Poetry Showcase: David L O’Nan inspired by Townes Van Zandt

Highway 41 When it Rains

Another bored day, crackled pellets hit in waves
I sneeze, and I go sliding across
The ground is wet, slick and inhaling all the heat.
On Highway 41, when it rains,
I'm just a man of heartache, shivering and strained.

I've been without you for only a few craving hours
I'm damaged every time by your flattery, it is like an anodyne
Your embrace, the lips I can still taste
the sweat and I can still feel as much as my blood
Your bite of fine red wine, I wanted that bite every single time.

I'm going to travel these highways, familiarity with an acute eye,
I feel the sharp edge of your maddening laughter by my side.
You're the craftswoman of love, and it was plain to see
That pride and valor are spotless and a part of your identity.

In this game of love, the roles always seemed to blur
And i'm still struggling to come up with the right words.
Submission is not in my nature.
And sometimes on these tobacco field roads I wonder, is love worth the labor?

Each time I give up on you when I reach the Carolina coast.
You approach me in little to no clothes, your eyes swaying me your way
You take my hand and lead the way.  Suddenly love is real in every step on another rainy day.
On Highway 41, there's no need for words,

I watch the raindrops dance on the windshield like little birds.
If this is forever, how can it be forever on the road?
And in times in between is it just a test to help us both grow.
In my journey, we learn to give and take.
In the end of these acoustics, love is in the masterpieces we make.

Flying Hideaways

Hey kid, there are flying hideaways of my mind.
I take to the skies and just want to leave the world behind.
High above the clouds and the endless sea.
I am free, kid, I am wild, I am finally me.

I've got the wild wind in my hair, the sun freckling my face
I'm soaring with the eagles, and damn! I'm embracing the chase
Looking at the world down below, stepping away from the dreams
As I fly on, to where the horizon is clovers underneath.

I'm gonna leave my troubles, my fears, my pain, kid
in the flying hideaways of my brain
For a moment, just chilled, I am weightless and free
And it feels like I can finally breathe.  The real me.

There are no more worries, stoned, and no more doubts
Just have some freedom that comes with this flying about
In the flying hideaways of my soul
I am complete, man, I am whole.

And thought they say I cannot stay
In this world, afraid, just inhale into endless play.
I will always cherish all these memories and photographs
Of the flying hideaways, the places where I am truly me, the top cat!

Sunshine Walked Beside Her

There was moaning in the Spring air, there was sunshine flawless with care.
There was sunshine walking beside her down the lane as we talked.
She spun around, her hair a golden halo in the light.
She danced so sweetly, her voice like the birds sang free from any pain.
And all the world seemed wash in her aura in pure delight.

The flowers bowed their heads shy and lit up as she passed by,
Their petals softly brushing at her feet, just tickles and she jumps to surprise.
The trees reached up to touch the clear blue sky. Collapsing the storms for only the ugly hearts to inhale in their sin.
And everything was calm, and still, and sweet as long as she was around.

Deep within her heart, she hid the truths of abuse, those storms did rage.
A tempest born of pain and loneliness, she would hide in the closets of her veins.
She walked alone along her weary way, when the sky was grey
Her soul consumed by endless emptiness, she could conceal herself better than the camouflaged snake.

I only wish I really knew her.  To tell her the words that could cure her.
Oh, how I wish I could ease her pain, and bring her back to love and life again.

That sunshine always has to take a break to not burn out.

Not Your Shadow, Not My Shadow

The notes left for me on the floor, nods her head to keep moving on
She is often at home playing her violin, she grows tired of these expert strangers.
She says i'm not your shadow, your not my shadow.
But a space between, a void unknown
Let some distance grow,  reminisce but not creeping.
Maybe then our love doth slow,
And seeds of doubt, they have been sown.

You always saw me as that cling-on friend,  I just happened to be in the same skies, the same halls and hearing the same melodies as you.    You seemed to enjoy my presence in small doses, but how long can you be, until you are nothing but an uncomfortable step too close.    

We could have once been that perfect match, our shadows intertwined as one,  I dream faster than any other man in this town.
Money doesn't grow on me like a fine woman does.
Even as I let time pass, our love didn't latch.
And now our shadows seem farther apart then before.

We shared some memories, more for me, and less for heart.
You were too busy being overwhelmed by the devils of maturity.
They could never have filled that empty space.  The love I had. 
I staid in pain.  I talked to gypsies, fortune tellers and the insane.
And now we stand unable to communicate in current circumstances.
We stand in separate grace.

Our shadows are faded .
Not your shadow, not my shadow
But a space between, our love doth go.
just leave and I can remember your crumbs. It'll be hard to sweep you away permanently.

Then the Seamstress Came Over

The mountains cried all night.  The snow was a domineering sight.
I was left humming a tune to the chimes.

Then the seamstress came over
with her spools and needles
to build the bravery in the beast.

For a long time, this beast
had been hiding within
afraid to let the beautiful walk in.

But the seamstress, she knows
how to stitch bravery onto cloth,
how to patch broken seams
and fashion intricate hemlines.

She traced her fingers over the beast's scars
and began to sew the damages,
her nimble fingers working fast,
a flurry of wiry needle and thread.

With each stitch, the beast grew bolder,
its skin toughening, its heart stronger.
The seamstress knew that bravery cannot be bought,
it must be woven into every fiber of your being.

And so, she worked tirelessly
until the beast was a sight to behold,
proud and unafraid.  Ambitious, a parade.

Then the seamstress packed her bags and left,
her work done, but her influence lingering.
For the bravery she stitched into the beast.
Now with the thickest skins, now and again
some need some sewing from time to time, to remind them have love to give.t
to build and rebuild the bravery of the beast.

Will My Mom Survive?
how the music of Townes helped me get through a scary time in my life 15 years ago when my mom had an undiagnosed illness

Driving down a broken road, filled with dirty ramps and shopping cart homes.   The loneliness and anxiety was creeping in.
I put on For the Sake of the Song by Townes Van Zandt.  I just recently began listening to him more and more.
With each passing song while thinking of my mom, the songs made me cry harder and harder.
My gut in knots, my heart full of loads,
Uncertainty of my mother's exigency, my mind can't unstrand.

The lyrics of his melancholic songs
Which often used to bring me comfort,
Now only add to my sadness having no abacuses or gongs,
As I wonder if my mother will meet up her life's ultimate sunburst.

Her head would shake, but they said it was not a seizure.
Her head would shake, they said it wasn't her heart,
Her head would shake, they said it wasn't a stroke.
Her head would shake, it isn't MS, it isn't this or that.
What is it?  I will just listen to Quicksilver Daydreams of Maria again. 
On repeat.  On repeat.

She's battling an illness, lying in the hospital bed,
Her life's future uncertain, clouded in black,
In my thoughts, I keep hearing her voice in my head,
Years of shared memories-the love she has repeatedly packed.

I find myself praying with all my soul,
Pleading with any deity who will listen,
To bring her back to health, to make her whole,
And that her life with us not being caught in a friction.

As I listen to the songs of emotional pain,
I find that they resonate within my very core,
For now, it's the only solace, my heart's only bane,
As I wait for my mother's health to be secure.

