An Essay about Prince from Colleen Wells and “Out of Chaos Comes Art” about Mental Health

photo art by Nick Lacke on Dribble

Bio: Colleen Wells writes poetry and creative nonfiction. Her work has appeared in several anthologies, magazines and journals. She is the author of Dinner with Doppelgangers – A True Story of Madness and Recovery and Animal Magnetism.

Out of Chaos Comes Art

Once dubbed manic-depression,
bipolar disorder is a potent malady,
that wreaks havoc, making the ordered
brain disorderly, a broken puzzle.

Of the psychiatric disorders
in the DSM-IV,
it is a machine gun.

Rapid-firing  tongues,
Sadness engulfed in inertia
psychosis destroying marriages,
leaving children
addled in fear.

A friend of mine who
shares the affliction
streaked through his yard
like a white, hot comet.

Lithium, Lorazepam, Loxapine,
Wellbutrin, Depakote, Haldol,
Mellaril, Seroquel, Abilify.

And don’t forget the Prozac.

I’ve swallowed them all
to regulate my moods.

Genetic or environmental factors?
The uncertainty belies the certainty
that without them, 
some of the greatest writing
would be missing:

Sylvia Plath
bled poetry in the blue hours
before dawn, then stuck
her head in the oven,

Two orphaned children,
left in her wake,
one to wonder,
another to follow suit.

Hemingway was silenced with a gun,
leaving behind his stark, limpid prose
and a family
to pick up the pieces
like gathered river rocks
that started as sand.

Narrative arcs,

“Dearly Beloved, we are Gathered here Today…
An Homage to a Legend   also on Nuvo.Net
By Colleen Wells

          At ten years old, two records I probably shouldn’t have been listening to found me: Dirty Mind and Controversy. I’m certain when I saw the cover of Dirty Mind, my little girl eyes got as big as flying saucers. My experience with that record left me yearning for more. At the time, I wasn’t aware Prince was a burgeoning star with other records from the late 1970s already blazing trails behind him. His debut album For You was released in 1978 followed by Prince in 1979. This misguided notion evinced an intimate setting on a stage I’d be on for the rest of my life because I felt as though I had discovered him before anyone else. 

           After church on Sundays, I faithfully listened to Casey Kasem announce the weekly top 40 hits. I wrote all of the song titles and artists down in a series of little black journals and endured every cheesy long-distance dedication, sometimes so heartfelt they made me cry, to get to the number one song. I was always rooting for a specific artist’s song to claim that coveted position.
        Once I placed the Dirty Mind album on my shitty record player, the kind that shuts like a small piece of luggage, sitting next to my Sea-Monkeys, everything changed. When I heard, “Uptown,” “When You Were Mine,” and “Head,” there was something sacred welling up inside me as if I were a plant discovering my own root system. Listening to Casey Kasem’s top 40 was a ritual I did after church, but this music I had tapped into was church.
        A few years later, in 1984, “When Doves Cry” hit #1. The song reached the top ten again, coming in at #8, after Prince died. In numerology, eight is a power number and Prince was into numerology and astrology. He put a ton of thought into his symbol which has elements of both, including a backwards seven, which is known to be spiritual. Gemini, the sign of the twins, is also incorporated as the male and female symbols. Prince, born on June 7, 1958, is a Gemini, a sign marking creative, imaginative, communicative types.
         Back then, in Noblesville, Indiana, my small hometown, I could count the number of black people who lived there on my fingers. It was the polar opposite of Prince’s Minneapolis, a major city and fertile ground for musicians and artists. What exactly had I discovered behind my bedroom door in 1980? First, I recognized the guitar was different. There was this thunk-plunk-funk sound as if he was not only playing guitar but getting ready to bitch slap the strings at the same time. It felt playful, experimental, and confident all at once. I knew, but in the moments of joyful listening I forgot that something unexpected was just around the corner, like being startled in a fun haunted house.
         I began to understand that when Prince was playing an instrument it was an extension of himself, emanating from his soul. I would later learn he could play twenty-seven instruments, some say as many as forty, with prolific genius. Even as a child, I felt like a puppet when I listened, the music pulling me by an invisible string, commanding movement. 
        Second, his rich, sexy voice was unusual. I knew he was using it in a manner I had never heard on Kasem’s lists. What I now understand to be range, and Prince had a wide one, explains why he could sound so animalistic. His transitions from hyena to lion were seamless. explains it this way: “Prince had the technique to reach G1, as his lowest note, and C7, as his highest note.” The site has a chart that illustrates how other notes which “aren’t necessarily a part of his vocal range, as they weren’t reached with reliable technique… makes Prince's vocal range a total of 5 octaves and 5 semitones. If we count questionable notes, it would be 6 octaves and 4 semitones.”
       As if his vocal calisthenics and mastery over his instruments weren’t enough, at the top of the trinity were his lyrics. While Dirty Mind and Controversy had albums preceding them, the two records were the perfect introduction to my lifelong relationship with Prince.

         Many of Prince’s early songs open with a story of an impending, scandalous hook-up. The very first time I heard those songs, I anxiously awaited what was going to happen next.
          “When I met you, baby, you were on your way to be wed. You were such a sexy thing. I loved the way you walked, the things you said,” the singer croons in “Head.” Those lyrics struck me, in part, because the Catholic church I attended every Sunday taught us to take the holy sacraments seriously. Prince was about to crash a wedding in a whole new way.
        The narrative in my head of Prince and me was blossoming. As a young girl crashing into early adolescence, I was more than aware of his sexual appeal, and I felt he was teaching me through his lyrics how one day I too could feel just as sexy and free. 
        Dressed in only high cut black underwear, a jacket with studs on one shoulder, and a bandana, it was easy to assume what the guy on the cover of my Dirty Mind album was singing about. He was about to do it with the woman in the song. In some sense, I wanted to be that woman. 
         If “Head” was an instruction manual for ways to view sex, “Uptown” was an anthem for how to be free to express who we are and harness the power of non-judgment, not just in terms of sexuality, but in attitude, style, and in one’s human essence in general.  And it was packaged as an invitation; I felt like I had been invited to a huge dance party in the streets, and even though the people would be different from me, I was still welcome.
      “Uptown,” with its upbeat tempo, helped reinforce the golden rule that we should love one another despite…despite what? Despite nothing else. There is no reason not to. This is the purity we are born with before we get polluted by what we are exposed to. “Now where I come from, we don’t let society tell us how it’s supposed to be. Our clothes, our hair, we don’t care. It’s all about being there.” I didn’t know where “there” was, but I wanted to arrive at that place, and the sooner, the better.
       My life as a kid pretty much sucked. I sometimes compare it to The Brady Bunch on a bad acid trip. Prince became my lifeline into the world of imagination. I learned to question things and not buy into fear and bias.
        In the album, Controversy, Prince wears a mauve jacket, again with silver studding on one shoulder, a white tuxedo style shirt, and a black tie and vest. His gorgeous doe-like eyes pop against all these accents and he looks serious, maybe even a little upset. Behind him is a hodge-podge of newsprint with headlines referencing some of the content on the album. There’s an attitude exuding from his countenance which was different from his image on Dirty Mind. The title song opens with the lines: “I just can’t believe all the things people say. Controversy. Am I black or white, am I straight or gay? Do I believe in God, do I believe in me? Controversy.”
       In just a few lines Prince hit on the most divisive identifiers of people—race, sexuality, and religion. I was too inexperienced to really understand how these themes were so deeply rooted and interwoven into our culture. If ever there was a song of the times in response to the signs of the times, “Controversy” would be it. Yet “Annie Christian,” another track on the album, would have a hauntingly more meaningful impact many years later.

        As an adult who adopted three black children, I became well versed in how racist some Americans can be. I awoke to a higher level of awareness on May 25, 2020, when in Minneapolis, the city where Prince lived and died, George Floyd, a citizen, was murdered by four police officers.
        When I was younger, I sensed the discord in the Annie Christian song: “Annie Christian was a whore always looking for some fun. Being good was such a bore, so she bought a gun, she killed John Lennon, shot him down cold. She tried to kill Reagan, everybody say gun control. Gun control!” At that time, all I knew was Annie Christian was not a good person. Now I recognize one interpretation of the song as the tale of what happens when individuals strive for some sort of recognition through killing.
       While the motivation for killing Floyd may not have been the same as the interpretation of those lyrics, a white cop killed a black man, and the video went viral. I could not comprehend what kind of Annie Christian lurked in the souls of Chauvin and the three other police officers responsible for George Floyd’s death. 
     Floyd’s death triggered memories of racist events that have occurred in the lives of my kids who are now young adults. From the time a soccer goalie said to my daughter, “Get out of here you little n***er” as she approached the net, to when my son, who wasn’t driving, was asked to get out of the car at a traffic stop while his white friend, the driver, was not. 
          Minneapolis, Prince’s beloved hometown, is forever stained by       George Floyd’s murder.  
         Prince was a fiercely independent individual and just the kind of visionary and citizen Minneapolis could use right about now. I wonder how he would have responded. His family’s roots are in the Louisiana slave trade. He spoke out about MTV’s policy of only playing videos by black musicians late at night. Part of his mission was to fight for artists to gain control over the rights to their music. He appeared with the word “slave” on his face and went by his symbol–the artist formerly known as Prince–in protest of such. He spoke out about chemtrails and other controversial issues before his untimely death. 
        According to Dan Piepenbring, who co-authored his memoir, The Beautiful Ones, Prince planned to use his scaled back microphone and piano tour in smaller venues to speak out against oppression and corruption. He would have responded publicly about the death of George Floyd. His song “Baltimore” was a rallying cry to end police brutality there after Freddie Gray died from injuries while in police custody.
       I wish we could hear what Prince would have had to say.
       Prince, who largely taught himself everything he knew about music, used his artistry to express what he wanted for himself and for the people. He wasn’t part of a broken-up boy band battling for more fame than the disenfranchised members, more hit songs or the procurement of one another’s girlfriends. He made music for the masses. He “wish[ed] there was no black and white he wish[ed] there were no rules,” and he definitely made up his own along the way. 

      “When Doves Cry” hit number one on the music charts in early July, 1984 and ran for five weeks in that coveted spot. The MTV music video gave me a bird’s eye view of my hero emerging from a white claw-foot bathtub beckoning with his finger. It also included footage from the movie Purple Rain: Prince decked out in black from head to toe riding his motorcycle with Apollonia, his character’s love interest. I longed to be Apollonia and visualized that it was me riding on the back of his bike.
      As time went on, Apollonia played not only Prince’s love interest on screen, but off. When I had to select a saint’s name to receive the sacrament of confirmation, I chose her name. At first, I was kidding, then I was delighted to discover Apollonia is the patron saint of teeth! To this day I can say “Look Mom, no cavities!” 
      My family did not have cable television, but my best friend Susan’s family did. I would often get off the school bus at her house, eat Buddig meat and Cheez Whiz sandwiches on Wonder Bread, and fill up on the eye candy of MTV. She was bonkers for Duran Duran and had her own faux romance with the band’s front man, Simon Le Bon. If it makes me look like less of an idiot for choosing Prince’s girlfriend’s name, Susan’s confirmation name is Claire, chosen because actress and model, Claire Stansfield, was LeBon’s fiancée at the time. For a couple of teen girls who, prior to this, had Shawn Cassidy and before that Jimmy Osmond to consider, things sure were getting a lot more interesting.
      When the film Purple Rain was released later in July of 1984, I saw it over the next several weeks 17 times, and it was not easy for a 14-year-old kid to get into an R rated film back then. I was creative and I was dedicated. 

       The year was 1985, and I was going to see Prince and his Purple Rain tour in downtown Indianapolis at Market Square Arena. Apollonia 6 and Sheila E. were going to be with him. Unfortunately, he was rumored to have dated both of them. I had gotten tickets and a ride, but there were issues. I was going with my boyfriend and my best friend, Susan, but I wasn’t allowed to date. I was only 14. 
       Moreover, I had to come up with a reason why I was going to be gone so long, so I just told my parents I was going to stay at Susan’s and let her deal with deluding her dad as to where we were going. She told him we had to go to a classmate’s choir concert. It was as close to the truth as we were going to get.
        My boyfriend seemed nervous. He knew we weren’t allowed to go to the show, plus Susan and I can be a handful. He was also well aware of my near Prince obsession, which could sometimes be awkward.
       Inside MSA, we found our seats; I was in seat 4, section 16R, Row AA. Prince mesmerized me from the time he took to the stage, opening with “Let’s Go Crazy.” It was an explosive show, and he ended with a second encore, singing “Purple Rain.” At one point he was gyrating on the floor, just like in the movie. I loved how he grabbed the microphone like he was pissed at it. 

	Fast Forward to January 2017, roughly 30 years after Paisley Park opened, Susan and I went to Prince’s beloved home in Chanhassen, Minnesota. The hulking 65,000 square foot structure looked like a cross between the headquarters for a high-tech company and living quarters for a contemporary cult. The exterior was white with a round dome at the top of one of the building’s wings. It seemed mysterious and endless.
      In 1987 when he moved in, it would have offered more privacy, but the area is now built up with office parks and residential areas nearby. I can’t picture him riding his motorcycle nude in the early dawn hours as he is said to have done there.
	Inside an entryway, we gathered with our cheerful tour guide who led us past a wall of gold and platinum albums to a grand foyer where the ceiling looked like it joined with the clouds. I felt an odd pull to a central part of the floor and stood shrouded in energy. That’s when the guide told us his ashes were housed straight above us. I moved silently aside and turned away when the tears came. 
	I felt pockets of energy throughout Paisley Park. There was a heavy contemplative feeling in his office, less so throughout the more museum-like areas such as where his cars are on display, or various exhibits related to epochs of his career. I paused at a display of one of his custom-made outfits. He was so small and yet so fiercely mighty.
	There are music studios inside Paisley Park. In fact, recording at home and having the ability to jam with friends was a major goal of Prince’s when he had Paisley Park constructed.
It was in the largest studio where I had my meltdown. We were ushered into the huge room with gleaming floors and beefy sound equipment. There were partitioned mini sound studios in the corners where Prince could collaborate with others, but those musicians could be in their own studio within the large space. I was overwhelmed, and felt he was in the room standing next to me. Had he really jammed with both Lenny Kravitz and Stevie Wonder in this studio?
         I walked to a corner and wept.

        Because he had such an impact on me throughout my life, when Prince died I compartmentalized my grief. When I learned of the tragedy, I was unable to cry. Shock lasted for a while. In fact, my sister-in-law, Betty, lives not too far from Minneapolis. I asked her for the local newspapers recounting his death. Knowing how well he was loved there, I decided that would be the first news I would digest. And yet, once the papers arrived in the mail, it seemed too official; I did not open the envelopes. To this day, I have not read the Minneapolis papers outlining what was lost on April 21, 2016.
       Prince’s discography consists of thirty-nine albums. He was nominated for 38 Grammys and brought home seven. There is said to also be enough music in his vault to release a yearly album for 100 years according to the New York Daily News. In that way, his music really does live on.
       It’s been over six years since his death. Prince would have celebrated his 64th birthday on June 7. It’s still hard to fathom he is gone. I know I’m not alone. No musical icon I know of in recent history has been grieved so expressively as Prince. From the Forum in Los Angeles to the Eiffel Tower, cities across the world lit buildings purple for Prince. Niagra Falls turned purple. A Delta flight from LA to Minneapolis bathed the cabin in purple light, and countless billboards sprung up around the country paying homage to Prince. Closer to home, the Indianapolis Power and Light Company went purple, and so did the South Bend river lights. 
	I like to hope the opening lines from “Let’s Go Crazy,” of one of his most beloved songs are prophetic:
Dearly Beloved
We are gathered here today
To get through this thing called life
Electric word, Life
It means forever, and that’s a mighty long time
But I’m here to tell you
There’s something else
The afterworld
A world of never ending happiness
Where you can always see the sun, day, or night

Introducing a new print journal dedicated to poetry, writings, art & more inspired by music, artists, movies, and writers “The Whiskey Mule Diner”

The Whiskey Mule Diner Journal will include past blog posts and new submissions sent to us at  

Each issue will include sections dedicated to certain musicians, artists, actors/actresses, writers/poets.   Looking for poetry & other writing styles (prose, sonnets, haiku, essays), artwork (AI artwork works as well), photography, drawings & more.   

With every new submission send a bio & any social media info.  

We do not send rejection e-mails.  If you want to withdraw a poem or have any specific questions regarding what you have sent, please just send us an e-mail at   We do send acceptances however.  Also, for editing/curating reasons we will most likely add a considered piece(s) to the website prior to any print publications.  We are unable to pay contributors.   After an issue comes out pieces could be published on this online blog and will be promoted online as well.    Each contributor will receive a free pdf.  Even the editors have to pay for these issues!   No cover letter needed and please only send in word doc, pdf or in subject of e-mail.
  If you'd like to donate to our PayPal the e-mail for that is also 

The next batch of musical artists we are focusing on will include (but not limited/you are free to send work you've done on other artists/writers as well)  Tom Waits, Joni Mitchell, Miles Davis, Anne Sexton, Sylvia Plath, Townes Van Zandt   and also we are re-visiting other past subjects we've had on both past print issues and online anthologies that'll be revisited in one of our first issues since we already have some pieces on these    Andy Warhol, Nick Cave, Leonard Cohen, Bob Dylan, Claude Monet, Jack Kerouac, Langston Hughes, Elliott Smith, Pablo Neruda, Lou Reed, Audrey Hepburn, Prince, Depeche Mode, Elvis Costello, The Dirty Three/Warren Ellis, Marilyn Monroe

Fevers of the Mind Poetry & Art Blog

we are accepting poetry, prose, sonnets, haiku, artwork (really needed by the way for this type of project) and photography possibly.

*Also coming soon from Fevers of the Mind Print Anthologies Issues 6 The Empath Dies in the End and Issue 7 : Bare Bones Writing II.

A Poetry chapbook from my wife and Co-editor HilLesha O’Nan entitled “Werifesteria”

Poetry & Art Anthology “The Whiskey Mule Diner” inspired by Tom Waits

The Whiskey Mule Diner (on Caroline Street) by David L O’Nan

I was wandering out of Whiskey Mule, the night began fading
The city is falling all over itself and dude, you smell like onions
Taxis are hissing passing by just pissing, ripped pantyhose legends prancing drunk.
Just ask the crooked mayor, he’s had his share of temptations.
He’s burned all his morals and held his head high as he’s collapsing. 
Three women all believe that he’s dedicated, but he’s living deep on the tip of the Dead-End hill.

The diner’s lights are blinking an epileptic fury.
The faithful and the shrinks are washing their cuts in the sink.
They have been harassing their soldiers through the flesh wounds of thunder.
Bullets and promises go damp with the blood circling the city streets.
Just another cup of coffee surrounded by dust, rust, and feathers.  
Our minds remember the times as a child of walking with family and preaching God to unlit skyscrapers
Bring light to this city you damn bawdy building!  
Nasty voices call down to teach us new sinning that we never knew would go past the blinds of those windows.

The cobwebs in the corners of the Caroline and Market Street are doing a Cain and Abel waltz.
Across each other, intertwined while the poisoned neon glow of the Whiskey Mule hits it.
Old men walking crooked onto the sidewalks with lust in their eyes and itchy coats and itchy crotches.
They want to see the man play something from the 1950’s ‘til he is out again poisoned, asleep on the jazz piano.
Lifting Jesus to the ceilings,  the waitresses are all crying except for the one who’s always smiling and fetching her phone number to a plumber, a priest, or a pariah that wandered in from the subway.
Sometimes this place has felt closed for hours, 
sometimes it feels like it never stops breathing.
The fevers in this place is imminent and you walk out with hash browns in your hair. 
Feeling like a motherfucker stuck in the drain.

At Whiskey Mule you began your marriage to a suicidal levitation.  You want to sit on
 the back of a 1969 boss 429 mustang and pull at the corners of the hairs on your head.
Wailing to a friend that’ll die with you in the end, "buddy, Let’s create some shooting stars tonight”
And you’ll battle the fog in your stupor, and you’ll wish you had more pancakes and in circles
 you’ll go, pushing and shoving hobos until you’ll step on a broken bottle and crawl back into the diner
...And some Barbara Mandrell will be playing Sleeping Single in a Double bed.
You’ll feel like the stomach bugs are carving through your skin.  
Go home to the wilderness of a quiet
 apartment building that is surrounded by demons running around your head.
Drop the needle on the fading night.  Another day stalks in and abruptly gathers energy from the 
lightbulb sun.

Watching the squalor fight the dandy with the curly hairs falling out of your itchy scalp.  
No longer a village wimp.  You’ll take the bait to the next offering.  Tracy will shake the bottle
 and you can’t resist the bounce and the waves in the glass to the swarming through your throat
And you’ll dream of the fandango on a cobblestone bruising and the sunsets will sound like a sultry one
 night stand.
Forget that crippling walk for just a little while and cut that rope from the sky, little man.
Your asking to be certified, Your asking to be hypnotized, but you keep asking to be recast as something 
that doesn’t reflect in a puddle’s mirror, Jack.

The Whiskey Mule Diner on Caroline Street has good food and sometimes bad.
It has murmurs of grandiosity and mistakes to be had.
It has the memories, the merging from man to fallen angel.
It has the lazy eye blinking, It has the wisdom of a desire to escape the straitjacket.
And perform magic that illuminates from the squeezing.    
My mind is heading to a new home,
Whiskey Mule

Pinot Noir by David L O'Nan

1971, Bakersfield
Cold day, cracked around the edges but laying sweaty under itchy blankets.
After 3 A.M.  drinking Pinot Noir with mustachioed confessions. 
Can’t trust sidewinders walking when their sliding on slick brick roads blinding-
The regular man walks around with sociopathic confidence and he dreams of
all the wars ending long enough that he can find him a lady.   
He wants a family
And he wants to die from the cigarettes, 
he wants to live on nothing but pennies.
He wants it all to be wrapped up for him like a present, 
but does he know how to praise.

So he decides not to fear him, he shall not be dismayed. 
He walks with him on a sunset through the meadows-
looking for that new wave.
Drinking Pinot Noir and thinking outside the box. 
He’s that same old man he was yesterday.
He’s invented himself excuses, he’s playing fast and loosely.  
Calling all the phone numbers in his paper
 wallet.  Which lips will he kiss tonight, or will he be just biting on his?  Chapped up and feeling cold-
boned, drunk and sad.  
He drops out a few dollars for dinner with a nobody he knew from 19 years
before.  She didn’t like him then, she doesn’t like him now.  
But he’s already got images of him pushing 
up her purity veil and calling her his forever.  
More pinot noir for the dipshit.  Close your eyes and wake up with the phone dangling from the 
phonebooth and a hard-on grin, jazzed up and creepy.

Your brother’s wife and kids find you there.  She is laughing pitifully.  
She has never cared for you really.
The children hide behind an umbrella and a mask of ass and back covering their face to hide away from
Uncle Stranger.  
He’s just a drunkened wolf wandering the streets, 
howling between the sheets of 
both polars he must face, day after day.  
He never really knows his eyes and can barely feel his face.
He’s just molded full of lines with pinkish skin cheeks with an early morning yellow pickling through.
Boy, he’s a pinot noir away from chasing Jesus to the cross.  
He wants to be crucified first, and let the 
city wash away his sins.  
That olive green mattress and his wino schemes has lead him to three divorces 
and one incredible night that he relives over again and tries to regain back in his pulsing mind.

