*NO PHOTOS LISTED BUT WILL BE MENTIONED* Aaron Tanner, Austin Lucas, Paul Gilmartin, Jane Dougherty, Kara Beth Rasure, Jean Kizer, John Jones Jr, PS Pirro, Lucy Whitehead, Tony Brewer, KC Bailey, Ethan Jacob O’Nan (my brother), Nadia Gerrasimenko, Kristin Garth, Jennifer Hibbs, Lilly O’Nan (my sister), Darren Demaree (Sundress Publications) River Dixon (Potter’s Grove), Jennifer Roche, Liam Flanagan, Abdulmueed Balogun, Abuh Monday Eneojo, John Ogunlade, Jesse Falodun, David Ralph Lewis, Sidney Mansueto, Dai Fry (RIP), Samantha Merz, December Lace, Karen Mooney, Jenny Mitchell, Mukund Gnanadesikan, Julie Stevens, Gail Sheridan, Richard Waring, Ediney Santana, Vern Fein, Iona Murpy, Will Davis, Gerald Jatzek, Jason Ramsey (Barren Mag), Mike Whiting, Al Matheson, Ann Hultberg, Ceinwed CE Haydon, Merril Smith, Cara Bovaird, Chris Maxwell, Ulane Vuorio, Gaynor Kane, Ilya Kaminsky, Jack Bowman, Kaitlyn Luckow, JP Meador, Joan McNerney, Stephen Sherman, Rumillineal Poetry, Niles Reddick, Jennifer Criss, J Matthew Waters, Matt Duggan, Cee Martinez, Mike Adams, Scott Christopher Beebe, Attracta Fahy, Christina Strigas, Sarah Marquez, Xerado, Alan Parry, Paul Robert Mullen, Amanda McLeod, Ryan DeLeon, Ellen Kirkman, Matthew Calmes, Shauna McGuiness, Daniel Galef, Kimberly Cunningham, Madisn McSweeney, Greg Santos, John W Leys, Amy Barnes, Pavlina Marie, David Mellor, David Grant Lee, Jesse Lynn McMains, Amanda Reeves, Elizabeth Moura, Michelle Nadasi, Jennifer Reeves, Judge Santiago Burdon, Justin Karcher, Paul Rowe, Eric Valor (RIP), Brunette Glassco (RIP), Anna Nash, George Miller, Robin Ray, Lynn White, Jamie Routley, JDG, Pasithea Chan, David Lunn Millborn, Anne Paulet, Demi Whitnell, David Fladger, Anna Rozwadowska, Christopher Osswald, Helena Fools, CL Belcher, Barabara Avon, Ana Lorenza Jimenez, Doug Polk, Juleigh Howard-Hobson, Stephen Watt, Rachel Cunniffe, Ari Pitt, Colin James, Juliette Sebock, Hillary Behsharam, Abigail Swire, Christian Gould, Ruth Cheruto, Stephen Morgan Woodworth, Guy Farmer, Mary Jones (may soon be on team), Matt Seeley, Benjamin Adair Murphy, Sher Ting, Keely O’Shaugnessy, Tuur Verhyde, Stephen J Golds, Phil Wood, Arthur L Wood, Stephen Guenette, Shaun D Pace, Sadie Maskery, Tova Beck-Friedman, Jennifer Roche, Amanda Crum, Lisa Alletson, Doug Stuber, Amandla Med T Castro, Igor Goldkind, Nadine Vandergriff, Devika Mathur, Carrie Sword, Dunstan Carter, Andy Hunter, Kerry Darbishire, Hema Saju, J.D. Nelson, Frank Watkinson,Stu Buck, K Weber, Ken Tomaro, Gareth Culshaw, Phil Vernon, Janet Beekman, Elizabeth Castillo, Akhila Ek, Lynne Schmidt, Dave O’Leary, Matthew da Silva, Kieran Wyatt, Angelo Letizia, Patricia Walsh, Mike Hickman, Saba Zahoor, Georgia Hilton (may be contributor soon), Bradley Galimore (may be contributor soon), Mark Anthony Smith, Arun Kapur
*From the Fevers of the Mind Press Presents the Poets of 2020*
All of the poems that follow first appeared in their original, unedited forms on the WombwellRainbow blog. Thank you to Paul Brookes for curating with such care, and the artists (Mary Frances Ness, James Knight, and Sue Harpham) who provided images for the month-long ekphrastic challenge which inspired them
Sun’s first sleep-breath
sweets the dropped shoulder
of Te Puia o Whakaari, her bones
in early mistlight all grace
and delicate pickings, gulled
clavicles of a hard dancer, stilled
Coiled tension is resting. It is hard
to recognise a haunting
in the rose-gilt of a sunrise. Do you know
her name, when you recognised it
did you forget to exhale? Release
your living now to cloud
the pane we do not see – deep
scratches creep across this vision.
