Panic…Attacks by Adrian Ernesto Cepeda – poem

from Free

first published in Rhythm N Bones Lit


It comes with the shivers, goosebumps hairs stand up, already rising, demanding my attention, on my skin, so familiar, feeling the invincible onset simmering, my torment returns, loudly like a kettle boiling over the stove, too late to catch my heaving breath, my throat clenches, restlessness invades me, unable to sit, still...gasping in blasts of hyperventilation there is no shelter, give me some refuge from this invisible guided missile landing inside my chest. My once beating heart now faintly pulses defeated by my inner explosions, with all these exhales, trying to grasp this unshakable terror, faceless gripping my circadian is out of rhythm as this constant worry becomes my monster leaving teeth marks, chewing calmness, devouring serenity out of my skull. This anxiety lives for biting scars that keep screaming Goblins, leaving so many demons like dragon fires gusting my wheezing breath, so many screams inside, feeling the burning of worse than the devil in hades, seething more fear underneath my flesh, even when I try to fight off this Evil, with the flashback of these lightbulbs keep shattering scorched thoughts shadowing me, as I try to turn off these intense little frantic voiced suggestions that sparks reignition of devastation, ideas keep coming back, return within my inner temple always haunted with more waves of sweats, drowning my voice, swimming inside this sea of darkness always leave me dousing in pain. In the dark, all those cackling echoes always surround, my panic keeps attacking setting off implosions, leaves me beaten, reliving all the faces, lost within unshakeable places, tracing my failures, storming the return of these unstoppable tears reawakens all my doubts that I've suppressed, as I try diving under these sheets, there is no cover for this endless ruination, I believe this agony will last forever, my chattering breath prays for some kind of salvation from my gripping chest, under my covers this cursing shadow always feels worse than death.

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

Nick Cave Inspired poems by Adrian Ernesto Cepeda

A Fevers of the Mind Quick-9 Interview with Adrian Ernesto Cepeda

Spotlight Links to the Poetry Question

Re-published poems from Mela Blust – Poetry Showcase

All poems in this showcase were previously published in Rhythm N Bones Press & Dark Marrow Litmags


from the prison of skin;
a bitter pill.
unexpected bloodflowers
bursting the soil.

backwards/a time when we
wrested joy from the wind
now the knife,
a love-shaped gift.

you won't know

you won't know
when the ghost slips out of you
whether with a bang              or just a breath
a step forward                         or a leap
when the smoke clears
and you find yourself somewhere unknown

you won't know when you've changed
just enough to leave behind
pieces of yourself
crumbs to find your way home
when home shifts from comfortable
          to weary
you pack your things
and go quietly into the night
the compass points north but
              everything feels south

you won't know why the song
       your heart sings
sounds so faded
like the beat of a faraway drum

you'll follow the river to somewhere new
where you can lie your head on a different pillow;
count your breaths
and start again.

thin lines

think about what they take
yes, but
think about how you let them
this is how we are raised
a temple of loneliness praying to

think about what is gained
oh, but think about
what has been lost
if you are a dead butterfly in a jar
at least you were pretty enough
to collect

now, dream about what comes next
oh, now, but
don't dream too far
it is the thin lines that separate
what we were from
what we have become


taste the wretched honey of my sins
wrench the last breath from
the poverty of my lungs

how many times have i been on my knees
praying for the next delicious theft?

see these hands
built this shrine so that you could worship
a come-hither demon.

the lie we think of as love.

More from Mela below:

Mela has been nominated a few times for Best of the Net and has appeared in numerous magazines such as Rust + Moth, Anti-Heroin Chic, South Florida Poetry Journal, Collective Unrest, Rhythm & Bones Lit, The Sierra Nevada Review.  Her debut collection Skeleton Parade

Another Bio: Mela Blust is a moonchild, and has always had an affinity for the darkness. She is a poet, a painter, a sculptor, and a jeweler. She has been writing poetry since she was a child. She currently resides on a small farm in rural Pennsylvania. Her work has appeared in The Bitter Oleander, The Sierra Nevada Review, The Nassau Review, and more. She is a contributing editor of Barren Magazine, and Head Publicist for Animal Heart Magazine.

3 Republished Poems by Ceinwed E Cariad Haydon

Precious, Stones, Crystals, Healing
photo from pixabay

all poems previously published in Rhythm N Bones Lit Issue 6: Love


Anna breathes safely
in the low-lit break-out room.
Candles, scented rose and musk,
embrace her like a lover.

Feel free - to take time out

For the first time ever since
that time, you know, yes,
that one, only one of many
but the first the worst.

