TO EDVARD MUNCH WITH LOVE
You never claimed that God commissioned you to paint the screams of the animals being slaughtered. Your many persecutors whispered it in the street and outside your window. They said you saw with the blood red eyes of a murderer – or at least a murderer’s accomplice. At night, to help you fall asleep amid all the noise, you would try to remember the last time you felt a baby hook its arms around your neck.
The train swayed from side to side. A man at the far end of the car was arguing with the conductor about the cost of a ticket. No one argued about the existence of the soul anymore, whether it’s like a pair of horses, one dark, one light, harnessed to the same heavy wagon, but each pulling in its own direction, or like a stripe of moonlight bobbing and rocking on the water. You stared out the window at the empty sky. The man quieted down. You returned to your book. If someone asked you, you would have said the soul is more like a paintbrush charged with the whitest shade of blue.
EMPLOYEES MUST WASH HANDS
And for the lady? the waiter asks.
He wears the short blue jacket
of Parisian street sweepers.
The television over the bar is playing
a talk show about the latest school shooting –
with the sound turned off.
It isn’t entertainment; it’s culture.
A full clip holds thirty bullets.
The café used to cater to the opera crowd.
Caruso especially loved the cookies.
About The Writer
Howie Good, a journalism professor at SUNY New Paltz, is the author of five poetry collections, most recently Cryptic Endearments from Knives Forks & Spoons Press. He has had numerous chapbooks, including Elephant Gun from Dog on a Chain Press, Strange Roads from Puddles of Sky Press, and Death of Me from Pig Ear Press. His poetry has been nominated multiple times for the Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net anthology. Read his blog at: