Poetry by Mary Jones in Fevers of the Mind Issue 1 in 2019. “Army of One – The Father I Never Had” “Anxiety’s Face” & “Nothing but Nothing”

photo by Specna Arms

Army of One – The Father I Never Had

Stand at attention, hold your fire.
Army of one in soldier attire.
First up then down,
crawling all on the ground,
staying loyal to desecrated soil.

The Fred Lee I knew became the father I never had.
Death is never really over.
You'll always feel a little sad.
But my sad is more than mourning,
I always wanted to make him proud.
Now I can barely even step out into a crowd.

Outstanding is it?
I think not.
I'm forever seeking what cannot be sought.
Where will I be when this all comes to an end?
Will I finally see him and completely mend?
Jesus, I know you understand,
How back and forth and continually bend.

Once more I profess the tragedy of this.
I send you my love, Fred Lee, Sr.,
And blow you a kiss.

Anxiety's Face

A swift heap to my downcast, much like the weather
No, that's the forecast, a Doppler radar, used to report the weather
A light touch, like a feather that barely makes an imprint
Yet, here I am contemplating its slightness
Having a mixture of fear and resentment,
A mixture of anger and encampment
A mixture, something you can digest
Not like a casserole, but something divine,
something with a little sweetness.

Prescribe me an answer to my problems, doctor
He gives me some pills, saying i'll be able to deal
and if not to call him in the morning.
None of the artificial medicine cures my tears.
None of it stops my fears.
Day after day I wonder why I have so many fears?

Just in case you forget or are unfamiliar with anxiety's face
Focus your view, look at me
I am what you seek
What are you waiting for?
What is it?
What do you see?
Oh wait, it's just little old, crazy, anxiety filled me.

Nothing but Nothing 

Pitter, patter on my head,
Recognizing I feel dead.
Little, latter, onward each day.
Nothing but nothing, mold me like clay.
The trickle of a stream running, waving to a shrine.
Bowing to the owner of what I left behind.
Hand in your crown, hand in your title,
You think you are the judge, when you're no American Idol.

Mary is an Ohio native. She graduated from Full Sail University with a Bachelor's Degree in Creative Writing in Entertainment. She's worked as a reporter for a local newspaper and is currently a part-time freelance writer. Mary enjoys writing poetry, scripts, & short stories. 

Poetry Feature for Linda M. Crate from the Anthologies

holding onto dreams

I remember
being bullied as a child
for everything:
being shy, my weight,
the color of my eyes,
my laugh, my refusal to
drink underage,
my clothes, my sensitivity—
anything perceived as weakness
was a weapon they’d use
against me,
it wasn’t until my uncle
took his own life
I realized that i didn’t want to die
just wanted the pain inside
of me to wither away like a flower before winter;
and I feel so guilty for being so lost
inside my own pain
that I didn’t realize he had struggles
of his own—
but he told me to chase my dreams
relentlessly and never let them go,
and so, I am here holding onto this anthem;
hoping one day I can make him proud.

check on the strong ones

I never want anyone to feel
so lonely, so empty, so useless,
unwanted or unnecessary as I did;
and so, I am the friend that will always
be there no matter how bad
it is for my own mental health—
the friend that will always make you
laugh and help when she can, the one who
will never tell you her struggles,
the one who says she’s fine when
she’s really not;
you all need to remember to check
in on your strong friends
because sometimes even our knees buckle
sometimes we cannot tell you the well rehearsed
lie that we are fine
sometimes our bones are heavy and our hearts
become stone leading us to the bottoms of oceans—
sometimes we need help lifting ourselves out of the waters
of our fevered minds, sometimes we need someone
brave enough to face mountains that are not theirs to face,
someone who will listen instead of waiting to speak

For as Long as I Remain

when i think of home
i imagine house
of my parents,
they live in a place with
an ageless face
whose beauty sighs in clouds
and blue skies and trees tall as
skyscrapers;
it is in the fields and forests i spent
a lot of time growing up—
the loner no one understood
unraveled herself in thick puffs of white clouds,
endless blue skies,
choruses of rambling creeks and babbling brooks,
in fields of orange wild lilies growing by the side
of the road,
in the wings of butterflies and crows;
there is peace to be found in the heart of this place
so i focus on those memories when i can
because not every memory is potatoes and gravy
some are heavy stones i try to chisel away—
but in nature i found pieces of me
that music and books couldn’t give,
and a peace that will cleanse me for as
long as i remain.


