BIO: Jacquelyn Shah holds: A.B. (Phi Beta Kappa, magna cum laude), Rutgers U; M.A. English, Drew U; M.F.A. and Ph.D. English literature/creative writing–poetry, U of Houston. Her publications include a chapbook, small fry; a full-length book, What to Do with Red; and poems in various journals. She was Literal Latté’s 2018 Food Verse Contest winner and is a 2023 non-fiction book contest winner, memoir publication forthcoming. Iconoclast, she loves surrealism and all quirky poems!
Gordian KnotEnriched by words, phrases,
tangled, from a few
Bill Knott poems
Concealed from the eye,
out of most of one dozen autumn drops,
a liquid moment
adequately echoes the picturesque
golden flights into my(s)elf
when I am blown from consummate capsules.
This extravagance of savage yearly tearfalls
attempts to assert the wisdom
of a sparsely inhabited archipelago––
in the opus of my wandering (s)elf.
Ritual aggrandizements must adhere
on the ledge, dottily, just as caricature
hits mirrors from the world, sidelong.
Over the lip of this pit-deep surfeit of words
the ground breaks off a little crust
of exaggerated effortlessness
when making art slightly obscured,
to find you though
with flyswatters and grins
by the action of one thumb
with a inky string in its mouth,
syllables babbling in a dribble
congealing to a damp knot.
Heavy Metalafter John Chamberlain’s Artur Banres, 1977
Menil Collection, Houston
Bumper strips jagged rusty edges of random dents––
they don’t detract a bit from the gleaming chrome of
Dodge, that’s his name––though the nameplate’s painted
over, you can make out “Dee-O-Dee,” even a trace of the missing
“Gee” & “Eee”––those squeals! Sixth-grade kids amazed
to see a quarter of a wrecked car hanging on a wall Girls giggle
Boys jab each other in the ribs Look at that! Holes screws
peeling rough projections––all coated with oils
An upper-right protrusion curved like a football helmet
Great colors globbed & streaked intruding on one another––
maroon cobalt orange charging against baby blue
scarlet chartreuse & ocher scrambling cream canary
green gray dripping over gold & silver metallic black
& blue butting against white-flesh dribble His history is hot-
rodding Like a has-been president he loves the oooing & ahhing
No OtherCento made from lyrics sung by pop stars
I close my eyes, oh god I think I’m falling
and I’m floating in a most peculiar way,
spinning through the town,
laughing in the purple rain
’cause I knew you were trouble when you walked in,
’cause this is thriller, thriller night.
Hey, you, get off of my cloud,
send in the clowns.
There’s such a difference between us,
babe. I’m gonna leave you.
It’s not the way I planned it,
but now I know I’m better sleeping on my own
and I think it’s gonna be a long, long time.
I found a new place to dwell:
Strawberry Fields, forever.
Such a lovely place, such a lovely place!
It felt good to be out of the rain,
and the vision that was planted in my brain?
We were strangers in the night;
I’m leavin’ on a jet plane.
There is wonder in ’most everything I see!
Now I’m no longer doubtful.
Go ahead with your own life, leave me alone.
Me, myself, and I, that’s all I got in the end––
baby, there’s no other superstar.
Cento––lines, in order of appearance, from: Like a Prayer (Madonna); Space Oddity (David Bowie);
I Wanna Dance with Somebody (Whitney Houston); Purple Rain (Prince); I Knew You Were Trouble (Taylor Swift); Thriller (Michael Jackson); Get Off of My Cloud (Rolling Stones); Send in the Clowns (Judy Collins); Hello (Adele); Babe, I’m Gonna Leave You (Joan Baez); Baby, One More Time (Britney Spears); Love Yourself (Justin Bieber); Rocket Man (Elton John); Heartbreak Hotel (Elvis Presley); Strawberry Fields (Beatles); Hotel California (The Eagles); Horse with No Name (America); The Sound of Silence (Simon and Garfunkel); Strangers in the Night (Frank Sinatra); Leaving on a Jet Plane (Peter, Paul, and Mary); Top of the World (The Carpenters); A Natural Woman (Carole King); My Life (Billy Joel); Me, Myself, and I (Beyoncé); Paparazzi (Lady Gaga)
Inscrutable House With Sea Hag: A Centina*
September rain falls on the house
but in a secret moon-beholden way.
I’ll enjoy pleasure, in the garden or in the room,
since I have traveled through the plains and hills
and I love to see the sun rise blood-crimson.
Meanwhile the Sea Hag was relaxing on a green couch. How pleasant!
The iron kettle sings on the stove pleasantly.
Wimpy was thoughtfully cutting open a number 2 inscrutable house
shut up with green leaves and a little crimson.
Yes, I fill all the air in my musical way,
at least secretly, where I won’t have any hills,
though my desire will not lose its green room.
The first of the undecoded messages read: “Popeye sits in the room,
and from Adam sprung nepenthe and Uncle Sam, pleasantly.”
In the failing light, the old hills
so formed he would have sparked love in a house.
And I watch his spear through the dark way,
but in the full face of the fire of crimson.
Since (as the finger is close to the crimson
in hot summer) I have a great room
the color of spinach, Popeye chuckled and scratched away.
This was the measure of my soul’s pleasant
(for me, who would choose to sleep in a house)
dance, like mad on the hot black hills.
And the winds shriek through the clouds, mad hills
closed around by all the highest crimson.
I have no limb that doesn’t shake. Not even the house,
laughing and talking to hide her room,
had all its will of dreams and pleasant, pleasant
inspiration. Plunge us now to the stars, for this is my way,
so rooted is it in this hardest way!
As a bird sleeping in a nest of hills
I have no life save when the words are pleasant.
From livid curtain’s hue, a tangram emerges, crimson,
hovers half open above the room.
Wherever I am, out in the plains or in a house,
song, have your way with crimson! And let the music
from green hills of spinach hold the soul of Sea Hag in a room
of the pleasant, inscrutable house.
