A Poetry Showcase from Edward Lee

from pixabay

WAITING, FOR THERE IS NOTHING ELSE TO DO

We are all
going to live forever,
until we don't,

that's life
in a nutshell,

says the drunk man
at the bar, who arrived 
four drinks
after I got here,

who will leave
before I do,

long before.

We are all going to live forever,
until we don’t, and as I signal
the barman for another drink
I don’t want, but so desperately need,
I order one for the drunk man,
nod my head and raise my glass
as he says thanks, his eyes
not on my face but on something
just over my shoulder, something
in the deadened darkness
of a pub in the empty hours
of a winter’s day.

THE ENDING IS EVERYTHING

A lifetime of rain
has left our skins wet,
our clothes disintegrating
when we undress, if
we bother to undress
or simply fall into our beds
sleep claiming us
before our bodies still.

Someday the sun
might rise
and our skins will dry,
shrinking us down
to a size more manageable
than the bloated beings 
we have become
simply by living as we live,
all the better
for the world to drown us
when the rains come again,

as they will.
as they always do,
the ending of everything
the only guarantee worth believing

HISTORY

With wounds that wouldn’t close
he died for the lies
of stupid men, never once 
opening his mouth
to give his side
of their story,
or even to beg
for mercy.

Too clever
to save himself,
he let ignorance
silence his heart,
its last beats barely vibrating
its tired shape.

And now the men
who would call themselves leaders,
call themselves the only chance
of any tomorrow, they
are looking for 
someone new
to hang, someone new to die
so they themselves
can live on beyond history.

THE YEARS AHEAD ARE LESS THAN THE YEARS BEHIND

Ants surround my bed
like an honor guard
or a deathwatch,
I can't be sure which,
the ants without voice
to tell me their aim,
the life I've led
deserving both,
though I know some people
might disagree, but
none of them are here,
it is only the ants,
their stillness like a shout
in an empty room,
their possible movement
like a held breath, the realisation
that they are not really ants
still some unknowable time away.

BURNING

We press our faces
against the glass,
the distant fires
attracting our eyes
even as we doubt their reasons
for existing, until we pass through,
the glass not breaking,
our skin untouched, as smooth
as it has ever been, though, perhaps,
drier than it should be,
the world through the window
now just the world, the home
we did not treat as a home
and yet one
we have spent 
several selfish lifetimes building.



Short Bio: Edward Lee's poetry, short stories, non-fiction and photography have been published in magazines in Ireland, England and America, including The Stinging Fly, Skylight 47, Acumen, The Blue Nib, Fevers Of The Mind and Poetry Wales.  His play ‘Wall’ received a rehearsed reading as part of Druid Theatre’s Druid Debuts 2020. 
He also makes musical noise under the names Ayahuasca Collective, Orson Carroll, Lego Figures Fighting, and Pale Blond Boy.
His blog/website can be found at https://edwardmlee.wordpress.com





A Fevers of the Mind Quick-9 Interview with Sylvie Simmons *updated*

Q1: When did you start writing and who influenced you the most?

Sylvie: . I had two obsessions, from the moment I came out of the egg it seems, and they were writing and music. When I was little I sang and tapdanced onstage and offstage I played a recorder, I started writing stories pretty much as soon as I started school. I can’t think of one particular person or book that influenced me as a writer because I read so much, all sorts of stuff, starting with fairy tales. My inner-goth preferred Grimm to Hans Christian Anderson. I can be more specific about the first music I heard that really meant something to me: Bessie Smith singing St Louis Blues, my dad’s favourite record. And then while I was still a little kid there came the Beatles. Between Bessie Smith and John Lennon, it’s all I needed.

