Getting Ready for the End of the World

I heard a faint cry of “Help, help.” At first I dismissed it. Then it happened again. And again. So I got out of bed to investigate. God knows what I was thinking. I was traumatized. Mesmerized as well. I said, “I’ve never seen a bird like that before.” It was just sitting there. No explanation. Of course, I took a picture of it. In the past, we had cufflinks and tie clips. Now we have USB sticks and scooters. How can they do this to us? It’s too much. My son gets really frightened. So I sit here on my porch, trying to catch a breeze, praying to God to bring things back to normal. But if it’s really on, hand-to-hand self-defense will only take you so far. You have to go simpler – hammers, hatchets, certain heavy tools.


Getting Ready for the End of the World, Part II

I get a call from Felix. He tells me, “I’m really busy. I think there’s a kidnapping taking place. I’ll call you back.” We’ve been living in a very unusual world. You hear the roof vibrating and moving through the night. I don’t think we’re going to stay here for very long. We saw the cloud of dust. What we probably don’t see is the pistol and what have you. Something is going on, I know that. I really thought the building was going to fall. I don’t know what the officers were thinking. It happened so quickly. Man, I’m hungry. It’s part of the M.O. of these activities to be as confusing and disorienting as possible. The sunrise, just like Isaiah predicted, will be dark.


Self-Portrait with Tears

Why would anybody take a photo of a dead person? Why would anybody do such a thing? I just want it to be over already. I just want a little normality back in my life. I didn’t steal. I didn’t kill. I stumbled down the stairs, shoeless, scared, holding my iPad. Yes, it was just weeds and vines. But those weeds and vines are there for a reason. They themselves become the flower, and when you’re there, you become a part of it, too. You might twist an ankle. You might see insects and reptiles devouring each other. You might say to someone, “L as in lost.”


The Order of Things

The first thing that inspired us was probably looking at the dragons. It was like “Yo, to have this embroidered on the back of your shirt!” I saw tears in Foucault’s eyes. Cab drivers always turn around and ask me, “How did you end up in Death Valley with Michel Foucault?” I was once in a pretty bad car wreck. And it was like that – when you get out of the car and you’re trying to figure out what’s happening. Now I hear my shutters rattle at night. I’m like “Move, get away!” but she’s stuck in there, and all the kids are crying, “Why can’t we get out of here? Why won’t they get us out of here?” a few of them holding towels on the wound.


The F Word

It’s weird. I’ve noticed there are more parakeet feathers than ever. Usually it’s just been ducks and crows and pigeons, but for some reason this year more parakeet – you know, the little yellowy green feathers. We had this really great idea a long time ago. Does that surprise you? Ever since, it’s been hell here. All the shops on the street were looted. We saw some guys break in and take out televisions. They even waved and smiled at me. As days went by, people were like, “Try to get me a plane ticket, I need to get out. I need to get out.” I guess this scared me, so I got some stuff together, and my dog, and we went. I wasn’t expecting to see blood. Tomorrow we will try again.


Eclogue for No Horizon

I started spontaneously leading a chant of the names of all those who were killed. Oh, the sadness. That’s why they put up those signs outside. At this time of year it should be raining, but it’s not. Normally you don’t see the city. Normally the city doesn’t see us. The naked limbs. Now we’re in front of guns. I think this might be the future. How it’s destroyed.


Howie Good, a journalism professor at SUNY New Paltz, is the author of The Loser’s Guide to Street Fighting, winner of the 2017 Lorien Prize for Poetry from Thoughtcrime Press. He co-edits White Knuckle Press with Dale Wisely.

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