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 (Avalanches in Poetry & Before I Turn Into Gold) and Hard Rain Poetry: Forever Dylan Inspired by Bob Dylan. He runs the website. A wordpress site that helps promote many poets, musicians, actors/actresses, other writers. 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).”Taking Pictures in the Dark” “Our Fears in Tunnels” (2021) a collection of poetry called  "Bending Rivers" a micro poem collection "Lost Reflections" and new book "Before the Bridges Fell" & "His Poetic Last Whispers" (2022)  His latest book is "Cursed Houses" 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 among several other litmags. He doesn’t enjoy the process of submitting constantly, however. Twitter is @davidLONan1 @feversof for all things Fevers of the Mind.    Join Facebook Group: Fevers of the Mind Poetry & Arts Group .   

Atonement by Clive Gresswell

In the switchblade of the night
The freezing jewel of barracuda delight
The tempting fate of failing light
The falling rhythm of dismay from this train
Of thought to obey the trunk is hidden in the back of time
The amulet is prised in line
The liberation a dance of swans
Some with beacon some with songs
A marching army of choruses
Bitter winds of self regret
From sands of time the tidal wave
The room of being the bloody knave
The haunting of the bloody cave
From which the nazi hunter gave
The Jew his freedom’s only grave
Atonement splendid in the light of days.

The Summer of '89 by Lynn White

The ice-cream man appeared 
at frequent intervals
on the corner of the street
near the large grassy area
in summery Sochi.

He had no van
just a barrow
and two cardboard cartons
of paper wrapped briquettes.

He had no fridge,
didn’t need one,
everyone knew 
Russian ice-cream
to be the best,
the best in the world
and so never got time to melt!

The evidence was all around.

The grass was full of people
enjoying the lazy sunshine,
sharing their music, smokes 
and iced creamy kisses
in the Sochi summer.

The perimeter of the grass
was edged with signs.
”Keep Off The Grass”,
an English speaker translated.
She smiled.
“But we take no notice!”

Bio: Lynn White lives in north Wales. Her work is influenced by issues of social justice and events, places and people she has known or imagined. She is especially interested in exploring the boundaries of dream, fantasy and reality. She was shortlisted in the Theatre Cloud 'War Poetry for Today' competition and has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize, Best of the Net and a Rhysling Award. Find Lynn at: and 

Summit by Stephen Kingsnorth

You ask why, my reply, why not?
Enjoy the trees, but leave the wood -
and note, that orchard marvellous -
for justification not my deal,
that ignorance, a bliss for me.

Whale soundwaves pass on through the deep -
as cow wails sound unrecognised
except by those attuned to scale.
Some overdose on bitter pills
when companies slice artists’ cut -
as patrons paid for flattery
and canvassed for a frameup work.
Here siren sounds tempt from the rocks,
pied pipers lead a merry dance,
thirty piece silver buys a friend,
like kiss, a shock identikit.

So cock a snoop convention’s way,
the market place for art with strings
repay naïve fans, courtesy -
as poets clash with editors.
Trim principles, for principal -
climbed summit, music as its peak.
Most dollar short, unpublished art;
peer over shoulder if you will,
by equal chance, may overhear,
the tags that speak identity,
encounters that outlast their slot,
all subject, serendipity.

So this, we hear, story distilled, 
the mix of moods, well travelled way,
a track replayed, the trick relayed,
a riff resolved in harmonies,
bandwidth for uninitiate,
as I, a jack of all, trade winds,
who grows as hear, an ear retread,
sail wordsmith crossing rockplay tack.

Rebel Songs by Stephen Kingsnorth 

I know another buffet laid,
a battered body carried round, 
though shoulder high and beaten, bruised -
that’s how the surfing tension broke,
as law for grace, seen what it was,
another myth to pacify,
the power of men exemplified.
Their trophy false as faerie dust,
this punk against establishment,
the tables turned, not meek nor mild,
when profits came, young hope abused.

They said this breakthrough, highnoon first,
claimed quake in earth tore, altered drape,
and all was left, brief loincloth stained,
on virgin land, new paradigm.
The females vented feral screams,
while bands in wings sang rebel songs
when third, the body stole away,
tones hushed, hear strains of spiritual.

The rolling stones were laid aside
when dared by one to satisfy
their blood lust, known unjustified,
the woman raised, against mores.
So harmony not melody,
but facing truth staves tougher score,
a heartbeat pumping blood and gore,
ourselves stripped bare to start again.

You may read this, a culture shock,
just as the orthodox, he not.
Forget religiosity, 
another myth that raises Cain,
and as we want our music heard,
then clear detritus from the lore.

I visit scene from older age,
another scene, prior decades,
but empathetic to the cause.
a voice too radical for stage,
yet sage for our eternity.
But can we hear through threnody
our rage at world’s complicity?

Bio: Stephen Kingsnorth, retired to Wales, UK, from ministry in the Methodist Church due to Parkinson’s Disease, has had pieces published by on-line poetry sites, printed journals and anthologies, including Fevers of the Mind.   
His blog is at   

A Series of small poems inspired by Tom Waits by Merritt Waldon

Falling through clouds
Burgundy screams
The weight of all that air
All that falling
The bed felt good this morning
My eyes burned shut
With resinous smoke
I am a star
Riding the Rail
Climbing that
Chameleonic word
Every chance I get

While i sit sipping a Fosters and listening murder in a red barn
All of sudden envision
Sauntering out of a red barn
The Cyclops from My dreams appears
Half slouched and drooling
All over my mind
In Technicolor 
Deluge Under a big top

5 a.m. poem//

trickling haphazard tongue against labia minora
of Memory & History how they moan
dripping like liquid moon beams
their silver visions of futurity


Meditation on the mercy seat of a spirit___
Sipping with dank muses the black milk of spirit orgasm
Mind explodes like a grenade
Leaving bits of eternity across a licorice smelling room
Candle in the window, note on pillow
Blues from hell echo
Theirs a pen weeping for the hand of its master

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

a succession of failures #4 by Marty Shambles

if you don’t have money
the world does not afford 
a modicum of dignity.

i’ll give you an example:

i was outside the in-n-out
north beach, sf
circa 2013 i think
and i had slept 
on pavement
the night before,
then worked a shift 
at my job,
and would sleep
on the pavement
that night.

i needed to charge
my phone
b/c access to 
requires a phone

out in the courtyard
where the scent of
searing meats and
potatoes lowered
into oil
teased my senses,
there was a power
and i sat at a table 
where i
could get a charge.

i charged my phone
for about 10 minutes
before a security 
guard came up
and said
you can’t use that.

i know he was
only doing his 
but he made a choice
to side with the
people in this world
who want to divide
into its constituent
strip all the copper
from the walls,
send people who are
undesirable up
excrement river
and good luck
with the paddle.

what could it have 
the charging of one phone?
maybe 2 cents.
in my destitution
could’ve scrounged
2 cents from my 
yawning pocket,
had he asked—
had he identified
me as a brother
rather than rabble.

i’ll say it again
in case you missed it:
if you don’t have money
the world does not afford 
a modicum of dignity.

it’s the 21st century
and some days it seems
that some people get all
the dignity
and leave none 
for the rest of us.

Bio: Marty Shambles is a Pushcart nominated author of poetry and short fiction. His book businessmen & ghosts is available from EMP Books.

Whisky and Wine by D.C. Nobes

Swallow your fears and doubts
Wash them down with whisky
Swallow your foolish pride
Wash it down with wine.

We can’t know what life may give us
sometimes heartache, sometimes pain.
We don’t know where life might take us
sometimes losing, sometimes gain.

Swallow your tears and pains
Wash them down with whisky
Swallow your scars and stains
Wash them down with wine.

We can’t know where the road may go
sometimes rising, sometimes down.
We don’t know what paths to follow
sometimes lost, sometimes found.

