Out Now: Fevers of the Mind Poetry & Art Issue 6: The Empath Dies in The End

(c)HilLesha O’Nan

Out Now! Issue 6 of the Fevers of the Mind Poetry & Art is available for purchase on Amazon. This features the collaborations that i’ve (David L O’Nan) have done with several other great writers on “The Empath Dies in the End” series of poems last Fall (the remainder will be placed in future anthologies including The Whiskey Mule Diner for the Elliott Smith inspired pieces) this issue also includes features from poet/writers Christian Garduno, Pasithea Chan, Kushal Poddar, Michael Igoe, also included is our photo prompt challenge poems to a photo supplied by writer K.P. DeLaney. Also included are poems/prose by Ceinwen E Cariad Haydon, HilLesha O’Nan, Ethan O’Nan, Victoria Leigh Bennett, Peter Magliocco, Donna Dallas, Joan Hawkins, Lorna Wood, Matthew Freeman, Lesley Curwen, Tova Beck-Friedman. Collab poems I did with Tony Brewer, Ron Whitehead, Petar Penda, R.M. Englehardt, Spriha Kant, Ryan Quinn Flanagan, Amanda Crum, Merritt Waldon, Andrew Cyril MacDonald, RP Verlaine, Oz Hardwick, Stephen Kingsnorth, K.G. Munro, Ava Tenn, Robert Pengel, Dee Allen, K Weber, Maria A. Arana, Aaron Wiegert, C.L. Liedekev, Elizabeth Cusack, John Drudge, Carson Pytell, Jay Maria Simpson, Jennifer Patino, Luis Cuauhtemoc Berriozabal, John Grey, Rickey Rivers Jr, Duane L. Herrmann, Staci-Lee Sherwood, Doryn Herbst, Mike Zone, Jessica Weyer Bentley, John Zurn, Jeremy Limn, Lynn White, John D. Robinson, Monica Sharp, James Schwartz, James Lilley, Mykyta Ryzhykh, Gabriella Garofalo, Sandrijela Kasagic, Rachel Coventry, Gayle J Greenlea & Anneka Chambers

Links:

U.S.  https://rb.gy/t1w5o

Australia  (kindle) https://rb.gy/ltgj3

U.K.   https://rb.gy/czaad

Canada  https://rb.gy/uqqtn

France https://rb.gy/1ilii

Mexico https://rb.gy/i40ka  (kindle)

Japan https://rb.gy/n2x8j

Italy https://rb.gy/60×45

Spain  https://rb.gy/0nmuz

Germany https://rb.gy/l0m4k 

India https://rb.gy/efjqt  (kindle)

Brazil https://rb.gy/07yqu  (kindle)

The Netherlands https://rb.gy/0vzho 

Check out some links to other

Hard Rain Poetry: Forever Dylan Anthology available today!

Available Now: Before I Turn Into Gold Inspired by Leonard Cohen Anthology by David L O’Nan & Contributors w/art by Geoffrey Wren

Poetry Showcase: David L O’Nan from Cursed Houses pt 1

A Review of “Before the Bridges Fell” by David L O’Nan (review by Ivor Daniel)

Bare Bones Writings Issue 1 is out on Paperback and Kindle

https://amzn.to/3tNR3ON Before the Bridges Fell

https://amzn.to/3gt4LDy Avalanches in Poetry Writing & Art Inspired by Leonard Cohen (the 1st Leonard Cohen inspired tribute)

https://amzn.to/3i94vKA Lost Reflections

https://amzn.to/3TT0Uxe Bending Rivers

https://amzn.to/3EwKWmU The Cartoon Diaries

https://amzn.to/3XotUjq The Fevers of the Mind Presents the Poets of 2020: The Poetry Only

https://amzn.to/3tTf0nS New Disease Streets

https://amzn.to/3UZwtqB Our Fears in Tunnels

https://amzn.to/3Ey1ivx The Fevers of the Mind Poetry & Art Digest Issue 1 June 2019

https://amzn.to/3i99ZEM The Fevers of the Mind Poetry Digest Issue 2 In Memoriam August 2019

https://amzn.to/3gqq5JX Fevers of the Mind V Overcome

https://amzn.to/3VB74n9 His Last Poetric Whispers

https://amzn.to/3GDgGcr The Fevers of the Mind Presents the Poets of 2020 Deluxe Edition

https://amzn.to/3gtitGC The Fevers of the Mind 1& 2 the Poetry Only

https://amzn.to/3AD0Drl Taking Pictures in the Dark

https://amzn.to/3Otay8E Fevers of the Mind Poetry Digest Issue 3: The Darkness & The Light

https://amzn.to/3UXxP4V The Famous Poetry Outlaws are Painting Walls and Whispers

Fevers of the Mind Poetry & Art Blog

Our twitter is @feversof eic @davidLONan1 Facebook Group: http://www.feversofthemind.com Fevers of the Mind Poetry & Arts Group

Submissions e-mail: feversofthemind@gmail.com 

Please send in word doc format and mostly traditional styles for easier translation to the page if possible. If not pdf will work. Google docs don’t always work so well.

Donate to our paypal also at feversofthemind@gmail.com (anything helps to keep the site going)

*NOW TAKING PRINT ANTHOLOGY SUBMISSIONS for our new print journal “The Whiskey Mule Diner” named after our online anthology that was inspired by Tom Waits. This journal has now expanded to become a new print journal endeavor that includes poetry, art, writings, photography and more inspired by musicians, artists, writers/poets, movies & actors/actresses see this link for more Introducing a new print journal dedicated to poetry, writings, art & more inspired by music, artists, movies, and writers “The Whiskey Mule Diner”feversofthemind@gmail.com (all poetry/writings/essays, art, photography will need to be submitted by June 1st for one of the first 2 issues) please put in Subject the artist you are submitting poetry/etc inspired by. Include bio. No need for cover letter. Only in word doc, pdf or body of e-mail for writing submissions. We do NOT send rejection e-mails if you want to withdraw anything or have any questions on your work please send us an e-mail. We DO send acceptance e-mails however. Also, for editing/curating reasons we will most likely add a considered piece(s) to the website prior to any print publications. We are unable to pay contributors however you will receive a free PDF of the journal. (Even the editors have to pay for a copy for themself) Please consider donating to our PayPal at feversofthemind@gmail.com

*WEB SUBMISSIONS ONLY* (Could possibly will be used in future print journal anthologies) For editing/curating reasons we will most likely add a considered piece(s) to the website prior to any print publications.