Will my mom survive this journey of life?
The question echoes in my mind,
with every note of Townes Van Zandt's despair.
I find solace amidst my mother's illness unkind.

Driving on these Evansville roads, Virginia and Columbia,
First and Main, between hope and despair,
I hope and pray that things will soon be fine.
I move on to "Our Mother the Mountain" and begin memorizing those lines.
And pray, prayers for my mother to survive, clarity, to keep her sunshine.

Kentucky Gun

Traveling through Kentucky, where the bluegrass grows
I had me a fifth of Bourbon, so sweet and slow.
My temper grew wild and my moves grew slower.
I grew a reverence for the gun, and pulled the trigger power,
but what's it become?

Every high classed hillbilly with narcissism running rampant
In a society that has decided it was cool to become so divided.
Where fear and anger fuel the same flame, and compassion and reason are misguided.

It has become a world where guns define us,
Where the power comes from the barrel of a gun,
Where freedom of thought is silenced,
And differences can't be undone.

But there's a cost to this obsession,
A price that will all be paid, for every life that's taken by the gun,
we lose a little of our soul each day.

Pride and fear, a better way?
A world where differences are celebrated, end violence and hate?

In Kentucky I just want to watch the bluegrass grow,
drink my bourbon and rise above the slurs and slang
When I take out my gun, its a a tool of survival, not of hate.
Put the narcissism to shame.

On an Unclaimed Plot of Land

In the stillness of the night, hemp rope and plenty of drink.
The moon was shining bright,
and the stars were twinkling high and singing songs like Ernest Tubb.
There comes a dream of days gone by.

A wandering soul, wild and free
on an unclaimed plot of land, living in his own renaissance
Roaming through the land and the rivers,
chasing after dreams and unfortunate schemes.
Living his life beyond blemishes and extremes.

In the heart of his brave soul,
Lies a love that's pure like fresh snow on a hill,
He's wailing for a maiden fair and true,
whose beauty shines like morning dew.

Malela is her name divine.
A goddess in this heart of mine.
Whose eyes are like the deepest of seas,
And whose voice is sweet as trembling melody.

Oh, how this heart does ache and yearn,
For the touch of her soft hand's turn,
To hold her close, to inhale her breath,
And to know that we're united in death.

For though this world may pass us by,
And time may make our love pre-eminence.
From my prison, I can only draw her beauty to these walls.

A Townes Van Zandt Villanelle (Song of Sorrow & Pain)

He sang of sorrow and pain,
Of broken hearts and lonesome roads,
An experimental cowboy, a trouled strain.

His voice so hauntingly refrained,
A poet's soul belting from the cathedrals
He sang of sorrow and pain

Depression was his constant crutch,
A  battle he could not assault from his heart
Townes Van Zandt, a troubled strain.

His demons, he could not exorcise.
His songs  a reflection of his broken homes,
He sang of sorrow and pain.

The darkness followed from cars to train,
His life a heavy, crushing brick to his art.
An experimental cowboy, a troubled strain.

His music to those lucky to hear, respecting and celebrated
A legacy that he will forever hold,
He sang of sorrow and pain
Townes Van Zandt, a troubled strain.

His heart was heavy, burdened with grief,
His soul aching with every passing day,
He drank in gallons to seek relief

The weight of his sadness, clustered and broken
A constant companion, where is the love? A price to pay
His heart was heavy, burdened with grief.

Through his music, he found some reprieve,
A way to cope, to keep the pain to concrete eyes
Townes Van Zandt sought some relief.

But the darkness, it was hard to leave,
A struggle that never seemed to sway,
His heart was heavy, burdened with grief.

Yet his songs, they continued to weave,
influencing those today, that understand the way
A tapestry of an emotional orchestra

Townes found relief.

Though his life was brief, his impact, a motif,
a voice that no other can duplicate, even today
His heart was heavy, burdened with grief.
Townes Van Zandt found relief.

Poetry Showcase by David L O’Nan inspired by Joy Division

Dark Arbors Evening

The arches had broken
The sky painted black
A Dark Arbors Evening
You whispered me our last whisper (I hear them calling you back)

We stared at the shadows
To a long time ago, when you were just a child
Innocent and Carefree, before the world turned wild.
now we have boredom by the trails

Now the pills made us older, and the world's grown cold
No longer children, no longer are we bold
Haunted leaves you kept in grasp
The pain and sorrow, the flamingo continues to flow

Try an escape, you say "I'm an escapist"
Through the honey, and run far away
Trapped by the cycling. The game spins anew and the same.
Voices within, have perfected your name.

A Dark Arbors Evening
Waxing the trees for our shade, and hibernate in our abandonment
Lesser memories, I just went from black to fade.  
And she is in her own mind now, filling in the dots with doubt and fear.

My chance to break free, polish the wedge
To reunite to our first memory, to breathe for me 
To nurture our lungs to breathe for us
Lifting the weight, walk into the light with a head held up

Fading, fading, fading
disappearing, disappearing, disappearing
New day dawning but for the path of the sinner
A Dark Arbors Evening, no longer our bane

Canary Roses

I once knew preservation, my canary roses
There are no ropes in heaven they say.
There is no hope in hell I was raised.
I worshiped in the loveless, invitations to the vain.

The grinding life toll
Seeking to find a partner, to marry
The weight of their eyes, become control
Unrequited love can impose, Decrease. Sell our souls.

The canary roses, emasculated for years
Forbidden at the door,
forebode me firmly from your heaven
Kissed me to destroy. To shiver me to detach me from my veins.

Begin a recoil from the touch of those,
Whose hearts we are barricaded to, cannot expose
The blindness of those cannot understand the pain
They feel the prayers and don't understand love's sad refrain.

They give blue ribbons to repetitive synchronicities
Grinding away in my eyes, the electricity begins to die
The loveless play, the canary roses
They left him on the moon again, again, alone, all alone, desolate.

As lint is how I'll live
The canary roses, the fragility of how quick wind blows in
The passing of time, passes many curves to the end.
We've trod, looking for a truly worshipful god.

The canary roses, yellow to brown my love
About to lock this ceiling to the floor.

The Scream (for Edvard Munch)

I awake to sapphire skies and scalpels to my screaming mind.
I've reversed back to my spells, I can walk through halls of goldwork
In my mind I feel this haunting cry
Captured in my blood and frozen in time.

A moment I was terrified, sublime
Allowed them to piss this spell all over me too long, I'm afraid.
Echoes through all the ages become blemishes
to these walls, leaving my figure standing and my mouth agape.

It will leave you scratching at your brain.  
The weeds our blood is rolling in
I'm not that pig, baby, I'm not that pig
Not under these circumstances.

Eyes wide with fear, hands to face.
What horror do we witness in our own daily art?
The wannabe disaster they see as me.
Can't understand how I am me

The anguish, this despair?
Everything comes from depictions of obscene
and through a new lens we are beautiful.
Our acts are collections, the world's true face.

Like the scream, do you hear it, do you see it?
It's as visual as it is audial
a lack of grace, the weight of life.
The pain, the struggles, the piercing strife.

