Afternoons after school, my father had a job in a slaughterhouse. Too undernourished and scrawny to hoist sides of beef, he counted them as they passed on a conveyor belt. Guests looked on with the agonized faces of bleeding saints when a year later he married my mother. A farmer sang at the wedding about his favorite crop and then it was the best man’s turn to speak. He had barely begun when my father interjected, “Spare us your life philosophy.” Everything was burning. People, drapes, carpets, tablecloths – everything. The flames only stopped leaping long enough to pose for pictures.
Is this your career? Seriously? Get a real job! Writing postcards doesn’t count. Anyone can do it. Only violence helps where violence rules. I can still see the bright crimson glow. We didn’t know meat tenderizer and saliva remove bloodstains. That’s part of the mystery. I mean every revolution is a throw of the dice. Turn up the television. Those Buddhist monks protesting in half-mumbled sentences sound like they might be saying “kupkes kupkes,” words that have nothing to do with religion, but refer to the spot in a bullring where the bull makes his stand. It’s a good start.
No spring this evening.
It’s indeed autumn that returns.
We are out of vodka
and so watch the videos
of victims of police brutality
in their last moments.
Later, I dream my mother
is walking home in a hospital gown
after her cancer surgery.
The street is shut.
The house is burning.
Howie Good is the author of THE DEATH ROW SHUFFLE, a poetry collection forthcoming from Finishing Line Press.