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