Swallow your cares and worries
wash them down with whisky.
Swallow your wearisome woes
wash them down with wine.

We can’t know when an end may come
maybe soon, maybe never.
We don’t know what will happen next
sometimes love, always life.

Swallow your fears and doubts
wash them down with whisky.
Swallow your woes and worries
wash them down with wine. 

Bio: D.C. Nobes is a scientist who spent his first 39 years in or near Toronto, Canada, then 23 years in Christchurch, New Zealand, 4 years in China, and has retired to Bali. He used to enjoy winter but admits that he doesn’t miss the snow or the cold. He thinks that almost all poetry was meant to be read aloud. His work has appeared in Tarot Poetry NZ, The Violet Hour, miniMAG, Karma Comes Before, The Hooghly Review, Poetry as Promised, Whimsical Publishing Press, Boats Against the Current, Sixpence Society Literary Journal, Bubble, Red Wolf Periodical, and Acropolis. 

Bang, Bang Goes the Gun by Anton Pooles

and the moon shatters like glass! I carry fragments
in my pail—minnows and moon 

swim a vortex.
On the way home

I meet an old friend 

who makes musical instruments from fishbones.  

I trade my vortex
for a swordfish-


keep up 
the neighbours

blasting that thing all week long. 

They throw stones 
at my window,

paint my door red. 

I don’t live there

Bio: Anton Pooles was born in Novosibirsk, Siberia and now lives and writes in Toronto, Ontario. His work has appeared in an array of journals and magazines. He is the author of the chapbook Monster 36 (Anstruther Press, 2018) and the full-length collection Ghost Walk (Mansfield Press, 2022). 

Beating a Hustler by Rp Verlaine

He had taken my money
three times after I'd
bought us cheap drinks
not even a whores navel 
could sweeten.
A known rogue
in a pool hall
that already had
more thugs
than cameras find
at mafia weddings.

I was four hundred down 
doubled or nothing for 
the fourth time when I
whirled around and let the
pool stick become a splintered 
puzzle across his face
4,5,6 times
fractured his right wrist too
in case he was armed.

Everything froze save the
jukebox playing
a song I didn’t know
as I slowly walked out backwards
into the bouncer who
I gave my remaining bankroll to.
Tanned and huge in a tight tailored suit
“don’t come back” he said 
“even if he deserved it
we don’t need that here.”

I ducked into a cab
forgetting my address
And remembering I’d left my wallet 
at the pool table.
Maybe they could send it Express Mail.

Hell's Gates by Rp Verlaine

A large angry  
tattoo on this babe's arm
reads- Hell's Gates
Are Open-.

How wide? I ask
nodding to the artwork
of letters in red and
yellow fire on her arm.

Wide enough
she tells me, do
you need another

Need is not
the word I'd
use but yes  
and I watch her  
pour until the

froth kisses
the top of
the glass.

Then she  
looks in her mirror
putting a comb
through dark
the sun hits just right
every day.

Sometimes I
think I come to the
bar for that alone.

I finish my beer
tip her a twenty
and go home where
I can dream about
Hell and its guardians
with brown auburn hair.

Far better I think
than dreaming of those
with eyes languid with regret
and with souls long
out of reach or those with
knives under their pillows
I've found 
myself far too 
often sleeping
next to...

While the gates of hell wait.

So I choose the bars
the darker the better
where only the bartenders smile
refuses to hide.

Shattering The Nerves by Rp Verlaine

like a shadow reaching
across your space
erased walking  at night
Shattering the nerves.
 t.v.  talking heads  
Disconnected truths
Guillotining transitory calm
Shattering the nerves.

Letters, calls, damned texts
Disheartening Darkening, harkening
Forgotten fears
Shattering the nerves
Stupefying twists
Of stimulants of accidental bliss
Shattering the nerves.

Listening to the rain
Parting with the heavens
To a tape of Your last goodbye
Your last goodbye your last goodbye
shattering the nerves.

Amateurs Need Not Apply by Rp Verlaine

Crumbs from a bad sandwich in my beer
at local bar, long without charm,
hope, or enough cash in
the register to make it
worth a robber’s odds
of going to prison.

Photographs of New York athletes
taken ten to fifteen years ago
adorn grimy walls.
Speaking less of gain or
fame than loss.
In this place where old men know
they can drink till helpless
for nothing save
the price of looking at each other.

Most involved in a besotted solo
monologue and I don't interfere.

“A nursery in hell” says the bartender,
wiping flecks of dirt off the counter
with a towel so foul
it hasn’t seen water for as long
as too many in this bar.

Now part of the background
on unemployment
I write haiku on napkins
waiting for the next job,
or pretending I want one
like the rest of them.

Staring into glasses,
miraculously always never
empty or filled
while they kill time

and themselves slowly,
which takes years of practice
a drunk told me, adding
“but only if-
he said, almost cheerfull,
you do it right.” 

Bio: Rp Verlaine lives in New York City.
He has an MFA in creative writing from City College.
He taught in New York Public schools for many years.
His first volume of poetry- Damaged by Dames
& Drinking was published in 2017 and another – Femme Fatales
Movie Starlets & Rockers in 2018. A set of three e-books
titled Lies From The Autobiography vol 1-3 were published from 2018 to 2020.  His newest book, Imagined Indecencies, was published in February of 2022. He was nominated for apushcart prize in poetry in 2021 and 2022.

Tom Waits by Binod Dawadi

His full name is Thomas Alan Waits,
He was born on California,
He was a singer and a song writer,
He loved romantic life,
He had won many awards,

He loved  beat literature so much,
He had a beautiful car too,
Where she used to spend his time in music,
As well as other works,
He started to perform from 1960's,

He used to combine different musics,
As well as used to play them,
Like as a stream of consciousness,
Small Change, Heartattack and Vain,
We're his best musics,

He also worked in a films,
He also performed as a villain in many films,
Like as Dracula and mystery along with,
Heros character,
So we should love the Tom Waits and his works forever.

Bio: Binod Dawadi, the author of The Power of Words, is a master’s degree holder in Major English. He has worked on more than 1000 anthologies published in various renowned magazines. 

Dog Walk With Sadie Through a Tom Waits Cento by Michael Brockley

I spent the day unringing bells in a house where nobody lives. While the ghost of my white German shepherd asked what keeps mankind alive other than the innocence of dreaming. From the heart of a Saturday night, I eavesdropped on Jersey girls who lured their beaux into blue valentine beds, my ghost dog and I having our fill of pasties, g-strings, and swordfish trombones. Sadie reminisced about rain dogs over the sausages and eggs we ate in a Cadillac. King Kong’s old ’55 backfiring all the while in the vicinity of Heart Attack and Vine. We wound up on the wrong side of the road. Stumbling in and out of Tom Traubert’s blues. Neither of us could swear we’d mailed the Christmas card from the hooker in Minneapolis to the disc jockey full of bourbon in Johnsburg, Illinois. The piano had been drinking, not us. How many times must a man from the bottom of the world whistle past a graveyard until he’s granted Jayne’s blue wish? Sadie asked if I’d ever walked somebody home. I answered I hoped I wouldn’t fall in love again. 

Credits for Cento: Dog Walk with Sadie through a Tom Waits Cento

“You Can’t Unring a Bell”
“House Where Nobody Lives”
“What Keeps Mankind Alive,” Bertolt Brecht, Kurt Weill
“None of Us Is Innocent When We Dream”
“(Looking for) The Heart of Saturday Night”
“Jersey Girls”
“Blue Valentines”
“Pasties and G-Strings”
“Rain Dogs”
“Eggs and Sausages (in a Cadillac with Susan Michelson)”
“King Kong”
“Old ’55”
“Heartattack and Vine”
“The Wrong Side of the Road”
“Tom Traubert’s Blues”
“Christmas Card from a Hooke in Minneapolis”
“Jockey Full of Bourbon”
“Johnsburg, Illinois”
“The Piano Has Been Drinking (Not Me)”
“Bottom of the World”
“Whistlin’ Past the Graveyard”
“Jayne’s Blue Wish”
“We’re All Just Walking Each Other Home,” Ram Dass
“I Hope That I Don’t Fall in Love with You”  

Bio: Michael Brockley is a retired school psychologist who lives in Muncie, Indiana where he is looking for a small dog to adopt. His poems have appeared in Lion and Lilac, The Last Stanza Poetry Journal, Ekphrastic Review, and Visiting Bob: Poems Inspired by the Life and Work of Bob Dylan. Poems are forthcoming in Vagabond Dissent, Wordpeace, Down in the Dirt, and samfiftyfour. 

