by Howie Good


The carpet layers crawled with knives and hammers over the concrete floor of evening. Sunshine, you said, looking up from a whiskey, is an overrated virtue.

It was fashionable to die young and be pessimistic. Come in, come in, the fog impatiently gestured. You rattled like echo’s bones when you walked.

Your old green raincoat had a pocket distended by the unfinished poem you carried in it. Coincidence served as your collaborator, though prone to long silences.

You stared out the window at a little boy pedaling his bicycle after a delivery van. The more you thought about it, the more convinced you became that the best music is barely audible. Class ended with a roomful of students still waiting for you to begin class.

God’s stale breath swayed the treetops, the suggestion of a dance. No, you replied, I don’t want to.

Poetry is vertical. You spent hours in bed curled up in the dark.

Everyone had a theory about what you meant by what you said. You couldn’t live through another period during which movie stars committed suicides in great numbers, could you? Nothing to do but sit on your ass in Paris and sigh.

One sentence after another stuttered to a stop. A couple of tramps had filched bejeweled words from the thesaurus. The horizon resembled the chewed stub of a pencil.

People often commented on your eyes – gull’s eyes, someone called them. If you heard, you gave no sign. The sea crashed relentlessly just outside your door.

Butterflies of vertigo frightened and exhausted you, a blind singer like Homer or Milton or Joyce, and you grew to believe in the existence of psychosomatic angels and aimlessly drifting ghosts.

Howie Good, a journalism professor at SUNY New Paltz, is the author of the full-length poetry collections Lovesick (Press Americana, 2009), Heart With a Dirty Windshield (BeWrite Books, 2010), and Everything Reminds Me of Me (Desperanto, 2011), Dreaming in Red (Right Hand Pointing, 2011) as well as numerous print and digital poetry chapbooks, including most recently Love Dagger from Right Hand Pointing and The Devil’s Fuzzy Slippers from Flutter Press.


4 thoughts on “Beckett

  1. susan tepper says:

    These are exquisite gems.

  2. I love “God’s stale breath” and all that vertigo. Great stuff at A-minor, again!

  3. Such great language in this. Adore “psychosomatic angels and aimlessly drifting ghosts”. Wow.

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