If I could escape to Uketopia, don’t worry, I would. The music would swell, all sparks and farts and swirling lunacy, as soon as I crossed the unmarked border. Anything I needed to buy would cost exactly what I could afford. Strangers would recognize me on the street from the photo on the back of one of my books. They would smile and nod, and the world would shine the whole time like a Kala acoustic-electric tenor ukulele with vintage sunburst finish. Statues of great men would be just standing there staring in happy amazement. And when the sky at last grew indistinct, a mere smear of stars, everyone’s heart would flicker once, twice, three times, as if running on dying batteries but bound for something like Hurray!
I found an uppercase E, about half an inch long, made out of red rubbery material, washed up on Kalmus Beach. It was midwinter in the Cape, dull, resentful weather. I wasn’t positive, but I kind of remembered that E was the most frequently used letter in the alphabet. And so I slipped it in my pocket and continued along the beach, head down, searching, as I had originally set out to do, for pieces of sea glass among the sea shells and seaweed. A solitary silver gull stood watch at the shoreline. When I got within a foot or two, it flew off with a strange sound, almost a sob, the sadness of a word cut from a poem
Howie Good, a journalism professor at SUNY New Paltz, is the author of the forthcoming poetry collection The Middle of Nowhere (Olivia Eden Publishing). His latest chapbooks are Echo’s Bones and Danger Falling Debris, both from Red Bird Chapbooks. He co-edits White Knuckle Press with Dale Wisely.