2 poems by Shiksha Dheda : Old Things & If I Ever

Old things

I tried new things
but the carcass of the old things
took up too
much space

If I ever

If I ever wonder within the realms of fantasy, 
the sombreness of your voice 
will beckon me back to reality.
If I ever get lost in the sheets of disillusionment,
the gentleness of your touch
will waken sleeping hope.
If I ever roam around helplessly in the endless maze
of life’s predicaments, the exuberance
of your smile will brighten the dark road;
guiding me back home.
But if I ever forget you:
you are;
let the unsung hymn that you kindle in
the depths of your bosom
sing loudly to my silence.
For I
-being blinded by reality-
-spurned by fantasy-
will grope onto each 
rhythm-less and clumsy note and 
find my way back.
To you.

Bio: Shiksha Dheda uses poetry(mostly) to express her OCD and depression roller-coaster ventures. Sometimes, she dabbles in photography, painting, and baking lopsided layered cakes. 
Her work has been featured (on/forthcoming) in Off Menu Press, The Daily Drunk, The Kalahari Review, Brave Voices, Anti-heroin Chic, Versification, and elsewhere. Twitter: @ShikshaWrites

Pandemic poetry by Liam Flanagan : Say the Word & Vicious Circle

My minds in a mess
Everything is upside down and back to front
Off you go to the Florida keys
Keep hitting those wayward drives off the tees!
Complications with the vaccine
Worried about their exams
Sick of attending the classroom with their video cams
United top of the league!
A season with no fans providing some intrigue
A time in history parallel with no other
Home schooling the kids whilst trying to avoid blowing their lids
Everybody hoping and praying this will be all over
Laughter and smiles are as rare as a four leaved clover!

Vicious Circle
Round and round we go
Lock us up lock us down
Drowning in a sea of uncertainty and unrelenting tides
Washing away hope and optimism every single day
By the incessant rise and fall of the numbers
A feeling there is no tomorrow
Every day is the same
Roll out the vaccine as a matter of urgency
Otherwise the whole country is going to go insane
We will never forget living in these horrendous times
And the long term effect it is having on all our minds

Liam Flanagan is a 47 year old living in Galway, Ireland. Degree in English and Philosophy and a Teaching Diploma. Ten years experience in the IT industry. Likes Sport, Film and Music.

the Fevers of the Mind General Interview with Ken Tomaro

1) Please describe your latest book, what about your book will intrigue the readers the most, and what is the theme, mood? Or If you have a blog or project please describe the concept of your project, blogplatform.

Ken: I actually have 2 books ready to be published but I’m trying to figure out the marketing aspect. I have 3 books on Amazon but my marketing skills are lacking so they are just out in Amazon limbo.. Right now I’m collaborating with an illustrator to do a mini magazine that has illustrations to my poetry. Kind of in the vain of Harvey Pekar and his American Splendor series. I don’t do blogs or websites, which I suppose I should, but then that cuts into the creative process always having to be on some social media plarform.

2) What frame of mind and ideas lead to you writing your current book?

Ken: Everything I write comes from living with depression.

3) How old were you when you first have become serious about your writing, do you feel your work is always adapting?

I honestly never even gave thought to writing of any kind. I started writing poetry about 5 years ago, so about 45 years old. Yes, I would say after 5 books my writing has only gotten better.

4) What authors, poets, musicians have helped shape your work, or who do you find yourself being drawn to the most?

Ken: Hands down, Charles Bukowski. I absolutely love that he can tell a story in such a simplistic manner. “I smoked a cigarette.” Enough said.

5) What other activities do you enjoy doing creatively, or recreationally outside of being a writer, and do you find any of these outside writing activities merge into your mind and often become parts of a poem?

Ken: Before I wrote poetry I was/still am an artist. I worked a lot with acrylics and abstract paintings. I also bake Italian cookies. All three of those things play well together and eventually end up as poetry for me.

6) What is your favorite or preferred style of writing?

Ken: Poetry by far. Because of the depression my brain works in short bursts as far as the writing goes.  Sometimes I don’t feel you need an entire chapter or novel to tell a story. I’ve found often it can be done in a paragraph or less

7) Are there any other people/environments/hometowns/vacations that has helped influence your writing?

Ken: Everything influences my writing…from a childhood memory to standing on the street smoking a cigarette and just watching everything around me.

8) What is the most rewarding part of the writing process, and in turn the most frustrating part of the writing process?

