Warhol and Factory Inspired Series: Poem by J.D. Casey IV : Every Time I Eat Campbell’s Soup

man in brown jacket walking on green grass field during daytime

photo by Mikhail/luxstn (unsplash)

Every Time I Eat Campbell’s Soup

andy, andy, where have you been
there's a war in the hall
of hell on earth

i used your golden telephone
to alert our lonesome god

the call
could not be completed
as dialed

it got disconnected
when you left the scene

i think it was the first time
when the bullets hit their mark
but failed to put you down for good

you only died a little and
you dug the corset anyway

andy, andy, do come back home
tell god we need you here
i can't get him
on the line

soulnap basquiat
while you're at it

Bio: James D. Casey IV is an artist, award-winning poet, author of seven poetry collections, and founder/editor-in-chief of Cajun Mutt Press. His work has been published in print and online by several small press venues and literary magazines internationally.

La Voce dei Poeti, La Catena della Pace international poetry contest gave "Warriors of the Rainbow" by J.D.C.IV a critic's choice award in 2016, and his poem "That'll do Pig" was nominated for a Pushcart Prize by New Pop Lit in 2019.

James was born in Colorado, grew up in Louisiana/Mississippi, and currently resides in Illinois.  

Founder/Editor-in-chief of Cajun Mutt Press.

A Fevers of the Mind Quick-9 Interview with J.D. Casey IV from Cajun Mutt Press

EIC: David L O’Nan is the Saturday Feature on Cajun Mutt Press with old storytelling poetry


A Fevers of the Mind Quick-9 Interview with J.D. Casey IV from Cajun Mutt Press

with J.D. Casey IV

Q1: When did you start writing and first influences?

J.D. I entered a Halloween poem contest in grade school, won first prize, and that really fanned the flames.

My earliest influences were writers like Poe and Frost; as I got older I started getting into the beat poets. Then I discovered Hunter S. Thompson, and that’s when my passion for writing really sank in. All literary genres. not just poetry.

Q2: Who are your biggest influences today?

J.D. : Ron Whitehead, hands down, that man is a powerhouse of poetic energy. Not many people have dedicated their lives to the craft the way he has. He went all in, and I love that. That’s where I strive to be in the future.

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

J.D.: I was born in Colorado, grew up in Louisiana/Mississippi, moved up to Illinois a few years ago, and I’ve done my fair share of traveling. Mostly by bus and train. It’s most definitely an influence on my poetry and art. I love to draw and paint as well as write.

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

J.D.: Cajun Mutt Press. Literature is extremely important to me. I like to believe I’m doing it justice by getting the words out into the world. I publish featured writers on our website every Mon/Wed/Fri, and full-length poetry collections in paperback.

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

J.D.: When it saved my life. I got in a bad accident at work in 2008. Broke C2 in my neck and T3-T4 in my back. Then on top of several other things that were piling up, my mom passed of cancer in 2009. That put me in a tailspin of self-destruction. Eventually, I had to enter rehab. Once my mind was clear the poetry and art started pouring out like never before and I realized this is what I wanted to do in life. It brought me out of the dark.

Q6: Favorite activities to relax?

J.D.: I like to collect things. Books, bones, crystals, toys that I grew up with. Stuff like that. And I always like to have music playing. I’m a huge Deadhead but I love all music. I have pretty eclectic taste.

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


I Hear Your Music Night and Day by Dave O’Leary was recently published by Cajun Mutt Press in May, and I have a few more books lined up before the end of the year.

People can purchase a copy of I Hear Your Music Night and Day by following this link:

“Poetry and short prose about the musical life and the lost words of youth, about the places where love might be found or misplaced and dreams not quite made and celebrity encounters and being short on funds and the necessity of bus rides and bus stops and homes and the small moments that resonate and, of course, cats.”

Manuscript submissions are currently CLOSED, but if you’d like to submit some work to be considered as a Featured Writer send 1-3 poems to cajunmuttpress@gmail.com along with a bio and author photo. All unpublished work, no simultaneous submissions. Please be patient for a response. I get a ton of emails.

