2 Social Justice poems by David L O’Nan (Archaic Motorcycle Breath and Like Bullets From the Cowboys)

Justin Bernatek (unsplash)

Archaic Motorcycle Breath
The whistles of brakes
Now here comes the burning oil
The grinding petals to the street
Polluted with archaic motorcycle breath.
Across the bridges
They spread disease in the ripples of the river
The script flips
Over that mountaintop
When freedom is disrobed of crimson dress.
Let’s believe in the burning of the privileges
To the disease of a racism mentality
Blowing up the baby boomer birthday party
Around the curve,
The flames eat through the winds of malice.
How to become one? When?
When reduced to living behind the fence
Cannot see, cannot breathe
In the flesh that should feel free
But the enemies are loud
And they assassinate without hesitation
Living in fears –
That feeds the dictator’s stomach.
No one is here for your entertainment purposes only
And no one under this sky
Was put here to feel less than human
So hard to fly within the radar

When the sunlight dies –
You cannot tame the bird to go hide in the nest.
Never a prisoner
Never a suit
Never a believer (in the power of the badge)
Mixed in the blood of your boots (in your fairytale dream)
The skeletons show from the closets –
When you think all your bones are hidden.
Will it all come out in the wash?
With help from black robes on blue-lit streets
The skyline begins to burn like paper
A new revolution bubbles out from the crisping seas.
The chariot to heaven –
Doesn’t include stops to hide in the tunnels.
When your name is called
Remember those whom you’ve made suffer
When your name is called
Your lips won’t rest in the quakes and quiver.
But love will come from the ashes
But equality will come from the ashes
But the truth will come from the ashes
Honor will be
Humanity will be
And the American eagle coins meltdown like rain
And monetary status becomes irrelevant

Like Bullets From the Cowboys
I’m burning inside
I’m caving in
The laughter heard as they stole my mind
You want the skin to be the demons
I can’t escape the hills of your bones
I’ve lain in the flood, in all of the blood
Like bullets from the cowboys.
The angels want more resistance
The breath they want,
And the breath they will take.
That speed through the body faster than the viruses.
Hidden in the badges, the hood, or the graveyards
Like bullets from the cowboys.
In the rapture, they trap in and capture – the Christ
In cave walls or tiny mansions
They white-out biblical passages
Replaced with Americana ink
The idolatry gospel spouts –
From the mouths of the wicked
And they still like to play cowboys.
The outlaws in Mercedes
Papas in rough trucks
Mamas painting hate over the tracks
Loose trails that lead to the next shell casing
Bullets from the cowboys
Or infantile swimmers stuck in the mind of a Civil War Newspaper.

The Plague never left.

All of the poems (revised) from Avalanches in Poetry Writings & Art Inspired by Leonard Cohen by David L O’Nan

A Hallelujah for a Midnight War

I can feel your skin breathing in orbs
kisses that feels like surgeries
and the money dies off when you are greedy
and we step right into a Midnight War
Millions of Judases in the wilderness
The sick and the crimson
In torment, so petrified
One breath, chokes
Hallelujah

In chaos
the hammer smashes in the glass
We are hidden behind these walls
a combustion in bones
and all to become vapor
In this Midnight War
Where the glitter turns to ashes
breaking from the chairs, a howl
Hallelujah
The spectres and the stars
Looking as one
Like in a mirror of night

We have been forsaken of riches
They loot the diamonds from the heart
And the robbery is simplistic
we feel translucent watching the seas
The Midnight War cripples
And the waves clash together in an
Everlasting 
Hallelujah

The virgins spin down
with chapped lips
and breeding, hungry eyes
You are numb to touch
A revolver, an allergy
The flaming of whips to erase your mind
The pearls, they fall to the fire
the path is a torrent from fibrous roots -
to the vines of cherries
Angelic songs
Obliterates, to my auditory invisibility
In grief, in pain
Praying in puns
Hallelujah 

So, Midnight passes
And we are back to 1 a.m.
Time for the blossoms and the honey
woven into the fabrics of Earth
tip toes the demons away
White horses begin to gallop -
wildly around the curves
and suddenly your eyelids open
back to the reds, blues, orange in the sunlight, surrender
hear the hearses beginning to putter
the gas kills off the energy
Hallelujah

Ripped Off My Jean Jacket 

As the symptomatic leaves begin to fall
I watched noiseless waterfalls -
drink in the deranged and lame
Our bodies are blush,
decorated into these parks
by the stabbing strokes of a paintbrush

Brush away these harsh devils
Wiped away all of my tattoos
My head is clammy and sweating
Watch the stars penetrate the heart
From the moon,
I have become the decorous
the ultimate gentleman -
to all that is blind
whip-in the inhales
And shoot the arrows to the waves.

