Dreidel, Dreidel, Dreidel
After 30 minutes of Christmas music, the high school choir broke into the Hanukkah song “Dreidel, Dreidel, Dreidel” at the holiday concert. The person seated beside me began to complain under her breath. Jesus Fucking Christ! I thought. I examined her out of the corner of my eye. She wasn’t an obvious Nazi. Somewhere in her fifties, she was trying hard to look younger, a frosted blonde with the sharp features of the obsessive dieter. I didn’t say anything, though I might have let out a sigh. The song changed to something Christmassy. I focused on my daughter up on stage. She was heedlessly singing, her face all alight.
Howie Good’s latest poetry books are The Horse Were Beautiful, available from Grey Book Press, and Swimming in Oblivion: New and Selected Poems from Redhawk Publications.
I heard a massive thump. Alarmed, I went to the sliding glass door and looked out, expecting to see a seagull lying there dead after crashing into the glass. Instead, a juvenile sand shark was flailing on the back deck. I couldn’t have been more astonished if I’d been visited by an angel clothed in light or a neighbor wearing no clothes at all. The shark was just a foot long and battleship gray. As it thrashed about, I called to my wife, “Barbara, quick, bring a bucket!” I half-filled the bucket from the hose. Then Barbara, using a gardening trowel, managed to drop the shark into the bucket. This is the world. Whatever the hour, there’s always a rendezvous going on.
Murderers on Holiday
I was born with holes in me. “These things happen,” the doctor told my mom with a resigned smile. I can’t visualize the love of our fellow man that the Bible preaches with the detail that I can baseball on the radio. If there were actually angels, would they fly in a V-formation like geese, you think? Crows can hold a grudge for a year or more against someone who has mistreated them. No one should feel particularly safe. I love cats, but even a cat, when it’s starving, could eat a person.
Howie Good’s latest poetry collection, THE HORSES WERE BEAUTIFUL, is forthcoming from Grey Book Press.
My Dark Ages
Black clouds mass over a rotting city. The police patrolling in battlefield gear eyeball you. Under the closeness of their scrutiny, you can feel your face assume a guilty expression. Later you’ll complain to me about it. “Oh yeah?” I’ll say. “Try going through life as a Howard.”
Christ is murdered over and over, a crime gorgeously lit in stained glass. Do we know what we look like? Not really. The voice of the turtle is too faint for human ears.
This is the one road that goes everywhere. Some days I walk it to think, some days to actually get someplace. I’ve been thinking about the hateful looks my father would give me growing up. “What are you, stupid?” he would hiss. It’s strange how much darkness a person can absorb and still function. Van Gogh, the morning before his suicide, painted a garden scene full of sun and life.
Blank page on my laptop
A tree still waiting for leaves
A hazy childhood memory
The dense, swirling fog
in which a killer might lurk
cast fugitive shadows
over a hayfield
Lines for a poem
that vanish on waking
Bright red patches
on the wings of blackbirds
Your inner child
A figure pursued across the ice
Howie Good is the author most recently of the poetry collection Gunmetal Sky (Thirty West Publishing).