5 poems from David L O’Nan in Icefloe Press : “I Hope All is Well In Utah” “They Met in Prussia” “The Hills Have Blindsides” “I Honored You in Pennyrile Forest” “A Walk in Whistler’s Woods”

Robert Frede Kenter (c)

I Hope All is Well in Utah

I am thinking of you in Utah
making Salt Lake shadow puppets
in a Jesus sunset
on a sand dune writing poetry,
an architect with a blueprint.

There you are, complaining about something.
Red ants try to ruin your vision
equivalent to designing the Vienna Court Opera House,
the curtains have cast you nomadic for years.

Are you industrial, are you in Pittsburgh?
Are you pulling scorpions from your feet?
Have you purged the shaking?
Electric chairs still spit sparks.

Do you preach to the Scientists?
Do you carbonate religion in Ogden Salts?
To sell them all for the bottle
on the mountains, watching tiny people fly,
watch the leap before the canvas cracks.

Simple crowds move like
depressive black bears into resorts.
Is it psychedelic, do you hear tremoring bottle clanks –
that sound like Edith Piaf’s voice trapped inside?

La Vie En Rose through coyote howls.
Silence of your heartbeats
from distances, thousands of miles.

I don’t hear, don’t feel any longer.
Divisions of madness
has left us in soiled clothes
or beautifully, in a yell at some bash,
in black heels and fedora hats.

Now in Provo, at least you say,
“But your mouth can be a liar.”

Your kisses can be deceitful,
your train stop receipts reflect it.
You are trying to save us all while holding a noose.
You dive time and time again
through the clouds of glass and roses.
This early morning letter resonates,
and I feel a shave of breath leave my lungs,
“Because I don’t know.”

Are you a scream from a Joshua Tree?
A kite flying high in the hands of an angel’s drop?
I hope all is well in Utah,
because here we are all costume parties
searching for the autograph
of the imperial circus.

They Met in Prussia

A harlot eyes in the gas
of Rock
in tiny speckled jewels,
a calm scream woke the territory.
Monarchies aligned in pockets,
love was bait.
Two impish waif darlings
met in Prussia
as regimes began clashing
and rules began changing.
Their hands seemed to align perfectly
and they saw Warsaw spin its stomach.
Then the Nazis
ate holes through the pump
and towns became warzones
and their love was constant hiding
from dangers and the dare to be discreet.
They met in Prussia,
their hearts united in blizzards,
in sacrificial stabbings,
in choking chambers.
I want you to remember them as soulmates,
Not how they were when they met the scavengers.

The Hills Have Blindsides

A flock of hideous birds float through wind.
I feel these crows in shriveled fur,
their flight, an old man’s crippled slur.
They congregate together
cross-eyed and angry
to yell from the diaphragm,

Your rebellion is based on ignorance.

These were feathers from the same war
all brewed up steam together
before peace became a relevant idea.
In caskets, they lay
all purpled – in art
waiting for someone to dance and sing –

with the bells ringing from their heart.

After all the diseases sink in their talons
then gnashing and biting begins.
When the prettiest star waves you in
to meet God or the jealousies of all sins,
they roll up those hills to see clarity.
The problem is all the darkness
is not within your peripheral understanding.
The hills have blindsides,

when you’re looking for Jesus,
                                                        when you’re looking for Jesus

I Honored You in Pennyrile Forest

They had always thought of us like twins
though we were only schoolmates, best friends through the years.
We were seekers of adventure,
hospital visits were constant.
You drove your Honda bike in supersonic speeds down the Kentucky hills,
we dated the same type of girls,
smoked our first cigarette on a cloudy day on slabs of rock in Pennyrile Forest,
coughed and lightly choked up breakfast.
We laughed, and then graffitied a tractor,
long talks about all the assholes,
Your dad, the bullying step brother, the fiends that stay hidden.

We rest against the fading red barn,
as skies phlebotomized heavy rainfalls,
washed the stains of paint to our dirty clothes.

You tell me you wished you had the faith
like your Mother, or your stillborn sister.
You look into a sewer grade full of empty penicillin bottles, and cry on my shoulder.
Lightly punching my chest,
picking up branches, we swipe at blackberries and mushrooms.

Hey, John do you ever feel dead in your heart, do you feel religion?
Before I could answer, an ADHD distraction,
we take interest in the red cardinal family sipping worms by the puddles.
I say, You know I am ashamed, I’m a child really, but now they want me to be a man, they want me to be a soldier.
Tammy Applegate is pregnant, and the claim is I’m the father.