Later, she learnt absence,
to distance her from him

                                       from her body-self

                                 Feel free - to take time out

                                She hugs herself and strokes
                         her scarred arms. Re-joins way-back
                          to here-and-now and times ahead.
                                                 At last
                                               she's freed
                                          and comes back in.

      after The Air Suddenly Goes Cold, music by Olafur Arnalds

by the moon goddess
she stands in whiteness
her light translucent skirts swirl
in gathering ice-breezes
her three faces
crystalline and still

I am afraid of her beauty
afraid of the chill her shade casts
over my bed my body and my mind
as all becomes her
all becomes white

her hand beckons
and I follow mesmerised
I am finished
I am no longer I 
I vanish into her
drawn through her six stark apertures
void of human eyes

Woman as Anchor, Taken for Granted

She dwells under currents of motion,
waves whipped up by restless children,
her partner's parries with the world.

She steadies their long-ship home
tethers it to herself, irrespective of the cost.

The others don't look down, see below.
They cast easy thank yous - when they remember,
small comfort to her freighted soul.

Over time, her metal rusts and she transforms

converts to a lighter feral frame.
Her final frantic storm, cuts her rope.
Salted by all weathers          she drifts away
                                                              free       at    last    to    roam.

Poems from the Fevers of the Mind Anthologies by Ceinwed E Cariad Haydon

Poem by Ceinwen E Cariad Haydon : Release from Quarantine

A Poetry Showcase for Ceinwen E Cariad Haydon

Poems from the Fevers of the Mind Anthologies by Ceinwed E Cariad Haydon

Sensory Overload by Amanda McLeod – poetry 

photo by Sharon McCutcheon (unsplash)

Sensory Overload

originally published in Rhythm & Bones Lit Issue 6: Love

I need to see it all, feel it all. Touch everything, taste everything, touch everyone. Taste everyone. My skin prickles with longing for it and I’m edgy, minuscule jerks and twitches giving away how hard it is for me to restrain myself. The electronic waves of music roll across me and my body rides them, sensual ripples, pulsing beats and pulsing bodies as I move across the dance floor. I shadow, I mirror. A beautiful man traces his hand down my spine; I pull him into my mouth and taste the sweetness of his tongue as he maps my body with his fingertips. I shudder as he sates my need for contact, for the few seconds we share the same space; but the feeling never fades and now I’m spinning across the floor again, looking for something new to touch, someone else to taste. Arms wrap around me and the beat and lust pull towards the ground like gravity; we slide down, hands and bodies, heads back, lips open with desire. More, screams my id, and I’m slipping away, heady with desperation as I search for whatever will dull the sharp crackling that skitters across me like lightning.

The sweat-slick smell makes me gasp with pleasure. The air is thick with base wanting. Conversation, impossible over the music, happening through eyes hooded with hunger. People stalking ceaselessly around each other, the endless search for whatever, whoever, can scratch the constant itch. Unable to contain it.

The lights flare and for a moment I am highlighted in neon and not just another face in the crowd. More bass with electric twang sliding over the top. Every sense is being stimulated past the point of no return and I can’t separate them now, the lights, the sounds, the hands, the mouths are all pulling me everywhere at once. Each second feels like an age and it’s all too much but never enough. I push through the exit doors and the night air is instant relief. I can gather my scattered synapses, find order in my internal chaos.

I can’t help but wonder if it’s like this for me, what it must be like for humans, who lack my propensity and tendency to sort, analyse, filter. How it must be to know these emotions and sensations organically, rather than break them down and process them as strands of binary code and electrical impulses, which is really all they are. I yearn to know this unknowable. We cyborgs are funny that way.

A Fevers of the Mind Quick-9 Interview with Amanda McLeod

3 Poems by Amanda McLeod from Fevers of the Mind & Avalanches in Poetry Anthologies

Poems from Amanda McLeod in Fevers of the Mind Issue 1 (2019) “Inclimental Anger” “Day With Perfect Storm” “Anchor” “You Are My Sun, Except When I Am Storm”

A Poetry Showcase for Christina Strigas -new poetry & republished poetry

The Future is Blind

There is a revolution
in my dark mind.    
A diverse population of women   
in uniform 
chanting about transforming
waving flags and drinking Dom Perignon
lying about their age
surrendering to Botox and lip injections

into an advanced age of technology
where dandelions stop growing
where wildflowers become condos
swim across concrete walls
open up your own bank account
you can’t rely on the past
washing machines stop listening to you
detergents no longer do their job.
men named Alexander never stay 

Perhaps you are more comfortable 
with all the shades drawn in the middle of the day.
Taking shots of vodka behind modern blinds
the blogs want sameness
with a modern feminism
the dictionary no longer supports
burn the books
forget your library membership
fall in love with your medicine
stop texting your ex-lover to save you

your womanhood is always on the verge
of new breakdowns.
You can make it real
but none of it is a poem,

I have telepathic eyes
I can see
how it's a war
on equality

A future where men
Still make more money
More poetry books
More doctoral positions
More artificial intelligence
More robotics
Futuristic philosophy
A grave full of books
Dead weeds where trees 
Were touched by your sisters

The only question left to ponder
How do I hide my greys?
Do i go blonder or do I dare
Become ash red?

