5 poems from David L O’Nan in Icefloe Press : “I Hope All is Well In Utah” “They Met in Prussia” “The Hills Have Blindsides” “I Honored You in Pennyrile Forest” “A Walk in Whistler’s Woods”

Robert Frede Kenter (c)

I Hope All is Well in Utah

I am thinking of you in Utah
making Salt Lake shadow puppets
in a Jesus sunset
on a sand dune writing poetry,
an architect with a blueprint.

There you are, complaining about something.
Red ants try to ruin your vision
equivalent to designing the Vienna Court Opera House,
the curtains have cast you nomadic for years.

Are you industrial, are you in Pittsburgh?
Are you pulling scorpions from your feet?
Have you purged the shaking?
Electric chairs still spit sparks.

Do you preach to the Scientists?
Do you carbonate religion in Ogden Salts?
To sell them all for the bottle
on the mountains, watching tiny people fly,
watch the leap before the canvas cracks.

Simple crowds move like
depressive black bears into resorts.
Is it psychedelic, do you hear tremoring bottle clanks –
that sound like Edith Piaf’s voice trapped inside?

La Vie En Rose through coyote howls.
Silence of your heartbeats
from distances, thousands of miles.

I don’t hear, don’t feel any longer.
Divisions of madness
has left us in soiled clothes
or beautifully, in a yell at some bash,
in black heels and fedora hats.

Now in Provo, at least you say,
“But your mouth can be a liar.”

Your kisses can be deceitful,
your train stop receipts reflect it.
You are trying to save us all while holding a noose.
You dive time and time again
through the clouds of glass and roses.
This early morning letter resonates,
and I feel a shave of breath leave my lungs,
“Because I don’t know.”

Are you a scream from a Joshua Tree?
A kite flying high in the hands of an angel’s drop?
I hope all is well in Utah,
because here we are all costume parties
searching for the autograph
of the imperial circus.

They Met in Prussia

A harlot eyes in the gas
of Rock
in tiny speckled jewels,
a calm scream woke the territory.
Monarchies aligned in pockets,
love was bait.
Two impish waif darlings
met in Prussia
as regimes began clashing
and rules began changing.
Their hands seemed to align perfectly
and they saw Warsaw spin its stomach.
Then the Nazis
ate holes through the pump
and towns became warzones
and their love was constant hiding
from dangers and the dare to be discreet.
They met in Prussia,
their hearts united in blizzards,
in sacrificial stabbings,
in choking chambers.
I want you to remember them as soulmates,
Not how they were when they met the scavengers.

The Hills Have Blindsides

A flock of hideous birds float through wind.
I feel these crows in shriveled fur,
their flight, an old man’s crippled slur.
They congregate together
cross-eyed and angry
to yell from the diaphragm,

Your rebellion is based on ignorance.

These were feathers from the same war
all brewed up steam together
before peace became a relevant idea.
In caskets, they lay
all purpled – in art
waiting for someone to dance and sing –

with the bells ringing from their heart.

After all the diseases sink in their talons
then gnashing and biting begins.
When the prettiest star waves you in
to meet God or the jealousies of all sins,
they roll up those hills to see clarity.
The problem is all the darkness
is not within your peripheral understanding.
The hills have blindsides,

when you’re looking for Jesus,
                                                        when you’re looking for Jesus

I Honored You in Pennyrile Forest

They had always thought of us like twins
though we were only schoolmates, best friends through the years.
We were seekers of adventure,
hospital visits were constant.
You drove your Honda bike in supersonic speeds down the Kentucky hills,
we dated the same type of girls,
smoked our first cigarette on a cloudy day on slabs of rock in Pennyrile Forest,
coughed and lightly choked up breakfast.
We laughed, and then graffitied a tractor,
long talks about all the assholes,
Your dad, the bullying step brother, the fiends that stay hidden.

We rest against the fading red barn,
as skies phlebotomized heavy rainfalls,
washed the stains of paint to our dirty clothes.

You tell me you wished you had the faith
like your Mother, or your stillborn sister.
You look into a sewer grade full of empty penicillin bottles, and cry on my shoulder.
Lightly punching my chest,
picking up branches, we swipe at blackberries and mushrooms.

