Poems from the Fevers of the Mind Anthologies & 2 from Avalanches in Poetry by Kari Flickinger

Kari Flickinger – WRITER, ARTIST & STORYTELLER
kariflickinger.com

November seventy 2120. day:

you learn that

there are at least fourteen ways of saying the same thing
then more

fifty
three
hundred
seen beyond bricks and banks

what kind of bird will shut a mouth
through time and space if shoved far enough

what kind of body shall i wear
find it and i will fix my light to it

thousand and fourteen
dwelling under peat

but perception is a funny carri
-er and some explanations
may never find footing

that invisible host will hold me accountable
even after they find the boulder in my stomach
below the ligaments and tear
for this blurred recollection of how

, and the ways,,,

i have tried to tell what has happened

more boulders in this temple at the base
of my neck
i have become more rock than woman

when i was alive

but that was a long time ago now

nearly yesterday
maybe tomorrow


November seventy2120 night:

spent a few days
years lifetimes

climbing into obsession

the nerdy kind of focused obsess

of people for their work

passion someone once called it more than one
manysomeone
has that word drifting through their lexicon

i find it overwhelm

when people get serious. (never mention polite here)
taken to task

for not taking things seriously
enough i think

years

this energy
all of these implements that fill me
arehavebeenwillbe inconsequential

and after seeing the same
type of serious

energy go in

to such unimportant things, like rocks
and microwaves and not-quite
-lovers it is hard to take
anything seriously anyway

anything like everything, is useless


November 202020

I’m Raveling

My brain has become a time-bomb. Some days I see cracks
forming, the viscera collects along the edges. I see too many
pictures of a bird and I remember there is a book
I bought about fancy pigeons somewhere
in my house. Somewhere, I begin

cooing. Begin to excavate the stacks and swirl. The books
land around my thighs. I can feel
the sharpest one pressing, but I

only pile more books on it. I turn on the tv.
A woman with a tight blonde bob unravels over
the club music streaming in her car
as her grown son drives her away
from a psychiatric facility. I can feel the neighbors

above jump. Someone is vacuuming. Making tea.
Running the disposal. I imagine the pipes will
soon back up. We share sound and clogs.

Crashing or leaf-blowing presses me like books. Every
constructive image turns my head in a new direction.
Plumage color has meaning. Down. Source. Media
is social whether in a hallway or on a screen.

I recognize the language but feel irrelevant.
The overload is not anything I can express
to the people left in my life. A friend

tells me about a podcast where a man and a woman
discuss a horrible murder, and I
recoil
because my brain has become a narcissism device and I start to
write
a scene around the murder. I tell myself stories
about the characters I place in the
lack of context. I can imagine the knife
splicing
my knee, my wild elbow jagging across my left breast. Now I
must leave
the house for quiet, but I am afraid to leave the house for
quiet.

I tighten
the curtain, sure that
someone

is watching me from the outside. But I cannot
decide who.

My family members call and find themselves confused
when I overwhelm. They do not expect me to become
fragile.
I have never been a fragile creature. They try to weigh
how much heft I have held with no help before, and think
over-drama
fakecloneplant from an alien government.
I count my tentacles from my hiding place and wonder
how many holes have developed inside my brain.
Not self. And maybe

there is some truth. I am not myself. I am

broken vase iteration of me. With blemish
and break. Strands grey. Hands tire. My brain says
everyone hates.

She tells me to sleep.
Never
to get out of bed. She places me
on the couch. I place a blanket over my head
so, the person watching me from outside will not know I am
sobbing.
I want to staple the curtains shut. I wonder a hole in
the wall
is really a camera. I think about bowties. Not pasta
A man who is trying too hard at a fancy dinner-party. I fight

with the document about the structure of that last
sentence, of course, that is after
I emerge. I dream I fix a gin. Add lemons
to my ongoing grocery list. Garlic-salt. Ketchup.
The cheapest yellow mustard in the store. Can of tuna.
I think it is weird that I specify the can. Why not pouch?
Why is the can important? It is as if I am trying to
convince the list I am not as fancy as the bowtie.
Jar of Arrabiata sauce. But it is safe
under the blanket

if I cover the phone camera with tape.

I watch these actors kiss in a rainstorm through the weave.
and wonder how my life would change if
I could kiss in a rainstorm. I look
down at the rolls and creases in my body. I pretend
myself a mountain. Though I am more
a sun-bleached hill. I try to extract tears as
if they were solid implements.


