Cognitive of the day
We tumble ran to the lake
Tripped off pants
Slipped down dress
Frantic laughing to the water
Control lost, no play cool
Wet lips pressed, slick
Summer hot skin, steam
Dripping lake from strands
Pushed from our eyes
Lure me under again
Dysphoriaoriginally published in Fevers of the Mind Presents the Poets of 2020
I was told this is what I had to do
So my eyes seek a shape, pattern – fixation
Numb the mind
Climb inside the dark circle of the paneling
Twist into the loops & swirls of the curtain
Trace the maze of the tiles on the floor
It will all be done soon
This is what I was told I should do
That body isn’t mine
But I lug it around
And with it a persona to puppet
Who was I with her?
How did I behave around them?
No one really knew…me
I can’t say hello to you of five years ago.
I took this skin out & we spoke words that had meaning then, maybe
I don’t remember them now
How forgetful, unthoughtful, you’ll think
Who was I? How much of me did you really see?
Better to burn the past than pick through splinters
I suppose this life is akin to living in a suitcase
Taking out this being, this flesh to engage
A misfit to the mind
Desperate to love, but moments of love felt like terror as well
Numb the mind
Find a shape
And if I were to change this skin
Receive stitches and sutures to be a more fitting form
You might be perplexed
You might think it a joke
Those who felt closest
May just deny, grow angry, grow sad
Call on the name of ghosts now gone
But a puppeteer’s arms grow heavy & sore
After half a lifetime of shows
And once the rubble of the mind is cleared
The choice must be made to live life’s remainder
In a performance for others
Or to stop staring at patterns
Ethan O’Nan is a trans man living in North Carolina, he has a wife and 2 children. Ethan only
dabbles in writing these days. His whole life has led to the last few years fully understanding what to do
to make him feel on the outside like he has always been on the inside. The older brother of EIC David L
O’Nan, Ethan is a business owner along with his wife Kristi. Ethan enjoys 80’s music, art, crafting,
making soap, & comedy.
In the Deaf Man's Houseafter Ilya Kaminsky
Don't call it a republic,
a coalition of hard listeners,
lip observers, grazing
up against the shorn
naked nerve endings
that fire into darkness.
This is not a country but
a punishment, to be perceived
as if dust surrounding words
and thoughts, a need for
affection, for guidance,
for questions: who invented
television? The running of
the grunions? The practice of
affixing silent book to arms
and foreheads? We'll never know,
though our father was full of sky,
his speeches to the clouds,
the sounds he could remember
like sprockets of a movie projector
ticking off commandments:
What thou shall hear
and another thou shall translate,
and what the last a pair shall
understand to be within the scope
of permitted interpretations
within the half-heard lyrics
and dialogue: obey
Oliver Plunkett, or the G Above High C
In the reliquary where the head
of the saint is secured in a prism,
the penitents kiss the surface,
then stand back to see their imprints
vanish, like covetous objects from
childhood, a mist populated by
dolls and matchbook cars, and
fabrics clutched in nightmares.
As adults they have come searching
for a glimpse of the true cross, a sliver
that might hover within the pantheon
of icons, a piece of death not in vain,
but with a purpose that withstands
decomposition. The tour guide
says this visage was rescued
from a pyre so worshipers might
partake in its vengeance, and each night,
at dinner, the penitents get theirs,
in the form of dressing down whatever
oppressed class they blame for
economic blight and political chaos.
But the Israelis: Oh, to see them and their country,
they say, because so much progress!
At the tour's end, they adjourn
to their homes, and consider how
only those like themselves might
reach the most arduous of notes
in devotion, as the saint did in his
passion, while sinners and protesters
cannot even begin to decipher
the voices of their idols
or the words from the tablets.
Sources and Illness
A plague makes splinters
of all bodies, recidivists
as well as innocents; their
mechanics revealed as if
a doll's, the one my father
promise he'd purchase
if I ate my spinach. A door
in her back revealed wheels
upon wheels, the complications
of turning against the status
quo ante, the unforgivable
act of indecisiveness.
My father said, "Eat your
spinach or your wheels won't
turn," because back then
there was always a chance
your wheels would seize
and reverse, skid until threads
were worn drown to stone
and sparks would appear where
there once was traction.
"There are dolls on fire
in China right this instant, "
my mother would scream,
for she had lived through
the same economic anxiety.
My father's property stretched
as far as I needed to see,
above the neighbor's swimming
pools, the road to school,
the dawn that breached
making a play for where
the moon had been. Worlds
were random in assigning
their wreckage in those days,
as the wheels in children
supposedly ran on all the same
wavelengths: glass in the soles
of feet, pox on the skins,
blisters and calluses on
palms and fingertips
from the rings on the playground
or holding the pencils
too tightly during the testing.
