Submissions for the 2nd Leonard Cohen Anthology ends on September 1st

900+ Leonard cohen ideas in 2021 | leonard cohen, leonard, adam cohen

Send in poetry, essays, artwork, articles, emotions, inspired creative ideas that came from reading or listening to Leonard Cohen. This is a follow up to Avalanches in Poetry Writings & Art Inspired by Leonard Cohen in 2019. “Before I Turn Into Gold” will include a few pieces from the original anthology, revised work from me from the first anthology, artwork by Geoffrey Wren, submissions from our blog & through our e-mail at feversofthemind@davidlonan1

Send today!

A Fevers of the Mind Quick-9 Interview with Ethan McGuire

with Ethan McGuire:

Q1: When did you start writing and first influences?

Ethan: I started trying to write little stories and essays as soon as I could spell, but I did not take my writing seriously until high school. Up to that point, I would write some things down but keep very little. Mostly, I would just make up stories while doing chores on my parents’ hobby farm, or I would dream about
making a living as an outdoors writer for Field & Stream when I grew up, or I would sit at a picnic bench in front of a PVC pipe—pretending the pipe was a microphone—and act like I was reading some radio commentary I had composed.

I never actually took my own writing seriously until the tenth grade, when an English teacher, Dr. Seibert, handed me a writing assignment. I don’t remember the details of that assignment, but I do remember exactly the poem it worked out of me. Something clicked in me then, and I knew, from that moment, I simply had to become a writer.

My first big influence was definitely Louis L’Amour. I consumed his books as a kid. I loved his writing style; loved all the real, lived details he injected into his prose; loved the way he described his
characters’ surroundings—especially the American West—as if the Earth itself was poetry, both magical and mean. I was influenced by various outdoors writers, as I mentioned, in the tradition of Ernest
Hemmingway, because I wanted to brave the harsh elements of the more primitive world and tell people about my adventures. Then, I discovered Milton, reading Paradise Lost in high school. Milton put
me on the path to writing poetry. I had written poetry for sure, but Milton showed me poetry could give me the same feelings of awe and amazement that music did.

Amazon.com: The Sky-Liners: The Sacketts (9780553276879): L'Amour, Louis:  Books

Q2: Who are your biggest influences today?

Ethan: When it comes to writing non-fiction, I have a hard time knowing my biggest influences. I love the movie
reviews of Roger Ebert and Pauline Kael; the historical writing of Stephen Ambrose, Bruce Catton, and Shelby Foote; and the lay theology writing of C.S. Lewis. I love so many others too. In fact, I sometimes wonder if I like too much art!

When it comes to poetry, I can speak better. Probably because I have been focusing most of my recent writing efforts on poetry. I skip fiction because I haven’t written much of it lately.

At the moment, if I were to call myself a disciple of any particular writer, I would single out the poet Dana Gioia. Gioia constantly impresses me with the way he works in both formal and free verse, as well as essays and criticism. One of my personal writing goals is to bring together both old and new poetic styles, which Gioia does. I also appreciate that he works in the literary world without ever being
condescending toward working class readers, toward any non-literary readers, and I appreciate how he brings our attention to the primitive, oral, memorized tradition of poetry. Just consider his
accomplishments as NEA chairman, the “Poetry Out Loud” program, and his “Can Poetry Matter?” essay.

Also, I must mention, I probably receive the most artistic inspiration from music, especially from such artists as Bob Dylan, Leonard Cohen, and Joni Mitchell. Their lyrics coupled with their music give me chills! They speak directly to the human experience, like Hank Williams, Bill Monroe, Woody Guthrie, Robert Johnson, Blind Lemon . . . the list goes on. I feel Cohen’s “tower of song” behind me as I write for sure, and, of course, there is always the struggle to hew out one’s own style and voice.

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

Ethan: I grew up as a hillbilly, really, in the Missouri Ozarks, and I have enjoyed the art of storytelling ever since,well, from before I can remember. My family, on my father’s side, is extremely proud of our Irish heritage, and they have always loved that Irish people have a great reputation as storytellers. As a little
kid at family or church get-togethers, I would sit down and soak up all those stories. Unfortunately, I was never the best at memorization or the oral storytelling tradition, but what I did memorize was the
feelings I experienced listening to the grown-ups tell tales. It was exciting to step into a story in its telling, to imagine along with a speaker.

At about eight years old, I began playing music with my family and friends, and we did that just about every day. Bluegrass, folk, Gospel. In living rooms with huge pots of coffee, on front porches with jugs of sweet tea, at backwoods church “singings,” at outdoor festivals in the heat of the sun, this hill music was forever present in my life, and it gave me a love for poetry.

My parents instilled in me a love for reading too, and I read voraciously as a child, anything I could get my hands on. When the love for storytelling and reading met in me with the act of creating music, I began to want to write my own stories as well.

This hillbilly influence we can call it, that is definitely present in my writing. In the rhythms, the subjects, the word choices, even in my outlook on life. The mountains, the folk music, the hill people’s
superstitions, the fire-and-brimstone preachers, my grandparents telling me about their Great Depression childhoods . . . I find these thumbprints in my writing all the time.

