March online Anthology “The Whiskey Mule Diner” inspired by Tom Waits

All of March. Send poetry and other writings/art influenced by Tom Waits for the Online Anthology “The Whiskey Mule Diner” to be posted here on Fevers of the Mind. Send to include bio and poems on a word doc or e-mail body.


Poetry Showcase: Stephen Kingsnorth


With sunset on some silver, see,
clear shadow lines across the way,
sharp bars confine and would restrict,
prevention, falls, the common plea,
‘we want to keep you safe my dear’,
for patient bed would cost too dear.
Is there a strand of sand beneath,
calm ripples of receding tide,
waves’ gentle lapping on the shore -
but surely there was space for more?
I think her face, expectant, raised,
the last of warmth from dying sun,
a wistful stare from wispy hair,
but his is down, contemplative.
Here unities of time and space,
their daily pace suspended, hear.

This stretch of land, brief marked, their prints,
that blanche a whiter shade of pale -
yet far beyond the vanish point,
perspective dreams horizon sight.
It is all screened in black and white,
palette retired to monochrome,
for those who know life’s not like that;
but soon they’ll go where they don’t want,
be taken where their place is wheeled.
With blanket wrapped around her thighs,   
eyes as important as the stance,
but what the glance, or even stare
beyond the bar which others passed? 
And like the couple by the lee,
their way hemmed in, what might have been,
prevailing anorak and lap.

They ponder crossing of that bar,
when wraiths are wreathed, not smiles but flowers,
their silhouettes translate as shades.


The ukulele, not best for Danny Boy,
means unaccompanied, we gravel to begin;
our chariot choir sings high and low,
though jointly note the middle range.

Despite harmonious melody,
the Dublin-born disputes the tune
is Londonderry Air, an Ulster name.
But with Guinness I have heard
plantation words alongside craic,
and Prot bars resound republican.
We warble words with the chorus girls,
a hurting leg, Jack's grunt refrain.

Out the door, politics; here we laugh 
at wheelchair three point-turn or six
in this space, confined, it’s like
our repartee, the discourse of humanity,
Areopagus of fun.

Kim, the crochet girl has brought a bag
of kitchenalia to identify.
This largely plastic crowded tray
whets few appetites today.

With glove stretchers, I had never need
of tongs to empty sauce sachets,
or the mango stone remover,
the sandwich cutter which prevents 
squashed jam seeping from bread edges.
Yesterday sachets and mangoes 
were not in the scullery, 
or indeed between my teeth, 
while butter or jam were choice,
and crustiness, grandpa's trait,
an ingredient of life.

Because the baby has been born
half-knit blue cardigan
has sleeves now turning pink;
desultory chair exercise
brings the needles overhead.

This group, hive christened,
and we its bees;
some come from ever-silent rooms
and travel here without sound,
broken-winged, as if the sting
already taken from our tale.

Once my thought-question
slipped from lips;
it might have searched opinions,
we could have shared spoken debate,
we might have made a meal of it.
But when the leader googles phone,
the answer served on a plate,
then beehive becomes an igloo still,
snake-charmer's basket on its head,
and honey comb cannot mature.

The yellow high-viz jacket wears
a button hole, woollen daffodil,
but insists it to be a crocus flower.
In stitches
he offers me its curling bloom to smell;
we are back to buzzing
and that perfume claims the room. 


In vest, short shorts, quick reflex points,
our up and over, chain-link fence,
we traded jokes, paraded skills,
especially under watch of girls,
as learnt to make a better pass,
slow climbed team pecking order, cheeked,
our early learning underway.
Lithe limbed, grown pecs, less heaving chests,
we argued, competition rules,
but knew that friendship surpassed wins;
we found that bruising brought out best,
concern, take care, strip bandages,
best treatment, algebra of bones.
We cursed at dogs which mucked about,
grass scraped together, rubbed along,
and rolled our joints to reach our dreams.
Short bounce, tall slide, taut words and terms,
vocabulary of the court,
and when were caught, swore under breath,
the oaths we’d take another place.
While palms were crossed, high five for some, 
as sentence passed, no spin at all.    
And now this frame is old, grey, tired,
waste band that sags, hangs out below,
with knots, sad bag, though ties still hold,
wee lads that made it to the man.
I guess this now a sunset cause,
the last post calling, rusty links,
as green tufts breaking through the tar,
our baby stubs, where we first puffed.
Buddleia blooms, flit butterflies
now hover where we stood our ground;
but soon I’ll lie and rest awhile,
those sods around the plot I chose -
a final hoop, then down to land.   
Growing Patch