Pressing On by Stephen Kingsnorth

It seems what’s pressed is catching up,
that gold disc rising after set
as press on brings returning past.
Perspective says tracks disappear,
but groovy when they reappear;
the return ticket underscored,
prepacked as greetings in a card,
both art and music stacked in pile.
Its story stretched from spin before,
long play, when only ears received.

Surrural by Stephen Kingsnorth

Whiskey, lemon, ginger beer,
Kentucky, St Pat’s Day cheer,
following the mule indeed,
Mojo tops with Epitaph.
Laid claim Jameson the best -
I’m Bushmills, an Antrim man.
Where he’s at, Surrural too,
as rhythm beats, furrowed, bow,
hoe down, square prance and the plow.

New word minted, larger field,
come a cropper, share the yield,
cock-a-hoop as cock the tail,
shaken, stirred and then preserved.
Has it legs in swirling glass,
Black and Tans, in liquid bold,
bluegrass for the bourbon thrill,
citrus, catcher in the rye,
does it kick into long grass? 

The New Friend by Eamann Breen

There was nobody in the back of the diner except him, sitting alone. He couldn’t take his eyes of me when I sat down. He nearly dropped his toast into his coffee. He nodded but I ignored him. I thought of moving but it was too late. It would be stupid to move away like he intimidated me or somethin’ like that.

Mario scurried over to me. ‘What would you like today Angela?’

I looked at the menu in the plastic holder on the table that I knew by heart. I put it down. ‘I left me purse at home.’ I hated having to do this again.

‘Don’t worry you can pay me the next time.’

I ordered a capacino and a pan-oh-chocolit. As I sat there like a spare and texted Tina and checked twitter. Tina was having a bad hair day.

When Mario brought the coffee the guy cleared his throat and said, ‘you’re a pretty girl, I’ll give you that, but you’d be much more attractive without the dyed hair.’

Fug-off. I knew I was pretty. I spent a long time every single day trying to hide it. This morning I had had a long bath while my mother was at work. I used her good lotion and shampoo. She’d be ragin’ when she got home. Before I left the flat I scrapped all my hair back and covered my face with foundation and tinted my eyes lids green. It was like a mask. It made me feel strong and before I left the house I cut myself. Only a scratch really. A hint of pink under the skin no blood but I put a tissue under my sleeve just in case.    

‘I don’t want to talk to you.’ I didn’t even look up from my phone. Then I couldn’t resist. ‘So who are you? A fashion expert?’ I knew my roots needed to be done. I knew I was a mess. 

‘I’m John, but people call me Johnny Cash.’

‘Is that a joke?’ he was beginning to bore me. I could tell he liked the sound of his own voice. Deep voice, local probably, been away I guessed.

‘Like the country singer but I like to make money.’

‘What are you doing here? You look like a loser.’

He ignored me but kept my stare. Then he smiles, eyes all twinkly ‘What age are you? Let me guess …?’

‘I’m nineteen. Too young for you.’

‘Jesus you’ll look like forty in a few years’ time. You’ll need to cut out the smoking for sure.’

‘How d ’ya know I smoke?’

‘I can smell the nicotine from here.’

‘You’ve got some fugin nerve!’ I put my hand in my jacket pocket and squeezed my lighter letting the sharp edge of the top dig into my thumb. I like the comfort of the pressure, just like the feel of the knife on my skin when I cut.

‘I’m not saying anything you don’t know. Nothin’ you haven’t heard before.’

‘What about you? All dressed up in your suit and gel in your hair.’ Nobody around here dressed like that I laughed. Then I spied a small snake of a tattoo trying to escape from under his white shirt cuff.

‘Well how’d it go in court?’

He looked surprised and stared at me looking directly into my eyes. I didn’t blink or turn away. Finally, he offered ‘how did you know?’

‘New shirt, not ironed and hiding your ink.’ I laughed.

‘Not guilty’ he said slowly. But he said it in a way that meant something else like the absolute opposite.

‘I bet you get good wear of that suit and your own chair in the court.’ I smiled, so smart. ‘Maybe buy yourself a new one. I hear they have a sale on in Dunnes this week. What were you up for?’

‘Breaking and entering. Robbery and misdemeanours. Take your pick.’

‘Cool. What are you doing here?’ As I looked around at the tatty walls and cheap tables and damaged chairs. Everything was worn and came from another place. Rejected because it wasn’t good enough.

‘I’m in-between.’

‘In-between what?’ I asked. He had me hooked like a fool.

‘In between lives you could say.’

‘Yeah right.’ I checked the phone again. Nothing new.

‘You’d have to get rid of that bad attitude and smile a bit more.’ He waived to Mario for the bill. ‘We could make money.’

‘I’m not a theef. Anyways if you are so good Johnny Cash why aren’t you in a mansion in Killiney?’

‘Life has played a sad trick on me, a sad sad sad trick. But then you would understand all about that.’

‘Me?’ I exploded

‘Yes. You’re Jimmy King’s girl, aren’t you?’

‘Ex-girlfriend!’ I hissed. ‘Fugin ex if you want to know.’

‘Ah. I see. He spoke about you a lot inside. Your blonde hair and your smile. He had some photos too. Very tasty I might say.’

‘You make me sick.’

I don’t think so. I’m a much better jockey than Jimmy King. I could look after you. Take care of you. I’m on the lookout for a woman. I would treat you well. Get some rings for your fingers. Maybe a new phone. Maybe one of dose Burberry bags.’

He was full of it. I knew it and he knew it. But he looked alive. I imagined him pawing me and it wasn’t any more unpleasant that Jimmy King with his stubby hands and slobbery kisses and his slapping. Not romantic like or long term but for a time I could do it. Jeez I was desperate.

Mario approached. ‘Isn’t she a pretty girl?’ Johnny Cash says casual like I was a greyhound or a Honda.  He handed him a note.

‘Pretty Angela.’

‘My mum calls me that.’ I said before I could stop myself. Just slipped out.

‘No job I imagine and no prospects.’

‘Fug you. I’m in between jobs.’

Fugin Mario winked at me as he left the change on the table and walked away. Johnny Cash examined the small metal plate and called out ‘excuse me mate I think there has been some kind of mistake.’

Mario ran his hand through his fringe and turned annoyed. ‘Whaat-a-mistake? Coffee and toast? Three fifty.’ Mario under pressured reverted to his Italian accent and looked at me for approval.

‘I gave you a twenty.’

‘No you didn’t. It was a five.’

‘No definitely twenty. I don’t want to cause a scene.’

‘It was five.’

‘No. I’m sure.’ Johnny Cash checked his wallet. ‘Yep twenty. Certain amigo.’

‘No it was a five.’

‘Is the manager about?’

‘I check.’ Poor Mario. He went to the till and spoke to the cashier. There was some raised voices and pointing towards the back of the café. She handed him three fives. Johnny Cash stared straight at me all through this interval. Mario came back and handed over the change.

‘Thank you!’ he said as if the greatest wrong in his life had suddenly been made right. He got up and wiped the crumbs from his trousers and walked passed my table. He dropped a napkin with a mobile number on it and then ran his finger across my cheek as if he were playing with a dog. ‘Call me if you want.’

I said nothing. I didn’t even turn around to see him leave. Not for the first time in my life I felt tainted. I sensed Mario standing beside me before he spoke.

