"We're at West 207th!"—

so far away we have to report in

by cell phone from distant lands.

"It looks nice and…civilized,

with window boxes, dog walkers—

we met a pit bull named Brad Pitt."


Gap-toothed globes, streetlights with

tongues of ivy in dusty heads, roots

in walkways gone astray. Rat nest

paths and carbon cave-dreams of firelight,

Lenape Indians and shadow battles.

Outcrop bones famished.

We need a topo map to find a deli.

Downtown by New York City

Transit Authority underground.

Four girls loud up

a tight orange corner, lurid

with silk-brown scars.

"I like to fight boys, 'cause

they think they hard. Then we

fuck 'em up and they ain't hard."

"I doan like fighten' boys, 'cause

they always like 'Bring out yo brother!'

I didn’t come outta my momma

with my brother. I come out by myself!"

"That bigass bitch Stephanie,

I hadda fight her. She came at me

outta nowhere and I hadda pull

my boot and hit her inna head.

Girls been sayin' she fucked me up,

but I fucked her up."

"I dreamed…I had this dream…"

"You gotta take off your shoes,

specially if you got sandals.

Somebody steps on your heel,

you goin' down."

"I dreamed…I had this dream…

I dreamed I hadda fight Stephanie,

and in this dream, I ain't gonna front,

she fucked me up."

We get off mixed with girls

in the island's innards, and we

rise into the sun on Greenwich

and lose the silk ones in the crowd

and walk to Tea & Sympathy

and have high tea, those fussy

sandwiches cut just so, jam

and clotted cream and whatnots

on the antique teapots

and we eat like savages.

—©Lynna Howard, all rights reserved

Some luminous spiral of axonal stems,

you, Tadpole Galaxy, likewise

live inside a human brain pan.

See how close you are—how intimately

you ride the crest of brain waves.

Oh third eye, Hubble Space Telescope,

may it fondle you. From earth,

(small planet in the Milky Way Galaxy,

you know the one), a computer triggers

your passport photo.

Who named you anyway?

Froth of star birth

torn from catastrophe,

what tone deaf geek found

"Tadpole Galaxy"

tripping off his tongue for you?

Is it worse than "Eskimo Nebula?"

Next time, NASA, send a poet.

I'm coming for a visit.

Let’s see, light strolls along

at 186,000 miles per second, or

5.88 trillion miles per light year—

a heavy load of miles for a light year!

420 million  x  5.88 trillion

to get to you.

Don't think too much. Don't flatten

poetry with mere fact.

Put down one foot and then the other—

think of it as a cattle trail crossing

a torrent of time.

What a lamp does for the blue window

at dusk,

a poet will do for you

when she arrives.

—©Lynna Howard, all rights reserved

Excerpt from NEW SHOES

wheels padded rolling

along with grandpa braking

with his thin back leaning


red flash and red flash

the shoes go stepping

and she goes loving

the red shoes singing

blood in her heart beating

—©Lynna Howard, all rights reserved




Maybe an inability to get depressed by the inanity of anything you scribble down is a prerequisite for literary productivity and renown. —Louis Menand

All photos and text ©Lynna Howard. Appearance online as work samples is not to be construed as publication. All rights reserved. Do not copy nor distribute without the poet's permission. Thank you. Contact lynna.howard@mac.com