  • We are open for Poetry Showcases for anyone to send 3-5 poems/prose. If not all pieces are accepted. I will post the 1 or 2 poems but will not be considered a showcase.

We are unable to provide compensation at this time contributors. We have to reach out through the year for donations just to keep the site going. This is for the art of poetry, music, art & other creatives.

Some poetry/art published on this site could periodically be taken down if space is running low. You will be guaranteed at least 6-8 months exposure on our website. No promises after that and don’t take it personal.

Themes we are Looking for Poetry/prose/articles/other styles of writing are for Adhd Awareness, Mental Health, Anxiety, Culture, History, Social Justice, LGBTQ Matters/Pride, Love, Poem series, sonnets, physical health, pandemic themes, Trauma, Retro/pop culture, inspired by music/songwriters, artist, inspired by classic & current writers, frustrations.

Online Submissions could include Poetry, Art, submitted Book Reviews, culture pieces, rants, pre-published poetry from self-published materials, defunct lit mags, pieces from other lit mags/books/blogs with permissions. We prefer 3-5 poems sent unless you are sending for a writing prompt. There could be exceptions to this rule of course. If we take 3-5 or more poems from you will we feature you as a poetry showcase on the website.

We prefer submissions with a bio to help promote your work. Please let us know if something has been previously published, we will make a judgment call on whether able to include. I don’t love the idea of sending rejection letters.  If you don’t receive acceptance assume we passed up this time and send something else. If you have simultaneous submissions out there, please keep this in mind. If not accepted at first, Just try again…We will not accept pieces that we deem racist, sexist, homophobic, or have pornographic themes, photos, or any type of nudity in submissions.

About writer/editor David L O’Nan

Current bio for Fevers of the Mind’s David L O’Nan editor/writing contributor to blog.

My newest book released October 2022 “Cursed Houses”

https://amzn.to/3TPIPAv

Out now the Deluxe Edition of “Before the Bridges Fell”

https://amzn.to/3ftkxNX for a copy on paperback or kindle (U.S.) please check availability in your country. Some countries take awhile for the paperback to be released. It could be a few days to a couple months until available.

https://amzn.to/3GDnRBJ Before I Turn Into Gold Inspired by Leonard Cohen cover art by Geoffrey Wren

https://amzn.to/3XmgPai Hard Rain Poetry: Forever Dylan Anthology cover art by Geoffrey Wren

https://amzn.to/3Xs5LIT Bare Bones Writing Issue 1 cover photo by Paul Brookes

Introducing a new print journal dedicated to poetry, writings, art & more inspired by music, artists, movies, and writers “The Whiskey Mule Diner”

The Whiskey Mule Diner Journal will include past blog posts and new submissions sent to us at feversofthemind@gmail.com  

Each issue will include sections dedicated to certain musicians, artists, actors/actresses, writers/poets.   Looking for poetry & other writing styles (prose, sonnets, haiku, essays), artwork (AI artwork works as well), photography, drawings & more.   

With every new submission send a bio & any social media info.  

We do not send rejection e-mails.  If you want to withdraw a poem or have any specific questions regarding what you have sent, please just send us an e-mail at feversofthemind@gmail.com   We do send acceptances however.  Also, for editing/curating reasons we will most likely add a considered piece(s) to the website prior to any print publications.  We are unable to pay contributors.   After an issue comes out pieces could be published on this online blog and will be promoted online as well.    Each contributor will receive a free pdf.  Even the editors have to pay for these issues!   No cover letter needed and please only send in word doc, pdf or in subject of e-mail.
  If you'd like to donate to our PayPal the e-mail for that is also feversofthemind@gmail.com 

The next batch of musical artists we are focusing on will include (but not limited/you are free to send work you've done on other artists/writers as well)  Tom Waits, Joni Mitchell, Miles Davis, Anne Sexton, Sylvia Plath, Townes Van Zandt   and also we are re-visiting other past subjects we've had on both past print issues and online anthologies that'll be revisited in one of our first issues since we already have some pieces on these    Andy Warhol, Nick Cave, Leonard Cohen, Bob Dylan, Claude Monet, Jack Kerouac, Langston Hughes, Elliott Smith, Pablo Neruda, Lou Reed, Audrey Hepburn, Prince, Depeche Mode, Elvis Costello, The Dirty Three/Warren Ellis, Marilyn Monroe

Fevers of the Mind Poetry & Art Blog

we are accepting poetry, prose, sonnets, haiku, artwork (really needed by the way for this type of project) and photography possibly.

*Also coming soon from Fevers of the Mind Print Anthologies Issues 6 The Empath Dies in the End and Issue 7 : Bare Bones Writing II.

A Poetry chapbook from my wife and Co-editor HilLesha O’Nan entitled “Werifesteria”

A Poetry Showcase from Lindsay Soberano-Wilson inspired by Leonard Cohen, Prince, Portishead

Bio: Lindsay Soberano-Wilson’s debut full-length poetry collection, Hoods of Motherhood (Prolific Pulse Press LLC, May 2023) is a homage to women who had to learn to nurture themselves the way they nurture others. As the editor of Put It To Rest, a mental health magazine, she believes in writing poetry and essays to put personal stories to rest. Her hybrid poetry chapbook, Casa de mi Corazón (2021), explores how her sense of community, Jewish Canadian identity, and home was shaped by travel. Her poems have appeared in Fine Lines Literary Journal, Embrace of Dawn, Poetry 365, Fevers of the Mind, PoetryPause, Quills Erotic Canadian Poetry Magazine, Canadian Woman Studies Journal, Running with Scissors, Fresh Voices and Poetica Magazine. She holds a MA (English) and a BEd from the University of Toronto, and a BA (Creative Writing) from Concordia University. Find her on Medium,Instagram, Twitter, or TikTok. Lindsaysoberano.com

Like A Muse In A Cage inspired by Leonard Cohen (prev. published in Marlene in a Pub)

Like a muse in a cage
like a drunk in a midnight choir
I have tried in my way to be free.