For years it was a briar patch,
the spittoon for my tar babies
where dog-ends crouched and mucked about,
a wasteland, harsh for lions’ teeth,
few tattered rugs for undergrowth,
a two-piece suite though downside-up,
no longer fire-resistant kite
flying as passers tipped more dump.

Deep roots beneath the mats required,
agent orange or napalm spray
from TV dinners, Nam and eggs;
but then despite my settled view,
like greenstick-fractured sapling torn,
my seasoned outlook snapped in two,
algebra working in my bones,
now marrow spreading, open flowered.
New groundwork digging in my mind - 
a landscape under my control,
working not against, with the clay,
the carpets floored a compost heap.
I burned brambles, skipped furniture, 
nightshade cleared from the deadly dock,
laid grass where the couch had strayed, 
from mattress rot, created beds.
Now creepers climb where nettles rashed,
an arbour necklaced jasmine gems,
prim roses replace trailing dogs;
the paving crazed, thyme on its stones
the garden broom flings seeds about - 
while honeysuckled by the bees. 
Herbaceous fills the spacious soil - 
I put flags out to celebrate.


It was summer when she passed -
we knew come spring she would not last.

But as fresh buds broke from dead wood,
the tree stump bark cork cambium
erupted, unexpected growth,
we set our minds to recreate,
wrapped in those tie-dyes, student years,
free spirited, our crazy route -
wherever wheels led, patchwork quilt.

The golden beetle, sixties beat,
with petals painted engine end,
exhausted smoke, herbaceous mist,
above tired tyres, poor tarmac grip,
we blared our Massachusetts air.

Amongst pricked gorse of butter milk,
where heather bushed in purple rug,
and ling blushed swags for peewit wings,
we reminisced on heath surrounds
with lizard whips and butterflies.

We lay on turf, moss bed of peats,
shared sunbathe near an adder brood
and watched the glare drop from our earth
as cool pulled lower down the snake
in the question mark, our beading eyes, 
saw what we knew dreamt, hoped and felt.

May we stay here in cling sarongs,
two folds, but one in chrysalis, 
a swaddling band for pyre cloth,
await the dew on resting eyes,
a serene ending, all our days?
an arbour necklaced jasmine gems,
prim roses replace trailing dogs;
the paving crazed, thyme on its stones
the garden broom flings seeds about - 
while honeysuckled by the bees. 
Herbaceous fills the spacious soil - 
I put flags out to celebrate.

Bio: Stephen Kingsnorth, retired to Wales, UK, from ministry in the Methodist Church due to Parkinson’s Disease, has had pieces published by on-line poetry sites, printed journals and anthologies.    
His blog is at 

The pieces above are previously published pieces, but rights remain with the author

3 new poems from Thomas Klodowsky


Fighting symptoms, while draped in burgundy,
on a bed with nothing to do but think

        no, nothing to do but to think out loud,
        on what it’s like to end up a corpse

yeah, to end up as a lonely corpse,
one that pushes up little daisies

        a cadaver pushing up precious lilies,
        which bloom vibrant, nourished, from my dead sweat

in my dead sweat so vibrant they blossom,
as if they just left their mother’s womb

        we exited mother’s womb with a holler,
        but quiet from the dirt those flowers arose

and once we wilt, into the dirt we go,
remains draped in burgundy, fighting symptoms.


I got lost in the eyes of a dead dog,
who curiously resembled my own mutt

     indistinguishable, the two were,
     though there’s no way they were one and the same

but perhaps they once shared a body?
this carcass laid with the posture of Max

      belly down, back legs splayed just like Max,
      but I don’t believe for a second it’s him

and won’t believe for a lifetime it was him,
ravaged with sickness on the exam table

     last, labored breaths on that exam table,
     before the pained look of suffering ended

our gaze met one final time; without suffering,
and I got lost in the eyes of a dead dog.