Novemberfifteentwenty

writing exercise

I was standing in a mall parking lot looking up at the sky
at just the right moment to glimpse orange through clouds.

Election
make soup—cut
onions / peppers / ckn /
sliced end
off / pull husk / slice down
to the bottom—almost
again again
again long
on side & cut down—watch

all the layers fall into tiny separations

Book launch
book launch
pandemic
tired. afraid
afraid to go to the store for yogurt
unemployment
cat wakes me up after four hours of sleep
infected rise
like some zombie wave of coughdeath
afraid I am being watched
all the time then my sinus sets off and
I Sudafed to sleep

something unbalances deep in the gut.

balancing / diving

I have frozen at the diving board since
I was a kid, there are so many possibilities

in that deep water and I have always frighted
pushed away

connection really, more
than love, it is people. calmed

myself w/ slow rocking. I think

people do not know what it is like for mass like mine to hit water
from any height and forget frozen water how

did anyone ever traverse frozen water? who was the first
person to try to dip their toe in the freeze and say
hey guys the water is fine!

come on in?

much less have the mettle to dance and swirl the surface
that might not hold?

what trust / shadow lives in that kind of blind belief?
I do not trust my body to move me
in regular ground. if I cannot trust open

water / closed
water / regulated
water—how should I be

expected to trust frozen water?
how does water freeze? how do I?
have I frozen water?

November Fortið

people I love keep saying goodbye to me
in ways too subtle to keep me around

ghosting

past creatures divine a future where there is no them
before I can know they are absent

there is something
miraculous about catching a neighbor’s light

as it flicks off in the dead of night

in an apartment complex
other people’s lives swirl around

in a pandemic any one of the people we see
collecting their mail every day

could wind up dead
yet somehow

some ghosts do not understand
death means forever

And 2 poems from Avalanches in Poetry Writings & Art Inspired by Leonard Cohen

His Woman is Free 

My enemy is blue
building books
from deep
shaded nests - from
the silence of a rising
falling chest - curling
hollows of breath
holler from the
grasping future.

My enemy sends winged
winded messages
as sound funnels
into my eclectic sphere.
The atmosphere
of curbed longing is
affecting.

I hollow out for him
Bees perch
piston-petal covered
legs through my ribcage.
My own legs lack
hair for the first time
in a year. I feel too young
as they build comb.
Honeycomb me
of all
honey-leave
this stinging
slow hum
down the pane
of the hairless leg.

How quick the cold
loss of love comes.

My enemy is no good.
He shows how I am no
good too.

I Have Tried in My Way

This corvid keeps plunging
her lungs to the break - to the tongue
she alarms her songbird friends.

Invasive sound warns
in ever-expanding circle-chirps:
darling, that chill on the cusp of
morning is brimful sickly love.

But song
bird falls
into Autumn
the way
most do
in spring.

Spring is cotton-sweet on the sticks
of old birds. Blue gum. Kernels
clasped in her claw.

Change twirls around the edges
of September. Feasible feast.
Insurmountable mountain.
Thick leaves. Swell. Breathe.

Feathers
flicker.
Sun-winds battered
Arctic
thrust. Is
it this

shape of Fall that twists her?


Wolfpack Contributor Bio: Kari Flickinger

Interview  with Kari Flickinger from the Fevers of the Mind Press Presents the Poets of 2020 Anthology

Interview with Kari Flickinger from the Fevers of the Mind Press Presents the Poets of 2020 Anthology

The Gull and the Bell Tower by Kari Flickinger, Paperback | Barnes & Noble®
Questions and Answers:

Please describe your latest book, what about your book will intrigue the readers the most, and is there a theme, mood?

My book, The Gull and the Bell Tower is my debut work. On the surface these are love poems, but they are doing more work than that if you scrutinize them. The writing spans over 12 years and explores perception shifts and questions of author credibility as a sole mechanism of storytelling. This book shows glimmers of my mental health issues as they compound in grief. Time shifts. There are pushes and pulls—the voicing morphs. All of this is intentional. I am showing what it is like to not trust yourself, time, or the people around you.

What frame of mind & ideas lead to you writing your current book?

I wrote the titular piece, The Gull and the Bell Tower, early one morning at UC Berkeley while watching a bird circle Sather Tower. So, I guess sometimes a bird is just a bird. Sometimes a tower is just a tower. But, of course, they are more than that and less than that, depending on the reader. The pieces in this collection circled each other like the gull I watched that day. This book is not a chronological impact report. It was compounded over a lot of time, and strides chasms that I am still coming to terms with. Honestly, if it had not been published, I would probably keep editing forever. 