You’re Always There

when i remember home
it is inevitable
that i remember you
i wish sometimes
the rain could wash away
past memories,
but you are in my recollection;
in my bones
haunting me over and over—
when will it ever be
enough for you?
you hunger for something
that was never yours,
and i told you no;
but you tried to take it anyway—
then at college,
when i was finally loosening my petals,
beginning to feel safe
you found me;
“i bet you don’t remember me”, you grinned
all i could do was stare like a doe
caught in the headlights
of a vehicle
gutted by a ruthless hunter
hungry for blood
no matter the cost—
why couldn’t you leave me alone?
the forced kisses i insisted
you didn’t take,
the attempted rape;
now when someone tells me
i have a pretty smile it’s a trigger
and you are shooting over me
over and over again
until all i want to do is crawl
into the bones of a past self so you
cannot torment the current me—
it never works,
you’re always there.

This Place Isn’t Mine

i miss living in the town i grew up in, home cooked meals and dusty dirt roads; a village
of trees and stalks of corn taller than me—there were always adventures to be had in the
woods, always secrets the wind would tell me; i would always uncover some new
mythology of my name and bones—i miss being able to wake up to a sunrise and see a
sunset clearly, where the hustle of city life wasn’t so predominant; a place where i didn’t
feel threatened simply by existing—i miss the moments spent in tranquil nature, listening
to crowsong and dancing beneath the moon; visits to the beach or standing in the creek,
hearing the psalms of trees—i don’t like this place of endless sidewalks, buildings, and
the omnipresent arrival and departure of vehicles; i like the music of the country better: the mooing cows, the cawing crow, the songbirds, the barking dogs, and singing crickets;
everything is better than the constant beeping and whirring of people focused on being
somewhere other than where they are—i just want to wrap myself up until i can be
husked and boiled away from this place and come out shimmering, new, beautiful, and
reformed.

i understand why

found a puzzle piece
of me
you all tried to keep
hidden from me
all these
moons,
and i understand why;
the dark feminine says respect me
or perish
so the lot of you’d be dead
for all the disrespect you’ve always
dished me—
but I’ve stepped into
my power and magic,
and i feel more secure about
myself than i ever have;
it is easy to make an insecure girl
bend to your whim and will
and make her doubt herself until she
succumbs and obeys—
but i am no longer that little girl
who is terrified,
i have become the terror that will haunt
you in your nightmares;
i will not apologize because you should’ve
apologized for not accepting me as i was.


the girl that loved you died

my heart was a wilted flower,
and you plucked the petals;
let me bleed for a love you refused
to reciprocate because you were
taken with your fantasies of me
rather than who i really was—
had a lust that killed me,
but i rose from the ashes of your chaos
on these mighty flaming wings;
a phoenix whose tears may heal but her
fires burn
immortal of the flame
ancient daughter of the moon—
i am a warrior
always have been,
my rebellious nature and sharp tongue
have gotten me into trouble;
but i refuse to be
tamed—
wild as a forest fire and hurricane
you will never find anything but ruin should you
stand in the way of me and my dreams,
and so i recommend you stay far away from
my kingdom;
because the girl that loved you
died
and the dark feminine stands in her place
this dark phoenix will be your end

they say i’m aggressive

i am always told i am aggressive,
but why can’t a woman be fierce?
why should i apologize for the fact that
i won’t be taken advantage of?
got a sharp wit and a sharp tongue,
and whilst i can be flowers and compassion
i am also raging storms and lightening strikes;