I fit all my possessions into a box,
and hauled them off to brave new walls

      they came out of the blue, these brave new walls,
      at the behest of my surrogate mother

the request of my new surrogate mother,
otherwise known to the tongue as girlfriend

      from the tip of my tongue she rolls off, sunlight,
      as without her my world would cease to spin

my brave new world would cease all movement,
like a jazz players’ union had gone on strike

      the eyes of those picketing saxophonists,
      unmasking a new remorseful shade of blue

blue tears contained in cardboard and masking tape,
I fit all my possessions into a box.

Bio: Thomas Klodowsky is a writer, and instructor at Rowan University in Glassboro, New Jersey. When not writing, he's usually behind the wheel of his dream car, a 2016 Kia Soul.

Poetry Showcase: Victoria Leigh Bennett

photo from pixabay

                             Hymn for Committed Lovers 
                                             (A Pantoume)

Though love is ever constant in the universe, Yet changes it its dwelling place on rapid feet,
Some go from good to bad, others from bad to worse,
While some are lucky, seem to keep it for their lives complete.

But even then, its dwelling place on rapid feet
It may attenuate its steps towards and slow down;
While some are lucky, seem to keep it for their lives complete They may still work their way to it with solemn frown.

To some, it may attenuate its steps, slow down,
And they reproach the fates, the stars, their mates, fell chance; They may still work their way to it with solemn frown Because no longer does it spell to them “romance.”

And they reproach the fates, the stars, their mates, fell chance, Unwitting that, they having it, avoid a curse
Though it may be it does no longer spell “romance,” For they have some part of the constant universe.
                                        The Aubade in Question

--For I have been told, that I am to write 
Not of lover’s quarrels,
Not of day, not of night,
But that there is call to mention sole and alone 
That time of day, the dawn, when take affright 
The caress, the turnings-away, the gentle moan, 
And all things else pertaining to the play
Of human love, and to deal only with the passing
Of time at its most transitory, in the daylight’s first moments 
That there is my locus, thought for topic. I am lost.

--For, lovers two there must be, perhaps love-crossed, 
The one indignant, the one harassing
The time with reproaches for leaving,
The two breasts alike, whether with sorrow or passion 
Both in the other finding their fashion, in weeping,
In heaving, one sadly to stay, one forthwith conforming, 
Tears falling, the saddest thing yet, one to one calling, 
The poem the cry, the stating of all
Reasons, and why and why not, quick or slow.

Yet I must say, I don’t know what aubade may arise 
In only one set of eyes, when no other is there— 
Do I cry at the dawn for a lover long gone?
Lament for the bubble of sun, the clouds both vibrant and wan,
Or do I count the matter done, write old tales of imagined god or faun, 
No, that’s too antique! Yet, the other, how bleak
To write to no one.  

                            The Love of Sparrows and Eirons
                                    (A Sestina)

I saw you once, and touched your hand, oh, sparrows! 
The very birds of Venus, and her sunglow
Were round about my thoughts of you, all joyous, 
Your eyes of burnished brown, embers of burning 
The curls of your jet hair, did fuel quick heartache; 
For you, e’en then, were set to be an eiron.

A jest or two I well enjoyed, my eiron,
For we then twittered forth like two fat sparrows, 
There was no pending notion of sad heartache:
I watched your slender shoulders, rapt in sunglow, 
And met your laughing eyes, bright in their burning. 
Our ev’ry meeting to my mind was joyous.

Then, all remark we made was special, joyous, 
For we took turns in role-playing the eiron,
If hell had come, we’d go into the burning 
Together, and in spite of gods and sparrows. 
But Venus did not force us from the sunglow, 
Or out of happiness into a heartache.

I somehow knew there waited yet a heartache, 
But made the most of time, remained still joyous; 
Determined to insist we stick to sunglow,
While neither should diverge wholly to eiron.
Yet, there were times when I felt mocked by sparrows, 
And fated, lone, to face out all gloom’s burning.

Then, I was desperate, your anger burning 
When I persisted, tried to stay the heartache, 
And then in warning tweeted frantic sparrows, 
Oh, nature sensible, that had spoke joyous!
While now descended shadows, and my eiron
Did change, find his lone way into the sunglow.

