Four Prose Poems

by Howie Good

How to Survive a Mega-Drought

An unknown person or persons (excuse the jargon) entered the offices of the Minister of Drought and broke into the safes and files, and ever since then, I can’t tell whether we’re upside down or right side up, I can’t tell what’s here, a leaflet (“How to Survive a Mega-Drought”) or gilt lettering on glass, but those real cool sounds are coming from you, like when we were young and did it anytime, anywhere (floor, office chair, shower), with no such thing as email and only incidental light.

True Crime

The age of barbed wire was just finishing up when I discovered the wounds where flies had deposited their eggs. Less than an hour later, I was back to work elaborating the immense and complex maze from which I hoped to one day escape. A Bach choral, the palest blues sung by man, swirled from mini speakers. The same algorithm recommended that I read an environmental history of Auschwitz. And why? Because I love you like grim police photos of some crime scene.

Lighthouse Shadow

The train conductor paced the platform, taking hurried puffs on a cigarette, while angels hovered over the only country not on any map. Whenever an angel swooped down, the landscape turned a sludgy gray, a color euphemistically referred to as Lighthouse Shadow. Sitting blinking in a seat by the window, I was anxious for the train to resume moving. I felt as if someone else’s faulty heart had been transplanted in my chest. It was a constant torment. My face must have betrayed what I was thinking: Every day 200,000 people – more or less – die. Some heard distinct words; others, only a high squeal. Still others experienced sudden difficulty in finding their way around. As the train pulled out, I took a last look back. Mothers and children, men and beasts, hung from the branches of trees where a roaring wind had blown them.

When the Silence of God Is Deafening

We visited a church where a statue of the Virgin Mary is said to have opened her eyes 125 years ago, and another where the lame who regained the ability to walk abandoned their crutches. Around the corner, unlicensed street peddlers sold saint medals and splinters of wood from Jesus’s cross for the equivalent of about $10 (Canadian) apiece – though they packed up in a hurry and fled when the gendarmes approached with guns out. Not a single child of God objected. So, yeah, Marilyn Manson cut his hand open on a beer bottle and for the rest of the show threw his blood at the audience and decorated his face with it.

Howie Good is the author of the poetry collection Dark Specks in a Blue Sky (2015) from Another New Calligraphy.

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