Q4: Have any travels away from home influence your work?

Ethan: Moving away from my home in the Ozarks definitely influenced me in that I gained a wider perspective
of the world. Even though most people travel around the country, and even though many people travel around the world, the majority live most their lives where they grew up. Now, this is not necessarily a problem, if people have grown up in a community and stay within that community to thrive, and to help others and the environment around them thrive. As Wendell Berry teaches us, we all need to find
communities and contribute to them, which we cannot do if we are jumping ship every few years.
However, living, even temporarily, in a different environment among different people reminds one of how great the wide world is.

Now, currently I have chosen to live on the Emerald Coast, in Florida near the Gulf of Mexico. Living near the sea has enriched my soul. We forget how powerful a force water is on our planet, and constantly being near a gigantic body of water makes you confront that fact, which I try to do on a regular basis.
Countless poets have described the sea, but it never ceases to amaze me. It is such a naturally poetic force, the majesty, the repetition of the waves, the formed formlessness, the wildness tamed in some
way that we hardly even understand.

I have always traveled around the U.S. quite a bit too, although I still need to visit other countries. That I haven’t left America yet is a major weak spot for me. But my parents always traveled, and my wife and I do too, so that gives my writing a sort of restlessness. I certainly am forever wrestling with conflicting desires of individuality and community, which does pop up in my work.

Q5: Any pivotal moments when you knew you wanted to be a writer?

Ethan: Music first seduced me as a kid in church, a country church where anyone who wanted to play music was welcome to join in, especially during evening services or monthly “singings.” I would play around with a ruler or something, pretending to pluck an instrument. My father played mandolin, so around eight I decided, “Hey, I want to play the mandolin too!” After learning mandolin, then came guitar, bass, a little singing, helping arrange, writing my own songs. It all happened gradually, but I guess I’ve always
loved music.

Of course, my love for music smoothly transitioned into a love for poetry, especially since I have always enjoyed analyzing lyrics and the way they work with the music around them. That first assignment from Dr. Seibert—where I realized I had to be a writer, if not by profession, by passion—I turned in a poem for that assignment, called “The Warriors.” Actually, an extremely revised version of that poem, called “The Woodsman,” may surface soon from me, so I won’t say much more. My first published piece of writing was a poem too, called “Snow,” with which I won a poetry/picture contest, when I was in tenth grade, a few months after having written “The Warriors.”

So, at that point, I was off to the races, reading anything I could like I had done for years but now with even more purpose, and writing in any genre I could imagine. Paradise Lost, though, as I said, that is the
first time poetry truly awed and amazed me, the way Milton employs blank verse there along with a fantastic vocabulary and imagination in his wonderful retelling of Creation and the Fall of Man. Lines like
this still give me chills:

. . . Him the Almighty Power
Hurled headlong flaming from the ethereal sky,
With hideous ruin and combustion, down
To bottomless perdition, there to dwell
In adamantine chains and penal fire,
Who durst defy the Omnipotent to arms.
Nine times the space that measures day and night
To mortal men, he with his horrid crew
Lay vanquished, rolling in the firey gulf,
Confounded though immortal. . .

Q6: Favorite activities to relax?

Ethan: I love the Emerald Coast’s white-sand beaches and warm water. The sunsets we have down here on the
Emerald Coast are breathtaking, all orange fire and navy and lavender. It never gets old. I enjoy kayaking with my wife, taking our young chocolate Labrador out, hiking, being with friends, visiting restaurants, traveling, watching movies, reading, playing and listening to music. Honestly, I probably like too many
things! I need to be more judicious. I like to stay busy but am trying to learn that a certain amount of boredom actually has some value. I need it for my mental health!

Q7: Do you have any recent or forthcoming projects that you’d like to promote?

Ethan: Sure! I would definitely encourage anyone interested in my work to visit my website TheFlummoxed.com where I post my writer’s journey, and I post other stuff too, usually creative writing,
like new poems, essays, etc. that I do not want to submit elsewhere for various reasons. You can follow me on Twitter as well, at @AHeavyMetalPen, where I am most active these days. In the last five months, you here at Fevers of the Mind have published seven poems of mine of which I am quite proud, and I am honored that you have included me in the writing community you are building. Plus, I am currently working on my first poetry collection, which, of course, I hope someone will publish! I appreciate self- publishing, but for one, I am not good at design, not much good at all, and for two, I desire to have some kind of writer/editor collaboration.

Q8: What is a favorite line/stanza from a poem of yours or others?

Ethan: For this question, I will give you something from one of my favorite poems that I have written and something from one of my favorite songs.

First, my own work. Here is a little more than one line, rather a stanza, the small chunk of my writing that I have thought about most the last several months. This is one of my favorite stanzas from my poem “Salt,” which appeared in Fevers of the Mind on February 23rd, in your “Avalanches in Poetry” series:

My upward way is at once my downward.
The downward path, it rises up likewise.
God sees all time present for forever.
I am not God; the night still spreads outside.