a magic that no one understands
i am hecate’s daughter—

everyone misunderstands me
as they do my friends the crows and ravens,
but that makes me no less a queen;

i was born at night
the darkness doesn’t scare me
because i know how to survive the darkness

sometimes it is the light that is more terrifying
because you never know if it is a false dream
or a betrayer who is a fallen devil singing
the songs of an angel—

but i am a spooky queen
you shouldn’t cross me
because i dance with all the rage and wrath
of the witches, you burned in my family
eons ago,
and i am a woman you cannot burn;
a phoenix whose flaming wings and talons

can rip you to ruin.

there’ll be a rematch

i was lost in a dark limbo
hurt to think of love or you or anything

wanted to close my eyes,
thought of how pretty it would be
to observe the creek from
beneath the water;

i was suffering a deep depression
that almost swallowed me whole
except my family and friends refused to give up
on me no matter how sad or angry i was—

you claimed you loved me,
but love isn’t supposed to be an ache
that rips you apart until you feel like
a broken sunset
tripping over clouds until your light
fizzles into night;

i lost our child and your love and all respect
for myself because i thought you cheating on me
made me less beautiful and i saw an ogre
every time i looked into the mirror—

but, darling, you were the monster;
you woke the monster in me, too—

one day there will be
a rematch,
you’ll lose.


longer than i remember

i may be strange and unusual,
but i am in the land of the living;
full of so many worlds and characters
it could take centuries to unravel
them all from every universe of me—

people get lonely being alone,
not me;
i am actually addicted to it

silence is much preferable
to small talk—

and with all these ideas, i have,
i’m never truly alone;
even when no one is here
the words keep me company

no one seems to understand that—

they tell me i need someone,
but i have always had to lean on myself
for strength because no one has
ever been there for me;

so why do i need another person?

they say ultra-independence
is a sign of trauma,
but i already know because i’ve been
suffering with pstd and trust issues
longer than i can remember.

Linda M. Crate’s works have been published in numerous magazines and anthologies both online and in print. She is the author of six poetry chapbooks, the latest of which is: the samurai (Yellow Arrow Publishing, October 2020). She’s also the author of the novel Phoenix Tears (Czykmate Books, June 2018). Recently she has published three full-length poetry collections Vampire Daughter (Dark Gatekeeper Gaming, February 2020), The Sweetest Blood (Cyberwit, February 2020), and Mythology of My Bones (Cyberwit, August 2020).

From Linda:
The themes of my latest chapbook center around rebirth, reincarnation, and learning from the past. It speaks upon how events from past lives can still impact us today, and sometimes looking and learning from the past can actually make us stronger. It is about overcoming emotional trauma and embracing the inner warrior and fighting for a better future.

Follow Linda on twitter @thysilverdoe
Check out her latest poetry chapbook “The Samurai”

Poetry Showcase on Megha Sood in Fevers of the Mind Anthologies

Nothingness

Some days are like days
where sorrow creeps out
from every nook and corner
trying to pull you in

like hoarfrost on the succulents
the bright shining death
shining through your smiles
devouring you
slowly but surely

like the snake taking you all in
and spitting you out
your hands are covered in sorrows
devoid of you lines

you look into your empty hands
mirroring your life
when the pain creeps up on you
death shrouded like a mystery

where nothingness
is a well-acquainted feeling
the lonesome feeling
you ever felt so
deeply in your pores