If I am uncovered,
if truths are found to be false
I will carry myself like a casket
and image myself as the lifeless wooden doll
I collapse
to the thundering faint, to the floor
I ripped off my jean jacket
the wild, the seeds plucked to be reborn

Long nights listening to this same rain falling
the owls are silent in their hoots
the traces of our footprints -
are known to be crazy
we are picking the serpents from our boots.

So, is this the white noise?
I live in either gray or electric shock
an impulse is easier to swallow
but sin takes time to regurgitate.

Oslo in the Heart 

It was 4 seasons in Oslo
Where they greased the wheels for our eyes
when they bleached the brides
my skin has turned to purple veins,
locked my mind inside a wall of chains
all the Norwegian women bled like rubies
over a beach of shells
Candlelight on the bones inside the moon
cooking the peasants in a witch's ritual.

Oslo was in my heart
when we wed
Winter crosses full of wet lead
tuning my mind to a dripping paint
and rippling vapors whip in every corner.

Oslo was in my heart that day
we danced a fandango
through the avalanches lay bare sleighs
the mountains had broke for all the old anger in the stones.

Oslo nights in wonderfalls
heartbroken men and shallow women calling
for the moneymen to come from the big U.S. city
the commercial life
the vacations and all the models
bankruptcies in graveyards
the drifting of the wind.

Shenandoah Tramps

You walk the streets like you are still in Tabriz
You miss the Iranian Summers
While fumbling full of wine
you feel the prickly goosebumps from the breeze.

And we begin to walk with a squint
as the sun masks the city
eyelids bouncing,
and quivering drunk lips.

You desire the kiss when the night stirs
dressed in scarlet red
looking for that efficacious effect
We are like the stars in the sky
celebrities in meteoric flash

We are just lost
from the waste to the lakes
trying to unlock the code
to flee us from the beams of Heaven's Gate

We can wish on these wine bottles
throw in the pennies for a little luck
we can invent beauty
out of the contagious Shenandoah muck.

Our city is just a bullet town
Our love will fall like tramps in the rain
with our hands becoming umbrellas
trying to protect us from the downpour
awake our celestial shine with this oncoming train.

And here come the dollies 
and all of the sheepmen
who gather ours fossils
and they use them for swanky chaotic sin
our rose is a misery 
burn the shell right off this redolent city.

The streetlamps are as dim as a yellow puddle
with a hint of chickweeds growing around the blacktop tumors.
And all we can talk about all of the music,
and hum until poetry rifles through our brains.
Studying the fallen art stuck to the limbs of trees
On the edge of what was Calliope.

When all was tame and flowery,
The strong was not frail without a care
Our frames were not broken, just skeletal grey
And we would dine on evening air
and dance to the melody of church bells 
the hymns were our parade.

Drinking Blue Moons

I was burning through the poker chips
Looking eye to the cavernous eye of some demon
I see all the misleading in your passions.
If all your passions are the flaming dollars
and all shoes want to dance for the triumphs

You have a Malibu boy doll home
with wives that sashay in the golden fields
beautiful gardens and thrusting seeds
water this, burning just a little.

And we all want your suits and all the glory
the perfect hair and the ungodly White teeth
Maybe the jealousy lives in all of us
but we know you're as fragile as a toothpick -
when your way begins receding.

Drinking Blue Moons when the red wine runs low
You begin pacing like a war of pistols
when the bombs begin flashing your photos - to the world
we know you, there are truth whisperers

Your flavor of the month decisions
begin to disease with constant new kisses
After dark in powder kegs
love hearts dancing around the bones
to erode them
three sheets to the wind
and your toy world is for sale and crumbling.

Love, love, love
is in the twist of a bottle-cap
Love, love, love
Is putting your head next to the ammunition
the boattail bullets dips you in to the a round of ripples
Love, love, love
Your blondes in black in the background crying.

All the women are there
from all your hidden life messages
to a Lucy, an Alexis, a Leilani, an Olivia
From the bedrooms with White curtains
and all that money -
was never his to begin with
Will he rest in peace in a graveyard of suitcase tombstones?

An Autumn Scarecrow

If my song for you is Autumn
From the roof I shall sing to a soft chill
My voice is an earthquake quivering out
these little sonnets and trails of letters
Coming down faster than the snow

We soon stand still in the early season blizzard
It will blade through all of the farmland
The prairies ruined with guillotined scarecrows
bleeding straw like a hydrant
This is our beauty, this is our moment
Will you say I love you back from this Midwestern view?

