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The Red Ceilings Press

MMXII [rcp 46]

PINK FIRE Howie Good

A KIND OF CRYING Nights began in the mid-afternoon & only ended the following morning around ten. Broken lamps lighted our route as we stumbled onward. A living man who had been declared dead indicated in sign language that there was pink fire in hell. And as the man was still alive, an officer gave him a “mercy shot� in the heart with his pistol.

WOLVES EAT DOGS 1 There were rows of desks where serial killers pecked at typewriters. “No more manifestos!” their manifesto declared. Some of them could have used help spelling “catastrophe.” 2 A tall blonde was struggling to control the pit bull she was walking. So this is what a hero’s death looks like, I thought. 3 Every day is somewhere I’ve been before, a thick cloud of smoke with a red underbelly. It’s less a story than a situation. I wish I was a wolf in the mountains. Wolves, the book said, don’t wish to be found. 4 Sleep was a box with a few holes punched in the lid, & when I emerged from it, a voice in my head was singing about Jesus’s wounds & you were dead these fifteen years. Sometimes it seems a good thing you aren’t here. Dumpster fires have become supernovas, & I can’t remember where we hid the last time that happened.

THE 2012 OVERTURE We’ve all lost things. Fragments of an historic screen test. Lip-reading puppets. A sign proclaiming Jesus Loves You. What I thought was thunder must have been the piano tuner of earthquakes. Only divorced divorce lawyers could detect the irony. There was a mountain of twisted corpses, their eyes wide open, their hands outstretched in terrible accusation. Under the ice, a brook was flowing like a thin, black thread of honey.

THE VIRTUAL PEACE PROJECT A plane was spraying pesticide on a dark, squalid field. I thought of the death angel, a jumble of vehicles & men down below, vicious hand-to-hand fighting. By the time peace had been declared, the future was dotted with burning peasant huts. Faces stared out from behind barbed wire. Out of necessity, a dog spoke up. I crossed the street to be astonished.

DRY I know people who abide by what a bush in the desert once said. After a summer of no rain, the rules have grown even more numerous. There’s one about touching blood, another about when you can fuck. Meanwhile, I have coffee & a morning cigarette & watch the kitchen flies try to escape.

HISTORY OF THE WORLD (ABRIDGED VERSION) The day brightens just enough for me to see what isn’t there. And as the tank’s machine-guns open on the Germans, shreds from their greatcoats, flecked in blood, fly up into the air like sparrows. It’s the kind of genius for slapstick the French adore.

Howie Good a journalism professor at SUNY New Paltz, is the author of five poetry collections, most recently Dreaming in Red from Right Hand Pointing and Cryptic Endearments from Knives Forks & Spoons Press. He has three chapbooks forthcoming, Fog Area from Dog on a Chain Press, The Death of Me from Pig Ear Press, and Living Is the Spin Cycle from Redbird Chapbooks.

The Red Ceilings Press

MMXII [rcp 46]

Pink Fire  

by Howie Good