‘Your friend -’

‘No friend of mine!’ I snapped

‘The man’ he continued.

‘Yes the man. What about him?’

‘He lied. We have no twenties in the till.’

‘Is dis my fault?’ I needed air. I wanted to run out and fill my lungs with cool fresh air. As far away as possible.

‘He’s not a good man.’


Slowly I walked out with the napkin next to the lighter in my pocket, the lighter that has somebody else’s girlfriend’s name engraved on it, as I pushed the door open Mario shouted, ‘tell him not to come back.’ I smiled through concrete lips ‘you too!’ I smiled no more. The door, as always, banged noisily behind me.

He was waiting across the street as I knew he would and he knew he would. Nothing I could think of would stop me now.


‘Well alright. One thing. If you put your fists on me, I’ll stab you in the throat with a knife.’

He looks me straight in the eye, comes close and I can smell his sweet aftershave and tells me if ‘I ever do that you can have this knife to do the job’ and he taps his breast pocket.

‘Coolio’ I say.

‘Where to now? Your place?’

‘No I’m kipping at my mom’s at the moment.’

‘My place then. I’m across town. And take that scrunchie out of your hair.’

I do and shake it out. It covers my shoulders. He leans over and smells it in the middle of the street. He puts his arm around me and we walk towards the corner. I allow myself the luxury of resting my head on his shoulder as we walk. We stop at the lights and he turns to me dead serious.

‘I like to do certain things with my lady.’

I laugh. ‘I’m no lady!’

‘Oh, but you will be.’ Now he laughs back.

‘One more thing’ I say noticing his blue eyes for the first time. ‘I don’t do no hard drugs. I don’t inject and won’t help you.’

‘That’s fair and not a problem for me. What about blow?’

‘I don’t mind a smoke.’

‘Sorted then. Got some good skunk back at the apartment.’

Then I think of the two of us together. What am I doing? I take Jimmy King’s old lighter out of my pocket and throw it in the bin. Off we walk into the future. Well maybe not the real future but a future for as long as it lasts. Just another Monday. Next week it could be different for me but I don’t get my hopes up.

Bio Eamann Breen (he/him) is an Irish born London based playwright and storyteller. His short story When He Told Her has been published by Liberties Press Dublin in an anthology called Brevity is the Soul. The Hessian Bag was shortlisted for the Colm Tóibín International Short Story Award at the Wexford Literary Festival. His monologue The Lucky Escape debuted on the Player Playwrights Showcase YouTube channel – and Ten Top Films has recently been published by the Seattle Star

New Disease Streets by David L O’Nan

I cut a record in the trance of snaps
On a new disease street.
Watching them worship the homeless man’s defeat
They stole our dancing jewels,
And from that fame
The sandwich bag Madonnas grew.
The appetite for the bleak and the new.

Music breathes out of dead-end windows
Cockroach apartments smell better than -
The flesh that is sticky from these sweat bleeding streets.
Oh, the wet blades shine more when they’re silver.
An appetite for the starved and the view.

The alcoholics are stretching for a new fight.
Those dirty pigeons that sleep in the grass instead of the trees.
I bravely found a quarter in the storm drain,
It appears the acid has eaten away at George Washington’s face.

Nevertheless, I can ride in the rusted pink taxis -
That drives faster than quicksand.
It is lonely then sickly.
Huffing in graffiti paint fumes through the holes of a brown sack.

I’ve surmised that I’ve digested the whole city, and my stomach is -
Starting to rumble and splash in its own rivers.
Now, my existence has been debated for years.
But for now, you can call me Galileo -
Because I'm punching down the stars to the land.

We are just trying to give the dying one last light show.
With all the roses’ souls, I've ripped from the soil.
Before we all slip back into a coma
And dress back down to our dusty selves.

A Full Moon Over Secret Headquarters by David L O'Nan

The full moon becomes our religion
Watch the fold in the clouds, that is us
And if they shall search for us
Amongst our secret headquarters
Cuddled together sharing Egg Biryani
What are those stars, trapped behind obese trees?

The wind blows at our tent, our lockdown
Trying to infiltrate our codes
To steal away our dance
and leave our footprints to be discovered by the gods.
The river wants us too - It sways in a vulgar ballet 
Then dies off against the dam.

Your scarf and dress left in a ruinous insult in the mud 
Left to be panicky, dizzy, separated, and severed alone - In the grass.
How can I relocate our flames?
To dwell in the hum of purring 
Collect our wings from the cheap magician
and terminate the spell.

A grandiose full moon smother
With its clouds
Even after promising heaven behind the dark curtains - That was us.

A Broken Pocketwatch Genius by David L O'Nan

Heard a gunshot through the golden curtain
They were ringing bells and smacking tambourines on our adventure.
I woke up on the greyhound bus, dumbfounded with a boner.
I can only remember someone whispering a smokey smell into my ear.
And then I went to a faint.  
A pocketwatch missing and several ladies singing loudly
Anyone here could have been the culprit.

Sitting in piles of sweat,  the heat boils me to anger.
My jeans are dirty and stained.  Someone’s needles rolling down a blanket.
I just sit there trying not to dwarf myself in this world of giants.
Sloped over and hiding my head in a t shirt.  
I was put here to go to war with the bubbles in my head I am just popping them and looking around to see who the snitch will be.
So I can maybe lead myself out of a touch of pandemonium.

By the edge of the bus I leaned and rested my aching head.
I smoked 2 cigarettes with a belly dancer-
who smelled like the walking dead.
I see a collection of papers on the floor, and I know we are somewhere in the south.
I see Missing Persons Posters folded under a green skirt and a musky towel. 
Have I made a deal with the sin of flesh, or a greasy devil?

Have I made my genius wasted by hanging my clothes in the land of honey and feathers?

I see this girl from many moons ago across the street.  I suddenly feel a little safe even though she never imagined me.  She imagined herself as a stranger to kindness, and as a dart to be thrown blindly to the glass.   She was innocent once, then new cables,

And new wires to trip her into doubt.  She was once my dream when she wasn’t sharing the last name of some fella’.   
Yet here I am still thinking that she was the one that could have known me better than anyone.

Poetry from Austin Kuebler : New Metropolis

photo from pixabay

New Metropolis

This is from Austin’s upcoming collection “Notes to Margaret and Songs for Marguerite”

I have to resurrect dissatisfaction
And peace that comes with the push
Without a crown.

I am looking at the replays but not the game
I am sorting through the budgets but focused on the cash
Even though it has been burned before it was made.

I am restless, not distracted,
Running heavy, used to the heartbeat hard,
Bruised high, no time to heal, no recovery
But a move to break out…one day
Believing the chips I throw will count,
Will still amount to the shift a generation away.

I see it Margaret
I see your gang, color blind
And somewhat kind
But can you all make the moves to de-rig, unwind, re-wire and move the old along?

How will you keep the fever balanced and laugh under duress?

I, I am just coming out of it and will mount the resistance line soon, spring high and be dissatisfied
My troubles may dissolve-or not-
My waiting will be over
My contribution will be sound.

I can see it now and I have some time
When the doubt at city’s dawn has been lifted,
the mist has sifted through the open iron gates and risen
The streets will be cleared for peace in the morning sun

The New Metropolis.

You will be walking in a smart camel overcoat, with no caffeine of course,

Bio: Austin is a songsmith, musician, writer, poet, coach, manager.

A Fevers of the Mind Quick-9 Interview with Richard Cabut

Q1: When did you start writing and who has influenced you the most?