Like a ballerina teetering on a music box
like a skunk stuck in an hour
I have tried in my way to be free.

Like an aloof armadillo in an explosion
like a translucent paper nautilus exposed
I have tried in my way to be free.

But even when my heart spills
like black squid ink upon a page
my essence remains chained.

But you swore on that song
and all you had done wrong
that you would make it up to me.

You said that together we would be free.
But the world’s handprints are still on me.

Like Suzanne inspired by Leonard Cohen (previously published in Marlene in a Pub)

I always wanted to be like Suzanne
feeding men tea and oranges
by the river like a siren
or one of Cohen’s lovers
shacked up in Hydra
like the Paris ex-pats buzzing around
abstract words and images.

But then that would somehow mean
that I would also be in love
with a man who struggled to love
because he struggled to love himself.

But does that matter?

Does it matter
that he didn’t love in their way
in the right way
but in his way
and was it not better than no way.

Is it not
better to have loved and lost
than never to have loved at all?

I still want to be Suzanne
free to love
how and whomever
she wants
because she’s tameless
and irresistible…
because
“you touched her perfect body
with your mind.”

When Purple Rain Is Falling As Dove’s Cry, Let’s Go Crazy In The Sky… inspired by Prince (previously published in Put It To Rest)

When purple rain
is falling, falling,
dropping, fast,
furious, and then
slowly
maybe even a bit
deliriously
from the open sky…

Letting it all out
just you,
the little old world,
and I.

That’s when we find
it’s okay to say
let’s go crazy
despite the tsunami
elevator we ride
up and down
side to side
but that doesn’t mean
we have to slide.

As Prince says:
“I’m not gonna let de-elevator
Bring us down
Oh, no let’s go.”

Blood Orange Heart inspired by Portishead (prev. published in iPoetry)

She’s so tired,
tired of being a temptress
tired of playing,
playing with the slings and arrows
of outrageous fortune

That pierced her pierced soul
draining her heart like the sweet juices
of a blood orange
in a serial killer’s hands

Until there’s nothing
but dried fruit
because her heart
is of no more use
just a fragmented fragment
of what it used to be
as she slips on an orange peel
before locking it in the glory box:

“Leaving it
to the other girls
to play.”


Oh, it didn’t have to be this way, she laments
as she eats the blood orange
by the light of the full moon in full bloom.

Soak Up the Sun inspired by Sheryl Crow (published in iPoetry)

It’s quiet today
but only because it was loud yesterday.

Will it be quiet tomorrow?

Or only until I hear a tune
looming to some familiar doom.

For how long will
the silence endures…

To will the sunshine to come

I’m gonna soak up the sun …

2 new poems from Michael Igoe: Funhouse and Timeline

Funhouse

Where I can easily grasp                                                                                                                           the will behind the deed.                                                                                                                                                  In the trick mirror:                                                                                                                                                     the figure reflects                                                                                                                                                   in pleated baggies.                                                                                                                                                             The nervous player                                                                                                                                   the novelty shooter                                                                                                                                              aims a breach load.                                                                                                                                   At the steel blue ducks                                                                                                                           across a manmade lake.                                                                                                                                     Where I lingered                                                                                                                                 with a same whorl                                                                                                                                                      show on my finger.                                                                                                                                                    They tell me abracadabra                                                                                                                                         they tell me hocus pocus.                                                                                                                                                                                     The rules only fall away                                                                                                                          after the paint’s chipped.                                                                                                                                     Once I had a house                                                                                                                                       once I had to laugh.                                                                                                                            Withdrawal from enmity                                                                                                                                         is rocks and hard places.                                                                                                                                      Copies of that substance                                                                                                                                    smarten up a dead mind.                                                                                                                                                             It was early                                                                                                                                                           next it’s late.                                                                                                                                       Walking Woodlawn Cemetery                                                                                                                           in the midst of another grave.

Timeline

It’s the time of rising tide                                                                                                                       this time of day, tide rises.                                                                                                                     Have the time of your life                                                                                                                                during the rise of the tides.                                                                                                                        While I was much younger                                                                                                                      time came as a curved line.                                                                                                                       How a body                                                                                                                                   adds on time                                                                                                                                        Tim is a kind of world                                                                                                                                  the world always sees.                                                                                                                          The only thing in the world                                                                                                                                              that the world is sure to see.                                                                                                                              Loving as crooked,                                                                                                                                        comely as unusual.                                                                                                                             Feeling best described,                                                                                                                                                   whenever you stalled.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Goes hand in hand,                                                                                                                                              with respect to age                                                                                                                             These are the entities                                                                                                                                                   whose tones of voice,                                                                                                                                       go straight to the bone.                                                                                                                             They provide the opportunity                                                                                                                       for an argument with instinct.       
                                                                                                                                II                                                                                                                                                                       For the most part,                                                                                                                                            it’s been expected,                                                                                                                                              he will live longer.                                                                                                                                                                  For lacking appetite                                                                                                                                 any life can’t go on.                                                                                                                                         Back to the wall,                                                                                                                                         reaping the fruit                                                                                                                                                                                        of his neighbors.                                                                                                                                                 As ten commandments                                                                                                                        don’t cover everything.                                                                                                                                   As the way he thinks                                                                                                                                                        pertains to his needs.                                                                                                                                   Holding out the hope,     
for things less sacred                                                                                                                               he wants you to give                                                                                                                        whatever he wanted.                                                                                                                                              If you dare to accuse him                                                                                                                          he’ll get busy protesting,                                                                                                                                    the last eclipse of the sun.


