Richard D. Houff

Three Poems – Richard D. Houff

Somewhere near Le Havre, 1978

I keep falling
with each step
closer to the next
down again

And there is nothing
to be done with horses
that refuse to budge

The cakewalk takes
a turn for the worse
leaving everyone
cold and embittered

Steps climb steps
and we follow
not knowing where
or how, but somebody
said, this is the way!
galloping merrily along

And so it ends
when we decide
no is better

Moving forward
once more


Without Words

ca. 1976, NYC

we are careful of the edge
and the indifferent moon

that prefers to keep company
in a clearing where the wind

whispers its presence
near rippling ponds.

our dreams are soft colors
and reside outside the terror below.

but we dance carefree
over a flat rooftop leaving our mark

where people hang laundry
and shoot-up next to the pigeon cage

the sound of a distant sax calls
and takes us away


Hipster Metaphysics

ca. 1970, Los Angeles

There is no rest
in a world where
you are not

And could you
please return my shirt
along with my shivering tongue

And could you
please return all untranslated words,
and don’t forget the eyes

You can find me
lying on the sofa beating time
with ghosts doing swing


Richard D. Houff lives and writes out of St. Paul, Minnesota. He edited Heeltap Magazine and Pariah Press from 1986 to 2010. He has had poetry and prose published in Academic and Arts Review, Brooklyn Review, The Cape Rock, Chiron Review, Conduit, Louisiana Review, Midwest Quarterly, North American Review, Rattle, Trailer Park Quarterly, and many other fine magazines. His most recent collections are Night Watch and Other Hometown Favorites, from Black Cat Moon Press, The Wonderful Farm and Other Gone Poems, from Flutter Press, and Dancing on Rooftops, from Homage Press (Czech Republic).