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T h e   N o t e


by Dale Wisely


Since I cranked up Right Hand Pointing in 2004, we've done occasional issues of shorter poems. Shorter than our usual. For these, we've settled on the guideline of no more than 30 words. So, this is another of our Very Short Poems issues. We got so much outrageously good work in, we've split it into two parts. This is your part 1.  Your part 2 will come out February 15. 


Here is a poem by Howie Good, which originally appeared in the Red Booth Review and is also in Howie's newest collection, An Armed Man Lurks in Ambush.






come here, 


it flies away, 


a needle-






the window 


in a dazzle 

of wings, 


a sort of 







from another 



the blue 




Van Gogh 



to cut off 

his ear.



Howie has been a regular contributor to RHP nearly from the very beginning. He has guest-edited a number of issues for us. In the spirit of full disclosure, Howie has become a friend of Your Editor and we have collaborated on a number of projects. (As a side note, not so many years ago I resisted thinking of people who I've never met in actual space, or even had a phone call with, as friends. I have since abandoned that principle, since it now appears that most of my friends are in that category.)


If I was in a position to teach a class on poetry to high school students, or college students or, for that matter, graduate students, this would be a poem I'd teach. If you are going to describe a natural thing in a poem, a thing which is done so often that RHP's editorial guidelines cautions against it, you might not do any better than this.


a needle-




. . . 


a sort of




If I wrote something like that, and read it in public, I would literally drop the mic and leave the stage. Now, I understand that dropping the mic would lead to some serious consequences. Let's go through those as part of this poetry lesson because, after all, this is a lesson for high school students, and we're always looking for ways to help them avoid high-risk behavior.


Dangers of Dropping the Mic


The venue

will bill you

for the mic.


You will not be invited back,

and Open Mic Night.

will, for you, be Closed forever.


Although your intent was

to inspire literary shock and awe,

you will instead inspire ridicule,


similar to the kind you would draw if,

at age 60, you were to tell

a group of college students,

that you totally dig Blink-182.


Because you're 60.

And because of "totally."

Anc because of "dig."

And because,

most of all,

of Blink-182.



So, there you go. A poetry lesson and a bonus cautionary poem. We try to be a full-service publication here. By the way, as you might guess, I'm now thinking of starting a journal of cautionary poems.


Thanks, as always, to everyone who contributed to this issue and all who submitted. Thanks to my co-editors. Thanks to you for reading.





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