    

Bio: Michael Igoe, neurodiverse city boy, Chicago now Boston, recovery staff at Boston University Center For Psych Rehab. Many works appear in journals online and print. Recent: Spare Change News(Cambridge MA), thebluenib.com, minerallit.com. Avalanches In Poetry Anthology@amazon.com. National Library Of Poetry Editor’s Choice For 1997. Twitter: MichaelIgoe5. poetryinmotion416254859.wordpress.com. Urban Realism, Surrealism. I like the Night.                                                                                                               

An Essay about Prince from Colleen Wells and “Out of Chaos Comes Art” about Mental Health

art photo from Nick Lacke on Dribble

Bio: Colleen Wells writes poetry and creative nonfiction. Her work has appeared in several anthologies, magazines and journals. She is the author of Dinner with Doppelgangers – A True Story of Madness and Recovery and Animal Magnetism.

Out of Chaos Comes Art

Once dubbed manic-depression,
bipolar disorder is a potent malady,
that wreaks havoc, making the ordered
brain disorderly, a broken puzzle.

Of the psychiatric disorders
in the DSM-IV,
it is a machine gun.

Rapid-firing  tongues,
Sadness engulfed in inertia
psychosis destroying marriages,
leaving children
addled in fear.

A friend of mine who
shares the affliction
streaked through his yard
like a white, hot comet.

Lithium, Lorazepam, Loxapine,
Wellbutrin, Depakote, Haldol,
Mellaril, Seroquel, Abilify.

And don’t forget the Prozac.

I’ve swallowed them all
to regulate my moods.

Genetic or environmental factors?
The uncertainty belies the certainty
that without them, 
some of the greatest writing
would be missing:

Sylvia Plath
bled poetry in the blue hours
before dawn, then stuck
her head in the oven,

Two orphaned children,
left in her wake,
one to wonder,
another to follow suit.

Hemingway was silenced with a gun,
leaving behind his stark, limpid prose
and a family
to pick up the pieces
like gathered river rocks
that started as sand.

Narrative arcs,
incomplete.

“Dearly Beloved, we are Gathered here Today…
An Homage to a Legend   also on Nuvo.Net
By Colleen Wells

          At ten years old, two records I probably shouldn’t have been listening to found me: Dirty Mind and Controversy. I’m certain when I saw the cover of Dirty Mind, my little girl eyes got as big as flying saucers. My experience with that record left me yearning for more. At the time, I wasn’t aware Prince was a burgeoning star with other records from the late 1970s already blazing trails behind him. His debut album For You was released in 1978 followed by Prince in 1979. This misguided notion evinced an intimate setting on a stage I’d be on for the rest of my life because I felt as though I had discovered him before anyone else. 

CHURCH
           After church on Sundays, I faithfully listened to Casey Kasem announce the weekly top 40 hits. I wrote all of the song titles and artists down in a series of little black journals and endured every cheesy long-distance dedication, sometimes so heartfelt they made me cry, to get to the number one song. I was always rooting for a specific artist’s song to claim that coveted position.
        Once I placed the Dirty Mind album on my shitty record player, the kind that shuts like a small piece of luggage, sitting next to my Sea-Monkeys, everything changed. When I heard, “Uptown,” “When You Were Mine,” and “Head,” there was something sacred welling up inside me as if I were a plant discovering my own root system. Listening to Casey Kasem’s top 40 was a ritual I did after church, but this music I had tapped into was church.
        A few years later, in 1984, “When Doves Cry” hit #1. The song reached the top ten again, coming in at #8, after Prince died. In numerology, eight is a power number and Prince was into numerology and astrology. He put a ton of thought into his symbol which has elements of both, including a backwards seven, which is known to be spiritual. Gemini, the sign of the twins, is also incorporated as the male and female symbols. Prince, born on June 7, 1958, is a Gemini, a sign marking creative, imaginative, communicative types.
 
         Back then, in Noblesville, Indiana, my small hometown, I could count the number of black people who lived there on my fingers. It was the polar opposite of Prince’s Minneapolis, a major city and fertile ground for musicians and artists. What exactly had I discovered behind my bedroom door in 1980? First, I recognized the guitar was different. There was this thunk-plunk-funk sound as if he was not only playing guitar but getting ready to bitch slap the strings at the same time. It felt playful, experimental, and confident all at once. I knew, but in the moments of joyful listening I forgot that something unexpected was just around the corner, like being startled in a fun haunted house.
         I began to understand that when Prince was playing an instrument it was an extension of himself, emanating from his soul. I would later learn he could play twenty-seven instruments, some say as many as forty, with prolific genius. Even as a child, I felt like a puppet when I listened, the music pulling me by an invisible string, commanding movement. 
        Second, his rich, sexy voice was unusual. I knew he was using it in a manner I had never heard on Kasem’s lists. What I now understand to be range, and Prince had a wide one, explains why he could sound so animalistic. His transitions from hyena to lion were seamless. Prince.org explains it this way: “Prince had the technique to reach G1, as his lowest note, and C7, as his highest note.” The site has a chart that illustrates how other notes which “aren’t necessarily a part of his vocal range, as they weren’t reached with reliable technique… makes Prince's vocal range a total of 5 octaves and 5 semitones. If we count questionable notes, it would be 6 octaves and 4 semitones.”
       As if his vocal calisthenics and mastery over his instruments weren’t enough, at the top of the trinity were his lyrics. While Dirty Mind and Controversy had albums preceding them, the two records were the perfect introduction to my lifelong relationship with Prince.

