Prose poetry by Howie Good

Shake Before Use

Despite cancer and twice daily mouthfuls of various pain pills, I’ve already lived longer than you or anyone else expected, but as if in punishment, I suffer frequent traumatic visits from revenge-minded angels, a bunch of vicious motherfuckers, Lou Reed lookalikes in black leather jackets and wraparound shades who treat me like a magnificent irrelevance, a supernumerary, a false witness, calling bullshit on the pained sounds I make, the clatter of wooden wheels over human bones, when they’re not mocking my superficial knowledge of street life or testing the strength in my arms and legs while neighbors fall from roofs and ladders and dogs lap up the blood.

From a Dream

The birds in the treetops are muttering ugly imprecations. I’m eight or nine again, sitting on a kitchen chair in the yard while my grandfather cuts my hair with a pair of junk drawer scissors. Stacks of bodies keep arriving from the front by truck. At one point my grandfather steps back to assess his work. With a half-shriek, half-sob, he buries his face in his hands. Even a kid like me, who ordinarily displays the complacency of a frozen embryo, has to wonder what a life is for. I see a small black spider scurrying toward the safety of the dark and let it.

Howie Good

IG: @howiegood

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