For some reason, that stanza regularly spins on repeat in my head.

For a quote from one of my favorite songs, here is my favorite part from the song which most heavily influenced my poem “Salt,” Leonard Cohen’s “The Future,” the bridge of that song:

Things are going to slide,
Slide in all directions.
Won’t be nothing,
Won’t be nothing,
You can measure anymore.
The blizzard,
The blizzard of the world
Has crossed the threshold,
And it’s overturned
The order of the soul.

I think about Cohen’s “The Future” a lot these days, right alongside Krzysztof Kieślowski’s excellent film series The Three Colors Trilogy. Both Cohen’s album The Future and Kieślowski’s Three Colors trilogy
were released in the same period, the early 1990s, a time of great change and unrest. The Berlin wall was coming down, the European Union was coming up, a changing of the guards was occurring all over the world. Both Cohen and Kieślowski were at once optimistic and pessimistic about these changes. Our world is shaking up again, so I run to the wisdom of those who have gone before us.

Q9: Who has helped you most with with writing?

Ethan: First and foremost, I must mention my parents, siblings, and wife, who have given me invaluable encouragement in all my creative pursuits. My mother encouraged me to read. My father led me to
think critically about all art. My siblings supported me with kind words and collaboration, especially in music.

My wife urges me to pursue creative projects, and she reads and critiques my work; any time I get stuck, she nudges me in a better direction. For example, oftentimes I will be working on a poem, essay, etc., and she will give me some advice completely against current conventions. I will usually take her advice,
but not quite understand it, although I can see that her advice is good. Then, later, I will hear some writer most special to me give the same advice in a lecture or something, and I always think, “Dang!
Maybe my wife should be the writer!”

After my family, there are a few people who jump into my mind.

Andrea Walker, as the editor of the West Florida Literary Federation’s The Legend, published my first poem when I came out of a creative writing publishing hiatus. In the September 2019 issue of The
Legend
, Andrea published my poem “Newlywed Song,” which kicked off my transition from primarily publishing non-fiction—especially music and film criticism—to primarily publishing creative writing. The
last thing I had had published of that nature was my contest winner, “Snow,” back in 2009. Andrea went on to publish other pieces from me in The Legend and Life in the Time of Corona, and she is involved in another project of which I will be a part soon. She has always had kind words for my work.

Two other women in the West Florida Literary Federation had a motivating influence on me also, Juliet DeMarko and Debra Stogner. I was in a biweekly poetry workshop with Juliet and Debra, among others, for a little while, and they helped lead me back to the poetry road. In that same vein, I am a member of an online writing community called “The Poetry Pub,” led by Jen and Chris Yokel who have helped me gain confidence in my writing, along with other members like Chris Wheeler, Janna Barber, Shigé Clark,
and Una Kavanagh. Talking about writing communities—and I know “community” is a word I have used a lot; repeating words is a tendency of mine, for good and for bad; let’s call it poetry—I am privileged to be part of the ones built by David O’Nan here at Fevers of the Mind and Brenda Stephens at The Dark Sire.

Finally, I would be remiss if I went without mentioning my friend David Malone, with whom I returned to writing in the first place with our website “E.D. – Music, Movies, Etc.” We are not very active on “E.D.” (yes, the name is a joke), but it is still up. Writing there gave me the courage to share my work with the public.

Wolfpack Contributor Bio: Ethan McGuire

New Poem : The King & Queen Of Neon by Ethan McGuire

5 micro-poems by Ethan McGuire “Home” “Good Weather Bad” “The Warm Front” “Burnt World-Heart” & “Thorn & Shout”

Salt by Ethan McGuire poetry entry for Avalanches in Poetry 2 Writings & Art Inspired by Leonard Cohen

A Fevers of the Mind Quick-9 Interview with Michael Igoe

with Michael Igoe:

Q1: When did you start writing and first influences?

Michael: I started writing at about 15 or 16. I had little interest until then, I was encouraged by a musician buddy to do this. What I was reading was mostly trashy detective stories and horror, sci-fi.

Q2: Who are your biggest influences today?

Michael: A lot of what I see and hear is contemporary work- Joy Harjo, Jericho Brown. I still revere the beat poets, especially Corso and Ginberg. Surrealism, Dada, and Symbolists are about as far back as I go. I’ve heard that “an artist is true to the times.” So be it.

Q3: Where did you grow up and how did that influence your writing? Have any travels away from home influence your work?

Michael: I grew up on the South Side of Chicago which is a pretty fabled place for childhood. It definitely had a great influence, at one point I spent a lot of time portraying neighborhoods and people in them.

Q4: What do you consider the most meaningful work you’ve done creatively so far?

Michael: I have a few favorites from my own work. One of them is in that great anthology, Avalanches in Poetry

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

Michael: I think because of the way I was brought up I shied away from identifying myself as an artist. It happened by default.

Q6: Favorite activities to relax?

Michael: I study Tai Chi and it has aided me immensely.

Q7: Any recent or forthcoming projects you’d like to promote?

Michael: No! I send out submissions; that’s all. I write for the people I’m with.