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

Sylvie: Again nothing specific. I can’t remember thinking “I want to be a writer”, because I had never met anyone who was a writer by profession, and because I was always writing, all sorts of stuff, for no reason other than that I liked to write. There was a time in my teens when I wanted to be a singer-songwriter because I loved singing and I had a guitar and I guess I looked the part. Most of the songs I wrote were minor-key dirges – about lost love before I’d had any love to lose – and none of the songs were worth remembering without embarrassment. Anyway, stage-fright put paid to that idea. So I became a music journalist. My influences as a music journalist? Hard to say. Probably a mishmash of the largely-male (they were mostly men back then) rock writers in Sounds, N.M.E, and Melody Maker, the three UK music magazines I’d devour every week. When I moved to L.A in 1977 I became  Sounds’ correspondent. Left to my own devices out there I suppose I started to find a style and approach of my own. I hope so. Also, I got over my stage fright and became a singer-songwriter, but that was several decades later.

Q3: Who has helped you most with writing and career?

Sylvie: In the beginning it was Sounds magazine in the UK, for making me their correspondent in 1977 and giving me all sorts of brilliant assignments, like going on the road with Black Sabbath, or The Clash, and a weekly column. This led to assignments from other magazines in the US and Europe, which meant I was writing nonstop, and picking things up as I went.

Q4: Where did you grow up and how did that influence you? Have any travels influenced your work?

Sylvie: I was born and raised in inner-city London and I entered my teens when London was the best place in the world to be for someone who loved music. I lived in France for a while, which certainly influenced my writing the Serge Gainsbourg biography: A Fistful of Gitanes.

But work-wise, the USA is where things really took off for me as a writer and also later as a musician.

Q5: What do you consider your most meaningful work creatively to you?

Two things tie for first place: I’m Your Man: The Life of Leonard Cohen – the biography that I wrote with Cohen’s co-operation – was my first big best-seller, with almost 30 translations at last count. The other is my debut album of original songs Sylvie (Light In The Attic Records). When the turquoise vinyl turned up in the post, I admit I cried when I saw it.

Q6: What are your favorite activities to relax?

Sylvie: Playing old LPs on an equally old portable record player. Playing my ukulele, or piano, or my new love, a tenor guitar. Or walking for miles and miles going nowhere in particular, thinking thoughts, maybe stopping for a latte or a beer. Or going to the movies. I still love movies, and it’s just not the same on TV. It’s like watching a concert on Zoom.

Q7: What is a favorite line/ stanza/lyric from your writing?

Sylvie: I’ll leave that for someone else to decide.

Q8: What kind of music inspires you the most? What is a song or songs that always come back to you as an inspiration?

Sylvie: I love to rock out – for years I was the correspondent for Kerrang! – but ever since my dad and St Louis Blues I’ve always been drawn to slow, melancholy music. I can go on endless jags of listening to everything by Leonard Cohen, Nick Drake, Scott Walker, or Joni Mitchell’s Blue. The songs that keep bringing me back again and again are those in which you can hear the humanness of the singer and the honesty of the delivery. For that reason I love listening to music like old Blues or early Beatles, anything where the little mistakes are left in. I truly dislike auto tune and those polished productions that iron out all the human-ness.

Q9: Do you have any recent or upcoming books, music, events, etc that you would like to promote?

Sylvie: I recently got back from playing at the Calgary Folk Festival in Canada, and now I have a few things coming up in San Francisco. I’ll be doing a speaking event at Litquake with fellow veteran rock critics including Ben Fong-Torres and Greil Marcus on October 21st ’22. Also a music event at the Lost Church on November 6th ’22 as part of the S.F Leonard Cohen festival. There’s info on my website. You can find my first two albums on my Bandcamp page. I’ve also added some new music and outtakes. I’m hoping to record a new album next year.

On the writing side, I still write regularly for the UK magazine MOJO. My last book was Face It,  a collaboration with Debbie Harry. But I’m happy to say that there’s now an updated US edition of my Leonard Cohen biography  I’m Your Man: The Life of Leonard Cohen.

If anyone would like to purchase a signed copy  – of the book or my albums,vinyl or cd – they can contact me directly through my website at the link(s) below.

Bonus: Any funny or strange stories you’d like let us know during your creative journey?

Sylvie: Too many to mention. It’s been 45 years of strange and wonderful occurences, and I hope it never stops.

