Waking up at 1 or 2 or 3am is not unusual
for the storyteller poet who dwells between worlds.
Waking and sleeping are spasm dreams
for one who merges with other forms of life
as naturally as breathing and singing.
The empath is fully present
while simultaneously merging
with birds and rivers and trees and seas.
Part 2 (David L O'Nan)
We were slick and in love or at least my heart felt it.
I’d look into your eyes and see my gritty reflection.
A fire under my eyes that began to jump the floods for you.
You had me cast as the cloud, and we dragged into worship.
We’d sit on your crippled granny’s couch as a loving couple.
On acid we’d hold hands and breathe on each other’s necks.
The Temptations on bandstand dancing and singing their voices raw.
All the while you were on a curvy road driving with the leatherjackets.
They’d offer you the oven, and they’d offer you a night of kneeling stillness.
To shut up the salts from the wounds. You were given the clanging golden.
The wind in the alleys. It was me still searching for you.
You could never feel the crowns in my eyes. Was it only raining when the Eagle flies?
Years I’ve seen and years I’ve died, innocently watching new boots bash in my mind.
Pollutions over gardens, I found Jesus and I found the rat.
I found the tranquil Jill and Jack Kerouac in a Cadillac.
I found the ornaments on Christmas morning, but I’ve never found another you.
Spasms- as if the dreams are telling me something?
Spasms – as if I’ve been lifted over the crashing jets and risen into heaven
Spasms – as if the windows are opening for my old skeletons to creep out
Spasms – as if the drink, the pills, the junk have replaced my need for breath.
Damn it I must be living in a dream. Driving through prose in my maddening seams.
Strained and feeling like a mix of neglect and tears. The juvenile is now cracked bones
And I cannot walk. But I hope my imagination never loses you. And I don’t know why.
I would always waltz to your newest abuse just to keep you from all those that recluse.
You were made to be their rattlesnakes in the newest slit wrist garden.
New scars to present to the pretty and the wicked to all gaze away.
Convert quickly to the chemistry I retain inside. I could lead you to my glance.
Erase these strikes even while I’m old and vanishing. Give me this last dance….
I guess the Empath dies in the end.
A Fevers of the Mind Interview/Promo piece with Ron Whitehead, U.S. National Beat Poet LaureateA Fevers of the Mind Interview/Promo piece with Ron Whitehead, U.S. National Beat Poet LaureateBlurbs for my (David L O’Nan) upcoming book “Before the Bridges Fell” from Ron WhiteheadPaperback & Kindle version of Cursed Houses is now available from David L O’Nan on this link belowCurrent bio for Fevers of the Mind’s David L O’Nan editor/writing contributor to blog.
Here what several important great people have to say about this upcoming book by editor/poet/writer David L O’Nan
Writings by David O’Nan is a special treat to poetry lovers. He often uses prose-style openings to draw in the reader, such as “I met the supernatural near this river by Osage Mint on a wet June day, fertile ground full of footprints” (from “The River Near the Osage Mint”). Then just as we start to get comfortable, O’Nan has a certain knack for dropping in piercing lines such as, “Our moment became shrapnel” (from “Noah and Satchmo”), or “Love like the sad” (from “Cardiac Weekend”), that becomes a sort of push and pull technique, moving the poem and reader along on the evocative journey each of his poemsprovides. –Samantha Terrell, Author of “Vision, and Other Things We Hide From” and “Keeping Afloat” among other books and creator of the poetic trinitas style of writing.
David O'Nan is an artist, a poet who explores the interesting and sometimes astounding facets of life through his work. In 'Cursed Houses' David writes in a style that is immediately engaging, sometimes humorous, always thought provoking. In his poem 'Utopian Window Blinds', he writes: "Beautify my broken heart. Look into my mind and tell me. I am Magical." That is precisely what David gives us, the reader. – Jay Maria Simpson is a published Australian Poet out of Perth, Western Australia who loves poetry, art, music, satire and dark comedy.
Cursed Houses by David O’Nan swirls with dynamic imagery at a manic pace. Its long probing lines are propelled by maddening spirals of rhythm and rhyme. These poems bob and weave, teasing dreamscapes out of rich details inhabited by a host of characters and situations earthly and un-. Love, lust, loss, bewilderment – degradation of the human spirit coupled with the uplift of having experienced something wholly holy. Cursed Houses offers room after room of astonishment wrapped in acute observations: standing outside, lonesome and creepy, a piercing inward gaze.
- Tony Brewer, author of psithurism and Pity for Sale
David O'Nan's poems are beautifully haunting, a landscape of Historical and Pop Culture memories. From death to Sunsets to homes of broken glass and even Andy Warhol, O'Nan's poetry will shake and stir you as the colors of his rhymes will resonate long after you devour each one, with verses like "The Feast" you will be craving a taste for more.
- Adrian Ernesto Cepeda, author of La Belle Ajar & We are the Ones Possessed amongst other collections.
The willpower is a long highway.” ~an immortal line, akin to Tom Petty’s But love is along, long, road.” David O’Nan has rock and roll in his soul.
