picked with the equestrian
rewrite historical maps
in dull recesses
find the neon imago
mother’s milk to drink
not god but cultured creature
small wind instruments
tickling the widow’s ear
sky’s furrowed tendrils
lightening revives the dragon
exhumes vile bones
goliaths of an old tribe
black air raising hairs
prickling the needle neck
red limbless ocean
eels traversing coastlines
Persephone on lookout
rending of the sea
ghosts preying on destruction
aligned with their posts
islanders abandoning ships
swashbuckler’s bad omen
sultry arabian night
dripping wax overexcites
opium cloud dynasty
noon hour crowds dissipating
solace behind coloured glass
thrush’s old singsong
head north before nerves kick in
plows in the distance
stones heaving in the mud
bubbles among stars
last rites for fallen angels
black flower necropolis
ashram for your thoughts
yellow moths grow from tall grass
mood can be anchor
draw an ocean with a glance
smell the brine off flying fish
birds scaling belltowers
wind breaking current
gleam of passing vehicles
splitting the time barrier
zombie rats lining spillways
eyeless momento mori
hail the bony chimera
widows placing spring flowers
dewy bloodshot eyes
groundskeeper whistling tunes
keys jangling on their ring
Bio: Samuel Strathman is a poet, author, visual artist, and educator. He was also the editor-in-chief of Floodlight Editions. Some of his poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Cobra Milk, I-70 Review, Prole, and other magazines and journals. His debut poetry collection, "Omnishambles" is forthcoming with Ice Floe Press (2022).A Fevers of the Mind Quick-9 Interview with Samuel StrathmanPoetry by Samuel Strathman from Fevers of the Mind Anthologies
Drinking With a Priest
Later the priest moots,
"Some dying men stares at me,
holds their gaze as if
by the power death has vested in them
they can see through me and my faith
and how I think about something else,
perchance about tomorrow's lunch.
In the life's Venn diagram death is ∩,
and at that point being and beyond intersects.
A man can see or accept the truth of his
The beers in front of us sucks the warmth
of the room. They taste acerbic.
Through the orange translucency
we can see eachother, a little distorted.
I wish I could see the words compadre
expects to hear, but this is not that day.
No trace of the magician,
a shot glass of jazz
left full on the table,
I decide to convey the bad news
to the organisers
and shake my head;
the rabbit maze-running inside
won't fall out.
I pick up the glass from the table.
Now I dance with the shadow,
a rabbit in me.
The grass of silence undulates.
The audience waiting out there
sounds like an orchestra of crickets
in the befouled greenroom.
3 new poems by Kushal Poddar : “Cabin Song” “Earlier””The O of the Sky”Poetry Showcase from Kushal PoddarA Poetry Series by Kushal Poddar “Hiraeth Series”
Check out Kushal’s new book through IceFloe Press.
remember reading about L. Cohen discussion of discipline
in his family before (leaving) his shoes neatly beneath the bed,
lined in rows the Westmount childhood house of his
Blossoms on the Plateau
scatter towards St. Laurent.
At a café, grab a late coffee, Mile End.
– Elated. Artwork to hang at Gallery ___ of
new punk energy competing with empty lots.
A poet encountered Cohen right near here chaotically sprawled
on a bench, static hat, shins crossed,
My father knew clothing, my father knew hats.
In every secret life,
Danceclatter spirit memories,
Reanimated, the dead no longer leave
Gather under pelican shaped eaves
Refugees – taking leave, returning quickly as they arrive–
By harbour, ships, disembarking planes
At official hearings destinies decided by immigration board
on appeal. O, Canada — We who betray everything
Searching landscapes beyond mythic voice,
first languages, anthologized wards
of mothertongue, come alive
to holy gathering, catchments of double-rainbows
above camera shop,
on The Main, to St. Catherine’s Street,
gauntlet to throw down bargaining for life
the Ascending of the
at the gated freight elevators
in a cessation of rain, orchestral loft curtains
and a cacophony of rattling glass
in choreographic time,
threaded hum of industrial needles, machines,
for fancy fabric, the manufacture of
ghost suits in factories.
