Other notable work by Susan Culver and Dale Wisely.


Howie Good-


In a rage
he dragged

his piano

out to the lawn.
He had once

been married
to Zsa Zsa Gabor.

Also her sister.

He hacked
at the piano

with an ax.

All those
white teeth




I speak consciously
in obscurities.
For extra warmth,
I stuff my shoes
with rejected poems.
I disregard the goddess
who says who can
and who cannot go.
I stare at the map
on a diner placemat.
I think of my children,
the ones I never had.
I leave a goodbye note
where they won’t find it.



1 Spring

How the crocuses
bustle about –

dumpy cafeteria ladies
in blue hairnets.

2 The End of Summer

An old building
with plaster walls

painted a bad green.
I’m full of dust

and guitars.

3 Autumn Breeze

One brown shoe
on the side of the road,

a foot still in it,

4 Winter

Thin, gray-



The shadows
of birds,

but not
the birds.


Howie Good, a journalism professor at the State University of New York at New Paltz, is the author of 12 poetry chapbooks, including most recently Ghosts of Breath from Bedouin Books. He has been nominated four times for a Pushcart Prize and five times for the Best of the Net anthology. His first full-length book of poetry, Lovesick, was released in 2009 by Press Americana.



Susan Culver-

The Mother of Aspiration

Or the act of being too low. Too high. The way the families of the Sago miners became like the families of the men aboard Apollo 13, all caught in smallness of reports. Now they’re planning to ferry water, now they’re listening for signs of life. Always mouthing the same prayer, begging history to repeat, please. And this is how you found yourself, alone with the news when the crowd brought forth its mislaid whoop: All alive, and you were craning your neck, were waiting without breath. Telling yourself that it isn’t a movie, that they’d surely emerge with scars of the struggle. Having battled the underearth and won for once. 2002 and you were always waiting for something. For answers to the towers, for planes full of soldiers just home from the war, all baby-clean and their hats slipped from head to hand. Their arms wrapped around someone who loved them. Because there has to be a logical progression to things: the way of sophomore year and the basketball team. You, too small to make it past the third string, so that you finished your education already knowing that the ball was as complete a circle as the moon and that the flaw, then, must be in the shoes. And maybe you designed shoes less for the ideal shot; more for the thought of being weightless. Of making it this time, of finding the friendly skies. Maybe you got Magic to endorse them. To give the idea his name, his smile, because here in the world, there are all these stories. Like the collapse of the Sago Mine. Like the yet-born child who breathed too early. Who aspirated in the womb. Such things happen and then you dream of plugging the world’s holes, of laws to define where and to whom and for how much. You dream of safe because it must be safe. Because nearly, like once, is never enough. There is always more. Always better. Always perfect, like tomorrow – so cocksure – when it says maybe. Maybe.


After All Our Addictions Have Come to Pass

In the thumb-smudged yonder: You are here. In the slender dash between the earth and the sky and I know you are here because I have drawn you waiting. Have raised you up from the time when we were children. To stand where you stand, beautiful here before your mountains. And I have drawn their faces from memory. I have made the words sweet. You are here, hush, and I am there. Beside the waves where you have put me. And I am learning the songs of your silence, with my flesh gone scaled, gone silver. These days, I crave the erasure of distance, the parting of water. My darling, you are here. It’s the only way.


Girl in Living Color: 1988

There, on the canvas of ash and slate. On the city bridge where the chain link holds the jumpers in, where it segments maybe into rows of diamonds. Pretend you can’t see her from this distance. That you can’t tell if her shoulders are shaking; if she wears a black bruise or a rose tattoo. And I will paint her clearer, then, will say the set of her chin is like those adobes in the valley. Like she’s waited this long for you to notice. And I will say that pain has a hundred hues, like water, like glass and that the life she’ll live after this is so beautiful and blue that it would make you cry. Pretend you can’t see it and I will say: Listen. Will say twenty years passed in the blink of an eye and today – today – she wears her shades of yellow and white, offers her hands to a sky gone golden, gone blaze. Gone wine.


Susan Culver is a reporter and photographer. She is also the editor of Poetry Friends.  Her poetry and short fiction have been published in a number of print and online journals and she has authored three collections: All the Ways We Could Have Met (2005), Comfort Street (2008) and an online collection, The Woman: In a Box (2009).



Dale Wisely-

6 Disorders of Sleep



He often wakes at the sound when she grinds her teeth.  Appallingly loud as enamel is compressed, abraded, eroded.  He looks at her head on the pillow.  Her furrowed brow, the pulsing muscles in her jaw.  He reaches to soothe her by resting his hand warm on her bare pelvis.  The grinding grows louder.


pavor nocturnus

The scream comes late in the evening, often as the man and his wife are making love.  Robes are donned in the dash down the hall.  The child is always sitting up in bed, hands gripping the sheets, eyes staring, focused on some absent thing.  The child stares, but is blind to the waked world.   He babbles.  I don’t want to!  I can’t hold on!   In the morning, over cereal, the man must tell the boy what he said–he never remembers.  On the way to school, the boy looks out the bus window and whispers:   I can’t hold on. I don’t want to.


hypnic jerk

With the slide into sleep comes a dream of falling, interrupted just before impact by a quick spasm and return to wakefulness.  The man sits on the side of the bed and looks out the window.   A couple of teenagers make out on the hood of an abandoned car.  The man watches from his bed and smokes a cigarette.  A dog glances at the couple and trots away.  Most of his dreams, he now recalls, are of falling.


sleep paralysis

Floating up from sleep, he cannot move, speak, or cry out.  Terror sits on his chest and binds his arms. Neither awake nor asleep.  Stuck in the throat of Hypnos.


asleep at the wheel

At 10 years old, his uncle woke him to tell him his father had died in a car crash.  Neighbors arrived with casseroles and whispered “fell asleep at the wheel.”   For years since, he has dreamed of his father, drowsy, as his Buick tracks the center line on Highway 190.  He sees his father abandon the wheel and reach into the backseat and pull up a pillow and a light blanket.  His sees his father prop the pillow against the passenger side door and punch it with his fist, fluff it, punch it again.  He sees him  turn down the radio. The motor hums and the headlights shine.  His father smiles sleepily and curls up on the front seat and pulls the blanket over him as the Buick drifts past mile markers, exit signs, rest stops.



He wakes and sees his wife standing naked, sweating, shivering, glassy-eyed, febrile.  She mutters from her delirium, I’ve lost the baby.  He reassures her but she doesn’t hear. She weeps and stares at him.  He rises and feels her radiate heat as he approaches.  The heat causes him to put his hand in front of his own face as a shield.  Flames burst from her and engulf them both.  He wakes and sees her in bed next to him and. hears the low wet rumble of her grinding teeth.


Dale Wisely is a psychologist and a school system director.  He edits Right Hand Pointing and co-edits with Howie Good and F. John Sharp a new creative nonfiction site, Left Hand Waving.