Down at the bottom of the garden something moves. I peer, intent; face brushes cold glass so close I’m looking, and there! seen by the movement not the still – two deer.
My face hard against window pane, breath short, longing, fogging up around nose and open mouth. The deer, though, are contained, content; until I’m seen! and bolt! white tails bob.
Later investigations reveal a little some sort of pine tree that yesterday was Christmas come early dressed up in frost, one I have adored so much these last few years,
has been stripped bare; it is beauty broken. And even as I plan protective fencing, I know some things cannot be mended. My heart thumps too hard.
The last strawberry
Mid-November in the northern hemisphere and a strawberry holds on, ready to snatch colour out of a sky that sulks and skulks, grey glowering over such a small, so nearly red, surface.
Bitter winds push it. A swaying, juicy pendulum, inaccessible to slugs, its neighbour above stillborn, brown, and quite, quite dead. And the plant it sprung from holds on also.
Leaves green where others have wrinkled to beige, it fights to give everything to a fruit out of season, putting it all into a gamble that might just have been played too late.
Maxine Rose Munro is a Shetlander adrift on the outskirts of Glasgow. She writes in both English and her native Shetlandic Scots, and is widely published in the UK and beyond, both in print and online, including in Acumen; Ink, Sweat and Tears; and Southlight. Find her here http://www.maxinerosemunro.com
A palette of various colors made habitats on my skin
before leaving during my next shower.
Yet my heart, personality & identity
remained the same throughout.
So why the hate?
I try to form a collective hypothesis of my conversations:
We’re all born the same way & die someday.
Skin color & religion prove to be highly incompetent
to help a heartbeat, lungs breathe & brain cells grow.
So why the hate?
Beauty: A New Definition
For generations the wise ones have said
That beauty is in the eye of the beholder
But time passes, generations evolve
Some simple, some a lot bolder
Some proverbs die
Some new are born
Left to all to choose
Which are progress, which are scorn
Perhaps a similar time has come
To give beauty a new definition
Leaving the beholder out & say
beauty is in the heart of the pious one!
Beyond the Obvious
How the naive think
What abuse means
Perhaps some blue bruises
And a shattered spleen
Such evidence & signs
Are no doubt a fear
But is there no value
Of an isolated tear?
Everyone sees the obvious
Without a look inside
Curse this bloody flesh that makes
The wounded heart hide!
The Invisible Aura
Step into the vortex of my soul
To decode the language
I often speak to myself
Every night when I peel off my mirage
That the sea of gazes around me
surmises to be nonchalance
This is my universe where:
Depression is not a mere mood swing
It’s an actual chemical imbalance
My facial expressions are not always
Gateways to the feelings of my heart
Sometimes they are merely decor
My silence is not a symbol
Of any kind of equanimity
Listen to the aura who’s decibels
Don’t roar like a lion
But squeal like a mouse
Observe the aura that’s the
shy one in the corner
Acknowledge the unfelt emotions
For you may not feel them
But just a moment of your cognizance
Could determine their fate for eons
I come with no ostentation
No glory or cavalcade
For I creep upon this junction
Not to arouse a racket
But to dismember the status quo
I make no proclamations to be
Your knight in shining armor
Or to dry your tears
But to bequeath equity of them
To feast on the salt with thee
I come not to sheath your malformations
But to stand in their gallery
And be a zealot for ages
Of what my heart senses to be
Not wounds but victors of endurance
Think not of me as a paladin
In a quaint fable
But a commoner just to proclaim :
I once bore what you did
And hearken the language of your soul
That others have stained as an enigma!
The Midas Scratch
Lay your fingers on the canvas of my flesh
And scratch till what you carve
Becomes the cynosure attire of my body
Never to be removed
Till the mind in its entirety
Is severed from the bones
Take no heed of any provisional brood
Or waterfalls of blood
For the blemishes will eventually mitigate
But the fable your fingers nurture with love
Will give me an immortal prevalence
To any and all around me!
After Leonard Cohen’s “Waiting for the Miracle”
When the heart drowns in total despair
I soothe it by telling tall tales
Of an intoxication known as hope
A miracle is coming, says the heart
The mind just plays along
I dance in the name off faith
Even when my feet are numb
Lest I reveal the inner abyss
A miracle is coming, says the soul
The body just plays along
Stay in the slaughterhouse
So, my wounds can blend in
Lie in the rain so tears seem small
A miracle is coming, say the tears
The eyes just play along
So far not a sign
Not even a mere shadow
Or the calm before the storm
A miracle is coming, I say
The miracle just plays along
(c) Neel Trivedi
Neel Trivedi is a freelance journalist & in the advertising business in Dallas, TX. He writes poetry & fiction. His work has been featured in Rhythm & Bones Magazine, Drabblez Magazine, Paragraph Planet, Dodging The Rain, Mojave Heart Review, Elephants Never, Chronos Anthology, Rising From The Ashes Anthology and Purpose Magazine. As well as Dailywisdomwords.com He can be reached on Twitter @Neelt2001
1) Please describe your latest book, what about your book will intrigue the readers the most, and what is the theme, mood?