Lingering still like this reflection stained in that water.
Like a broken devil
The fear within of our own human race.

I'm heeding this silent call.
Born again in freedom as we listen to the screams?
Born again with black eyes,
Born again, Am I not holy anymore?  

Peace comes when the screams illuminate for all to hear and see.

Dead River Embolism

 (1) He would go in
without anything prepared...
Spontaneously he walks
to the river at night.

He awaits in the grip of the water
as the embolism builds
he's feeling black as the river's quilt
it is dead they say. I heard dead.

The banks are in dread.
No life to thrive, no soul to find
Unarmed now, the enemies
get their scimitars out while the world stands still.

(2)"It is you who will shut up
in the end, not me...
Drums pounding, glass breaking
"pull me from this river" now lord, now!

An empty vessel, left behind
wind howling through barren trees
Ghostly dancing, a mournful breeze sits in.
Silence is deafening, world brilliantly still.

A limping hurricane in your old muddy footprints.
There once was fire there, a wildfire in there.
When you moved around the city,
and we all knew you then.  When the water was pure.

(3)So, the brain couldn't
give orders anymore.
Unlawful, as they begin finding the crumbs
Tainted and bleak, 
To go from serene to this machine.

The life is now gone.
The laughter has ended in it's cloaked ripples
It doesn't wash the blood off from your stains.
The river is the infinity.

The dead river flows, forevermore.
a symbol of wars, the weeping world.
For what is gone is now forever gone.
(4) For a while, you could see...

*numbered italicized quotes are from William S. Burrough's "Naked Lunch"

7 Crocodiles (inside the caves of Andy Warhol)

A walk inside the caves, a silver factory
The women, the men, the art, the biting
Andy Warhol, at the helm, the pale, the scales
Amidst the art, the music, the scene. His eyes are a walk.

Manhattan's avant-garde convene
I step inside it's womb.  I hum around in the tomb.
With madness and noise.  
This misfit is in his haven to rejoice.

7 Crocodiles walk past.  Dressed in black
Packed in dismissal looks and a prancing smoke stalking behind.

A place where anything goes,
No boundaries, no rules
They sew in the blends, they record the grave.
He is the only knowing of "the prize" as the walls pulsate in art.

15 minutes long gone.  
The genius walks in the dissection of the phenomena
The cult of Warhol is thriving in the dirty and the pure
The factory denizens enjoy the experiment.

7 Crocodiles walk past.  Dressed in black.
Packed in dismissal looks and a prancing smoke stalking behind.

Replicate these crocodiles.  Turn them into many versions of themselves.
He'll direct the scene with his steady hand,  
The pop art will spread from blindness to the cans.

Marilyn, Elvis and the who's who and the who is that?
will all convene to churn a creative brew.
Amused and fascinated, they conjure up a lightning strike
and hide themselves in the fancy and the confines of the cave.

'till the dazzle becomes the hours, the long hours.
Sleeping past the art.  The legend never entertained.
A crocodile tamed in creative transcendence.
So that an artistic revolution can begin.

The crocodiles have gone to rest.  The stalking smoke is embedded-
in an echo of a city, of a culture, in a vision of time.

On Italian Grounds

I met her 
On Italian Grounds
She was weak
but wanted to thrive in the stings.
In Florence

Darkness reigns
When she met the steep and stained
Beneath the ruins, the nuclear waste
The industries of the past, the shine of disgrace.

His intelligence 
his knowing, His trips to see Alighieri was nothing but
the ruin of the whistles of the wind,
a mournful sound, when she was nowhere around.

The past was still the present, 
to drown in, tranquility ceases
a berserk view of the city
is all he can to salve his soul.

The rules, long forgotten
Shaking the foundations, to create in new rotten
Bottles of wine, now empty and obscene,
remnants of the swelling, bruising loss.

Baby's cry in the distance are heard
Shrinking in size like a tiny bird,
The embraces we had in the years of love
the cold is all I can feel now.  

The streets once clean, now dirty and grim,
The prose of the poets, is like a shout warning to a murmur 
Swallows everything,  shadows and the faith
On Italian grounds I met her, On Italian grounds so bright.

On Italian grounds I lost her, 
the heart beat slows in the city.
I have no hands to put me to rest.
Jobless and whipped, the corrosion of time etched on the face.

I move from myself through a new domain.
Noxious air fills every space.
Tattooed society, in a constant state of flux,
They are amused by the violence and the spill of blood.

The whips crack down on me, the weak.
To go from her eyes, the elite, to shit on the street
Those who'll see me will turn the other cheek.
In my poverty, my daily routine start to come undone at the seams.

I sometimes feel her back with me in the darkness of the alleys.
Where my fear is in my taste
I wonder back now to the Italian grounds
If all I ever found was just a spell.  

Chaos Copycat

In chaos, the leers and laughter
of prejudice teaching seem to succeed.
The world around me, a flickering light.
A blur of movement, the dizzying spinning night.

Smothered in chaos, copycats print themselves to the page.
a tempestuous sound, a symphony of discord.
A battleground.
Repetition in noise suffocates the stirring mind.

The weight of the world holds the handle
to prescribe the perfection to fall to our sleep.
A mind is a labyrinth, the maze often laughs.
Never-ending cycles, the battle is never fought.

The voices within me, they obey and they dispose.
They taste and flee.  They acquire and cease.
The waves tell me to surrender, to abandon this dream.
Give me courage to stir out this napping creativity.

Chaos around me, it's part of me now.
The harassment of my soul, a part of my vow.
I have to keep walking to that battleground.
Rising in the hypnotists tears and take control.

To wear the crown, just for once
I will wear the crown.  In rhythm and chaos
I will wear the crown, as they try to break me.
I will wear the crown.  Standing my ground.
Wearing my crown.   

You'll pass in the storm. I'll still be around.
Is this something that you can understand?,
when corrupt, can you understand?
Is this within reach?  When the satirised becomes sterilized.

Bio: David L O'Nan is a poet, short story writer, editor living in Southern Indiana.  He is the editor 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 (Avalanches in Poetry & Before I Turn Into Gold) and Hard Rain Poetry: Forever Dylan Inspired by Bob Dylan. He runs the www.feversofthemind.com website. A wordpress site that helps promote many poets, musicians, actors/actresses, other writers. 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).”Taking Pictures in the Dark” “Our Fears in Tunnels” (2021) a collection of poetry called  "Bending Rivers" a micro poem collection "Lost Reflections" and new book "Before the Bridges Fell" & "His Poetic Last Whispers" (2022)  His latest book is "Cursed Houses" 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 among several other litmags. He doesn’t enjoy the process of submitting constantly, however. Twitter is @davidLONan1 @feversof for all things Fevers of the Mind.    Join Facebook Group: Fevers of the Mind Poetry & Arts Group . 

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


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

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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)

*Submissions are now closed 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”


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

Poetry & Art Anthology “The Whiskey Mule Diner” inspired by Tom Waits

The Whiskey Mule Diner (on Caroline Street) by David L O’Nan

I was wandering out of Whiskey Mule, the night began fading
The city is falling all over itself and dude, you smell like onions
Taxis are hissing passing by just pissing, ripped pantyhose legends prancing drunk.
Just ask the crooked mayor, he’s had his share of temptations.
He’s burned all his morals and held his head high as he’s collapsing. 
Three women all believe that he’s dedicated, but he’s living deep on the tip of the Dead-End hill.

