Archive for the Howie Good Category

Letters to God by Howie Good

Posted in Howie Good with tags on August 31, 2020 by Scot

My mail comes mostly
from desperate individuals,

some who just rage at me,
some who sigh or complain,

some who abjectly beg.
It can get pretty tiresome.

They all want to know how?
Why? When? What for?

Etc., etc.I used to reply
in person, but bad things

inevitably ensued: virgin sacrifice,
crucifixion, burning at the stake.

Next time, Jesus brings a shotgun.

RIOTOUS by Howie Good

Posted in Howie Good with tags on June 3, 2020 by Scot

A police van
has been
and the Burger King
on the corner
is burning,

and if you
the oily black

breathe it in,

your heart
will seize up
and your family
desert you,

you’ll forever
be marked down
in the book
as a looter,
an arsonist,
a so-called
“outside agitator,”

who made,
for a time,
this murdering
old world
to tremble


Three Poems by Howie Good

Posted in Howie Good with tags on March 7, 2010 by Scot


Our textbook compared
the heart to a furnace.

Blood provided the fuel.
Or maybe the brain did.

I can’t remember.
We used to get stoned

before class. The teacher’s
wife and baby daughter

had died in a fire.
I think of it sometimes

as I’m falling asleep
or just walking along.

Don’t ask me why.


In a foolish instant
make all my documents



On the other side of the glass,
it clings to the feeder,

petty lines and shadows
climbing its back,

and when I move without permission,
it swivels its head,

the executioner’s black hood.


Posted in Howie Good with tags on December 29, 2009 by Scot

I would phone the police,
but I know they won’t come

and would only blame me
if they did

and when I tried to explain
to them that nothing was missing,

it would sound like a lie,
and they would look

from me to the woman
seated at the table

with her head bowed
as evening quietly trembled

and recomposed the shadows
of unseen things.

ONE NIGHT STAY by Howie Good

Posted in Howie Good with tags on November 8, 2009 by Scot

An old man with eyes like dead sparrows
is telling a story at the next table

in the restaurant of the Quality Inn
in Lebanon, Pennsylvania, something

about the price of scrap metal after the war.
Suddenly he lowers his voice. The Jews,

he mutters. My wife and I look at each other.
Meat hooks. Gas chambers.

Our daughter notices. What? she asks.
I shake my head. We finish eating

and go up to our $74-a-night room
and all lie on one bed and watch TV.

The studio audience is laughing.

NIGHT GAME by Howie Good

Posted in Howie Good with tags on July 15, 2009 by Scot

It’s been a season of rainouts
and incurable diseases.

The bullpen under water.
The shortstop drunk on the field.

The manager fills out the lineup card
by drawing names in the air.

You push through the turnstile
like a lifelong fan regardless.

But better hurry and find your seat,
or you won’t see the pitcher

standing behind the mound
between warmup tosses

with his head bowed, weeping.

Four Poems by Howie Good

Posted in Howie Good with tags on June 8, 2009 by Scot

From the series HEARTLESS

Friends forget my birthday. Forget they’re friends.
Betray confidences without giving their names.

Change their names without telling me.
Slice the heads off birds.

Leave headless birds on the doorstep.
And when I’m near,

drop their voices and whisper into the phone.

My heart eats a hole in itself
just big enough to escape through.

It’s a law no one follows.
Even so, they pull me from the line

and quote Kant’s Categorical Imperative
and then laugh at my discomfiture.

One of them looks something like my older brother,
the same brown eyes and ironic manner.

“Just tell what happened in the order it happened,”
my heart blandly advises.

I would, but all I can recall at this distance
is a car honking for me to come out

and the moon being lynched from a lamppost
and not enough light.

Her heart moves in
with my heart.

At dinner she stares down
without appetite at the roses

clotting on the plate.
I ask how her day was.

She shrugs – her heart
doesn’t consider

languishment and pain
to be subjects

for dinner conversation.
But sometimes it wonders

just what took place
before it got here

that night trembles
under the table,

waiting for scraps.

I had bad teeth in the dream,
just as in real life, but in the dream

I had the long, droopy moustache
of a gunfighter to disguise it.

I walked so slowly up the tree-
lined street I appeared lost.

People had stopped mowing their lawns
or playing with their dogs to watch me.

A few even pointed.
Perhaps they were wondering like me

what was in the grocery bag I was carrying
that the bottom had turned a greasy black,

my heart or someone else’s.


Posted in Howie Good on March 22, 2009 by Scot


True, but wouldn’t you rather
jerk awake to the tom-tom of heartbreak

and later, if the light is right,
watch a river scratch itself until it bled?

And as to the example of those who keep
their feet firmly on the ground,

like a telephone pole, or a feeding trough,
or a tombstone –

when you’re in love, you’re happy to board
the wounded plane last seen disappearing

over the mountains and never heard from again.