2 poems from Fevers of the Mind Anthologies by J Matthew Waters

Say You'll Haunt Me
Inside this cage I hear you sing
your personal psalms
songs of woe and joy
and everything in between

during your darkest moments
supernovas shine high above

though not in your line of sight
they keep you off guard and hopeful

your face is patterned
vertical lines channeling emotions
streaming from your eyes

out in the yard shadows cast
familiar symmetrical smiles

some nights you are unprepared
to fall asleep in my arms

one day a miracle will open the door
leaving you with new ideas
either spiraling yourself far away
or forever haunting my days

The Wounded Marionette

it was hard to see the strings
stuffed inside his rucksack
as he rode the train from one town
to the next
all slumped over and needing
a miracle or two
to bring him back to his former self

they stopped the bleeding
back on the battlefield
stitched him up as best they could
sending him on his merry way
cross bar and all

staring out at the countryside
he went in and
out of consciousness
the landscape as desolate as his thoughts
leading him to wonder if the good doctor
would be able to save
his most precious possessions



Bio from 2019:
J Matthew Waters was born in Rock Island, Illinois in 1961, and grew up across the Mississippi in Davenport, IA. He graduated from the University of Iowa in 1984 with a B.A. in English. His first collection of poetry "Five Hundred Pieces," was published in 1997. His second collection, "In the Middle of Somewhere," was released as a Kindle edition in 2011. In 2013, he published "101 Chances," in both Kindle and paperback editions. His latest collection entitled "Forty-Five Revolutions per Minute" was released in December, 2015. He currently resides in Cedar Rapids, IA where he works and plays and writes.

New poems by Zebib K.A. : “Can you write in the dark?” & “Exodus”

Can you write in the dark?

A blanket wrapped around her shoulders,
feet tucked into wool socks, loosening at the heels.
Hair braided, pulled back in a pink wrap.
The lamps outside her window spurt awake, pale orange
and cold night air leaks in through a crack, tasting of smoke and citrus blue;
it snakes up her nose.
She observes the dark heavens.

A lost child’s balloon became a blimp, rising and falling in the distance.
She pulled out her notebook from under her pillow,
beginning her nighttime ritual of writing.
The kind of writing delivered in fitful, fatigued bursts.
Those evenings before internet, before risk, before dawn,
not turning the light on, listening for steps outside the door.
Her lines invisible in the darkness, lines curved and
flourishing, swaying crooked across the page.
Writing delirious imaginings,
and in those few minutes all was possible and urgent.
Future documentaries and novels,
walks along lagoons
and this street transformed into a heath.
In the morning her words appeared to be the drunken ramblings of a fool.
A young fool, full of nectarine-rich introspections which,
illegible to others’ eyes, brought relief.
Decipherable now only to a lost logic,
those crisp nightly worlds tracing across her page.

Exodus

A green fire burned in her engine room.
It spread through her
silver husk, carbon-made.
This ship, her body,
not grown, but built;
mechanical arms twisted her components
into place.
She glides through the fabric of seconds and length of darkness
as a perfect beast.
No one survives on board,
the animals fell, and then the people.
Her systems failed, her engine sparkled into flame.
The planets were abandoned long ago.
Sometimes we construct our own breakdown.

She still works just as she was meant to.
There, hidden, one human is left.
They steer,
and see into the depth of the wires.
The source of the burning.
Inside she appears like an infinite Rube-Goldberg machine,
her insides, the mechanisms of her construction.
Somehow this human survives, and sees the pattern that has
destroyed them all.

Flames swirl through her compartments.
She says forward, always forward, through the vacuum,
ss she was meant to,
never-ending.
Humanity recedes, everything ever known recedes.
This last human wonders
what to do in the heart of space?
The fire grows closer.
A last escape.
In case of fire, break the glass.

Bio: Zebib K. A. (she/her) is a writer and psychiatrist. She recently moved from NYC to Scotland to do a Masters in Creative Writing at University of Edinburgh. She has been published in The Rumpus, Apparition Lit, and more. She is black, queer, and comes from an immigrant background, and explores these identities in her writing.

Poems from Fevers of the Mind Anthologies by Stephen Sherman

Birds, Tree, Animals, Silhouette, Nature

Tree of Crows

High up along the branches as some fruit in barren tree
the crows have gathered for a quorum sitting silently.
A twist of head the only motion that betrays some stir.
A twist of head, then stillness long, as other crows concur.

They seem like ordinance stocked up high on a shelf displayed
They seem a jury pondering with chin on palm arrayed
They seem to wait for bus or train to travel into night
and patient are those passengers, sun setting on their flight.

The crows they sit and gander at each other's inky mane,
the sun asetting crimson hues on branch, on crow as flame.
And lurch these large and on'rous things foreboding some avail,
and as to where their trek will call one hopes to tell the tale.

All Souls Day Star

A single Star on All Souls Day was brilliant in the night.
The darkness had consumed the sun
and grasped up all the light.
But there it shone just to the north as twinkles went to sleep.
Their eyes were drearily consumed
and awake they could not keep.
"What haughty brilliance brought to us?" the twinkles dreamt soon on.
Our eyes are wrestled with that shine
what "Souls Day Star" bought on
But laughed away the "All Souls Star" that shined too bright to see,
for now that twinkles shine to sleep,
the "All Souls Star" shines free.