My pet tortoise died
from eating lettuce on
the patch of grass where
my father wished he was
growing lemons. We thought
age and inheritance commanded
the epidemics that raced
around the cul-de-sac, but
it was the roots and stems that
hosted pathogens. Living
things that were not sentinent
and yet they attached
themselves to our fears
and breaths as if they were
suckling infants, possessed
of a similar restiveness.
If we had known it was these
silent materials that threatened,
perhaps we would have
given them a voice, animation
or some other way clear
from the specter of breakage;
a method of beginning
again absent the wounds
we thought made us immune
and protected us.
Bio from 2020:
Jane Rosenberg LaForge is the author of a forthcoming poetry collection, 'Medusa's Daughter', from Animal Heart Press; and the forthcoming novel, 'Sisterhood of the Infamous', from New Meridian Arts Press. Her poetry has appeared in the forthcoming in the Loch Raven Review; the Broken Spine; Thorn Literary magazine; and 8Poems. She reads poetry for COUNTERCLOCK literary magazine and reviews books for American Book Review.
Austin Lucas has a new album “Alive in the Hot Zone” which many have in their year-end best of 2020 award nominees.
(Cornelius Chapel Records)
First off Thanks Austin for granting an interview with us at Fevers of the Mind Press for the Fevers of the Mind Poetry Digest: The Poets of 2020.
Austin: Thanks so much for including me
Q: It has been over a year since the last issue. It is weird, it seems like something might have happened to try to jog away from the creativity into a slow depression month after month as this has continued. The year 2020 has been some work, and it has taken nearly a year for me to fully get my creative fuses (mostly out of the anger of this year) to feel like there has to be another edition! There are many voices out there that have been writing through the year, and their voices all need to be heard.
With that, how have you kept your creativity with writing songs & putting out a new album? Was it any different going into the studio and recording the new album in the wake of the pandemic.
Austin: I have found myself baffled by the disconnect from reality among my fellow americans, along with their seemingly limitless capacity to entirely abandon reason. As for inspiration and the process of staying active in song writing, it seems that I was able to have even more time to exercise my capacity for creation with so much time off the road.
Q: I was a huge fan of Immortal Americans & Shallow Inland Sea after hearing your appearances on the comedy podcast Improv4Humans with Matt Besser. Even my 8-year-old daughter became a fan of “Immortal Americans” and I love that song and Shallow Inland Sea) How is Matt Besser and the Improv4Humans experience?
Austin: I love Matt and all the I4H crew so it’s always so cool when I get to collaborate with them and also when I hear that someone discovered me through that medium.
Q: I’ve been listening to the new single “Drive” on repeat listens, and watching the interesting Pandemic feel of the video on Youtube. Where was it filmed?
Austin: Well it was shot in Berlin during the pandemic, so what you were seeing is life as it is currently lived. That video was a phenomenal experience because I was able to cast a bunch of my favorite people who I honestly don’t get to see often enough.
Q: How are you maintaining focus and coming up with new creative endeavors without the touring and the availability of concerts? Tell us a little about the Save the Stage movement also.
Austin: As I mentioned before, I seem to have almost boundless creative energy when so much of my time isn’t spent traveling and feeling worn down by life on the road. Sometimes I get incredibly tired still, due to my intense training and coaching schedule with Muay Thai but even that doesn’t distract me and leave me feeling so depleted as constant travel.
Q: When I heard your interviews regarding your songs in the past, I was excited to learn that you grew up in the Bloomington, Indiana area. I grew up in Western Kentucky and lived in Evansville for nearly 20 years. I’ve spent many nights visiting Bloomington. Always good shows up there. What was it like growing up in the Midwest? What about the Midwest do you love, and what part of it makes you shake your head?
Austin: I don’t know, there are so many things I both love and hate about the Midwest but honestly, I don’t find much more wrong with the Midwest than I do with any other part of the USA. There’s good and bad and the bad things are found in literally every corner of the United States. I do love how direct people are in the Midwest vs. other parts of the US though. We’re polite but we won’t bend over backwards and bullshit you if we think you suck.
Q: I know you have many roots in punk music and for most of your career, you have spun punk ideologies into an Americana/rock-folk carving. So, who were your heroes musically, and inevitably with writing song lyrics that maybe have helped you weave the two musical styles into your niche?
