How to pick a lock, hotwire a car, climb a rope of smoke uncoiling from the muzzle of a gun. How to attend if not conduct an autopsy without throwing up. How to arrange photos of prime suspects in a kind of mosaic on your office or even living room wall. How to take a beating with casual grace, dispose of a corpse so it won’t ever be found. How to evaluate a shipment of heroin just by rubbing a fingertip dipped in the powder on your gums. How to dress for chilly scenes of winter, do good by behaving alarmingly bad, crack wise while actually crying inside. How to function on a regimen of vending machine coffee and no sleep. How to be a closet alcoholic, a recovering alcoholic, a violent alcoholic. How to pursue vengeance with the relentlessness of a cancer cell. How to endure the world reflected in a dead man’s eye.

HOWIE GOOD’S latest poetry collection, Gun Metal Sky, is due in early 2021 from Thirty West Publishing.