How old were you when you first have become serious about your writing, do you feel your work is always adapting?

I came out of the womb a storyteller, and I was profoundly serious as a child. But I am far less serious now, I think one of the poems I sent for this feature is actually about that. If I can slip a bit of weirdness or a joke in somewhere, I will. If you find it, it is probably intentional. I started submitting work in my thirties. I certainly hope I keep adapting, I think that is what propels us to find meaning in life, moving changing, growing. 

What authors, poets, musicians have helped shape your work, or who do you find yourself being drawn to the most?

Janis Joplin, Grace Slick, Leonard Cohen, Leonora Carrington, Italo Calvino, Robert Duncan, Tori Amos, Nina Simone, Concrete Blonde, Theodore Roethke, Nicholas Yingling, Richard Thompson, Patti Smith, Salvador Dali, Georges Braque, Lorine Niedecker, John Darnielle, W. S. Merwin, Toni Morrison, Jorie Graham, Czeslaw Milosz, Sharon Olds, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, David Byrne, David Berman, T. S. Eliot, the Pre-Raphaelites, the Symbolists, Sappho, Ovid. I really love older folkloric stuff rooted in the symbolic, The Tain, The Sagas, Old English poetry and riddles, Calvino’s Italian Folktales, Technicians of the Sacred, Spells of Enchantment, Gods Heroes and Monsters, Inanna, sorry—all of these are titles that are sitting beside me. One of my favorite reference books is my Taschen copy of The Book of Symbols. I read a lot. I love most of it, and immediately forget it, with a few exceptions. It is difficult to determine how anyone gets anywhere.

What other activities do you enjoy doing creatively, or recreationally outside of being a writer, and do you find any of these outside writing activities merge into your mind and often become parts of a poem?

I have been painting my way through the pandemic. I play guitar and sing, too. Though my illness in February severely affected my voice; I have a suspicion that it may not mend completely. That has been a source of grief. I love the concept of gardening, but I tend to kill plants. Mostly, I just visit them in their happy homes now. I go to the UC Berkeley Botanical garden quite often. I get obsessed and write; one day it might be sea snakes, the next physics, and I dream about what I read and then it becomes a poem. Travel, or public places (cafes, bars) really get me there. So, I have lost those sources as I have been in isolation. At home I talk to my cat a lot, and he slides through poems.

Tell us a little about your process with writing. Is it more a controlled or a spontaneous or freewriting style?

Spontaneous free writes. All over the page. Weird drawings. Repetitions. Apologies. Rude jokes. Love letters. Though if the spontaneity does not come, I will force it with weird writing exercises I assign to myself. Lately I have been writing about artificial intelligence, physics books I do not completely understand, and the television show, Lost. I had a long period in my twenties where I did not write often, and I always fear that could come back, so I try to write something new every few days.

Are there any other people/environments/hometowns/vacations that has helped influence your writing?

I wrote the Leonard Cohen inspired poems that were in the Fever of the Mind “Avalanches” book while I was in Santa Cruz. I have a piece in FERAL, “The Titular Line”, that I partially wrote in a bar in Olympic Valley (Northern California) during the Community of Writers a few years back. I write about Berkeley a lot. I’m like that football guy at the bar that talks about the glory days, only it’s my terrifying dissent through my mental health issues while studying at UC Berkeley. I have a lot of work that is sitting in notebooks about my trips to Italy in my late teens. I write about Sacramento and Placerville a lot. I grew up in Placerville and spent much of my twenties in Sacramento (California.)

What is the most rewarding part of the writing process, and in turn the most frustrating part of the writing process?

I think the emptying is so rewarding—writing persistent thoughts out of your head is so deeply satisfying. Sending work out is frustrating. As a reader myself, I never know what will be appropriate, and I always worry that I will trigger someone’s trauma with my own. I can see how a person would be driven to write beautiful observational pieces describing vases forever (really is a poem about a vase ever really about a vase?) But I guess, again, this is a reader reception concern. It might not actually count as part of the writing process.

How has this past year impacted you emotionally, how has it impacted you creatively if it all?

