Poetry Collaboration with Spriha Kant and David L O’Nan : The Doorsteps Series

from “The Empath Dies in the End” series

The Doorsteps Series

1 (Spriha Kant)

I am a river
glistening in your sunny love
flowing in a dream
where we are a miscible solution
        eddying in canoodling

2 (David L O'Nan)

Thunderstruck and downpours came
The next day after an engorged full moon
Breathing heavy, the air belted against the Himalayas
‘caused the belladonnas to be caught up in the fishnets.
And I walk down after another night of taunting silhouettes.

3.
I feel the rain through every speck of light.
I see the river overflowing the streets soon –
To meet my first and second doorstep as I-
Wait to dip my foot in the filthy liquid from the comfort 
The comfort, of my third doorstep.

4.

And just cry there buddy, no backbone, no light
And just dream yourself a small suicide that’ll never be so bright.
And cast yourself a ghost before you’ve even spoken about all your sins.

Even if you watch me cut away, you’ll say I’m just gaslighting and will
Run, run away. To sit on a doorstep.  Like a wet leaf stuck in the sewer grate cover.

5.

I’m just inventing myself a new vision to go from mind to mind.
To read your mind. I don’t know if I can.  The flashes are too quick to bind 
Together, I’m just sitting back and listening to Ian Curtis singing
“I put my trust in you” “I put my trust in you”  “in you”  “in you”
I can follow the predator to his shaking bones and catch him behind a super-church
Brass-knuckles wait in a pocket.  Is that what it’ll take to make this eyelid wish come true.

6  David L O'Nan (first 2 lines) Spriha Kant (next 3 lines) David L O'Nan (last 2 1/2 lines)

Third step, my home.
I can fade into anything I want.  When I’m in my lonely bones.
Utopian curtains bared eyes    
Blurred hopes flared eyes
Silence glared ambitions
I just stare back towards the panic park wanting silence, 
the bird he hollers.
Through the trees and threatens me, casually and I vision my demise.

7.

Ease down to the 2nd step
The river dried away, the rain stops to another town, for another meal
Getting closer to the tackle, the sociopaths in the battlefields
They wait behind minivans now and bounce around forgetting that
Wars are won by artillery, cannons, and fists.  Not the beats within a mix.

8.
First step, all dry now
The worms are drying and stuck in tulip petal straitjackets.
I heard the whispers (the sirens) that the circus was in town.
I watched it unravel with teargas and billy clubs 
We were all just tigers growling equality through the megaphones.
We were the ones who were let down. 
Sunshine brings in more clouds.



Poetry “Midwest Aesthetics” from James Schwartz & David L O’Nan: collaboration

from the series “The Empath Dies in the End”

Midwest Aesthetics

  1. Michigan (James Schwartz)
Ruth Ellis,
The Great Blizzard of '78, 
Michael Moore, 
#FlintWaterCrisis, 

Motown,
Madonna, 
Eminem,
Sada Baby,

Gray sweatpants, 
Factory hours, 
Rivers of coffee, 
Biscuits and gravy, 

Gravel roads, 
Amish buggies bumping techno, 
Blueberry picking, 
Pumpkin patches, 

Model T Town,
Industrial Era hangover,
6 Mile sex workers, 
"Working on the night moves"... 


2. Indiana (David L O'Nan)

Larry Bird flat foot jumpers
The Great Blizzard of ‘78
The Ohio River flowing and suicide watches
Donald Trump really won 

On big trucks blasting rap music
Drive by white racists who justify using profanity
By lyrics, by tiktok
Elitists walk by you, the trash and the preppy

Wal-Mart days, Wal-Mart nights,
And speaking of nights, we had Bobby Knight
Now we’ve got memories of floods and tornadoes
We’ve got Holiday World.  

Gravel Roads,
The Meth Crisis to Fetanyl Crisis
David Letterman went to Ball State
Festivals in the fall. We eat garbage upon garbage and smile.

Vomiting in cornfields,
Hey Indianapolis,
Hey Gary, Hey the Jacksons, Hey nevermind.
Indy 500’s used to be a grandpa’s deam.

But I also know of Kentucky and I know of New Orleans
I the the hatred someone from Southern Indiana has
For a Kentuckian just a bridge away. 
With the same accent they mimic what they think is different, but really the same.

