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Posts Tagged ‘Brent Goodman’

“One Nation Under Me”

November 17, 2011 2 comments

— GOD

(on a highway billboard)

by Brent Goodman

Whose? The Cooper Mini cutting me off asks my bumper
to “Coexist.” Stay in your own lane
my fist-horn exclaims. Once when I was cradled
my father pressed a Manischewitz-soaked cloth
to my tongue. Generations circled me, the Rabbi
slowed his hand and breath. I was sculpted to be defined
by what our ancestors ask of us. There is a wall
we love so much we kiss it. Is this why I inherit
barbed wire? Why my grandmother suffered her first stroke
shortly after my uncle’s shiksa wedding beneath a crucifix?
How easy it is to whistle across state lines
when the radio sings such indistinct songs.
At the truck stop cafe the TV is muted, though
dark teenagers throw stones through a cloud of teargas
and they remind you of thieves. My first sensation
was a scalpel. I’m driving to D.C. to learn
what makes my family history fathomless or
miraculous. Never forget this starkly-lit exhibit:
chest-high piles of black shoes, pocket watches,
gold teeth. God makes choices and I refuse
to be one of them. We ask past prophets
to write laws so we won’t have to later. Every man
and his son shall cover his head before
your eyes. Grandma raised me to avert my stare
when anyone darker slunk by, which must be why
I thought only some of us could ever be seen.
God makes choices and sometimes we are not cruel.
Still I pray for safe parking. All day at the Holocaust Museum
fortunately I learn the final solution to the Jewish question
is another question, only kinder. God makes choices and so
will you, I remind the infant my father carries. Generations
circle my living room. The oldest tree in the yard
leans its shadow against the curtained window.


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Brent Goodman’s debut poetry collection The Brother Swimming Beneath Me (2009 Black Lawrence Press) was a finalist for a Lambda Literary Award and a Thom Gunn Award. His second book, Far From Sudden, is forthcoming in 2012. A recipient of two Wisconsin Arts Board Fellowships, his work has appeared in Poetry, Diode, Green Mountains Review, Puerto Del Sol, The Beloit Poetry Journal, Pank, Devil’s Lake, and elsewhere. Brent lives in Rhinelander, Wisconsin, where he’s a professional copywriter, assistant editor for the online journal Anti-, and a certified Reiki Master teacher/practitioner.

Categories: Worship Tags:

Breathing

March 29, 2010 2 comments

by Brent Goodman

A guy like me could get used to this:
wild blueberries in my oatmeal,
living room futon naps with the cats.
I finally don’t need much more than this —
no smoke, no drink, off work, daily walks.
I’m your healthy heart attack hippie
baking chick pea burgers with walnuts,
getting high on green tea and good books.
I’ll admit I’m bored a bit. Goodbye.
We say nothing for hours, breathing.


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Brent Goodman (blog) is the author of three poetry collections, most recently The Brother Swimming Beneath Me (2009 Black Lawrence Press). His poems have appeared in Poetry, The Beloit Poetry Journal, Zone 3, Gulf Coast, Court Green, and elsewhere.

Categories: Health Tags:

I Should Mention Love

February 24, 2010 Comments off

by Brent Goodman

We’re here to entertain each other
and find someone to share a name, right?
My body moves my mind around now
on prescribed walks. The cleared wooded lot
I thought meant construction, new neighbors:
since learned the landowners were just bored
with city life, came up one weekend
to make some noise. I should mention love.
Together, around the corner, we’ve
never seen our place from this distance.


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Brent Goodman (blog) is the author of three poetry collections, most recently The Brother Swimming Beneath Me (2009 Black Lawrence Press). His poems have appeared in Poetry, The Beloit Poetry Journal, Zone 3, Gulf Coast, Court Green, and elsewhere.

Categories: Health Tags:

The Ground Left Me

January 19, 2010 7 comments

by Brent Goodman

This morning I had a heart attack,
gurneyed pale and shirtless O2 mask
past my coworkers. I was crying
when I told you Something’s very wrong
and you squeezed both my numbing hands
before calling help. Inside MedFlight
the ground left me. Touching down Wausau
they thread the stent in 20 minutes
from groin to heart. You and my parents
hugging in my room. And I’m there too.


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Brent Goodman (blog) is the author of three poetry collections, most recently The Brother Swimming Beneath Me (Black Lawrence Press, 2009). His poems have appeared in Poetry, The Beloit Poetry Journal, Zone 3, Gulf Coast, Court Green, and elsewhere.

Categories: Health Tags:

Crank Bait

June 24, 2008 3 comments

Louisiana drop shot slip knot crawler,
Grandfather’s dirt-bloodied, rock-rough hands —
I birdnest every other cast into tea-dark water,
while back to my back he tackles larger plans:
tri-hook torpedo lures, deep diving silver spoons,
giant skirted spinner baits that churn and spit
across sunrise mirror stillwater, past raucous loon.
Even a scaled-down, taped-up Louisville Slugger fit
to pummel any lunker into cross-eyed submission!
By midday we hardly speak. I bobber for Pumpkinseed
while he bullseyes musky patrolling the sunken reeds.
Terrified yet of tooth and hook, grandeur or ambition,
what difference between what I want and what I wish?
Stop casting for minnows, son. Big lures, big fish!

by Brent Goodman

Read by Dave Bonta — Download the MP3

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Categories: Water Tags:

Morgan Dollar

February 22, 2008 2 comments

Blast-white, full-strike, key-date heirloom
folded away in a black velvet cloth, heavy
lost lens from the first camera box, past
Murphy Oil, mothball, lowest dresser drawer,
cartwheel Carson City cameo, gem-brilliant
boondoggle, this rainbow-toned, mirror-like proof
weighting my palm. How many arrows pierce
your eagle’s reverse talon? For silver or for naught,
for standing trespass in a neighbor boy’s bedroom,
I’d skinny you away in my childhood shoe
and bet my bottom dollar I’d not get caught.

by Brent Goodman

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Categories: Hidden Messages Tags:

Robin’s Egg Blue

February 15, 2008 3 comments

Thigh to thigh on the slip-covered couch,
your legs scissored closed like the ladder

I trespassed through the neighbor’s yard
before detention dismissed you later home.

Robin’s call two days absent from the clotted
roof gutter nest. I wanted to see how another life

begins. The TV hisses between channels.
Your faded Levis I’d soon fill out myself.

Cool corrugated grip of the tallest rung turning
awkward as a zipper’s deliberate downward cleaving.

Two pale blue eggs: the heavy leaf-litter must
of something abandoned. I wanted to be shown

what my body would become. Such slight
pressure, this fingernail digging in. The first egg

gives easily, thumb shattering through.
Should I say you taught me this? To take you

in my mouth and let you grow there? How
suddenly an afternoon changes light. Your knee

floors hard against belt buckle. The second egg
opens across the driveway’s gritty tongue.

I see your skin has broken — a crescent impression
welling the blood-purple half-circle of some poor

embryo, only three exposed heartbeats remain.
The TV focuses its dimming pinpoint eye

as we empty the living room. Between two
fragile halves: that slick amber yolk relaxing

outward, darkening the sparkling gravel.

by Brent Goodman

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Categories: Hidden Messages Tags: