These were the shoes he wore. Notice the soles are thin. He’d walked many miles in these trying to get ahead.

This was his favourite jacket. He felt wealthy when he wore it. Even though it had holes in the pockets.

This is the shirt he called his lucky one. He always wore it to important meetings and although nothing ever came of them he felt this shirt would bring him luck. Someday.

These were his favourite pants – he’d been married in them. Twice.

This was the hat he wore everyday. It shielded his head from the rain and the wind and the sun. And if he pulled the brim down, from everyone.

This is the map he lost just before he lost his way.

These are the tears he cried when he had nowhere to go.

This is the heart you broke and you didn’t even know.

These are your letters he kept when he believed in you.

This is the photo of his mother who thought he was precious.

Where are the friends he helped instead of helping himself?

This is his favourite song that he played every night.

This is the movie he said changed his life.

These are the books he loved now all packed away.

Who saw him last?

(C) Frank Howson 2019


The heavy decrepit bodies of the great and not so, mingled with their offsprings, children too young to realise that this too would be their fate. Pathetic men way past their glory days paraded pretending that they still had it, while bored defeated women looked on knowing they didn’t.

It was another day at the enclosed perfectly temperatured salt baths. The warmth was comforting to the skin and the soul and made old bones and muscles feel rejuvenated. The inhabitants floated safe in this maternal womb away from the business deals that no longer mattered in a world that no longer cared and was on its last legs. Some old guys studied the racing form while younger middle-aged men preferred the stock market. Some gambled with their own money while others ventured with what they had married into, or had inherited. All in all there’d be few winners that day. There were no more lucky numbers to be had, or surprise gold and mineral funds in a world that had been looted, raped and gang banged so many times there was nothing left. Certainly not energy for outrage. Only resentment from natives who had been trampled under foot and squashed by the invaders who destroyed paradise without ever having taken the time to truly look around and realise the greatest wealth was above the ground. But like rats they burrowed lower and lower into darkness desperate for any shiny morsel of opportunity. Never thinking any further ahead than that.

We had destroyed the world without realising that such an abomination also destroyed ourselves. What we project outwards also implodes us. Given time.

I stood in the warm salt water as the floating bodies of the dead and the dying circled me.

(C) Frank Howson 2019

Sketch by Frank Howson.


across town

big jake

will use her

again and again

until he is


until the fantasies

he harbored

behind her


are played out

in living color

until her moans

and whimpering

tell him he’s the best

and not to ever



he will leave


and she will remember


and her breathing will

seduce her

and make her melt


bad girl

as she finds

the swing and



crying out his name

as she comes

to her insanity

that it’s better this way


and he will smirk

in a bar

with pals

detailing his conquest

another notch on his belt

along with julie

and the dumb one

and the blonde on location

that couldn’t speak english

and the other

with the limp

and dog that talked

more sense than



he will drink to her

the goddess

brought down to earth

onto the next

who will


her secrets

begging that they

be taken


before we all go


and then home


she had so wanted to see harry potter

with him

and her daughter

but he couldn’t make it

he will catch up with her daughter

some other time

he says


i don’t doubt that


i once saw

a cowboy movie

where they hanged the wrong


I never went back again

for years

to sit in the dark

why give money

to have a dream

come out




I could’ve repaired your


but I think you must like


the way it is





like happy endings

if you can find any

call me


(c) Frank Howson 2013