Q8: What is a favorite line/stanza from one of your poems or others/Favorite artwork?

Michael: “Nighthawks” the Hopper painting. I had a reproduction on the wall at college.

Q9: Who has helped you most with writing?

Michael: I have to say the late Allen Ginsberg. I corresponded with him for 2 years. I showed up at his Institute in Boulder and met up with him again when he read at Harvard.

Links:

Wolfpack Contributor Bio: Michael Igoe

2 new Poems by Michael Igoe : Think of It As Fire & Subdue

Poems from Anthologies & new poems from Michael Igoe

Poems by Michael Igoe : “In Certain Climates” & “Elliptical”

2 new poems by Michael Igoe :”Inborn” & “Funeral Lilies”

2 Poems False Prophet & Violet Contact by Michael Igoe

Twitter: @MichaelIgoe5

https://www.dustpoetry.co.uk/post/lake-tomahawk-by-michael-igoe

https://lothlorienpoetryjournal.blogspot.com/2021/01/three-poems-by-michael-igoe.html

https://thepoetryquestion.com/2019/10/30/tpq5-michael-igoe/

https://www.sledgehammerlit.com/post/brass-monkey-by-michael-igoe

https://idleink.org/2020/04/04/origin-by-michael-igoe/

https://ephemeralelegies.com/2020/05/25/thin-disguise-by-michael-igoe/

A Fevers of the Mind Quick-9 Interview with Barney Ashton-Bullock

with Barney Ashton-Bullock

Q1: When did you start writing and first influences?

Barney: My first theatre show was called ‘Church At Llanbadrig’ and was performed at the now defunct Bournemouth Centre For Community Arts in South-West England. My first influences were playwrights; Harold Pinter, Steven Berkoff, Jim Cartwright. Towards the end of my teens you could add Derek Jarman, Hanif Kureishi, Rupert Brooke and Thomas Hardy into the mix. In terms of contemporary poetry, it was specifically the two film-poem texts ‘Xanadu’ by Simon Armitage and ‘V’ by Tony Harrison, both published by Bloodaxe in the nineties. The arena of Cultural Studies particularly infuses my work and the conversational transcript and diary keeping ‘qualitative research’’ approaches in particular.

Q2: Who are your biggest influences today?

Barney: Thomas Hardy’s poetry is still a major influence, but I’m ruthless a contemporary poetry reader these days and some that recently I have found inspiring are Roy Guzmán, Caleb Femi, Jameson Fitzpatrick, Kathryn Maris, Bobby Parker, Matthew Walsh, Dom Hale, Jamie Thrasivoulou and Joelle Taylor

Q3: Where did you grow up and how did that influence your writing? Have any travels away from home influence your work?

Barney: I was living and working in Swanage in Dorset, South-West England immediately before starting at Goldsmiths’ Art College and grew up predominantly in the Southbourne suburb of Bournemouth, a Victorian seaside town. Both living in rural Dorset with my father from the age of 15 onwards and with my mother prior to that in the seaside resort (my Grandmother having run a seasonal guest house) these formative experiences still resonate in my work. I always had a very strong and specific interest in Norway from the earliest age, doing school projects on it from age 8 onwards and the Norwegian landscapes both isolated and urban have a profound influence on my writing and aspirations.

Q4: What do you consider the most meaningful work you’ve done creatively so far?

Barney: I have a creative non-fiction tract with the working title ‘North’ that has lived alongside me for about 25 years and with which, in its original 8 page form, I was chosen to represent the UK as a young playwright at the Interplay Europe Festival through the Royal Court Young Writer’s programme. All these years later, it’s about 50 pages with photos, poems, speeches and fragments. It is everything I’ve ever wanted to create and unlike much of my published work, it’s an achingly personal, yet, non-linear work and I’m not sure that I’ll ever, can ever or want to ever finish it. But, I do know it has a spiritual hold on me and that I do find it deeply comforting to know that alongside everything I’ve ever written and had published and performed are these pages which I think and hope reflect the best of me and everything creatively that I ever aspired to be.

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

Barney: Two pivotal moments when I sussed that the fusion of poetry and music was a direction I was compelled to explore was when I heard the album ‘Wild Seed’ by Morten Harket and could visualise, though my listening to it, a world I’d rather live in. The power of that transformative experience, coupled with reading Derek Jarman’s searingly honest thoughts in his autobiography ‘At Your Own Risk – A Saint’s Testament’ and my sensibility shifted into a conviction and dedication to fuse the radical and accessible within a hybrid of poetry, theatre and music

Q6: Favorite activities to relax?

Barney: I love listening to whole albums in a dim-lit room with no distraction. My favourites are contemporary classical and new age instrumental music for deep relaxation but I also love electronic pop music and atmospheric pop in particular. The most amazing defelction from stress is walking the Dorset Coast Path when back in my hometown.

Q7: Any recent or forthcoming projects you’d like to promote?

