The Invisible Aura Step into the vortex of my soul To decode the language I often speak to myself Every night when I peel off my mirage That the sea of gazes around me surmises to be nonchalance This is my universe where: Depression is not a mere mood swing It's an actual chemical imbalance My facial expressions are not always Gateways to the feelings of my heart Sometimes they are merely decor My silence is not a symbol Of any kind of equanimity Listen to the aura who's decibels Don't roar like a lion But squeal like a mouse Observe the aura that's the shy one in the corner Acknowledge the unfelt emotions For you may not feel them But just a moment of your cognizance Could determine their fate for eons Soul Whisperer I come with no ostentation No glory or cavalcade For I creep upon this junction Not to arouse a racket But to dismember the status quo I make no proclamations to be Your knight in shining armor Or to dry your tears But to bequeath equity of them To feast on the salt with thee I come not to sheath your malformations But to stand in their gallery And be a zealot for ages Of what my heart senses to be Not wounds but victors of endurance Think not of me as a paladin In a quaint fable But a commoner just to proclaim: I once bore what you did And hearken the language of your soul That others have stained as an enigma! The Midas Scratch Lay your fingers on the canvas of my flesh And scratch till what you carve Becomes the cynosure attire of my body Never to be removed Till the mind in its entirety Is severed from the bones Take no heed of any provisional brood Or waterfalls of blood For the blemishes will eventually mitigate But the fable your fingers nurture with love Will give me an immoral prevalance To any and all around me! Bio: Neel Trivedi is a writer, editor and artist and in the advertising business in Dallas, TX. He was a Pushcart Nominee for 2020 and has been published in several online magazines as well as several print anthologies. He can be reached on Twitter @Neelt2001.
This birthed body
Put upon the library self.
Fiction or non-
The perpetual, rhetorical question.
They selected me
From the self-help section.
Checked me out –
the librarian peering over the rim of rosary-red glasses.
The first few chapters read.
A closer study needed, so rules were broken by
Highlighter pens and
Later, all together lost under
Piles of papers to grade and
Petitions to sign.
Birthday cake smudges.
Menstrual blood and tears.
Empty spaces erased the final chapters.
Self is found in the transformation to Body;
loss I can manage because I already have. For more on Hokis: read this book review below Books to Read in 2021: On Becoming(Aesthetic Evolution of the Rising Ancestor) by Hokis
PASSING DAYS THROUGH FREUDIAN SLIPS A seemingly nonsensical murmur Wrapped in warm casual utterances At times, a passing fore lone word Or maybe an attended chain of phrases, Sneaking hurriedly from hidden corners Gliding towards the easy audience Seeking refuge, dripping until late Dusting the heavy sack of unconscious So with each slip, light it grows At other times, Into a puddle of jumbled letters, I drop, Bracing embarrassment of unforeseen Reversals. Rsalsreve. As in a perfect waltz, my speech “Peel the orange and then sleep”, Breaks all bounds of familiarity, Spins around, spins fast and at “Peel the sleep and then orange”, It finally halts. Shyly, I stand corrected each time Cursing, dear Mr Freud in undertones For he brought my lingual distortion to Center stage. Astonishing enough. It never fails to perform through me. ROOTING OUR DISPLACEMENT – A MEMOIR Rising winds carried me to places unseen While none had refuge to spare or solace to shed As a dandelion in motion, an un-nested bird I kept roaming Reaching the landscape, which mother often talked about, (Now mastered in memory), winds of discomfort ease and I descend into the whirlpool of memories Removing a lifetime of snow, fallen in the backyard Cold hands recover earth soft to touch, The warmth therein still feels home, crawling slowly, I Chinar – reclaim my Kashmir Nurture my wounded roots and all lost once to decay Tears of remote past will tend Likes of me uprooted from our terrains Have wondered for ages, wandered too far We the Dis Placed Are forces of nature, seeking to root our displacement THE NIGHT WILL SHROUD US AWAY We cancelled all wild plans For the final family dinner Before our town in Alaska Hosts its annual polar night Dining decked with delicacies Enticed children to whiff until supper Hot Spaghetti served with meat sauce Potted shrimp followed by chocolate tarts Eager clock ticked away, scented candles relaxed The guest arrived accompanied by a Shepherd’s pie Together we marked the hue as the sun went down Our distant laugh rang through the unadorned hallway
Bio: Anisha Kaul (she/ her) is a poet with a Master’s in English Literature, presently living in New Delhi, India. As of now 40 of her poems have been accepted or are housed in various national and international print and online anthologies. She served in the capacity of the editor for DRC, College Magazine Pramila, University of Delhi, 2016-17 issue. Anisha has also qualified the National Eligibility Test (NET) for Assistant Professorship conducted in India. She loves to write about herself in the third person. Find her on twitter: @anishakaul9.