Catrice: I am working on my first chapbook publication. I expect this to be a selection across topics. I have several books planned. The books planned beyond that one are specifically themed. Themes I write about are a broad span of Spirituality, transcendence, trauma, consent, disability, healing,mental health, love, the environment, human nature, the cosmos, ancestral topics, cultural traditions, identity, dialect, food & culture, Orishas, and music I often weave my love of the sciences, math, astronomy, astral travel, biblical spiritual references, and futurism into my work.
2) What frame of mind and ideas lead to you writing your current book?
Catrice: My first chapbook would be my introduction to the literary world in print and encapsulates many ideas from over the years. Although I have written for several decades, I did not choose to publish a book. I chose to focus on refining my voice and craft. In the last few years, in service to the work I am creating, I felt there was a purpose, an audience and space that would be a good fit for the work to speak for itself. My choice to publish now is solely in service to the work itself. It feels like the right timing. I get a sense the work will live best published now versus earlier.
3) How old were you when you first have become serious about your writing, do you feel your work is always adapting?
Catrice: I began writing early somewhere around ages 8,9,10. At 10, I began to be compelled to write. Ages11/12, I experimented. By age 14, it was clear for me that it was a necessity. I was mentored one to one by a high school teacher. I wrote for academic publications in high-school and was editor and editor in chief of a creative journal. While in my senior year of high school, I also began writing as a Features writer intern for a local historic newspaper at age 17. I went on to intern, associate produce (credit) and write scripts as an intern for a local tv station in my college years. I continued a smattering of explorative involvement in media in various forms off and on through my twenties. My own private writings of poetry simultaneously continued to grow and refine. My declared major in college was English Literature. During that time, I began to perform spoken word and recite poetry. Mainly I did this at events via another mentor in college who felt it was a good avenue for me to learn to conquer my shyness. I’ve continued to write privately since then, until now.
To your second question, yes, to some extent my work is always growing and adapting. It adapts as I grow and as my vision of the world and of myself grows. As my perception refines and my craft refines, so does my work and approach to the work. At this time, I am clear that I write in service to bringing work forward in its divine nature.
4) What authors, poets, musicians have helped shape your work, or who do you find yourself being drawn to the most?
Catrice: That’s a complex question. I’ve read so many poets and writers. Off the top of my head, I can say Toni Morrison, Alice Walker, Octavia Butler, Laini Mataka, Sonia Sanchez, Ntozake Shange, Audre Lorde, Kalamu Ya Salaam, Pablo Neruda, Wislawa Symborska, Jean Auel, Deepak Chopra, Zitkala-Sa, Ivan Van Sertima, T. S. Eliot, Milton, Lacan, Saussure, Descartes, Jung, some Freud, Kafka, Andrew Marvell, Shakespeare, and many, many more.
My love of music is vast. I love opera, R&B, alt rock, alt classical rock, gospel, jazz, alt Christian music,Hymns, African-American classic hymns, some folk music, the list goes on. Those influences show up in my work time and time again. It runs through my soul. I write through the music I feel as emotion and the words for me are music.
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?
Catrice: I am a former photographer, former dancer, former dessert caterer and entrepreneur. I still like to cook. I enjoy nutrition, and herbology. I garden sometimes. I keep a small personal healing apothecary. I enjoy fermenting foods for health. No longer in a home, but now an apartment, I keep a modest plant system and a fledgling kratky garden. I sketch a little, use various creative mediums sometimes. I enjoy singing with a community choir. I like creating songs lyrics to express some type of emotion. I listen to music for hours and hours. I used to be active in athletic pursuits for several decades. I am healing from something that creates an impairment and disability for me at this time, so being that active is abbreviated for the moment. But at heart, I am athletic. Currently, I enjoy walking, light hiking, yoga, weights. I love films. I like science and enjoy learning about various sciences in my spare time. I enjoy learning languages.
I am a Christian. I am of Catholic faith. And I am human. The combination of those elements as well as my own broad curiosity, acceptance of spirituality in general factors into my work. I see and channel much through a very spiritual lens with an understanding and respect that we are all connected and that the universe is vast. All the activities I noted above show up from time to time in my work or in how I come to the work itself and process life. The more fully and vibrantly I live, the richer the work.