Did the street lineaments of longing shape
an arc to the sun in melodic time,
Word became difference
– without a promised pound of flesh —
each visioning, wisteria proposing
darker awakening. To bow and Curtsy. The
– Oars of the St. Lawrence remaining as if
Hallucinatory – at a farther reach –
persuasive designs for some new disguise.
In rupture rapture————
the needle in thread, the lacuna.
Stitches of erasure,
(by attendant lay kept at bay)
a homonym in nominal space
When You Carry the Flag of Surrender
We aim for song.
Tilt to embrace.
First embouchure, embrace of red, then blue,
a burning white beneath the stair corrodes coruscating struts.
You waited to come back too long,
already threat gave you a name.
Beneath eyelids, the mourning bruised fifth notes.
Minor armies, advancing packs of card sharks,
upon arrival, slight a flock of black birds, ravens,
and your sister’s husband’s brutal conundrum commences.
It’s a war against nature.
We guessed wrong.
Planning for a siege at a craps table
along the loneliest strip
where hummingbirds dance a devious fandango,
on with nightclub nightmares.
You lifted up with urgency,
the urge, to surrender,
to carry the flag of surrender.
(And safely, the albatross of snow
glides ascending beyond Blake,
rising to the Gate of Hell
Wings shorn with fire).
The yellowing book, it’s pages.
If you are tired enough, you will fall asleep,
fall into the arms of a boulder,
spreading the night moth’s wings around you.
On the ocean, the burning partisan’s ship
sinks behind another neon moon.
Between the odd and even
I shall be a tailor, sewing pockets
with a wretched hand.
A corruption, failure
of the terms of service.
I gave them nothing, willingly,
I gave them nothing, undue dress.
A shaky signature, handshake
under duress, erasing
The Committee of Horsemen
and their capital wives
Flying to a ceremonial, under
cloak, the war’s convoy’s coverings
Blanket the skies with parachutes.
I shall be the uninvited guest,
these twisted hands trembling,
winter branches at calico windows,
Obscene broncho –
of obstreperous lineage.
Startling twilight of starlings.
The plane goes down
It goes down
It makes the sun
turn a pale green
a pale green
Packages of jealous
That know no limits
know no limits
In the charnel house
in the charnel house
Confusion of smoke
by the fairgrounds
All the kisses you can
punch for a dollar twenty
five don’t be shy step
Bop bop bopping
for the wormy wordy words
worthy apple of the jaundice
eye another round
of Government Propaganda
For the Shiny Happy People
Free line dances
for the people
By the acid river backside
pouring out toxic sludge
Captains of Productive
on sacred ground whose
ground sacred check
the grainy almanac
in the gun-sites of the
Military Industrial complex
We capture captions
speak in thought balloons
The gentlest Master
slips outside benign
speaking behind a billboard
for mouth wash
cattle in the fields, lowing
“It will rain soon,”
Mommy says to
her six year old in Khakis
amidst the smoke beneath
the chocking ruins -- rains
down historical memory
Insects rub their tentacled principal
legs together make the beat
of some new music written
by the Karaoke Moon
We can count
all of the ways
that what was once here
no longer is.
Using an app with magic markers
we make asemic marks
on photographic paper.
Is there hope of change?
Are we impassioned?
Poisoned? What lies beyond
belief is belief in
our own ability to change
out of clothing
make the New Man
fallible as Merchandise.
1985 (A Drum)
A Leonard Cohen concert
New York, Carnegie Hall,
At performance end, more people
than one might imagine prepare for Rapture.
From handbags & from under
winter coats they rush towards the stage.
A price of admittance.
Recognizable is ritual.
My old friend, with whom I attend,
I shall never see again, while,
Field Commander Cohen,
Working for the Yankee Dollar,
catching in light and furious, bouquets
of cornflowers and roses. The clarion call,
in spot lit time trumpet flowers
opening up pollen in a thousand-handed balcony.
Twitter: @frede_kenter @icefloe_P
Poems 2, 3 & 4 are inspired by Cohen’s poetry book “The Energy of Slaves”
Q1: When did you start writing and first influences?