*Centina, a cento-sestina––built from words and lines of six sestinas:
“Sestina” by Elizabeth Bishop; “Sestina” by Algernon Swinburne; “Lo Ferm Voler Qu’el Cor M’Intra” (The Firm Will That My Heart Enters) by Daniel Arnaut, twelfth-century troubadour and inventor of the sestina; “Sestina” by Dante Alighieri; “Sestina: Altaforte”
by Ezra Pound; “Farm Implements and Rutabagas in a Landscape” by John Ashbery. “Inscrutable House” follows the sestina’s form of thirty-nine lines with end-words that repeat according to the prescription, one each from those poets. As a cento, “Inscrutable House” uses exact lines from the poets in its first stanza; subsequent stanzas continue the form with prescribed end-word order using lines from “companion” poets. Example: in stanza two the first line is from Bishop but ends with the Ashbery word and the second line is from Ashbery but ends with the Bishop word. Only slight and occasional deviations exist within the lines.
Ten ShadesTen shades of pleasing herself
brings us to tomorrow.
John Ashbery, “El Dorado”
A weird and wonderful INTRO:
buttered roofs, dandelion breath
the salad of Nevada
Slog through the lines he’s reeled off,
purloin, bring something of it
back into the language melody
to see what will happen conversely.
(Has there been so much slogging outside and in?)
Keep your units pliable and folded;
customize tattered spaces.
Comb it wet through these otherwise days,
these torpid interpretations you see.
Mark the flow once the sluices have been opened a little,
and admit to no mistakes.
Sometimes the stars wiggled,
dangling from mistletoe
(believe it, they feel the air).
Along for the ride was a nursery of goats
and poems, dream-dipped.
Back at the jelly farm
the scribes sank in wonderment––
delightful! July passed very quickly.
So why not, indeed, try something new?
An outdated dispatch from the Mouse King?
Hazy rituals whose ultimate purpose,
far out, isn’t meant for us?
Palinodes that charm our hearing?
Digression or mild variation?
In a small garden a harmonica was heard braying
what is made and hard to screw up.
The auks were squawking, the emus shrieking.
Unlike a turkey vulture on parenthetical wing,
one nuthatch covets the sky’s
painted truths that can’t always be lively.
One part fenugreek, 3 oz. filtered water?
Why not? I’m game. Say no to nothing is my credo.
For your attention: a scarf, a puff of soot,
a little fawning for good measure.
Better to act dumb and accept the inevitable.
Be glad it’s over . . .
but it’s not over yet. Terrible incidents happen daily,
echoes of conspiracy.
You know something? I don’t care.
The planets promise to roll next time.
I’ll find a new wand, horizons will be bright,
old panaceas rewired, good as new.
Hail to something! Let bliss be unbuttoned.
I wasn’t pretending to say much.
Cento––all lines (with occasional slight altercations) from:
different poems in John Ashbery’s Planisphere and A Worldly Country
inspired by Pablo Picasso's poem "A Lonely Road is That I Walked"The Path
I walk a lonely road,
because I know no other way.
I have broken the bridge,
which stretches across the lake
to the laughing crowd.
I walk a lonely road,
because my lover
has let go of my hand,
and taken a detour
to follow the trail of glass.
And I know of no street,
that glistens in the sunlight,
only this black asphalt path,
on which my shadow grows.
Bio: Jackie Chou is a poet whose work is inspired by her inner world and the urban landscape where she grew up. Her work has appeared in Alien Buddha Zine, Cajun Mutt Press, Spillwords, Highland Park Poetry, and Fevers of the Mind Poetry Digest. Besides writing, she loves to watch Jeopardy and thriller movies.
Please send in word doc format and mostly traditional styles for easier translation to the page if possible. If not pdf will work. Google docs don’t always work so well.
Donate to our paypal also at email@example.com (anything helps to keep the site going)
*NOW TAKING PRINT ANTHOLOGY SUBMISSIONS for our new print journal “The Whiskey Mule Diner” named after our online anthology that was inspired by Tom Waits. This journal has now expanded to become a new print journal endeavor that includes poetry, art, writings, photography and more inspired by musicians, artists, writers/poets, movies & actors/actresses see this link for more Introducing a new print journal dedicated to poetry, writings, art & more inspired by music, artists, movies, and writers “The Whiskey Mule Diner”firstname.lastname@example.org (all poetry/writings/essays, art, photography will need to be submitted by June 1st for one of the first 2 issues) please put in Subject the artist you are submitting poetry/etc inspired by. Include bio. No need for cover letter. Only in word doc, pdf or body of e-mail for writing submissions.We do NOT send rejection e-mails if you want to withdraw anything or have any questions on your work please send us an e-mail. We DO send acceptance e-mails however. Also, for editing/curating reasons we will most likely add a considered piece(s) to the website prior to any print publications. We are unable to pay contributors however you will receive a free PDF of the journal. (Even the editors have to pay for a copy for themself) Please consider donating to our PayPal at email@example.com
*WEB SUBMISSIONS ONLY* (Couldpossibly will be used in future print journal anthologies) For editing/curating reasons we will most likely add a considered piece(s) to the website prior to any print publications.
We are open for Poetry Showcases for anyone to send 3-5 poems/prose. If not all pieces are accepted. I will post the 1 or 2 poems but will not be considered a showcase.
We are unable to provide compensation at this time contributors. We have to reach out through the year for donations just to keep the site going. This is for the art of poetry, music, art & other creatives.
Some poetry/art published on this site could periodically be taken down if space is running low. You will be guaranteed at least 6-8 months exposure on our website. No promises after that and don’t take it personal.
Themes we are Looking for Poetry/prose/articles/other styles of writing are for Adhd Awareness, Mental Health, Anxiety, Culture, History, Social Justice, LGBTQ Matters/Pride, Love, Poem series, sonnets, physical health, pandemic themes, Trauma, Retro/pop culture, inspired by music/songwriters, artist, inspired by classic & current writers, frustrations.
OnlineSubmissions could include Poetry, Art, submitted Book Reviews, culture pieces, rants, pre-published poetry from self-published materials, defunct lit mags, pieces from other lit mags/books/blogs with permissions. We prefer 3-5 poems sent unless you are sending for a writing prompt. There could be exceptions to this rule of course. If we take 3-5 or more poems from you will we feature you as a poetry showcase on the website.
