• Jeffrey Barrett


Updated: Oct 26, 2020

An interview between poet George Howell and Gary Tufel recorded October 4, 2020 at the Palms, Wonder Valley. The poems George reads are below. To view the interview click on the image below.

Poems by George Howell from the interview



Restless in the pandemic

waiting for the shoe to drop and wake the

Jackrabbit just a coyote’s breath from the house I once put chicken wire around the young trees to save them from her now she sleeps safely under the kitchen window I’d put out a reward of water but it would only attract predators or my

neighbor’s dog


Sleep Driving

Esopiclone, a “wonder of science,”

sleep in a little blue-grey pill.

I take a seat in the theater of dreams,

close my eyes, wake up 5 hours later

no film in the projector

no REMS, no rest

a prisoner of the medication.

Driving under the influence

fatigue and sleep deprivation

white knuckling it to the therapist.

He warns, “You’ll be in a world of hurt if your stop.”

Drop him, drop the generic,

miserable for a week

and then the sleep comes.

Painful, but I survived.

It could’ve been worse—

hop out of bed and into the car, naked

head down Jade Lane to Amboy Rd.

and drive to town in my sleep.


Dream Numbers

For Brenda Littleton

When you can’t sleep, count slowly backwards

from 100 to one,

relaxing sinews, tissues, ligaments,

fingers, wrists, elbows,

navel, heart and lungs

until your breath

locks into the random

array of numbers,

the genetic code

of your dreams,

an arbitrary succession

interrupted by snapshots of a boy.

A nuisance sometimes,

he bugs you, you hit him,

try to make him go away,

but he persists in the film loop

of numbers linked

to your hopes, desires, guilt,

manhood, independence, strength,

yearning for love, for acceptance.

A little boy, big boy,

dream boy, inner boy

who protects you from the bomb

because there is always a bomb

as the product of these numbers—

time bomb, atom bomb, population bomb,

an impending bomb at the edge

of infinity.

Make friends with the boy,

he’ll keep you safe

from the numbers

beating a rhythm

of self-deception.

Make friends with the bomb,

It’ll blow up your stuckness, the habits of perception, the cultural norms, the expectations that keep you trapped in a daylight reality worse than any groggy dream narrative.

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