And we can warm each other in praises
In the hills of sleet where we shared our first kiss
your hair falls over my body like the stars tonight
And magnetizing our hearts together in our newly found love.

Let us birth the Winter Solstice in the death of leaves
I really never cared much for all the scarecrows
Anyways,
they were nothing but a lie
To keep the dying birds on the street

I know, I know I can love you
At least for awhile in this arctic shift
as my heart beats lazily the colder it gets
Well, do we escape together?
Before all the tornadoes of Spring
hunt for fresh meat
to begin the hunt for a new shelter
Share this breath with me a little longer
before I have to think of the potential hazards.

All of the Miles Between Us

There are many miles between ideals
and many indecisions.
Between the straying women
Riding new wheels
and feeling weightless.

Do I feel artistic,
or just punch wildly and swing around to a phantom touch?
How can I be me?
When I am constantly feeling stalked
by the shadows, the voices, and past scars
the new wheels begin to break and roll down the road.

I see you play the actress
You play with the best of them
Just call you Joan Crawford, Just call you Mrs. Hepburn
I can't see myself in these mirrors
past the steam there you may be
Is it the lipstick or the lie?

Just cradle me
you are my melting candle
Like a mind without sympathy
Hear the wails in the air, 
I'm constantly in a crawl for you
but you felt more secure by naked irises
and secure by the many miles between us.

On Rippling Streets and Possibly Dying

Inhale, exhale, now uncertainty
awoke or maybe i'm a splattered angel to the road.
In feathers like a cardinal in hot August breath
Burning away to the move of a wicked gravitational spin

I'm on a rippling street,
dust swirling like my head
covered in an old business suit, damp and frail
watching abandoned Subway trains moving once again.
I see a 1940's traveling preacher on the corner.
One moment he's for Jesus, the next he's in it for the flames.

I stare into the hypnotism of a long walk to triumph
I have to face the destruction of regret
and neglect myself in cigarette smoke that wrestles the air -
to the gray we all see in this converging heavens
From this industrial sewage drains to the tobacco fields
the trees lift from the ground funneling energy from the clouds.

I'm on this rippling street
And I think i'm lifeless
a hex to the all the beauty of colour
a hissing in my shoes
they begin to race by you to get to me
Do they see a man, a skeleton, or invisibility?

And the Wolf Shakes

In a camera's view
I am the tortoise
When hidden away I can be the hare
With whistles, dry kisses, and dangerous fixes
I can suddenly be the crushed worm.

I feel the hierarchy of changing
the wind cracks these castles to rubble
And you dream of the vicious
and you dream of the gentle warmth
in the shelters when the wolf shakes.

Eventually, the Winter will slip through
Those cracks and eternally
We feel we become the peasant's meal
The bears begin  knocking and Goldilocks is illuminated
Always hiding like the scared child
When it begins thundering the war sirens.

The bullets, the bombs
Squeezing like the boa even when we run
The parades become eerie and the howling sounds like hell
Tight and abusive,  the frightening smiles and nods
those demons drink in the rain
and leave us all thirsty
with endless clouds still bleeding.

Imagine the harps and flirtations of the angels
only to be tricked by the chivalry of the devil
I see the spit of poison reflecting up -
from the bottom of a wineglass.
And God can be the illustrator when you are fearful
when tasting of the bread and the Holy Bible is a straitjacket
to whisper you back to sanity.

These wars were made for men
certainly not made for love
the damages have painted a death,
for the wash.
Now the washing away.
The floods finally have come.

Wiping away the hoax of the drifters
in these torrents 
to rebuild our trenches
where we can desire to live again
When will that wolf leave.
will the sheep ever get to play?

Leonard Cohen's Ghost

To dance, dance, sway, just sway
with all the Gods, the ghosts, the deities that we pray to.
Restless orbs hovering through my bedroom.
On the walls that they call home.

In their wooden eyes and popcorn ceiling shedding
I feel a leaky roof's carcass form an IV drip of falling rain
On the bed sheets, on my cold Manhattan muscles
with all the holiness, the prophets, and the seers - that surround
Drinking the electricity from my blood.