And when I walked, alone, into the sunglow, 
Deprived of embered curls, of brown orbs’ burning,
Then, in a spite ‘gainst love, I became eiron, 
Refused to countenance burdens of heartache, 
Played out to one and all: “My laugh is joyous!”
And fooled? What human knows? But not the sparrows.

Now, years have passed, the sunglow and the heartache 
Are melded, I am burning, I am joyous,
And more than I: the eirons, truthful sparrows. 

Fall Day, Spring Day

Why not say that it was an ordinary, transitional fall day, complete with warm weather, though not hot, and not yet in the melancholy train of days that leads to those kinds of thoughts? No, it was a day when the sky was not blue and sunny, but a mixed-up swath of puffy white and gray clouds, not rain clouds either, but just indeterminate, big things to look at. It wasn’t the sort of day people think of when they say, in just that tone, “autumn,” their minds on roasted apples, and pumpkins, and spectacular multicolored scenery, and comforting, real or machine- knitted sweaters (as puffy and fat as the clouds looked in the heavens). It wasn’t the time of Halloween yet, even further from Thanksgiving, and at least two months in some places in the temperate zone from the first frost, in others from the first snowfall. It’s necessary to be as definite as possible in defining such an indefinite day, to pin it down, to make it responsible for its shortcomings as a day for drama.

In short, the autumn day was noncommittal, in keeping with its intention and duty, for that matter, to spring a totally unpleasant course of events on the world in the shape of its fall into winter. Not unexpected by those who’d been this way before, but for the young of the world, unprecedented.

The spring day, by contrast, was making all sorts of promises. It was breezy, a little too much so in its neophyte enthusiasm, for it too was new as of the turn of the year, and was not of the subtle days which know how to moderate their influences and appearances. It smiled, and then frowned, then smiled again, much like the new life it was, caught up in its own adolescent drama of how it was being received, or not, and not yet up to full strength but wanting to give more. As it went on, it became more conscious of its blemishes, was embarrassed about them, so shed what it imagined was a private little weep in a corner of the park, where its tears were unexpected to the new leaves and twigs it was trying to foster, not entirely welcome there, either, as the day’s little mourn was unexpected and a bit brusque, too short-lived to be effective as nourishment, teasing unintentionally.

Winter and summer, watching indulgently and yet critically at the same time, both tried to take a hand, but as they had separated very nearly at the beginning due to irreconcilable differences, could not agree about the correct procedure together. First winter said, “C’mon, really get your griefs out of your system, go ahead and blow and fret and shower to your heart’s content. Who can stop you? You’re my child, after all.” But then summer spoke up, saying, “No, my heart, some of those who rely on us for their food, drink, and a joyous atmosphere have messed things up, and it behooves us to tolerate each other more, share in the distribution of ourselves a little more. Here, I’ll show you how to really put on a shine that warms up things fast and hot and hard. Keep that old bastard winter guessing.”

Finally, though, the fall day stole the spring day away to a part of the scene where they could have a little conference. “Look,” it said, “You and I are both somethings on the way to somewhere else, namely to those two extreme idiots who can’t get along and who each must occupy their own realm. Surely even in the short time you’ve been around, you’ve noticed that that’s the way it’s supposed to be. Yet here we all four are, getting ahead of ourselves, behind ourselves, due to the interference in our patterns by the actions of that misery of a creation, humanity. Let’s you and I try to remember who we are, the most alike two of the four of us. Sure, show your heritage now and then to make summer and winter proud, put on at one point that old chilly day when no one expects it, or that burst of sunlight across the bodies of water, that gifts the world with warmth and time to enjoy itself. But never forget, we are caught between them, have to appease them both. Yes, we are the two seasons where there’s some hope that humanity may reflect and take stock and moderate itself. Summer is so popular with some that they only care about having more sun and don’t see that it’s undue excess of a good thing. And winter’s bite, which is also a necessary thing, its overwhelming and unprecedented new snowfalls and freezes and mayhem, are a reaction to summer’s overreaching and interference at other untoward times. It seems that humans, some others of them, like that excess as well. Let’s you and I just be ourselves, states of change, presages, harbingers. As tactful as possible, but warning of, pointing to, things to come. And keep your weeping in moderation with your status: grieve only as much as is sufficient and right, or you too will be seen to be out-of-balance.”