We prefer submissions with a bio to help promote your work. Please let us know if something has been previously published, we will make a judgment call on whether able to include. I don’t love the idea of sending rejection letters. If you don’t receive acceptance assume we passed up this time and send something else. If you have simultaneous submissions out there, please keep this in mind. If not accepted at first, Just try again…We will not accept pieces that we deem racist, sexist, homophobic, or have pornographic themes, photos, or any type of nudity in submissions.
The Whiskey Mule Diner Journal will include past blog posts and new submissions sent to us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Each issue will include sections dedicated to certain musicians, artists, actors/actresses, writers/poets. Looking for poetry & other writing styles (prose, sonnets, haiku, essays), artwork (AI artwork works as well), photography, drawings & more.
With every new submission send a bio & any social media info.
We do not send rejection e-mails. If you want to withdraw a poem or have any specific questions regarding what you have sent, please just send us an e-mail at email@example.com We do send acceptances however. Also, for editing/curating reasons we will most likely add a considered piece(s) to the website prior to any print publications. We are unable to pay contributors. After an issue comes out pieces could be published on this online blog and will be promoted online as well. Each contributor will receive a free pdf. Even the editors have to pay for these issues! No cover letter needed and please only send in word doc, pdf or in subject of e-mail.
If you'd like to donate to our PayPal the e-mail for that is also firstname.lastname@example.org
The next batch of musical artists we are focusing on will include (but not limited/you are free to send work you've done on other artists/writers as well) Tom Waits, Joni Mitchell, Miles Davis, Anne Sexton, Sylvia Plath, Townes Van Zandt and also we are re-visiting other past subjects we've had on both past print issues and online anthologies that'll be revisited in one of our first issues since we already have some pieces on these Andy Warhol, Nick Cave, Leonard Cohen, Bob Dylan, Claude Monet, Jack Kerouac, Langston Hughes, Elliott Smith, Pablo Neruda, Lou Reed, Audrey Hepburn, Prince, Depeche Mode, Elvis Costello, The Dirty Three/Warren Ellis, Marilyn Monroe
The Whiskey Mule Diner (on Caroline Street)by David L O’Nan
I was wandering out of Whiskey Mule, the night began fading
The city is falling all over itself and dude, you smell like onions
Taxis are hissing passing by just pissing, ripped pantyhose legends prancing drunk.
Just ask the crooked mayor, he’s had his share of temptations.
He’s burned all his morals and held his head high as he’s collapsing.
Three women all believe that he’s dedicated, but he’s living deep on the tip of the Dead-End hill.
The diner’s lights are blinking an epileptic fury.
The faithful and the shrinks are washing their cuts in the sink.
They have been harassing their soldiers through the flesh wounds of thunder.
Bullets and promises go damp with the blood circling the city streets.
Just another cup of coffee surrounded by dust, rust, and feathers.
Our minds remember the times as a child of walking with family and preaching God to unlit skyscrapers
Bring light to this city you damn bawdy building!
Nasty voices call down to teach us new sinning that we never knew would go past the blinds of those windows.
The cobwebs in the corners of the Caroline and Market Street are doing a Cain and Abel waltz.
Across each other, intertwined while the poisoned neon glow of the Whiskey Mule hits it.
Old men walking crooked onto the sidewalks with lust in their eyes and itchy coats and itchy crotches.
They want to see the man play something from the 1950’s ‘til he is out again poisoned, asleep on the jazz piano.
Lifting Jesus to the ceilings, the waitresses are all crying except for the one who’s always smiling and fetching her phone number to a plumber, a priest, or a pariah that wandered in from the subway.
Sometimes this place has felt closed for hours,
sometimes it feels like it never stops breathing.
The fevers in this place is imminent and you walk out with hash browns in your hair.
Feeling like a motherfucker stuck in the drain.
At Whiskey Mule you began your marriage to a suicidal levitation. You want to sit on
the back of a 1969 boss 429 mustang and pull at the corners of the hairs on your head.
Wailing to a friend that’ll die with you in the end, "buddy, Let’s create some shooting stars tonight”
And you’ll battle the fog in your stupor, and you’ll wish you had more pancakes and in circles
you’ll go, pushing and shoving hobos until you’ll step on a broken bottle and crawl back into the diner
...And some Barbara Mandrell will be playing Sleeping Single in a Double bed.
You’ll feel like the stomach bugs are carving through your skin.
Go home to the wilderness of a quiet
apartment building that is surrounded by demons running around your head.
Drop the needle on the fading night. Another day stalks in and abruptly gathers energy from the
Watching the squalor fight the dandy with the curly hairs falling out of your itchy scalp.
No longer a village wimp. You’ll take the bait to the next offering. Tracy will shake the bottle
and you can’t resist the bounce and the waves in the glass to the swarming through your throat
And you’ll dream of the fandango on a cobblestone bruising and the sunsets will sound like a sultry one
Forget that crippling walk for just a little while and cut that rope from the sky, little man.
Your asking to be certified, Your asking to be hypnotized, but you keep asking to be recast as something
that doesn’t reflect in a puddle’s mirror, Jack.
The Whiskey Mule Diner on Caroline Street has good food and sometimes bad.
It has murmurs of grandiosity and mistakes to be had.
It has the memories, the merging from man to fallen angel.
It has the lazy eye blinking, It has the wisdom of a desire to escape the straitjacket.
And perform magic that illuminates from the squeezing.
My mind is heading to a new home,
Pinot Noir by David L O'Nan
Cold day, cracked around the edges but laying sweaty under itchy blankets.
After 3 A.M. drinking Pinot Noir with mustachioed confessions.
Can’t trust sidewinders walking when their sliding on slick brick roads blinding-
The regular man walks around with sociopathic confidence and he dreams of
all the wars ending long enough that he can find him a lady.
He wants a family
And he wants to die from the cigarettes,
he wants to live on nothing but pennies.
He wants it all to be wrapped up for him like a present,
but does he know how to praise.
So he decides not to fear him, he shall not be dismayed.
He walks with him on a sunset through the meadows-
looking for that new wave.
Drinking Pinot Noir and thinking outside the box.
He’s that same old man he was yesterday.
He’s invented himself excuses, he’s playing fast and loosely.
Calling all the phone numbers in his paper
wallet. Which lips will he kiss tonight, or will he be just biting on his? Chapped up and feeling cold-
boned, drunk and sad.