Austin: His Hero Is Gone, Discharge, X, Neil Young, Bob Dylan, The Beatles. Jason Molina is probably my greatest lyrical influence but there’s a lot in my repertoire that’s derived from my upbringing in the Bluegrass and folk lineage.
Q: What is your process when you write a song? How long does it usually take to come up with a full song to your liking, music and all?
Austin: It really depends, I’m a notoriously furious and extensive self editor so it can take anywhere from hours to years for me to write a song. I generally begin with a riff and build words and melody around the first riff that I write and go for there.
Q: I’d like to congratulate you on your nomination in the category for Americana Song of the Year in the upcoming AMA-UK Awards in 2021. How do you handle the recognition that you deserve for your work?
Austin: Thanks so much, I honestly just smile and feel grateful. I’ve been in this songwriting game for a very long time and have yet to receive many accolades. Which means that while I appreciate it all the more as a result, I also have a hard time imagining that it will be a regular occurrence. At the moment I’m just gonna soak it up and be grateful that some folks cared enough to nominate me for an award in the first place.
Q: You’ve worked with many great artists on albums such as Lydia Loveless & John Moreland. Is there a musician out there that you would love to work with, or came close to working with that once (hopefully) someday when COVID is gone that you’d feel like this could be the ultimate collaboration?
Austin: I’d honestly love to work with several artists but the dream for me would be to just sing duets with Dolly and Emmylou or Gillian Welch. My other biggest dreams are to make albums with Baroness and Neurosis and also to make an album with Blitzen Trapper would be an absolute dream.
Q: Out of the many, many songs you’ve written. Which do you feel the most complete lyrically let’s say, or just satisfied with the outcome. Do you ever feel like hey, where did these words come to me from? I think lyrically Monroe City Nights resonates with me so well. I can feel the sadness of the Midwest & the vulnerability to adapt and so everything just seems stagnant (in the solitude of okay, I guess this is how my life has to be?)
Austin: To my mind, that song is absolutely one of my crowing masterpieces in a lot of ways. I’m honestly very proud of my body of work overall but my last 2 albums have probably had the most of what I’d consider “me” in them.
Q: Tell me about the new album “Alive in the Hot Zone” released this Fall. What about this album is getting the buzz of Austin Lucas out there in the Americana & Indie scene. What about this album, do you feel is different from your other albums?
Austin: I honestly don’t know, I guess it’s the fact that I managed to write about what everyone was going through in the world right now and actually release it while we were still experiencing it as a global community
Q: Finally, the dumb question. Let’s say some bozo with some weapon comes up to you. Let’s say He’s like I’ve got 2 albums that you have to re-make, and you have to choose one to cover completely (no matter what it does for your career) and hey maybe you can change the dynamic of people’s minds about the albums, Do you cover Milli Vanilli’s “Girl You Know It’s True” album or Debbie Gibson’s “Lost in Your Eyes”?
Austin: I’d personally rather cover Go Go’s “Beauty and the Beat but I think I’d go with the Debbie Gibson album, if those were my only two options.
Q: No really, we’ve seen like full album covers by artists like Beck, the Bird, and the Bee, and ummm…yeah Ryan Adams do such, if you ever went that route with an album what would you consider an awesome honorable album to cover?
Austin: Oh, haha, I guess I already answered that question but let me say two things. 1. Ryan Adams is a creep and 2. I’d also really love to cover the entirety of the Cure “Pornography” or “Darklands” by Jesus and Mary Chain
Q: Thank you, Austin for spending a little bit of your time with Fevers of the Mind, and much success on the new album & good luck with the award nomination.
Austin: Thank you so much for sitting down and asking me these questions.
Bio Courtesy of Austin Lucas.com
Austin Lucas is a punk journeyman, activist and songwriter from Bloomington, Indiana. Consumed by an overdeveloped sense of wanderlust as a young person, Austin spent his formative years in the driver’s seat of various beat-up Ford Econolines. Burning through countless miles and living the world over, he’s made his home everywhere from the American West Coast to the Czech Republic.
As a young person, Austin worshipped a diverse mixture of Classic Rock, Country, Punk, Psychedelic Folk and Mountain Music, and has made a career by successfully fusing these disparate influences into something uniquely his own. Emerging as a prominent and revered talent among his fans and peers, Austin has stood shoulder to shoulder with some of the most recognizable icons of Folk, Punk, Indie, Country and Americana, all the while uplifting the traditions of Roots Music and holding true to the attitude and ethics of political DIY Punk and Indie music as the lifeblood that runs through his veins.