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


Well, it isn’t a single line, but this is one of my personal favorites that I’ve written…

A Shortlist of Things I Learned by my Late-30s

god has tits
jesus was black
the only race is human

life after death?
we’ll all know

. . . or we won’t

anger and hatred is a cancer
you gotta let that shit go

we’re labeled men and women
but we can be what we want
including something else

love who the fuck you love

cats are assholes
but cooler than dogs –

okay, that one is just an opinion

the world fucking sucks sometimes
but it can also be pretty cool
so it balances itself out

friends come and go
you’ll know the real ones
they stick around
or find their way back

money comes and goes
spend that shit
can’t take it with
but you CAN be buried with it

. . . because fuck ’em right?

when you reach a certain age
you start writing dumb lists
to put things into perspective


Q9: Who has helped you most with writing?

J.D.: My Beautiful Muse, Raissa. She’s my proofreader. I show her everything, and she’s always honest. Tells me if a line sounds wrong or suggests little edits here and there. She’s usually right.

BIO: James D. Casey IV is an artist, award-winning poet, author of seven poetry collections, and founder/editor-in-chief of Cajun Mutt Press. His work has been published in print and online by several small press venues and literary magazines internationally.

A Fevers of the Mind Quick-9 Interview with Dave O’Leary


Excerpts from interview with Kentucky Poet Ron Whitehead from 2019 in Fevers of the Mind Poetry & Art Digest Issue 1


A Fevers of the Mind Quick-9 Interview with Dave O’Leary

with Dave O’Leary

Q1: When did you start writing and first influences?

Dave:    I made some attempts at writing poems and stories in elementary school and high school and on into college but at one point I realized I needed more life experience. I needed to read more so I largely paused. I kept writing in notebooks and always had one with me but never tried to publish anything until I started a blog at 39. At that point, I was basically living without meaning or direction, but I did have by that time more life experience so I decided finally to start writing things down in a way that others could see them. The idea was to use the blog to develop a few short stories and eventually a collection, but it instead turned in my first book, Horse Bite.

As for influences at that time, the main one was Haruki Murakami. I first came across his writing when I was living in South Korea. I read an English translation of Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World, and it just blew me away with the removal of sound and splitting the shadow from the self and all these fantastical things while also mixing in music and pop culture references. It just made sense to me, and music has been since then a huge part of my writing as well, so much so the my second book was actually called The Music Book. I love too how Murakami has kept with short stories over the years. That’s where my own focus is at the moment.

Q2: Who are your biggest influences today?


One writer I’ve long admired is Graham Swift. Last Orders is one of my favorite books, one of those I’ve read multiple times. His writing is so effortless. I’ve read things where it’s obvious the writer is trying too hard, but never with Swift. It’s something I aspire to. For poetry these days, I’ve been reading Kim Addonizio. I’d never heard of her until a few years ago, which I suppose is because I was in Korea, but I so wish I’d found her work earlier. Tell Me and What is This Thing Called Love are fantastic. Some other poetry books I’ve read recently are Homie by Danez Smith, every love story is an apocalypse story by donna vorreyer, and Torn Up by C. Cimmone. All wonderful stuff.

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

Dave: I grew up in parts of the Midwest with one brief stint in the South. We moved around a bit and at one point were moving every two years. It probably helped my writing in that I read more since being a new kid in school meant going times with no or few friends. My time in South Korea helped too with perspective. People should spend some time living in another country if they can rather than just traveling through places on vacation. I was teaching English there and not making much money, struggling with the day to day of life much as I would have if I’d stayed in America and waited tables while trying to make it in a band. Sometimes I’d go a week or so without seeing anyone who looked like me or who spoke English, and that really helped give me a sense of scale on my place in the world, the smallness of the individual, and it’s really where the writing bug began to seriously creep back into my soul. I stayed there for eight years and might have stayed longer but for a horrible relationship I was in.

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

Dave: For me, it’s always the most recent thing so it has to be my new collection (poetry, short prose) I Hear Your Music Playing Night and Day, Cajun Mutt Press. Each book has gotten closer to the heart of it all, the heart of what I’m trying to say anyway. That’s the goal. I wouldn’t put a book out if I felt it was somehow less meaningful than what came before it.