Thus, the fall day had passed comment in spring’s realm, where people had been wondering just where the chill and unseasonably autumnal weather had come from; this was fall’s little trick on spring, in order to get a face in the scene again. And winter pushed itself into their midst, without, however, being able to make much of a stand, as spring was taking fall’s good advice to heart, though it couldn’t of course know, in its naiveté, that the fall day had its double reasons for being sympathetic, wanting one last unpredictable moment of life before it couldn’t appear for a while.

So, the spring day felt a bit better after its small cry and its consult with its sibling, and started to shine happily, figuring out for itself that that spark of life, humanity, which seemed to figure so large and unwieldy in the calculations of the seasons, might forgive occasional tears and large sopping messes of mourning (for what it mourned, spring couldn’t have accounted, but was sure it had reason). And when summer saw the spring day now beaming brightly, it beckoned warmly and smiled, linking hands with its beginnings, and for the moment, at least, spring was all forward bound, happy, in order, and proud of itself.

Bio: Victoria Leigh Bennett, (she/her).  Ph.D., English/Theater.  Website:  In-Print: “Poems from the Northeast,” 2021.  OOP but available for free on website:  “Scenes de la Vie Americaine (en Paris),” [in English], 2022.  Between Fall 2021-Spring 2023, Victoria will have published at least 32 times in: Fevers of the Mind Poetry & Art, Discretionary Love, The Hooghly Review, Bullshit Literary Magazine, The Unconventional Courier, Barzakh Magazine, The Alien Buddha Press, Amphora Magazine, Roi Faineant Literary Press, The Madrigal Press, Winning Writers, Cult of Clio.  She has also been accepted with 4 poems in Dreich Magazine for 11/2023. Victoria writes Fiction/Flash/Poetry/CNF/Essays.  She is the organizer behind the poets’ collective @PoetsonThursday on Twitter along with Alex Guenther and Dave Garbutt.  Twitter:  @vicklbennett & @PoetsonThursday.  Mastodon: &  Victoria is ocularly and emotionally disabled.

2 new poems from Michael Igoe

photo from

Sold as Whisper

At that time I found                                                                                                                                                 I could never defeat                                                                                                                                                                                   whatever you joined.                                                                                                                                                                                           Becoming reckless,                                                                                                                                                         I treated the disease                                                                                                                                          with other diseases.                                                                                                                                                  When you fall down                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             keeping up the pace,                                                                                                                                         you are a conqueror;                                                                                                                                                    you seem sure footed                                                                                                                                                           like the braying mule.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        It's more than strange,                                                                                                                                                           that in a time of dying.                                                                                                                                                                     Mementos stay in places                                                                                                                                         meant for broken vessels.                                                                                                                                    But they’re easily brooked,                                                                                                                           in a room filled with vapor.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             As a delicate offer                                                                                                                               seeking your trust.      

Bix Beiderbecke Played Here

As the guy wires tighten                                                                                                                                             the assembled say plenty                                                                                                                                    about their easy way out.                                                                                                                                                                     En guard they sing a tenor                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               it rings like brushed armor.                                                                                                              Life as a thing ongoing                                                                                                                              seems a thing non stop,                                                                                                                              masking the symptoms                                                                                                                                   in desire’s flaccid arms.                                                                                                                                 Hearing the bone sound,                                                                                                                            you walked on the ramp                                                                                                                                                 on the side of a ballfield,                                                                                                                                 and saw blazing arclight.                                                                                                                  Full of the summer drink                                                                                                                                   in your fading housedress                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        smiling at an end of night.                                                                                                                        Though it’s only bestowed,                                                                                                                                            to show up in trick mirrors.                                                                                                                              Necessary lessons learned,                                                                                                                            buckshot lovers take over.                                                                                                                                    Opening tins of biscuit,                                                                                                                              cans of ale out of reach.                                                                                                                                    Both arms are curving,                                                                                                                                    in an awkward embrace                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   

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),, Avalanches In Poetry National Library Of Poetry Editor's Choice For 1997. Twitter: MichaelIgoe5. Urban Realism, Surrealism. I like the Night.