Barney:

I have a fairly in-yer-face poetry pamphlet, ‘Café Kaput!’ out with Broken Sleep Books. https://www.brokensleepbooks.com/product-page/barney-ashton-bullock-café-kaput

And the last remaining copies of ‘FPig Zeitgeist!’ which is my verse diaries spin-off poetry book from the ‘Andy Bell is Torsten’ project are available through Cherry Red Records mail order

My next book which will be coming out in August this year, will shortly be available to pre-order through Cherry Red Records and it is called ‘Bucolicism – Alt-Lite Lyric Verse For A Post-Pastoral England’  visit www.cherryred.co.uk and search for Barney Ashton-Bullock

Q8: What is a favorite line/stanza from one of your poems or others?

Barney:

“the conch shell held to an itchy ear,
a touchstone to a myriad of uplifting whispers;
forebearers, predecessors, ancestors, antecedents,
illusive Gods and dead heroes
jostle in a chirp-a-thon
their wisdoms in a soothe of song”

From ‘Some Sort Of Salvation’ in my forthcoming booklet ‘Bucolicism’ through Cherry Red Records mail order from August 2021.

Q9: Who has helped you most with writing?

Barney: Being an avid attendee of salons and classes at Coffee House Poetry run out of The Troubadour Cafe in London’s Earls Court district, I have to mention organisers and teachers Anne-Marie Fyffe and Cahal Dallat as real enablers of creativity. My dear friend, salonista and editor Chip Martin is the most selfless and life-affirming mentor as has been an inspiration in all he has done. I am honour bound to also mention Noël Greig, my now deceased tutor from many years back at the Royal Court Young Writers Programme who first green lit my urge to fuse poetry and theatre. Finally, my muse, Andy Bell, the singer in the synth-pop duo Erasure, for whom I’ve written three solo albums and stage shows as part of the Andy Bell is Torsten music / poetry / theatre hybrid collective of which I am a founding member. Those albums also available through Cherry Red Records

Links:

Meet the Fevers of the Mind WolfPack: Barney Ashton-Bullock

A poem called “blizzed” by Barney Ashton-Bullock

3 poems from Barney Ashton-Bullock in Fevers of the Mind Press Presents the Poets of 2020

Poem from Avalanches in Poetry Writings & Art inspired by Leonard Cohen (2019)by Barney Ashton-Bullock “Yet”

Poem by Barney Ashton-Bullock : L’anti-arriviste est parti

Twitter: @barney_poet

Instagram: @barneyashtonbullock

https://429harrowroad.com/tag/barney-ashton-bullock/

https://www.thebabeltowernoticeboard.com/featured-writing/three-poems-by-barney-ashton-bullock

All of the poems (revised) from Avalanches in Poetry Writings & Art Inspired by Leonard Cohen by David L O’Nan

A Hallelujah for a Midnight War

I can feel your skin breathing in orbs
kisses that feels like surgeries
and the money dies off when you are greedy
and we step right into a Midnight War
Millions of Judases in the wilderness
The sick and the crimson
In torment, so petrified
One breath, chokes
Hallelujah

In chaos
the hammer smashes in the glass
We are hidden behind these walls
a combustion in bones
and all to become vapor
In this Midnight War
Where the glitter turns to ashes
breaking from the chairs, a howl
Hallelujah
The spectres and the stars
Looking as one
Like in a mirror of night

We have been forsaken of riches
They loot the diamonds from the heart
And the robbery is simplistic
we feel translucent watching the seas
The Midnight War cripples
And the waves clash together in an
Everlasting 
Hallelujah

The virgins spin down
with chapped lips
and breeding, hungry eyes
You are numb to touch
A revolver, an allergy
The flaming of whips to erase your mind
The pearls, they fall to the fire
the path is a torrent from fibrous roots -
to the vines of cherries
Angelic songs
Obliterates, to my auditory invisibility
In grief, in pain
Praying in puns
Hallelujah 

So, Midnight passes
And we are back to 1 a.m.
Time for the blossoms and the honey
woven into the fabrics of Earth
tip toes the demons away
White horses begin to gallop -
wildly around the curves
and suddenly your eyelids open
back to the reds, blues, orange in the sunlight, surrender
hear the hearses beginning to putter
the gas kills off the energy
Hallelujah

Ripped Off My Jean Jacket 

As the symptomatic leaves begin to fall
I watched noiseless waterfalls -
drink in the deranged and lame
Our bodies are blush,
decorated into these parks
by the stabbing strokes of a paintbrush

Brush away these harsh devils
Wiped away all of my tattoos
My head is clammy and sweating
Watch the stars penetrate the heart
From the moon,
I have become the decorous
the ultimate gentleman -
to all that is blind
whip-in the inhales
And shoot the arrows to the waves.

If I am uncovered,
if truths are found to be false
I will carry myself like a casket
and image myself as the lifeless wooden doll
I collapse
to the thundering faint, to the floor
I ripped off my jean jacket
the wild, the seeds plucked to be reborn

Long nights listening to this same rain falling
the owls are silent in their hoots
the traces of our footprints -
are known to be crazy
we are picking the serpents from our boots.

So, is this the white noise?
I live in either gray or electric shock
an impulse is easier to swallow
but sin takes time to regurgitate.