My first paid writing job was in 1982 – I was 22-years-old – freelancing for the NME, under the pen name Richard North – after New North Road (near Old Street), where I was squatting at the time. London back then was characterised by wrecked and abandoned property, corrugated iron, fires burning in rusty metal barrels in empty yards, wasteland, toxic clouds of tobacco smoke in the dole office, on the top deck of the bus and in one smokers’ carriage on the tube, darkness. It was an environment which you could truthfully run wild in, to paraphrase Malcolm McLaren. And I did. I loved it. I guess I was taken on at the NME to write about a particular type of post-punk bands sometimes called Positive Punk, the name of a front cover piece I wrote about the movement, which wasn’t particularly a movement – just a loose collection of reckless feckless glam soaked musicians, squatters, urbanites, trash clubbers, punk nostalgics, dopers, no hopers. It didn’t last long – satisfying a need for vitality for a mere few months, and then we all moved on.

I carried on writing for the NME as well a number of other magazines and papers, before taking a writing job at the BBC. Which I quit after ten years or so, to carry on with my own projects – journalism, theatre, and authoring a number of books, e.g. Looking for a KissPunk is Dead: Modernity Killed Every Night (Zer0 Books), Dark Entries, etc.  

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

As a very young kid, I was looked after by my grandmother, while my parents worked. I come from a Polish background and my babcia (granny in Polish) amused me and herself by telling stories all day –  fantastic Polish tales of dark foreboding, dire warning, dislocation and disaster, fortitude and survival, of how the cold will settle with deathly embrace around our shoulders if we forget for one single moment to beware, to be constantly on your guard. Folk stories, and family history of how, during WWII, my family had been ethnically cleansed by the Soviets from our home in Eastern Poland to labour camps in Siberia, and then, after amnesty, to the middle east, Africa, and, ultimately, England. A true odyssey. My babcia placed these tales in a mythological context. Similarly, her descriptions of current affairs were akin to the telling of contemporary fables. I guess knew then that I wanted to tell stories like her.

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

I suppose those editors and publishers who have, over the years, recognised my wild and raging talent. I humbly thank you.  But, in my experience, writers rarely  help one another and are mostly fuelled by ego, jealousy and hatred of other writers, especially successful ones. I’ve seen friendships end overnight after a former pal has had a good review or a few sales. The writing scene is characterised by vanity, rivalry, and bitterness. As Gore Vidal said, ‘whenever a friend succeeds, a little something in me dies.’ Ha. I also like the line ‘succeeding is not enough, others must fail.’

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

I was born in Aylesbury, Bucks, and grew up in Dunstable, Bedfordshire. Thirty miles up the M1 from London. Suburbia largely. There, kids left school and went on the track, the production line, at the local factory, Vauxhall Motors. If you got some qualifications you could join the civil service. Meanwhile, some couples had been going out with each other since 3rd Form and watched telly round each other’s house every night, not saying a word. I didn’t know what I wanted, but I knew I didn’t want any of that. Instead, I was in love with punk rock. I was in love with picking up momentum and hurling myself forward somewhere. Anywhere. Rip up the pieces and see where they land. Which, for me, at the age of 18, in 1978, happened to be London the traditional refuge for suburban refugees – people who felt disaffected by life in the sticks: the treadmill, the mores, the conservatism, the repressive nature of family life. We wanted to tip all of this upside down, assert ourselves and fathom the world. There, in London, I wrote and produced my punk fanzine Kick.

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

I always think of my latest work as the most meaningful, for obvious reasons.

Q6: Favourite activities to relax?

Procrastination, prevarication, seeing people, avoiding people, bad language, bad behaviour, hanging out, talking shit, fucking around, shopping for clothes, lying on the sofa, lying in the sun, lying, being boring, yoga.  

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

The End. Obvious huh

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

While working I usually listen to Mixcloud – mostly dub, low event horizon music, spiritual jazz. Music always keeps it ticking along – the heartbeat, the soul and all.

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

Yes please.

I’ve signed my second book contract of the year – with the notable New York publishers Far West Press, purveyors of fine literature, who will put out my book of verse entitled Disorderly Magic and Other Disturbances in Spring 2023– available nationally in the States, select shops in the UK and Europe, and online worldwide.

Disorderly Magic is post-punk, dark jazz, pop art verse. Essential beat up/down, free-fall, free-for-all poetry for people who don’t particularly like poetry (and who do, of course).

Disorderly Magic features subterranean scenes, picturesque ruins, neon glowing, faded glamour, Chelsea Girls, the damned, the demimonde, the elemental, being on the edge of being pinned down by our ghosts.

Also, memory, magic, mourning, worlds and words that are desperately fragile –mapping the loneliness and expression of private sorrows, some peculiar energy from the streets, hidden and brilliant corners, ‘well of course I liked Godard’s films before 68 but…’

And, a graveyard of myths, nostalgia, ‘the problem is: to get back to zero’, image of nylon, sur et sous le communication, folk devils, alienation – full face or in profile, the Scala cinema London 1983, the Zone, the consumer society, concrete brutalist situations, that which doesn’t exist.

Plus, French film slurred, correct sounds for a new audience, POV shots, reverse shots, absolute technical precision, brand new revenge, compartmentalisation of our lives, everywhere at once, ‘“I prefer American films… they’re prettier” – “Yes, but less arousing,”’ invisible people in homes, in other words no normal life.

Additionally, blocks of flats, signs of repression, reality of reflection, very little ideology, juices stirred, dilation of the pupil, Polish mysticism, passage of a signal, pop blow jobs, pravda, overlaying one image onto another, all in black and white (black and white is fast – colour is slower) – standard speed for capturing abrupt movement, madness.

Set in full moonlight, before the Flood.

Disorderly Magic and Other Disturbances will be available for pre-order March 2023, and published May 2023 by Far West Press.

Moreover, my current novel Looking for a Kiss has been picked up by the exciting publishing company PC-Press.

It will be re-published next Spring (2023) in an extended and amended edition, with new text additions, artwork and cover. There will also be an audio book version. The paperback and hardback versions will be distributed to shops nationwide, and will also be available via the usual online outlets. Until then, Looking for a Kiss is no longer for sale.

PC-Press released Melissa Chemam’s book Massive Attack: Out of the Comfort Zone, the history of Test Department, Total State Machine, etc.

Pete Webb, who runs PC-Press says: ‘Looking for a Kiss is a post-punk masterpiece. The book presents a particular slice of Post-Punk London in its brutal, negating and bleak narrative that brilliantly evokes the time.’

Looking for a Kiss remains a ‘fabulous’, poetic some would say, chronicle of speed and madness in the London/NY 80s post-punk milieu.

It was described in the programme notes of this year’s Lewisham Literary Festival, where I appeared, as ‘a cult classic post-punk pop art novel.’

Author Biography

Richard Cabut is author of the novels Looking for a Kiss (PC-Press, 2023. Previous edition: Sweat Drenched Press, 2020) and Dark Entries (Cold Lips Press, 2019), co-editor/-writer of the anthology Punk is Dead: Modernity Killed Every Night (Zer0 Books, October 2017), contributor to Ripped, Torn and CutPop, Politics and Punks Fanzines From 1976 (Manchester University Press, 2018) and Growing Up With Punk (Nice Time, 2018). 

His journalism has featured in the Guardian, the Daily Telegraph, NME (pen name Richard North), ZigZag, The Big Issue, Time Out, Offbeat magazine, the Independent, Artists & Illustrators magazine, thefirstpost, London Arts Board/Arts Council England, Siren magazine, etc.

Other fiction has appeared in the books The Edgier Waters (Snowbooks, 2006) and Affinity (67 Press, 2015). As well as on various internet sites.

He was a Pushcart Prize nominee 2016.

Richard’s plays have been performed at various theatres in London and nationwide, including the Arts Theatre, Covent Garden, London.

His poetry has appeared in An Anthology of Punk Ass Poetry (Orchid Eater Press, 2022), and magazines such as Cold Lips, Foggy Plasma, 3:AM Magazine, etc.

Richard exhibited as contributing artist (textual) to Always On My Mind, an exhibition in aid of The National Brain Appeal, the Fitzrovia Gallery, London, July 2022.

He published the fanzine Kick (1978-1982), and played bass guitar for the punk band Brigandage (LP Pretty Funny Thing – Gung Ho Records, 1986).