MUSIC & LYRICS
         Many of Prince’s early songs open with a story of an impending, scandalous hook-up. The very first time I heard those songs, I anxiously awaited what was going to happen next.
          “When I met you, baby, you were on your way to be wed. You were such a sexy thing. I loved the way you walked, the things you said,” the singer croons in “Head.” Those lyrics struck me, in part, because the Catholic church I attended every Sunday taught us to take the holy sacraments seriously. Prince was about to crash a wedding in a whole new way.
        The narrative in my head of Prince and me was blossoming. As a young girl crashing into early adolescence, I was more than aware of his sexual appeal, and I felt he was teaching me through his lyrics how one day I too could feel just as sexy and free. 
        Dressed in only high cut black underwear, a jacket with studs on one shoulder, and a bandana, it was easy to assume what the guy on the cover of my Dirty Mind album was singing about. He was about to do it with the woman in the song. In some sense, I wanted to be that woman. 
         If “Head” was an instruction manual for ways to view sex, “Uptown” was an anthem for how to be free to express who we are and harness the power of non-judgment, not just in terms of sexuality, but in attitude, style, and in one’s human essence in general.  And it was packaged as an invitation; I felt like I had been invited to a huge dance party in the streets, and even though the people would be different from me, I was still welcome.
      “Uptown,” with its upbeat tempo, helped reinforce the golden rule that we should love one another despite…despite what? Despite nothing else. There is no reason not to. This is the purity we are born with before we get polluted by what we are exposed to. “Now where I come from, we don’t let society tell us how it’s supposed to be. Our clothes, our hair, we don’t care. It’s all about being there.” I didn’t know where “there” was, but I wanted to arrive at that place, and the sooner, the better.
       My life as a kid pretty much sucked. I sometimes compare it to The Brady Bunch on a bad acid trip. Prince became my lifeline into the world of imagination. I learned to question things and not buy into fear and bias.
        In the album, Controversy, Prince wears a mauve jacket, again with silver studding on one shoulder, a white tuxedo style shirt, and a black tie and vest. His gorgeous doe-like eyes pop against all these accents and he looks serious, maybe even a little upset. Behind him is a hodge-podge of newsprint with headlines referencing some of the content on the album. There’s an attitude exuding from his countenance which was different from his image on Dirty Mind. The title song opens with the lines: “I just can’t believe all the things people say. Controversy. Am I black or white, am I straight or gay? Do I believe in God, do I believe in me? Controversy.”
       In just a few lines Prince hit on the most divisive identifiers of people—race, sexuality, and religion. I was too inexperienced to really understand how these themes were so deeply rooted and interwoven into our culture. If ever there was a song of the times in response to the signs of the times, “Controversy” would be it. Yet “Annie Christian,” another track on the album, would have a hauntingly more meaningful impact many years later.

IF THERE AIN’T NO JUSTICE, THEN THEIR AIN’T NO PEACE
        As an adult who adopted three black children, I became well versed in how racist some Americans can be. I awoke to a higher level of awareness on May 25, 2020, when in Minneapolis, the city where Prince lived and died, George Floyd, a citizen, was murdered by four police officers.
        When I was younger, I sensed the discord in the Annie Christian song: “Annie Christian was a whore always looking for some fun. Being good was such a bore, so she bought a gun, she killed John Lennon, shot him down cold. She tried to kill Reagan, everybody say gun control. Gun control!” At that time, all I knew was Annie Christian was not a good person. Now I recognize one interpretation of the song as the tale of what happens when individuals strive for some sort of recognition through killing.
       While the motivation for killing Floyd may not have been the same as the interpretation of those lyrics, a white cop killed a black man, and the video went viral. I could not comprehend what kind of Annie Christian lurked in the souls of Chauvin and the three other police officers responsible for George Floyd’s death. 
     Floyd’s death triggered memories of racist events that have occurred in the lives of my kids who are now young adults. From the time a soccer goalie said to my daughter, “Get out of here you little n***er” as she approached the net, to when my son, who wasn’t driving, was asked to get out of the car at a traffic stop while his white friend, the driver, was not. 
          Minneapolis, Prince’s beloved hometown, is forever stained by       George Floyd’s murder.  
         Prince was a fiercely independent individual and just the kind of visionary and citizen Minneapolis could use right about now. I wonder how he would have responded. His family’s roots are in the Louisiana slave trade. He spoke out about MTV’s policy of only playing videos by black musicians late at night. Part of his mission was to fight for artists to gain control over the rights to their music. He appeared with the word “slave” on his face and went by his symbol–the artist formerly known as Prince–in protest of such. He spoke out about chemtrails and other controversial issues before his untimely death. 
        According to Dan Piepenbring, who co-authored his memoir, The Beautiful Ones, Prince planned to use his scaled back microphone and piano tour in smaller venues to speak out against oppression and corruption. He would have responded publicly about the death of George Floyd. His song “Baltimore” was a rallying cry to end police brutality there after Freddie Gray died from injuries while in police custody.
       I wish we could hear what Prince would have had to say.
       Prince, who largely taught himself everything he knew about music, used his artistry to express what he wanted for himself and for the people. He wasn’t part of a broken-up boy band battling for more fame than the disenfranchised members, more hit songs or the procurement of one another’s girlfriends. He made music for the masses. He “wish[ed] there was no black and white he wish[ed] there were no rules,” and he definitely made up his own along the way. 

I WANT MY MTV
      “When Doves Cry” hit number one on the music charts in early July, 1984 and ran for five weeks in that coveted spot. The MTV music video gave me a bird’s eye view of my hero emerging from a white claw-foot bathtub beckoning with his finger. It also included footage from the movie Purple Rain: Prince decked out in black from head to toe riding his motorcycle with Apollonia, his character’s love interest. I longed to be Apollonia and visualized that it was me riding on the back of his bike.
      As time went on, Apollonia played not only Prince’s love interest on screen, but off. When I had to select a saint’s name to receive the sacrament of confirmation, I chose her name. At first, I was kidding, then I was delighted to discover Apollonia is the patron saint of teeth! To this day I can say “Look Mom, no cavities!” 
      My family did not have cable television, but my best friend Susan’s family did. I would often get off the school bus at her house, eat Buddig meat and Cheez Whiz sandwiches on Wonder Bread, and fill up on the eye candy of MTV. She was bonkers for Duran Duran and had her own faux romance with the band’s front man, Simon Le Bon. If it makes me look like less of an idiot for choosing Prince’s girlfriend’s name, Susan’s confirmation name is Claire, chosen because actress and model, Claire Stansfield, was LeBon’s fiancée at the time. For a couple of teen girls who, prior to this, had Shawn Cassidy and before that Jimmy Osmond to consider, things sure were getting a lot more interesting.
      When the film Purple Rain was released later in July of 1984, I saw it over the next several weeks 17 times, and it was not easy for a 14-year-old kid to get into an R rated film back then. I was creative and I was dedicated. 