Oslo in the Heart 

It was 4 seasons in Oslo
Where they greased the wheels for our eyes
when they bleached the brides
my skin has turned to purple veins,
locked my mind inside a wall of chains
all the Norwegian women bled like rubies
over a beach of shells
Candlelight on the bones inside the moon
cooking the peasants in a witch's ritual.

Oslo was in my heart
when we wed
Winter crosses full of wet lead
tuning my mind to a dripping paint
and rippling vapors whip in every corner.

Oslo was in my heart that day
we danced a fandango
through the avalanches lay bare sleighs
the mountains had broke for all the old anger in the stones.

Oslo nights in wonderfalls
heartbroken men and shallow women calling
for the moneymen to come from the big U.S. city
the commercial life
the vacations and all the models
bankruptcies in graveyards
the drifting of the wind.

Shenandoah Tramps

You walk the streets like you are still in Tabriz
You miss the Iranian Summers
While fumbling full of wine
you feel the prickly goosebumps from the breeze.

And we begin to walk with a squint
as the sun masks the city
eyelids bouncing,
and quivering drunk lips.

You desire the kiss when the night stirs
dressed in scarlet red
looking for that efficacious effect
We are like the stars in the sky
celebrities in meteoric flash

We are just lost
from the waste to the lakes
trying to unlock the code
to flee us from the beams of Heaven's Gate

We can wish on these wine bottles
throw in the pennies for a little luck
we can invent beauty
out of the contagious Shenandoah muck.

Our city is just a bullet town
Our love will fall like tramps in the rain
with our hands becoming umbrellas
trying to protect us from the downpour
awake our celestial shine with this oncoming train.

And here come the dollies 
and all of the sheepmen
who gather ours fossils
and they use them for swanky chaotic sin
our rose is a misery 
burn the shell right off this redolent city.

The streetlamps are as dim as a yellow puddle
with a hint of chickweeds growing around the blacktop tumors.
And all we can talk about all of the music,
and hum until poetry rifles through our brains.
Studying the fallen art stuck to the limbs of trees
On the edge of what was Calliope.

When all was tame and flowery,
The strong was not frail without a care
Our frames were not broken, just skeletal grey
And we would dine on evening air
and dance to the melody of church bells 
the hymns were our parade.

Drinking Blue Moons

I was burning through the poker chips
Looking eye to the cavernous eye of some demon
I see all the misleading in your passions.
If all your passions are the flaming dollars
and all shoes want to dance for the triumphs

You have a Malibu boy doll home
with wives that sashay in the golden fields
beautiful gardens and thrusting seeds
water this, burning just a little.

And we all want your suits and all the glory
the perfect hair and the ungodly White teeth
Maybe the jealousy lives in all of us
but we know you're as fragile as a toothpick -
when your way begins receding.

Drinking Blue Moons when the red wine runs low
You begin pacing like a war of pistols
when the bombs begin flashing your photos - to the world
we know you, there are truth whisperers

Your flavor of the month decisions
begin to disease with constant new kisses
After dark in powder kegs
love hearts dancing around the bones
to erode them
three sheets to the wind
and your toy world is for sale and crumbling.

Love, love, love
is in the twist of a bottle-cap
Love, love, love
Is putting your head next to the ammunition
the boattail bullets dips you in to the a round of ripples
Love, love, love
Your blondes in black in the background crying.

All the women are there
from all your hidden life messages
to a Lucy, an Alexis, a Leilani, an Olivia
From the bedrooms with White curtains
and all that money -
was never his to begin with
Will he rest in peace in a graveyard of suitcase tombstones?

An Autumn Scarecrow

If my song for you is Autumn
From the roof I shall sing to a soft chill
My voice is an earthquake quivering out
these little sonnets and trails of letters
Coming down faster than the snow

We soon stand still in the early season blizzard
It will blade through all of the farmland
The prairies ruined with guillotined scarecrows
bleeding straw like a hydrant
This is our beauty, this is our moment
Will you say I love you back from this Midwestern view?

And we can warm each other in praises
In the hills of sleet where we shared our first kiss
your hair falls over my body like the stars tonight
And magnetizing our hearts together in our newly found love.

Let us birth the Winter Solstice in the death of leaves
I really never cared much for all the scarecrows
Anyways,
they were nothing but a lie
To keep the dying birds on the street

I know, I know I can love you
At least for awhile in this arctic shift
as my heart beats lazily the colder it gets
Well, do we escape together?
Before all the tornadoes of Spring
hunt for fresh meat
to begin the hunt for a new shelter
Share this breath with me a little longer
before I have to think of the potential hazards.

All of the Miles Between Us

There are many miles between ideals
and many indecisions.
Between the straying women
Riding new wheels
and feeling weightless.

Do I feel artistic,
or just punch wildly and swing around to a phantom touch?
How can I be me?
When I am constantly feeling stalked
by the shadows, the voices, and past scars
the new wheels begin to break and roll down the road.

I see you play the actress
You play with the best of them
Just call you Joan Crawford, Just call you Mrs. Hepburn
I can't see myself in these mirrors
past the steam there you may be
Is it the lipstick or the lie?

