Before I Turn Into Gold Online Anthology: 4 poem showcase by Adrian Ernesto Cepeda

(c) Geoffrey Wren

I Always Daydreamed of Running Into Leonard

Outside a café table 
somewhere in Los Feliz, 
the poet in his vintage blue 
suit with his fedora tilted 
over to keep the LA sun 
from hindering his already 
wrinkled skin. While sipping 
a rare blend of European tea, 
I notice the way he flicks 
his cigarette ashes into the air, 
as he, slyly grins, Cohen
waves me over, “You must
be a poet.” he whispers 
in his deepest voice. 
“I can tell…” he says, 
as I sit down, I stammer: 
“I love the way you smoke 
that cigarette…” Glancing 
back at me, through his mirror 
shades, I picture Leonard 
delightfully giggling, 
“Each ash flicked 
is my way…” he begins to say 
while taking a giant drag 
of his already vanishing 
cigarette, he declares: 
of thanking her for the gifts 
that came like a seductive 
prayer” like an expressionistic 
memory filled with poetic 
smoke, as his aura clings—
Leonard disappears

4 AM rewakens like Leonard Cohen

He wakes up early as darkness 
shadows at the monastery in 
the Los Angeles mountains, 
peaks of monks chanting, 
even amid his resilient vows 
Leonard sparks lighting her 
cigarettes with his mind 
in the dark, blinking back 
his eyes begin to sing, remembering 
her lips ready for wordless 
conversations flashing back 
from the spotlight so smoky 
she returns… again and again, 
coming like a reimagined passion 
play, the roles between the sheets,
bodies of poetry believe they
were more than making, recreating  
love. Before their dance climaxed
and he woke up alone, only 
her ashes remain, flickering 
in his mind, she arrives before 
the light of morning, she reaches 
inside reawakening the match
between his half-closed eyes, 
the poet exhales, reliving 
the stars from their last night 
together, her drags rise from 
the floor, merging with shadows 
even more ashes from her 
smokiest flame this Lady 
Midnight reappears—glimmering
candles ripple as his glowing skin
loves to remember every space
she loved to explore.

She asked, why Leonard Cohen preferred his walls, empty and white?

When he glares, in between
sips of wine, Beaujolais 62,
he loves imagining movies
emotion pictures from his
imagination coming alive 
his eyes, the blinking 
projector focusing 
daydreams, each scene 
becomes a poem, the pen
and paper on the table, 
always there to recreate 
lines from the memoria 
verses he transcribed
just by sitting starting
at the walls, never white
and empty, to Cohen’s 
eyes they filled up
painting his mind 
with colors, resurrected 
focusing her glow Marianne’s 
body naked, wires filled
with birds chirping waves 
of laughter, Hydra isle reawakening
morning embodies the fantasies 
from his favorite shadow 
play, his mind dancing 
with the sun, Leonard 
loved watching his 
imagination rhymes
coming into light. 

The Chills

Standing in the vacant 
kitchen in his newly 
inherited home, Adam 
recalls the last night 
together drinking as
father and son, asking 
the poet where he could find 
the last bottle of Tequila. 
Opening the fridge, he 
remembers discovering one 
of his father’s holy Cohen
notebooks, rhymes 
frozen inside with so many 
little freezer burning icicle 
crystals on every page. 
Feeling the cold from 
the fridge, he doesn’t 
close the door, the son, 
Adam wants to stay here 
and inhale the freezing steam 
inhaling the verses chilled
by his father, wanting to 
be thawed out waiting 
for the voice of The Flame
deep dark smoking to reappear 
reliving the last moment
discovering the last notebook
his father the Poet—left with
with the bottles and ice cubes,
knowing each stanza inside
he would know the stranger
behind the father, with even 
one poem could he discover
a line would that we answer 
so many lyrical labyrinths 
melting so many paradoxes 
glimmering inside. The Poet 
now gone, the house is even
colder. But as Adam finds 
the tequila bottle with his
father’s fingerprints back 
in the fridge, he clutches it 
and pours one last shot, 
although this “lost” notebook 
has only half-filled in  
elegiac treasures, with 
a toast he can still 
feel the chills, as Adam 
drinks, no chaser tears, 
missing Leonard the Poet  
his father, the son declares—
“I wish I knew him better.A Fevers of the Mind Quick-9 Interview with Adrian Ernesto Cepeda

Bio: Adrian Ernesto is the author of Flashes & Verses… Becoming Attractions from Unsolicited Press, Between the Spine from Picture Show Press and La Belle Ajar & We Are the Ones Possessed from CLASH Books and Speaking con su Sombra with Alegría Publishing. 

His poetry has been featured in Harvard Palabritas, Glass Poetry: Poets Resist, Cultural Weekly, Yes, Poetry, Frontier Poetry, The Fem, poeticdiversity, Rigorous, Luna Luna Magazine, The Wild Word, The Revolution Relaunch and Palette Poetry. 

Adrian lives with his wife and their adorably spoiled cat Woody Gold in Los Angeles.

Adrian Ernesto Cepeda

A Fevers of the Mind Quick-9 Interview with Adam Ai

with Adam Ai

Q1: When did you start writing and first influences?

Adam: I Started writing when I was a kid. My first influences – I remember around age 10 or so being absorbed in the Bible, also having a copy of Shakespeare’s collected works (didn’t get half a word of it – just loved the sound), as well as the Lord of the Rings. Stephen King books were a favorite. I was always in the library. I read everything I could get my hands on. As a teen I was into everyone. Dickinson and Whitman, Keats and Wordsworth, Langston Hughes, Gwendolyn Brooks. WC Williams. ee cummings. Dylan Thomas. I would tear poems from books and pin them to the walls. The was room wallpapered in poetry. I got into the Beats, Ginsberg, of course Bukowski. Lucille Clifton, John Ashbery, Frank O’Hara. Dante, Virgil. Now I read many new poems every day from contemporary poets. I read as much poetry as I can. Ocean Vuong. Amanda Gorman.

Thinner - By Stephen King (paperback) : Target

Q2: Who are your biggest influences today?

Adam: My biggest influences today are modern poets I admire – Jericho Brown is a favorite. Diane Seuss. Jane Zwart. Joy Harjo. Jean Valentine. Any poet that makes me feel like hey – I didn’t know words could do that, or is beautiful in some way, or gives me hope. Helps me be brave and keep working and submitting. Lots of others. I read many poems in the course of a day. Twitter has been a cool resource for that lately.

Q3: Where did you grow up and how did that influence your writing? Have any travels away from home influence your work?

Adam: Los Angeles. The desert. The beaches. The people. The feeling of Los Angeles that exists no place but in Los Angeles, and so differently from what people might think. Great cities all have their own feel. L.A. is no exception. Such a big city – whatever you want L.A. to be, it can be – and you feel that. A sort of freedom. Something like magic. And maybe there is magic. It’s different for everyone. It’s everything. Fashion. Language. Sex.

Q4: What do you consider the most meaningful work you’ve done creatively so far?

Adam: I think my favorite – not speaking to it being meaningful to anyone but me, necessarily – is probably my poem “This is a Letter to God on a Stone.” I wrote it during the darkest period of my life, following my mother’s passing, and is literally a letter I wrote to God and never expected anyone to see. It’s the first thing I ever submitted anywhere. It’s a stone I wrote on and threw into the sea, never thinking it might be found. I sent it away and it was published in Chiron Review.

Q5: Any pivotal moment when you knew you wanted to be a writer?

Adam: All I ever wanted was to be a writer. That or play for the Lakers. The Lakers never called. After mom died I realized all the poems I had written over the years were lost – I mean in the sense that she would never see them published – and it really felt like there was nothing left to lose. Nothing to gain, either. I don’t know. I don’t know why. It was something. I began sending them out to magazines because it was my only solution to the problem of living. I published 30+ poems in the 6 months or so following her passing. What bitter fruit. Writing is a struggle with faith. Seeing these poems published has given me a pulse. Writing saves me. It grows me up. It’s breath.

Q6: Favorite activities to relax?

Adam: Playing games with friends is one thing I like. Poker. Dominoes. I go to the beach a lot. For the most part I’m really pretty boring. I write. I read. I play with my dog, Ghost. Living a steady, quiet life allows me to maximize writing time. It’s tough to write when your life is very chaotic, which mine was in the Old Days. If writing is simply daily routine I get more done.

Q7: Any recent or forthcoming projects that you’d like to promote?


I have a poem coming soon in Kissing Dynamite Poetry – slated for release in July, 2021. I’m soon to be featured on the Micro Poetry Podcast reading my poem “The Prayer that Moves through All Things” published by Ancient Paths Literary Magazine, 2020 – watch @adamaipoems, ( for updates and more. I can also be found on Instagram @adamaipoems where I post published work ( and on YouTube, where I’ve taken to recording published work ( In 2021 I’ve been published in Stone of Madness Press, (“Secret in the Empty Gallery”) and Feral: A Journal of Poetry and Art (“Burning Hands, II”).

Q8: What is a favorite line/stanza from a poem of yours or others?

Adam: “I wonder where you dream and know nothing.”

From “This is a Letter to God on a Stone,” Chiron Review, 2021.

Q9: Who has helped you most with writing?

Adam: Poetry Editors, I think. Poetry editors are God’s chosen few – I have more respect and love for what they do than anyone. They’re in the trenches with words, giving people hope, saving them. The only way I know if anyone likes a poem is if it’s accepted. So I love them for that. They help me most, even in rejection. Maybe especially in rejection. Acceptances sure are nice though.

A Fevers of the Mind Quick-9 Interview with Sarah Marquez

with Sarah Marquez:

Q1: When did you start writing and first influences?

Sarah: I started writing in college while working on my four-year degree in English Language and Literature. My first influences were, of course, books! Fiction novels, historical fantasy novels, mystery novels and short stories. I’ve been an avid reader since childhood and held a wish to create something of my own someday, out of words that meant everything to me, to connect with kindred spirits. So, I spent a few years dabbling in fiction, (after I fell in love with the Sevenwaters Series by Juliet Marillier), but found that it wasn’t for me. This was so disappointing at the time. And then I encountered poetry in a creative writing class at Southern New Hampshire University. I remember having a big dislike for poetry during my high school days. But, being reintroduced to it in college changed that. My first influence to writing poetry was Aimee Nezhukumatathil. I stumbled on her poem, Naming the Heartbeats, and something just clicked. I had never connected with a piece of writing so strongly before. And I recall being upset that no one had ever showed me this kind of poetry, that was full and welcoming. I had a strong desire to try writing something like it, weaving words, images, sounds, and I did. At the end of that class, I was encouraged by my instructor to keep writing in the poetry genre, and that suited me. I signed up for a few more workshops the following term and began an ongoing journey to discover my voice.

Q2: Who are your biggest influences today?

Sarah: My biggest influence today is the plethora of poets I’ve encountered along the way: Maggie Smith, Leah Umansky, Ada Limón, Lucille Clifton, Sharon Olds, Marie Howe, Carolyn Forché, Elizabeth Bishop, Brenda Hillman, Ocean Vuong, Laura Cronk, Sally Wen Mao, Leila Chatti, Tara Skurtu, Christina Thatcher, Ankh Spice. I could go on and on. There are so many, and more I have yet to discover! I consider these wonderful people mentors, though I have never met any of them.

Q3: Where did you grow up and how did that influence your writing/art? Have any travels away from home influenced work/describe?

Sarah: I grew up and reside in Southern California. Los Angeles, to be specific. So, yeah, I’m a city girl. And it’s influenced my writing in the sense that being surrounded by so much hustle and bustle has made me long for less, a more simple and serene environment. As such, my poems reference the nature I can see and that I wish I could see more of. My dream right now, closely related to writing, is to travel and eventually settle somewhere open and green, where life moves at a slower pace. Where I can daydream in the middle of the day without having to listen to the constant flow of traffic outside my window and focus on bird chatter, where June at night is warm and anticipating something, rather than unbearably hot and accompanied by the sudden boom of fireworks going off.

Q4: What do you consider the most meaningful work you’ve done creatively so far?

Sarah: Surprisingly, or perhaps not, the most meaningful work I’ve done creatively is connect with other poets by volunteering to read submissions at small journals. I spent a year or so as a member of staff at both The Winnow Magazine and Random Sample Review. I am no longer reading now, but at the time it was rewarding and felt right. Often, I wish being a professional submission reader was a creative career I could pursue.

Q5: Any pivotal moment when you knew you wanted to be a writer?

Sarah: Yes! I remember it well too. It was near the end of my second writing workshop at SNHU. In the comments on my final portfolio, my instructor noted that some of my poems were ready for publication. That thought, his belief in my words, made me realize how much I really wanted to be a poet. And by that, I mean not only in my head. I wanted to go through the whole process of submitting work for peer review. It’s scary at first, and always challenging, but worth it when a poem finds a forever home and readers to love it well.

Q6: Favorite activities to relax?

Sarah: Reading. It’s a bit embarrassing to admit, but I read more fiction than poetry these days. Well, not more, but it’s what I gravitate toward when I want to relax because I am surrounded by poetry all the time (others and mine). I just finished The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafón. It was such an incredible book! Rich and full of heart. I highly recommend it to anyone thinking of reading something new and unfamiliar.

Right now, I am listening to ASMR on YouTube. I’m not sure if that’s an activity, but it’s something I do to unwind. I don’t know anyone in the writing community that insists on having an ASMR routine, but mine is strict. After working all morning, in the afternoon, I’ll sit on the couch and put a video on and within minutes every muscle in my body will relax and the thoughts in my mind drift away. Then, at night before bed, to prepare myself for uninterrupted sleep. It really works!