In my slumbers I see the hereafter
In windows bonded by straps
Paralyze my brain to a schizophrenic trap
Patch myself back with apologies and prayers
the Soul keeps straying to and from this thin layer
between me and the concrete sky

In this room lives the melancholia
Reflections of Orion
and all my visions, Judases, and the disease - in synthesis
My bones fail, 
and muscles endlessly ache
they crack and break 'til I cease to be

Being an old man
dressed in yesterday's fashion.
I sleep in my suit, with another suit for pillows to cushion
The opium that fills me begins to possess me when it becomes night.
I may be left abandoned, yet you want to steal my soul.
You reach from the floor and present my death as Christmas Day.

I have your stains in my DNA,
And your perversions scarred in my brain
I looked to you during grief and hunger
And you, the angel, the woman, the saint - the kiss
Gave me a drink from my flask on the worst of days
I retire away from your memory.
Where can I find the safety again of family?

In New York the rats know you by your name.
And you gamble with them in Central Park
Drink your coffee with the visions of Virgin Mary
the herald angels we Hark!
I begin to dream away a crystallizing of waterfalls 
the moving mountains on my deathbed calls.

My children have all left the buzzing city
I have grown skinny, skinnier every day
with this beard always itching.
The room feels like it's a melting paste.
And I sketch all the martyrs, my family, and founding fathers
And I pray to a wisp of light that shatters against the lamp post.

In all of its fury, I meditate through this path
I confess to a mass of angels lifting away the flames from my soul.
I want salvation 
as I see the jetlines of Leonard Cohen's ghost. 

Smoke Halos in Endless Winters

The infatuation with you was immediate
You complimented me on my shirt
Your tanned skin danced with the sunlight for the Summer
As I sit in admiration for you in the crackling dirt.
I infected myself,  
haunt myself with your routine.
Day after day
the ring on your finger seemed to be on display.
How you cried in your loneliness and longing.
And I wanted to be the shadow that meditates in your soul.

In coffeehouses we roamed
The same crowd of people we knew
I wanted to draw you closer
Your heart belonged frozen to a soldier's march in a sick hue of blue.
Even when he screams
You sat as the trophy on his shelf.

There was a line of men like me
some had love in their mind, others were just bawdy
Many admirers left blushing
at the parties and in the silence
And in the New Year's trips 
I was hanging on to my sanity
from the tip of your lips I wish mine were.

And I would cry for your nomadic footprints
That I lost and battled myself to find
And every time I thought you have found clarity
The green pebbles from the red,
Then you became a borderline aurora
My body thrown in the piles of dead,
just another audit for the cemetery.

You would come home in tears, a distance
My arms still open many months for your embrace.
After months of your endless nights and dark mornings
The smoke halos above an Alaskan bay.
I'd hope for the energy of my heart to be revived 
I wanted to charm your broken one from the ashes in your shoes.

I would hint annoyingly trying to drag out a smile.
And you would hide behind a mask of newspaper
I would write you poetry, and I bled out my blues
I would ask for a dance though I didn't know how
I would gladly try even if my legs were be broken.
If at the end you were the ultimate prize.

I would've danced my tears to a drought
I would've lifted you up above the clouds
And touched the wings of the angels
to revive us from the Earth's shutting crust
And the younger years become a dusting.
And full of those hearts stuck paralyzed.

The strings of years form on my forehead
A husband and a father
And I know you are around
I still feel the fighting of those ghosts
I feel you are battling them also
though the nomads walk begins to slow.
The footprints of Winter now have a home.

The Shrinks and Street Heroin

From the morgue you seem restful, finally
Your blonde hair, blue eye German swirls became languished
From the battles of Berlin and Cologne
You walk like the death of magic.

The rain dissolves in your palms and fades
Fall in the puddles of your narcissism and hatred
your reflection as withered as your health
the death of the superego and the icy stared pupils.

The needles came from everywhere
and you collected them all as if they had value
and all your shrinks kept pushign you closer to the brink.
Your fashion became flooded
like the blood in the plunger.

They inject the dye and lies
And you swim in a coma through the streets -
of this dying city.
While all the boys would watch you like a sunset
You quietly regress as the opium drips from the tap.

Soon you befriend the devil
But you say you hugged Jesus
You've brought flowers for the enemies
And you dreamt up an artistic sewer.

There are weird, wicked & wonderful snails
That lay on the concrete in  your heart
And they just want  you to feed them the freedom
From the points of lust in needles
With their many injections and ejections.

So let us travel to your voyage
The withdrawals and we surround you like all the pneumonia
Pounds, pounds your lungs
Pounds, pounds your breath
baby, baby, baby
the palpitations, the scarring, the stench
Living life like the jagged nails on a bench.
become dispensable.

Not bathing in oils anymore
sleeping naked on the bathroom floor
Your shrink now has an unlisted number
No longer the fresh breeze
in your decay of all art and poetry
the mortality surrendered
Permanently in my doorway is your dark shadow.

