Poetry Collaboration: Backwards Until When (5) with R.M. Engelhardt (from Dead Man’s Press)

part of the “The Empath Dies in the End” series

Backwards Until When (5)

1 (David L O’Nan)

I keep dreaming of a backwards red balloon floating in a bleeding sky, a paper sky

I keep envisioning a backwards red balloon floating by, telepathically I know it is you.

5 years before, 5 years before that, 5 years before that and the years are crumbled pebbles.

Many men have come and put a forever ring on your finger, they stare at you with narcotic eyes.

They have stared in your eyes with wandering eyes, they have seen you float away into the darkness.

By yourself, spinning in your head.

By yourself, the dreams of children.  The children only helped before the yelling killed the heart.

And left you remembering you were on that road,  that you have been travelling away in your head for years

And left you remembering the bumps on your skin, frozen like that entrapment of an iceberg.

And you just want to float because you’re scared, in that emptiness. 

I am out there watching you in a dream, in a vision, in a feeling, and you want to leave. 

Bring me with you.  Cast that spell on me.   If you weren’t backwards, I could grab that string and rewind-

Your heart.

I see 5 flashing in and out from the beads of sweat burrowing down my head.

What does this 5 mean?  I crossed paths with a woman holding a pack of tarot cards.

Reading fortunes, reading pictures I’m holding of a backwards red balloon,  I ask this woman of insight, of foresight, of belief or just a scammer with a bucket of gold weighing her back down.  I just lay my head down on the sidewalk and absorb in the earth as she begins to read my fate.

2 (R.M. Engelhardt)

The fortune teller
Says you have “5”

Five what?



She read my palm
Said my lifeline was
Long but she never
Quite gave me a specific
Answer, her accent
Making it all the more

She just stared at me
With her dark eyes looking

Serious & concerned

So afterwards
I wandered

Started drinking
Started getting nervous
Started getting paranoid
About what she had said

3 (David L O’Nan)

I’m in a dizzy spell, I feel like I continue letting you down, although I’m unsure that you’re even around. 

Am I somewhere up there?  As a memory in your brain?   Do you remember the days when I didn’t weird you out.

Or is it just  fuck these roads that we keep travelling?

Or is it just fuck this iceberg entrapment that I’m still being kept in?

Or is it let me keep floating don’t try to catch my string?  I’m backwards and in my inner space?

Or are just not ready to be blown into a new eternity?   Now how long will we wait.  5 minutes, 5 days,

5 years, 5 decades, 5 nevers.    My paranoia is just a ringing phone from a god to a well.

I’m callin’  I’m callin’  I’m callin’ I’m callin’     haven’t fell.    Just keeping my eyes open as long as I can see you in that sky.  That bleeding sky, that paper sky.  

Current bio for Fevers of the Mind’s David L O’Nan editor/writing contributor to blog.

New poems from R.M. Engelhardt

New poems from R.M. Engelhardt

These Wandering Souls

Of Love & Blood & Strife

Abomination & Sacrifice
Our far too short lives
Held back by the lack 
Of human evolution 


The living wage
Controlled by avarice
Greed & corporations
The worshippers of money
The tax man killing all
Humane society or the
Possibility thereof

Lives cut short
By poverty, pollution war
Desperation competition

Only to die early
Without the time
To grow

To be

Their wandering
Souls still looking
For a place called 

The indentured
Servants of a
False freedom
We call


With nothing more
Left to give

Saying nothing
& accepting

What the rich
Like to call 

" Fate"

Dead Poet Blues

Another dead song
for a dead man
another dead art in a no
man's land

The poets
Come N' Go
Leave all their 
Words behind 
For the great big
Fight we call 

Another dead song
for a dead man
another dead art in a no
man's land

We didn't ask
For this 

We're all just
The damn 
With the lights on

Crow Haiku

w/a crow in
The early morning sun

Asks me why 
I wear so much

The Watchtower by R.M. Engelhardt – Bob Dylan inspired poetry

A Fevers of the Mind Quick-9 Interview with R.M. Engelhardt

The Watchtower by R.M. Engelhardt – Bob Dylan inspired poetry

The Watchtower

So which one are you troubadour?

With your guitar and lyrics 
Of change?

The joker who sits as witness?

The thief?

There are many here among us 
The tarot cards laid out upon our tables
The watchtower chosen :

Deception Destruction Ruin

Perhaps it was all a joke
Perhaps we did not listen in time
Hendrix gone all too soon

Never understanding the words

But the businessmen kept coming
Drinking up our wine, corporations
Destroying this earth 

And all along the watchtower
The princes kept view

But the hour is now
Too late 

And the voices were ignored

So what songs should we sing? 

If not the songs of troubadours
And the prophets who told us all?