Links:

Website: https://www.sylviesimmons.com/

Contact: https://www.sylviesimmons.com/contact

Bandcamp: https://sylviesimmons.bandcamp.com/album/sylvie

I’m Your Man: The Life of Leonard Cohen on Amazon: https://tinyurl.com/2p98h7vf

A Poetry Showcase for Ivor Daniel *Updated 9/23/22* with Plath haiku

In High Summer

when flies walk upon my forearm hairs
proprietorial as landlords
and the land is ripe with roadkill

extreme weather scenarios
play out in real time

climate diplomats gather
but the plenary is beached -
delegates cloyed
as wasps in coulis

we sit around
the water table
with an ashen thirst

everybody wants to make a move
but no one does

like watching the bleaching of coral

the only thing agreed on
is that all this is unprecedented

unprecedented rainfall here
unprecedented temperatures there
unprecedented use of the word unprecedented     everywhere

in high summer
the deluge
the canicule
the conflagration

ants grow fat
grow wings
buzz my ears

we pick at
the brittle wishbone
of consensus

wait for crows 
locusts
to draw down the dusk
with a dry calling  

We Are Green

One winter’s day
through condensation windows
I mistook a withered gunnera leaf
for a heron’s wing.
Imagined the bird 
coiled, primal,
waiting at the water.

Months later, 
in the veiled sphere
under a summer gunnera plant,
I imagined myself 
small,
deep in zoological realms
below explosions
of virid strong-stemmed leaves 
as wide as the sky,
blush flower spikes
pushing up and through.

Today
in seasons of indeterminate grey 
when squirrels
do not know
which page
of the nut calendar
we are on,
it is the verdure
I return to.

I daydream of a kinder world.

Daylight and rainfall
elect a parliament of plants.
An upper house of trees.

We are green,
enfranchised.

XY (No Means No)

X.
Doctor Foster
went to Gloucester
in a shower of rain.

Fred and Rose
they quit town
but left a nasty stain.

That’s Fred West -
more than a sex pest.
Did unspeakable things
in his dirty vest.

Y.
Cycling past
the rape seed fields
brings it all back.
The yellow so vivid,
you lying on your back.

The yellow, the horror,
you want to be home,
but find yourself
involuntary, prone.

He seemed ok at first,
he said he’d drop you back.
The stony ground remains
no aphrodisiac.

You shut your eyes
your demon’s back,
slow, stupid in the sack.

And No Means No
involuntary
lying on your back.


Choose Your Own Mother
(for Rhianydd Daniel)

I have heard it said 
the yet unborn  
can choose their parents. 
 
A strange idea, this. 
Although we live in times 
when nothing is 
beyond belief. 
 
If it is true..    
If it is true, 
I ask myself 
the reason  
I chose you. 
 
Indecisive as I am, 
and daresay was 
before my birth, 
there is a scenario 
in which I am at peace. 
 
Wherein, unborn, 
I somehow hear 
your singing voice. 
 
And from that time 
I have no choice. 

sand in your blood

I remember when 
you scraped your leg on coral..
a rose rust bloomed raw 

under your skin..the
sea was a blister the moon
was a bruise.. all night

your fever rose and 
fell..lava tides licked feral 
flames..sand in your blood   

Ad Astra Zee

I am waiting for my blood
to clot. Broad beans
block green veins, 
velvet furred.
I am ripe
for it.

One day my feet 
will be corms,
shoehorned
in stony ground.
My soles are up
for it.

Hey Astra Zee!
I want my
second dose
already. 
             
I am weary 
of this solid flesh
my veins
so unimpeded.

Bring on the levelling dark. 

I am ready, pale horse
for your clip-clop.
For blood clots. 