APRIL 1, 1985, MARKET SQUARE ARENA
INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA
       The year was 1985, and I was going to see Prince and his Purple Rain tour in downtown Indianapolis at Market Square Arena. Apollonia 6 and Sheila E. were going to be with him. Unfortunately, he was rumored to have dated both of them. I had gotten tickets and a ride, but there were issues. I was going with my boyfriend and my best friend, Susan, but I wasn’t allowed to date. I was only 14. 
       Moreover, I had to come up with a reason why I was going to be gone so long, so I just told my parents I was going to stay at Susan’s and let her deal with deluding her dad as to where we were going. She told him we had to go to a classmate’s choir concert. It was as close to the truth as we were going to get.
        My boyfriend seemed nervous. He knew we weren’t allowed to go to the show, plus Susan and I can be a handful. He was also well aware of my near Prince obsession, which could sometimes be awkward.
       Inside MSA, we found our seats; I was in seat 4, section 16R, Row AA. Prince mesmerized me from the time he took to the stage, opening with “Let’s Go Crazy.” It was an explosive show, and he ended with a second encore, singing “Purple Rain.” At one point he was gyrating on the floor, just like in the movie. I loved how he grabbed the microphone like he was pissed at it. 

PAISLEY PARK IS IN YOUR HEART (OR THERE AREN’T ANY RULES IN PAISLEY PARK) 
	Fast Forward to January 2017, roughly 30 years after Paisley Park opened, Susan and I went to Prince’s beloved home in Chanhassen, Minnesota. The hulking 65,000 square foot structure looked like a cross between the headquarters for a high-tech company and living quarters for a contemporary cult. The exterior was white with a round dome at the top of one of the building’s wings. It seemed mysterious and endless.
      In 1987 when he moved in, it would have offered more privacy, but the area is now built up with office parks and residential areas nearby. I can’t picture him riding his motorcycle nude in the early dawn hours as he is said to have done there.
	Inside an entryway, we gathered with our cheerful tour guide who led us past a wall of gold and platinum albums to a grand foyer where the ceiling looked like it joined with the clouds. I felt an odd pull to a central part of the floor and stood shrouded in energy. That’s when the guide told us his ashes were housed straight above us. I moved silently aside and turned away when the tears came. 
	I felt pockets of energy throughout Paisley Park. There was a heavy contemplative feeling in his office, less so throughout the more museum-like areas such as where his cars are on display, or various exhibits related to epochs of his career. I paused at a display of one of his custom-made outfits. He was so small and yet so fiercely mighty.
	There are music studios inside Paisley Park. In fact, recording at home and having the ability to jam with friends was a major goal of Prince’s when he had Paisley Park constructed.
It was in the largest studio where I had my meltdown. We were ushered into the huge room with gleaming floors and beefy sound equipment. There were partitioned mini sound studios in the corners where Prince could collaborate with others, but those musicians could be in their own studio within the large space. I was overwhelmed, and felt he was in the room standing next to me. Had he really jammed with both Lenny Kravitz and Stevie Wonder in this studio?
         I walked to a corner and wept.

        Because he had such an impact on me throughout my life, when Prince died I compartmentalized my grief. When I learned of the tragedy, I was unable to cry. Shock lasted for a while. In fact, my sister-in-law, Betty, lives not too far from Minneapolis. I asked her for the local newspapers recounting his death. Knowing how well he was loved there, I decided that would be the first news I would digest. And yet, once the papers arrived in the mail, it seemed too official; I did not open the envelopes. To this day, I have not read the Minneapolis papers outlining what was lost on April 21, 2016.
       Prince’s discography consists of thirty-nine albums. He was nominated for 38 Grammys and brought home seven. There is said to also be enough music in his vault to release a yearly album for 100 years according to the New York Daily News. In that way, his music really does live on.
       It’s been over six years since his death. Prince would have celebrated his 64th birthday on June 7. It’s still hard to fathom he is gone. I know I’m not alone. No musical icon I know of in recent history has been grieved so expressively as Prince. From the Forum in Los Angeles to the Eiffel Tower, cities across the world lit buildings purple for Prince. Niagra Falls turned purple. A Delta flight from LA to Minneapolis bathed the cabin in purple light, and countless billboards sprung up around the country paying homage to Prince. Closer to home, the Indianapolis Power and Light Company went purple, and so did the South Bend river lights. 
	I like to hope the opening lines from “Let’s Go Crazy,” of one of his most beloved songs are prophetic:
Dearly Beloved
We are gathered here today
To get through this thing called life
Electric word, Life
It means forever, and that’s a mighty long time
But I’m here to tell you
There’s something else
The afterworld
A world of never ending happiness
Where you can always see the sun, day, or night


A Poetry Showcase: Adrian Ernesto Cepeda inspired by Dylan, Miles, Plath, Sexton, Marilyn

Within the palm of Miles Davis
 From a 1986 photograph by Irving Penn

You can feel the grooves
all the notes created from
exhausted breaths, of his 
lips chapped gold on his 
glowing instrument, gripping 
sounds trying to capture music—
by coloring the air canvas 
with new notes he creates
in the gust of improvisation,
always chasing the rhythm that
eludes him— under the sweat 
of spotlight, overcoming 
calluses, he reaches for
creations exhale, when 
he blows, Davis loves 
the taste of inspiration 
inside his mouth, making 
out with masterpieces
in the middle of his solo—
with so many miles to go 
his trumpet never sleeps.