We’ve got Hoosiers
We’ve got Bloomington, actually a fine town
We’ve got Wineries  and
We’ve got Falling Rock Zones.

We’ve got an escape to New Harmony.  
A dystopian town for prayer.
Do we have Indiana Jones or that just a name?
We had James Dean and then he left to escape the curves around cornfields.

We’ve had Fairgrounds Coliseum Gas Explosions
We had Mike Pence and was saw him dispense.
We have John Mellencamp wandering around like Springsteen in New Jersey.
Dan Quayle, Dan Quayle, fuck that.  Steve McQueen , Steve McQueen.

Oh and don’t forget John Dillinger.
Don’t forget the programmed corn, the factories pounding out super pollution.
Steroid chickens,  9 mile Chic-Fil-A lines that tells you to have a good day.
While they racially judge you, while they investigate your sexual preference.

Well they never know that over half their staff is to be cautious and close to the closet.
All for those French fries that shape like waffles, chicken sandwich nights.
Super churches across from Super churches.
Envy the bully,  rampage the road, defeat the enemy, defeat the empathy. 

Current bio for Fevers of the Mind’s David L O’Nan editor/writing contributor to blog.  

Poetry Preview “American Linden” from “Sunset in Rome” from James Schwartz


A Fevers of the Mind Quick-9 Interview with poet Merritt Waldon

Q1: When did you start writing and whom influenced you the most now and currently? 

Merritt: I began writing poetry at 12. I wrote tiny stories and drew since i was 3 or 4.   Back then there were two major influences.  Li Po and Baudelaire. 

Q2: Any pivotal moment when you knew you wanted to be a writer? 

Merritt: Since then and now the biggest influence on my idea of writing has always been John Keats .

The pivotal moment I knew I WANTED or was a writer was when I read the entire portable Whitman reader in a hay field next my house when I was 7. I got in trouble because I slept in between bails for two days no one knew where I was

Q3: Who has helped you most with writing and career? 

Merritt: The people that has helped me writing over The years the most Summer Dawn Bill Shields Daniel Yaryan Nancy Patrice Davenport Thomas Lyle Bush Thom Woodruff Tony Campbell Dr. J.C. Bacala ..    This answers the main question.  Of course there are others more recent. As well.

Q4: Where did you grow up and how did that influence you? Have any travels influenced your work? 

Merritt: I grew up in Madison Indiana next to the Ohio river in the country. It influenced me as a writer by turning poetry in to a.more spiritual entity than a utility of expression.   Backpacking all over the western hemisphere has deeply influenced the writing.

Q5: What do you consider your most meaningful work creatively to you? 

Merritt: Most meaningful creative work.  I’ll have to think on that.

Q6: Favorite activities to relax? 

Merritt: Drinking reading hiking hacky sack chess reading  Music listening singing along

Q7: What is a favorite line/ stanza/lyric from your writing? 

Merritt: Going down chiseling my own tombstone Out of these bones.

Q8:What kind of music inspires you the most? What is a song or song that always come back to you as an inspiration? 

Merritt: Blues . rock. Really jam while I write.   Love all music.  One song.  Change by blind melon

Q9: Do you have any recent or upcoming books, music, events, etc that you would like to promote? 

Merritt: I’m planning a poetry event called Poet-loose on October 9th at 4 p.m. in Scottsburg Indiana

Bonus Question: Any funny memory or strange occurrence you’d like to share during your creative journey? 

Merritt: Being a child of agent orange

Merritt bio & links:

I’m 48. Born 1974 Madison. Live in Scottsburg . published books and online and in anthologies. I am living the poetic I am.

Collaboration poem from Merritt Waldon & David L O’Nan

July 2022 Poetry Showcase from Merritt Waldon

Poems by Merritt Waldon: Strange Visitations & more poems for people

https://dumpsterfirepress.com/2022/08/24/voices-from-the-fire-merritt-waldon-8/

https://brooklynrail.org/contributor/Merritt-Waldon

An Interview with Indie Musician Austin Lucas (2020) Fevers of the Mind Press Presents

Austin Lucas has a new album “Alive in the Hot Zone” which many have in their year-end best of 2020 award nominees.