Hey, John do you ever feel dead in your heart, do you feel religion?
Before I could answer, an ADHD distraction,
we take interest in the red cardinal family sipping worms by the puddles.
I say, You know I am ashamed, I’m a child really, but now they want me to be a man, they want me to be a soldier.
Tammy Applegate is pregnant, and the claim is I’m the father.


Your mistakes, when you think you love more than just skin, leads you to a
duplication of yourself.
I stutter myself to more tears,
You know I walk in to enlist in the Army for my dad and broken Country.
Maybe we will be honored kings and not poverty princes with angry children full of questions.

Bad decisions follow me like a fiend,
like fiends that followed you, John.
I am not guaranteed the beauties of Lake Barkley.
I am war crippled stem-to-stem,
a man of many divorces, a daughter that never knew my face.
I heard that you lingered for years through all of our drifting footprints.
Our stick mud people broke apart like sand crystals.

And I heard your family came and went,
diseases took your loves, the fire took your shelter.
All the bullies faded, except fiends that lived in your shadows and brain.
You must have been terrified on those lightning-lit nights, heavy rainfalls drown
you up to your waist.
Your hair now long, stringy, and all the red cardinal families sick of worms.

Pennyrile Forest was your only hint of escape
from another’s prayer echoed from barns to wells to skin off lost love.
Fine, I will welcome my sentence,
plagued to mistakes,
you didn’t have choices.
You inherited the appetite of derailment in the tracks of your lonely heart.

As I’m throwing pebbles, cutting loose bark with a lancet,
I hear you took your life in the forest to escape fear.
I run out to see clouding skies.
I run to those woods, through wild turkeys, ferns, the ballet of squirrels around
acorns.

I see laying alone on the ground,
a wet naked note that fell from the hemorrhage of a final breakdown.
It said I loved you like a twin, that note blew away,
attaching itself to that now grayish barn.
On the ground lay a cross inside an aperture.
A wet leaf lays a freshwater pearl, in piles of disaster
dry sturdy green wood.

And I know what I must do.
I have never been much of a man.
My molars never seemed to line up.
Criminal, a deadbeat dad,
barely able to walk on foot,
I have never been much of a carpenter, never had to assemble much without
direction.
But, my friend, for you I create a Memorial Bench,
and hope that they don’t destroy,
to honor you in Pennyrile Forest,

A family of red cardinals.
Rest without stale hunger, for evermore.

A Walk in Whistler’s Woods

I can feel fog on my tongue
eyes watching me from distorted trees
the feet crippling in mud-sips
cutting glassy gravel.
I can breathe in phantom’s dances
while the unknown is whistling in the woods.

The chill bites my skin.
Feeling as thin as death allows
my prayers are endless, as the path
continues to squeeze me in
closer to the lake.
My reflections float
without my body, just flowing clothing
clogged in ripples.
Whistles like radar
lead me to paper cups of wine
sitting still for the wind.
A waterfall of poisons for me to drown in.

The whistler gorges in spirits
and leaves the woods bare, the bells of rapture toll.
In the mute silence
the art of earth, are crumbled sticks
Whistler’s freedom revoked.

bios:

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

https://icefloepress.net/2020/03/03/five-poems-by-david-o-nan/

Wolfpack Contributor EIC Bios: 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 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 including The Cartoon Diaries (2019) & New Disease Streets (2020) Taking Pictures in the Dark (2021) Lost Reflections (2021) & Our Fears in Tunnels (2021) The Famous Poetry Outlaws are Painting Walls and Whispers (2018)  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.   Books available on Amazon including the most recent Anthology Fevers of the Mind Press Presents the Poets of 2020 Deluxe Edition paperback & kindle.   Split editions are available of this book as well. 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

An Essay “We the People” by Troy Jackson (from Fevers of the Mind Press Presents the Poets of 2020)

 “We the People” is the opening phrase of the Constitution of the United States of America. “We the People” was chosen by the ‘Founding Fathers’ of the nation as the opening phrase of the Constitution because it would serve as a reminder to lawmakers and citizens alike that the power and responsibilities of the newly founded nation resided in “We the People”. The phrase “We the People” signified that the voting rights of the people would serve as the paramount political act in this newly formed land of various states, laws, and peoples.