He drops out a few dollars for dinner with a nobody he knew from 19 years
before. She didn’t like him then, she doesn’t like him now.
But he’s already got images of him pushing
up her purity veil and calling her his forever.
More pinot noir for the dipshit. Close your eyes and wake up with the phone dangling from the
phonebooth and a hard-on grin, jazzed up and creepy.
Your brother’s wife and kids find you there. She is laughing pitifully.
She has never cared for you really.
The children hide behind an umbrella and a mask of ass and back covering their face to hide away from
He’s just a drunkened wolf wandering the streets,
howling between the sheets of
both polars he must face, day after day.
He never really knows his eyes and can barely feel his face.
He’s just molded full of lines with pinkish skin cheeks with an early morning yellow pickling through.
Boy, he’s a pinot noir away from chasing Jesus to the cross.
He wants to be crucified first, and let the
city wash away his sins.
That olive green mattress and his wino schemes has lead him to three divorces
and one incredible night that he relives over again and tries to regain back in his pulsing mind.
Bio: David L O'Nan is a poet, short story writer, editor living in Southern Indiana. He is the editor for the Poetry & Art Anthologies "Fevers of the Mind Poetry and Art. and has also edited & curated other Anthologies including 2 inspired by Leonard Cohen (Avalanches in Poetry & Before I Turn Into Gold) and Hard Rain Poetry: Forever Dylan Inspired by Bob Dylan. He runs the www.feversofthemind.com website. A wordpress site that helps promote many poets, musicians, actors/actresses, other writers. He has self-published works under the Fevers of the Mind Press "The Famous Poetry Outlaws are Painting Walls and Whispers" "The Cartoon Diaries" & "New Disease Streets" (2020).”Taking Pictures in the Dark” “Our Fears in Tunnels” (2021) a collection of poetry called "Bending Rivers" a micro poem collection "Lost Reflections" and new book "Before the Bridges Fell" & "His Poetic Last Whispers" (2022) His latest book is "Cursed Houses" David has had work published in Icefloe Press, Dark Marrow, Truly U, 3 Moon Magazine, Elephants Never, Royal Rose Magazine, Spillwords, Anti-Heroin Chic, Cajun Mutt Press, Punk Noir Magazine, Voices From the Fire among several other litmags. He doesn’t enjoy the process of submitting constantly, however. Twitter is @davidLONan1 @feversof for all things Fevers of the Mind. Join Facebook Group: Fevers of the Mind Poetry & Arts Group .
Atonement by Clive Gresswell
In the switchblade of the night
The freezing jewel of barracuda delight
The tempting fate of failing light
The falling rhythm of dismay from this train
Of thought to obey the trunk is hidden in the back of time
The amulet is prised in line
The liberation a dance of swans
Some with beacon some with songs
A marching army of choruses
Bitter winds of self regret
From sands of time the tidal wave
The room of being the bloody knave
The haunting of the bloody cave
From which the nazi hunter gave
The Jew his freedom’s only grave
Atonement splendid in the light of days.
https://feversofthemind.com/2022/09/12/a-fevers-of-the-mind-quick-9-interview-with-clive-gresswell/The Summer of '89 by Lynn White
The ice-cream man appeared
at frequent intervals
on the corner of the street
near the large grassy area
in summery Sochi.
He had no van
just a barrow
and two cardboard cartons
of paper wrapped briquettes.
He had no fridge,
didn’t need one,
to be the best,
the best in the world
and so never got time to melt!
The evidence was all around.
The grass was full of people
enjoying the lazy sunshine,
sharing their music, smokes
and iced creamy kisses
in the Sochi summer.
The perimeter of the grass
was edged with signs.
”Keep Off The Grass”,
an English speaker translated.
“But we take no notice!”
Bio: Lynn White lives in north Wales. Her work is influenced by issues of social justice and events, places and people she has known or imagined. She is especially interested in exploring the boundaries of dream, fantasy and reality. She was shortlisted in the Theatre Cloud 'War Poetry for Today' competition and has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize, Best of the Net and a Rhysling Award. Find Lynn at: https://lynnwhitepoetry.blogspot.com and https://www.facebook.com/Lynn-White-Poetry-1603675983213077/
Summit by Stephen Kingsnorth
You ask why, my reply, why not?
Enjoy the trees, but leave the wood -
and note, that orchard marvellous -
for justification not my deal,
that ignorance, a bliss for me.
Whale soundwaves pass on through the deep -
as cow wails sound unrecognised
except by those attuned to scale.
Some overdose on bitter pills
when companies slice artists’ cut -
as patrons paid for flattery
and canvassed for a frameup work.
Here siren sounds tempt from the rocks,
pied pipers lead a merry dance,
thirty piece silver buys a friend,
like kiss, a shock identikit.
So cock a snoop convention’s way,
the market place for art with strings
repay naïve fans, courtesy -
as poets clash with editors.
Trim principles, for principal -
climbed summit, music as its peak.
Most dollar short, unpublished art;
peer over shoulder if you will,
by equal chance, may overhear,
the tags that speak identity,
encounters that outlast their slot,
all subject, serendipity.
So this, we hear, story distilled,
the mix of moods, well travelled way,
a track replayed, the trick relayed,
a riff resolved in harmonies,
bandwidth for uninitiate,
as I, a jack of all, trade winds,
who grows as hear, an ear retread,
sail wordsmith crossing rockplay tack.
Rebel Songs by Stephen Kingsnorth
I know another buffet laid,
a battered body carried round,
though shoulder high and beaten, bruised -
that’s how the surfing tension broke,
as law for grace, seen what it was,
another myth to pacify,
the power of men exemplified.
Their trophy false as faerie dust,
this punk against establishment,
the tables turned, not meek nor mild,
when profits came, young hope abused.
They said this breakthrough, highnoon first,
claimed quake in earth tore, altered drape,
and all was left, brief loincloth stained,
on virgin land, new paradigm.
The females vented feral screams,
while bands in wings sang rebel songs
when third, the body stole away,
tones hushed, hear strains of spiritual.
The rolling stones were laid aside
when dared by one to satisfy
their blood lust, known unjustified,
the woman raised, against mores.
So harmony not melody,
but facing truth staves tougher score,
a heartbeat pumping blood and gore,
ourselves stripped bare to start again.