I met my first Black person during my senior year in high school. There were no people of color in my town, unless you counted itinerant workers and I don’t think we did. As I was not included in the class field trip to Jonesboro Arkansas I went on my own. Our Greyhound bus pulled into Effingham Illinois in the dead of a December night. 1969. The driver encouraged us to get snacks and use the bathroom in a now or never sort of voice. My long hair and gold striped bell bottoms set me apart from the other travelers, not that there was a large contingent heading to Memphis in mid-winter. A young man in a black beret and leather jacket walked into the shadows away from the bus station and motioned me to follow him. “You holdin’ ?” he asked. “Nah, nothing on me.” He pulled a pin roll from behind his ear and fired it up, offered me a hit after he took a quick pull. Skinniest joint I had ever seen. He explained his people couldn’t afford to get too high. Had to stay alert. Police. Black Panther. Chicago life. We didn’t say more to each other back on the bus. Sat where we sat before. My next encounter was in college. Social studies. The teacher’s assistant wore a professor style sport jacket and an Afro. I don’t remember the context of the class. It may have been related to multi-culturalism or whatever we called it in the 70’s. I was a new jazz enthusiast and was considering a paper about music as an identity marker. I somehow mentioned my bus ride and the TA suggested I write about that, about the difference of getting high as a white or black person. I got an A in the class for supplying him with top grade weed and as research he brought some friends over to my crib to smoke it. I was quick to mimic just enough lingo to pass for being hip, or so I hoped. Hip was all I saw. Miles, Hendrix, Marley. Poverty, malnutrition, the war, all the underbelly of the beast began to seep through my purple haze. My political education gradually gained some perspective through rap sessions and poetry readings. After dropping out of college and not quite passing an audition for the local music conservatory I joined the counter-culture as a neighborhood food co-op employee and came up against racism in my bid to provide nutrition classes to the ghetto grade school just across the bridge from our store. Seemed weird a bunch of hippies didn’t want ‘too many’ black people shopping, or shop lifting as was inferred, at the community co-op. I didn’t fight tooth and nail for my idea, but I did write an adventure book for young readers that included some healthy recipes and shared it in an after school reading program. Smoothies proved to be a little too much of a stretch for teen age cuisine so the only upshot of the class was my promise to never breakdance in public. The other relationship, or should I say exposure to black culture I can recall was taking conga lessons in the park on Saturdays and doing some poetry readings at political rallies. It would be another twenty years until I broke bread, well biscuits, with a black family. Getting sober in the mid 90’s led my new bride and I to join a small racially diverse church and that meant cook outs, Gospel choir, and peculiar to the House of Refuge, a prison ministry at San Quentin State Prison. Token Caucazoid was a sort of tongue in cheek description of us following our Pastor into prison chapel for the next five years. I began to learn incarceration was a family stressing reality of staggering proportion. I kept up with volunteering in prison chapels until Covid 19 put the kabosh on that avenue of connection. Church life did bring me to Africa twice and through childhood friends of my bride Jamaica became a preferred destination of ours, it will be hard to top a Full Moon on Valentine’s Day listening to Toots and the Maytals give a beachfront concert. The point I’m meandering toward is that Black Lives matter more when real relationships are friendly, familial, and fun. Truly the hard work of replacing racism with compassionate political and personal solutions is made more tangible when its someone we know benefiting from connection or suffering from the oppressive lack of it. It’s not my place to suggest being polite and culturally curious is enough to achieve racial harmony, but it certainly is some part of the framework. I live in the boonies of Northern California, think redwoods, beaches, and a booming agriculture. The local university does bring in some diversity in the form of international students but for the most part, except for entertainment and sports, the local scene is pretty homogenous. To keep my finger somewhat on the pulse of cultural creativity I scroll through my Twitter feed to find poets and political activists and when I can buy a book of poetry (Jericho Brown, Matthew E Henry, Tianna Clark, Quintin Collins and Khalisa Rae all made this year’s Poetry Month a marathon of fabulous!) or donate to a cause. All you can do is all you can do, but all you can do is enough. A football coach taught me that years ago and it does age pretty well. I wanted my first blog for Fevers of the Mind to be encouraging and perhaps spark some conversation. I’m pushing 70 years old and I can count my friends, black and white, on one hand and I hope they can count on me to carry some weight. It’s the other in brother that makes life interesting. A poet said that. I say a lot of things but it is the listening that gets things across.
