Three poems by Howie Good

AN AMERICAN IN BELGIUM

1

Clocks imprisoned in stone began ticking.
Everybody born here seemed to know what that meant.
I hadn’t spent much time in skyscrapers,
holding the black receiver to my ear.

2

The rain fell. I watched through the train window.
Cows were kneeling in a field
out of a mistaken notion of humility.

3

A hand had washed ashore outside Antwerp.
Somebody mentioned  the Congolese;
somebody else, the Russian mafia.
“Can you taste the honey?”
another new friend asked,
the table crowded with bottles
and bulbous beer glasses.
I said I could. I couldn’t.

YPRES

Despite
a cold
misty rain

poplars
stand
at attention

as

we wander
jet-lagged

down rows
& rows
of gravestones

40,000

stubby
white teeth

bared

MEMORY OF FIRST DATES

High on Afghani Gold,
we’d press our bodies together
like palms in prayer

& recede into sawdust
& iridescent suds
on the road out to Meyer’s farm,

where palaces of graffiti
forty-three years later
make such magnificent ruins.

Howie Good is a journalism professor at SUNY New Paltz and is the author of five poetry collections, most recently Dreaming in Red from Right Hand Pointing and Cryptic Endearments from Knives, Forks & Spoons Press. His forthcoming books include The Death of Me from Pig Ear Press and Strange Roads from Puddle of Sky Press.

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