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


   I’ll give you two. When I was in third grade I started playing violin and soon got pretty good at it and my teacher once said, “If you get good enough at violin, you’ll be able to teach yourself how to play the guitar.” It didn’t mean anything when he first said it, but then one day I heard Cheap Trick on the radio, the Live at Budokan album, and I was blown away and realized I wanted to do that. I don’t make a living as a musician but I’ve had a lot of wonderful musical moments of the years. My book release party recently turned into more of a live music show since it just felt so good to be playing again in front of people.

   For writing, the moment was around the same time. We read the book Rascal in class and it was the first time a story just stuck with me and deeply moved me. The ending of that book got under my skin and I thought I wanted to do that. I wanted to write stories that affected people in that same way. Perhaps it was because I’d never experienced and real loss at that point of my life so it opened up for me a whole new set of emotions. None of my three books have been best sellers, but with each one I’ve been contacted by people who told me how the book as a whole or some piece of it really meant something to them either because it opened something up or reflected something of their own experience. It that sense then they’ve all been successful.

Q6: Favorite activities to relax?

Dave:    Music. There are certainly people who are way better musicians than I am, but I’ve always enjoyed playing either with others or on my own in the basement. Sometimes my only friend was whichever acoustic guitar I happened to own at the time. And music is certainly one thing that helped me get through the pandemic. A couple friends would come over and we’d have socially distant drinks out back and eventually we’d break out the guitars and have socially distant, masked jam sessions, and it turned into a kind of pandemic band so I had the same group of people (three of us) play at my book release party in mid-June.

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


My third book, I Hear Your Music Playing Night and Day, came out at the end of May from Cajun Mutt Press, and to quote the promo copy, it’s a collection of “poetry and short prose about the musical life and the lost words of youth, about the places where love might be found or misplaced and dreams not quite made and celebrity encounters and being short on funds and the necessity of bus rides and bus stops and homes and the small moments that resonate and, of course, cats.”

   Link: https://www.amazon.com/I-Hear-Your-Music-Playing-And_Night-Day-Dave-OLeary/dp/product/1639011633

   The wonderful folks at Line Rider Press gave it a nice review.

Q8: What is one of your favorite lines/stanza from a poem or song of yours or others?


Funny you mention poem or song. I wrote a poem called “Pause” years ago in college that became a song for my then band and I included an acoustic version of it on the CD that accompanied The Music Book back in 2014. Last summer though, I got the idea to take that song and condense it to its essence and the editors at Versification were kind enough to include it in their inaugural issue last summer, and it made it into the new book too. The line about the mosquitoes was what stuck with me all these years because it’s so much of what life is and it’s what prompted me to rework it last summer.

   “Swarms of mosquitoes swirl and buzz 
   in my living room. They dive bomb me
   and I swat, miss, hit myself in the face…”

   In the old song it was this. It’s more rock and roll for sure but less poetic:

   “Heading out
   through the swarms
   of mosquitoes
   in my living room.”

   “Pause” the poem. Scrolling required. It’s just 5 lines so it’s easy to miss:

   “Pause” the Song:

Q9: Who has helped you most with writing?


Over the last ten years it’s been mainly two people. First, there’s my writer friend Clint Brownlee (His book: https://www.amazon.com/Pearl-Jams-Vs-33-154/dp/1501355309). He’s read early drafts of all my books and really helped me cut what wasn’t working and prompted me to delve more deeply where needed. And especially with the first book, I needed a lot of that. It’s been invaluable to have that critical voice shared over beers. Any music fans should check out his book about the recording of Pearl Jam’s Vs. album. Second, there’s my wife, Allison Severinghaus. She supports my writing, of course, but she’s also brutally honest when she thinks the writing is subpar, which sadly it sometimes is. She keeps me on my writing toes and pushes me to be a better writer and a better person.