6) Tell us a little about your process with writing. Is it more a controlled, or a spontaneous freewriting style?
Catrice: It depends. I mainly channel my work. I feel it is given. It is then my responsibility to refine the bulk of what was given to be sure it expresses clearly and serves the message of the work. The craft I have honed over the years and continue to hone is a skill. Those literary skills for editing then come into play. But often while I am writing, what I am channeling my mind is working very fast to edit at the same time. I allow my mind to simply speak what needs to be said. Sometimes I receive a lot. And other times, a phrase, a word, an idea, a partial Stanza. All of it eventually, shows up later in layers that are building to create something new. I feel that my job as a poet is to be present, listen intently to myself, be a witness, and scribe.
7) Are there any other people/environments/hometowns/vacations that has helped influence your writing?
Catrice: There is nothing singular for me to point to. My writing is influenced by the totality of life experiences, education, observation, perceptions, spiritual faith, heritages, connection and spiritual receptiveness. It is a reflection of an acceptance of my fellow man as I observe, receive and process enormous amounts of information.
8) What is the most rewarding part of the writing process, and in turn the most frustrating part of the writing process?
Catrice: Most frustrating — sometimes the poems come channeling through so fast and it may be an inopportune time for me to write it down. Or the lines are coming in so quickly that I am not fast enough to write it down verbatim as I am receiving the lines. I end up sometimes writing an approximation and that is often not quite on target.
Most rewarding — is the fact that I am allowed to channel through and write down these beautiful, divine, words and sentiments. The fact that I am a part of this divine process, I often feel very humbled and grateful to be a writer. The process for me is filled with music, emotion, colors, rhythms, visions, that somehow translate into words. That process even for me is well beyond me. Yes, I am an academically trained writer. But I didn’t start out that way. I was quite young when I started. For me, my process is unique as well as it has a foot in classic approaches.
I am grateful when anyone feels organically connected to the work when it is healing or creates healthy dialogue that can foster positive change. If a heart is touched, if someone feels seen or heard by my work, then I know I have been of service to my greater community and that when I was called by said poem to write it into existence, I was correct in answering that call. It served a soul. To me, that level of service is a high honor.
I did not get to be the doctor/writer I had hoped to become like William Carlos Williams. I wanted to be a psychiatrist. But, in this way, I am taking part in helping with vastness of unity and oneness of healing, speaking truths for my fellow man as well as for myself. For me, to be allowed to be part of that divine miracle, even as a scribe and a witness, is humbling and rewarding.
9) How has this past year impacted you emotionally, how has it impacted you creatively if it all?
Catrice: For me, I have a long personal story. Too long for this interview. For a number of personal reasons, disability as healing, being one, I was already living sequestered and very alone prior to the pandemic. When this began, emotionally I was already on a path to find ways to reach out to connect even though I could not physically reach others as well. This year, not due to Covid-19, but two of my close friends died. I was already mourning so much for so many loved ones that passed away. Emotionally, I needed to connect with other humans and live again. Feel alive. I did not wish to impose my will on changing the situation. I felt and prayed that I would like to walk through this with my fellow humans and somehow live as much as possible and authentically as possible. Emotionally, that meant managing any anxiety, or depression, any last hurts that can show up when we have time to think. Allow myself to clear and let go of all things no longer needed and to even now commit to honoring my solitude, my need for connection, interdependence, joy, love, need for healthy intimacy with self and others, and healthy boundaries.
All of these things have some contingency on voice and its authenticity.
Being honest with self about what I truly feel, what and who makes me feel uncomfortable, knowing what I truly need and want, desire, and voicing that clearly is a healthy evolution in my state of being. This also includes me being able to take action with healthy boundaries and not be crushed under the weight of dissension, intimidation, silence, lack of connection or understanding or respect from others. In this space, I learned to honor my voice unapologetically in the healthiest way. I also learned to embrace my deepest needs and desires. By doing all of that, I am like most humans a continual work in progress, my work reflects this authenticity and growth.
The more I see and accept my self, the higher divine self, the shadow self, the unspoken, the traumatized self, the unloved self, the unseen self, the healing self, the transcendent soul, the imperfect self, the creative self, the unbound spiritual self, the grounded self, the bold, the loving self — all of the parts as integrated parts without judgement, then I have been more adept in my poetic work to speak clearly in the service of the work. It seems that humanity resonates for other people who feel connected to the work and the voice I have to offer to our community of humans. This moment in time is one for which I share in collective mourning and also appreciate our collective unity, transformation, and healing. Emotionally, this year has shown me a great deal about myself and others.