 (Cornelius Chapel Records)

First off Thanks Austin for granting an interview with us at Fevers of the Mind Press for the Fevers of the Mind Poetry Digest: The Poets of 2020.

Austin: Thanks so much for including me

Q: It has been over a year since the last issue.  It is weird, it seems like something might have happened to try to jog away from the creativity into a slow depression month after month as this has continued.   The year 2020 has been some work, and it has taken nearly a year for me to fully get my creative fuses (mostly out of the anger of this year) to feel like there has to be another edition!  There are many voices out there that have been writing through the year, and their voices all need to be heard. 

With that, how have you kept your creativity with writing songs & putting out a new album? Was it any different going into the studio and recording the new album in the wake of the pandemic.

Austin:  I have found myself baffled by the disconnect from reality among my fellow americans, along with their seemingly limitless capacity to entirely abandon reason.  As for inspiration and the process of staying active in song writing, it seems that I was able to have even more time to exercise my capacity for creation with so much time off the road.

Q: I was a huge fan of Immortal Americans & Shallow Inland Sea after hearing your appearances on the comedy podcast Improv4Humans with Matt Besser.  Even my 8-year-old daughter became a fan of “Immortal Americans” and I love that song and Shallow Inland Sea) How is Matt Besser and the Improv4Humans experience?

Austin: I love Matt and all the I4H crew so it’s always so cool when I get to collaborate with them and also when I hear that someone discovered me through that medium.

Q: I’ve been listening to the new single “Drive” on repeat listens, and watching the interesting Pandemic feel of the video on Youtube.   Where was it filmed?

Austin: Well it was shot in Berlin during the pandemic, so what you were seeing is life as it is currently lived. That video was a phenomenal experience because I was able to cast a bunch of my favorite people who I honestly don’t get to see often enough.

Q: How are you maintaining focus and coming up with new creative endeavors without the touring and the availability of concerts?  Tell us a little about the Save the Stage movement also.

Austin: As I mentioned before, I seem to have almost boundless creative energy when so much of my time isn’t spent traveling and feeling worn down by life on the road. Sometimes I get incredibly tired still, due to my intense training and coaching schedule with Muay Thai but even that doesn’t distract me and leave me feeling so depleted as constant travel.

Q: When I heard your interviews regarding your songs in the past, I was excited to learn that you grew up in the Bloomington, Indiana area.  I grew up in Western Kentucky and lived in Evansville for nearly 20 years.  I’ve spent many nights visiting Bloomington.  Always good shows up there.  What was it like growing up in the Midwest?  What about the Midwest do you love, and what part of it makes you shake your head?

Austin: I don’t know, there are so many things I both love and hate about the Midwest but honestly, I don’t find much more wrong with the Midwest than I do with any other part of the USA. There’s good and bad and the bad things are found in literally every corner of the United States. I do love how direct people are in the Midwest vs. other parts of the US though. We’re polite but we won’t bend over backwards and bullshit you if we think you suck.

Q: I know you have many roots in punk music and for most of your career, you have spun punk ideologies into an Americana/rock-folk carving.  So, who were your heroes musically, and inevitably with writing song lyrics that maybe have helped you weave the two musical styles into your niche?

Austin: His Hero Is Gone, Discharge, X, Neil Young, Bob Dylan, The Beatles. Jason Molina is probably my greatest lyrical influence but there’s a lot in my repertoire that’s derived from my upbringing in the Bluegrass and folk lineage.

Q: What is your process when you write a song?  How long does it usually take to come up with a full song to your liking, music and all?

Austin: It really depends, I’m a notoriously furious and extensive self editor so it can take anywhere from hours to years for me to write a song. I generally begin with a riff and build words and melody around the first riff that I write and go for there.

Q: I’d like to congratulate you on your nomination in the category for  Americana Song of the Year in the upcoming AMA-UK Awards in 2021.   How do you handle the recognition that you deserve for your work? 

Austin: Thanks so much, I honestly just smile and feel grateful. I’ve been in this songwriting game for a very long time and have yet to receive many accolades. Which means that while I appreciate it all the more as a result, I also have a hard time imagining that it will be a regular occurrence. At the moment I’m just gonna soak it up and be grateful that some folks cared enough to nominate me for an award in the first place.