Bolt, beauteous breathlessness! 
Bolt, cramping throbbing pain 

stampeded!

the paranoia shop

sells mini cctv 
for the home or handbag
sells cctv any size you need

hard-sells hard knuckle dusters
and knives all shapes and sizes
beyond imagination
for your perfect tribulation

they say carrying a knife
puts you more at risk of a stabbing
but the stab-proof vests are on offer today

see the cute hand guns 
to fit your hand    just so 

the paranoia shop
nestled between Gaultier  and Kenzo

I love to window shop there

It makes me feel so safe 

worm haiku

exit wounds out of 
apples, soldiers, the worm out 
of one the bullet

Perfect Bed

I dream I am at Bembom Brothers
Dreamland funfair park
with Tracey Emin.
Hard by Margate sands.

I know I shouldn’t drink that Vodka
on the Helter Skelter.
Apart from that,
a Day as Perfect as the Lou Reed song.

We Kiss with Fish and Chips Lips,
Join Hips. A Turner Sunset
Going Down.

I guess it is the Golden Hour.
Blair’s Babes 
and even some of his men MP’s
are busy Changing a whole heap of things
for the Better.

Back in your room 
we remember that
we even Changed the Bed this morning.

The linen soft and cool next to our Optimistic skin.

(This poem has previously appeared online in iamb-wave seven)

Going back

I went back, and it looked the same. 
I was not expecting that. 
Expected the usual rash of 
New Builds, creeping up the hill.

I went back, thinking
it would all look smaller, like
when I came back from America
aged 19, and it seemed like the train 
home had shrunk 
in a B movie.

I went back
looking for what?
The muddy lane where
we skidded our scooters?
The neighbour’s garden gnome
one of us pushed in his pond?
The Fish Caves, where we played
explorers? Journey to the Centre of the Earth,
or at least 
some way in
to that disused tin mine.

I went back, not to look for
my Dad, just some of the places
he used to take us. 
Halfway between morbid 
and curious.

I went back to the old conker trees 
and the scraped knees. To the
broken fence on Bishop’s Wood Road,
where it said No Trespassing
but my Dad said we’d be alright.

I went back to the old quarry
with the pond we thought was a lake.
I’m channeling a half-
remembered sense of comfort,
danger. Somewhere between 
Teddy Bears and Teddy Boys.

I went back to stacking
boxes of seaside rock
at Woolworths.

 Each stick had writing all the way through,
persistent as memory.

From up on the hill
you can see it all. 
The only thing different
is wind turbines out at sea,
turning like time.

I remember a school master who left.
All of a sudden. The smell
of that old classroom
at the end of the dark
corridor. Scuffed floor wax. 


Thanks Sylvia  for the Sylvia Plath/Anne Sexton Challenge

You married Ted, slapped
cobweb faced British poetry, 
long overdue


Bio: Ivor Daniel lives in Gloucestershire, UK. His poems have appeared in A Spray of Hope,
wildfire words, Steel Jackdaw, Writeresque, iamb~wave seven, Fevers of the Mind, The
Trawler, Roi Fainéant, Ice Floe Press and The Dawntreader. He has poems forthcoming in
After..., Re-Side, Alien Buddha, The Orchard Lea Anthology (Cancer) and The Crump’s Barn
Anthology (Halloween). .
@IvorDaniel





Poetry: Raw by Monica Kagan Inspired by Plath & others

I long for magic in my life…
Does that sound silly?

I long for wings and wands
Instead of claws and sores.

Flesh strips, flayed
Vultures lay bare
A raw heart– 
Rended

Shrapnel shreds sisters, mother, father
A familial holocaust
A bone tableau

Sylvia, Ingrid and Virginia
Weave their wounds into words
Spiralling down a well

I long for wings and wands
Instead of claws and sores.

I long for magic in my life…
Does that sound silly?

*Previously published on Elephants Never on (Oct 7 2019)*

Bio: Monica Kagan lives by the sea in beautiful Cape Town, South Africa. Her poems appear or are forthcoming in New Coin Poetry Journal (ISEA, Rhodes University), Crack the Spine, and Anti-Heroin Chic, and among others.