Loneliness Begets Second Chance

The half-finished wine glass on the windowsill. A pile of books collecting dust and memories in equal –
measures. Loneliness screams through every nook and corner of my room. Dying Lilies in the broken –
vase with its serrated ends gaping for its last breath in the muted stench of the water. The paint –
scraping off the walls is a reminder of the scratched pellicle. Remembrance is a metaphor for –
acceptance. The unfinished sweater once tangled around the bony fingers of my granny now remains –
orphaned at the base of the couch. Dangling specks of dust in the ray of light, a measure of the –
congruous amalgamation of the despair and agony seeded in the porous soul of this deserted room. –
They are huddled together for warmth for the company. The parquet floor still waits for its due from –
the summer sun and begs for its apricity. A humbled heart strives for its sustenance. The sun-soaked –
mahogany desk has a pile of unsent letters. The longing and unfulfilled desires piled high up as my –
disappointment. Waiting to be acknowledged, waiting to be read. Skewed painting on the walls waits –
for its due, a second chance. A hand to wipe off the dust, a gesture of love, a gesture of acceptance.

The Uprising

The calm and serenity of my demeanor
is a facade for those hunger laced eyes

who like scavengers are circling me
poking me to get a rise out of me.

Their indifference towards me
Their sharp razor words are slicing and shredding me

Indolent words laced with blatant ignorance
that not all hearts are sliced the same way.

Our hunger speaks in different ways and languages
not known to everyone. Not aware of this, they keep poking

& my anger rises like a steaming kettle till I scream
like a whistling pot failing to keep my thunder within.

She Never Had the Chance

Those warm untimely hugs
Precious smiles with a caring persona

Buried under the string of the incessant fights
And the trauma which hides within the fold of her skin

Breathing, slithering, and coiled in the corner of her room
Waiting to strike at any given moment

Pain which traveled and mold and morphs
every fleeting moment of her childhood

Those giggles and laughter lost in the meaningless
fights and incessant screaming across the room

There is pain carved in every corner of her room
She still waits for her share of happiness

In the house now which she never calls home
Nine years old and she never had a chance.

Juxtaposed

Suspended between the intangible state of dream
and reality a state so profound yet so surreal

the tangible moments slip through my open palms
as the gossamer truth of realities weaves a noose

around me tightening like a storm around my waist
with each repetition cutting close to the wounds

pushing deeper and deeper till the flesh gives in.
This juxtaposition state of carnal and survival desires

are the secret language of the soul when it
whispers closely to you, a hushed whisper with

a heaving bosom and a bated breath
syncopating surreptitiously with our heartbeats

ONCE MORE

The deep long treacherous shadows
cast on the bedroom wall
the hallucinations of the clock
the monsters lingering in the hall
the clever and long nails
of the desires clawing their way in
your deep supple soul
and with an ashen mouth
soaked with the crimson
a touch of your tangerine love
I ask for the forgiveness,
Once more.

Sitting in the pews
reading my verse from the holy book
trying to absolve my sins
by dipping my
knuckles in the holy water
shedding my sins
and lecherous desire
to clean my tainted soul
Once more.

Stretching my legs
and arching my back
to stand in the long
wretched queues of the soup kitchen
looking away from
those empty glances
scraping away the curse and abuse
from my sullen mouth
washing it again
to make it pure
Once more.

I stand for forgiveness
in front of my creator
and a devil on the shoulder
perched and feeling at ease
crooning my neck as he, please

I’ll be the god’s holy son
until I stab that knife
in your chest
Once more.

That grim smile on the
devil’s face
I’ll fall down from my grace and
ask for forgiveness
to be absolved again
like a hamster on a wheel
Once more.

BLIND MEN

Our whole life is nothing but a sine wave
the rise and fall of our deeds decide our fate
the crest and trough of our wealth
decides our relations and friends
The ups and downs of our life
decide about the strength
and grit in our character
and the lows and highs in the life
tests our faith.

Anybody showing you the mirror
otherwise is a bad reflection of reality
a pseudo-truth
a distorted reality
based on the dark and dystopian future
which will suffocate any
hope for your fragile
dreams.
will prejudice your dignity

You are on a rollercoaster with no breaks
the speed and the place
where you stop
decodes your faith
so stop believing in destiny
and pull your own breaks
carve those lines in stones
let them see the daybreak

Cause no one can ever tell you
who to believe in
we are all, in the end,
a group of blind men
trying to feel the actuality
a face of the stark reality
we are living in.

