Howie Good

Rotten Tomatoes

Reclusive billionaire Howard Hughes watched his favorite movie, Ice Station Zebra (43% on Rotten Tomatoes), over and over for years on end. Flying insects embedded themselves in his skin. A nurse said in a calm voice, “It’s all right,” but something was wrong. He was drooling and thrashing his legs and reaching out. When the bed was transformed into a rectangle of sunlight, he was compelled to lie down, surrounded by stacks of untouched cash. If you want reality, go and stand there. You’ll see it, it’s there, the radio, meanwhile, playing songs in the background about love’s bloody thorns.

Eve of the Eve of Destruction

While gun-wielding thugs in camo, some with faces hidden by balaclavas and bandanas, storm the statehouse, the blowjob mouth of an inflatable sex doll calls to something. Elderly couples are thrown into the air, collapsing back into their component parts. A baby with a swastika tattooed on his forehead crawls across the corpses. I feel less certain every day about my own chances of survival. “Go away,” the latest algorithms advise, “and take your shitty forest.” So I head out into the rainy twilight. It’s just as the prophets of old predicted: History is dead. Scum is all that’s left.


They removed centuries of books
from library shelves, and on a special night

they carted the books to the square
where they had built a bonfire,

and while a large and encouraging crowd
excitedly looked on, they threw the books,

some as thick as a loaf of bread,
others as thin as just a slice, into the fire,

and the book covers curled and wilted,
and the pages turned to clotted ash,

but the words like sparks flew upwards.

Howie Good is the author of What It Is and How to Use It (2019) from Grey Book Press, among other poetry collections.
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