3 poems from Neel Trivedi in Fevers of the Mind Issue 2(2019) “the Invisible Aura” “Soul Whisperer” & “the Midas Scratch”

(c)Neel Trivedi
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.


A poem “Re-bound” by Hokis

Re-Bound

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
Scribbled margins.

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.

Decades later,
Self is found in the transformation to Body;
Loose binding
Wrinkled pages
Round belly
Achy hips
Hair loss

         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

                                                                                                   

3 new poems by Anisha Kaul : “Passing Days Through Freudian Slips” “Rooting Our Displacement-a Memoir” & “The Night Will Shroud Us Away”









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.

Wednesday with Will Schmit : A Blog Entry about learning Culture and Diversity

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

New poems from Gayle J. Greenlea : “Grey” & “Mapping the Long Haul”

Grey

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
sleep.

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).

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