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