Poetry Showcase & Quick-9 Interview with Lynne Jensen Lampe

Bio: Lynne Jensen Lampe has poems in or forthcoming from Figure 1, Olney Magazine, Yemassee, Moist Poetry Journal, and elsewhere. Also to come is her chapbook Talk Smack to a Hurricane (Ice Floe Press, 2022) about mothers, daughters, and mental illness. Her poem “Stirring the Ashes” was a finalist for the 2020 Red Wheelbarrow Poetry Prize. She lives with her musician husband and two dogs in mid-Missouri, where she edits academic books and journals. Visit her at https://lynnejensenlampe.com. Twitter: @LJensenLampe. 

All in a Day

A friend had a tortoise named Cecil
whose best trick was that he could be still.
His life ran amok
when his innards were sucked
and now he is naught but a seashell.


On the Side of the Road

The dead cow seemed as big as a house.
All its owners could do was grouse.
They stuck a knife in the bloat
to cut burgers and roasts,
wore the skin as a beautiful blouse.


End of the Line

We once trained a healthy young stallion
whose ancestors were brought on a galleon.
On a romp in the rain
he got hit by a train
and that was the end of his dallyin’.

A Fevers of the Mind Quick-9 Interview 

1. When did you start writing and first influences?

I loved to read, but I don’t think I thought of writing on my own until I was 8 or 9 years old and began writing limericks. My Grandpa Sam, who usually had a very analytical and serious demeanor, loved to tell stories and recite limericks. He must’ve told me to read Ogden Nash—one of the first poems I remember is “A flea and a fly in a flue, they didn’t know what to do.” And actually, when I’m stuck now I write grimericks, the macabre version of limericks. Other early influences were A.A. Milne, Joan Aiken, Dalton Trumbo, Sylvia Plath, and my mother—her severe mental illness and frequent hospitalizations certainly shaped me from day 1. 

2. Who are your biggest influences today? 

Gregory Orr tops the list—his Primer for Poets & Readers of Poetry changed my life with its talk of order and disorder and looking at poetry in terms of naming, singing, saying, imagining. I really admire the poems of Dorianne Laux, Diane Seuss, and Ansel Elkins—quiet yet powerful, everyday vocabulary used in striking combinations. torrin a. greathouse writes vividly about pain, danger, and change—I’d like my poems to balance craft and emotion so deftly. As I try to move toward the lyric, I look to Sabrina Orah Mark and Michael Credico and French filmmakers such as Alain Resnais to help me jog free of expectation and conventional thought. 

3. Any pivotal moment when you knew you wanted to be a writer? 

When I was 12 years old, I wanted to be a tree surgeon or an architect, so it was later than that! At 15, I started wondering about journalism. That was in 1974, the year Woodward and Bernstein published All the President’s Men about Nixon and Watergate. Right around then, maybe the year before, I started writing poetry. 

4. Who has helped you the most with writing?

Gosh, so many people. My high school journalism teacher, Steven Fitzgerald, encouraged me. A few of us would hang out in his classroom after school, writing in our journals and talking with him about life. Sophomore year of college I took an intro to poetry workshop with Marcia Southwick—first time I heard “show, don’t tell.” She nurtured me as a writer and helped me believe in myself as a poet. More recently, Amie Whittemore and Ed Skoog as well as two critique groups, one local and one online—shout out to Inflections writers and the Poet Sisters! I’m also part of an accountability group, Dame Good Writers.

5. Where did you grow up and how did that influence your writing and did any travels away from influence your work?

I grew up mostly in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Southerners seem to be natural storytellers, stretching out more than syllables when they speak. Maybe that’s why my poems tend toward narrative. People put a premium on politeness (and euphemism), regardless of real feelings or facts, and I think that’s one reason I soften the power of my early drafts with unnecessary words. Also, when I write or read poems with Southern imagery, my diction and accent change.

6. What do you consider your most meaningful work you’ve done creatively so far?

Definitely the poems I’ve written about my mother and mental illness. 

7. Favorite activities to relax? 

I love reading mysteries (especially Sherlock Holmes pastiches), bike riding, cooking, hiking, and browsing at thrift stores or grocery stores. Oh, and playing with our two dogs.

8. What is a favorite line/stanza from a poem/writing of yours or others?

I first read “Hush” by David St. John decades ago. These lines have stayed with me: 
Well, I go everywhere
Picking the dust out of the dust, scraping the breezes
Up off the floor, & gather them into a doll

9. Any recent or forthcoming projects you’d like to promote?

Thanks for asking! An ekphrastic poem of mine based on Marilyn Monroe’s Conté drawings is in the current issue of Figure 1 (https://thefigureone.com). I sent that one out more than 25 times! It was quite a journey from the first draft to the version that was accepted.
Also, Ice Floe Press (https://icefloepress.net) is publishing my first chapbook, Talk Smack to a Hurricane, in a few months. The 34 poems deal with my mother’s mental illness, our relationship, psychiatric treatments, and power. 


