3 Poems from J. Maxwell

From Pixabay

Wandering Mind

Sometimes I get distracted… 
Like when I'm talking about one thing 
I'll jump to the next chapter,
Skipping pages like stones.
I like gemstones,
The way they glisten and gleam 
When the light hits them just right, 
I'm not sure if I’ve been hit by light that way before. 
I guess that's not for me to decide, 
Beauty is supposed to belong to the eye of the beholder, 
A subjective paradox 
Since we're all supposedly beautiful in our own way.
Does that mean we're all blind?
I'm grateful blindness was not bestowed on my eyes 
That I have the ability to see the many wonders of the world:
A butterfly landing on a lily,
A waterfall cascading over a rockface,
The sun setting over the ocean,
A crackling fire on the beach,
The full moon on a cloudless night,
The impact circles of raindrops in a puddle,
All the colors of a perfect rainbow. 
Thinking about it, I've taken so much for granted, 
Taken so many moments at face value. 
I wonder why the phrase is face value – 
I know we spend a lot of time looking at faces,
But does that make them more valuable?
You don't hear people selling faces on the black market. 
And why is it the black market? 
It sounds racially charged.
Like, why not the red market or the blue market, 
Or for fucks sake, just call it the illegal market. 
Get rid of the color labels altogether 
Even fucking T-shirts are made labelless.
Did you know T-shirts were originally made for single guys 
Who didn't know how to iron shirts?
I wonder what my wardrobe would look like if it weren't for T-shirts 
Would I be wearing nothing but button-ups?
I hate button-ups.
This one time when I was a kid 
I hit all the buttons on the elevator. 
There were 16 floors,
We had to go to the 12th.
My mom wasn't happy.
It's hard to be happy;
Happiness is dependent on serotonin levels in the brain, 
Those levels are a fickle beast,
Rising and falling with the slightest misfire of neurons. 
Medication can help, I would know, 
I take a handful of pills every day to help with my insanity,
But sometimes I think sanity is overrated.
I just wish the pills didn't come with the side effects
Oh, the things we do to be happy.
People tell me it's normal to be happy,
But I want to know how that’s normal 
In a world of chaos and despair.
It seems normalcy should be a state of melancholy.
I used to wonder what normal meant,
It's such a vague term 
Defined by standards that no one meets,
And sets expectations that no one lives up to,
Another subjective concept.
So much in life is subjective,
Like our perspectives are all disconnected,
Despite being part of the collective. 
Group is a synonym of collective, 
But if you look them up, they have different meanings,
I guess it comes down to context.
What was I talking about? 
Damn… I guess I got ahead of myself again 
I wish I could hold my place 
Instead of rambling on tangent after tangent 
Segueing from one unfinished thought into another 
I never liked the Segway 
Just some fancy device for rich people and mall cops 
So they don't have to walk.
I like walking,
Preferably in nature.
Something about getting away from everything is calming,
Getting away from the hustle and bustle,
Away from the daily-life lies where we're all pretending, 
Pretending that we're something other than who we really are.
When I was a kid, I used to pretend I was in a far away place 
Full of adventure and intrigue,
And I was always the hero, but never myself.
I'm not sure if I have the qualifications to be a hero
I guess I felt the same as a child.
Children are cruel,
Unfiltered and ignorant to what words can do.
It wasn't easy being the chubby kid,
Especially when I was considered weird too.
It's weird how we ostracize those who are different 
When those are the people 
That have the best chance to change the world.
Progress doesn't happen without change,
You think we'd know that by now,
Seeing as how we have to change with the times.
I remember reading this article in the times
It was about something important 
Oh, what was it
It's on the tip of my tongue… Shit! 
Sometimes I have trouble remembering things.
It's like the thoughts get scrambled on route to coming out.
I prefer my eggs scrambled,
A little milk and a dash of salt and pepper,
Whisked together and cooked with butter, 
I wonder when the first scrambled egg was cooked. 
That person gets a gold star.
Wasn't I talking about something?
It was a concrete thought, 
Something firm like stone, 
Oh yeah, I think rocks are cool.
Sorry, my mind tends to wander,
It’s a wonder if I ever finish a thought.
Have you heard the phrase: “A penny for your thoughts,”
It’s always bothered me,
I’ve always valued my thoughts as more than a penny.
Did you know pennies were once made of steel?
It was during World War II due to the shortage of copper
When I was in my teens, I used to steal things,
I called it the five-finger deal,
Now that I’m older I feel a little guilty about that.
Getting older sucks,
Have to watch what you eat,
Your body starts failing you,
Sleep is more difficult,
I already have enough trouble sleeping as it is.
Insomnia is a bitch.
It comes from the Latin language,
Latin was spoken by the romans,
Man, the romans really knew how to live.
In my 20s I lived like a rockstar,
12-inch rails of coke with whisky chasers.
These days I take 12 vitamins chased with water.
The water molecule has 2 hydrogen atoms,
And 1 oxygen atom.
It’s crazy that everything is made of atoms,
And all atoms are made of protons, neutrons, and electrons,
And all of those are made of quarks.
Wait… I don’t know where I was going with that.
Sometimes I start talking
Without knowing what point I’m trying to make,
My mind wandering along.
I used to wander forests as a child
Appreciating the lush nature,
Moss and ivy and grass and trees.
I love trees,
The way they mirror themselves,
The way they branch out
Above and below,
Far-reaching.
I wonder when I’ll reach my full potential,
Hopefully that hasn’t happened already,
I still feel like I have more growing to do.
I wonder if anyone has ever reached their full potential,
What the fuck does that even look like or feel like?
I guess I find it unlikely
Kind of like the idea of perfection.
Perfection to me isn’t the same as perfection to you
Which is perfectly normal
Because we’re all imperfectly abnormal.
Perfect is such a loaded term anyways
A generalized abstraction of a watered-down preconception.
I’ve always been a big fan of abstract art,
Escher was always one of my favorites,
The way he could bend reality,
With mathematical precision.
Math and I have always had a strained relationship,
We always understood that we didn’t like each other,
It’s a language I never grew fond of.
I’m quite fond of the English language
There’s a certain beauty in its overly complex lexicon,
I’m told it’s difficult to learn for non-native speakers.
Something to do with all the homophones and homonyms.
I spend a lot of time on my phone these days
Caught in a digital daze,
Trying to connect to something virtually,
While I disconnect spiritually,
The separation growing ever wider with each passing moment,
Eyes glued to the pocket-sized screen,
Though it held all the secrets to my life’s greatest mysteries,
As the world keeps turning,
And the minutes keep passing,
And I can’t stop scrolling.
How did we start this conversation?
Sorry… I have a problem with attention,
My focus can be a bit fleeting. 

