Howie Good: Five Poems


A day comes when the clouds somehow resemble the fingerprint smudges on touch screens; when what people think they see isn’t actually there; when headstones in the ancient Jewish cemetery have been toppled over or spray painted with swastikas; when the provincial city where Nietzsche grew up disappears into a bomb crater; when newly identified stars are given numbers, and not names; when ocean deities, debt-ridden, detested, abandoned by just about everyone, rummage in dumpsters; when hokey prayers fall back to Earth unanswered, and I say, “Oh fuck, oh fuck,” under my breath, and there’s so much so in sorrow.

Head-First into the Abyss

The appearance of a comet with a fox’s bushy tail induces piss-your-pants-type fear. It supposedly foretells an encounter after dark with a woman lying in a vegetative state. Every day or so someone else falls off a roof or ladder and gets impaled on a length of rebar sticking out of the ground. It’s all part of the new gig economy. Just ask some meth cooks what that means. Why, this very minute, while I wait at the doctor’s for my name to be called, a couple of children on the wall-mounted TV are high-fiving beside a mountain of skulls.

There’s Gonna Be Dust

NPR or Prince plays on the radio. There’s some bad shit going on in there. If I could find the map, I could go home. Where’s the map? Often you have to make things, in order to have or see them. I’ve had a long, circuitous road of weirdness. People would sometimes stop on the road, and I’d sit with them, and we’d have a good cry. Then they’d keep going. So I confused people for many years. I was like a meteor that hit New York and said, “Thank you,” and “I love you,” and “There’s gonna be dust.”

Nota Bene

The great philosopher thinks he sees a rifle aimed at him behind a windowpane. He slices up his hand smashing the glass trying to get at it. White hairs begin to sprout on just one side of his moustache. He sings, yodels, and screams through the night. In the morning he says 24 whores had been cavorting with him in his room. He doesn’t expect this group will ever be assembled again. People keep moving, people keep slowing down. He would like to embrace and kiss everyone in the street, as there’s nothing to do and a lot of time.

Stick Figure Opera

The warning sirens didn’t work. There were only these people shouting for us to run, leave, go home. Seconds after we left, it got dark. Boulders and trees were traveling at 20, 30 miles per hour down the street. I thought, “My God, not again!” Tanks rolled into the park and launched tear gas. The homeless children camping there underwent uneven and unpredictable aging. I’m older now myself, and it’s hard work. Falling asleep is the hardest part. I’ll hear what sounds like a wave dragging away everything, the house, everything, and then, just as suddenly, not hear it anymore.


Howie Good is the author of The Loser’s Guide to Street Fighting, winner of the 2017 Lorien Prize from ThoughtCrime Press. His latest collections are I’m Not a Robot from Tolsun Books and A Room at the Heartbreak Hotel from Analog Submission Press.

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