An Ode to Tessa While in New York

The juveniles gathered around your blinds
They studied your silhouette to memory
Dancing like Ann-Margret around the room
The candles burning around a 1985 waterbed.

On New York city nights
one of the college boys in the alley
Looking for a clue and a view
You'd walk out slightly drunk,
smiling at crowds of boys
with eyes that were up to no good.

Riding a green bicycle to the Jackson Hole
your scent of sweet cigarette smoke and perfume,
leads the path to a perfect follow
Maybe I will come down and have a drink
While you chat about the news to some hipster folks
I see you flirting with them all. 

Everyone laughs until we bruise
my heart just jumps like a petrified fish.
I have to walk by and say a hello
Although, there were more handsome faces in the shadows.
I hope to at least be more hypnotic than the stained spoons -
in this diner.

You say "I am Tessa, but I believe you already know that"
I introduced myself, she said "I've always liked your artsy hat"
We drank coffee 'til our stomachs bled.
And I was as shy as a detached bubble.

You carried the conversations, lead my hand
Picking flowers out of the cracked sidewalks near Brooklyn
Lead my hand, as we joined silhouettes
As the other jealous hustlers sat in the rain.
Lead my hand, through other diners with scent of burnt coffee.
Drinking our time away we would be catty, flirty & bitchy
Tessa,  you really enhanced my greed and need 

In nights I swayed with you
Nights we cried into each other's chest
Nights we drugged ourselves to nightmares
Nights we laughed until the extra strangers left
Now, in New York here I am
Long distances between the walks in all the boroughs
All the pigeons, drink at cold waters
the Statue of Liberty looks plagued.

Since my needs are old
When you lead my hand, to the bars
You lead my hand, by all the Harlem diamondbacks
You lead my hand, to you breathing your last breath -
on the back of my neck.
You lived your life for many,
but to yourself you hid away all your suicides.

Featured photo/art  by Geoffrey Wren 





















Meet the Fevers of the Mind WolfPack Pt 1: David L O’Nan & HilLesha O’Nan

David L O’Nan (EIC & Founder of Fevers of the Mind Poetry & Art)

Bio: David L O’Nan is a poet/writer/editor living in Western Kentucky. He is the editor along with his wife HilLesha for the Poetry and Art Anthologies and Fevers of the Mind Poetry Digest and has also edited and curated the Avalanches in Poetry: Writings and Art Inspired by Leonard Cohen. He has self-published works under the Fevers of the Mind Press & The Cartoon Diaries (2019) & New Disease Streets (2020) Taking Pictures in the Dark (2021) Lost Reflections (2021) & Our Fears in Tunnels (2021) David has had work published in Icefloe Press, Rhythm N Bones Press off-shoot Dark Marrow, Truly U, 3 Moon Magazine, Elephants Never, Royal Rose Magazine, Spillwords, Anti-Heroin Chic, Nymphs Publishing, Voices for the Cure an ALS Anthology, Ghost City Press, and has been nominated for Best of the Net. Twitter is @DavidLONan1 and @feversof for Fevers of the Mind and on Facebook at DavidLONan1

HilLesha O’Nan

Hillesha O’Nan is a blogger, writer, photographer & marketer. She is co-editor/founder of Fevers of the Mind Poetry & Art. She runs the blog tothemotherhood.com for over 15 years

Escaping the Bonfire in the Woods by David L O’Nan (poetry, writing)

Escaping the Bonfire in the Woods

To the blind, we must feel so wild
Running through the fires to the thrill, We must be so nauseating
We’ve built cradles and thrones
With all the muscles melting,
And all those broken bones.

The fading spirits escape the night, The bonfires charring the riverbanks- Leaving the grass to be tart and ash.
The thundering in distances, –
Are not for our freedom- It is more of a call, To the death of it.

We can only hunt for the hearts for so long.
The hearts are the monsters.
And defiant to love,
And the blood swims in jealousies.

To be blessed by adventure,
To be cursed by the threatening.
And we are talking about all the beauties.
The supreme and goodbyes in the rain
Erect lightning rips apart our skeletons- When the fire became a broiler. Within, Our motion is muted. Vision now evades us.

photo by Sergio Valenas

Full Moon Over Secret Headquarters by David L O’Nan (poetry & writings)

A Full Moon Over our Secret Headquarters

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 smothers
With its clouds
Even after promising heaven behind the dark curtains – That was us.

Photo by Kenrick Mills (unsplash)