The guardians are always here to remind you –
this light, it may change any moment.
*(In memory of those lost in the eruption of Whakaari on 9 December 2019. One translation
of the te reo Māori name of this volcano forms the title of this poem)
Hold the river
You told me you haven’t been outside in 57 days
and tonight the river is a dropped ribbon, limp and lost
and the sharp stones of the trail as I begin to run
become the sound of something chewing. The faster
we go, the faster we’re eaten. You are moving,
in the lines of your confinement, so slowly now
you’ve become a painting in my head – static –
existing never to be touched. And in the guilty, lucky air
down here we’re starting up the engines
and on my knees in the soft mud I can hear the first plane
for months, idling beyond the water. I’d wish
you were here, but the wind is whipping up cold,
and the coming dark is frantic
with sudden birds, woken startled
from their neat new nests along the runway.
Feeding the koi
You save the crusts from the good brown loaf,
not truly stale, but tired. On your early walk
through the city gardens, there is a patient round mirror
to crumble them into, and in it an unfamiliar creature,
folded and loose in his aspect. He watches you from the water.
You have never met his eyes, although you sense they are kind.
This morning, autumn has nodded last orders at the trees
and the ember of the squalling sun catches
a plume at his throat, and his blur blushes bright — young
with reborn flame. In the dry world the wind arrives
to spread the blaze outwards in ripples
from the man standing, the man lying, with his hands full
of burning bread, and when the fish surface
their mouths make round holes in his body.
In one tiny circle after another the fire
goes out. Cool water — O O O —
welling dark and smooth
from the gut. It was always the truth.
What feeds on us that steals our fire.
What we feed to remember what we are.
Act like you were never for sale
On those days we were flutter and varnish. Time blown
on the tradewinds — toys for the updraft, downdraft, too hard
and brittle-bright for any landing but the spurt and gasp
of applause. And on those days we painted the unspeakable
feelings, the ones that never made it
into the script, on hot ripe faces with palmed-
palm-sugar and unguent-of-anthers, and on those days
those same faces slipslid their gaudied eyes and touched their cheeks
together intimately, brief and baked electric with proper unsaids, and on and on
arced those spat-out days when the electric that moved us
moved us wet with big colour in that little pond of footlights
all thrashing pick me from the swirl of young eels, him so slender, her good
bright needle-teeth, and on those days company meant
only that we played together well, that even the most badly bitten didn’t drop
a word or miss a step, or when they did the faces they’d loved-by-painting bled
laughter tainted kindly, and not yet like they smelled a life dripping away
into the water or as if they’d finally bumped against the glass, seen the strings
of our dangling tags, and some of that last part
is a lie. But who doesn’t want to lie just as pretty
as something made to end up in a prettier box, for now
sticky with the ghosts of fertile anthers, and so we bite
into recall again and again, this cake now invisible on the pink plastic
saucer so sweet, so sweet and fallen to bits
in the grass. And these days we know the magic
poured out of that flimsy doll’s teapot’s more real
than you’ve been in your life. Don’t ever act
like it didn’t — like it doesn’t —
make you sick.
