Poetry: “That One Time at the Taylor Swift Fever Concert” by Paula Hayes

That One Time at the Taylor Swift Fever Concert

Fever concerts. You have seen the advertisement. Drenched and bathed in flickering candlelight calling up the ghost of her memory. She was supposed to be the one sitting beside me. Her short hair masking the natural curls. The rosy glow of her pointed chin. A painting, she could have been in another century. 

Fever concerts. Always in a secreted location. Are the tickets to a concert or are you purchasing a meeting with Vito Carleone? You don't know for sure. But you highly suspect for the price that you are on your way to making a deal in the backroom of a spaghetti warehouse.The checkered tablecloth. The basket of bread sticks. The flask of red wine. Or it could be an Olive Garden. Again, you are not sure of much these days. 

Fever concerts. In reality, when you arrive at the venue, it is worse than you could have imagined. The secret location is a converted wedding chapel. Low budget kind. How are you supposed to get over losing her in a rented out wedding chapel? It is rhetorical. As most of your life questions are. 

Fever concerts. To take your mind off of where you are, you try to imagine a group of chubby drunken Elvis impersonators taking the stage and licking and smacking their greasy peanut butter and banana fried pork chop sandwich lips as they sing "Love Me Tender." After all, by nine the building has to be cleared out for the drag show that begins. But you are not here for the drag. You are here for the Fever concert of a classically trained quartet playing renditions of Taylor Swift songs. It is true. You know you can't make this shit up. 

Fever concerts. But there you are. Alone. And you hate to admit it to yourself but you are mesmerized. You never knew a cello could pound out between a few strings, "No Deal. This 1950's shit they want from me." 

Fever concerts. You almost melt with the wax that is dripping off the pale orange candles surrounding the overly draped in red crushed velvet stage as the violinist's arms flutter about in quickened, hastened motions. If you stare at the scene long and hard enough it might be that scene in the Titanic as the violins play as the ship prepares to sink. Yes, this is your sinking. This is your Taylor Swift Titanic moment. 

Fever concerts. You feel like a chump. There is no way around it. You purchased tickets to your very own swan song concert where Taylor Swift has been converted from pop Nashville trash art to the high classical period. You bought the tickets to your own break-up party. What the fuck? Who would do such a thing, knowingly? Probably you, you did. You know you did.  

Fever concerts. There is nothing. I mean. Nothing. More. Melodramatic. Setting your own heartbreak to the soundtrack of Taylor Swift played by a classical quartet. The mind wanders and agrees, "Yes, Taylor, it is true. It is so very true. I am the problem. It is me. It is me. And everyone at tea time really does agree."

Fever concerts. You are not even heartbroken. You just wish it hadn’t ended that way. Or ended at all. You just wish you had kept your own greasy peanut butter and banana fried pork chop sandwich mouth shut and feelings to yourself, but Taylor Swift never did it that way. So why should you? 

Fever concerts. It is the anti-catharsis for the anti-hero. You are your own anti-hero sitting in the midst of the most anti-cathartic experience your credit card debt could afford. "The women come and go, speaking of Michelangelo." That was the original TS. Eliot, TS. Not TS, Taylor Swift. Like Bond, James Bond. Swift, like Oh My God, valley girl. 

Fever concerts. You are more Prufrock anyway. Stop being so hard on yourself. You rolled up your pants legs. You waded into the water with the sirens and mermaids. You dared to eat the peach. It is not your fault she mistook you for an urchin. 

Fever concerts. She knew all the hidden Easter Eggs in every Taylor Swift song, every allusion, every reference, every album, which lover meets which line. But all you knew was how to shake, shake, shake, SHAKE. Shake. Shake. Shake. What she doesn't know is you are a Holy Roller and a polar bear Totem animal all wrapped up into one being. All musk and spirit, no bullshit. 

Fever concerts. You are more Gillian Welch and half billy goat then you are Beethoven and gray goose. 

Fever concerts. What existential crisis made you succumb that night in the rain to believe you could be so careless with your own heart as to swim in a sea of text messages where she told you, "I think you want it more than I do." 

Fever concerts. Did I want it more? What did I want? Sometimes I think Taylor Swift is more Shakespeare's Puck scandalously skipping around untying all the knots of a Midsummer's Spring's Eve, or perhaps more Cyrano de Bergerac standing off to the side in the weeds of warfare writing the letters we cannot think of on our own to write, singing to us the verses we dare not sing, silencing our soft-bellied guilt, making us more gullible and less sure of ourselves than we were before. 