The Rustling of the Satin Dress

The beast that bodes accompaniment is silent by her side.
It offs a leer, it's head to sway nose down while plying by,
Not even steps are heard from Beast to Beast and breath collide
and colored doom as darkened room as saunter'd shoulders wye.
But why does Beast, like trusted friend ne'er fail to leave her side?
Her task must e'er be sure fulfilled without a singlest threat
and soleful role and arbiter to dispatch those implied
is Beast forever, Beast anon, and Beast whom Gods ne'er met.
Her fingers long and supple touch with gentlest of care.
Her eyes as deep as star filled nights seek those of last breath bound.
Her divine whisper "Come thee hence" as song from lips in aether,
her downey cheeks can bare no tears as wings angelic found.
Divine ever and tearless hostess to whom all life confess.
Ages keeping ear on guard for Rustling of her Satin Dress.

bio from 2019:
Stephen Sherman was born on the birthday of Walt Whitman. He lives in the Coney Island area of Brooklyn. Stephen Sherman has been writing most of his life including hundreds of poems and several albums of copywritten music. He has been involved in acting, professional singing, production of a video Blog hosted by famed journalist Bill Weinberg and is presently coming to the retirement of a career as a Civil Service Supervisor. For decades he has been a proponent of progressive agendas, civil and woman's rights. Sherman has interests in Hindustani and Carnatic music and dance and Eastern Philosophy.
"Do your work, do it well, have fun doing it"

Life-themed poetry by Khadeja Ali

Poems written in reflection of life’s power; in awe of beauty and in sadness of it. Reminiscing about times that never existed yet are so alive. Feeling disconnected from life that was, indeed, very real. These are intimate, meditative works that are meant to wash over you the way life does when you are at its center and have no control over it. --Khadeja

 transformation meditation

air skimming across the dew
launches it off the blade of grass 
it’s new role: ground’s fuel.
a dew’s descent is a millisecond of velocity dropping,
unheard whistling to the tiniest of ears
yet a vibration well felt.

---
an observation

it may be beautiful, but it may not be yours.
this is an observation of mothers
by one who could be one
but made the other choice.

to watch emergent life
is to watch a known, and yet unknown.
it is watching the new life pushing out an orifice,
or cracking a shell, 
even growing out of soil.
power, awe, and disgust all spark at once.

so dangerous is the forcing of birth,
so oblivious are we to the workings,
that our breaths rebel against our lungs.
our minds rebel against ourselves.
and all the while,
people are still doing it—giving birth. creation is divine.

the child is always being waited for.
outside our Mother tends, 
if not the sweaty, warmth of humanity
in one of the other forms:
the Earth, the egg-warmer, the web-weaver, or the Queen,
so many forms…
all of them the same. protecting by fighting until the bursting
against nature, time, enemies, and luck.
perilous is this endless battle,
helpless are we to stop it.
hopeless because we don’t want to.
we can only learn how to despair accordingly.
learn, learn, learn. while teaching! and reveling!
what a mess!
and then we cannot deny,
there is nothing more beautiful than being alive
to watch a seed turned to stalk.

a moment--an appreciation of the mother’s choice.
the choice of motherhood itself,
the choice of glorious pain, screeching music, 
thankless accomplishment, 
sunshine with moonlight,
and underneath it all – a pull that never stops.
I sit here, a loving stone, in place.
       
             
                                           
Bio: "Khadeja Ali is a poet and visual artist from Massachusetts who uses her art to explore themes of the heart and the mind. She has a degree in Art History as well as a Master's in Intercultural Relations--both of which inform her life experience and her art. Khadeja is a native of Mauritius with ancestry from Eastern Europe. You can find her on twitter as @khadejalidraw."

New poems by Vicky Allen : “Buzzard” “five hundred and forty three years” “Kingfisher”

Buzzard, Bird Of Prey, Animal, Bird

Buzzard

hear me:
high-pitched cry
I am birth
I am light
I am sky
unbounded
my very feathers speak
force, power

I see you
weighted to Earth
tethered to
creature after creature
slow, slowing
with fade and flinch
a paltry ache
of passing days

you are
open-mouthed
soil-bound and
I see you
seeing me
hearing my cry
I will permit this:
I accept your wonder

do you envy
my wide wings
my hard grace
my tender, slaughtering heart?
do you long to
rise, rise
sky-bound
untethered at last?

do you long for
no boundaried heart
no boundaried life?
let us pity each other
you do not know my invisible borders
written in air, woodland
I do not know how
you can bear to be tethered so.

five hundred and forty three years

it is the
five hundred and forty second spring
of this oak

bud and branch
root, shoot
leaf and mossy bark

and I think about an acorn
falling
five hundred and forty three years ago

and I wonder
how half a millennia later
I stand beneath the weight and heft

of an acorn's descent

Kingfisher

I looked for the kingfisher
and found a lark

I booked for a pimpernel
and found plantain

I looked for the path
and found the unexpected way

The unlooked for
unhooks me

from pendulum-heavy
expectations



Bio:

Vicky Allen is the author of Broken Things and other tales (Hedgehog Poetry Press, 2020). She’s been widely published in print and online by journals including Mslexia, Stravaig, Saccharine Poetry, Writers Cafe and others, as well as anthologies published by Proost, Dove Tales, Fevers of the Mind and Black Agnes Press. Her spoken word work Wonderlines was performed at the Edinburgh Book Fringe in 2018 and Fringe at the Yard in 2019. She was a 2020 Pushcart Prize nominee. Vicky has a forthcoming “Stickleback” micro collection being published with Hedgehog Poetry Press, and is currently working on a full collection. She also practices as an illustrator/artist as well as working in the charity sectorFind Vicky on Twitter and Instagram @bringonthejoy 

A Fevers of the Mind Quick-9 Interview with Vicky Allen
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