Just cradle me
you are my melting candle
Like a mind without sympathy
Hear the wails in the air, 
I'm constantly in a crawl for you
but you felt more secure by naked irises
and secure by the many miles between us.

On Rippling Streets and Possibly Dying

Inhale, exhale, now uncertainty
awoke or maybe i'm a splattered angel to the road.
In feathers like a cardinal in hot August breath
Burning away to the move of a wicked gravitational spin

I'm on a rippling street,
dust swirling like my head
covered in an old business suit, damp and frail
watching abandoned Subway trains moving once again.
I see a 1940's traveling preacher on the corner.
One moment he's for Jesus, the next he's in it for the flames.

I stare into the hypnotism of a long walk to triumph
I have to face the destruction of regret
and neglect myself in cigarette smoke that wrestles the air -
to the gray we all see in this converging heavens
From this industrial sewage drains to the tobacco fields
the trees lift from the ground funneling energy from the clouds.

I'm on this rippling street
And I think i'm lifeless
a hex to the all the beauty of colour
a hissing in my shoes
they begin to race by you to get to me
Do they see a man, a skeleton, or invisibility?

And the Wolf Shakes

In a camera's view
I am the tortoise
When hidden away I can be the hare
With whistles, dry kisses, and dangerous fixes
I can suddenly be the crushed worm.

I feel the hierarchy of changing
the wind cracks these castles to rubble
And you dream of the vicious
and you dream of the gentle warmth
in the shelters when the wolf shakes.

Eventually, the Winter will slip through
Those cracks and eternally
We feel we become the peasant's meal
The bears begin  knocking and Goldilocks is illuminated
Always hiding like the scared child
When it begins thundering the war sirens.

The bullets, the bombs
Squeezing like the boa even when we run
The parades become eerie and the howling sounds like hell
Tight and abusive,  the frightening smiles and nods
those demons drink in the rain
and leave us all thirsty
with endless clouds still bleeding.

Imagine the harps and flirtations of the angels
only to be tricked by the chivalry of the devil
I see the spit of poison reflecting up -
from the bottom of a wineglass.
And God can be the illustrator when you are fearful
when tasting of the bread and the Holy Bible is a straitjacket
to whisper you back to sanity.

These wars were made for men
certainly not made for love
the damages have painted a death,
for the wash.
Now the washing away.
The floods finally have come.

Wiping away the hoax of the drifters
in these torrents 
to rebuild our trenches
where we can desire to live again
When will that wolf leave.
will the sheep ever get to play?

Leonard Cohen's Ghost

To dance, dance, sway, just sway
with all the Gods, the ghosts, the deities that we pray to.
Restless orbs hovering through my bedroom.
On the walls that they call home.

In their wooden eyes and popcorn ceiling shedding
I feel a leaky roof's carcass form an IV drip of falling rain
On the bed sheets, on my cold Manhattan muscles
with all the holiness, the prophets, and the seers - that surround
Drinking the electricity from my blood.

In my slumbers I see the hereafter
In windows bonded by straps
Paralyze my brain to a schizophrenic trap
Patch myself back with apologies and prayers
the Soul keeps straying to and from this thin layer
between me and the concrete sky

In this room lives the melancholia
Reflections of Orion
and all my visions, Judases, and the disease - in synthesis
My bones fail, 
and muscles endlessly ache
they crack and break 'til I cease to be

Being an old man
dressed in yesterday's fashion.
I sleep in my suit, with another suit for pillows to cushion
The opium that fills me begins to possess me when it becomes night.
I may be left abandoned, yet you want to steal my soul.
You reach from the floor and present my death as Christmas Day.

I have your stains in my DNA,
And your perversions scarred in my brain
I looked to you during grief and hunger
And you, the angel, the woman, the saint - the kiss
Gave me a drink from my flask on the worst of days
I retire away from your memory.
Where can I find the safety again of family?

In New York the rats know you by your name.
And you gamble with them in Central Park
Drink your coffee with the visions of Virgin Mary
the herald angels we Hark!
I begin to dream away a crystallizing of waterfalls 
the moving mountains on my deathbed calls.

My children have all left the buzzing city
I have grown skinny, skinnier every day
with this beard always itching.
The room feels like it's a melting paste.
And I sketch all the martyrs, my family, and founding fathers
And I pray to a wisp of light that shatters against the lamp post.

In all of its fury, I meditate through this path
I confess to a mass of angels lifting away the flames from my soul.
I want salvation 
as I see the jetlines of Leonard Cohen's ghost. 

Smoke Halos in Endless Winters

The infatuation with you was immediate
You complimented me on my shirt
Your tanned skin danced with the sunlight for the Summer
As I sit in admiration for you in the crackling dirt.
I infected myself,  
haunt myself with your routine.
Day after day
the ring on your finger seemed to be on display.
How you cried in your loneliness and longing.
And I wanted to be the shadow that meditates in your soul.