Your mistakes, when you think you love more than just skin, leads you to a
duplication of yourself.
I stutter myself to more tears,
You know I walk in to enlist in the Army for my dad and broken Country.
Maybe we will be honored kings and not poverty princes with angry children full of questions.

Bad decisions follow me like a fiend,
like fiends that followed you, John.
I am not guaranteed the beauties of Lake Barkley.
I am war crippled stem-to-stem,
a man of many divorces, a daughter that never knew my face.
I heard that you lingered for years through all of our drifting footprints.
Our stick mud people broke apart like sand crystals.

And I heard your family came and went,
diseases took your loves, the fire took your shelter.
All the bullies faded, except fiends that lived in your shadows and brain.
You must have been terrified on those lightning-lit nights, heavy rainfalls drown
you up to your waist.
Your hair now long, stringy, and all the red cardinal families sick of worms.

Pennyrile Forest was your only hint of escape
from another’s prayer echoed from barns to wells to skin off lost love.
Fine, I will welcome my sentence,
plagued to mistakes,
you didn’t have choices.
You inherited the appetite of derailment in the tracks of your lonely heart.

As I’m throwing pebbles, cutting loose bark with a lancet,
I hear you took your life in the forest to escape fear.
I run out to see clouding skies.
I run to those woods, through wild turkeys, ferns, the ballet of squirrels around

I see laying alone on the ground,
a wet naked note that fell from the hemorrhage of a final breakdown.
It said I loved you like a twin, that note blew away,
attaching itself to that now grayish barn.
On the ground lay a cross inside an aperture.
A wet leaf lays a freshwater pearl, in piles of disaster
dry sturdy green wood.

And I know what I must do.
I have never been much of a man.
My molars never seemed to line up.
Criminal, a deadbeat dad,
barely able to walk on foot,
I have never been much of a carpenter, never had to assemble much without
But, my friend, for you I create a Memorial Bench,
and hope that they don’t destroy,
to honor you in Pennyrile Forest,

A family of red cardinals.
Rest without stale hunger, for evermore.

A Walk in Whistler’s Woods

I can feel fog on my tongue
eyes watching me from distorted trees
the feet crippling in mud-sips
cutting glassy gravel.
I can breathe in phantom’s dances
while the unknown is whistling in the woods.

The chill bites my skin.
Feeling as thin as death allows
my prayers are endless, as the path
continues to squeeze me in
closer to the lake.
My reflections float
without my body, just flowing clothing
clogged in ripples.
Whistles like radar
lead me to paper cups of wine
sitting still for the wind.
A waterfall of poisons for me to drown in.

The whistler gorges in spirits
and leaves the woods bare, the bells of rapture toll.
In the mute silence
the art of earth, are crumbled sticks
Whistler’s freedom revoked.


Meet the Fevers of the Mind WolfPack Pt 1: David L O’Nan & HilLesha O’Nan


Poetry Showcase from Kushal Poddar

Braids of The Short Dreams

Mamma braids her daughter’s thoughts.
The cuckoo cooing in the back of the brain
sounds shallow and floating between
the weathered Coca-Cola sign and the dog barking.

And the dog barks for hours in this short dream
the way the watchmaker grandpa winds
a long spiral ribbon into a tiny coiled spring.

During the noontime the houses, lanes, half naked
men working on a cancelled project and the trees, all
become the Sun. Mamma has a small and big hand
that screens the eyes of her daughter, and they’re
the Sun; ropes of their entwined hair bounds toward
the hole of the burning maws of awakening.

Flesh of the Republic

Body and flesh float away.
Rivulets. Entire sky
seeks an address, finds
my vein instead.
Where will you lose
the threads that sew a quilt,
patchwork, tales?

Winter comes and goes;
frost never melts;
you know what I mean.
Body and flesh float into
my vein, and I ask them for their permits;
they can inside, but can not permeate;
I won’t let them be the citizens
of this rotten republic.


He records his chitchats

with the cab drivers, not all,

those with the ones

he kills.

There exist avenues

and lanes of cabs taxiing


and recordings replayed

over and again in his id,

and then

he finds his son working

for an app-cab using

a forged license.

He records his son, as if

his ears metamorphose themselves

into two answering machines,


These annals are better

than any psychiatrist’s,

the father of everything

listening to his killer instinct.


