Fevers of the Mind Quick-9 Interview with Reggie D. Johnson (aka R.D. Johnson)

Q1: When did you start writing and first influences?

Reggie: I started writing at the age of nine as a hobby I did on summer vacations. Langston Hughes was one of my first influences.

Q2: Who is your biggest influence today?

Reggie: The writers I’ve come into contact on social media who I’ve become very good friends with: Natalie Hernandez (@yerrrnandez), Luis Delossantos (@CoolerStoryMarc), Harold Fonseca (@halfxyou), Elijah Horton (@elijahhorton94), Chris Butler (@CLBpoetry) Daniel Alvarez (@itsdannylondon), Bruce Llano (@Beeruce_Sama).

Q3: Where did you grow up and how did that influence your writing/art?

Reggie: Cincinnati, Ohio. I was taught to write about things you know and have experienced. Speaking personal truths will help to strengthen your writing.

Q4: Have any travels away from home influenced your work & describe if so?

Reggie: Yes, I recently took a trip to Orlando, Florida to meet up with some of my friends who inspire me continuously. That time away and being in that environment with all them helped me create some dope content that I can’t wait to share with everyone very soon.

Q5: Any pivotal moment when you knew you wanted to be a poet/writer/artist?

Reggie: When Drake released his Take Care Album. After 9, I didn’t pick up poetry again seriously til I turned 19. That album showed so much versatility in his writing and the ability to express his emotions through art was inspiring.

Q6: Favorite activities to help you relax when not writing/creating?

Reggie: Playing video games, listening to music.

Q7: Any recent or upcoming promotional work you’d like to do now?

Reggie: I have a surprise project dropping July 1st, with Daily Drunk Magazine and then at the end of the summer I’ll be releasing my tenth book.

Q8: One of your favorite lines from a poem of yours?

Reggie:     
From my poem 'Look At Me' found in my book, Cuarentena: 
                   
                   "I am black
                    I am then
                    I am now
                    I am what's to come
                    We are not less than
                    We are equal
                    We just want to be heard
                    And not for your entertainment
                    I am black
                    And you will not take that away from me"

  
                   
https://www.amazon.com/Cuarentena-Reggie-Johnson/dp/108791115X

Q9: Who has helped you most with writing?

Reggie: A few people. Natalie Hernandez & Luis Delossantos taught me to not minimize the writing. Keep writing as it doesn’t matter how long it is or that it needs to stop at a certain length. Harold Fonseca, Elijah Horton taught me to expand the creativity. My love for music has now transcended into new territories as it has not only incorporated in my writing but I’ve had the pleasure of doing songwriting too. Also, Harold and Chris Butler have taught me to be the voice of a generation. In these last few years with everything going on in the world, the way I could ease my thoughts was in writing. I thank all of them for pushing me to the next level.

Bio: Follow R.D. Johnson on twitter @r_d_Johnson Check out his work on the Poetry Question with RDJ’s Replays https://thepoetryquestion.com/category/replay-rdj/ Read His work on dailydrunkmag.com R.D. Johnson is a pushcart nominee, a best of the net nominee for Fevers of the Mind “(Not Just On) Juneteenth”

Bio: Follow R.D. Johnson on twitter @r_d_Johnson R.D. Johnson is a pushcart nominee, a best of the net nominee for Fevers of the Mind “(Not Just On) Juneteenth” Reggie is an author reigning out of Cincinnati, Ohio. At the age of 9, he found a love for writing while on summer vacation. With influences from music, Reggie has created a rhythmic style of writing to tell his personal experiences and beyond. Reggie has several books available on all major online retailers and his work can be seen in various literary magazines. He currently has two columns, Drunken Karaoke featured on Daily Drunk Magazine & REPLAYS featured on The Poetry Question. https://thepoetryquestion.com/category/replay-rdj/

Poem by R.D. Johnson: “Just a Scratch” (new poetry)

Poetry by R.D. Johnson : (Not Just On) Juneteenth

4 Poems by R.D. Johnson : Malcolm & Martin, Angels, Dr. King’s Dream & February 1st (re-post)

#stopthehate Poems by Malak K Chehab : Flood of Faith, Who Says? Untitled, & Real or Shadows

Pray, Hands, Praying Hands, Sculpture

Flood of Faith

The floodgates of heaven are open.
Deluge, drizzle, gush, sprinkle, full blown storm,
All pouring down on the unsuspecting human
Who looks to the sky for hope and prayer
That their wishes will be realized in little time?