You may read this, a culture shock,
just as the orthodox, he not.
another myth that raises Cain,
and as we want our music heard,
then clear detritus from the lore.
I visit scene from older age,
another scene, prior decades,
but empathetic to the cause.
a voice too radical for stage,
yet sage for our eternity.
But can we hear through threnody
our rage at world’s complicity?
Bio: Stephen Kingsnorth, retired to Wales, UK, from ministry in the Methodist Church due to Parkinson’s Disease, has had pieces published by on-line poetry sites, printed journals and anthologies, including Fevers of the Mind.
His blog is at https://poetrykingsnorth.wordpress.com/
A Series of small poems inspired by Tom Waits by Merritt Waldon
Falling through clouds Burgundy screams The weight of all that air All that falling Headward Awe The bed felt good this morning My eyes burned shut With resinous smoke I am a star Riding the Rail Climbing that Chameleonic word Tower Jumping back.off Every chance I get
While i sit sipping a Fosters and listening murder in a red barn
All of sudden envision
Sauntering out of a red barn
The Cyclops from My dreams appears
Half slouched and drooling
All over my mind
Deluge Under a big top
5 a.m. poem//
trickling haphazard tongue against labia minora
of Memory & History how they moan
dripping like liquid moon beams
their silver visions of futurity
Meditation on the mercy seat of a spirit___
Sipping with dank muses the black milk of spirit orgasm
Mind explodes like a grenade
Leaving bits of eternity across a licorice smelling room
Candle in the window, note on pillow
Blues from hell echo
Theirs a pen weeping for the hand of its master
A Fevers of the Mind Quick-9 Interview with poet Merritt Waldona succession of failures #4 by Marty Shambles
if you don’t have money
the world does not afford
a modicum of dignity.
i’ll give you an example:
i was outside the in-n-out
north beach, sf
circa 2013 i think
and i had slept
the night before,
then worked a shift
at my job,
and would sleep
on the pavement
i needed to charge
b/c access to
requires a phone
out in the courtyard
where the scent of
searing meats and
teased my senses,
there was a power
and i sat at a table
could get a charge.
i charged my phone
for about 10 minutes
before a security
guard came up
you can’t use that.
i know he was
only doing his
but he made a choice
to side with the
people in this world
who want to divide
into its constituent
strip all the copper
from the walls,
send people who are
and good luck
with the paddle.
what could it have
the charging of one phone?
maybe 2 cents.
in my destitution
2 cents from my
had he asked—
had he identified
me as a brother
rather than rabble.
i’ll say it again
in case you missed it:
if you don’t have money
the world does not afford
a modicum of dignity.
it’s the 21st century
and some days it seems
that some people get all
and leave none
for the rest of us.
Bio: Marty Shambles is a Pushcart nominated author of poetry and short fiction. His book businessmen & ghosts is available from EMP Books.
Whisky and Wine by D.C. Nobes
Swallow your fears and doubts
Wash them down with whisky
Swallow your foolish pride
Wash it down with wine.
We can’t know what life may give us
sometimes heartache, sometimes pain.
We don’t know where life might take us
sometimes losing, sometimes gain.
Swallow your tears and pains
Wash them down with whisky
Swallow your scars and stains
Wash them down with wine.
We can’t know where the road may go
sometimes rising, sometimes down.
We don’t know what paths to follow
sometimes lost, sometimes found.
Swallow your cares and worries
wash them down with whisky.
Swallow your wearisome woes
wash them down with wine.
We can’t know when an end may come
maybe soon, maybe never.
We don’t know what will happen next
sometimes love, always life.
Swallow your fears and doubts
wash them down with whisky.
Swallow your woes and worries
wash them down with wine.
Bio: D.C. Nobes is a scientist who spent his first 39 years in or near Toronto, Canada, then 23 years in Christchurch, New Zealand, 4 years in China, and has retired to Bali. He used to enjoy winter but admits that he doesn’t miss the snow or the cold. He thinks that almost all poetry was meant to be read aloud. His work has appeared in Tarot Poetry NZ, The Violet Hour, miniMAG, Karma Comes Before, The Hooghly Review, Poetry as Promised, Whimsical Publishing Press, Boats Against the Current, Sixpence Society Literary Journal, Bubble, Red Wolf Periodical, and Acropolis.
Bang, Bang Goes the Gun by Anton Pooles
and the moon shatters like glass! I carry fragments
in my pail—minnows and moon
swim a vortex.
On the way home
I meet an old friend
who makes musical instruments from fishbones.
I trade my vortex
for a swordfish-
blasting that thing all week long.
They throw stones
at my window,
paint my door red.
I don’t live there
Bio: Anton Pooles was born in Novosibirsk, Siberia and now lives and writes in Toronto, Ontario. His work has appeared in an array of journals and magazines. He is the author of the chapbook Monster 36 (Anstruther Press, 2018) and the full-length collection Ghost Walk (Mansfield Press, 2022).
Beating a Hustler by Rp Verlaine
He had taken my money
three times after I'd
bought us cheap drinks
not even a whores navel
A known rogue
in a pool hall
that already had
than cameras find
at mafia weddings.
I was four hundred down
doubled or nothing for
the fourth time when I
whirled around and let the
pool stick become a splintered
puzzle across his face
fractured his right wrist too
in case he was armed.
Everything froze save the
a song I didn’t know
as I slowly walked out backwards
into the bouncer who
I gave my remaining bankroll to.
Tanned and huge in a tight tailored suit
“don’t come back” he said
“even if he deserved it
we don’t need that here.”
I ducked into a cab
forgetting my address
And remembering I’d left my wallet
at the pool table.
Maybe they could send it Express Mail.
Hell's Gates by Rp Verlaine
A large angry
tattoo on this babe's arm
reads- Hell's Gates
How wide? I ask
nodding to the artwork
of letters in red and
yellow fire on her arm.
she tells me, do
you need another
Need is not
the word I'd
use but yes
and I watch her
pour until the
the top of
looks in her mirror
putting a comb
the sun hits just right
think I come to the
bar for that alone.
I finish my beer
tip her a twenty
and go home where
I can dream about
Hell and its guardians
with brown auburn hair.
