National Poetry Month Spotlight: Brent Goodman


Dear religion, there is no afterlife.
I hope you don’t mind me saying this.
When you say heaven on earth
I think: the dead read minds.
When you think dust to dust
I say: this body is a riverbed.
Will the congregation please
recite what this wall of stained glass
is trying to tell you? Dear Buddha,
I’ve been knocking from the inside.
Heaven is not an ecosystem.
When I dream my brother visits me
it is my brother looking at his reflection
through my eyes, my sleeping tongue.
When we die we turn inside out and call
this turning a tunnel made of light.

Q: Do you remember where you were and what you were doing on the day you wrote the above poem?

A: Many poems arrive for me in journal scraps over several days. This one, though, came through one Sunday afternoon in one sitting, hunched in front of the computer with eyes closed and simply listening for lines. I don’t remember anything else of that day other than writing this poem.

Q: What is the last book you’ve read that made you want to grab a pen and write?

A: Shy Green Fields by Hugh Behm-Steinberg.

Q: What is the most sublime meal you’ve ever eaten?

A: The most sublime meal will always be the one I haven’t eaten yet.

Brent Goodman’s poetry collection The Brother Swimming Beneath Me is a finalist for the Lambda Literary Award and the Thom Gunn Award. It is available for purchase at Black Lawrence Press.