Poetry: 2 Poems by Howie Good
Pancho Villa Seen From a Distance
Late afternoon shadows contribute grim little touches to the overall shabbiness of the house, where a man is digging in a vegetable patch with a sharp stick instead of a shovel. The laundry hanging on the line turned mostly to rags long ago. A woman appears in the doorway, drying her hands on her apron. She watches foxes and wolves wander into the village to play with the children. The sun continues to spiral down. Pancho Villa has shrunk to just a dot in the distance, as if searching for old and lost rivers, going there to see if something comes next, finding something, how to love the dead.
Graveyard Stomps and Funeral Rags
The same events keep repeating themselves, just worse. It’s like Elvis coming back to play Las Vegas. That’s why you must educate your nerves. If you look down the alley, you’ll see all kinds of goings-on: people dumping trash, and pissing, and dealing drugs. There might be someone with a gun. Don’t you think NASA should hide this? They’re certainly things that keep me up late.
EMTs rush by with a man on a stretcher, eyes rolled back in his head. We decide to put down flowers and dog biscuits, and light a candle. And then I’m like, wait, what am I doing? The security man yells, Get on the yellow footprints! Give me 10 minutes, I want to say, so I can think about it more. There’s nothing natural about barbed wire. Or a convoy of camouflage trucks. I think that's why I’m shaking and crying. Parents send their children here for safekeeping but the children leave in ambulances and body bags.
The country is so huge that we don’t always understand it. And you know what doesn’t help? There are people who are attracted to places where bad things have happened. They post selfies they took at the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe or with charred bodies hanging from trees. I’m getting covered in ash.