The poets of lost time and 
Darker days who came & 
Bared witness to all

Now gone
Forever with the dust of time

~ R.M. Engelhardt

BIO: R.M. Engelhardt is a poet, writer & author who’s work over the last 20 years has been published in such journals as Thunder Sandwich, Full of Crow, Rusty Truck, Writers’ Resist, Dry Land Lit, Rye Whiskey Review, Hobo Camp Review & many others. He currently lives & writes in Upstate NY and his new books of poetry are entitled “DarkLands” (Published By Whiskey City Press 2019) & “We Rise Like Smoke Poems Psalms & Incantations”  (Published by DeadMansPressInk 2021)

Both are now available on Amazon.com

Wolfpack Contributor: R.M. Engelhardt


A Fevers of the Mind Quick-9 Interview with R.M. Engelhardt

with R.M. Engelhardt

  1. When did you start writing and first influences and biggest influences currently?

I grew up with a reading problem. So from a very young age I was put in “special reading classes” which ironically made me a voracious reader later who overcompensated by my love for Stephen King books and LOTR. I started writing about the age of 14 because I hurt my knee playing football and they kept me out of gym class. I kept a notebook and was heavily influenced by stories from comic books, Greek myths, pulp fiction Bantam novels and Jim Morrison & The Doors. And after reading his biography ” Nobody Gets Out of Here Alive” was eventually led down the path to Rimbaud, Blake and many other poets. Over the years my writing form & style has changed up alot and has become more at peace with itself. These days I am more influenced, interested more in mysticism & life events which alter my work more than anything else.

Q2: Any pivotal moment when you knew you wanted to be a writer?

A part of me wanted to be a journalist in high school. Who also wanted to be a rock station DJ and a novelist as well as the lead singer in a band and a doctor. But after exploring all those avenues it was poetry that came to me which I sent out to zines in the early 1990s and that got published. So after having a poem published next to a drawing by Ferlinghetti in 94 in Sure! The Charles Bukowski Newsletter I decided that it’s what I wanted to do. Write.

Q3: Who has helped you most with writing?

Other, older poets whom I’ve met over the years with words of advice. Writers I’ve met briefly like Jim Harrison as well as feedback from writer friends who have been editors. One primarily? An indie bookstore owner named Bill Nelson. But mostly? Inspiration and moments that have just come to me from many places have guided my voice & work in it’s own direction. To it’s own place.

Q4: Where did you grow up and how did that influence your writing & did any travels away from home influence your work?

I grew up in a suburban blue collar part of Albany NY called Colonie where in high school you were either a jock, a musician or an honor student. I was just a very quiet kid who liked to read 800 page books in the library. I did have some great English teachers though who encouraged me. I suppose that trips to Boston, NYC & especially Salem, road trips truly inspired me in many ways.

Q5: What do you consider your most meaningful work you’ve done creatively so far to you?

In my some 30 years as a writer I’ve put out over 18 or so books and in that time I’ve written everything from bar poems to Buddha. The poems/books that I personally look back on were the ones that literally came to me from nowhere. My books like ” DarkLands” ” Logos” & ” We Rise Like Smoke”, even ” The Resurrection Waltz” all had one similar factor in common. Loss. Probably the most devestating and yet most powerful instigator of writing.

Q6: Favorite activities to relax?

Not many. Writing is actually one of my forms of relaxation. That and reading.

Q7: What is a favorite line/stanza from a writing of yours or others? Or share a link to a favorite artwork or music video.

My own? A quote.

“Remember. Materialism is just another bullshit faith. Poetry is fucking alchemy”


“Pulvis et umbra sumus”

“We are all but dust and shadows”

~ Horace

Q8: What kind of music do you enjoy? Favorite musical artists, influences, songs that inspire.

I still listen to alot of what I consider my older core bands. ( Like The Doors, Joy Division) But I still love music by The Swans, Interpol, Type O Negative, The Church, Bauhaus, Dead Can Dance, Dax Riggs, 1920s Blues, Robert Johnson, John Coltrane. Celtic music, David Bowie. There’s inspiration in all of them.

Q9: Any recent or forthcoming projects that you’d like to promote?

My new book is ” We Rise Like Smoke, Poems Psalms & Incantations” which is available on Amazon right now and I’ve started a new open mic for poets here in Albany NY called “Invocation of The Muse”
On the side I’m also the Editor of DeadMansPressInk which is a small independent poetry press that publishes new & old poets alike. I love reading other poets work and creating spaces where they can share it.

Bonus Question: Are there any funny memories that you can recall during your writing journey or creative journey?

There’s a few. Years ago I met and smoked cigarettes with Jim Harrison during an intermission. He was hilarious. Met a very very drunk Jim Carroll ( who I argued with) RIP. And did a shot of tequila with Anne Waldman at a party. That just about covers it. The journey still continues. There are more shots with poets left to do.

1st person Bio:

My name is R.M. Engelhardt and I’m inquiring about being a featured interview, featured poet in Fevers of The Mind. I’ve been on and a part of the Albany NY poetry scene for almost 30 years now running open mics for poetry, doing benefits etc and I’ve been published in over 400 journals & zines (Paper & Internet). 
I’m the original founder of the group Albany Poets and I am currently the editor of a small independent poetry press called “Dead Man’s Press ink” and also I now host a brand new open mic for all poets & writers here in Albany called “Invocation of The Muse” at The Fuze Box on the 1st Monday Evening of each month. “We Rise Like Smoke Poems Psalms Incantations” is my new book of work Published by DeadMansPressInk (2021) which I am currently promoting. I also run a group on Facebook called The Central Muse Division.


Wolfpack Contributor: R.M. Engelhardt