Last night you called me from the bottom of a well
and I pictured the signal between us as a rope ladder
woven from a bunch of old strings attached. A bit frayed,
this connection, and this wry analogy, but both holding together
just enough for you to see the ladder a little bit more clearly
than you were seeing the rope. And I don’t care if we’ve not spoken
since before the world cracked its lid, I’m just grateful
I still look like some kind of stick when the alligators
find the ass. Often it’s hard to respect the tree in someone who’s fallen
in an indifferent swamp, over and over, they think
that makes you soft wood. But it was you who told me Hathor
kicked out the crocodile god even though she was
at least partly a cow. I bet they underestimated just how fierce
a prey animal waxes when her herd is in the dark
and feeling the closing teeth. I bet they underestimated her
even after she teamed up with the sun itself
and gored the darkness threatening her loved ones on the tips
of her kind, soft horns. Stabbed it until it was striped
with secondhand light, then drowned it
in her milk of most inhuman kindness.
Ankh Spice is a queer-identified, sea-obsessed poet from Aotearoa (New Zealand). Almost 100 of his
poems have been published internationally, online and in printed anthologies, over the last 18
months. He’s been incredibly grateful and a bit astounded to have four poems nominated for the
Pushcart Prize, and two for Best of the Net. His poem ‘New Cloth’ was selected as a winner of the
World View 2020 competition run by the Poetry Archive, and he’s really delighted that the video
recording of him reading this work now appears in the archive in perpetuity, along with readings
from other winners from all over the globe. He’s also very proud that audio recordings of his work
are held in the first wave of Iambapoet, an audio archive of poets reading their own work, created
and curated by Mark Antony Owen.
It’s been a very busy year — Ankh accepted roles as a Poetry Contributing Editor for Barren
Magazine, and as co-editor at Ice Floe Press. He was also a guest reader/editor on EIC Matthew M.C.
Smith’s team for Black Bough Poetry’s Amazon best-seller, ‘Deep Time’ — two volumes of poetry
from hundreds of poets inspired by Robert Macfarlane’s ‘Underland’, and was part of the early
editing team for ‘Black Dogs, Black Tales’, a horror anthology produced in Aotearoa by EIC T Wood,
to raise money for a local mental health charity. He’s also found time to edit innumerable stories for
popular dark-fantasy author C.M. Scandreth (aka his incredibly talented author spouse, Caitlin Spice)
for the NoSleep Podcast, and is grateful to have appeared (in virtual guise) as headline poet at two
sold-out sessions of Cheltenham Poetry Festival.
At the time of writing this, Ankh is also working on several collections of his own poems. One of
these is a collection of his shorter ekphrastic and vividly imagistic work and photography — Ankh
calls these ‘gift poems’ as most of them are uploaded to social media rather than being held for
traditional publication — that’s been picked up by a small indie press as a two-volume deal for print.
Further details will be released in early 2021. He’s also working on a very short volume of poems for
Hedgehog Press’s ‘Stickleback’ series. His larger collection, which was picked up by an independent
press earlier in 2020, but which he withdrew when behaviour damaging to the poetry community by
person/s working for that press was uncovered, is being reworked for re-submission elsewhere. He
very much hopes that 2021 will be the year for this book to make its way into the world.
Ankh’s poetry explores a wide range of themes close to his heart – environmental/climate change,
mental health, identity, queerness, body politics, mythology, natural science, spirituality, ‘the
persistent briefness of being human’, the landscape and environs of Aotearoa and of course, the
ocean. His poetic lens, which often employs strong derealisation and very flexible language that
purposely opens up multiple interpretations, has been described as oracular, reverent, and
visionary, and his poetry has been most often compared to G.M Hopkins and Dylan Thomas. Ankh’s
favourite recent compliment about his work is that it feels like walking a tightrope over the abyss
between two worlds — being forced to look down into the dark but with an awareness that balance
is possible, and that there’s a new place on the other side, beckoning us on. Ankh’s favourite recent
compliment about himself is that he’s a walking Mary Ruefle poem. (With great thanks to Sarah-Jane
Crowson and Julia Beach).
If he’s not out running the coast of Te Whanganui-a-Tara sporting alarming neon and sparkly cat
ears, you’ll find him and his work at:
Poetry Archive: https://poetryarchive.org/poem/wordview-2020-new-cloth/
Feature photo by Ankh Spice
Why the Hate?
