Three Poems by Howie Good

The Fictitious Glow of Distant Stars


All autumn 

and into winter 

your mouth

is a garden 

covered with lions 

and strutting 

tuba players,


and that is why 

festival lights go on

in the villages 

and we enter 

the castle together, 


cities of the end

just beyond hearing, 

long and dark

and giggling 




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. A burned girl, about 10, with a morphine drip, is talking up a credit economy based on an eternal future. It’s the part I don’t get. By morning, a hill of surplus chainsaws has appeared where the great blue heron used to stand on one leg posing for snapshots. The call centers in Kathmandu must have been busy all night. Often I can feel smiles and tears, cheap plastic chess pieces, moving around inside my head.





Artificial Hells


The animal is decapitated and gutted. The hooves are then cut off. It hurts. A lot. I’ve seen Reservoir Dogs. The guy was shot in the stomach, if I remember rightly. A head shot with a large bullet would be like switching off a light. Being shot isn't like in the movies. A 9-year-old Pennsylvania girl wearing a black-and-white Halloween costume was shot in the shoulder by a shotgun-wielding relative who mistook her for a skunk. There will never be silence.




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.