November 19, 2014

Howie Good

The Part I Don’t Get

From infancy, the gods grow wan and disagreeable. Someone should tell them that poor hygiene doesn’t make you look bad ass, just disinterred. Then the scene changes – lamps without shades, windows without curtains. It’s the part I don’t get. I can feel light and shadow moving around like cheap plastic chess pieces inside my head. The call centers in Kathmandu must have been busy all night. By morning, a burned girl, about 10, with a morphine drip, has appeared where the great blue heron used to stand on one leg posing for black-and-white snapshots.

Shoot to Kill

A 9-year-old girl wearing a black-and-white Halloween costume was shot in the shoulder by a relative who mistook her for a skunk. If you are sufficiently enraged, determined, or intoxicated, you can simply shrug off the psychological effects of being shot. Wikipedia has compiled a list of celebrities who were shot and lived. Being shot isn’t like in the movies. Ever see High Sierra? How about Reservoir Dogs? Mr. Orange was shot in the gut, if I remember rightly. About 46 percent of all gunshot wounds are fatal. My mother went in for heart surgery one day and never came out.

Buddha & Co.

Years of bad weather have erased the face
of the small garden statute of Buddha
Do me a solid – at least pretend to care
I wait all spring for the Northern sun
to nudge open the lids of my blue-eyed daisies
Bees about the size of busted knuckles
batter at the door to a secret underground bunker,
where there are roots & worms & Nazi bling,
a honey-haired fraulein staring into the flames,
mystified that love letters won’t burn

The Penalty for Trying

It’s not true that there’s no penalty for trying. Van Gogh was locked up in the madhouse in Arles for touching the local women. Only yesterday, a man passing through the train paused beside my seat and asked where I was going, and a few minutes later, there he was again with the same rotten crumbling teeth. Everything that wasn’t water was fire. The police wore brown uniforms; the soldiers, black. According to Einsteinian physics, a long look may last just a few seconds. I soon abandoned all hope of falling back asleep, though the locomotive in my dream continued burning throughout the night.


Howie Good's latest book of poetry is The Complete Absence of Twilight (2014) from MadHat Press. He co-edits White Knuckle Press with Dale Wisely, who does most of the real work.

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