Howie Good is the author of The Loser's Guide to Street Fighting, winner of the 2017 Lorien Prize.  His latest collection is I'm Not a Robot from Tolsun Books. He co-edits the journals UnLost and Unbroken and the chapbook publisher White Knuckle Press with Dale Wisely.

Songs from the Choir of Young Unbelievers


1 A God’s Eye 


It could have been stolen. It could have been accidentally thrown out. Whichever, the God’s eye is gone. I’ve looked for it where things accumulate, where people leave things. Every house has a corner like that. I’ve been to the market, too. I’ve walked down those cobblestone streets. But I made a conscious decision not to give myself a Plan B. I’ve tried everything I can. I can't keep drowning, I just can't. I pull up to a traffic light and see a flame thrower, and someone wanting to sell me little Popeye figurines. And in the end, the answer is no.



2 Jesus Was Homeless


I’m staying in my room, not answering the phone, not answering texts, not answering emails. Everyone is scared. We sleep afraid. We wake up afraid, our faces covered in blood and bite marks. This isn’t the world I signed up for, and that’s not going to change, all these demons flying around that appear and disappear. Feeling again her heart under my hand would have at least lit up the medieval gloom. It would have been like raising a vessel full of gold coins from the bottom of the sea. I don’t know – maybe I should go out, I should walk more, vulnerable in a way particular to men who are naked but wearing shoes.




3 Angels in Mufti

You can see, if you look close enough, those aren’t clouds, but angels with tiny hands and a dour expression on their doughy faces. It has nothing to do with religion. It’s just that the country is so huge we don’t always understand it. We haven’t had a baptism or a wedding for quite some time. We mostly have funerals. Police are throwing their critics out windows. Under the mud, I’m sure there are many more. A lot of people have no idea this is going on. Even when you ride the train, all you see is a black forest with nothing in it.