I ask a stranger how s/he was born?
From a mother’s womb they say.
Just like I once was.
So why the hate?
I ask a baby what religion is.
To the best of my ability to decipher baby talk,
s/he appears not to know.
Just like when I was a baby,
blissfully unaware of grown-up talk.
So why the hate?
I ask a stranger how s/he communicates?
With a tongue just like mine, they say.
The birthplace of every language, I think.
So why the hate?
I once spilled paint on my arm.
A palette of various colors made habitats on my skin
before leaving during my next shower.
Yet my heart, personality & identity
remained the same throughout.
So why the hate?
I try to form a collective hypothesis of my conversations:
We’re all born the same way & die someday.
Skin color & religion prove to be highly incompetent
to help a heartbeat, lungs breathe & brain cells grow.
Beauty: A New Definition
For generations the wise ones have said
That beauty is in the eye of the beholder
But time passes, generations evolve
Some simple, some a lot bolder
Some proverbs die
Some new are born
Left to all to choose
Which are progress, which are scorn
Perhaps a similar time has come
To give beauty a new definition
Leaving the beholder out & say
beauty is in the heart of the pious one!
Beyond the Obvious
How the naive think
What abuse means
Perhaps some blue bruises
And a shattered spleen
Such evidence & signs
Are no doubt a fear
But is there no value
Of an isolated tear?
Everyone sees the obvious
Without a look inside
Curse this bloody flesh that makes
The wounded heart hide!
The Invisible Aura
Step into the vortex of my soul
To decode the language
I often speak to myself
Every night when I peel off my mirage
That the sea of gazes around me
surmises to be nonchalance
This is my universe where:
Depression is not a mere mood swing
It’s an actual chemical imbalance
My facial expressions are not always
Gateways to the feelings of my heart
Sometimes they are merely decor
My silence is not a symbol
Of any kind of equanimity
Listen to the aura who’s decibels
Don’t roar like a lion
But squeal like a mouse
Observe the aura that’s the
shy one in the corner
Acknowledge the unfelt emotions
For you may not feel them
But just a moment of your cognizance
Could determine their fate for eons
I come with no ostentation
No glory or cavalcade
For I creep upon this junction
Not to arouse a racket
But to dismember the status quo
I make no proclamations to be
Your knight in shining armor
Or to dry your tears
But to bequeath equity of them
To feast on the salt with thee
I come not to sheath your malformations
But to stand in their gallery
And be a zealot for ages
Of what my heart senses to be
Not wounds but victors of endurance
Think not of me as a paladin
In a quaint fable
But a commoner just to proclaim :
I once bore what you did
And hearken the language of your soul
That others have stained as an enigma!
The Midas Scratch
Lay your fingers on the canvas of my flesh
And scratch till what you carve
Becomes the cynosure attire of my body
Never to be removed
Till the mind in its entirety
Is severed from the bones
Take no heed of any provisional brood
Or waterfalls of blood
For the blemishes will eventually mitigate
But the fable your fingers nurture with love
Will give me an immortal prevalence
To any and all around me!
After Leonard Cohen’s “Waiting for the Miracle”
When the heart drowns in total despair
I soothe it by telling tall tales
Of an intoxication known as hope
A miracle is coming, says the heart
The mind just plays along
I dance in the name off faith
Even when my feet are numb
Lest I reveal the inner abyss
A miracle is coming, says the soul
The body just plays along
Stay in the slaughterhouse
So, my wounds can blend in
Lie in the rain so tears seem small
A miracle is coming, say the tears
The eyes just play along
So far not a sign
Not even a mere shadow
Or the calm before the storm
A miracle is coming, I say
The miracle just plays along
(c) Neel Trivedi
Neel Trivedi is a freelance journalist & in the advertising business in Dallas, TX. He writes poetry & fiction. His work has been featured in Rhythm & Bones Magazine, Drabblez Magazine, Paragraph Planet, Dodging The Rain, Mojave Heart Review, Elephants Never, Chronos Anthology, Rising From The Ashes Anthology and Purpose Magazine. As well as Dailywisdomwords.com He can be reached on Twitter @Neelt2001
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.