Bio: Poetry driven Spirit with saxophonic passion author Head Lines Poems and Provocations. schmitbooks.com
I meant to leave in the morning,
but now trees effloresce from bedposts,
soughing silhouettes on walls.
Secrets coil ‘round me in thorny
bramble. The wolf waits, teeth bared,
next to my packed suitcase.
Stealthily you materialize; night
incandescent with your yellow moon eyes.
“Don’t tell,” you pant, paw on my chest,
breath moist and hot against my ear.
My body is bone cold.
I’ve never told.
I pretend the forest hides my hands,
my mouth, the missing pieces you
stole from me. I lie still as an alabaster
tomb in the womb of the forest.
You slink away as you came,
fur limned in dawn. Wildwood recedes
in strands of anemic light.
I reach for my suitcase under the bed,
but your teeth are still there.
Mapping the Long Haul
My body is a foreign land,
no longer familiar to me.
In the neuronal forest I need a map
to find my mislaid memories;
the hand that shakes, the electrical
jetway pulsing erratically in time
with my heart. I wander in brume,
sensing landmarks as lightning
stutters, eyes hooded like a bird
of prey, anxious for the falconer,
anticipating remembered flight,
but sight is illusive. No lift of wings,
no songlines in the outback to guide
me; only magnetic earth to navigate
the wound that never heals.
Lungs crackle like tin foil. A million
swallows fail to dislodge the obstacle
in my throat. The irascible cough.
My head spins, the horizon yaws. I tilt
away from my axis, fire gnaws
at nerves, the sun too bright, flight
stunted. I feel myself losing feathers
to the wind, skin purple and raw.
The egg I carry falls, smashing to pieces
like snow. I am falling, too.
Hope is a destination. It matters not
if I arrive. Still I hold fast to its teat
as if it were a compass pointing east
to the land of milk and honey,
where breath billows lungs like sails
on vessels of blood. Spasms like waves
rock my body, every muscle bruised,
aches. And I am tired, so tired
of this journey I was not prepared
to take. My tongue swells, squeezed
between teeth, gums bleed, sores
prohibit speech — if only I could choose
the words I say, but this brain
will not cooperate. And now another
insult: my hair falls out in handfuls.
I need a map to find my way.
But this long haul flight is a maiden
voyage, fraught with monsters
and terrors of the deep. I dare not
At night a tube blows air
into my throat, umbilical cord
grounding me to life. But strife
keeps me awake. The world is no
longer navigable. There are no maps.
I am my own cartographer marking
the clotted terrain, tenderly undoing
knots and kinks, floundering
in unknown seas, longing for relief
from the flutter in my head,
the ringing in my ears. I hear the fog
horn calling, but I am too far away.
Bio: Gayle J. Greenlea is a poet and counselor for survivors of sexual and gender-related violence. Her poem, “Wonderland”, received the Australian Poetry Prod Award in 2011. She shortlisted and longlisted for the Fish Poetry Prize in 2013, and debuted her first novel, Zero Gravity, at the KGB Literary Bar in Manhattan in 2016. Her work appears in St. Julian Press, Rebelle Society, A Time to Speak, Headline Poetry and Press, The Wombwell Rainbow, and Life in Quarantine (Stanford).