Deluge, the bitching mistress on our backs,

bites our earlobes as

I sent your claim – I can

efface life memorized.

I can. Only mine. The process

involves adding more, not less,

the same way you do most of the days,

except those when it rains

in the excuse of this balcony or

when it shines and you stare downwards,

see the hissing serpent of the traffic

looking up at you, out of reach.

I do not rerun the tapes, listen

to the protest pops from the Nam times.

Rain writhes to arrest my mind,

albeit an antiquated man has his disinterests.

I say, “Just forget.”

I Was as Cold as a Razorblade

In the late autumn winter

whimpers in her oxygen tent,

and we nurse this premature child,

see her wither, bloom, sear, brown, exsiccate.

Hence December surprises us

when she arrives for a date

wearing white sleeveless

and drinks from someone else’s chalet.

The potion was red. The poison bears no effect.

We toss our fedoras, shuffle to dance,

tire out and stroll outside,

our feet disappearing inside

the heart of crushed water.

Our hands in the pockets of warmth

seeks for a tinge of Yes

and finds some forlorn gums

we keep for protection’s sake.

*The title is wordplay on Leonard Cohen’s So Long, Marianne


We sit there, oracling,

drinking for ages; we

chat about different drinking-ages

and different countries;

sun sets in liver tinge;

pigment of the stream cooling,

fibers of our thoughts unreeling,

we sit there, eyes on nil.

We sit there, nothing,

and water pegs down our shadows

as if those will be its

Maypoles and wheel – time will swing by.

Raising The Time

The torn dress from

the fundraising dance

taps some memory cells;

half of you desire to

make a mop out of its residue,

but since you cannot wipe

enough memories

your hands force it down

against your thighs.

I suggest –

“Let’s raise the time again.

Time and again.”


The eye in the pink sky
denies any foresight.
“We have a glacier melting
Himalaya.” Says pop folding his freewill.

This means it will be
the rush-hour of depression
in his ecosystem,
and the day remains naïve native
accepting gifts from our invasions.

A coin decides
whether my sister
will enter in her classroom
shoot everyone or waive this.

“Don’t!” I whisper.
“Yes.” Pop says
on a topic irrelevant.

A crow on the ceiling fan
caws a dream
melting as my pop’s coral reef
corrodes away within.

Love Thy Father

You still love your father,
and do the one thing
that destroys him every day

and rebuild him again
as if he is naphtha or plastic.
His quick silver hand quavers with

the weight of your
nocturnal telephone calls-
“Hello! How are you?”

You always say,
“Talking to you dad,
is a remembrance of my mom’s winter.”

The State of Being During An Autumn Day

Autumnal gloaming, chill-filtered,
retains most of the darkness.
I stare at the pecans a hit-and-run
windy incident has crashed into the yard
I can always trespass leaving no evidence.

The rolled newspaper, asleep, on my table
wets its staple. A shiver walks my spine as if
my backbone recovers from a wheelchair
worthy trauma. Ticks, the Casio clock.

All these state the state of being.
Sometimes, since the outbreak, I hallucinate
my being shrugging off my body and staring,
first, at the mass of flesh, and then, at distance
ever vague and ever everything.

Death And Desire

That night you towel wrapped
the thirst of your partner.
You both died. The butterflies
in a painting behind your head
tried to escape, but the flight was cancelled.

The panes paved a shortcut to winter.
You picked up the towel dropped
around the ankles still wearing black
metal anklets you bought for her,
and wrapped her flesh. You both grieved
the death in the family. One craved for
flesh and the otherness in you sought for
the space where darkness garden blue agave.

An October Murder

“Did you see who shot you?”
“It was October. I opened a door
the size of a bullet hole.”
I whisper from a distance a whisper
can cross in its lifetime
to reach you almost dead. You hear,
and it withers. Withering seems
a garden, silent, and I on my bare feet,
grass appeasing one sensation
to swell me up with another.
“It was October. I opened the door.
It was a muzzle and a flash.”