The Featured Poetry Showcase for Steve Denehan

Thrush’s Song

Too frail, too timeworn, so
on my wedding day I came to her
overdressed in the day room, I looked
in aged faces to no avail
then, a chuckle, and there
under a clock, she sat
I kneeled before her
letting soundless seconds fall between us
the change in her jarring
impossible to reconcile to
my bedside locker photograph
a stranger before her
I took her hand and
she let me
her skin, gossamer over tiny bird bones
I looked into her eyes, once fire
now ash
“I’m getting married today”
“That’s nice”
lifetimes before, she took the world by the tail
and squeezed
and shook
to our family of land dwellers
she blazed across the heavens
she was the child of Icarus and Earhart
she was mountainside heather
she was paddle boats and big band jazz
she was a wave on Mirror Lake
in the now we hold hands
and do not speak
I gaze into her eyes
eyes that saw it all and
I find her, I find her
“I know you”
“I’m getting married today”
“You are?”
“I am”
“Do I know her?”
“Not yet”
“I was married once”
“I know”

“Let yourself be happy”
“I will try”
“I know you”

I feel her squeeze my hand
I look down and see a map
liver spot countries once explored
I look back up to find her
leaning in conspiratorially
whispering, just in case
“sometimes men come to my room during the night”
“do they?”
“they do, they come to my window”
“is that right?”
“it is, I tell the staff but…
…they do not believe me”
“will I tell them?”
“oh no, sometimes I leave the window open”

she winks and cackles
and the day room silence is gone
a startled flock of birds
“Shut up Thrush!”, says another elderly lady
“I will not shut up!”
she smiles at me and I watch
as the stardust falls from her eyes
and her hand grows limp in mine
and she is gone

Previously published in, ‘Of Thunder, Pearls and Birdsong’, by Fowlpox Press, available here


from Cajun Mutt Press

The Roller Disco

I held my daughter’s hand as we stumble-skated
long circles of hearts stopping and hearts racing
exchanging eyes-to-heaven glances with another father
it was almost empty and the music echoed
besides us, there were a group of girls
slurping blue slushies and chattering in gasps
then, I saw another teenage girl
alone and heavy
she must have weighed fifteen stone, maybe more
she put on her skates clumsily
with dimpled knuckles
we skated on
“look at her”
said my daughter
I turned around with dread
and saw her
gliding, easily
as if pulled along
by a thousand fairies
we watched as she twirled
like water down a sink
and smiled at my daughter
while skating backwards as she passed
skipping from one foot
to the other
I saw my little girl inch taller
comforted by the knowledge
that impossible is just a word
that life is hers
and ripe for plucking
she lets go of my hand
time stretches and contracts
in that peculiar way
and we watch her heavy and light
fifteen stone of song
swaying and swooping and
she falls
corners of her landing hard
marrow freezing in my bones
there is a sound then
vicious snorts
sneering laughter
the group of girls
slushies gone
white teeth, pointing
I want to run to them
to scream into their faces
until my throat is raw
I want to pull their tongues
from their mouths
and stamp them to a paste
instead, we help her up
she feels light still
in my arms
my daughter takes my hand
I see the beginnings of tears
as she is not too young to realise
we take off our skates
and put on our shoes
and get the hell out of there


There was always a guy with freakish strength
generally wiry
happy to stay in the background
an easy wallflower
he avoided trouble
dodged first and second glances
but the strength, simmering steel
was always there
utterly disproportionate to his frame
bigger guys bounced off him on pitches
arm wrestles were won smoothly
and without expression
to sighs and disbelief
even deep cuts and gashes never phased him
I didn’t know what to put it down to
this defiance of natural laws
always so quiet, so placid
I never knew where the strength came from
until years later
when I learned
that the placid
have more rage than anyone

The Confessional

Shadows in shadows
I could not see his face
though I could smell his breath
we sat very close to each other
a thin partition between us
he, a middle-aged man
me, a boy
anxious and alone
he asked if I had sinned
I told him that I had
listed them
as I had rehearsed
he wanted more
wanted impure thoughts
I made some up
afterwards, I knelt on a pew
closed my eyes
said my penance quickly
wondering if there would come a day
when it would all make sense