Not included in “We the People” at the founding of the nation were women, native Indians, and slaves. Slaves who had been brought into the land as early as 1609 had no rights. Slaves who were the ancestors of a people we today collectively call African-Americans. My family and I are the descendants of those slaves. Slaves were granted no voting rights and considered only 2/3 of persons in the official census of the time.

On the centennial of the Emancipation Proclamation “We the People” gathered on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial to culminate ‘The March on Washington’.  The ‘March on Washington’ attracted over an estimated 250,000 Americans.  The march was organized by A. Philip Randolph, Walter Reuther, and other notable American citizens.

‘The March on Washington’ was organized to advocate for the economic and civil rights of African-Americans and to call for an end to police brutality.  Scheduled speakers included John ‘Good Trouble’ Lewis, Roy Wilkins, A. Philip Randolph, and Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. Performers included Mahalia Jackson, Marian Anderson, Joan Baez, and the now famous Bob Dylan.

Notable voices that day included Roy Wilkins who announced that W.E.B. Du Bios had passed the previous evening. Speaking of Du Bois, Wilkins said ” Regardless of the fact in his later years Dr. Du Bois chose another path, it seems incontrovertible that at the dawning of the twentieth century his was the voice that was calling you to gather here today in this cause. If you want to read something that applies to 1963 go back and get a volume of ‘The Souls of Black Folk’ by Du Bois, published in 1903.”

Also speaking that day was the late John ‘Good Trouble’ Lewis. Who would later go on to become the long-term congressman for Georgia’s 5th congressional district. John Lewis told protesters ” My friends let us not forget that we are involved in a serious social revolution.”

Walter Reuther made a call to the conscious of the nation that day when he stated, “American democracy is on trial in the eyes of the world…We cannot successfully preach democracy in the world unless we first practice it at home.” He went on to say, ” We must take adequate steps to bridge the moral gap between American democracy’s noble promises and its ugly practices in the field of civil rights.”

 Last to speak at the ‘March on Washington’ was the honorable Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. who was to deliver the keynote address. In his now iconic ‘ I have a Dream’ speech Dr. King urged America to become a nation where in which “my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.”

 “We the People” spoke at ‘The March on Washington’ to forge a more perfect union, to demand economic and civil rights for all its citizens, and to end racism.  The people that day also called for an end to the police brutality that many protesters faced in the pursuit of the same democratic ideals inherent in the Constitution of these United States of America. 

The ‘March on Washington’ is highly regarded as the catalyst for the passing of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Voting Rights Act of 1965, and Immigration and Naturalization Act of 1965. I think that many scholars of democracy overlook the deleterious effects of the immigration policies of the era.  American democracy as we know it today owes much of its potency to the tireless work of Senator Philip A. Hart who was called the “conscious of the Senate”. 

Fifty-seven years later, “We the People” are here again in Washington at the Lincoln Memorial protesting racial profiling, police brutality, and systematic racism. The ‘March on Washington 2020’ was themed ‘Get your knee of our necks’ and was a call to the nation and lawmakers to end police brutality and systematic racism. This march was spearheaded by the Black Lives Matter Movement which had galvanized after the murder of George Floyd in police custody in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The ‘George Floyd’ protests as they are now known were held in big cities and small towns nationally and globally. It is estimated that as many as 25 million people have participated in these protests worldwide. Which has led to the forceful removal of monuments that many see as racist. The state of Mississippi a historical bastion of “White Supremacy” was even pressured to change its flag due to its symbolism of the Confederacy. “We the People” are speaking again… Washington please listen. 

  These protests have occurred during a global pandemic which has halted life as we know it. The Covid19 crisis has infected over 26 million people worldwide and killed over 850,000 according to the World Health Organization (WHO). While, here in the United States Covid19 has infected over 6 million people and killed over 190,000 people. It has also left as many as 50 million people jobless and with little or no health coverage. Many of whom voted against affordable health care just a mere four years ago.  Living during a global pandemic and facing systematic and structural racism is another barrier to the pursuit of happiness for many of today’s black and marginalized communities. Many of today’s voters are saying ” enough is enough” and it’s time for Medicare for all. Drastic times call for drastic measures the voices seem to echo.