Fever concerts. Taylor Swift talking about cardigans once said these wise words, “I knew you would come back to me.” I would ask her to. I want her to. But, I don’t think she will. Taylor Swift had lamp light. I only have candlelight. 

Fever concerts. Next time, Lady Gaga. And then I can “Dance, dance, dance.” 

Bio: Paula Hayes is a poet who lives in Memphis, Tennessee, the same place where rock and roll was birthed and where the ghost of Elvis still hangs around Beale Street. She finds the presence of such a rich musical history in the town she lives in to be right on track with transforming one as a poet into a bard. 

Poetry Online Anthology “The Artist Never Sleeps”

all artwork sent in by Pasithea Chan for these amazing artists.

“i was a thin sea of blue” by Paula Hayes

didn't you know,  love, i was a thin sea of blue
        waiting for you to come along
                       and fill yourself
                               inside my creases
                                      to drink me in between your restless

wade inward
                   i asked you to come closer
                         so i could please you
                                but you ignored my pleas
                                       and left like some tug of gravity
                                                                    was waiting for
                                                                           to carry you

where are the gods, now, to bring the waters back
                up to my lips
                         to give a little salt in return
                                 for all i've lost; is that too much to
                         ask?   just a little salt to take down
                                          even if there is no quenching
                                                               in hapless mornings

there is sky and sea and sun
        all making for soft horizons
              pretending these natural elements
                     are some kind of boundary
                            sealing off what was meant to hurt me
                                            from where i stand now

sucker-punched and drunk in the orange of waves
	light, all light, radiant and forgotten 
while two birds, lovers no less, fly by me
		certain that they are far away 
			from what they once knew
				and even more certain
					they have nowhere left to go 

Bio: Paula Hayes is a poet who lives in Memphis, Tennessee, the same place where rock and roll was birthed and where the ghost of Elvis still hangs around Beale Street. She finds the presence of such a rich musical history in the town she lives in to be right on track with transforming one as a poet into a bard. 

Alice Checks the Queen by Lynn White
in response to Anita Arbidane artwork

‘Your time is up’ said Alice.
She knew it didn’t matter
how big she was
or how small
in the end.
She knew it didn’t matter 
in the end
whether the queen was red or white,
whether time moved backwards or forwards.
In the end
there was still no stopping it, 
still no changing it
however many time-pieces the Queen owned,
however many times she moved the hands
on or back on the clock-face.
It made no difference.
‘You’re just a pawn
on the wheel of time’
said Alice,
‘No wonder you look glum’

Bio: Lynn White lives in north Wales. Her work is influenced by issues of social justice and events, places and people she has known or imagined. She is especially interested in exploring the boundaries of dream, fantasy and reality. She was shortlisted in the Theatre Cloud 'War Poetry for Today' competition and has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize, Best of the Net and a Rhysling Award. Find Lynn at: https://lynnwhitepoetry.blogspot.com and https://www.facebook.com/Lynn-White-Poetry-1603675983213077/

"October Hardcover" by James Schwartz

Shifting season of melancholy, 

                            Dark bark decay,

Lighting of lamps,

In the v




                         Against frosted fog,

Shorn corn stalks,

                         Lost leaden leaves,

Cafe au lait, 

Notes of nutmeg,

                Window seat, 

Victor Hugo hardcover.

Bio: James Schwartz is a poet, slam performer and author of various collections including "The Literary Party: Growing Up Gay & Amish in America" (available on Kindle 2011), PUnatic (Writing Knights Press, 2019) & Motor City Mix (Alien Buddha Press 2022). on twitter James can be found under @queeraspoetry for a follow.

Art inspired by Clive Gresswell

life’s ballet cycle
causes me to pause
in the twinkling of a romantic pose
inherited by nature’s mystique
the floral fauna and reddening leaves
flutter inside my mind’s eye
caught in the season’s harsh mirror
light infernal, light eternal
rays of the insect fanning down
the earth’s delightful eternal gown.

Bio: Clive Gresswell is a 64-year-old innovative writer and poet who has appeared in many mags from BlazeVOX to Poetry Wars and Tears in the Fence. He is the author of five poetry books the last two being ‘Strings’ and ‘Atoms’ from erbacce-press (see their website for more details).