Marcelle: I started recording the everyday, usually on my iphone, during maternity leave with my son. It was such an overwhelming time- the extreme sleep deprivation, as well as being new to parenting. I used the page (screen) as someone to share with. Looking back at those notes now the range of emotions is astonishing – some have turned into poems, some not.
In 2018 I attended poetry evening classes run by the generous Mab Jones, she was the one that really got me ‘started’, she is so passionate and enthusiastic. That lead to a weekly group run by Claire Syder, which I still attend now and wouldn’t be without.
Q2: Who are your biggest influences today?
Marcelle: I still attend lots of workshops (online in these covid times), which I find really inspiring – learning about different approaches to writing, the different personalities. I have recently had the pleasure of reconnecting with the fabulous Elizabeth Horan and am now inseparable from the prose poem.
I live in South Wales and am surrounded by wonderful landscape and lyrical welsh poets – historic and living. These are a constant influence – to infuse the local into the universal.
Q3: Any pivotal moment when you knew you wanted to be a writer/artist?
Marcelle: Reading Tony Hoagland’s work, it is so affecting, I knew I wanted to learn to be able to connect like that. I adore the way he expresses the magicness of the everyday.
Q4: Who has helped you most with writing?
Marcelle: I regularly attend a workshopping group with Rhian Edwards, Tracey Rhys, Emily Cotterill, Susie Wildsmith and Emily Blewitt, who are all fantastic writers and thoughtful readers. The wonderful Christina Thatcher has been my mentor for almost 2 years now and her steady influence and insight I greatly value.
It is a privilege to be able to read hundreds of poetry submissions in my position as poetry editor for Nightingale and Sparrow, this has really informed my own writing persuasions. In 2020 I worked on a Pandemic Poetry anthology – the submissions were astounding in their breadth and intensity, it was a honour to read for. Editing has definitely helped my ability to objectively assess my own writing.
The twitter poetry community is always generous, I particularly enjoy the inclusive home that Matthew Smith has created around his Black Bough Poetry micro-poem world.
Q5: Where did you grow up and how did that influence your writing/art? Have any travels away from home influence your work?
Marcelle: I grew up and went to school in Cardiff, capital of Wales, before moving on graduation, via London, to Portsmouth on the south coast of England. I have been very lucky always living close to the sea and hills. My parents love the sea and we would often daytrip to visit, in all its different forms, in all types of weather. I trained as an Architect and have been lucky enough to travel to Australia & New Zealand, North America & Canada, and Western Europe. I love well laid out European urban spaces and can recall routes and places easily, which I often dream about walking through, and they end up on the page.
Q6: What do you consider the most meaningful work you’ve done creatively so far to you?
Marcelle: I enjoy writing about the everyday, highlighting the precious normal, which can easily be overlooked with our hectic lives.
Q7: Favorite activities to relax?
Marcelle: I love making dresses for my young daughter from found materials (scarves from charity shops, my dad’s old shirts), wind bathing! and reading with continuous cups of tea.
Q8: What is a favorite line/stanza from a poem/writing of yours or others?
Marcelle: From ‘Weeping willow’ my poem published in Indigo Dreams’ ‘Dear Dylan, an anthology after Dylan Thomas’: She knew: memory as a trick, there’s only now. So they bathe, drink, exert, worship – keep not to themselves and believe in divine cultivation.
Q9: Any recent or forthcoming projects that you’d like to promote?
Marcelle: Not really! Watch this space, first pamphlet coming soon (hopefully)!
Those Hazels, They Slice
Remembering, those memories
Before the seclusion
To memories of you,
Somehow you made it from Limerick to Lane Fork
A creek full of snakes
They intrigued you to say
More snakes than angels here
Then you laughed
Níos mó nathracha ná aingil anseo
In our early twenties with hazels that wondered
Remembering, for many months
Trying to catch the butterfly
To dance with before the thunder bled on us
I had you within sight,
You were a millennial hippy in bellbottoms on Thursdays
By Friday you were vintage chic in a La Mendola dress
I’d long for you while hearing Sarah’s song playing in my head
Sharon from the Vampire Killers,
Your passion was to be Sharon from the Valley of the Dolls
And you, you drifted with hazels that sliced
Now we are children of 27.