Releasing albums since 2006, Austin Lucas has been a fixture in the worlds of Alternative Country and Folk Punk for nearly two decades, having sang alongside and toured with everyone from Willie Nelson, Jamey Johnson, Ray Price, Brent Cobb, Frank Turner, Chuck Ragan, Dawes, Langhorne Slim, Joe Pug, John Moreland, Lucero and many others. To hear Austin Lucas or see him live is to discover the type of well-kept secret that can only stay that way for so long.
During the Covid-19 pandemic and subsequent lockdown Austin Lucas has sheltered in place in Mainz, Germany. Although growing homesick far away from his home and family in Indiana, he has successfully used this extra time and inspired energy to prove that it’s impossible to keep a good troubadour down, writing and recording songs for his forthcoming album, “Alive In The Hot Zone!”.
Ghost riders. Their particulars printed to the flesh, bound to living bone.
Origins forgotten, dying revenants in their crumbling towers: civilisations long dead.
Thought weavers bait as restless dreamers thrash and buck, bound in twists of linen.
Awaking only to sleep.
Life’s time travellers nihilist clawed, reaching beyond meaning, tearing at the vacuous godhead.
We live as wasps do. Angry, buzz-busy, wrapped in our nest led lives.
Stirred back and fore, this slow grinding mill, a spiral of stars.
In a night’s quiet sense a rising. The galaxy’s eerie cry, it is Laniakea’s wind.
Eternity’s span this arch of stars, counts time beyond ten fingertips.
Into wicker’s rest. Fill this grave with a crush of wildflowers.
Mixed meadows delicate pastels and fine perfumes, grace your memory.
Unbearable grief and beauty speak under the voice. Why must our ways always be run, through a curtain of dying flowers and falling tears.
Billow-shakers hold tight to the corners of cool winds, in this season of forever.
And in far reaching fires, we wait for Khamsin winds and desert grains. To fall dry as stinging rain.
Conceived in failure and nurtured with self-doubt, amarulence grows.
A corkscrew of pain, as vision tunnels to eye the heart of a malcontent.
An anthem of injustice rings. Mighty bells of beaten copper and tin.
Out here in this static heat a threat is annunciated. Tremble as gentle anger whispers your name.
Dai Fry is a poet living on the south coast of England. Originally from Swansea. Wales was and still is a huge influence on everything. My pen is my brush. Twitter: @thnargg Web: seekingthedarklight.co.uk
The Fevers of the Mind Press has a huge collective of poets, writers, interviews, recommendations & more in the new book https://amzn.to/3sjgWnz (Deluxe edition) *released early 2021*
includes contributions from myself (David L O’Nan), HilLesha O’Nan, Rob Z photography, Ankh Spice, Catrice Greer, the Poetry Question & Chris Margolin, Jenna Faccenda, Ethan Jacob O’Nan, Icefloe Press, Robert Frede Kenter, Moira J Saucer Darren Demarree, Abdulmueed Balogun, Bradley Galimore, Anisha Kaul, Foy Timms, David Ralph Lewis, Paul Brookes, Sidney Mansueto, Lawrence Moore, Karen Mooney, Jenny Mitchell, Makund Gnanadesikan, James Lilley, Richard Waring, Vern Fein, Ediney Santana, Rachael Ikins, Samantha Terrell, Al Matheson, Ceinwed C E Haydon, Will Schmit, Dai Fry, Barney Ashton-Bullock, M.S. Evans, Megha Sood, Jane Rosenberg LaForge, Matthew M C Smith, Lucy Whitehead & Merril Smith as well as an interview with Americana/Indie/Punk musician Austin Lucas ,Troy Jackson, Book Reviews for Hokis, David Hanlon, Susan Richardson & Norb Aikin, Karlo Sevilla, Steve Denehan, A.R. Salandy, Steve Wheeler, Sher Ting, December Lace, Ken Tomaro, Kushal Poddar, Tan Tzy Jiun, Amy Barnes, Jason DeKoff, Raine Geoghegan, Jim Young, Tim Heerdink, Damien Donnelly, Kristin Garth, Mela Blust, Jackie Chou, Rickey Rivers Jr, David Hay, Kari Flickinger, John Ogunlade, Z.D. Dicks, Julie Stevens, Gayle Sheridan, Wil Davis, Samantha Merz, Iona Murphy, Gerald Jatzek, KC Bailey, Samuel Strathman, Mike Whiting, Peter Hague, E Samples, Ann Hultberg, Jane Dougherty, Michael Igoe, Maxine Rose Munro, John Everex, Lacresha Hall, Kelly Marie McDonough, Gabe Louis, Linda M Crate
Deluxe Edition is over 300 pages and includes all of the Poets, writers, interviews, musicians, photography & more.