Poem “Watch” by HLR in Fevers of the Mind 5: Overcome



these relentless
finite minutes of mine
he says we have to make ours
count but I just count the hours down




more concerned with surviving
them than living them, with tolerating
them than filling them, watching the spokes skip
around the Death Counter’s dial, studying the perfect
face of my bedside clock, knowing that
the meaning of life is that it stops:
it stops, but not soon enough for me
(too soon for most though, apparently)


Our love died when I lost track of time: we thought we had so much of it.
But while I’ve been writing this the clock has stayed in my eye line
and you’ve crept a minute closer to your death
while I’ve leapt a minute closer to mine.
Oh, we had the time of our lives,
for all that time, all of the time.
(It’s really nice knowing that
neither of us will make it
out of this alive)

In the hours when I cannot bear to be alive
I just sit and watch my watch,
watch my past growing,
watch my future decreasing,
knowing that I
can always find
comfort in the movement
of the metal hands that live
on my left wrist, and in the glow of those
digital green lines, shape-shifting in the corner
of the darkened room, watching you sleep away
your minutes while I think/worry/wish away mine.

Every minute propels us forwards toward a good thing,
or great things, a tragedy, an opportunity, a nightmare,
a breakthrough, a love, a loss, a success, our deaths.
(It’s only a matter of time)


I stand outside the jeweller’s shop
and stop
and watch
the clocks:

High Street Hypnotherapy.

I light a cigarette and press my forehead to the glass
and watch the watches, trying to catch one out for being too slow,
or maybe all the others are fast? But they move like, well,
they move like fucking clockwork and so I remain
with my head against the pane,
killing time in the rain,
in pain, killing time,
literally watching time
disappear.     -

You’d call this a waste of a time
but it’s not, it’s progress,
it’s necessary progress:
staying alive until the time
comes to die.
Now that I’ve written this, I’m
three minutes closer to that time
and now that you’ve read this,
so are you: closer to your
demise as well as mine.
(don’t worry, I’ll go
first: watch)

Bio: HLR (she/her) writes poetry and short prose about living with chronic mental illness, trauma, and grief. Her work has been published by or is forthcoming with Misery Tourism, SCAB Magazine, Sledgehammer Lit, and Emerge Literary Journal. She is the winner of the Desmond O’Grady International Poetry Prize 2021. She is the author of History of Present Complaint (Close to the Bone) and Portrait of the Poet as a Hot Mess (Ghost City Press). HLR lives in north London where she was born and raised. Twitter: @HLRwriter

“Whispers” by David L O’Nan poem from new/revised book “The Famous Poetry Outlaws are Painting Walls and Whispers”

photo by Harli Marten (unsplash)


Whispers tickling clouds on my lips
I’m here to be the lesser.
Once amazed, now I flutter like butterflies –
Into speckles, Into the wind.
Living like I once knew something.

When I breathe, a sound is birthed out like whispers.
Truth is domination and the fear is overwhelming.
The unknowing is appealing.
A whisper is a suggestion, a whisper is aesthetic
A whisper thirsts, the hunger is parasitic.

What will follow a whisper?
Turmoil, enchantment will follow.
A shadow crawls from the lips of your whispers.
Mourning the death of loneliness, inviting in a hex.
Did I invent this shining, did I invite this shade?

A whisper can lead you into temptation.
A whisper can scar you from the infinity.
A whisper can be holy, live as one with the trinity.

A noose in the vapor,  the man without his mansion, an ideal.
A whisper can take familial eyes to be mistaken to be eyes of the solace.

A whisper can be demonic, a whisper can be unruly.
A whisper can be saddened and polished for the ruined.
A whisper can be formidable in eyes that are everlasting.
A whisper can be sold for thousands of oily pennies.
A whisper can buy you pockets of torn, soiled regrets.

Now you walk around like you’re a legend.
You trip over your ego, see yourself as wrinkled.
Look at you old man, receding!
A mind that no longer has comprehension.
A foolish look into glamour, a reflection of dementia.

Your gaunt, slow, jagged walk
A whisper frozen in the dark.
A spirit stuck inside a foggy vault.
You’re talking to yourself.
Dust collecting on portraits, on bookshelves.

A whisper fills up with collisions between goods and evils.
A whisper dances across a floor, deceitful and gleeful.
A whisper, mesmerized by the robotic hints of pride and peaceful.
Is this what a human wants?
Is that just blind, animal magnetism?

A whisper, to be decayed or be a parade.
To be shared in a tornadic masochism.
A whisper is forever, is only dirt.
A whisper is a dream, a kiss from nature’s flirt.
A whisper is a nightmare, yet a whisper is free.
A whisper is oppressive and constipated with greed.

A whisper is your calling.
A whisper is your past.
A whisper is your present.
Your whisper is yours at last.

A whisper is no longer broken,
A whisper is no longer jailed.
No more are the moments of feeling tame, or unwell.

Can you trust a whisper?
Can you trust a stain?
Can you trust anyone but yourself, when it comes time for someone else to blame?

Whispers until a blink becomes a judgment, forever.
Whispers until your thoughts are jelly, when moments are coiled in a ball.
Striking out like lassos across the desert of these walls.

You can’t fake when you are a belief.
You can’t fake your inner seed.
You can’t peel away at stone when all in it’s core is another sheath.
Now you feel as whispers never evaporate.
Whispers follow you from freedom –
To the march – to the grave.

There are no whispers truly invisible.
Whispers are wisdom, (from where?)
Whispers are what is safe (inside a fold of mind)
When you look at the sky.  A tunnel to heal, a long breath to shame.
Whispers drunk on mortals.
Whispers are tingling through my feels.
Why can’t I digest what a whisper is?
Can it only be air?
Is it simply the simplest idea to grasp? 

https://amzn.to/3ByLyVQ or you can buy a colorful pdf from me with a donation to the Fevers of the Mind Go Fund Me or through PayPal at feversofthemind@gmail.com  just let me know email address to send to if you donate.  

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

Revised, Renewed version of “The Famous Poetry Outlaws are Painting Walls and Whispers” by David L O’Nan now out

Revised, Renewed version of “The Famous Poetry Outlaws are Painting Walls  and Whispers” by David L O'Nan now out – Fevers of the Mind

Revised, Renewed version of “The Famous Poetry Outlaws are Painting Walls and Whispers” by David L O’Nan now out

The revised, renewed,  more colorful,  Anthology sized version of ” The Famous Poetry Outlaws are Painting Walls and Whispers” is out today.  Buy here https://amzn.to/3ByLyVQ or you can buy a colorful pdf from me with a donation to the Fevers of the Mind Go Fund Me or through PayPal at feversofthemind@gmail.com  just let me know email address to send to if you donate.