Black Coffee

my eyes swollen from crying
my heart slashed from denying
all of my doings and undoings,
never enough for any man.
                             Love is not important 
                  in this poem’s recipe.  

I never want to go back to cream and sugar.
be authentically me
raw and naturally bitter
dark and full of desire
addictive and lively potent
I’m alone in some one room apartment,
       to be staring at my beige walls

As far from love as possible,
with a new bank account.
no borrowed money and
staring at my purple rain album
feeling love and freedom
like a solved crossword puzzle. 

                         How long can one live
                         with dread in the pit of one’s stomach?
Our hopes are constantly 
filled with empty alcohol glasses. 
                        How many masks can one own?
One face for every event
a tight red dress and amber lipstick
Black leather pants and heavy eyeliner.
Ripped jeans and rock t-shirt
so many sides to this story.

I move from coffee to red wine,
eat a bit of this and that,
just to sustain

type all hours of the night,
day, mid-day, forget to pay my bills.
but I write, 
oh, how the words spring forth like April tulips—
oh, how the lines burst forth like weeds between cracks

each poem a different hue of spring
in the middle of winter,
each poem
a snowflake, melting before as it touches the ground.

Weather and mornings have me tapping away
writing fluid lines until the sky turns orange
crossing and adding words with my HB pencil
shutting and closing old dictionaries.

My daily start of black coffee, silence,
lies and truths combined
My beige walls need a new paint
I can’t decide between earth tone or van Gogh blue
pink trees
and empty coffee cups
in the dishrack—
                          But I do know
home is where words go
that never die. 

Brothel of Poets

I’m as fragile as a piece of crumpled paper
as tough as an outdated hard book cover.

I have been day, afternoon, and night drinking again
finally finished two wine bottles now

hid them in the recycling bin. 
I’m talking to my poet friends 

about how selling your mental illness
and body shame is a new foundation of lies

of selling poetry books.
Whatever happened to raw talent?

How some poets think they can claim
words as their own

and no one can use them again?
I was never an ugly or pretty princess

I bought my own shoes
listened to music before it was popular

cried day and night to get my life back.
I read Sexton in the middle of the day

awake and alert at all the bus stops.
I heard that people like to break you 

before they love you.
I heard that love bombing is a thing now.

I never knew love until you took me 
under the Montreal moon.

I gave you myself
either way, you took me

like an unwrapped gift 
at least you thanked me

for being your slut. 
You’re always creeping into my poems. 

Collecting Corks

The more I stay away from your lovely lettering,
The better I write
or so I think

It is the despised loneliness
the sipping of you until the glass
needs no washing
my lips licking you

I wait for you like a mother 
waits for her child to sleep
so she can smoke a cigarette
am I a good mother? 

I listen to you pour, I watch your 
patience, tempting me
anticipation is fiery between us

a wicked black love

I know how this suffering flows,
It becomes shiny glassware,

Wake Up to Morrissey

I eat up their shovelled words,
ringworms in my stomach.

My sin is full of fungal infection
I stretched my legs too far—

my arms shrunk
my brain fell prisoner to cells

of meds and beds for the outlaws
sinners of generation X.

It got so pitch black that night
the ominous night of unwanted hell

we thought we were kid smart
to outrun the hidden world

on an empty tank of gas
yet we got our quick bang.

I still eat you up and cough you out
I have feminine power in my body. 

Proof of your existence on my ironed clothes
get it right, predict the future

with the guts you deny;

I ate you 
swallowed you
spit you
loved you—
    back to a dead life. 


I’m used to him now
speaking to him on a daily basis
his songs, a morning call. 

It’s nice to say kalimera Baba 
to the open suburban sky,
in his house 
one last summer.

The summer before the end
of a lifetime of gardening,

building kitchens, DIY tiles,
demolishing walls.
creating new childhood bedrooms,
parties for every occasion:
holidays, birthdays, name days;
Everyone is sleeping,

except me and the old clock.
I tap, tap, tap
He ticks, tocks, ticks.

our own beat
of forty-two-year memories.
It was 1976, the drive felt longer—
everything moved slower then.
You were always in it;

running around not being found
getting lost and no one looking.

