Howie Good

Howie Good‘s
latest poetry collections are The Death Row Shuffle (Finishing Line Press, 2020) and The Trouble with Being Born (Ethel Micro-Press, 2020).

The Beach at Lewis Bay

Because I was watching the waves
roll in and not where I was walking,
I very nearly stepped with bare feet
on a decaying wing, all that drearily
remained of a so-called “laughing gull,”
dirty white flight feathers flaking off
a now-fatuous frame of hollow bones
that nature had designed for soaring.

I don’t remember why I started,
but I have almost filled an old jelly jar
with sea glass, odd-shaped shards
I have collected one or two at a time
from the beach, and whatever their color,
brown, turquoise, white, bottle green,
whatever their eligibility or provenance,
they were stored for an age underwater
in cold and darkness and now are like charms,
talismans, to which the cold yet clings.

Famous Long Ago

Einstein’s colleagues at the Institute of Advance Study were worried. By mid-afternoon his office wastebasket would be overflowing with empty mini bottles of Tanqueray. Additionally, he had recently shaved his head and grown a wild red beard. He was even talking about getting a neck tattoo of e=mc2. They blamed it all on a radio song that pictured him going around town sniffing drainpipes and reciting the alphabet. At first he had threatened to sue the singer for libel, but now he would often just sit slumped at his desk listening with eyes closed to the ticking of the universe’s cooling engine.


About 600 miles south of the North Pole still stands the world’s northernmost statue of Lenin. There have been many people who feel uneasy in its presence. The face is like a mask, with a guarded but threatening expression. Some years ago, a tableful of coffeehouse radicals confided to a police informer that they planned to topple the irascible old Bolshevik from his pedestal. “We’re the rifles our ancestors didn’t have,” one declared. The informer made a shushing sound. He wasn’t used to the kind of drunken talk where you say you are going to do something and don’t do it.


Schopenhauer had a brown poodle named Atman, which is Sanskrit for self or soul. The dog would often sit with its head tilted to one side and a quizzical look on its face as if entreating the philosopher to explain why he considered nonexistence so much preferable to existence. With no answer forthcoming, the dog would get up and leave the room and deposit, like a philosophical rejoinder, a turd or two in a conspicuous spot.

The Bereaved

Ugly, lined faces.
A grimy rain coming down.

The hole has been dug
to regulation depth.

This is where he’ll stay
You like to think learning sign language
will make you a better person.

There’s no word in English
for a parent who’s lost a child.

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