Impostor Syndrome

I ‘m not sure if I’m as good as I should be,
M aybe I’m terrible,
P erhaps everyone else is better,
O r maybe I’m just reaching at a fruitless dream,
S imply deluding myself with thoughts of grandeur
T hat lead me to false beliefs,
O r is this all just noise
R eticulating in my head.

S o many things left undone due to personal disdain,
Y et so many things were still made,
N ever to see the light of day,
D rowned out by the sea of melancholy,
R enasant to consider myself as anything more than average,
O r is this just more noise,
M ore disbelief of my lackluster talents,
E nigmatic and frustrating, difficult to rise above the doubt.

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

P ieces of the past
O bfuscate reality,
S lipping from then to now,
T aking the moment hostage.

T urning the tide,
R eticulating the psyche,
A separation from oneself,
U ndulating, a visceral disconnection
M omentarily suspended in a memory,
A ll the feelings, thoughts, sensory perceptions
T aking over without warning,
I nstantaneous and spontaneous,
C rippling the mood.

S ometimes it’s a simple matter,
T o hear, see, or smell something familiar,
R eminding the subconscious,
E ntering the deepest pits of the mind,
S uddenly gripped by experiences,
S ome would sooner forget.

D etached and distant,
I t’s hard to come back the same,
S till caught in the storm of emotion,
O verwhelmed by the memory relived,
R epeating the details in a loop,
D isoriented from the discordant experience,
E ver in awe that the mind can replicate a moment,
R endered helpless every time it happens.



Bio: 

J. Maxwell was born in Bellevue, WA in the summer of 1990. Just before his 7th birthday, his family moved to Las Vegas, NV. It was quite the change for him, going from a place that was so green and damp to a dry desert valley. Growing up in Vegas was a diferent experience than most other places in the world, being that it is a city that thrives on extravagance, debauchery, and the vacation lifestyle. When he was in middle school he started writing which became an outlet for him, one that saved his life from his undiagnosed mental health issues. At 18, he left Las Vegas and went north to Reno, NV, where he attended  the University of Nevada, Reno. He completed a dual major degree focusing in Creative Writing and in Philosophy, graduating in 2014. He now lives in Fort Worth, TX where he had his first book published SOBER THOUGHTS FROM THE CRAZY HOUSE which is a collection of poetry dedicated to mental illness, addiction, and sobriety. J. Maxwell not only writes, but also enjoys nature photography and making digital art.


Follow Me Here:
Facebook.com/jmaxwellwriterandillustrator
Instagram.com/jmaxwell.artandwriting
Twitter.com/JMaxwell_Writer






Poetry: I’M OKAY by R.D. Johnson (Mental Health Awareness Month)

photos by Nick Da Barber t-shirt @Dbl_img

I’M OKAY

In My Opinion Kindness Affects You
They say kill ‘em with kindness
But gloss over the fact what it does to you 
What God has meant for me ain’t necessarily meant for you
Sometimes you damned if you don’t and you damned if you do
Been through too many things 
Seen too many things
And people want to marvel at the pain
But you ain’t Shang Chi looking for ten rings 

In My Opinion Kindness Affects You
You either lead by example
Or be the example
Wished for positive vibes 
And the support is ample
No longer putting the weight of the world
On my shoulders
Nothing more than I can handle
Take a walk in my shoes
Gonna need more than some sandals

Bottom of these soles
Shows the journey of a tired soul
Being better than what I was 
The purpose that’s sole
Driven through too many points
Guess it finally took a toll
Take a walk in my shoes
But you couldn’t fit the mod

In My Opinion Kindness Affects You
Just what I think, and what I say
That’s what I mean when someone asks
How are you?
Well, I’M O.K.A.Y. 



