Strange Roads and The Predicament of Aftermath

by Howie Good




“Whose orange cat is that?”

The landlord of hell

maintains a blank face.

Like the sign that says,

No Parking Any Time,

the austere logic of it.

Just nod, and we’ll move

to a city that doesn’t exist.

And take the cat.




Seven people dead, the news said.

I study the coolly swaying hips

of the woman walking in front of me.

This is all the music there is.

Or maybe this music is all there is.

See the difference? A lone baby shoe

at the entrance to a dark alley.




You ask where we are.

I stare straight ahead

as if I haven’t heard you.


There’s no good answer,

or there can be more than one,

just as you can choose

to fall out of love with me,

or you can choose

to hit the “Send” button.


In the abrupt days that follow,

an insect-like buzz

insinuates itself into everything.


Nobody seems

to know how to fix it,

and some seem

not to even want it fixed.





Your father mistook them for cold pills. They were pills to relieve menstrual cramps. You called Poison Control laughing so hard that the man on the other end became offended. “Lady,” he snapped, “it’s not funny!” This was back when we first began dating, a time before the time the shadows of branches could only communicate in thin, hopeless gestures, and if not played regularly, the piano would forget its sound.



Howie Good, a journalism professor at SUNY New Paltz, is the author of the new poetry collection, Dreaming in Red, from Right Hand Pointing. All proceeds from the sale of the book go to a crisis center, which you can read about here: https://sites.google.com/site/rhplanding/howie-good-dreaming-in-red. He is also the author of numerous chapbooks, including most recently The Devil’s Fuzzy Slippers from Flutter Press. He has two more chapbooks forthcoming, Personal Myths from Writing Knights Press and Fog Area from Dog on a Chain Press.

Art by Jim Fuess


Waters of Dispassion and Beholder

by Carl Scharwath

Waters of Dispassion


Children, water evokes at your swollen feet

A calamitous trap reflects no escape

Clouds wash epidemic rain across the plains

And cover the world’s eyes

……. in forgotten plight.

Insects contaminated droplets of mist destroy the future

Seeds of disease interrupt your destiny to grow

Sunken despondent eyes cry tears of malaria

An allusion of who you are and

…….never will become

Kinship with no one the warm earth waits

The lens of history records a fictional play

Betrayal masked in far away luxuries

Dead bodies of apathy covered with

……. kisses and blankets.




The avenue a watercourse

sloshed by car engines

and forded at stop signs.

A small shoe hole

ingests the dark wetness

of an unrelenting city.

She emerges from umbrage

an angel, a daughter, a mother,

tonight a streetwalker.

Faceless souls peer

from rain soaked portals,

safe from their sins

Empty lives, no regrets,

prostitution pleasures and

secluded emptiness.

This girl is nonexistent.

To them and to herself

a starved life.

Darkness ends, a smile

reveals cocaine stained teeth

and the face of God.


The Orlando Sentinel, Lake Healthy Living, Think Healthy and Mature Lifestyles Magazines have all described Carl Scharwath as the “running poet.” His interests include being a father/grandfather, competitive running, sprint triathlons and taekwondo (he’s a 2nd degree black belt).

His work appears all over the world in publications such as Paper Wasp (Australia), Structo (The UK), Taj Mahal Review (India)and Diogen Pro Kultura (Bosnia). He was also awarded “Best in Issue” in Haiku Reality Magazine. Three of his short stories were published in The Birmingham Arts Journal,The Bashful Beaver Literary Magazine and Idigorising in the UK.

His favorite authors are Hermann Hesse and Charlotte Perkins Gillman.


Art by Jim Fuess


Where the Road Takes You

by Bill Meissner


You don’t need a map.

The moment you step out your door,

the road takes you where you need to go:

It leads you to ancient pyramids,

lifting their shoulders and rising from the mist, to

unearthed ceramic faces

waiting to open their eyes to you.

If the road narrows, and detours, follow it

through the green maze of a jungle,

to rivers that roll past

clear as the first sunlight.

Pause there.  Let your eyes drink.


If road turns to cobblestone, then walk on it

to villages where barefoot children circle you with laughter,

where women, selling dyed yarn, wrap

you in deep reds and blues and greens.

Let your mouth curl around the names

of places your lips have only tasted in dreams:

Uxmal.  Chichen Itza.  Tlaxiaco. Chichicastenago.


Carry each of the roads you’ve traveled along with you

in case you need to go back that way.  Keep them

in your dusty suitcase, tuck them

into the folds of your brain.


When you reach each destination,

touch it with your hand print, always remembering

that the closest distance between two points

is the space between your fingertips.




Bill Meissner has won numerous awards for his writing, including PEN/NEA Syndicated Fiction Awards. He is the author of two previous books of fiction, Hitting into the Wind and The Road to Cosmos (University of Notre Dame Press, 2006) and four books of poetry, including American Compass (University of Notre Dame Press, 2004). He is director of Creative Writing at St. Cloud State University. His first novel, SPIRITS IN THE GRASS, won the Midwest Book Award. Also, he loves traveling in Mexico–including San Miguel de Allende–and has visited Merida on two occasions. To learn more about Bill Meissner and his books, please visit his website at http://web.stcloudstate.edu/wjmeissner.


Art by Jim Fuess