Two Poems
Howie Good

Into the Destructive Element
(Written after reading Delmore Schwartz:
The Life of an American Poet
by James Atlas)


It's more of an effort
than it should be

for you to go
from one room

to the next
A dog wearing

a human expression
follows you out

Someone notices
the sound of crying

disturbing the leaves
and the light

on the crumbling
ledges of clouds

or doesn't


"Into the Destructive Element. . .
that is the way"

scribbled on a bank deposit slip

Your face like a broken plate
hastily glued back together


Wine at night
and gin from a jam jar
during the day
and your dead mother
outside the window
holding out a shriveled
black raincoat to you


The kind of room
set aside by the state

for poets to die in
girlie magazines

winking from the floor
and a raucous

but insolvent crow
riding on your shoulder


Your door was open
so I glanced inside

but all I could see
was a stupendous blur

as when the universe
gets rushed off

ding dong
in a paddy wagon


Even with your head
on Dexedrine fire

beautiful women give you
encouraging looks

All art you tell
the least damaged ones

constantly aspires
to the condition of light

and then leaves shiver
silver in the sun

Quartet for the End of Time


I step around the puddle, the only mirror


Echoes and shadows, and the doe-eyed
teenage babysitter prophesying double-crosses


Torn-out throat of morning, outdated X-rays of the


Roadside flare still burning
hours after the accident has been cleared away