A connoisseur revels in such a flood of hope,
Peace, and satisfaction in seeing their fortune 
Grow like the plant taking from the soil in the hope
To welcome the sky with its dainty fingers, in a breath,
That could touch the limitless well of yearning that's baby blue.

What's wealth in contrast to health and peace of mind?
Where there's money, there is covetousness 
and fear
Of loss of material power and overpowering those weaker.
When health is the issue,  no amount of money 
Or bribery will endow your blossoming again.

Finally,  if your conscience is clear, you can sleep 
Deeply without any worries as your faith and morals
Adhere to something greater than the worries of humans;
Your perception is a well of knowledge that those 
Who follow their values instead of social edicts
Will never feel the need for more and more money, only faith. 

Real or Shadows

Tug of war, tug of joy, tug of fear,
While tugging at shadows of terror
The horror before me leaves me asunder.

Toddlers screaming at one another
The incomprehensible presence of others
Of the same size, behavior, and voices bother.

Their tiny fingers touch and retreat quickly 				
Unbelieving that they are real, unlike the scrutiny 
That's only an image in the mirror that you study.

These toddlers are three years of age
And have rarely interacted with babies on a bike.
They panic when inundated with as many a babe.

Run, scram, hide, rake, scratch, scream at them all
Making sure you're heard having a Devine ball
Jumping from one room to the next after each fall.

How do we manage kids' trauma caused
By the imposed isolation that bred
Mistrust and trepidation from youngsters that fears abound?

With vaccines around, life may take reign again, 
How will adults behave after such imposed pain
Of seclusion, social distancing, and nary a train

To transport you past the need to be alone,
Not lonely, no, just alone in your bubble home.
It's more serene and relaxing that way for thee.

Who Says?

Who says you have to be perfect?
Who says perfection is all it’s cracked up to be?
Who says you have to follow all the rule? 
Who says you have to live with the stereotypes of gender?
Who says you can't make your own way?
Who says you can't impose self-respect?
Who says that life is but an evil fairy tale?
Who says that magic and wonder exist?
Who says you aren't an island?
Who says you can't survive, alone, happily?
Who says your beliefs are nothing but lies?
Who says your faith is ridiculous?
Who says your values aren't shared?
Who says that science has taken away wonder?
Who says that life isn't itself a wonder?
Who says that magic doesn't infiltrate all your pores?
Who says that love, values, God aren't your only recourses?

Untitled

"Man has it all in his hands, and it all slips through his fingers from sheer cowardice." Fyodor Dostoevsky

To be a coward, 
One must:

Fear being changed, 
Fear loving it,
Fear beauty,
Fear being hopeful,
Fear the inspirational,
Fear of being an individual, 
Fear of being assertive, 
Fear of being humane,
Fear of being disruptive,
Fear of being positive. 

When all is locked in a chest,
How can you break its best
From solid bonds that need a rest?

Take pride in 'you', the 'person's,
Have faith in yourself and press on,
Knowing that what's right will live on!


Bio: 
Hi, my name is Malak Kalmoni Chehab.  I am an introvert who was born to Lebanese parents in Ghana.  When the Civil War broke out there, we moved to Lebanon only to face the same problem; so we moved to Canada.  I was raised there as a teen and young adult, before marrying and moving back to Lebanon.  I married, had 3 kids, raised them there and went back to University there to complete my teaching diploma and MA in Comparative English Literature. I taught all levels of school and college, before the political situation went down the drain, and had to move to Canada with my kids to provide a better future for them.  My husband, a veteran, whose career spanned over a quarter decade, helped me meet a variety of social classes, whose problems were freely discussed.
Living through such upheavals has made me bear witness to injustices that are inhumane, and they’ve stayed within me until I had the courage, inspired by my children and husband, to start writing, as they knew my love of reading and disappointment in third world countries’ political climates that are the results of colonization