 


Submissions for Hard Rain Poetry: A Bob Dylan Anthology due end of 5/31

Send anything you have #submissions for the Bob Dylan inspired Anthology #poetrycommunity #WritingCommunity #poetry #prose #essays  #art #sketches  send to feversofthemind@gmail.com with a bio. Due 5/31 to be considered

If selected they will be published in a Print Anthology that’ll be available for order through Amazon under Fevers of the Mind Press. I will send free pdfs to all contributors.

Thanks,

David L O’Nan

Poetry: No Second Chance by Sue Finch

No Second Chance

The winter had brought me darkness,
made me cold to the bones,
kept me hidden inside.

A need for warmth set my desire for kindling.

A wigwam of newspaper and dried twigs 
waited in the grate.

And there was the axe,
weapon-ready from the night before
when I feared an intruder in the cellar.

I swung and missed first time.

The log wobbled, 
rocked before settling 
like the last vibrations of a saucepan lid 
dropped on the kitchen floor.

So I held it still;
thick log suddenly dainty
between my thumb and forefinger.

Next swing hit.
Metal threatening my veins 
with black paint and mud. 
I needed to bleed.

The air, fresh with evergreens
and lingering frost
held my mind sharp.

I couldn’t look.
I just raised my hand
as if to ask a question 
and began pacing.

Wash it under the tap, she said. 
Too fragile. Hardly joined.
I refused.

I saved my fainting for the doctor,
for the moment he wielded metal trimmers
to scissor my finger straight.



Bio: Sue Finch’s debut collection, ‘Magnifying Glass’, was published in 2020. She loves the coast and the scent of ice-cream freezers. You can follow Sue on Twitter: @soopoftheday.

Poetry: Those Hazels They Slice by David L O’Nan

photo of Sharon Tate re-imagined through Pop Art

first published in IceFloe Press & currently in “Before the Bridges Fell” from Cajun Mutt Press

Those Hazels, They Slice

Remembering, those memories
Before the seclusion
To memories of you,
Somehow you made it from Limerick to Lane Fork
A creek full of snakes
They intrigued you to say
More snakes than angels here
Then you laughed
Níos mó nathracha ná aingil anseo
In our early twenties with hazels that wondered

Remembering, for many months
Trying to catch the butterfly
To dance with before the thunder bled on us
I had you within sight,
You were a millennial hippy in bellbottoms on Thursdays
By Friday you were vintage chic in a La Mendola dress
I’d long for you while hearing Sarah’s song playing in my head
Sharon from the Vampire Killers,
Your passion was to be Sharon from the Valley of the Dolls
And you, you drifted with hazels that sliced

Now we are children of 27.
You the Irish starlet searching for the dream
Stuck with a follower in love, a boy created in the dirt of the Midwest
Gravel chaffing your boho chick boots
We have to keep moving to keep your mind still
From Nashville to Kansas City to Yokohama for a week
We bled money from mud caves to gold mines
Until we shelved ourselves and began to pity as rats –
On the skim of the raising floods of New Orleans
The comedy of fools we entered drunk for many years
And your hazels lined with red in the castle of your soul

Twenties to Thirties,
Drinking and falling deeper to the sins
In passions you ran away,
I lay dire as the lone wolf
And still give you chance after chance
Dreaming of our rainjackets clashing on Toulouse
Wasting away in the downpours,
Our shoes getting stuck in sewer grates
Where are you now?
To new protectors, to new thieves
To talent scouts on Magazine Street
Your hazels looked to me and you say
sorry, no more kisses. I have to say goodbye
brón orm, gan póga níos mó. Caithfidh mé slán a fhágáil
What a tease as I fall to a prayer

Memories aren’t easy in the Big Easy in a lockdown
Coltrane’s “Blue Train” is growing more static and hisses
I just see those hazels, slice and say goodbye
Like your dizzy wake-ups before you drink your first drink
This song plays me like a straitjacket
And I dream of escaping on a ferry boat and hiding away
To one day escape your eyes and fall into the waters that’ll sway –
Sway me back to my youth and the worries I did not have.
The memories are my seizures
To my madman bones melted into your old Mahogany chair

Are you in your destiny,
Are you in love
Are you protected from the diseases,
Have the diseases took your identity
Has your fashion turned to rags
Have your men gone from Polanski to a black & white photo of our past
Are you enfolded to someone to cling to in the dying days of sunsets?

I’m not sure I can move past those hazels that sliced
Not knowing is just as bad as ever having you around.
The ashes spit down from the attic. The dust settles down my feet
It all becomes a haven for the depression to circulate within me.
And I whisper to myself, as if I were talking to the memory of you like a ghost.
to live alone, I don’t really know if I can. Without you, can I?
le maireachtáil liom féin, níl a fhios agam an féidir liom. Gan tú, an féidir liom?

For a copy of “Before the Bridges Fell” by David L O’Nan https://tinyurl.com/yckj66hk

David L O’ Nan’s dreamscapes in Before the Bridges Fell begin and end with a wild incantatory mythic tone: the book opens w/a hitchhiker, an internal monologist-Cassandra, a prophet journeying thru small town America. We enter w/them into a shotgun ride through Hell. With a visionary sensibility that never lets up, whether it’s broken nostalgia, the neon memories of punk or mid-west beats & NYC dreamers, this book is a responsive mix, its pop-inflected ballads, flash-surreal gorgeously stimulating epics pummeling the frontal cortex and the rear-view mirror of the reader’s brain.