Bio:Follow R.D. Johnson on twitter @r_d_Johnson                                                                                     R.D. Johnson is a pushcart nominee, a best of the net nominee for Fevers of the Mind  "(Not Just On) Juneteenth"    Reggie is an author reigning out of Cincinnati, Ohio. At the age of 9, he found a love for writing while on summer vacation. With influences from music, Reggie has created a rhythmic style of writing to tell his personal experiences and beyond.  Reggie has several books available on all major online retailers and his work can be seen in various literary magazines. He currently has two columns, Drunken Karaoke featured on Daily Drunk Magazine & REPLAYS featured on The Poetry Question. https://thepoetryquestion.com/category/replay-rdj/      



New Poetry book “Cracked Around the Edges” from Lily Maureen O’Nan (info from Lulu site)

How would you like to explore a poetry chapbook that has one part written from a psychedelic landscape, and another part that has more of mental health-related themes? Then this is the book for you. Written by the multiply neurodivergent, queer, nonbinary Lily Maureen O’Nan, this chapbook of poetry is their first to ever be published in any form, despite years of writing. It covers the timespan of 2015-2016 in the first part and the year of 2019 in the second part. Be prepared for an interdimensional exploration of the mind of someone who has been through years of trauma, and has gone into remission for the most part from C-PTSD, and is also autistic and on the ADHD and bipolar spectrums.

order on paperback with this tiny url https://tinyurl.com/yck9ez7s

ebook available at this tiny url https://tinyurl.com/y6jea3t5

New poem by Lily Maureen O’Nan

Also available on Amazon (paperback) https://tinyurl.com/mszshu2x

Sonnet on”Depression” by James A. Tweedie

Depression

I sit entombed within the mire of my mind
Estranged from swirling whirl of worlds beyond my sphere
Of being. Flailing, failing in despair to find
An exit from the clutch of the eternal “here.”

My muted screams unheard amidst the Sturm und Drang
Of catatonic angst and death’s cacophony—
A diabolic din akin to the harangue
Of Siren-song’s seduction to catastrophe.

If only like Odysseus I could be lashed
Secure, transfixed upon a mast until the sound
And fury fade away to silence at the last,
And in sweet blissful peace to find myself unbound.

As like a miner, trapped within a rock-sealed tomb,
In helpless hope I dream of light within my gloom.



Bio:
James A. Tweedie has lived in California, Utah, Scotland, Australia, Hawaii, and presently in Long Beach, Washington. He has published six novels, three collections of poetry, and one collection of short stories with Dunecrest Press. His poetry was awarded First Place in the 2021 Society of Classical Poets Poetry Competition, the Laureate’s Choice Award in the 2021 Maria W. Faust Sonnet Contest, and the quarterly prize for Best Poem from The Lyric.

Poetry Showcase for John Zurn

brown wooden panel door beside gray concrete wall

The Carrot and the Pole

The carrot lashed on to the pole
led to a hollow hope.
The ring that pulled against my nose
dragged me through dos and don’ts.
The choking leash chewed up my neck
and held me back from living.
But every night I still come back
to thoughts that need forgiving.

Structure

The structure of the pills and rules
can keep emotions balanced.
Like a box of useful tools,
it helps the poet manage.
Sometimes it can crush the soul
because the structure smothers.
Other times it fails to hold 
and only courage matters

Some Call it Depression

Some call it depression 
when life turns dark and dull.
Others claim that effort
can take the pressure off.
Yet those who speak of feelings
mostly live in books.
Their minds believe in speaking
with self-important words.

Disconnected

Walking on egg shells
oaths made of doubt.
Prayers turn to silence
as mood storms dry out.
The soggy air sops up
the left over mind.
The hope of attention
is now lost to time.
Answers keep stalling
so questions drop-off.
This latest rejection
is hard to ignore.
God must exist 
he’s called here before.
But now he’s too busy,
and so never calls.

Bio: John Zurn has been faced with the challenges of bipolar disorder and anxiety disorder for his entire adult life.  Over the years he gradually learned that: medication, physical exercise, meditation and creative writing were vital for his long term recovery. Despite this challenge, he still managed to work as a teacher and counselor for over thirty-five years. Now retired, he has more time to write and publish poems and stories.  As one of seven children, his experiences growing up continue to help inspire his art and influence his life

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