The Fevers of the Mind Quick-9 Interview with musician, writer Ron Sexsmith

From http://www.RonSexsmith.com

Ron Sexsmith is an acclaimed singer/songwriter musician from Ontario, Canada. He has been putting out records since the mid 1980’s and signed with Interscope/Warner in the 90’s and began putting out a collection of records that gained attention from not just fans, but other musicians such as Elvis Costello. He has worked with Chris Martin of Coldplay, R.E.M., one of my favorites Leonard Cohen, Ane Brun & many more. He’s had work covered by Rod Stewart, Feist, Emmylou Harris, k.d. Lang, Michael  Bublé , Nick Lowe. His latest album in 2020 is “Hermitage” and should be sought out today. Also, please look for Ron’s book “Deer Life” through Dundurn Press. (2017)

The Last Rider
Ron’s album “The Last Rider” in 2017 (Compass Records)




Hermitage (2020 – Cooking Vinyl)

Q1: When did you start writing & first influences?

Ron: My first attempts at writing songs came in my mid teens which was mostly riff rock with dumb lyrics. Mostly influences by UK bands like the Beatles & Kinks. I didn’t start writing anything decent until I was about 21, and by then my influences were Leonard Cohen and Gordon Lightfoot & Dylan, etc.

Q2: Who is your biggest influences today?

Ron: Most of the same people although i’m quite obsessed with Warren Zevon these days.

Q3: Where did you grow up and how that influence your writing/art?

Ron: I grew up in St. Catharines, Ontario in the mid 60’s and 70’s, which was a great time for radio. All the songs I heard were so melodic with such thought provoking lyrics that made life feel quite magical.

Q4: Have any travels away from home influenced work/describe if so?

Ron: I’ve written many songs on the road while on tour, etc. So I guess the short answer is yes…

Q5: Any pivotal moment when you knew you wanted to be an artist/writer/poet?

Ron: When I found out I was born on Elvis Presley’s birthday as I turned seven and promptly fell down a flight of stairs.

Q6: Favorite activities when not writing/performing to relax?

Ron: Walking mostly and reading

Q7: Any recent or upcoming promotional work you’d like to do?

Ron: I’m hoping my tour will happen next year. It’s been postponed 3 times now.

Q8: One of your favorite lines from your poem/song, or favorite piece of art or photograph?

Ron: “In every nowhere town, there are somewhere dreams” from my song “Love Shines”

Q9: Who has helped you most with writing?

Ron: Other than my influences, perhaps Mitchell Froom who produced my first 3 records.

10. Thank you for a quick interview.

Ron: My pleasure!

4 poems by Ronald Tobey from Four Liminal Moments Unprepared Encounters with Women

Stinson Lake Memoir


Near the last Iroquois Algonquin clash
you wear red lipstick
frosted pink
know I too am Abenaki
Maine ancestors near yours
paint me a warrior
kissing stripes on my cheeks
red your fingers
paint your mons war color
on my phallus too
command me to take my courage
from the liquor of your fertility
warning your competition
giving fear to our enemies.

Dorothy Hamill Ends My First Marriage


Dorothy Hamill ends my first marriage
1974
in your apartment on the third floor
of the Spanish revival hotel
above the blue-lighted swimming pool
palm-lined courtyard
warm eve of Valentine’s day
Southern California’s star-sparkle sky
we watch her win a national competition
navel orange blossoms
perfume the rooms
through an opened wood-mullion window
with eight lights
I call my wife
use the wall-mount phone
you walk over from the couch against the far wall
cover the black round mouthpiece with your hand
“I don’t want you to go”
you are twenty-two years old
married for one year
I will be late
Dorothy Hamill’s leaping double axel
astonishes television commentators
“10”s goes up on the board.

Girl in Stardust Café


You steal my heart away,
waitressing in Stardust Café,
somewhere between specials and dessert,
you decide to flirt,
between the tables dance your way
swing your skirt
as graceful as Salomé
while balancing platters on a tray –
kinder than she though I must say,
and softly linger tap my shoulder
to make me bolder.
If you read this verse by chance
likely not in “People” mag
or other national gossip rags
perhaps an anonymous note
pinned on the billboard in Ace Hardware
might these rhymes
suggest romance
do we dare
and rhythms of the lines
other joys, other times.