The old Buick was long,
fitting all three of us.
In the front, no seatbelts;
three in the back—
Pappou, Yiayia, my brother. 
A family of six,
three left. 

We made codfish
with fresh garden herbs;
mint, parsley, celery, dill
tarragon, basil,
I chopped them up, sprinkled
their love, crunching on the stems,
I was supposed to discard.
added water, oil and tomato sauce.

I’m not a prisoner here,
I like it.
I am sleeping too long
chilling with no motherly guilt,
cooking Greek meals
and lemon meringue desserts
on my summer vacation
of peach memories

making more, 
with whoever is left
to kiss goodnight,
and drink hot coffee
in the humid mornings
without rushing, to work
to teach, to prepare.

I tap, tap, tap,
he ticks, tocks, tocks—

This is how time traps writers.
This is how time traps grief,
This is how we create poetry.

How Deep Inside a Gun Are You?

It is mostly the way you come at me
from afar—
treat me so differently up close
pretend that the clothes I’m wearing
are irrelevant;
I was as poor as you

as rich in feeling like you
as lost in spirit as you.
I guessed you played with life
as players do.
Manipulations are over
mind games are dead
mothers are older
children are taking over
that love you are holding onto
is growing weeds—

you think that seconds mean worlds
that cutting up my sanity
is a game.
Perhaps you drowned once
I never did
I keep floating
existing in this joke.

Open your mouth 
speak, don’t fire. 

At A Party

At a party with a priest
I used to smoke outside with
At the hospital where we worked 
At a time when smoking rooms existed
When smoking was not bad for your image

At a party with people I don’t know
Pretending I remember 
How we talked back then
How we loved less
Read more

At a party trying not to slur
Or flirt with the wrong man
Remembering a time 
I wanted to forget
It was the tragic old ladies
With pink lipstick
And peach laugh lines
Who asked me to tie back
Their hair with silk fuchsia ribbons
When I was there to clean floors
Wipe dusty tables
How did I end up reading passages
From an old book?
Or talk to them about nonsense
To feel someone cared
It was the empty beds
Cleaning them and wondering
What death meant at all
How it came and went
And I was twenty
Wondering if I should break up 
With my boyfriend
Go to Peru
Or cry for an old lady I barely knew. 

At a party
Listening to Taylor Swift
And loving her more than I should. 

I Wrote Nothing For Days
originally published in Rhythm N Bones Lit Issue 6 : Love

Trying to find emptiness
in a tall glass of midnight madness.
My thoughts on the slow, dark time
of your words.
Open up your closed book
eat the crumbs of cake off my hand.
I fed the wrong man
old tattered thoughts
in ancient chains
while I sunk in mythological mud
up to my ankles
washed your fake love
with aloe and coconut
but your European veins and musky scent
are alive on my skin
like birth marks and moles
no matter how hard I try to rub you off
no one can see your penetrating marks.

Aren't We All Monsters
originally published in Dark Marrow (Rhythm & Bones Lit offshoot mag Issue 2 Survivor

Monsters are the loneliest creatures...
We're not all under your bed
or in your head.

we're all looking at you
straight in the empty eye,
in your mirror
in your head,
lift the covers or just stop checking.

You still love her,
never forget your tiny feet.
One enemy is enough.
Go ahead -
Call her to tell her
you think about her every day,
then go back to hating her.

Conversations with the Dead

originally published in Dark Marrow (Rhythm & Bones Lit offshoot mag Issue 2 Survivor

Never followed Dad's advice.
Wish I did now.
In '89 thought his words archaic,
In 2017 I'd say he was
Pretty damn smart.

My daughter will roll her eyes,
One day remember ancient adages
Maybe in 2050-
Finally agree, nod her intelligent head
And remember this like me.
This is hindsight:

The unanswered phone.
Black Bell phone on the kitchen counter,
ringing endlessly, going to voicemail
no one checking again.

I can hear his voice from the dead-
it's rough, yet gentle
faintly forgotten.
I press play.
I thought you were home. I hate these damn machines.
His broken English sounding perfect to my ears.

This is the cycle;
My mental tangerine peels,
my form of existential awareness
an endless study of the silenced voice
playing back recordings to remember

Because tombstones
Cannot talk back. 

A Book Review of “Love and Metaxa” by Christina Strigas

A Fevers of the Mind Quick-9 Interview with Christina Strigas

From Avalanches in Poetry writings & art inspired by Leonard Cohen (2019) How Leonard Cohen Kept Evading Me by Christina Strigas

Christina Strigas links: