A Review of “Before the Bridges Fell” by David L O’Nan (review by Ivor Daniel)

Review of Before the Bridges Fell by David L O’Nan. Ivor Daniel

A poem is a bridge built of words and hope.

Before the Bridges Fell takes us to many poems, many bridges. We cross from nightmare to
 light and sometimes back. To a mindscape where a bridge is a crossing, and simultaneously
something to suicide jump off. Bridges across to the murky hopeful past of literature and
 lived experience. And to the tawdry here and now.

In these dubious times of ours we read to escape, but not always into beauty. The
 characters in these poems navigate scripts not fully written, open to doubt and danger. The
 improvisation of their daily lives is hitchhike-ride scary. And these poems nail the truth that
without that risk, we would not journey, would not create.

O’Nan has ‘seen the ruin’, and has kept on living, kept on writing. The poet has witnessed
 humanity ‘Driving erratically and uncaring of a permanent damage’, on

‘freeways full of a new rage blinding -
From metastatic stars on American car plates….
An embolism on a prairie field’.

And further on up the highway, in another poem,

‘you can feel a little rot. When the curves of the road are at your throat’.

O’Nan has seen the banal and the ugly side, and captured it like Hunter S Thompson and
Ralph Steadman captured it, and thankfully for us he has kept on going until we can…

‘Watch the cities become countryside.
And watch humanity float
Off these infertile grounds’.

In these poems there are precious moments when, as in our lives today, we are brought up
short marvelling at moments of beauty (conventional or otherwise) amongst the horror and
the drab;

‘We were cut from the Jerusalem sun.
The pile of rags in the oils of the sand’.

And there are glimpses of nature shining through;

‘The birds digest our mayhem
to the streets’.

And sometimes, there is peace and contemplation…

‘Let me sit another night and feel my completion through a pond full of stars’.

But overall it is the unresolved angst of Americana, of humanity, that bubbles up through the
 sand in these poems, where …

‘lives are just scars
to look at in our corners of a heaven.
We continued gunning down true leaders.
We took the beauty from our land’.

O’Nan is prolific and well-read, and up front about his influences. He has one of his
 characters

‘hunting Bukowskis down with bottle cap bitten
teeth’.

In his Acknowledgements O’Nan describes himself as ‘an editor for humans all over the
 world’ and goes on to say that ‘the worldwide writing and reading community is the always
fascinating...beating heart of the world’. This community is indebted to David L O’Nan for
 these pertinent and powerful contemporary poems. And for all the energy he puts into
boosting other poets, and helping that ‘beating heart’ beat.

All the poems in Before the Bridges Fell

‘weave in the beauty and the
broken’.

This is where we live, between the beauty and the broken. As we navigate the storms and
fevers of the mind, the need to live between the dreams, ‘to brush the teeth, comb the hair’.
To see our deal with society through. This book will help us do that.

A poem is a bridge built of words and hope.  


“Before the Bridges Fell” by me David L O’Nan Poetry book is out today on Cajun Mutt Press

Bio: David L O'Nan is a poet, short story writer, editor living in Southern Indiana.  He is the editor for the Poetry & Art Anthologies "Fevers of the Mind Poetry and Art. and has also edited & curated other Anthologies including 2 inspired by Leonard Cohen and an upcoming one inspired by Bob Dylan. He has self-published works under the Fevers of the Mind Press "The Famous Poetry Outlaws are Painting Walls and Whispers" "The Cartoon Diaries" & "New Disease Streets" (2020). A compilation of 4 books "Bending Rivers" a micro poem collection "Lost Reflections" and new book "Before the Bridges Fell" (look under books tab in Amazon) under Cajun Mutt Press & "His Poetic Last Whispers" (2022)  David has had work published in Icefloe Press, Dark Marrow, Truly U, 3 Moon Magazine, Elephants Never, Royal Rose Magazine, Spillwords, Anti-Heroin Chic, Cajun Mutt Press, Punk Noir Magazine, Voices From the Fire.  Twitter is @davidLONan1 and for the book @feversof     Join Facebook Group: Fevers of the Mind Poetry & Arts Group .   Facebook Author page DavidLONan1   and goodreads page is https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/18366060.David_L_O_Nan 
  
Reviewer bio: Ivor Daniel lives in Gloucestershire, UK. His poems have appeared in A Spray of Hope, wildfire words, Steel Jackdaw, Writeresque, iamb~wave seven, Fevers of the Mind, The Trawler, Roi Fainéant, Ice Floe Press and The Dawntreader. He has poems forthcoming in After..., Re-Side, Alien Buddha, The Orchard Lea Anthology (Cancer) and The Crump’s Barn Anthology (Halloween). . @IvorDaniel  

 “Before the Bridges Fell” by me David L O’Nan Poetry book is out today on Cajun Mutt Press 

 Blurb for “Before the Bridges Fell” upcoming book by me (David L O’Nan) on Cajun Mutt Press from Robin McNamara  

Blurbs for my (David L O’Nan) upcoming book “Before the Bridges Fell” with Cajun Mutt Press from Kushal Poddar  

Blurbs for my (David L O’Nan) upcoming book “Before the Bridges Fell”(Cajun Mutt Press) from Robert Frede Kenter at Icefloe Press 

Blurb for my (David L O’Nan)upcoming book “Before the Bridges Fell” Cajun Mutt Press from Ron Sexsmith(musician) 

 Blurb for my (David L O’Nan) upcoming book “Before the Bridges Fell” by author Gail Crowther

 Blurbs for my (David L O’Nan) upcoming book “Before the Bridges Fell”(Cajun Mutt Press) from Ron Whitehead 




















Book Review of Let it Bleed by Nicole I Nesca (review by Ivor Daniel)

Screamin' Skull Press – Renegade Prose and Poetry

Let it Bleed by Nicole I. Nesca (Screaming Skull Press) reviewed by Ivor Daniel.

Bleeding  Authentic  Writing    Let it Bleed captures the feel of when you are young and need to run away from home    But you still want to be found

Hemorrhaging in the shower    The unwanted neon intimacy of medical examinations    Morphine sleep     Wake     Hemingway saying writing is like bleeding

Swerving between prose & poetry    The music of the times coming up on the radio then gone/past/static/interference   

     Interference     Predators   

         Road map of America      sticky separating from parents / founders  

Sticky Fingers    Sticky   long – distance   bus    rides               to look for America

Loving / Hating / Loving / Turning Into

         Your Parents

Elusive living up to Papa’s (and Hemingway’s) expectations

It all goes by so fast/life/a crystal/blur/outside the windscreen

And soon we are at now                       ‘solving the world’s crisis one ‘like’ at a time’

                   A tale of love and survival     (What else is there?)    

                  We aspire to humanity     Survive like emotional sardines   

                             It’s like a film    It’s like heroism    

            Not the masculine old  ‘I may be gone for some time’ heroism  

          The other sort        Writing that bleeds

Let it flow   

Nicole Nesca  –  you may be here for some time

Let It Bleed (1) by [Nicole Nesca, Screamin Skull Press]

Ivor Daniel worked as a street-based youth worker, then as a manager of youth work teams.

He lives in Gloucestershire, uk.

His poems have appeared in A Spray of Hope (@litscihub), wildfire words (the ezine of CheltenhaPoetryFestival), Steel Jackdaw Magazine, Writeresque Magazine,

iamb ~ wave seven, and Fevers of the Mind.

@IvorDaniel

Ivor was sent a digital copy of Let it Bleed so he could write this review.  Thanks, Screaming Skull..

A Book Review of “Eden” by Robert Frede Kenter. A review by Ivor Daniel

A Review of Eden

Cop 26 has been and gone - and how are things looking in the Garden?
What were the choices for Eve & Adam?
What are our choices now?

Eden, Robert Frede Kenter’s new chapbook, presents a vital glimpse into the work of
 an artist, photographer and poet who has been published and exhibited widely
 during the last 3 decades. In my reviewer copy I only see or perceive partially. This is
 ok, because i. we all know that art is best seen up close (or standing back) in a
 gallery anyway, and ii. the selection here, which is engaging and challenging for
 sure, is a glimpse through the hedge, or broken wall, of the garden. As Kenter writes
 in his Acknowledgements, ‘many of these works also have colour versions and other
iterations’. This Eden makes you want to see them all. To wander through this
 artist’s studio and archives.

The list of Contents is poetic. This excerpt gives a tang;

Slow Jam # 2
Notation
Two Barflies at a Bar, Next Day

In the opening piece, Poem for an Imaginary Landscape, Kenter sets the scene. We
 hear of ‘exhibition dream flowers.......scattering landfill sites’ and ‘a ventriloquism of
 dots, jagged leaves’. This is skillful and vivid writing. Like Kenter’s artworks it leaves
 wide spaces for our own imaginings to run riot in cracks and corners.

Next comes Angry Eden. Perhaps God / Satan in profile. Eve & Adam behind, eyes
 amok, the outlines of their faces curled as question marks.

One of my favourite works is Don’t Ask Don’t Tell.
2 sidewalk signs announce

                                THE HERE AND THE NOW

ARRIVED

A series of mathematical numbers appear in the perhaps apocalyptic margin.
If we can only work out this equation. Just maybe. We might know what to do.

In Raw: Fetish I see anonymous block buildings and collage dislocation. Maybe I
am trying to drive out of town to escape some contemporary doom? Or, is it just the
Friday afternoon rush? How do I feel when I see these 2 road signs?

RAW

     NORTH ON FETISH

Some of the works use the techniques of erasure poetry. Some words are harder to
 make out. Some are wilfully defaced or obscured. Like a Banksy shredding itself, in a
 way. Kenter’s techniques also remind us that some of these words are found text.
Found, random, powerful, poetic. And, as in gardening and poetry and art, the
 question - what to leave in and what to leave out?

Smudge is one of these erasure works. A written passage entitled Mathematics
 Educators is partly obscured by abstract swirling marks, and collaged part-words,
 part-sentences. It is impossible to read the main written passage. This resonates
 with me as I could never do the math anyway.

I am now looking at The Tree.
I cannot tell what the medium is. I have a black and white image on a computer screen. Nevertheless, after some of the other, harder, images in Eden I can actually feel the almost iconic furred, woody, reassurance of putting my palms on the vast
bark of a redwood tree. This is for well being. This is what we Need to Save. And need is an anagram of eden.

As Joni sang ‘ we’ve got to get ourselves back to the garden ’.
And then what do we do?

Who gets to go on the rocket ship up to space? What does our earthly paradise look like from up there? Will they do anything differently, more responsibly, more equitably, when they come back down to earth? And how long will they keep that up for?

If poets and artists had been in Power since Nixon, would the world be in a better state? Hard to think it would be worse, anyway.

Robert Frede Kenter’s work smudges and illuminates the air here on planet Dollarama. It is informed by his openness to collaboration and community, and his experiences of travelling and living abroad. Kenter is a survivor, and this is good. Eden leaves us wanting more.

On a road trip with Kerouac, or with Cormack McCarthy. Even on your daily commute. You might want this chapbook in your backpack.

O brave new Eden that has such work in it.

Paradise Lost. Paradise Regained? Eden Reviewed.

2 Poems for Lou Reed by Robert Frede Kenter : Variance (2 parts)

5 poems inspired by Leonard Cohen by Robert Frede Kenter (Before I Turn Into Gold Day)

Poem for a Russian Grandmother in Exile by Robert Frede Kenter w/ A Painting by Moira J. Saucer

4 poems from Robert Frede Kenter in Avalanches in Poetry

An Interview with Robert Frede Kenter of Icefloe Press

4 poems by Robert Frede Kenter published in Fevers of the Mind Press Presents the Poets of 2020

Wolfpack Contributor: Robert Frede Kenter

A Poetry Showcase for Ivor Daniel

Bio : Ivor Daniel lives in Gloucestershire, UK. His poems have appeared in A Spray of Hope, wildfire words, Steel Jackdaw, Writeresque, iamb~wave seven, Fevers of the Mind, The Trawler, Roi Fainéant, Ice Floe Press and The Dawntreader. He has poems forthcoming in After…, Re-Side, Alien Buddha, The Orchard Lea Anthology (Cancer) and The Crump’s Barn Anthology (Halloween). . @IvorDaniel

A Poetry Showcase for Ivor Daniel

green light in dark room

photo by Daniel Mirlea (unsplash)

In High Summer

when flies walk upon my forearm hairs
proprietorial as landlords
and the land is ripe with roadkill

extreme weather scenarios
play out in real time

climate diplomats gather
but the plenary is beached -
delegates cloyed
as wasps in coulis

we sit around
the water table
with an ashen thirst

everybody wants to make a move
but no one does

like watching the bleaching of coral

the only thing agreed on
is that all this is unprecedented

unprecedented rainfall here
unprecedented temperatures there
unprecedented use of the word unprecedented     everywhere

in high summer
the deluge
the canicule
the conflagration

ants grow fat
grow wings
buzz my ears

we pick at
the brittle wishbone
of consensus

wait for crows 
locusts
to draw down the dusk
with a dry calling  

We Are Green

One winter’s day
through condensation windows
I mistook a withered gunnera leaf
for a heron’s wing.
Imagined the bird 
coiled, primal,
waiting at the water.

Months later, 
in the veiled sphere
under a summer gunnera plant,
I imagined myself 
small,
deep in zoological realms
below explosions
of virid strong-stemmed leaves 
as wide as the sky,
blush flower spikes
pushing up and through.

Today
in seasons of indeterminate grey 
when squirrels
do not know
which page
of the nut calendar
we are on,
it is the verdure
I return to.

I daydream of a kinder world.

Daylight and rainfall
elect a parliament of plants.
An upper house of trees.

We are green,
enfranchised.

XY (No Means No)

X.
Doctor Foster
went to Gloucester
in a shower of rain.

Fred and Rose
they quit town
but left a nasty stain.

That’s Fred West -
more than a sex pest.
Did unspeakable things
in his dirty vest.

Y.
Cycling past
the rape seed fields
brings it all back.
The yellow so vivid,
you lying on your back.

The yellow, the horror,
you want to be home,
but find yourself
involuntary, prone.

He seemed ok at first,
he said he’d drop you back.
The stony ground remains
no aphrodisiac.

You shut your eyes
your demon’s back,
slow, stupid in the sack.

And No Means No
involuntary
lying on your back.


Choose Your Own Mother
(for Rhianydd Daniel)

I have heard it said 
the yet unborn  
can choose their parents. 
 
A strange idea, this. 
Although we live in times 
when nothing is 
beyond belief. 
 
If it is true..    
If it is true, 
I ask myself 
the reason  
I chose you. 
 
Indecisive as I am, 
and daresay was 
before my birth, 
there is a scenario 
in which I am at peace. 
 
Wherein, unborn, 
I somehow hear 
your singing voice. 
 
And from that time 
I have no choice. 

sand in your blood

I remember when 
you scraped your leg on coral..
a rose rust bloomed raw 

under your skin..the
sea was a blister the moon
was a bruise.. all night

your fever rose and 
fell..lava tides licked feral 
flames..sand in your blood   

Ad Astra Zee

I am waiting for my blood
to clot. Broad beans
block green veins, 
velvet furred.
I am ripe
for it.

One day my feet 
will be corms,
shoehorned
in stony ground.
My soles are up
for it.

Hey Astra Zee!
I want my
second dose
already. 
             
I am weary 
of this solid flesh
my veins
so unimpeded.

Bring on the levelling dark. 

I am ready, pale horse
for your clip-clop.
For blood clots. 

Bolt, beauteous breathlessness! 
Bolt, cramping throbbing pain 

stampeded!

the paranoia shop

sells mini cctv 
for the home or handbag
sells cctv any size you need

hard-sells hard knuckle dusters
and knives all shapes and sizes
beyond imagination
for your perfect tribulation

they say carrying a knife
puts you more at risk of a stabbing
but the stab-proof vests are on offer today

see the cute hand guns 
to fit your hand    just so 

the paranoia shop
nestled between Gaultier  and Kenzo

I love to window shop there

It makes me feel so safe 

worm haiku

exit wounds out of 
apples, soldiers, the worm out 
of one the bullet

Perfect Bed

I dream I am at Bembom Brothers
Dreamland funfair park
with Tracey Emin.
Hard by Margate sands.

I know I shouldn’t drink that Vodka
on the Helter Skelter.
Apart from that,
a Day as Perfect as the Lou Reed song.

We Kiss with Fish and Chips Lips,
Join Hips. A Turner Sunset
Going Down.

I guess it is the Golden Hour.
Blair’s Babes 
and even some of his men MP’s
are busy Changing a whole heap of things
for the Better.

Back in your room 
we remember that
we even Changed the Bed this morning.

The linen soft and cool next to our Optimistic skin.

(This poem has previously appeared online in iamb-wave seven)

Going back

I went back, and it looked the same. 
I was not expecting that. 
Expected the usual rash of 
New Builds, creeping up the hill.

I went back, thinking
it would all look smaller, like
when I came back from America
aged 19, and it seemed like the train 
home had shrunk 
in a B movie.

I went back
looking for what?
The muddy lane where
we skidded our scooters?
The neighbour’s garden gnome
one of us pushed in his pond?
The Fish Caves, where we played
explorers? Journey to the Centre of the Earth,
or at least 
some way in
to that disused tin mine.

I went back, not to look for
my Dad, just some of the places
he used to take us. 
Halfway between morbid 
and curious.

I went back to the old conker trees 
and the scraped knees. To the
broken fence on Bishop’s Wood Road,
where it said No Trespassing
but my Dad said we’d be alright.

I went back to the old quarry
with the pond we thought was a lake.
I’m channeling a half-
remembered sense of comfort,
danger. Somewhere between 
Teddy Bears and Teddy Boys.

I went back to stacking
boxes of seaside rock
at Woolworths.

 Each stick had writing all the way through,
persistent as memory.

From up on the hill
you can see it all. 
The only thing different
is wind turbines out at sea,
turning like time.

I remember a school master who left.
All of a sudden. The smell
of that old classroom
at the end of the dark
corridor. Scuffed floor wax. 


Bio: Ivor Daniel lives in Gloucestershire, UK. His poems have appeared in A Spray of Hope,
wildfire words, Steel Jackdaw, Writeresque, iamb~wave seven, Fevers of the Mind, The
Trawler, Roi Fainéant, Ice Floe Press and The Dawntreader. He has poems forthcoming in
After..., Re-Side, Alien Buddha, The Orchard Lea Anthology (Cancer) and The Crump’s Barn
Anthology (Halloween). .
@IvorDaniel