INTERVIEW WITH GEORGE HOWELL BY GARY TUFEL
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
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.
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
Make friends with the boy,
he’ll keep you safe
from the numbers
beating a rhythm
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.