Q7: Any recent or forthcoming projects you’d like to promote?


Well, I haven’t spoken much about it, but I do have a chapbook MS in progress at Potter’s Grove Press. And right now, I am working with my editor to polish it. It’s a small collection of poems I wrote prior to the pandemic, in early 2019. Sometimes, I’m not sure it’s right to be working on something from back then, as so much has changed–my writing style and voice included. Still, I’m proud the collection made it this far. Proud, I started something and finished it. I will have more information about it once everything gets settled BTS. And I will likely need help promoting it, as I’m inexperienced in marketing books. (I could use any and all advice). Meanwhile, I am working on a second chapbook MS that is giving me all sorts of problems and will eventually need a forever home. So, I don’t have time for anything else, though I wish I did.

Q8: What is a favorite line/stanza from a poem of yours or others?

Sarah: This question made me pause for a minute. I’d like to share a line from an unpublished work. It’s not my favorite of everything I’ve written, but it holds great meaning right now. “I tasted me, a new perspective–I am free to love and let someone else love this body, this porcelain verse, this guilt passing away.”

Q9: Who has helped you most with writing?

Sarah: Besides for the wonderful people at journals and mags, and readers, who promote my work, that would have to be my writing tribe: “Beyond LU.” It’s a small, intimate and perfect group for three students who are in Lindenwood University’s creative writing program. I’m not sure if my writer friends would be comfortable with me mentioning their names here, so I won’t. But they are amazing, and I owe them so much for being my first readers, looking over my work and giving me feedback. And for simply being there and excited to discuss poetry, writing, and life. That’s all-in-one, really. I don’t think any of us can separate one from the other at this point.


Love Poem #2 by Sarah Marquez in Avalanches in Poetry Writings & Art Inspired by Leonard Cohen

Twitter: Sarahmarissa338

A Fevers of the Mind Quick-9 Interview with Jane Rosenberg LaForge

with Jane Rosenberg LaForge:

Q1: When did you start writing and first influences?

Jane: I suppose I started writing in fourth grade, when my class did a magazine project and the teacher noticed that I had something to say. My first influences were probably the poetry my father read to me–Poe, Edward Arlington Robinson, very general American literature. He also read A.E. Houseman to me, “Terence, This Is Stupid Stuff.”

Q2: Who are some of your biggest influences today?

Jane: That’s hard to say. I studied with Kate Braverman many years ago and she’s still in my head. My favorite writer is usually the one I’m reading right now, and I’ve been reading a lot of Robert Fisk; he’s a journalist who covered the Middle East for many years. He passed away last year.

Q3: Where did you grow up and how did that influence your writing?

Jane: I grew up in Los Angeles. (My new novel takes place in Los Angeles; that’s a little obvious.) I haven’t lived there for 26 years but I still pine for the place. That homesickness is a huge influence on my work. I am always remembering, trying to recreate, or perhaps capture anew the way the air feels there, the heat, the wind. I miss the sounds of the neighborhood I grew up in, the voices of my grandparents and parents. I miss the dryness, or I should say, the crispness, because the dry thing–drought–isn’t working out too well for everyone. I miss being small and everything looking big to me for a reason–because I was young. Now I’m just small because of my genes.

Q4: Have any travels away from home influenced your work/describe?

Jane: I traveled to Ireland with my family a few years back and then wrote a novel about an Irish soldier in World War I–does that count? That’s probably the most direct influence travel has had in my work. The absence–or my absence–from home also is huge.

Q5: Any pivotal moment when you knew you wanted to be a writer?

Jane: I’ve wanted to be a writer for so long, I don’t think there was any pivotal moment. It’s just always been there

Q6: Favorite activities to relax?

Jane: Spending time with my husband and daughter; and friends; doting on my cats; reading.

Q7: Any recent or forthcoming projects you’d like to promote?


My newest book of poems is Medusa’s Daughter, a collection about my mother. You can buy it here:
My new novel is Sisterhood of the Infamous, a story of sibling rivalry, punk rock, and murder. You can buy it here:

Medusa's Daughter by Jane Rosenberg LaForge, Paperback | Barnes & Noble®

Q8: One of your favorite lines from a poem of yours?


“…and when I speak/my voice leaves me silent.” This is from a poem I’m working on entitled “Girl in a Green Dress.”

Q9: Who has helped you most with writing?

Jane: I’d have to say my husband, because if he wasn’t around to support me emotionally and financially, I wouldn’t be able to write at all.