Twitter: @MonicaOFAH

Instagram: @monicakaganpoet

Poetry Inspired by Photography by Kevin DeLaney @kpdela Poetry by Matthew Freeman, Vipanjeet Kaur, Lesley Curwen and David L O’Nan “The Empath Dies in the End”

The Empath Dies in the End

So I find myself alone after a night of separation
A Black night lit up over our green chairs.
Now empty, no longer filled by our bodies
and our conversations, sits like ghosts
My God! this night has moon lit on fire.

I was the first to vanish from your anger.
Your white lightning skin wrapped in the moon rays,
as you paddled insults to my heart.
You will never let me feel the honey.
To let my lungs wrap up in the stickiness.
The mosquitoes and the bees begin to sleep with a thirst.

Will a new man let you swim in that undertow?
The Chimes they cling together by the swirling winds.
The clashing waves pour onto your cracked toes from Lake Seneca.
Several hours of dancing some unnamed waltz.  
On your hideaway beach that wasn't hours. 
That is what the prophet tells me.   
Stabbed in waiting while the hymns carry my ghost away from my body.

I listen with dim sleeping eyes.  The boats in the distance belt out 
tunes.  I drain in this loneliness.  The weakness, rustic in scowl.
Blood over the beads of rocks.  Listened to the wind blow once.
Listened to the wind blow twice.  It was a disguise.
Converged pure from my polluted brain.  The narcissists was wiry and sudden and overtook my neglected heart. Infested a brain.
The Empath dies in the end.

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

The Tranquil Sun by Vipanjeet Kaur

The sun sits tranquilly 
over the western horizon
at dusk,
His charioteer slows down
and pauses for a while
After traversing the whole sky.

While riding the chariot of dusk,
He smiles a last fading smile –
A farewell gesture;
A token of eternal love;
A parting kiss 
to the dying day.

While folding millions of his
imponderable arms of rays
that pervade the world
throughout the day,
He draws the blinds of 
his effulgence down
before night,
Like a mourner,
saluting the passing day.

Beyond the picket fence
of my mansion,
The one-eyed overseer
rings the bell of repose
and looks at me 
through crimson windows,
imparting a rosy aureole 
to my dormant hopes,
and like a dreamcatcher 
promising vernal dreams.

A fervent plea in his closing eye
to release the unrealised dreams of 
the dying day: broken, dead and decayed
in the autumn of dusk.
Let them burn 
on the pyre of the setting light,
Let the sombre red embers
reduce them softly to ashes
with the deepening darkness of dusk,
Let them dissolve in the darkness of night,
Let the cremains of despair be immersed 
in the flowing silver moonlight

before a new dawn begins
a new chariot ride. 

Bio: Ms. Vipanjeet Kaur from India is a poet fond of writing poems on various themes like nature, women empowerment, self, spiritualism and life.  Her haikus have been featured in the international online journals like Haiku Dialogue of The Haiku Foundation, The Haiku Pond, The Cold Moon Journal and the Scarlet Dragonfly Journal and her micropoetry has been published in the Five Fleas (Itchy Poetry). She has also read research papers on the topics of Literature, Human Rights and Women Empowerment in a few national seminars and international conferences. 
She can be followed on Twitter @vjpoeticmusings.



Fevers by Matthew Freeman

And I’ve said there’s no difference
between the streetlamp and the moon.
And that’s still true, but now
in late September as everything wanes
I’m sitting outside my sister’s apartment
with my diet soda and my cigarette and my iPod
watching the crowd get thin at Ted Drewes
and every little thing we believed in fall apart.
Someday when the sun burns out you’ll ask yourself
whether you stayed true, really true, to your
feverish desire.  

A Poetry Showcase by Matthew Freeman 

Moonage by Lesley Curwen

Haloed lunacy floats crosshatch beam
through umber cloud and bulrush-crown.   Bleak horizon swallows photon-feed
down continents of eyeless waves.

Landward, pines guard empty chairs 
against moon's threat, a pump-song
chuckles chlorine,  muddles jets
of aquamarine gems.

Poetry based on photography “The Lone Road to Moloka’I” from Maggs Vibo
 Poetry based on photography Challenge from Ankh Spice pt. 1