A Worm in 1981

I am a worm
having burrowed under the covers
to the bottom of my bed
I lie there, curled
the mattress pressing up into me
the blankets pressing down upon me
until the air is gone
until the only air left
is my own
and I take it
hot and damp
back into myself
in quick, shallow gulps
looking around
in that quiet dark
I hear the door open
feel my father’s hand
through the blankets
on the small of my back
and I understand
even then
that it is impossible
to disappear completely

Rockfield Hotel, Brittas Bay, County Wicklow

we changed our clothes
as workmen walked through our room
carrying floorboards on their shoulders, nodding hellos
as evening fell, we arrived in the lounge
I saw a cordless drill in amongst the bronze and red velvet
an open tin of paint on the bar
a huge, panoramic window looked over all of Wicklow
but it was dark
and we could see nothing
a gigantic circular grill stood in the centre of the lounge
but the chimney was blocked
we sat spluttering and laughing in the smoke
as the night swirled around us
we ate charred food and shook our heads
I wondered whose fingerprints were on the lip of my glass
there was a comedian
that laughed at his own jokes
and we laughed with him
there was a pianist
and he could play
and did, until the piano bled
and my father, ten years without
decided to have
just one cigarette
I watched him suck on it, lost in it
it was the beginning of something
and the end of something else

Another Poem About Time

Time stopped
at least once
for eight seconds or so
I know
I was there
my inert body
looking out
looking through eyes
slightly to the left
there was no sound
no heartbeat
no breath taken, given
I saw half of the window
an autumn butterfly paused
that crack in the plaster
the cat on the windowsill
my daughter
our daughter
the side of her cheek
the corner of her mouth, a smile
I saw the sleeve of your jacket
blue veins in your wrist
the blood in them
the swirls and curls of your hair
no longer alive
not dead as such
but paused
your neck
open and elegant
your laughing mouth
a photograph of joy
when time stopped
I saw your eyes
I saw the way
you looked
at me
it was too late

Comets and Moons and Whole Worlds

A long day
a long drive home
I carve through towns and villages
see old ladies carrying plastic bags
they lean into the wind and the rain
and the cold and the night
as they make their way
to put the dinner on
boil the kettle
to call a sister
on the phone
to compare days and months
and years and lives
unaware that they are galaxies
that comets and moons and whole worlds
came from them
move inside them still
I coast to a stop on the driveway
pull up the handbrake
watch raindrops trickle down the windscreen
taking with them
all the stars

His Name Escapes Me Right Now but It Might Come Back to Me Later

They gave him everything
water torture
sleep deprivation
they starved him
removed his fingernails
the fingers themselves
his ears
they peeled parts of his forearms and thighs
dripped acid onto his feet
cut words across his chest and stomach
his motorcade had driven
too close to enemy lines
he had been captured
a bounty, a piñata
with military secrets
held for months
presumed dead
forgotten by most
until his body
what was left of his body
was returned
it is believed
that he gave them nothing
that he endured it all
everything they had
and gave them nothing
maybe nothing was all he had to give
maybe it was that simple
either way his family
their knees worn smooth from prayer
got him back
at his funeral there were flags
and a twenty-one-gun salute
that frightened his son
his family were given a medal
in lieu of his bravery
it was shiny