Midnight at Newnham Gardens

Sylvia loved speaking poetry
to the sculpted boy and dolphin,
splashing in Cambridge winter 
silence, as she moved her shivered
lips speaking to something who 
could listen without accents.  She
loved to daydream within the snow
globe shadows. Plath would make
up naturally blessed Ariel verses
and the boy would glow statuesque—
frozen marble eyes would attract
her night after night, not saying
much ears open waiting to hear 
her sneaker footsteps, standing 
in front of her quiet friend was
her favorite solitude, conversations
sharing December breaths alone, when 
she spoke in whispered Winthrop, 
Massachusetts rhymes, Plath
would beautifully melt icicles. 
Chewing midnight sojurn, 
Sylvia loved listening 
Trying to decipher all 
the frozen London voices— 
buried in the moonlit snow.   
 
Driving us, Floating Uptown

Bluntly passing joints 
watching the street
car, car stereo loudly
imagines Bob Dylan 
between us, almost floating
on the grassy median
while on this short 
mind trip, you drove us 
Uptown on St. Charles
Avenue, the trees
are colorful carnival
umbrellas, scattered
with Mardi Gras beads
hanging on every
branch. As I reach
from the car window,
wishing I could grab
one but as you signal
to turn the car onto
your street. I can feel
my munchies kick in,
remembering the laughter
when we smoked out,
it was not just getting high,
passing me the joint,
there was this unspoken
joy of two buddies
lifted, sitting on his
couch listening to Dylan’s
Man of Constant Sorrow,
two po boys munching 
down on our favorite 
Magazine St. sandwiches, 
minds stoned sharing
so many silence of moments—
although I’ve forgotten 
so many NOLA nights, 
shows at Tipitinas, State 
Palace Theatre raves, 
free movie passes at
Canal Place Prytania, 
pizza slices/ SIN discount 
drinks at Club Decatur—
I always remember 
cotton mouth contagious, 
like howlin’ wolves 
lifting our spirits, 
joyfully, sipping 
bottled beers next
to a buddy in a smoky
room, with minds in
the clouds, always 
missing the jubilant 
uptown banter, bongs
of remembrances 
parking grins—
spinning CD’s
imagining Dylan
between us, lyrically
lighting one up, 
in an afternoon daze,
with my buddy Keefer 
the high always transcends. 

Only the wind can truly kiss meI was coming apart. / They loved me until/ I was gone” 
—  Anne Sexton 

Some nights, I sleepwalk
on the beach, waking up
quivering, knowing this
is where my often maltreated
body loves to feel the chills
rippling against my robe,
titillating underneath, 
my naked skin. My face loves 
the way the gust could reach
deeper, each breeze against
my cheeks, the gale kisses
wildly like no man’s lips 
never dared to reach—
the wind never takes me,
she blows inviting thoughts
so cool, revealing the only
time I feel naturally blushing 
without make up, just me—  
my eyes closed loving how 
much the tempest winds match
each storming burst tempting
so beautifully disrobing me 
from my inside.


(If I had) Five Minutes with Marilyn Monroe
From a 1955 photograph by Ed Feingersh at Costello’s Restaurant, NYC

 I would light up more than her cigarette,
and her soft inquisitives smile. I would 
sit across the booth and encourage her 
not to only focus on silver dreams, attractions
becoming only on theatre screens. Instead 
of centerfold, photoshoots, exposing more 
than skin, show all your body, volumes
printed from the spine. Remember Sandburg, 
Miller, Capote’s gift? You too can expose sharing
every imperfect scar, have your legacy so brave
on the page, each line you bare engraved like
a lyrical kiss. So many dreaming to touch 
you, why not reach out with words from afar? 
Reflecting your verses connecting so much 
closer, circulating each of your most secret 
fragments, pieces, crumpled ink stains
see through markings; underneath your flashing 
beauty reveals the most captivating poetry 
a voice of siren, that star is you.  


At Marilyn's grave

Still everblooming 
like the roses glowing

on your wall, despite 
everyone who doubted 

you, those who could 
never see beyond your 

beauty, your life, a poem, 
like the most perfect 

rhyme, in eternity’s 
spotlight, Norma Jeane even 

my shuttering camera knows 
you will outlive us all. 


Bio: Adrian Ernesto Cepeda is the author of Flashes & Verses… Becoming Attractions from Unsolicited Press, Between the Spine from Picture Show Press, Speaking con su Sombra with Alegría Publishing,  La Belle Ajar & We Are the Ones Possessed from CLASH Books and his 6th poetry collection La Lengua Inside Me will be published by FlowerSong Press in 2023. 
Adrian lives with his wife in Los Angeles with their adorably spoiled cat Woody Gold.


Poetry Showcase: Jason Ryberg inspired by Tom Waits

Bio: Jason Ryberg is the author of eighteen books of poetry,
six screenplays, a few short stories, a box full of folders,
notebooks and scraps of paper that could one day be 
(loosely) construed as a novel, and, a couple of angry 
letters to various magazine and newspaper editors. 
He is currently an artist-in-residence at both 
The Prospero Institute of Disquieted P/o/e/t/i/c/s 
and the Osage Arts Community, and is an editor 
and designer at Spartan Books. His latest collection 
of poems is The Great American Pyramid Scheme 
(co-authored with W.E. Leathem, Tim Tarkelly and 
Mack Thorn, OAC Books, 2022). He lives part-time 
in Kansas City, MO with a rooster named Little Red 
and a billygoat named Giuseppe and part-time somewhere 
in the Ozarks, near the Gasconade River, where there are also 
many strange and wonderful woodland critters. 

The Island of Lost Personal Items and Effects

He told us he came from the Island 
of Lost Personal Items and Effects 
and handed me an ancient cigar box 
lined and padded with crumpled receipts 
and scraps of scratch-paper with phone numbers
and addresses hastily scrawled on them.

In it were nested keys, gloves, driver’s licenses, sunglasses, 
and three fairly expensive-looking Zippo lighters. 
Whenever he closed and reopened the lid,
different items would be contained inside:
pens, cell-phones and wedding rings, earrings 
and cufflinks, pocket-knives and pocket-watches.