Far better I think
than dreaming of those
with eyes languid with regret
and with souls long
out of reach or those with
knives under their pillows
myself far too
While the gates of hell wait.
So I choose the bars
the darker the better
where only the bartenders smile
refuses to hide.
Shattering The Nerves by Rp Verlaine
like a shadow reaching
across your space
erased walking at night
Shattering the nerves.
t.v. talking heads
Guillotining transitory calm
Shattering the nerves.
Letters, calls, damned texts
Disheartening Darkening, harkening
Shattering the nerves
Of stimulants of accidental bliss
Shattering the nerves.
Listening to the rain
Parting with the heavens
To a tape of Your last goodbye
Your last goodbye your last goodbye
shattering the nerves.
Amateurs Need Not Apply by Rp Verlaine
Crumbs from a bad sandwich in my beer
at local bar, long without charm,
hope, or enough cash in
the register to make it
worth a robber’s odds
of going to prison.
Photographs of New York athletes
taken ten to fifteen years ago
adorn grimy walls.
Speaking less of gain or
fame than loss.
In this place where old men know
they can drink till helpless
for nothing save
the price of looking at each other.
Most involved in a besotted solo
monologue and I don't interfere.
“A nursery in hell” says the bartender,
wiping flecks of dirt off the counter
with a towel so foul
it hasn’t seen water for as long
as too many in this bar.
Now part of the background
I write haiku on napkins
waiting for the next job,
or pretending I want one
like the rest of them.
Staring into glasses,
miraculously always never
empty or filled
while they kill time
and themselves slowly,
which takes years of practice
a drunk told me, adding
“but only if-
he said, almost cheerfull,
you do it right.”
Bio:Rp Verlaine lives in New York City. He has an MFA in creative writing from City College. He taught in New York Public schools for many years. His first volume of poetry- Damaged by Dames & Drinking was published in 2017 and another – Femme Fatales Movie Starlets & Rockers in 2018. A set of three e-bookstitled Lies From The Autobiography vol 1-3 were published from2018 to 2020. His newest book, Imagined Indecencies, was published in February of 2022. He was nominated for apushcart prize in poetry in 2021 and 2022.
Tom Waits by Binod Dawadi
His full name is Thomas Alan Waits,
He was born on California,
He was a singer and a song writer,
He loved romantic life,
He had won many awards,
He loved beat literature so much,
He had a beautiful car too,
Where she used to spend his time in music,
As well as other works,
He started to perform from 1960's,
He used to combine different musics,
As well as used to play them,
Like as a stream of consciousness,
Small Change, Heartattack and Vain,
We're his best musics,
He also worked in a films,
He also performed as a villain in many films,
Like as Dracula and mystery along with,
So we should love the Tom Waits and his works forever.
Bio: Binod Dawadi, the author of The Power of Words, is a master’s degree holder in Major English. He has worked on more than 1000 anthologies published in various renowned magazines.Dog Walk With Sadie Through a Tom Waits Cento by Michael Brockley
I spent the day unringing bells in a house where nobody lives. While the ghost of my white German shepherd asked what keeps mankind alive other than the innocence of dreaming. From the heart of a Saturday night, I eavesdropped on Jersey girls who lured their beaux into blue valentine beds, my ghost dog and I having our fill of pasties, g-strings, and swordfish trombones. Sadie reminisced about rain dogs over the sausages and eggs we ate in a Cadillac. King Kong’s old ’55 backfiring all the while in the vicinity of Heart Attack and Vine. We wound up on the wrong side of the road. Stumbling in and out of Tom Traubert’s blues. Neither of us could swear we’d mailed the Christmas card from the hooker in Minneapolis to the disc jockey full of bourbon in Johnsburg, Illinois. The piano had been drinking, not us. How many times must a man from the bottom of the world whistle past a graveyard until he’s granted Jayne’s blue wish? Sadie asked if I’d ever walked somebody home. I answered I hoped I wouldn’t fall in love again.
Credits for Cento: Dog Walk with Sadie through a Tom Waits Cento
“You Can’t Unring a Bell”
“House Where Nobody Lives”
“What Keeps Mankind Alive,” Bertolt Brecht, Kurt Weill
“None of Us Is Innocent When We Dream”
“(Looking for) The Heart of Saturday Night”
“Pasties and G-Strings”
“Eggs and Sausages (in a Cadillac with Susan Michelson)”
“Heartattack and Vine”
“The Wrong Side of the Road”
“Tom Traubert’s Blues”
“Christmas Card from a Hooke in Minneapolis”
“Jockey Full of Bourbon”
“The Piano Has Been Drinking (Not Me)”
“Bottom of the World”
“Whistlin’ Past the Graveyard”
“Jayne’s Blue Wish”
“We’re All Just Walking Each Other Home,” Ram Dass
“I Hope That I Don’t Fall in Love with You”
Bio: Michael Brockley is a retired school psychologist who lives in Muncie, Indiana where he is looking for a small dog to adopt. His poems have appeared in Lion and Lilac, The Last Stanza Poetry Journal, Ekphrastic Review, and Visiting Bob: Poems Inspired by the Life and Work of Bob Dylan. Poems are forthcoming in Vagabond Dissent, Wordpeace, Down in the Dirt, and samfiftyfour. Pressing On by Stephen Kingsnorth
It seems what’s pressed is catching up,
that gold disc rising after set
as press on brings returning past.
Perspective says tracks disappear,
but groovy when they reappear;
the return ticket underscored,
prepacked as greetings in a card,
both art and music stacked in pile.
Its story stretched from spin before,
long play, when only ears received.
Surrural by Stephen Kingsnorth
Whiskey, lemon, ginger beer,
Kentucky, St Pat’s Day cheer,
following the mule indeed,
Mojo tops with Epitaph.
Laid claim Jameson the best -
I’m Bushmills, an Antrim man.
Where he’s at, Surrural too,
as rhythm beats, furrowed, bow,
hoe down, square prance and the plow.
New word minted, larger field,
come a cropper, share the yield,
cock-a-hoop as cock the tail,
shaken, stirred and then preserved.
Has it legs in swirling glass,
Black and Tans, in liquid bold,
bluegrass for the bourbon thrill,
citrus, catcher in the rye,
does it kick into long grass?