Covid19 has caused the closing of schools, businesses, and government offices. The cancellation of many sporting events, entertainment venues, and live shows for musicians and performers. The NBA, MLB, CFA have all been impacted by Covid19. I’ve even had to suspend my attendance at my beloved University of Memphis Football games. Many people now see how vulnerable ‘Our Democracy’ really is to the winds of change, the climate crisis and other realities of life in the 21st century. America… young voices matter! America… black voices matter!

 Qualified Immunity and the Blue Code of Silence are widely regarded as obstacles to the end of police brutality here in the United States. Qualified Immunity makes it almost impossible for police to be held accountable for their actions. The rate of black deaths at the hands of police is three times that of white citizens. No wonder the popularity of organizations like Black Lives Matter.

Among Democratic voters 90 percent see police brutality as a “serious problem”. On the other hand, only 14 percent of Republican voters see police brutality as a ” serious problem”, as reported by a Gallop poll. Only 30 percent of African- Americans trust the police. With all these killings caught on video who can blame them? No amount of money can bring a love one back, even if anyone is ever held accountable. “Why turn your body cameras off” many people are saying?  Why aren’t they being convicted? Systematic racism is the most logical conclusion.


 ‘The Ending Qualified Immunity Act’ is a Police Reform bill proposed by Congressman Justin Amash of the the Libertarian Party that seeks to abolish Qualified Immunity for police personnel. Rep. Amash has so eloquently stated that ” The brutal killing of George Floyd by Minneapolis police is merely the latest in a long line of egregious incidents of police misconduct. This pattern continues because police are legally, politically, and culturally insulated from the consequences for violating the rights of the people they have been sworn to serve. That must change so that these incidents of brutality must stop happening.”

  “We the People” must vote to end police brutality! George Floyds death must not be in vain! Tamir Rice’s death must not be in vain!  Breonna Taylor’s death must not be in vain! The death of untold numbers of victims of police brutality must not be in vain!!! In this November’s election the choice is clear. It’s time for “We the People” to be heard!!!  

This work was inspired by the dedication and sacrifice of United States lawmakers John ’Good Trouble’ Lewis, and Philip ‘conscious of the Senate’ Hart.

Troy Jackson is a literacy advocate and writer based in Memphis. You can support him by purchasing a copy of his current work. Life: A book of Poems available on Amazon. 

https://www.amazon.com/Life-Book-Poems-Troy-Jackson-ebook/dp/B07Q1X

Feature image is from Unseen Histories on Unsplash.com

Spotlight on the Poetry Question & Chris Margolin

If you’re a poet or writer, you need exposure.  Especially, if you’re an independent writer, or work or run a small press.  Luckily, for us, there is a website that has been expanding exponentially the last few years giving us more exposure to the best independent poets and writers out there today.   The Poetry Question provides the concept of asking “How will you Poetry today?”  The man behind the beginnings of the Poetry Question is Chris Margolin.

He shares a passion for visualizing the future of poetry and giving a voice to poets.  Whether it would be the unique interview in which you answer the poetry questions on influences, favorite books, authors, influences.  Detailed info on why these works or writers have deemed such an influence on a writer. The site has been excellent and expanding their team on reviewing Poetry Chapbooks and novels & novellas.  

Within the last year, Chris has worked hard on adding a small press to give another avenue for writers to put out chapbooks.    So, with that introduction, we shall ask a few questions to Chris Margolin of “the Poetry Question”   http://thepoetryquestion.com

Hi Chris, thanks for giving us at Fevers of the Mind the opportunity to learn more about The Poetry Question and the exciting future of the site.

Thank you for having me! I’m a fan of Fevers of the Mind, so this is an exciting opportunity for me. I’m honored.

  1.  First off Chris, when did you come up with the idea of the Poetry Question? The original concept?  When was the moment that hit you and said “Hey I need to help small press poets and self-published poets”?

I’ve written a lot about the foundation of The Poetry Question, but I appreciate that your question focuses on Small Press Poetry and Self-Published Poetry. The site went through so many different iterations. It was an educational site – I’ve taught for almost 20 years – in the early days. Then it was a music review site. Then it was a general book review site. Then I started going to The Portland Poetry Slam in Portland, Oregon. My first night there was like finding a new religion. My introduction couldn’t have been more epic: Clementine von Radics, Alex Dang, Brenna Twohey, and the legendary Andrea Gibson. I bought every book on the table that night. That was it. These were stapled together like the zines I used to buy in high school. They were beautiful. And they needed to be seen. There wasn’t much of a choice at that point. Voices needed to be heard, and I couldn’t find a website that focused solely on small press or self-published poetry. So, it seemed like the obvious choice and direction.