An Interview with Steve Denehan

  1. Please describe your latest book, what about your book will intrigue the readers the most, what is the theme or mood?
    Steve: My latest book was released in October by The Golden Antelope Press and is called ‘Days of Falling Flesh and Rising Moons’. I try to write each day, so a lot of the poems are about day-to-day things really. The enormity of small things is something I find interesting so a fair few are poems about that, mundane things changed by our perception of them.
  2. What frame of mind and ideas lead to you writing your current book?
    Steve: A poem can come from anywhere, anywhere at all so it’s hard to be specific about a frame of mind or ideas really. A line comes along and I build on that. It all happens really quickly. Quite a lot of poems come from me mishearing song lyrics actually. I’m sure it was just the same for Shakespeare!
  3. How old were you when you first have become serious about your writing, do you feel your work is always adapting?
    Steve: I can’t say that I’ve ever been serious about writing really. Writing a poem is great, the best and I love it but there’s never been any real plan. When I finish writing a poem, I immediately forget about it and don’t think about writing again until another one comes along. In terms of adapting I’m sure the poems have changed and are changing as time goes but, if they are, it’s not a conscious thing. I just write them as they come.
  4. What authors, poets, musicians have helped shape your work, or who do you find yourself being drawn to the most?
    Steve: I’m sure everyone is, to a large extent, a product of what they have read or listened to. I would say that songwriters have had more of an impact on me really, though I do love reading too. In terms of actually crafting a song there are few better than Tom Waits, Leonard Cohen, Joni Mitchell, Paul Buchanan, James Taylor and Aimee Mann. One of my favourite pieces of writing of all time is the first verse of ‘4th of July’ by Aimee Mann actually. “Today’s the fourth of July Another June has gone by And when they light up our town I just think What a waste of gunpowder and sky” How incredible is that? Writers I love to read are Paul Auster, Glen Duncan, Joe R. Lansdale, Charles Bukowski, Albert Camus, J.D. Salinger and, if I feel like a thriller, A.J. Quinnell.
  5. What other activities do you enjoy doing creatively, or recreationally outside of being a writer, and do you find any of these outside writing activities merge into your mind and often become parts of a poem?
    Steve: I like to paint though I wouldn’t have much of a clue of what I am doing. I really like the feel of the paint under the knife. I also played a lot of sport over the years which I would argue is a huge creative outlet, or at least it was for me. Trying to outthink an opponent or your opposition is a thrilling thing.
  6. Tell us a little about your process with writing. Is it more a controlled or a spontaneous/ freewriting style?
    Steve: I’m not sure that I have a process at all. I think about writing only when I am writing. When I am not writing my mind is on other things. I am easily distracted and enjoy so many other things besides writing. I find that the less I think of writing the more likely it will be that a poem comes along. When one does I either write a quick skeleton of it on my phone or, if possible, I sit down at the laptop and get it down. I write quickly and try not to overthink things. If a poem takes longer than a half hour, I give up on it.
  7. Are there any other people/environments/hometowns/vacations that has helped influence your writing?
    Steve: As I tend to write about what’s happening around me, I’d say that people, environments, hometowns and vacations play a massively important part in the writing. I would guess that the poems are roughly 80% non-fiction and 20% fiction.
  8. What is the most rewarding part of the writing process, and in turn the most frustrating part of the writing process?
    Steve: The most rewarding part is the writing, absolutely the writing. It’s an amazing feeling, really. It’s often like teasing out a puzzle until it all suddenly clicks into place. But, the best times are when a poem comes along fully formed and it is written and finished in the time it takes to type it. That is almost impossibly exhilarating. I don’t understand at all how some people agonize over every word, how the act of writing is almost torturous. If it were not a joyful thing for me, I wouldn’t do it. The most frustrating part is probably the submitting but, really, I don’t mind that. I just throw on some music and bash them out.
  9. How has this past year impacted you emotionally, how has it impacted you creatively if it all?
    Steve: This year has been such a tough year for so many people of course but, personally, I didn’t mind it. I like my own company so the isolation was grand. It was tough not being able to visit people but beyond that it was good, kind of refreshing in a way. I think it forced lots of people, myself included, to find the pure and simple joy in small things again which is great. Some poems came from it all of course and, while a lot of them were quite sad, I would say that the majority were upbeat.
  10. Please give us any promotional info for your work, social media, blogs, publishing company info, etc that you’d like to shout out.
    Steve: I probably wouldn’t have as gigantic a presence as a lot of people on social media but here are a few links all the same: https://denehan.wixsite.com/website,
    https://twitter.com/SteverinoD and https://www.facebook.com/denehan
    Steve’s new poetry collection, ‘Days of Falling Flesh and Rising Moons’, published by The Golden Antelope Press is available online and can be ordered in all local bookshops.

His previous collection, ‘Miles of Sky Above Us, Miles of Earth Below’, published by Cajun Mutt Press and his chapbooks, ‘Living in the Core of an Apple’, published by Analog Submission Press and, ‘Of Thunder, Pearls and Birdsong’, published by Fowlpox Press, can be purchased by going to Steve’s website listed above.