Ken: Outside of the fact that I have been in several magazines and people seem to like my writing I found it was a good therapy to clear my head. I can lose myself in the writing and forget about the hundred daily shitstorms happening in the world. The frustrating part I guess is marketing myself or getting my work seen. I’m pretty quiet and reserved and don’t really know how to say, “Hey world, read my work…it’s good stuff!”

9) How has the current times affected your work?  

Ken: I don’t really write about the pandemic. It’s hard to explain the timeframe most of my work takes place. Even though much of it takes place in current times, it also doesn’t if that makes sense.

10) Please give us any links, social media info, upcoming events, etc for your work.

Facebook: Ken Tomaro Twitter: @anxietyMilkshake

That’s about it…I’m kind of old fashioned.


Poetry by Ken Tomaro : Good to Know from FOTM Press Presents the Poets of 2020

Ken Tomaro is an artist and writer living in Cleveland, Ohio whose work has been published in several literary journals. He has also published three collections of poetry available on Amazon. His writing reflects an open, honest view of everyday mundane life living with depression.

2 poems by Lisa Mary Armstrong : Auld Simon & Bird Song

Auld Simon

A full moon casts a yellow glow
illuminating the clock face of
Auld Simon

The old cemetery sits comfortably
at the bottom of the Jonshill
A proud village relic
surrounded by cobbled stone walls

When we were children
Our nana would tell us stories
of the families buried
in the grounds

Pestilence had claimed the
lives of many
diphtheria, smallpox, cholera
and tuberculosis

Death didn’t discriminate
It came for the young, old
And everyone in between

When dusk falls in Old Lochineuch
Sometimes you will catch a glimpse of
the lost children playing
Hide and seek
in the shadows

Bird Song

The day the earth
Stopped moving –
I found my voice,
No longer drowned out
By the incessant chatter of the

I spread my petals
Like butterfly wings
I was blooming in adversity

My bird song
Rang out over the rooftops
Skimming the skyline
as it looped and soared
There was a lightness in truth
An honest moment
I was the beginning of
something beautiful

Bio: A writer/poet/mother living in Scotland. A big fan of Greek Mythology and feminist reimaginings, old Hollywood Actresses/films, the theatre, ballet and music. I’ve always written creatively for the catharsis and only started tinkering with poetry in the pandemic. My inspiration comes from poets such as Mary Oliver, Carol Ann Duffy, Emily Dickinson, Sappho, Anne Stevenson, Sylvia Plath, Dorothy Molloy, Derek Mahon, Dylan Thomas – the list is endless. To read more about Lisa go to her website at https://lisaarmstrong2179.wixsite.com/website

4 poems feature for Lisa Mary Armstrong

photo by Laura Vinck (unsplash)

2 poems by Charlotte Hamrick : Shelter in Place & Swaddling the Beast

Shelter in Place

A derelict cave lurks under my rib cage,
holds years of ragged breath,
smothering kudzu,

and time-laden clay, hides
the hammering of living things 
near dead, the dawn of every morning

sucked up into prayers.
In a firestorm of words, 
terror waited in silence,

air washed in red 
like Mars, like blood,
like the shredded heart of a broken child.

Swaddling the Beast

Why do the blues creep up
my spine on the most glorious days?
Balmy spring in its best finery, riotous

color, silken breezes, benevolent sunshine –
why does it mock me, tease me, test me?
Sometimes there’s loneliness

in so much beauty, despondency
in such perfection. The whole of creation
is indifferent, has no reason to consider

my blue moods so I hold on for storm clouds,
their shades of purple and gray, their softness
of light, how they swaddle my bête noire.

Charlotte Hamrick’s creative work has been published in numerous online and print journals,
most recently including The Citron Review, Emerge Journal, and New World Writing. She’s had
nominations for the Pushcart Prize, Best Microfiction 2021, and was a Finalist for Micro Madness 2020. She reads for Fractured Lit and was the former CNF Editor for Barren
Magazine. She lives in New Orleans with her husband and a menagerie of rescued pets where
she sometimes does things other than read and write.

Bio: Charlotte Hamrick’s poetry, prose, and photography has been published in numerous online and print journals, recently including Emerge Journal, Flash Frontier, Love in the Time of Covid Chronicle, and New World Writing. She’s had nominations for the Pushcart Prize, Best Microfiction 2021, and was a Finalist for the 15th Glass Woman Prize and for Micro Madness 2020. She is Creative Nonfiction Editor for The Citron Review and reads flash fiction for Fractured Lit. She lives in New Orleans with her husband and a menagerie of rescued pets where she sometimes does things other than read and write.

Featured photo by Cherry Laithang on Unsplash