28 August 2010

Howie Good

Brit St. Clair

Howie Good


The century's eyes are red from crying

The clatter of bones comes
from a slightly open door.
We huddle under a broken
umbrella. Ravens change
places with the swans. There
are pills they can give you,
a friend confides. I find
a black birthmark floating
at the bottom of my cup.

Howie Good, a journalism professor at the State University of New York at New Paltz, is the author of 19 print and digital poetry chapbooks and a full-length collection, Lovesick, published by Press Americana.

(author retains copyright)

Brit St.Clair


The First Cooking Accident

Burn units in Afghan hospitals
are filling, as more and more women
set themselves on fire.

Two are interviewed,
their downcast dark eyes like forgotten
charcoal, left to smolder.

One chose the flame
to escape daily abuse.
Her husband, unable to stand her skin
grilled like chicken,
sent her back to her family
but refuses divorce.

The other was eleven
when she torched her own body
the morning she was set to marry
an old man.
Her beauty not a source
of electric adolescent thrill
but still, a source of power.

Neither expresses regret,
preferring the comfort of shame.

The husbands are interviewed as well.
Cooking accident, they say,
mouths taut as barbed wire.

I picture these women’s faces
haloed in golden flames
like Allat, the Arab goddess
revered in ancient times
as Allah’s counterpart,

Her own light extinguished
in what must have been
the first cooking accident.

Brit St.Clair is a freelance writer (and closet creative writer) living in Atlanta, Georgia. So far her poetry has been published in the literary magazine Mountain Laurels.

(author retains copyright)

14 August 2010

Howie Good

Nkirote Laboni

Howie Good


Stacked Coffins

On the hour,
assistants gave

tours of the silent


the leaves bullet-
shredded and prone

to melancholy.

I hoped I wasn’t
where I thought I was.

Chandelier flares,
their fall slowed

by parachutes,
light up the ashes.

The gray car
with the gray men

comes almost
every day.

Clear skies
and a bomber’s


We look at one another
with the mute despair

that has become
a kind of greeting.

Howie Good is the author a full-length poetry collection, Lovesick, as well as 21 print and digital poetry chapbooks, including most recently, Hello, Darkness, available from Deadly Chaps. He blogs at http://apocalypsemambo.blogspot.com/.

(author retains copyright)

Nkirote Laboni


14 Kilometres from Africa

Old Fisherman Mamadou
was informed that he was an 'illegal'
for living in Nouadhibou
instead of Senegal

He was surprised to learn
from the sneering uniformed men
who guarded the land he had called home
since he was a pimple-faced boy

that his was a ploy
to walk the Sahara
and cross the Strait of Gibraltar
in pursuit of the European El Dorado

They bunched old Mamadou up
like a piece of paper
and threw him in detention.
They brought to his attention

That the law frowned upon
those who mistook Mauritania
for a convenient stop-over
while journeying to the land of milk and honey.

They spit out the word immigrants
wrapped in phlegm
We are nothing but parasitic vagrants
feeding on their taxes, so they condemn

us to their five star prisons.
They build high impenetrable walls
and fortify their army-
ready to confront the Euro-tsunami

They sign agreements with our blood
And tell the African Big Men to prevent the flood
As if man's basic need for food
Can ever be stopped by a piece of paper:

Restrict, return and definitely do not re-admit!
Did those who die at sea, while dreaming
of the promised land do so in vain?
The fire's burning, can you hear them cry in Calais?

Nkirote was born in Kenya, is a citizen of the world and plays many interchangeable roles including human rights activist, apprentice-poet, student and dreamer. She dreams of a world where people don't have to fight for freedom and believes in the power of the pen over the power of the gun.

(author retains copyright)