The diner’s lights are blinking an epileptic fury.
The faithful and the shrinks are washing their cuts in the sink.
They have been harassing their soldiers through the flesh wounds of thunder.
Bullets and promises go damp with the blood circling the city streets.
Just another cup of coffee surrounded by dust, rust, and feathers.  
Our minds remember the times as a child of walking with family and preaching God to unlit skyscrapers
Bring light to this city you damn bawdy building!  
Nasty voices call down to teach us new sinning that we never knew would go past the blinds of those windows.

The cobwebs in the corners of the Caroline and Market Street are doing a Cain and Abel waltz.
Across each other, intertwined while the poisoned neon glow of the Whiskey Mule hits it.
Old men walking crooked onto the sidewalks with lust in their eyes and itchy coats and itchy crotches.
They want to see the man play something from the 1950’s ‘til he is out again poisoned, asleep on the jazz piano.
Lifting Jesus to the ceilings,  the waitresses are all crying except for the one who’s always smiling and fetching her phone number to a plumber, a priest, or a pariah that wandered in from the subway.
Sometimes this place has felt closed for hours, 
sometimes it feels like it never stops breathing.
The fevers in this place is imminent and you walk out with hash browns in your hair. 
Feeling like a motherfucker stuck in the drain.

At Whiskey Mule you began your marriage to a suicidal levitation.  You want to sit on
 the back of a 1969 boss 429 mustang and pull at the corners of the hairs on your head.
Wailing to a friend that’ll die with you in the end, "buddy, Let’s create some shooting stars tonight”
And you’ll battle the fog in your stupor, and you’ll wish you had more pancakes and in circles
 you’ll go, pushing and shoving hobos until you’ll step on a broken bottle and crawl back into the diner
...And some Barbara Mandrell will be playing Sleeping Single in a Double bed.
You’ll feel like the stomach bugs are carving through your skin.  
Go home to the wilderness of a quiet
 apartment building that is surrounded by demons running around your head.
Drop the needle on the fading night.  Another day stalks in and abruptly gathers energy from the 
lightbulb sun.

Watching the squalor fight the dandy with the curly hairs falling out of your itchy scalp.  
No longer a village wimp.  You’ll take the bait to the next offering.  Tracy will shake the bottle
 and you can’t resist the bounce and the waves in the glass to the swarming through your throat
And you’ll dream of the fandango on a cobblestone bruising and the sunsets will sound like a sultry one
 night stand.
Forget that crippling walk for just a little while and cut that rope from the sky, little man.
Your asking to be certified, Your asking to be hypnotized, but you keep asking to be recast as something 
that doesn’t reflect in a puddle’s mirror, Jack.

The Whiskey Mule Diner on Caroline Street has good food and sometimes bad.
It has murmurs of grandiosity and mistakes to be had.
It has the memories, the merging from man to fallen angel.
It has the lazy eye blinking, It has the wisdom of a desire to escape the straitjacket.
And perform magic that illuminates from the squeezing.    
My mind is heading to a new home,
Whiskey Mule

Pinot Noir by David L O'Nan

1971, Bakersfield
Cold day, cracked around the edges but laying sweaty under itchy blankets.
After 3 A.M.  drinking Pinot Noir with mustachioed confessions. 
Can’t trust sidewinders walking when their sliding on slick brick roads blinding-
The regular man walks around with sociopathic confidence and he dreams of
all the wars ending long enough that he can find him a lady.   
He wants a family
And he wants to die from the cigarettes, 
he wants to live on nothing but pennies.
He wants it all to be wrapped up for him like a present, 
but does he know how to praise.

So he decides not to fear him, he shall not be dismayed. 
He walks with him on a sunset through the meadows-
looking for that new wave.
Drinking Pinot Noir and thinking outside the box. 
He’s that same old man he was yesterday.
He’s invented himself excuses, he’s playing fast and loosely.  
Calling all the phone numbers in his paper
 wallet.  Which lips will he kiss tonight, or will he be just biting on his?  Chapped up and feeling cold-
boned, drunk and sad.  
He drops out a few dollars for dinner with a nobody he knew from 19 years
before.  She didn’t like him then, she doesn’t like him now.  
But he’s already got images of him pushing 
up her purity veil and calling her his forever.  
More pinot noir for the dipshit.  Close your eyes and wake up with the phone dangling from the 
phonebooth and a hard-on grin, jazzed up and creepy.

Your brother’s wife and kids find you there.  She is laughing pitifully.  
She has never cared for you really.
The children hide behind an umbrella and a mask of ass and back covering their face to hide away from
Uncle Stranger.  
He’s just a drunkened wolf wandering the streets, 
howling between the sheets of 
both polars he must face, day after day.  
He never really knows his eyes and can barely feel his face.
He’s just molded full of lines with pinkish skin cheeks with an early morning yellow pickling through.
Boy, he’s a pinot noir away from chasing Jesus to the cross.  
He wants to be crucified first, and let the 
city wash away his sins.  
That olive green mattress and his wino schemes has lead him to three divorces 
and one incredible night that he relives over again and tries to regain back in his pulsing mind.

Bio: David L O'Nan is a poet, short story writer, editor living in Southern Indiana.  He is the editor 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 (Avalanches in Poetry & Before I Turn Into Gold) and Hard Rain Poetry: Forever Dylan Inspired by Bob Dylan. He runs the www.feversofthemind.com website. A wordpress site that helps promote many poets, musicians, actors/actresses, other writers. 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).”Taking Pictures in the Dark” “Our Fears in Tunnels” (2021) a collection of poetry called  "Bending Rivers" a micro poem collection "Lost Reflections" and new book "Before the Bridges Fell" & "His Poetic Last Whispers" (2022)  His latest book is "Cursed Houses" 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 among several other litmags. He doesn’t enjoy the process of submitting constantly, however. Twitter is @davidLONan1 @feversof for all things Fevers of the Mind.    Join Facebook Group: Fevers of the Mind Poetry & Arts Group .   

Atonement by Clive Gresswell

In the switchblade of the night
The freezing jewel of barracuda delight
The tempting fate of failing light
The falling rhythm of dismay from this train
Of thought to obey the trunk is hidden in the back of time
The amulet is prised in line
The liberation a dance of swans
Some with beacon some with songs
A marching army of choruses
Bitter winds of self regret
From sands of time the tidal wave
The room of being the bloody knave
The haunting of the bloody cave
From which the nazi hunter gave
The Jew his freedom’s only grave
Atonement splendid in the light of days. 


The Summer of '89 by Lynn White

The ice-cream man appeared 
at frequent intervals
on the corner of the street
near the large grassy area
in summery Sochi.

He had no van
just a barrow
and two cardboard cartons
of paper wrapped briquettes.

He had no fridge,
didn’t need one,
everyone knew 
Russian ice-cream
to be the best,
the best in the world
and so never got time to melt!