Intimate, Unknown

The way one cleanses his October refrigerator,
without any provocation, without his partner’s hints,
almost as if that moment has been scheduled
or seen in the past, as if his muscle reaction
picks up the bottles and vegetables, packets and tubs,
casseroles and bowls full of forgotten experiments
with vegetables, and the contents of those packets and tubs
and a dram from the bottles’ nozzles, places them on the floor,
dismantles the shelves, sponges them gently and puts all together
I find me in intimacy with you, unknown.
Your hair unlocked by my hands, whisked back by my reflexive fingers
reveals the unknown in the unknown. I disassemble
your chrome and beige dress and unlock the sweat beads.
We could have been talking about the pestilence
or war or patience or the dire dearth of the same.
We could have been pondering over a jigsaw puzzle.
It does not matter. We are intimately unfamiliar.
Famously alone. The quagmire of cold water on the floor,
or our bodily fluids puddled around us evaporate. October.
The mellow songs are served at room temperature.

An Interview with Kushal Poddar

  1. Please describe your latest book, what about your book will intrigue the readers the most, and what is the theme, mood?

Kushal – This Christmas, my book ‘Postmarked – Quarantined’ shall be published by IceFloe Press, Canada. The highlight of the book is the plague, human reaction, my daughter’s birth, and how a person, vulnerable the way I am, may interact with the rules of the universe he must abide.

  1. What frame of mind & ideas lead to you writing your current book?

Kushal – As I said, the book encases my own vulnerability, albeit I always endeavor to scriven in a universal tongue. The idea is – write from personal experience, blend with news, and then read and rewrite the poem from a neutral perspective.

  1. How old were you when you first have become serious about your writing, do you feel your work is always adapting
    Kushal – I was fifteen, and although I imitated writing rhymes since I was a six years old child, it was during a summer holyday of my sixteenth year in this world I began to adopt my only identity as a writer.
  2. What authors, poets, musicians have helped shape your work, or who do you find yourself being drawn to the most?
    Kushal – The list may lengthen itself but the salient influence, I must say, oozes from Wilfred Owen, Frank O’Hara, Charles Simic, Franz Wright, Billy Collins, Ted Kooser, Mary Oliver, Graham Greene, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Borges, Milan Kundera, Hemingway, Raymond Carver, Raymond Chandler, Philip Roth, John le Carré, and Neil Gaiman and the music of Dylan, Simon & Garfunkel, Jethro Tull, Billi Holiday, Louis Armstrong and Nina Simone (as of tryst, and the list drifts).
  3. 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?
    Kushal – Sketching and painting often clear the cobweb of my mind. I used to take photographs. I often write whisky criticism. These activities add curves to the flesh of my writing (writing includes, poetry, short stories, and now a fragmentary novel).
  4. Tell us a little about your process with writing. Is it more a controlled or a spontaneous/ freewriting style?
    Kushal – Writing is a continuous process. I write in my mind when I am not on paper or computer. I mumble an entire poem or short fiction sometimes to my daughter or to my wife, and then when time permits scribe it down. Is it free-writing? Not actually. The process is curated by years of reading and syllable counting presently made into a reflex.
  5. Are there any other people/environments/hometowns/vacations that have helped influence your writing?
    Kushal – There are all my fellow poets I met online and offline. There are my wife, daughter and a difficult relationship with my parents. There is political news and the news of sports. I deliberately created a fictional hometown for my poems or other kinds of writings. This town consists of elements of East and West, and can be felt as the reader’s own one.
  6. What is the most rewarding part of the writing process, and in turn the most frustrating part of the writing process?
    Kushal – The rewarding part is mental peace attained after writing it down as if I have cleansed a part of my memory, and also whenever a piece is published I receive the thrill of a junkie. The frustrating part is not having enough time to write everything I desire to write.
  7. How has this past year impacted you emotionally, how has it impacted you creatively if it all?
    Kushal – I had many premonitions about this past year. I was living a tale written by Stephen King or Camus. The part that took me by surprise and that made me defenseless was the news of my wife’s pregnancy during this pestilence. I was deeply worried about the safety of my wife and my daughter. I began to write a poetry-journal about the day-to-day emotion that surged inside out.
    Author Page Amazon – amazon.com/author/kushalpoddar_thepoet
    Author Facebook- https://www.facebook.com/KushalTheWriter/
    Twitter- https://twitter.com/Kushalpoe
    An author and a father, Kushal Poddar, edited a magazine – ‘Words Surfacing’, authored seven volumes including ‘The Circus Came To My Island’, ‘A Place For Your Ghost Animals’, ‘Eternity Restoration Project- Selected and New Poems’ and ‘Herding My Thoughts To The Slaughterhouse-A Prequel’.
    Find and follow him at amazon.com/author/

Wolfpack Contributor Bio: Kushal Poddar