O’Nan perfects a highly personal image-repertoire, including the balladic, to entertain dark, indie-infused jagged tales of ecstatic & failed love. Poet & short story writer, publisher, photographer, O’Nan’s work emits a howling phosphorescent, Dylanesque rock-n-roll bardic presence, taking us a step or three further along saturated highways with poetic raconteurs soaked in their pharma-dystopic imaginations.

Vast, jagged, oracular, these are stories-as-song, of a nightmarish-Americana, cold, yet somehow hopeful, the propulsive experiments asking, how is it that a vengeance of truths can capture what it means today to live beyond salvation’s increasing twisted reach.

 –  Robert Frede Kenter, author of EDEN (Floodlight Editions), publisher & EIC  Ice Floe Press, http://www.icefloepress.net.

Fevers of the Mind founder bio: David L O’Nan (WolfPack Contributor)

David L O’Nan is a poet, short story writer, editor living in Newburgh,IN he has lived in Evansville, Indiana, Henderson, KY and New Orleans, LA. He is the editor along with his wife HilLesha for the Poetry & Art Anthologies “Fevers of the Mind Poetry and Art. and has also edited & curated other Anthologies including 2 inspired by Leonard Cohen with original artwork by friend of Leonard’s Geoffrey Wren. He has self-published works under the Fevers of the Mind Press “The Famous Poetry Outlaws are Painting Walls and Whispers” “The Cartoon Diaries” & “New Disease Streets” (2020). A compilation of 4 books “Bending Rivers” a micro poem collection “Lost Reflections” and new book “Before the Bridges Fell” under Cajun Mutt Press. He is a Best of the Net Nominee for his poem “I honored You in Pennyrile Forest” in Icefloe Press. David has had work published in Icefloe Press, Dark Marrow, Truly U, 3 Moon Magazine, Elephants Never, Royal Rose Magazine, Spillwords, Anti-Heroin Chic, Cajun Mutt Press, Punk Noir Magazine, Voices From the Fire, He has interviewed Comedian Paul Gilmartin from Mental Illness Happy Hour Podcast, Brett Siler head of Rebore Records, Ron Sexsmith, Anne Casey, Jessie Lynn McMains, Ron Whitehead, Austin Lucas and more. He has read in public for nearly 20 years in Southern Indiana, Illinois, Nashville, New Orleans & Kentucky. Including tribute nights to John Lennon, Bukowski, Feminist Poets, & Jeff Buckley. His website an be found at www.feversofthemind.com which details info on both upcoming projects & with Anthology submissions info. Twitter is @davidLONan1 and for the book @feversof  Join Facebook Group: Fevers of the Mind Poetry & Arts Group . Facebook Author page DavidLONan1 and goodreads page is https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/18366060.David_L_O_Nan

*just released the book ‘His Poetic Last Whispers’ a combination book of “the Cartoon Diaries” (only available on kindle now) and a few selections from Our Fears in Tunnels and Taking Pictures in the Dark.

Poetry: I’M OKAY by R.D. Johnson (Mental Health Awareness Month)

photos by Nick Da Barber t-shirt @Dbl_img

I’M OKAY

In My Opinion Kindness Affects You
They say kill ‘em with kindness
But gloss over the fact what it does to you 
What God has meant for me ain’t necessarily meant for you
Sometimes you damned if you don’t and you damned if you do
Been through too many things 
Seen too many things
And people want to marvel at the pain
But you ain’t Shang Chi looking for ten rings 

In My Opinion Kindness Affects You
You either lead by example
Or be the example
Wished for positive vibes 
And the support is ample
No longer putting the weight of the world
On my shoulders
Nothing more than I can handle
Take a walk in my shoes
Gonna need more than some sandals

Bottom of these soles
Shows the journey of a tired soul
Being better than what I was 
The purpose that’s sole
Driven through too many points
Guess it finally took a toll
Take a walk in my shoes
But you couldn’t fit the mod

In My Opinion Kindness Affects You
Just what I think, and what I say
That’s what I mean when someone asks
How are you?
Well, I’M O.K.A.Y. 



Bio:Follow R.D. Johnson on twitter @r_d_Johnson                                                                                     R.D. Johnson is a pushcart nominee, a best of the net nominee for Fevers of the Mind  "(Not Just On) Juneteenth"    Reggie is an author reigning out of Cincinnati, Ohio. At the age of 9, he found a love for writing while on summer vacation. With influences from music, Reggie has created a rhythmic style of writing to tell his personal experiences and beyond.  Reggie has several books available on all major online retailers and his work can be seen in various literary magazines. He currently has two columns, Drunken Karaoke featured on Daily Drunk Magazine & REPLAYS featured on The Poetry Question. https://thepoetryquestion.com/category/replay-rdj/      



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