  •  I know that you have decided to put out a few chapbooks, how has that experience been like that for you? What about going into the Press business has been rewarding, and what has been more challenging?

This is one of the most rewarding, important, and scary accomplishments in my life. I have no idea what I’m doing. I’ve always just been on the review side of things. I had dreamt about putting out other people’s poetry, but never thought it made sense until last year. Our daily readership went up faster than I could have ever imagined, and it just felt right. Holding a submission period, and knowing that people – without the use of Submittable – were actually sending me their words was jaw-dropping. I never expected to get submissions. I had over 75 in a month. It was such a validation of what I’d been working toward, and so humbling to know that so many would trust us with their manuscripts. We are just a few weeks from the release date (Jan 15) for both Jennifer Roche and Van G. Garrett’s respective books, The Synonym Tables, and SCRAP. They have been so kind as I stumble through this process. Can’t wait to see what happens!          

  •  I’d like to know more about the Power of Poetry section of the site. What about this section really has been a huge help with especially younger writers to understand how to be an effective writer, and how you can work at your craft to expand even when it seems the writing world is against you?

Isn’t the writing world always against us? Look, the reality is that we a lot of us started as bedroom poets and writers. We wrote middle school novels and song lyrics and poetry and tried to either hide it from everyone or share it with the world. But those words meant everything to us. They were our therapy. Fortunately, it is still our therapy. But that looks so different for everyone, and I wanted to hear their stories. I wanted everyone to hear their stories. I don’t really know if there’s an “effective writer.” I think there is an effectiveness in everything we put down on paper. It might not resonate with everyone, but it may change someone’s life.

  •  This has been a challenging year for everyone, and I’m sure for you this hasn’t been an exception. During such a year of darkness, where have you found the small beams of light that has given you a creative uplift for your ideas with TPQ?

This is a softball question. I sign into my twitter account every day, and I get to read the works of hundreds of poets each week. I get to ask “How will you Poetry today” and hope that maybe that will remind someone to write or submit or edit or read or share or whatever they can do to spread the word of Small Press Poetry. I get to be the bullhorn for poets who might not have an outlet to share their work. That’s one hell of a beam of light.

  •  Please give us more info on how to reach your site, your social media, what one needs to do to submit to the Poetry Question for a review of their new book & more. Also, when do you expect your first chapbooks to be released, any hints on what to expect from these?

Everyone can find us at thepoetryquestion.com. If you’re interested in submitting a book for review, there is a link provided on the site. We don’t get through everything that comes our way, but we work hard to review all that we can. The first two chapbooks will be released on January 15th, 2021. Jennifer Roche’s The Synonym Tables tackles the changing of language over the last 75 years. With a deep focus on our current world issues, this one feels more poignant now more than ever. Van G. Garrett’s SCRAP takes you round by round through perseverance and the art of survival. He is a legend, and I am blown away that he was ever interested in submitting to TPQ.

  • Any shout outs you’d like to give to any poets, small press, co-workers with TPQ?

This is a tricky one for me as there are so many poets and presses I’d love to shout out. Here are a few poets to keep in your sights: Chris Butler, Taylor Byas, Beth Gordon, Danielle Rose, and Jason Crawford are all beyond inspiring right now.

Chris Margolin is the founder and EiC of The Poetry Question, the only site in the world to focus solely on small press and self-published poetry reviews. Beyond his work in poetry he has taught high school and middle school English for almost 20 years. He lives in Vancouver,Washington with his wife, daughter, two dogs, and seven chickens

NEW! The Fevers of the Mind Press Presents the Poets of 2020 available in Deluxe Edition, Kindle/ebook, and Split Editions Volumes 1 & 2 on Amazon. An interview with musician Austin Lucas included in Deluxe & Volume 1

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) https://amzn.to/35EJ8Yl (Volume 1) https://amzn.to/2LyiedF (Volume 2)

Volume 1 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

Volume 2 includes contributions from myself (David L O’Nan) HilLesha O’Nan, Rob Z Photography, 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.