The New Friend by Eamann Breen
There was nobody in the back of the diner except him, sitting alone. He couldn’t take his eyes of me when I sat down. He nearly dropped his toast into his coffee. He nodded but I ignored him. I thought of moving but it was too late. It would be stupid to move away like he intimidated me or somethin’ like that.
Mario scurried over to me. ‘What would you like today Angela?’
I looked at the menu in the plastic holder on the table that I knew by heart. I put it down. ‘I left me purse at home.’ I hated having to do this again.
‘Don’t worry you can pay me the next time.’
I ordered a capacino and a pan-oh-chocolit. As I sat there like a spare and texted Tina and checked twitter. Tina was having a bad hair day.
When Mario brought the coffee the guy cleared his throat and said, ‘you’re a pretty girl, I’ll give you that, but you’d be much more attractive without the dyed hair.’
Fug-off. I knew I was pretty. I spent a long time every single day trying to hide it. This morning I had had a long bath while my mother was at work. I used her good lotion and shampoo. She’d be ragin’ when she got home. Before I left the flat I scrapped all my hair back and covered my face with foundation and tinted my eyes lids green. It was like a mask. It made me feel strong and before I left the house I cut myself. Only a scratch really. A hint of pink under the skin no blood but I put a tissue under my sleeve just in case.
‘I don’t want to talk to you.’ I didn’t even look up from my phone. Then I couldn’t resist. ‘So who are you? A fashion expert?’ I knew my roots needed to be done. I knew I was a mess.
‘I’m John, but people call me Johnny Cash.’
‘Is that a joke?’ he was beginning to bore me. I could tell he liked the sound of his own voice. Deep voice, local probably, been away I guessed.
‘Like the country singer but I like to make money.’
‘What are you doing here? You look like a loser.’
He ignored me but kept my stare. Then he smiles, eyes all twinkly ‘What age are you? Let me guess …?’
‘I’m nineteen. Too young for you.’
‘Jesus you’ll look like forty in a few years’ time. You’ll need to cut out the smoking for sure.’
‘How d ’ya know I smoke?’
‘I can smell the nicotine from here.’
‘You’ve got some fugin nerve!’ I put my hand in my jacket pocket and squeezed my lighter letting the sharp edge of the top dig into my thumb. I like the comfort of the pressure, just like the feel of the knife on my skin when I cut.
‘I’m not saying anything you don’t know. Nothin’ you haven’t heard before.’
‘What about you? All dressed up in your suit and gel in your hair.’ Nobody around here dressed like that I laughed. Then I spied a small snake of a tattoo trying to escape from under his white shirt cuff.
‘Well how’d it go in court?’
He looked surprised and stared at me looking directly into my eyes. I didn’t blink or turn away. Finally, he offered ‘how did you know?’
‘New shirt, not ironed and hiding your ink.’ I laughed.
‘Not guilty’ he said slowly. But he said it in a way that meant something else like the absolute opposite.
‘I bet you get good wear of that suit and your own chair in the court.’ I smiled, so smart. ‘Maybe buy yourself a new one. I hear they have a sale on in Dunnes this week. What were you up for?’
‘Breaking and entering. Robbery and misdemeanours. Take your pick.’
‘Cool. What are you doing here?’ As I looked around at the tatty walls and cheap tables and damaged chairs. Everything was worn and came from another place. Rejected because it wasn’t good enough.
‘In-between what?’ I asked. He had me hooked like a fool.
‘In between lives you could say.’
‘Yeah right.’ I checked the phone again. Nothing new.
‘You’d have to get rid of that bad attitude and smile a bit more.’ He waived to Mario for the bill. ‘We could make money.’
‘I’m not a theef. Anyways if you are so good Johnny Cash why aren’t you in a mansion in Killiney?’
‘Life has played a sad trick on me, a sad sad sad trick. But then you would understand all about that.’
‘Me?’ I exploded
‘Yes. You’re Jimmy King’s girl, aren’t you?’
‘Ex-girlfriend!’ I hissed. ‘Fugin ex if you want to know.’
‘Ah. I see. He spoke about you a lot inside. Your blonde hair and your smile. He had some photos too. Very tasty I might say.’
‘You make me sick.’
I don’t think so. I’m a much better jockey than Jimmy King. I could look after you. Take care of you. I’m on the lookout for a woman. I would treat you well. Get some rings for your fingers. Maybe a new phone. Maybe one of dose Burberry bags.’
He was full of it. I knew it and he knew it. But he looked alive. I imagined him pawing me and it wasn’t any more unpleasant that Jimmy King with his stubby hands and slobbery kisses and his slapping. Not romantic like or long term but for a time I could do it. Jeez I was desperate.
Mario approached. ‘Isn’t she a pretty girl?’ Johnny Cash says casual like I was a greyhound or a Honda. He handed him a note.
‘My mum calls me that.’ I said before I could stop myself. Just slipped out.
‘No job I imagine and no prospects.’
‘Fug you. I’m in between jobs.’
Fugin Mario winked at me as he left the change on the table and walked away. Johnny Cash examined the small metal plate and called out ‘excuse me mate I think there has been some kind of mistake.’
Mario ran his hand through his fringe and turned annoyed. ‘Whaat-a-mistake? Coffee and toast? Three fifty.’ Mario under pressured reverted to his Italian accent and looked at me for approval.
‘I gave you a twenty.’
‘No you didn’t. It was a five.’
‘No definitely twenty. I don’t want to cause a scene.’
‘It was five.’
‘No. I’m sure.’ Johnny Cash checked his wallet. ‘Yep twenty. Certain amigo.’
‘No it was a five.’
‘Is the manager about?’
‘I check.’ Poor Mario. He went to the till and spoke to the cashier. There was some raised voices and pointing towards the back of the café. She handed him three fives. Johnny Cash stared straight at me all through this interval. Mario came back and handed over the change.
‘Thank you!’ he said as if the greatest wrong in his life had suddenly been made right. He got up and wiped the crumbs from his trousers and walked passed my table. He dropped a napkin with a mobile number on it and then ran his finger across my cheek as if he were playing with a dog. ‘Call me if you want.’
I said nothing. I didn’t even turn around to see him leave. Not for the first time in my life I felt tainted. I sensed Mario standing beside me before he spoke.