SILENT CHAOS

Sometimes there are
hushed whispers under the bated breath
sometimes there is a cacophony
the dissonance
drowning our minds
leaving us numb and frozen

sometimes the laughter gets lost
floating through the trees
frozen on the moss
on a cold misty morning
a frozen ghost

Sometimes a loud thud
when the old chestnut
breaks down and opens itself to the wild
love is always a sacred offering

sometimes the scars tell the whole story
untouched yet cutting through the bone
sometimes the silence seeps in the wrinkles
those folds on the skin
bereft of any emotion

Sometimes a pale face
holds the mystery for the closed palms
and sometimes the crow’s feet
carries the laughter for eons

a still face holds the mirror to life
look closely at the reflection
floating in the swirls
of the deep those obsidian eyes
sometimes silence screams the loudest

Choked

Your vapid thoughts
lodged in my throat
stuck between
the ashen dreams and the reality
like an illusion
a mirage,
like an impossibility of the summer rain
Your pungent thoughts
settled like arid leaves
with its stench carried
throughout my body
those capillaries of failed promises
like the bowl of milk left overnight
left to curdle
baring the stench of a failed ambition
a continuous struggle of my existence
I’m feverishly trying
to regurgitate these sullen thoughts of you
from my reticent mind and screaming soul
a moment sublime:
to breathe fully
to finally feel alive.

That Searing Pain

How can a fleeting emotion
a mere mention of your name
or a visage bearing a semblance of yours
torments and rattles my soul
the searing pain hasn’t stopped yet
the blood hasn’t
chipped or dried yet
those memories
hasn’t turned into a bookmark
a thing of the past
an affair to be forgotten
that smile
still not foreign to me
as the memory of
your warm embrace too
these old memories
with pointy and dagger precision
splits and shreds me to pieces
the pain comes flashing back
as I trample the
unburied consciousness of time
moments so precious
spent in the company of yours

It leaves me baffled
startled how much
a mere sense of your presence
can rattle me from within
aching from the core.

BROTHERHOOD

“We must live together as brothers or perish together as fools.”
― Martin Luther King Jr.

We are all broken, crumbled
rounded again
made from the same clay
caked and baked in the same
unforgiving oven

We all have cracks in us
from where the light gets in
frayed at the border
pulling apart at the seams

Peeling off and
breaking down into pieces
in all our miseries

We are all the same
living under the same
ashen cloudless sky
and blue moon in its reverie

Breathing the same air
swooning over the same
melody of the souls
and crooning our necks
to the same broken chords
in unison, we roll

We all are the same
laughing and cracking up
With welled up eyes
With bruises we endear

Getting stabbed by the same knife
bloodied by the same bullet
cast creed or religion
doesn’t seem to discriminate
Or beg to differ

We are all the same
same heartbeat
sliced and splintered
in million pieces
and the same God we worship
holding books with different verses

We all are the same
from within
laughing at our scars
with abject profundity.

We are brothers
together we shall live.

SCARRED MOON

Untethered,
Unhinged
like the other half of the moon
denied existence by its bright half
a deception like no other.

We sing the songs of the moon
of its beauty and serenity
while the other hides the darkness
the scars,
rejected by its own self

never been a sonnet written about it
bathed in the beauty of the gibbous moon
when the crescent white
is engulfing the other half
devoured slowly and completely forgotten

the night scowls and screams
at the injustice.
I sit and sing my songs of despair
imbued in the silken moonlight
while the two halves
continues to struggle