The evidence was all around.

The grass was full of people
enjoying the lazy sunshine,
sharing their music, smokes 
and iced creamy kisses
in the Sochi summer.

The perimeter of the grass
was edged with signs.
”Keep Off The Grass”,
an English speaker translated.
She smiled.
“But we take no notice!”

Bio: Lynn White lives in north Wales. Her work is influenced by issues of social justice and events, places and people she has known or imagined. She is especially interested in exploring the boundaries of dream, fantasy and reality. She was shortlisted in the Theatre Cloud 'War Poetry for Today' competition and has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize, Best of the Net and a Rhysling Award. Find Lynn at: https://lynnwhitepoetry.blogspot.com and https://www.facebook.com/Lynn-White-Poetry-1603675983213077/ 

Summit by Stephen Kingsnorth

You ask why, my reply, why not?
Enjoy the trees, but leave the wood -
and note, that orchard marvellous -
for justification not my deal,
that ignorance, a bliss for me.

Whale soundwaves pass on through the deep -
as cow wails sound unrecognised
except by those attuned to scale.
Some overdose on bitter pills
when companies slice artists’ cut -
as patrons paid for flattery
and canvassed for a frameup work.
Here siren sounds tempt from the rocks,
pied pipers lead a merry dance,
thirty piece silver buys a friend,
like kiss, a shock identikit.

So cock a snoop convention’s way,
the market place for art with strings
repay naïve fans, courtesy -
as poets clash with editors.
Trim principles, for principal -
climbed summit, music as its peak.
Most dollar short, unpublished art;
peer over shoulder if you will,
by equal chance, may overhear,
the tags that speak identity,
encounters that outlast their slot,
all subject, serendipity.

So this, we hear, story distilled, 
the mix of moods, well travelled way,
a track replayed, the trick relayed,
a riff resolved in harmonies,
bandwidth for uninitiate,
as I, a jack of all, trade winds,
who grows as hear, an ear retread,
sail wordsmith crossing rockplay tack.

Rebel Songs by Stephen Kingsnorth 

I know another buffet laid,
a battered body carried round, 
though shoulder high and beaten, bruised -
that’s how the surfing tension broke,
as law for grace, seen what it was,
another myth to pacify,
the power of men exemplified.
Their trophy false as faerie dust,
this punk against establishment,
the tables turned, not meek nor mild,
when profits came, young hope abused.

They said this breakthrough, highnoon first,
claimed quake in earth tore, altered drape,
and all was left, brief loincloth stained,
on virgin land, new paradigm.
The females vented feral screams,
while bands in wings sang rebel songs
when third, the body stole away,
tones hushed, hear strains of spiritual.

The rolling stones were laid aside
when dared by one to satisfy
their blood lust, known unjustified,
the woman raised, against mores.
So harmony not melody,
but facing truth staves tougher score,
a heartbeat pumping blood and gore,
ourselves stripped bare to start again.

You may read this, a culture shock,
just as the orthodox, he not.
Forget religiosity, 
another myth that raises Cain,
and as we want our music heard,
then clear detritus from the lore.

I visit scene from older age,
another scene, prior decades,
but empathetic to the cause.
a voice too radical for stage,
yet sage for our eternity.
But can we hear through threnody
our rage at world’s complicity?

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, including Fevers of the Mind.   
His blog is at https://poetrykingsnorth.wordpress.com/   

A Series of small poems inspired by Tom Waits by Merritt Waldon

Falling through clouds
Burgundy screams
The weight of all that air
All that falling
The bed felt good this morning
My eyes burned shut
With resinous smoke
I am a star
Riding the Rail
Climbing that
Chameleonic word
Jumping back.off
Every chance I get

While i sit sipping a Fosters and listening murder in a red barn
All of sudden envision
Sauntering out of a red barn
The Cyclops from My dreams appears
Half slouched and drooling
All over my mind
In Technicolor 
Deluge Under a big top

5 a.m. poem//

trickling haphazard tongue against labia minora
of Memory & History how they moan
dripping like liquid moon beams
their silver visions of futurity


Meditation on the mercy seat of a spirit___
Sipping with dank muses the black milk of spirit orgasm
Mind explodes like a grenade
Leaving bits of eternity across a licorice smelling room
Candle in the window, note on pillow
Blues from hell echo
Theirs a pen weeping for the hand of its master

A Fevers of the Mind Quick-9 Interview with poet Merritt Waldon

a succession of failures #4 by Marty Shambles

if you don’t have money
the world does not afford 
a modicum of dignity.

i’ll give you an example:

i was outside the in-n-out
north beach, sf
circa 2013 i think
and i had slept 
on pavement
the night before,
then worked a shift 
at my job,
and would sleep
on the pavement
that night.

i needed to charge
my phone
b/c access to 
requires a phone

out in the courtyard
where the scent of
searing meats and
potatoes lowered
into oil
teased my senses,
there was a power
and i sat at a table 
where i
could get a charge.

i charged my phone
for about 10 minutes
before a security 
guard came up
and said
you can’t use that.

i know he was
only doing his 
but he made a choice
to side with the
people in this world
who want to divide
into its constituent
strip all the copper
from the walls,
send people who are
undesirable up
excrement river
and good luck
with the paddle.

what could it have 
the charging of one phone?
maybe 2 cents.
in my destitution
could’ve scrounged
2 cents from my 
yawning pocket,
had he asked—
had he identified
me as a brother
rather than rabble.

i’ll say it again
in case you missed it:
if you don’t have money
the world does not afford 
a modicum of dignity.

it’s the 21st century
and some days it seems
that some people get all
the dignity
and leave none 
for the rest of us.

Bio: Marty Shambles is a Pushcart nominated author of poetry and short fiction. His book businessmen & ghosts is available from EMP Books.

Whisky and Wine by D.C. Nobes

Swallow your fears and doubts
Wash them down with whisky
Swallow your foolish pride
Wash it down with wine.

We can’t know what life may give us
sometimes heartache, sometimes pain.
We don’t know where life might take us
sometimes losing, sometimes gain.

Swallow your tears and pains
Wash them down with whisky
Swallow your scars and stains
Wash them down with wine.

We can’t know where the road may go
sometimes rising, sometimes down.
We don’t know what paths to follow
sometimes lost, sometimes found.

Swallow your cares and worries
wash them down with whisky.
Swallow your wearisome woes
wash them down with wine.

We can’t know when an end may come
maybe soon, maybe never.
We don’t know what will happen next
sometimes love, always life.

Swallow your fears and doubts
wash them down with whisky.
Swallow your woes and worries
wash them down with wine. 

Bio: D.C. Nobes is a scientist who spent his first 39 years in or near Toronto, Canada, then 23 years in Christchurch, New Zealand, 4 years in China, and has retired to Bali. He used to enjoy winter but admits that he doesn’t miss the snow or the cold. He thinks that almost all poetry was meant to be read aloud. His work has appeared in Tarot Poetry NZ, The Violet Hour, miniMAG, Karma Comes Before, The Hooghly Review, Poetry as Promised, Whimsical Publishing Press, Boats Against the Current, Sixpence Society Literary Journal, Bubble, Red Wolf Periodical, and Acropolis. 

