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Three poems by Howie Good

Dostoevsky the Gambler

Fydor had gone to Baden-Baden to try his system at the gaming tables, but kept forgetting in his sweaty desperation to win what the system was. By the end of the evening, he had lost every last kopek he had brought. Forced the next day to pawn his watch and chain for train fare home, he wound up missing his train because he had no watch by which to tell the time. He still had, however, the wispy beard the secret police ridiculed in their reports. They had had him under surveillance for years. His epileptic seizures seemed to particularly interest them. In his mouth even the howls of pain the convulsions wrung from him sounded treasonous.

The Death and Life of the Avant-Garde

When Franz K. was taken off the train in the middle of the night, he woke on a street of futuristic glass towers that, from an architectural perspective, had already become passé. “What are those buildings?” he asked his keeper, a tall, thin, priestly figure who emanated an aura of gentle authority. “You’ll find out,” the keeper said, smiling. He never did. By the time the sun rose, he was tied to a post, watching in terror the firing squad assemble. It was sort of like avant-garde cinema where a series of incidents doesn’t necessarily add up to a plot.

Digital Revolution #9

It became harder all the time to keep the pixels from spreading. There was a pink lake where there had never been one before and behind it a pair of mountains like a giant’s wrinkled, dusty boots. “Oh no,” I exclaimed, “they’re invading Canada, too?” I saw people about to collapse from the stress of it. While alive, they were gradually stripped of their rights; dead, they would be stripped of the gold in their teeth and completely surrounded by blackness. I didn’t know how I knew, but I knew a group of sharks is called a “shiver.”

Howie Good is the author of more than a dozen poetry collections, including most recently Gunmetal Sky (Thirty West Publishing) and The Bad News First (Kung Fu Treachery Press).

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