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Brent Goodman, “Attack of the Handsome Bad Guys”

Brent Goodman, “Attack of the Handsome Bad Guys”

Author: Poetry Editor

September 2, 2010

For today’s inaugural post, two new poems by 2010 Lammy finalist Brent Goodman.


Repelling skyscrapers they
watch wind perfect their
tussled hair in mirrored facades.
Across-the-bank-lobby eyes
penetrate soft spots in perimeter motion
defenses. Smiles sharp as
fluorescent chrome. Because he wears
black slip-ons I must be
good for something. I’m convinced
a handshake is an archeology of bones.
But to him my palm is
an empty wallet. Everyone
who wishes me harm shares
impeccable patience and invisible
trigger fingers. I used to be
one of them. I used to part
my bangs that way. Now
in the cologned bathroom of this
velveteen up-lit wine bar, I cannot help
but tell my reflection He’s too good for me,
alone opening a capsule of white powder
across the small table into my Shiraz,
or maybe his own, knowing I always find
reason to taste danger first. Returning,
red candles turn half our faces to water.


I’ll toss an easy smile at anyone
who’ll smile at me first. Sleeping
on a stranger’s couch the pillows
smell like strangers. My voice
returns carrying nothing
from your empty house. I wore
the boxers I was hoping you’d see
me wearing. A transparent flower
opens, a faint bluish cologne.


BRENT GOODMAN is the author of the chapbooks Trees Are the Slowest Rivers (1998) and Wrong Horoscope, winner of the 1999 Frank O’Hara Award. His full-length poetry collection, The Brother Swimming Beneath Me (2009), was nominated for a Lambda Literary Award in Poetry as well as the Thom Gunn Award. He is an assistant editor for the online journal Anti-.

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About: Poetry Editor

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