Poetry from Howie Good

Thoughts and Prayers

Small furry animals have crawled out of their holes for a look. Such sights! Smashed-in skulls and severed feet and angels covered in blood. Like a nasty drunk, God has been exceptionally belligerent of late. A cadaverous woman in blue scrubs who says her name is April asks, “On a scale of 1-10, with 1 being the lowest, how severe is your pain?” Strangers on social media offer thoughts and prayers. Even then, the leaves on trees instantly wither as a burning airship passes overhead. My wife refuses a ride. We cling together just like the words in a poem.

The Sadness Will Last Forever

I was scarecrow thin and often cold and trembly. When I went out in my black beret and belted black raincoat, I might easily have been mistaken for an amateur spy. I would watch with mounting anxiety as the woods filled up with snow or the horizon burned from one end to the other. For years, my condition remained undiagnosed. But just because it now has a name doesn’t mean there is a proven treatment. A physician in rural Massachusetts has failed once again in his attempt to photograph the soul leaving the body at the moment of death. 

Sunday Bloody Sunday

A gun goes off. I lie there on the carpet, more and more convinced that something is wrong with my breathing. It’s only then that I realize I should have listened when they discouraged me from using semicolons. On this particular Sunday, the music returns, like an angel with wings made entirely of eyes. Pope Francis declares from his window in St. Peter’s Square, “Don’t be afraid of tattoos.” Ha! I know what it’s like to live under the tyranny of bodily pain, forced to endure its cruel and arbitrary edicts, and no one to prevent allegorical statues of Dawn and Dusk from being melted down for bullets.

Howie Good is the author of Failed Haiku, a poetry collection that is the co-winner of the 2021 Grey Book Press Chapbook Contest. It is scheduled for publication in summer 2022.