The New Compass: A Critical Review



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Jeffrey Goodman



The Ghost Town of Madrid, New Mexico


Across the plains, a twister draws

The eye upon a ghostly scene.

The grasses shimmer, tough and lean,

By thistle and the husks of straw.


A windy tipple is unmanned,

The station buffets tumbleweed.

Coal is smudgy. And the ghosts bleed.

Is death not something in this land?


Or is it nothingness we fill

With vacant hours that never cease

And never change, but to release

Us from the failures of the will?


Is being then but nothingness?

And time but motion for the mind,

As death divides, as species kind,

The world of stuff from presentness?


Lately some Hippies, high and stern

As Penitents, have settled in.

Idealist, too, I have to grin

At one whose mouth-piece is a fern.


For things are seldom what they seem,

He sings, substantial as a dream,

And sings of justice, truth, and love,

Of cosmic peace, the spectral dove,


And one John baptized in the stream.





Epigrammata Huius Aetatis


1. On Some Actors


            You ask how Killjoy, Tart,

And Thrill, TV’s Don Juans, so misconstrue

The motions of the heart?

One tells the next what-not and what to do.





2. On Cocaine


Justice is served! Coke’s nose is teary-wet.

It was his nose—not eyes—put him in debt.







Let us not speak about our latest sin.

All I perceive is what was out is in,

When carnal acts, at last, admit their crime

And lust is something not to do next time.






Goodman, Jeffrey. “Poems. The New Compass: A Critical Review 3 (June 2004) <>