Waiting Room

In the ENT clinic waiting room
we half-dozen patients sit on alternate chairs
silent dutiful wear masks
your four-year-old bashful son in tow
orange “Paws and Tales” Halloween cartoons
illustrate his child’s size mask
lighted sneakers flash as he walks and jumps
eyes not glimpsing away from you
you navigate through the two storm doors
too preoccupied to acknowledge the elderly chorus watching
you stand at the closed reception window
explain his visit lift him for a forehead temperature scan
while you answer questions
sign and pass papers through a 1-inch slit.
I recognize your tight Diesel soft-denim jeans
a center-shot cartridge head on the belt buckle
tucked into your Autumn rainy weather cowgirl boots
the plaid shirt and a serviceable pony tail
swings like a wind sock at a rural pasture airport
pulling back your luxurious brown hair
you loved to drape over me.
When I am called into an exam room
do you hear my name?
You do not see me, I sit in the corner,
behind stars printed on the deep blue-black sky
drawn across my face
the same color as the ink
in my old Parker fountain pen, medium nib,
I used to write to you a year and half ago
my hands with early arthritis haltingly scratched letters
on the blank stiff cream-colored note card
my confused masked heart
the end of our affaire.

Bio from Ronald Tobey:

Ron Tobey lives in West Virginia, where he and his wife raise cattle and keep goats and horses. He is an imagist poet, grounding experiences and moods in concrete descriptions, including haiku, storytelling, and recorded poetry, and in filmic interpretation. He occasionally uses the pseudonym, Turin Shroudedindoubt, for literary and artistic work. He has published in several dozen digital and print literary magazines, including Truly U Review, Prometheus Dreaming, Broadkill Review, Cabinet of Heed, Atticus Review, Punk Noir, and The Light Ekphrastic. His Twitter handle is @Turin54024117

3 Poems by Anisha Kaul : “At the Dead of Night” “Flight of Tragic Wings” “A Commotion of the Holy Ones”

AT THE DEAD OF NIGHT

She walks on the parapet, eyes shut 
Her floral robes light as the wind
Paces for what seems an eternity 
The empty bed and spouse miss her alike   
Half asleep, he murmurs her name
She pulls at the misty curtains of slumber 
The venture ceases at once, swiftly descending 

Passes me, a regular witness to her wanderings
At my concealed post, taps the floor mockingly
Beaming, then glides to her chamber 
Embraces the dreamer, caresses his nape 
Removes the covers and joins him to sleep

FLIGHT OF TRAGIC WINGS
 
Under great threat, Daedalus, a craftsman father, 
Laboriously fashioned two pairs of mighty wings  
A word of caution for his son timely passes
“Neither close to the sun nor abreast the sea!”

Evading much harm, the duo mount the open sky 
Its infinite domain overwhelmed the unfortunate Icarus 
Soaring across readily, he imitates a fowl on the maiden voyage  

Against all attempts of recklessness, the seasoned voice sounds 
Sensing cold flutter passing his novel feathers, youth easily ignored
Both speech and sight, and darted towards the doomed proximity, the 
Rival sun- his tragic wings undone at once, by degrees drop into the sea     


A COMMOTION OF THE HOLY ONES  	


Siren 
Grecian creatures of faraway oceans 
Singing songs of collective shipwrecks 
Lyre laden charms; of them beware!
 

Ambulance
White creatures of nearby land 
Singing songs of collective mourning 
Laden with warning lights; of them beware!


Lighthouse
Solitary creatures of sandy shores
Singing songs of collective caution 
Twilight laden walls; of them too, beware!  

Wolfpack Contributor: Anisha Kaul

A Fevers of the Mind Quick-9 Interview with Anisha Kaul

Bio: Anisha Kaul (she/ her) is a poet with a Master's in English Literature, presently living in New Delhi, India. As of now 40 of her poems have been accepted or are housed in various national and international print and online anthologies. She served in the capacity of the editor for DRC, College Magazine Pramila, University of Delhi, 2016-17 issue. Anisha has also qualified the National Eligibility Test (NET) for Assistant Professorship conducted in India. She loves to write about herself in the third person. Find her on twitter: @anishakaul9.