More About Megha Sood

Megha Sood is an Assistant Poetry Editor for the Literary Journal MookyChick and a Literary Partner with the “Life in Quarantine” Stanford University, USA. Her works are widely published in literary journals and anthologies including Better than Starbucks, Gothamist, Poetry Society of New York, Madras Courier, Borderless Journal, WNYC Studios, Kissing Dynamite, American Writers Review, FIVE:2: ONE, Quail Bell, Dime show review, etc. Three-time State-level Winner NAMI Dara Axelrod NJ Poetry Contest 2018/2019/2020 and First Place National Winner Spring Robinson Lit Prize 2020, Finalist in Pangolin Poetry Prize 2019, Adelaide Literary Award 2019 and Erbacce Prize 2020, Nominated for the iWomanGlobalAwards 2020 and many more. Works selected numerous times by Jersey City Writers group and Department of Cultural Affairs for the Arts House Festival. Editor of ( “The Medusa Project, Mookychick) and ( “The Kali Project,” Indie Blu(e) Press). Chosen twice as the panelist for the Jersey City Theater Center Online Series “Voices Around the World”.She blogs at https://meghasworldsite.wordpress.com/ and tweets at @meghasood16
Description of the Projects/Chapbook

  1. Co-Editing the “The Medusa Project” by Mookychick, UK Based Arts and Literary
    Journal
    “The Medusa Project” drives inspiration from the magical winged warrior and a Greek
    Gorgon “Medusa” who rose above all the struggles, atrocities, and abuse in her
    patriarchal society and carved a niche for her, finally becoming a beacon of strength and
    resilience for generations to come. This anthology celebrates the 100 years of the woman
    suffragist movement in the United State which led to the 19th amendment of the US
    contribution allowing women to vote.
    This anthology is a deep exposition of that pain and angst carried by the women for
    generations. It encapsulates the entire angst, rage, and passion and transforms it into
    thirty poems, mixed with art, poetry, fiction, and the magical rituals spreading throughout
    this e-book. Released on October 31, 2020, this e-book is free to download. You can
    know more about the e-anthology here.
  2. Co-editing the “The Kali Project” by Indie Blu(e) Publishing, USA
    An anthology of Indian women writing poetry. The Kali Project is a once-in-a-lifetime
    speak-easy for Indian women of today. Their struggles, their triumphs, their truth.
    The Kali Project is another example of setting alight the inequality of women in India by
    sharing their talented voices with an English-speaking audience. We want to introduce to
    our Western readers, those talents within India who speak with the same fierce voice and
    share the same goal of equality and an end to oppression. Indian writing has gravitas and
    brutal honesty that has existed for millennia, influencing poets from around the world.
    The Kali Project has brought together the voices of Indian women speaking their truths.
    Be it infanticide, family violence, the emerging LGBTQ community in India, or the
    marital inequity Indian women face, these struggles are penned in exquisite poetry to
    enlighten and bring awareness. You can know more about the project here. The
    anthology will be published around January 2021
  3. Literary Partner in “Life in Quarantine” Project by CESTA (Center for Textual
    and Spatial Analysis)
    Life in Quarantine: Witnessing Global Pandemic is a Digital Humanities initiative
    sponsored by the Center for Spatial and Textual Analysis (CESTA) at Stanford
    University. Launched in March 2020 by three doctoral students and a group of
    undergraduates, LiQ is an online community platform that addresses the transformations
    we’re experiencing in the age of COVID-19.
    At the core of the project, there is an online historical archive that houses personal written
    accounts in a wide range of languages from various countries. These stories document
    how the COVID-19 pandemic is changing the lives of people from various backgrounds
    across the globe. Additionally, our website provides a space for different types of creative
    expression; personal stories, creative writing, blogs, and visual art.
    The website is designed as an open education resource for students, educators,
    governments, organizations, and businesses to promote cultural solidarity and global
    interconnectedness with inclusivity at its center.
    I’m acting as a Literary partner for the Life in Quarantine Project, responsible for curating
    the works from the literary community for the “Words in Quarantine” section of the Liq
    Website. You can learn more about the project here.
  4. First Chapbook “A Potpourri of Emotions”, Local gems Press, NY
    https://meghasworldsite.wordpress.com/2020/09/18/chapbook-published-by-the-local-
    gem-press-long-island-new-york/