He carried a fancy oriental parasol
which he claimed gave him the power of flight
and wore hip-waders which he said allowed him
to stroll freely around in the fabled River of Time
as often as he liked (and with little fear
of being pulled under and swept away
by its notorious undercurrents).

He also had an old cane pole
strung with telegraph wire which he baited with 
glittering baby dreams to lure variations of the Truth 
(in all its slippery countenances and for his own 
personal and unspecified use, I would assume).

The candlelight in our kitchen made his shadow 
dance a curious dance along the opposite wall and 
made his face seem like the face of a grinning 
bone china Buddha.

When he got up to leave he stopped and said to us,
I wouldn’t put too many of my eggs (golden or
otherwise) in with planets and stars, nor with lucky 
numbers and fortunes, no more than I would 
on dogs and horses ...

We never saw him again.

Big Sister Wind

Man oh man, only 10am and I can tell you already, gonna 
be one o’ them days when the temperature’s climbin’ 
steady and the air is a thick and heavy sludge. One o’ them 
days when the neighbor’s always-yappin’ mutts lay 
neutralized and sprawled about and all the birds refuse to 
budge, when the sun and the ground aspire to conspire to 
boil us down and sweat us out into the churning, bubbling
atmospheric soup above. But Big Sister Wind with her 
gears and cranks and her cast-iron tanks and her pneumatic, 
automatic, operatic bellow-fulls of cool basso-profundo
aint never gonna let it go that way (well, not today, anyway).

Dinner With the Devil (Sleight Return)

Without so much as a warning, an unwarranted weather-front 
of attitude is just now swoopin’ down; yes, a dark and snarly 
storm (with roots reaching deep beneath the norm) is about 
to come biblically floodin’ out from some meta-psychic-al 
steel drum into this tiny china tea-cup of a town. 
                                                                    
                                                                                             And the 
wind is nervously squirming and moaning and pacing around, 
lookin’ for a quiet corner to piss in. And over at the Congo 
Room (way out there by the tracks), the Stoics are demanding 
that the Taoists let them pass, but the Taoists are just hangin’ 
ten, man, cuz those guys know when it’s all been done and 
said, neither they nor we nor you nor them ever beats The 
House: naw man, no one ever really wins (you just hope to 
cut your losses and call the whole thing even). 

                                                                                 And everybody 
knows (that is, everyone that’s in the know), the Devil, he’s out 
there cat-scratchin’ somewhere, shuckin’ and jivin’ and makin’ 
the rounds, hemmin’ and hawin’ and playin’ the clown in the 
ever-increasingly sinister most interior of a broken-down 
downtown. 
                     
                      He’s rackin’ balls and talkin’ trash, punchin’ tunes 
and pinchin’ ass, tryin’ to sniff out a good time or maybe just  
shadowin’ the sidelines, sippin’ on a scotch-and-soda, chewin’
out a toothy grin.                                   
                            
                        Yeah, he’s rode into town on crow’s wings 
and a cloud of Oklahoma dust and he knows just what to
say and do to turn the burner up a touch (beneath a city 
already close to boiling over with ids and egos and ill-
advis’d lusts). 
                                                                                      
                         And the wing’d monkeys are circlin’, and all 
your sources  and connections are layin’ low, and the cops 
are all out in force tonight, and the city’s fixin’ to explode. 
But, as everybody knows (that is, everyone who’s anyone 
who’s even slightly in the know), Taoists never spill their 
drinks crossin’ a crowded room, and if you’re gonna dine 
with the Devil, brothers and sisters, better bring yourself 
a long motherfuckin’ spoon.

Truly a Feast

There’s always
a serious swinging
and flinging
in her stride,

a flurious fountain
of sparks in her skull,

and a rich ruby radiance
serpentining wildly
through her veins:

truly a feast
for the hands,
the mouth
and the mind’s
x-ray eye, as well.

But please,
will someone tell me
how the hell
I’m supposed to crack
the shell

of her hypnotic
and confounding
code?


Mr. Grey Skies (Sleight Redux)

Don’t you come ‘round here, no more, Mr. Grey Skies,
Mr. No-Heart-And-All-Lies, Mr. Fork’d-Tongue-And-
Snak’d-Eyes, with your no-more tomorrows and your 
low-down tonights, your goat’s feet and your crow’s 
wings and your icicle-daggers always refracting a, some-  
how, unnatural light, your gibbering devil-monkeys  and 
third-rate conspiracies and your spindly spider-web 
dreams spinning from the fat, under-belly of night. No 
one wants to see your cockroach of a heart pinned to 
your sleeve. No one wants to smell the unhealthy funk
of your ragman’s bag of miseries. No one here wants any- 
thing to do with what you got to offer, Mr. Black Hand 
Man. So, get your shit-house rats and your loaded dice,
your hangman’s noose and your butcher’s knife, then, 
take two steps back and turn away, turn away, turn away 
from the river of life (in which you may never, ever again 
step twice). Now go get your shine-box, boy, pack your 
bags and PUT THE GLASS DICK DOWN! Go wait 
shamefully at the station (with a dumb look on your 
face) for the last bus out of town. And you best not be 
seen creepin’ ‘round here no more you dirty little whore, 
Mr. Grey Skies, Mr. River-Of-Tears-And-Halo-Of-Flies,
Mr.Keep-A-Man-Down-No-Matter-How-Hard-He-
Tries. No-sir-ee, Stagger Lee, from this day forth I break 
with thee, I break with thee, I break with thee. I reclaim 
the body, mind and soul that I once mortgaged to thee.
I spit fire at your cold fish’s eye. I kick hot sand at your 
sly gargoyle face. I kick dog shit on your fancy shoes. Not 
one more time will I hand over my money and my keys 
to you. Not one more time will I sacrifice my precious 
time for you. Not one more time will I follow you like a 
little, lost lamb or a red-headed stepchild into your forest
of black, creaking skeletons. Now take it on the heel-and-
toe, motherfucker, before I whack ya one!