Creatively, I have become even more in tune and immensely prolific. All for which I am deeply grateful.
Thank you for this interview. Be well.
Yearning Through the Fog by Catrice Greer
It’s a busy time the car exhausts, the fires breathing smoke over the twilight pollution laying across the horizon as if on a chaise, lounging overstuffed dumpsters, overflowing with wrappers, peels, discarded boxes, and stench trees half bare dangling windblown bags at their tips trying to take a stand, hold back the school of loop-winged billowed-bottomed plastics flying by the grass sparse, dirt scratched patches, concrete overtaking the landscape We miss the deer and their morning hellos We miss the murder of crows and their caw caws We miss the foxes leaping over and under the brush playing hide and go seek We have not seen enough rabbits before dawn
Cortical Cartography by Catrice Greer
I give thanks for you bravely doing this again traveling synapse by synapse trails of electric pulses jumping blackhole gaps that used to remember holding the dead space a new soma body birthing from bleating darkness show us the nucleus the middles of what we were made of Axons spread like kamikaze flying squirrel bodies with arms akimbo reaching dendrites touching Grateful for even this axon potential sometimes on sometimes off Praise for brave synaptic dives and jumps Grateful for re-birthed myelin insulating protecting making sure that we traffic on our way by the quickest route charged in this dark matter discovery-space This astronomy building anew, wrinkled city of light, crevices, crannies, gyri and sulci, ridges and valleys jellied, crinkled mass sectioned by lobes all speaking trillions simultaneous synaptic voices prayerfully all at once this chatter mines the neuronal network and we build
a whole new world
Catrice Greer @cgreer_greer is a poet and writer who resides in Baltimore, Maryland. She is a 2020, Pushcart Prize Nominee. In November 2020, Catrice served as a Cheltenham Poetry Festival, Poet in Residence. Catrice’s poetic work explores a range of topics about the human condition. She currently performs as a featured poetic artist or via poetry artist collectives in international virtual open mics. Her recent poems were published in Icefloe Press, the historic Afro-American Newspaper, a Phenomenal Womxn Anthology, Baltimore Health Behavioral Services art gallery, and local newsletters. She is currently working on publishing her first chapbook. She has recently read at the Cheltenham Poetry Festival with Damien Donnelly
If you’re a poet or writer, you need exposure. Especially, if you’re an independent writer, or work or run a small press. Luckily, for us, there is a website that has been expanding exponentially the last few years giving us more exposure to the best independent poets and writers out there today. The Poetry Question provides the concept of asking “How will you Poetry today?” The man behind the beginnings of the Poetry Question is Chris Margolin.
He shares a passion for visualizing the future of poetry and giving a voice to poets. Whether it would be the unique interview in which you answer the poetry questions on influences, favorite books, authors, influences. Detailed info on why these works or writers have deemed such an influence on a writer. The site has been excellent and expanding their team on reviewing Poetry Chapbooks and novels & novellas.
Within the last year, Chris has worked hard on adding a small press to give another avenue for writers to put out chapbooks. So, with that introduction, we shall ask a few questions to Chris Margolin of “the Poetry Question” http://thepoetryquestion.com
Hi Chris, thanks for giving us at Fevers of the Mind the opportunity to learn more about The Poetry Question and the exciting future of the site.
Thank you for having me! I’m a fan of Fevers of the Mind, so this is an exciting opportunity for me. I’m honored.
First off Chris, when did you come up with the idea of the Poetry Question? The original concept? When was the moment that hit you and said “Hey I need to help small press poets and self-published poets”?
I’ve written a lot about the foundation of The Poetry Question, but I appreciate that your question focuses on Small Press Poetry and Self-Published Poetry. The site went through so many different iterations. It was an educational site – I’ve taught for almost 20 years – in the early days. Then it was a music review site. Then it was a general book review site. Then I started going to The Portland Poetry Slam in Portland, Oregon. My first night there was like finding a new religion. My introduction couldn’t have been more epic: Clementine von Radics, Alex Dang, Brenna Twohey, and the legendary Andrea Gibson. I bought every book on the table that night. That was it. These were stapled together like the zines I used to buy in high school. They were beautiful. And they needed to be seen. There wasn’t much of a choice at that point. Voices needed to be heard, and I couldn’t find a website that focused solely on small press or self-published poetry. So, it seemed like the obvious choice and direction.
I know that you have decided to put out a few chapbooks, how has that experience been like that for you? What about going into the Press business has been rewarding, and what has been more challenging?
