Two Prose Poems By Howie Good

 

 

Flying Coffins

My zayde kept begging me not to leave him there. I tried to reassure him, told him there wasn’t always that great a difference between a funeral and a carnival. Even as I spoke, crows were gathering on the headstones, just a few at first, then maybe a couple of dozen. Child, child, the crows cried, you can’t kill what’s already dead. It got me wondering if sunshine was an overrated virtue. I couldn’t decide one way or the other. Since then, where my dog is, that’s where home is, and that’s not bad, that’s about as good as anything.

 

The Deluge

“By three things is the world sustained,” the rabbi said. Then he asked me, in his morbidly conscientious way, to name at least two that laid end to end would stretch from London to Paris, about 300 miles. While I was working out how to respond, the congregation started to yell, “No! No!” as if there needed to be some sort of machine that could detect all things with value that had been taken by the water. It’s why now when my children hear sounds at night, they think the rain is coming back, and even I’m scared to sleep.

 

About the Author: Howie Good is the author of three recent collections, I’m Not a Robot from Tolsun Books, A Room at the Heartbreak Hotel from Analog Submission Press, and The Titanic Sails at Dawn from Alien Buddha Press.

 

More by Howie Good:

“Maiden Voyage”

“Spy Culture”

“The Anxiety of Influence”

 

Image Credit: Alfred Stieglitz “Equivalent, A3 of Series A1″ (1926)  Digital image courtesy of the Getty’s Open Content Program

Two Prose Poems by Howie Good

 

Spy Culture

Just before dawn, the train barreled across the border. My carryall bag on the overhead rack contained an entire set of ant-dreams preserved in amber. Spies lurked everywhere, but, after the train pulled in, I eluded them by frequently changing my facial expressions. Later that day, I traveled by sampan and pedicab to meet my contact, an experienced agent posing as an English nanny. We met in a neighborhood playground beside a tree whose round fruit the children pretended were bombs. At one point I forgot the word “cremated” and had to ask her, “What’s it called – incinerating the body?”

 

The Anxiety of Influence

A banner stretching across the building’s exterior said, What’s Shakin’. You entered through a glass door, walked down a long, dim hallway and up a set of stairs into an area with large windows. The view was constantly changing, and you weren’t always sure what you were looking at or how it was happening. Jack Kerouac berated you for your perceived lack of cool. William Burroughs wouldn’t remove his hat. If you were going to be somewhere, this maybe wasn’t the best place. Many years would pass before anyone would realize that among the 20 most common passwords is “trustno1.”

 

About the Author: Howie Good is the author of three recent collections, I’m Not a Robot from Tolsun Books, A Room at the Heartbreak Hotel from Analog Submission Press, and The Titanic Sails at Dawn from Alien Buddha Press.

 

More by Howie Good:

“Maiden Voyage”

 

Image Credit: Alfred Stieglitz “Rebecca Strand” (1922)  Digital image courtesy of the Getty’s Open Content Program

SATURDAY POETRY SERIES PRESENTS: HOWIE GOOD

ANIMAL LIFE
By Howie Good

1
I didn’t find what I expected, musk or ostrich plumes or ivory, only a room in a forlorn mansion where I paced and muttered through curiously long nights, caravans of the lost forming beneath the windows and a flesh-covered dictionary open on my desk.

2
Somewhere there’s a picture of me with a different face. Why force a giraffe into a flower pot? I keep thinking. I pass a sixth day in bed gnawing my side, but otherwise alone. The gods respond to questions only in the summer when all the windows are open.

3
Along the dark riverbank, moans and shrieks, and nobody with whom to exchange heartbroken glances.



(Today’s poem originally appeared in Issue 2 of the Stone Highway Review and appears here today with permission from the poet.)


Howie Good, a journalism professor at SUNY New Paltz, is the author of the new poetry collection, Dreaming in Red, from Right Hand Pointing. All proceeds from the sale of the book go to a crisis center, which you can read about here.

Editor’s Note: Today’s poem is an exploration of the human animal. Of what it is to be civilized, to be domesticated, to be caged. And of the loneliness and singularity inherent in the human condition. The consequences of awareness that other animals do not grapple with. The advanced intelligence that causes one to contemplate the idea that “Somewhere there’s a picture of me with a different face.”

Want to see more by Howie Good?
Buy Howie Good’s Books from Amazon
Apocalypse Mambo
Dreaming in Red on Right Hand Pointing