This has been an impossible year. I have struggled with employment. I write until like three A.M. most nights. My fiancé and I share this small one-bedroom apartment, and he works from home, so we dance around each other all the time. We have neighbors on all sides, so the ambient sound of people in their homes is substantial. My cat chews on everything; sometimes, he paces and screams “hello” and I usually take that as an indication that he wants me to leave. So, I get in my car and drive around in circles for a few hours. When I return, he likes me again, and naps on my arm. We accommodate reciprocal neurosis. The fires have made everything hard. It is hard to breathe; for a while there was no sun because of the smoke. We have been living out of packed bags, and getting the cat used to treats so we can collect him if we need to flee. Actually, we have a red-flag warning today. I had just gained mobility after an injury before getting sick in February. So, we have been living in this contained chaos for so long. It feels insane.


Please give us any promotional info for your work, social media, blogs, publishing company info, etc that you’d like to shout out.   

@kariflickinger
@BooksFemme 

The Gull and the Bell Tower
In her stunning debut collection, Kari Flickinger maps the elemental displacement of trauma and heartbreak through a journey of triumphant reclamation of the self. These delicate, but complex poems interrogate and redefine the dimensions of love. This collection is for anyone who is ready to change the way they view themselves in their world, and to restore and fearlessly embrace their identity.

Obtain your copy here: https://femmesalvebooks.net/the-gull-and-the-bell-tower-by-kari-flickinger/

Visit my website to keep up with my work: kariflickinger.com


Wolfpack Contributor Bio: Kari Flickinger

A Review for Black Bough Poetry: Dark Confessions

(c) Darren Green (c) Black Bough Poetry

Dark Confessions

When editor Matthew M. C. Smith has an idea he goes all out. He looks for and seeks out challenges that generates wonderful ideas, poetry & art from contributors to the Black Bough brand.

His latest baby is “Dark Confessions” a book that explores a variety of themes such as isolation, confinement, disease and corruption. This is a prelude to a second edition which will focus on themes of ‘Freedom’ and ‘Rapture’ which is brought about as a tribute to poet/singer Jim Morrison (50 years after his passing) and the idea of “Riders on the Storm” and Blondie’s “Rapture” a very interesting idea indeed.

Matthew knows many wonderful artists & poets through the communities. He’s got a wonderful poet co-editor on board with Kari Flickinger, as well as co-editors Ness Owen & Ranjabali Chaudhuri. The artistic design of the book(s) come from designer Darren Green, from Swansea. Very visually appealing and leaving you wanting to begin to tap into the human feeling, the edginess that the human brain tip-toes on. That comes from Dark Confessions.

This series is dedicated to Welsh poet Dai Fry (a Fevers of the Mind Poets of 2020 contributor as well) who had an untimely passing as the book was going into publication. Please read his work below for a sample of his work in Fevers

3 poems by Dai Fry from Fevers of the Mind Press Presents the Poets of 2020

The contributors of writing & art in “Dark Confessions” is a who’s who of current day poets that are putting out life changing pieces everyday and should be looked at more often.

Contributors such as Matthew M. C. Smith, Elizabeth Barton, Tara Skurtu, M.S. Evans, Marian Christie, Eileen Carney Hulme, Ness Owen, Claire Loader, Jonathan Braceras, Ranjabali Chaudhuri, Steve Jensen, Devon Marsh, Kari Flickinger, Briony Collins, Jeffrey Yamaguchi, James Lilley, Adwaita Das, Daniel Blick, Kim M. Russell, Alan Parry, Dominic Weston, Sophie Livingston, Philip Berry, Mike Farren, Rich Schilling, George Sandifer Smith, Tolu Oloruntoba, Maeve McKenna, Tom Lagasse, Liz McGrath, Jo Gatford, Elinor Ann Walker, Billy Fenton, Nick Newman, Roger Hare, Elizabeth Spencer Spragins, Julie Mullen, Emry Trantham, Andy MacGregor, Daniel Fraser, Wendy Humphries, Dai Fry, Anthony Paticchio, Ankh Spice, Natalie Ann Holborow, Mark Antony Owen and i’m hoping i’m not leaving anyone out, because this is quite the list.

I’m still reading this collection which was gifted to me to read, and some of these poems I keep re-reading because the imagery has to be rested on for awhile and just mingle with your mind tingles for a bit. You can feel the emotives that are put out there, and do you dance with that emotion, do you hide from that emotion, do you cry for awhile in those emotions, do you smile from the creative wordplay?

Polish Mother Bones by M.S. Evans
“Each of us has roses in our throats”

Mercy by Tara Skurtu 
"You can easily be
forgotten in the unforgiving
blood of the family"

Just an example of some lines from these creative poems.
You will definitely want to check this series out from the brilliant Matthew M. C. Smith's latest endeavor in a collective poetic magnum opus.