‘Your friend -’
‘No friend of mine!’ I snapped
‘The man’ he continued.
‘Yes the man. What about him?’
‘He lied. We have no twenties in the till.’
‘Is dis my fault?’ I needed air. I wanted to run out and fill my lungs with cool fresh air. As far away as possible.
‘He’s not a good man.’
Slowly I walked out with the napkin next to the lighter in my pocket, the lighter that has somebody else’s girlfriend’s name engraved on it, as I pushed the door open Mario shouted, ‘tell him not to come back.’ I smiled through concrete lips ‘you too!’ I smiled no more. The door, as always, banged noisily behind me.
He was waiting across the street as I knew he would and he knew he would. Nothing I could think of would stop me now.
‘Well alright. One thing. If you put your fists on me, I’ll stab you in the throat with a knife.’
He looks me straight in the eye, comes close and I can smell his sweet aftershave and tells me if ‘I ever do that you can have this knife to do the job’ and he taps his breast pocket.
‘Coolio’ I say.
‘Where to now? Your place?’
‘No I’m kipping at my mom’s at the moment.’
‘My place then. I’m across town. And take that scrunchie out of your hair.’
I do and shake it out. It covers my shoulders. He leans over and smells it in the middle of the street. He puts his arm around me and we walk towards the corner. I allow myself the luxury of resting my head on his shoulder as we walk. We stop at the lights and he turns to me dead serious.
‘I like to do certain things with my lady.’
I laugh. ‘I’m no lady!’
‘Oh, but you will be.’ Now he laughs back.
‘One more thing’ I say noticing his blue eyes for the first time. ‘I don’t do no hard drugs. I don’t inject and won’t help you.’
‘That’s fair and not a problem for me. What about blow?’
‘I don’t mind a smoke.’
‘Sorted then. Got some good skunk back at the apartment.’
Then I think of the two of us together. What am I doing? I take Jimmy King’s old lighter out of my pocket and throw it in the bin. Off we walk into the future. Well maybe not the real future but a future for as long as it lasts. Just another Monday. Next week it could be different for me but I don’t get my hopes up.
Bio Eamann Breen (he/him) is an Irish born London based playwright and storyteller. His short story When He Told Her has been published by Liberties Press Dublin in an anthology called Brevity is the Soul. The Hessian Bag was shortlisted for the Colm Tóibín International Short Story Award at the Wexford Literary Festival. His monologue The Lucky Escape debuted on the Player Playwrights Showcase YouTube channel – https://youtu.be/3tNutxGZQy8 and Ten Top Films has recently been published by the Seattle Star https://www.seattlestar.net/2022/09/ten-top-films/
New Disease Streets by David L O’Nan
I cut a record in the trance of snaps
On a new disease street.
Watching them worship the homeless man’s defeat
They stole our dancing jewels,
And from that fame
The sandwich bag Madonnas grew.
The appetite for the bleak and the new.
Music breathes out of dead-end windows
Cockroach apartments smell better than -
The flesh that is sticky from these sweat bleeding streets.
Oh, the wet blades shine more when they’re silver.
An appetite for the starved and the view.
The alcoholics are stretching for a new fight.
Those dirty pigeons that sleep in the grass instead of the trees.
I bravely found a quarter in the storm drain,
It appears the acid has eaten away at George Washington’s face.
Nevertheless, I can ride in the rusted pink taxis -
That drives faster than quicksand.
It is lonely then sickly.
Huffing in graffiti paint fumes through the holes of a brown sack.
I’ve surmised that I’ve digested the whole city, and my stomach is -
Starting to rumble and splash in its own rivers.
Now, my existence has been debated for years.
But for now, you can call me Galileo -
Because I'm punching down the stars to the land.
We are just trying to give the dying one last light show.
With all the roses’ souls, I've ripped from the soil.
Before we all slip back into a coma
And dress back down to our dusty selves.
A Full Moon Over Secret Headquarters by David L O'Nan
The full moon becomes our religion
Watch the fold in the clouds, that is us
And if they shall search for us
Amongst our secret headquarters
Cuddled together sharing Egg Biryani
What are those stars, trapped behind obese trees?
The wind blows at our tent, our lockdown
Trying to infiltrate our codes
To steal away our dance
and leave our footprints to be discovered by the gods.
The river wants us too - It sways in a vulgar ballet
Then dies off against the dam.
Your scarf and dress left in a ruinous insult in the mud
Left to be panicky, dizzy, separated, and severed alone - In the grass.
How can I relocate our flames?
To dwell in the hum of purring
Collect our wings from the cheap magician
and terminate the spell.
A grandiose full moon smother
With its clouds
Even after promising heaven behind the dark curtains - That was us.
A Broken Pocketwatch Genius by David L O'Nan
Heard a gunshot through the golden curtain
They were ringing bells and smacking tambourines on our adventure.
I woke up on the greyhound bus, dumbfounded with a boner.
I can only remember someone whispering a smokey smell into my ear.
And then I went to a faint.
A pocketwatch missing and several ladies singing loudly
Anyone here could have been the culprit.
Sitting in piles of sweat, the heat boils me to anger.
My jeans are dirty and stained. Someone’s needles rolling down a blanket.
I just sit there trying not to dwarf myself in this world of giants.
Sloped over and hiding my head in a t shirt.
I was put here to go to war with the bubbles in my head I am just popping them and looking around to see who the snitch will be.
So I can maybe lead myself out of a touch of pandemonium.
By the edge of the bus I leaned and rested my aching head.
I smoked 2 cigarettes with a belly dancer-
who smelled like the walking dead.
I see a collection of papers on the floor, and I know we are somewhere in the south.
I see Missing Persons Posters folded under a green skirt and a musky towel.
Have I made a deal with the sin of flesh, or a greasy devil?
Have I made my genius wasted by hanging my clothes in the land of honey and feathers?
I see this girl from many moons ago across the street. I suddenly feel a little safe even though she never imagined me. She imagined herself as a stranger to kindness, and as a dart to be thrown blindly to the glass. She was innocent once, then new cables,
And new wires to trip her into doubt. She was once my dream when she wasn’t sharing the last name of some fella’.
Yet here I am still thinking that she was the one that could have known me better than anyone.