3 Poems by Howie Good

The Vanishing

I was late for a class I taught at the college. When I entered the building where the class was normally held, nothing seemed familiar. I started walking up a very long flight of stairs. The stairs grew steeper the higher I went. By the time I reached the top, I was winded and covered in sweat. Then I saw a swastika painted on the wall. I tilted my head to the right, the left, the right again, trying to see the swastika as something else. There was no place, I slowly realized, that was safe anymore. One day I will squeeze into a crowded elevator that will vanish between floors.

Drone Pilots Do It Remotely

My father tried to kill himself three times – well, four if you count the time he fell asleep smoking in bed and woke up with the mattress on fire. I remember because I had just been told by someone who supposedly knew to never write poems about writing poetry. It’s a lot different now. Now there aren’t even definite prohibitions against selling human skulls on Etsy. Instead, the armed drone that blows up the terrorist hideout in Kabul also blows up a houseful of children.

Work of the Unemployed

I had lost my job breaking in new shoes for men with big feet. With nothing much to do, I read the reports, worked the numbers, and confirmed the findings: to death we are all equal. Another week I sneaked into an exhibition at the Galerie der Moderne. The walls were hung with paintings by people who didn’t seem to know how to paint. But I did enjoy the chilled wine in clear plastic cups and the cubes of cheese on frilly toothpicks. I would have stayed longer, only there were all these police around. Back in Poland, my great-grandfather one day went to fetch a ration of bread, and the loaf was sticking out of his coat when the SS officer who shot him for sport rolled his corpse over.

Howie Good is the author of Famous Long Ago, a forthcoming prose poetry collection from Laughing Ronin Press.