You the Irish starlet searching for the dream
Stuck with a follower in love, a boy created in the dirt of the Midwest
Gravel chaffing your boho chick boots
We have to keep moving to keep your mind still
From Nashville to Kansas City to Yokohama for a week
We bled money from mud caves to gold mines
Until we shelved ourselves and began to pity as rats –
On the skim of the raising floods of New Orleans
The comedy of fools we entered drunk for many years
And your hazels lined with red in the castle of your soul
Twenties to Thirties,
Drinking and falling deeper to the sins
In passions you ran away,
I lay dire as the lone wolf
And still give you chance after chance
Dreaming of our rainjackets clashing on Toulouse
Wasting away in the downpours,
Our shoes getting stuck in sewer grates
Where are you now?
To new protectors, to new thieves
To talent scouts on Magazine Street
Your hazels looked to me and you say
sorry, no more kisses. I have to say goodbye
brón orm, gan póga níos mó. Caithfidh mé slán a fhágáil
What a tease as I fall to a prayer
Memories aren’t easy in the Big Easy in a lockdown
Coltrane’s “Blue Train” is growing more static and hisses
I just see those hazels, slice and say goodbye
Like your dizzy wake-ups before you drink your first drink
This song plays me like a straitjacket
And I dream of escaping on a ferry boat and hiding away
To one day escape your eyes and fall into the waters that’ll sway –
Sway me back to my youth and the worries I did not have.
The memories are my seizures
To my madman bones melted into your old Mahogany chair
Are you in your destiny,
Are you in love
Are you protected from the diseases,
Have the diseases took your identity
Has your fashion turned to rags
Have your men gone from Polanski to a black & white photo of our past
Are you enfolded to someone to cling to in the dying days of sunsets?
I’m not sure I can move past those hazels that sliced
Not knowing is just as bad as ever having you around.
The ashes spit down from the attic. The dust settles down my feet
It all becomes a haven for the depression to circulate within me.
And I whisper to myself, as if I were talking to the memory of you like a ghost.
to live alone, I don’t really know if I can. Without you, can I?
le maireachtáil liom féin, níl a fhios agam an féidir liom. Gan tú, an féidir liom?
Living in this Toxic Coalmine
There are fields that no one wants to breathe
There is a reality in which we cannot be
I wait for you to heal, as you wither like the sand
I wait for your angels to come by and build a temple with your hands
You’ve breathed in the blackest of beasts
That smother the air within the flow of these demons
Within our heart is little shards of twisted quartz
The crystals that cut through like minuscule crowns
The devil’s wind rips at the brim of my hat
I’ve got old souls dancing and trying to read the word to me
They know I’m no longer feeling human, I’m becoming a wooden boy
Talking like a stranger, fumbling sickly with his oil can toy.
Diseases like loves are just the flesh of charred whispers
Both feel the burns to the pores.
Sunlight can only wave in the hope to our deepest core
We’re tired of this burning, these shovels
The mouthing rambles of some fake heroes
Broken nose old men become experts at living
As they work on that same carburetor in that ‘95 Ford Taurus every day.
The sunshine has browned the roots of the grasses.
The heat has freckled me to the bones.
Through a life worth living we’ve all felt the worst grief
Some predators and sinners drink in to become their personalities
They’ve watched as the women weathered all the pedals
Under the icy stares from the devil in their men.
The minds that we all see as windows
Always think that they are invisible
The blackest of beasts may not be a pandemic
But the beasts that walk within one’s nerves, flesh & mind.
The darkness of the coal-seam fires
Leave the purity of what is underground to rise up to murder our hope
The mines are vibrating to combustion
The little stones quiver around my pulse
The pulsating veins quake like that bituminous coal
The canary flew in to sit on the wall just to become a wooden body.
The self-igniting madness of families severed by the greed
A pandemic could have been tamed
The spreading of ashes just splintered our breathing, and left us leathering.