This is one of the most rewarding, important, and scary accomplishments in my life. I have no idea what I’m doing. I’ve always just been on the review side of things. I had dreamt about putting out other people’s poetry, but never thought it made sense until last year. Our daily readership went up faster than I could have ever imagined, and it just felt right. Holding a submission period, and knowing that people – without the use of Submittable – were actually sending me their words was jaw-dropping. I never expected to get submissions. I had over 75 in a month. It was such a validation of what I’d been working toward, and so humbling to know that so many would trust us with their manuscripts. We are just a few weeks from the release date (Jan 15) for both Jennifer Roche and Van G. Garrett’s respective books, The Synonym Tables, and SCRAP. They have been so kind as I stumble through this process. Can’t wait to see what happens!
I’d like to know more about the Power of Poetry section of the site. What about this section really has been a huge help with especially younger writers to understand how to be an effective writer, and how you can work at your craft to expand even when it seems the writing world is against you?
Isn’t the writing world always against us? Look, the reality is that we a lot of us started as bedroom poets and writers. We wrote middle school novels and song lyrics and poetry and tried to either hide it from everyone or share it with the world. But those words meant everything to us. They were our therapy. Fortunately, it is still our therapy. But that looks so different for everyone, and I wanted to hear their stories. I wanted everyone to hear their stories. I don’t really know if there’s an “effective writer.” I think there is an effectiveness in everything we put down on paper. It might not resonate with everyone, but it may change someone’s life.
This has been a challenging year for everyone, and I’m sure for you this hasn’t been an exception. During such a year of darkness, where have you found the small beams of light that has given you a creative uplift for your ideas with TPQ?
This is a softball question. I sign into my twitter account every day, and I get to read the works of hundreds of poets each week. I get to ask “How will you Poetry today” and hope that maybe that will remind someone to write or submit or edit or read or share or whatever they can do to spread the word of Small Press Poetry. I get to be the bullhorn for poets who might not have an outlet to share their work. That’s one hell of a beam of light.
Please give us more info on how to reach your site, your social media, what one needs to do to submit to the Poetry Question for a review of their new book & more. Also, when do you expect your first chapbooks to be released, any hints on what to expect from these?
Everyone can find us at thepoetryquestion.com. If you’re interested in submitting a book for review, there is a link provided on the site. We don’t get through everything that comes our way, but we work hard to review all that we can. The first two chapbooks will be released on January 15th, 2021. Jennifer Roche’s The Synonym Tables tackles the changing of language over the last 75 years. With a deep focus on our current world issues, this one feels more poignant now more than ever. Van G. Garrett’s SCRAP takes you round by round through perseverance and the art of survival. He is a legend, and I am blown away that he was ever interested in submitting to TPQ.
Any shout outs you’d like to give to any poets, small press, co-workers with TPQ?
This is a tricky one for me as there are so many poets and presses I’d love to shout out. Here are a few poets to keep in your sights: Chris Butler, Taylor Byas, Beth Gordon, Danielle Rose, and Jason Crawford are all beyond inspiring right now.
Chris Margolin is the founder and EiC of The Poetry Question, the only site in the world to focussolely on small press and self-published poetry reviews. Beyond his work in poetry he hastaught high school and middle school English for almost 20 years. He lives in Vancouver,Washington with his wife, daughter, two dogs, and seven chickens
Ground grows up through us voice fills the wrist, fingers feather wind as it turns leaves reading a text that inches out to branch tip, leaping into flight.
Form is not shape, not the billet split from stave, when you bind these wounds what emerges is not winged lacerations, when you bind these words this form remembers flame, her hands fill with ash of what was not tree.
Pines long for lightning, intimate embrace of sky, rain is memory of sea brought back to tongue of land, the body is ever an uncertainty the form is frail, words hunger for mouth, curled in wet darkness, snug beneath tongue, breathing the light of utterance.
The eye holds horizon in abeyance, wave is a unit of measure for absence, those who return by moonlight hauling the shell up the shelving, past tideline but not quite to sea oats, delivering a message of continuity.
We are as interlocked as mangrove a forest of basketry, canopy of egret and spoonbill, this not a place of deep roots, tide pulls moon over Gulf, respiration of sea, deep breath of azure, clear blue of flame, breathing as cumulus flowers, lightning flowing into wave, so many tomorrows buried above wrack line.
Wind of ash, wind of burning, some live within blade of day some within wing of night, words you leave in a bowl of sky could be sparks, could be stars,what sleeps in the marrow prepares itself to fly, bone riven, phosphorescence spilling from mouth.
Bio: Peach Delphine is a queer poet from Tampa, Florida. Infatuated with what remains of the undeveloped Gulf coast.