Q: You’ve worked with many great artists on albums such as Lydia Loveless & John Moreland.  Is there a musician out there that you would love to work with, or came close to working with that once (hopefully) someday when COVID is gone that you’d feel like this could be the ultimate collaboration?

Austin: I’d honestly love to work with several artists but the dream for me would be to just sing duets with Dolly and Emmylou or Gillian Welch. My other biggest dreams are to make albums with Baroness and Neurosis and also to make an album with Blitzen Trapper would be an absolute dream.

Q: Out of the many, many songs you’ve written.  Which do you feel the most complete lyrically let’s say, or just satisfied with the outcome.  Do you ever feel like hey, where did these words come to me from?  I think lyrically Monroe City Nights resonates with me so well.  I can feel the sadness of the Midwest & the vulnerability to adapt and so everything just seems stagnant (in the solitude of okay, I guess this is how my life has to be?)

Austin: To my mind, that song is absolutely one of my crowing masterpieces in a lot of ways. I’m honestly very proud of my body of work overall but my last 2 albums have probably had the most of what I’d consider “me” in them.

Q: Tell me about the new album “Alive in the Hot Zone” released this Fall.  What about this album is getting the buzz of Austin Lucas out there in the Americana & Indie scene.  What about this album, do you feel is different from your other albums? 

Austin: I honestly don’t know, I guess it’s the fact that I managed to write about what everyone was going through in the world right now and actually release it while we were still experiencing it as a global community

Q: Finally, the dumb question.  Let’s say some bozo with some weapon comes up to you.  Let’s say He’s like I’ve got 2 albums that you have to re-make, and you have to choose one to cover completely (no matter what it does for your career) and hey maybe you can change the dynamic of people’s minds about the albums, Do you cover Milli Vanilli’s “Girl You Know It’s True” album or Debbie Gibson’s “Lost in Your Eyes”?

Austin: I’d personally rather cover Go Go’s “Beauty and the Beat but I think I’d go with the Debbie Gibson album, if those were my only two options.

Q: No really, we’ve seen like full album covers by artists like Beck, the Bird, and the Bee, and ummm…yeah Ryan Adams do such, if you ever went that route with an album what would you consider an awesome honorable album to cover?

Austin: Oh, haha, I guess I already answered that question but let me say two things. 1. Ryan Adams is a creep and 2. I’d also really love to cover the entirety of the Cure “Pornography” or “Darklands” by Jesus and Mary Chain

Q: Thank you, Austin for spending a little bit of your time with Fevers of the Mind, and much success on the new album & good luck with the award nomination.

Austin: Thank you so much for sitting down and asking me these questions.

Bio Courtesy of Austin Lucas.com

Austin Lucas is a punk journeyman, activist and songwriter from Bloomington, Indiana. Consumed by an overdeveloped sense of wanderlust as a young person, Austin spent his formative years in the driver’s seat of various beat-up Ford Econolines. Burning through countless miles and living the world over, he’s made his home everywhere from the American West Coast to the Czech Republic.

As a young person, Austin worshipped a diverse mixture of Classic Rock, Country, Punk, Psychedelic Folk and Mountain Music, and has made a career by successfully fusing these disparate influences into something uniquely his own. Emerging as a prominent and revered talent among his fans and peers, Austin has stood shoulder to shoulder with some of the most recognizable icons of Folk, Punk, Indie, Country and Americana, all the while uplifting the traditions of Roots Music and holding true to the attitude and ethics of political DIY Punk and Indie music as the lifeblood that runs through his veins.

Releasing albums since 2006, Austin Lucas has been a fixture in the worlds of Alternative Country and Folk Punk for nearly two decades, having sang alongside and toured with everyone from Willie Nelson, Jamey Johnson, Ray Price, Brent Cobb, Frank Turner, Chuck Ragan, Dawes, Langhorne Slim, Joe Pug, John Moreland, Lucero and many others. To hear Austin Lucas or see him live is to discover the type of well-kept secret that can only stay that way for so long.

During the Covid-19 pandemic and subsequent lockdown Austin Lucas has sheltered in place in Mainz, Germany. Although growing homesick far away from his home and family in Indiana, he has successfully used this extra time and inspired energy to prove that it’s impossible to keep a good troubadour down, writing and recording songs for his forthcoming album, “Alive In The Hot Zone!”.