Bang, Bang Goes the Gun by Anton Pooles

and the moon shatters like glass! I carry fragments
in my pail—minnows and moon 

swim a vortex.
On the way home

I meet an old friend 

who makes musical instruments from fishbones.  

I trade my vortex
for a swordfish-


keep up 
the neighbours

blasting that thing all week long. 

They throw stones 
at my window,

paint my door red. 

I don’t live there

Bio: Anton Pooles was born in Novosibirsk, Siberia and now lives and writes in Toronto, Ontario. His work has appeared in an array of journals and magazines. He is the author of the chapbook Monster 36 (Anstruther Press, 2018) and the full-length collection Ghost Walk (Mansfield Press, 2022). 

Beating a Hustler by Rp Verlaine

He had taken my money
three times after I'd
bought us cheap drinks
not even a whores navel 
could sweeten.
A known rogue
in a pool hall
that already had
more thugs
than cameras find
at mafia weddings.

I was four hundred down 
doubled or nothing for 
the fourth time when I
whirled around and let the
pool stick become a splintered 
puzzle across his face
4,5,6 times
fractured his right wrist too
in case he was armed.

Everything froze save the
jukebox playing
a song I didn’t know
as I slowly walked out backwards
into the bouncer who
I gave my remaining bankroll to.
Tanned and huge in a tight tailored suit
“don’t come back” he said 
“even if he deserved it
we don’t need that here.”

I ducked into a cab
forgetting my address
And remembering I’d left my wallet 
at the pool table.
Maybe they could send it Express Mail.

Hell's Gates by Rp Verlaine

A large angry  
tattoo on this babe's arm
reads- Hell's Gates
Are Open-.

How wide? I ask
nodding to the artwork
of letters in red and
yellow fire on her arm.

Wide enough
she tells me, do
you need another

Need is not
the word I'd
use but yes  
and I watch her  
pour until the

froth kisses
the top of
the glass.

Then she  
looks in her mirror
putting a comb
through dark
the sun hits just right
every day.

Sometimes I
think I come to the
bar for that alone.

I finish my beer
tip her a twenty
and go home where
I can dream about
Hell and its guardians
with brown auburn hair.

Far better I think
than dreaming of those
with eyes languid with regret
and with souls long
out of reach or those with
knives under their pillows
I've found 
myself far too 
often sleeping
next to...

While the gates of hell wait.

So I choose the bars
the darker the better
where only the bartenders smile
refuses to hide.

Shattering The Nerves by Rp Verlaine

like a shadow reaching
across your space
erased walking  at night
Shattering the nerves.
 t.v.  talking heads  
Disconnected truths
Guillotining transitory calm
Shattering the nerves.

Letters, calls, damned texts
Disheartening Darkening, harkening
Forgotten fears
Shattering the nerves
Stupefying twists
Of stimulants of accidental bliss
Shattering the nerves.

Listening to the rain
Parting with the heavens
To a tape of Your last goodbye
Your last goodbye your last goodbye
shattering the nerves.

Amateurs Need Not Apply by Rp Verlaine

Crumbs from a bad sandwich in my beer
at local bar, long without charm,
hope, or enough cash in
the register to make it
worth a robber’s odds
of going to prison.

Photographs of New York athletes
taken ten to fifteen years ago
adorn grimy walls.
Speaking less of gain or
fame than loss.
In this place where old men know
they can drink till helpless
for nothing save
the price of looking at each other.

Most involved in a besotted solo
monologue and I don't interfere.

“A nursery in hell” says the bartender,
wiping flecks of dirt off the counter
with a towel so foul
it hasn’t seen water for as long
as too many in this bar.

Now part of the background
on unemployment
I write haiku on napkins
waiting for the next job,
or pretending I want one
like the rest of them.

Staring into glasses,
miraculously always never
empty or filled
while they kill time

and themselves slowly,
which takes years of practice
a drunk told me, adding
“but only if-
he said, almost cheerfull,
you do it right.” 

Bio: Rp Verlaine lives in New York City.
He has an MFA in creative writing from City College.
He taught in New York Public schools for many years.
His first volume of poetry- Damaged by Dames
& Drinking was published in 2017 and another – Femme Fatales
Movie Starlets & Rockers in 2018. A set of three e-books
titled Lies From The Autobiography vol 1-3 were published from 2018 to 2020.  His newest book, Imagined Indecencies, was published in February of 2022. He was nominated for apushcart prize in poetry in 2021 and 2022.

Tom Waits by Binod Dawadi

His full name is Thomas Alan Waits,
He was born on California,
He was a singer and a song writer,
He loved romantic life,
He had won many awards,

He loved  beat literature so much,
He had a beautiful car too,
Where she used to spend his time in music,
As well as other works,
He started to perform from 1960's,

He used to combine different musics,
As well as used to play them,
Like as a stream of consciousness,
Small Change, Heartattack and Vain,
We're his best musics,

He also worked in a films,
He also performed as a villain in many films,
Like as Dracula and mystery along with,
Heros character,
So we should love the Tom Waits and his works forever.

Bio: Binod Dawadi, the author of The Power of Words, is a master’s degree holder in Major English. He has worked on more than 1000 anthologies published in various renowned magazines. 

Dog Walk With Sadie Through a Tom Waits Cento by Michael Brockley

I spent the day unringing bells in a house where nobody lives. While the ghost of my white German shepherd asked what keeps mankind alive other than the innocence of dreaming. From the heart of a Saturday night, I eavesdropped on Jersey girls who lured their beaux into blue valentine beds, my ghost dog and I having our fill of pasties, g-strings, and swordfish trombones. Sadie reminisced about rain dogs over the sausages and eggs we ate in a Cadillac. King Kong’s old ’55 backfiring all the while in the vicinity of Heart Attack and Vine. We wound up on the wrong side of the road. Stumbling in and out of Tom Traubert’s blues. Neither of us could swear we’d mailed the Christmas card from the hooker in Minneapolis to the disc jockey full of bourbon in Johnsburg, Illinois. The piano had been drinking, not us. How many times must a man from the bottom of the world whistle past a graveyard until he’s granted Jayne’s blue wish? Sadie asked if I’d ever walked somebody home. I answered I hoped I wouldn’t fall in love again. 

Credits for Cento: Dog Walk with Sadie through a Tom Waits Cento

“You Can’t Unring a Bell”
“House Where Nobody Lives”
“What Keeps Mankind Alive,” Bertolt Brecht, Kurt Weill
“None of Us Is Innocent When We Dream”
“(Looking for) The Heart of Saturday Night”
“Jersey Girls”
“Blue Valentines”
“Pasties and G-Strings”
“Rain Dogs”
“Eggs and Sausages (in a Cadillac with Susan Michelson)”
“King Kong”
“Old ’55”
“Heartattack and Vine”
“The Wrong Side of the Road”
“Tom Traubert’s Blues”
“Christmas Card from a Hooke in Minneapolis”
“Jockey Full of Bourbon”
“Johnsburg, Illinois”
“The Piano Has Been Drinking (Not Me)”
“Bottom of the World”
“Whistlin’ Past the Graveyard”
“Jayne’s Blue Wish”
“We’re All Just Walking Each Other Home,” Ram Dass
“I Hope That I Don’t Fall in Love with You”  

Bio: Michael Brockley is a retired school psychologist who lives in Muncie, Indiana where he is looking for a small dog to adopt. His poems have appeared in Lion and Lilac, The Last Stanza Poetry Journal, Ekphrastic Review, and Visiting Bob: Poems Inspired by the Life and Work of Bob Dylan. Poems are forthcoming in Vagabond Dissent, Wordpeace, Down in the Dirt, and samfiftyfour. 