In coffeehouses we roamed
The same crowd of people we knew
I wanted to draw you closer
Your heart belonged frozen to a soldier's march in a sick hue of blue.
Even when he screams
You sat as the trophy on his shelf.

There was a line of men like me
some had love in their mind, others were just bawdy
Many admirers left blushing
at the parties and in the silence
And in the New Year's trips 
I was hanging on to my sanity
from the tip of your lips I wish mine were.

And I would cry for your nomadic footprints
That I lost and battled myself to find
And every time I thought you have found clarity
The green pebbles from the red,
Then you became a borderline aurora
My body thrown in the piles of dead,
just another audit for the cemetery.

You would come home in tears, a distance
My arms still open many months for your embrace.
After months of your endless nights and dark mornings
The smoke halos above an Alaskan bay.
I'd hope for the energy of my heart to be revived 
I wanted to charm your broken one from the ashes in your shoes.

I would hint annoyingly trying to drag out a smile.
And you would hide behind a mask of newspaper
I would write you poetry, and I bled out my blues
I would ask for a dance though I didn't know how
I would gladly try even if my legs were be broken.
If at the end you were the ultimate prize.

I would've danced my tears to a drought
I would've lifted you up above the clouds
And touched the wings of the angels
to revive us from the Earth's shutting crust
And the younger years become a dusting.
And full of those hearts stuck paralyzed.

The strings of years form on my forehead
A husband and a father
And I know you are around
I still feel the fighting of those ghosts
I feel you are battling them also
though the nomads walk begins to slow.
The footprints of Winter now have a home.

The Shrinks and Street Heroin

From the morgue you seem restful, finally
Your blonde hair, blue eye German swirls became languished
From the battles of Berlin and Cologne
You walk like the death of magic.

The rain dissolves in your palms and fades
Fall in the puddles of your narcissism and hatred
your reflection as withered as your health
the death of the superego and the icy stared pupils.

The needles came from everywhere
and you collected them all as if they had value
and all your shrinks kept pushign you closer to the brink.
Your fashion became flooded
like the blood in the plunger.

They inject the dye and lies
And you swim in a coma through the streets -
of this dying city.
While all the boys would watch you like a sunset
You quietly regress as the opium drips from the tap.

Soon you befriend the devil
But you say you hugged Jesus
You've brought flowers for the enemies
And you dreamt up an artistic sewer.

There are weird, wicked & wonderful snails
That lay on the concrete in  your heart
And they just want  you to feed them the freedom
From the points of lust in needles
With their many injections and ejections.

So let us travel to your voyage
The withdrawals and we surround you like all the pneumonia
Pounds, pounds your lungs
Pounds, pounds your breath
baby, baby, baby
the palpitations, the scarring, the stench
Living life like the jagged nails on a bench.
become dispensable.

Not bathing in oils anymore
sleeping naked on the bathroom floor
Your shrink now has an unlisted number
No longer the fresh breeze
in your decay of all art and poetry
the mortality surrendered
Permanently in my doorway is your dark shadow.

An Ode to Tessa While in New York

The juveniles gathered around your blinds
They studied your silhouette to memory
Dancing like Ann-Margret around the room
The candles burning around a 1985 waterbed.

On New York city nights
one of the college boys in the alley
Looking for a clue and a view
You'd walk out slightly drunk,
smiling at crowds of boys
with eyes that were up to no good.

Riding a green bicycle to the Jackson Hole
your scent of sweet cigarette smoke and perfume,
leads the path to a perfect follow
Maybe I will come down and have a drink
While you chat about the news to some hipster folks
I see you flirting with them all. 

Everyone laughs until we bruise
my heart just jumps like a petrified fish.
I have to walk by and say a hello
Although, there were more handsome faces in the shadows.
I hope to at least be more hypnotic than the stained spoons -
in this diner.

You say "I am Tessa, but I believe you already know that"
I introduced myself, she said "I've always liked your artsy hat"
We drank coffee 'til our stomachs bled.
And I was as shy as a detached bubble.

You carried the conversations, lead my hand
Picking flowers out of the cracked sidewalks near Brooklyn
Lead my hand, as we joined silhouettes
As the other jealous hustlers sat in the rain.
Lead my hand, through other diners with scent of burnt coffee.
Drinking our time away we would be catty, flirty & bitchy
Tessa,  you really enhanced my greed and need 

In nights I swayed with you
Nights we cried into each other's chest
Nights we drugged ourselves to nightmares
Nights we laughed until the extra strangers left
Now, in New York here I am
Long distances between the walks in all the boroughs
All the pigeons, drink at cold waters
the Statue of Liberty looks plagued.

Since my needs are old
When you lead my hand, to the bars
You lead my hand, by all the Harlem diamondbacks
You lead my hand, to you breathing your last breath -
on the back of my neck.
You lived your life for many,
but to yourself you hid away all your suicides.

Featured photo/art  by Geoffrey Wren 

Wolfpack Contributor EIC Bios:  David L O’Nan & HilLesha O’Nan

Wonderful Artwork from Avalanches in Poetry Writings & Art Inspired by Leonard Cohen by artist/writer Geoffrey Wren