Pressing On by Stephen Kingsnorth

It seems what’s pressed is catching up,
that gold disc rising after set
as press on brings returning past.
Perspective says tracks disappear,
but groovy when they reappear;
the return ticket underscored,
prepacked as greetings in a card,
both art and music stacked in pile.
Its story stretched from spin before,
long play, when only ears received.

Surrural by Stephen Kingsnorth

Whiskey, lemon, ginger beer,
Kentucky, St Pat’s Day cheer,
following the mule indeed,
Mojo tops with Epitaph.
Laid claim Jameson the best -
I’m Bushmills, an Antrim man.
Where he’s at, Surrural too,
as rhythm beats, furrowed, bow,
hoe down, square prance and the plow.

New word minted, larger field,
come a cropper, share the yield,
cock-a-hoop as cock the tail,
shaken, stirred and then preserved.
Has it legs in swirling glass,
Black and Tans, in liquid bold,
bluegrass for the bourbon thrill,
citrus, catcher in the rye,
does it kick into long grass? 

The New Friend by Eamann Breen

There was nobody in the back of the diner except him, sitting alone. He couldn’t take his eyes of me when I sat down. He nearly dropped his toast into his coffee. He nodded but I ignored him. I thought of moving but it was too late. It would be stupid to move away like he intimidated me or somethin’ like that.

Mario scurried over to me. ‘What would you like today Angela?’

I looked at the menu in the plastic holder on the table that I knew by heart. I put it down. ‘I left me purse at home.’ I hated having to do this again.

‘Don’t worry you can pay me the next time.’

I ordered a capacino and a pan-oh-chocolit. As I sat there like a spare and texted Tina and checked twitter. Tina was having a bad hair day.

When Mario brought the coffee the guy cleared his throat and said, ‘you’re a pretty girl, I’ll give you that, but you’d be much more attractive without the dyed hair.’

Fug-off. I knew I was pretty. I spent a long time every single day trying to hide it. This morning I had had a long bath while my mother was at work. I used her good lotion and shampoo. She’d be ragin’ when she got home. Before I left the flat I scrapped all my hair back and covered my face with foundation and tinted my eyes lids green. It was like a mask. It made me feel strong and before I left the house I cut myself. Only a scratch really. A hint of pink under the skin no blood but I put a tissue under my sleeve just in case.    

‘I don’t want to talk to you.’ I didn’t even look up from my phone. Then I couldn’t resist. ‘So who are you? A fashion expert?’ I knew my roots needed to be done. I knew I was a mess. 

‘I’m John, but people call me Johnny Cash.’

‘Is that a joke?’ he was beginning to bore me. I could tell he liked the sound of his own voice. Deep voice, local probably, been away I guessed.

‘Like the country singer but I like to make money.’

‘What are you doing here? You look like a loser.’

He ignored me but kept my stare. Then he smiles, eyes all twinkly ‘What age are you? Let me guess …?’

‘I’m nineteen. Too young for you.’

‘Jesus you’ll look like forty in a few years’ time. You’ll need to cut out the smoking for sure.’

‘How d ’ya know I smoke?’

‘I can smell the nicotine from here.’

‘You’ve got some fugin nerve!’ I put my hand in my jacket pocket and squeezed my lighter letting the sharp edge of the top dig into my thumb. I like the comfort of the pressure, just like the feel of the knife on my skin when I cut.

‘I’m not saying anything you don’t know. Nothin’ you haven’t heard before.’

‘What about you? All dressed up in your suit and gel in your hair.’ Nobody around here dressed like that I laughed. Then I spied a small snake of a tattoo trying to escape from under his white shirt cuff.

‘Well how’d it go in court?’

He looked surprised and stared at me looking directly into my eyes. I didn’t blink or turn away. Finally, he offered ‘how did you know?’

‘New shirt, not ironed and hiding your ink.’ I laughed.

‘Not guilty’ he said slowly. But he said it in a way that meant something else like the absolute opposite.

‘I bet you get good wear of that suit and your own chair in the court.’ I smiled, so smart. ‘Maybe buy yourself a new one. I hear they have a sale on in Dunnes this week. What were you up for?’

‘Breaking and entering. Robbery and misdemeanours. Take your pick.’

‘Cool. What are you doing here?’ As I looked around at the tatty walls and cheap tables and damaged chairs. Everything was worn and came from another place. Rejected because it wasn’t good enough.

‘I’m in-between.’

‘In-between what?’ I asked. He had me hooked like a fool.

‘In between lives you could say.’

‘Yeah right.’ I checked the phone again. Nothing new.

‘You’d have to get rid of that bad attitude and smile a bit more.’ He waived to Mario for the bill. ‘We could make money.’

‘I’m not a theef. Anyways if you are so good Johnny Cash why aren’t you in a mansion in Killiney?’

‘Life has played a sad trick on me, a sad sad sad trick. But then you would understand all about that.’

‘Me?’ I exploded

‘Yes. You’re Jimmy King’s girl, aren’t you?’

‘Ex-girlfriend!’ I hissed. ‘Fugin ex if you want to know.’

‘Ah. I see. He spoke about you a lot inside. Your blonde hair and your smile. He had some photos too. Very tasty I might say.’

‘You make me sick.’

I don’t think so. I’m a much better jockey than Jimmy King. I could look after you. Take care of you. I’m on the lookout for a woman. I would treat you well. Get some rings for your fingers. Maybe a new phone. Maybe one of dose Burberry bags.’

He was full of it. I knew it and he knew it. But he looked alive. I imagined him pawing me and it wasn’t any more unpleasant that Jimmy King with his stubby hands and slobbery kisses and his slapping. Not romantic like or long term but for a time I could do it. Jeez I was desperate.

Mario approached. ‘Isn’t she a pretty girl?’ Johnny Cash says casual like I was a greyhound or a Honda.  He handed him a note.

‘Pretty Angela.’

‘My mum calls me that.’ I said before I could stop myself. Just slipped out.

‘No job I imagine and no prospects.’

‘Fug you. I’m in between jobs.’

Fugin Mario winked at me as he left the change on the table and walked away. Johnny Cash examined the small metal plate and called out ‘excuse me mate I think there has been some kind of mistake.’

Mario ran his hand through his fringe and turned annoyed. ‘Whaat-a-mistake? Coffee and toast? Three fifty.’ Mario under pressured reverted to his Italian accent and looked at me for approval.

‘I gave you a twenty.’

‘No you didn’t. It was a five.’

‘No definitely twenty. I don’t want to cause a scene.’

‘It was five.’

‘No. I’m sure.’ Johnny Cash checked his wallet. ‘Yep twenty. Certain amigo.’

‘No it was a five.’

‘Is the manager about?’

‘I check.’ Poor Mario. He went to the till and spoke to the cashier. There was some raised voices and pointing towards the back of the café. She handed him three fives. Johnny Cash stared straight at me all through this interval. Mario came back and handed over the change.

‘Thank you!’ he said as if the greatest wrong in his life had suddenly been made right. He got up and wiped the crumbs from his trousers and walked passed my table. He dropped a napkin with a mobile number on it and then ran his finger across my cheek as if he were playing with a dog. ‘Call me if you want.’

I said nothing. I didn’t even turn around to see him leave. Not for the first time in my life I felt tainted. I sensed Mario standing beside me before he spoke.

‘Your friend -’

‘No friend of mine!’ I snapped

‘The man’ he continued.

‘Yes the man. What about him?’

‘He lied. We have no twenties in the till.’

‘Is dis my fault?’ I needed air. I wanted to run out and fill my lungs with cool fresh air. As far away as possible.

‘He’s not a good man.’


Slowly I walked out with the napkin next to the lighter in my pocket, the lighter that has somebody else’s girlfriend’s name engraved on it, as I pushed the door open Mario shouted, ‘tell him not to come back.’ I smiled through concrete lips ‘you too!’ I smiled no more. The door, as always, banged noisily behind me.

He was waiting across the street as I knew he would and he knew he would. Nothing I could think of would stop me now.


‘Well alright. One thing. If you put your fists on me, I’ll stab you in the throat with a knife.’

He looks me straight in the eye, comes close and I can smell his sweet aftershave and tells me if ‘I ever do that you can have this knife to do the job’ and he taps his breast pocket.

‘Coolio’ I say.

‘Where to now? Your place?’

‘No I’m kipping at my mom’s at the moment.’

‘My place then. I’m across town. And take that scrunchie out of your hair.’

I do and shake it out. It covers my shoulders. He leans over and smells it in the middle of the street. He puts his arm around me and we walk towards the corner. I allow myself the luxury of resting my head on his shoulder as we walk. We stop at the lights and he turns to me dead serious.

‘I like to do certain things with my lady.’

I laugh. ‘I’m no lady!’

‘Oh, but you will be.’ Now he laughs back.

‘One more thing’ I say noticing his blue eyes for the first time. ‘I don’t do no hard drugs. I don’t inject and won’t help you.’

‘That’s fair and not a problem for me. What about blow?’

‘I don’t mind a smoke.’

‘Sorted then. Got some good skunk back at the apartment.’

Then I think of the two of us together. What am I doing? I take Jimmy King’s old lighter out of my pocket and throw it in the bin. Off we walk into the future. Well maybe not the real future but a future for as long as it lasts. Just another Monday. Next week it could be different for me but I don’t get my hopes up.

Bio Eamann Breen (he/him) is an Irish born London based playwright and storyteller. His short story When He Told Her has been published by Liberties Press Dublin in an anthology called Brevity is the Soul. The Hessian Bag was shortlisted for the Colm Tóibín International Short Story Award at the Wexford Literary Festival. His monologue The Lucky Escape debuted on the Player Playwrights Showcase YouTube channel – https://youtu.be/3tNutxGZQy8 and Ten Top Films has recently been published by the Seattle Star https://www.seattlestar.net/2022/09/ten-top-films/

New Disease Streets by David L O’Nan

I cut a record in the trance of snaps
On a new disease street.
Watching them worship the homeless man’s defeat
They stole our dancing jewels,
And from that fame
The sandwich bag Madonnas grew.
The appetite for the bleak and the new.

Music breathes out of dead-end windows
Cockroach apartments smell better than -
The flesh that is sticky from these sweat bleeding streets.
Oh, the wet blades shine more when they’re silver.
An appetite for the starved and the view.

The alcoholics are stretching for a new fight.
Those dirty pigeons that sleep in the grass instead of the trees.
I bravely found a quarter in the storm drain,
It appears the acid has eaten away at George Washington’s face.

Nevertheless, I can ride in the rusted pink taxis -
That drives faster than quicksand.
It is lonely then sickly.
Huffing in graffiti paint fumes through the holes of a brown sack.

I’ve surmised that I’ve digested the whole city, and my stomach is -
Starting to rumble and splash in its own rivers.
Now, my existence has been debated for years.
But for now, you can call me Galileo -
Because I'm punching down the stars to the land.

We are just trying to give the dying one last light show.
With all the roses’ souls, I've ripped from the soil.
Before we all slip back into a coma
And dress back down to our dusty selves.

A Full Moon Over Secret Headquarters by David L O'Nan

The full moon becomes our religion
Watch the fold in the clouds, that is us
And if they shall search for us
Amongst our secret headquarters
Cuddled together sharing Egg Biryani
What are those stars, trapped behind obese trees?

The wind blows at our tent, our lockdown
Trying to infiltrate our codes
To steal away our dance
and leave our footprints to be discovered by the gods.
The river wants us too - It sways in a vulgar ballet 
Then dies off against the dam.

Your scarf and dress left in a ruinous insult in the mud 
Left to be panicky, dizzy, separated, and severed alone - In the grass.
How can I relocate our flames?
To dwell in the hum of purring 
Collect our wings from the cheap magician
and terminate the spell.

A grandiose full moon smother
With its clouds
Even after promising heaven behind the dark curtains - That was us.

A Broken Pocketwatch Genius by David L O'Nan

Heard a gunshot through the golden curtain
They were ringing bells and smacking tambourines on our adventure.
I woke up on the greyhound bus, dumbfounded with a boner.
I can only remember someone whispering a smokey smell into my ear.
And then I went to a faint.  
A pocketwatch missing and several ladies singing loudly
Anyone here could have been the culprit.

Sitting in piles of sweat,  the heat boils me to anger.
My jeans are dirty and stained.  Someone’s needles rolling down a blanket.
I just sit there trying not to dwarf myself in this world of giants.
Sloped over and hiding my head in a t shirt.  
I was put here to go to war with the bubbles in my head I am just popping them and looking around to see who the snitch will be.
So I can maybe lead myself out of a touch of pandemonium.

By the edge of the bus I leaned and rested my aching head.
I smoked 2 cigarettes with a belly dancer-
who smelled like the walking dead.
I see a collection of papers on the floor, and I know we are somewhere in the south.
I see Missing Persons Posters folded under a green skirt and a musky towel. 
Have I made a deal with the sin of flesh, or a greasy devil?

Have I made my genius wasted by hanging my clothes in the land of honey and feathers?

I see this girl from many moons ago across the street.  I suddenly feel a little safe even though she never imagined me.  She imagined herself as a stranger to kindness, and as a dart to be thrown blindly to the glass.   She was innocent once, then new cables,

And new wires to trip her into doubt.  She was once my dream when she wasn’t sharing the last name of some fella’.   
Yet here I am still thinking that she was the one that could have known me better than anyone.