“Spending nights in plastic neon blue and wondering why you didn’t know who’s hand was the knock on your door. Was it Mr. Peasant or Mr. Posh? All that you knew was a new daughter was calling you a mom.”
Like no other, David understands and exposes the plight of a runaway mother, perhaps a fixture of the 1980’s, the unsung heroines, the debris of the 1970’s
“I paint pictures for the cages of silence”
David O’Nan speaks for a disinherited generation left to suffer the sins of parental and cultural disintegration
“Old Satchmo at 49 smells vaguely of gasoline and some extinct cologne from 1989”
David O’Nan captures the zeitgeist of the crumbling American west, it’s bravado on it’s knees, still trying to please some long lost need.
“The devil has your shoelaces tied to the wrong feet”
An apt description of a runaway on the streets struggling to find their footing. An epic and strong poem describing what happens to the disinherited, disenfranchised in American society. Thrown out, as Jim Morrison said “like a dog without a bone.” Better than any other poet living, O’Nan describes the struggle of losing in a pre-apocalyptic America.
“We are powerless and the army has no artillery.”
Reminiscent of Neil Young’s “Helpless” lyrics is O’Nan’s vision of a dystopia left to carry on alone, abandoned and helpless, it’s government having long abandoned the field.
“All You see is the bones rise up when the moon hits the shine of the lake”
O’Nan describes perfectly the perfidy of the illusion of normalcy in what is in fact the toxic waste dump of America’s forsaken landscape.
“Maybe the king lives within the waters to drown your narcissistic glare. The River, the River near Osage Mint”
O’Nan reflects tangentially on the tortured history of the rivers cutting through the heartland of America, how they meander, the dangers they pose, the dams that feed them, while soul searching and reflecting on the American dream, much like a latter day Jack Kerouac. One wonders what chain of events drew the poet to leave near this place. The nameless “River near Osage Mint.”
If you were to read only one poem from David O’Nan, I would suggest Mandolins and Shrapnel. I personally find it on a level with Ginsberg’s best exuberant howlings. Mandolins is a tour de force. One feels oneself spinning with the poet down the highways and through the wastelands of post-industrial America littered with billboards proclaiming hell and damnation, torn through the middle by predatory birds, symbolic of lives shattered and scattered like shrapnel on a battlefield.
“Oh, those billboards by the way are just a hole for the vultures to fly through. listen to the breaking Mandolins, as our skeletons become shrapnel.”
- Elizabeth Cusack -Poetry on the Rocks for Lonely Hearts, a poet/writer traveler from Los Angeles. A recovering actress.
"David’s worlds always open new channels for looking at life. They are so often inventive stories that hold a spilling of truth – like the hull of a ship sloshing about on an unpredictable ocean – a world with a multifaceted cargo, perfect in every detail – in fact, a fusing of all details – making them oil each other to enhance their experience and their free passage. They are a generator of energy for the listening ear. From lyrical and beautifully sung – to hard and colourful poetry, told "like it is" – and that "is" always leaves me thinking I have moved forward in life’s puzzle of experience by reading these poems. So many wonderful lines – so many wonderful characters and their various situations – whatever your interest in poetry, you will need to read these poems to pass go.
David L O’Nan is without a shadow of a doubt one of the best poets of this moment and due for greatness in the longterm. – Peter Hague author of Summer With the Gods, Gain of Function, Hope in the Heart of Hatred & more.
David O’Nan is a poet but he may be a sorcerer in his Cardiac Weekend. Or into a world of dreams in Screams, Tears, Tennessee Voodoo. In Small Deaths and My Burning Bedsheets, he fashions his death and exhorts us to give a reason for him to continue his furtive imaginings in word and paintings. Do you have the power or are incited to provide reason for such as him? In Noah and Satchmo he colorfully tells a story of two grimy men in a way that MUST make you feel better. It is a story of confirmation, to send you on your way of superiority, as you love their place, so much lower than your own. Love Thy Neighbors describes a region of hell… Of voyeurs with horns and long tails being forced into your face. This is the world of O’Nan in fantasy and grime, incitement, and torment. You were minding your own business and this magician named David came along. Watch your step.
We are thankful no heaven can control or manage David O’Nan’s poetry. His work is not designed for the comforts of heaven or the torments of hell. David’s poetry breathes with us, and sustains our present, that we may whisper our lives to one another. – Giulio Magrini is a longtime writer living out of Pittsburgh and is receiving wonderful reviews on his new book “The Color of Dirt”
Having elsewhere demonstrated his prowess and capability in shorter forms in this collection prolific poet David L. O’Nan proves definitively he is every bit as skillful and interesting with more substantial, robust constructions, applying his inventive flair for language and provocative willingness to delve deeper into the fecund muck of Americana than the majority dare, exposing our culture's at times less savory underbelly in a manner which is never dull, but rather consistently as thrilling as it is in equal measures illuminating. Through diverse approaches and fearless examinations of subjects deeply personal as well as endemic of societal concerns, rooted in the immediate and timeless both — harkening back occasionally at, paying exciting homage to our era’s most qualified bards and lyric laureates, from Cohen to Dylan to Joni Mitchell, in the most constructive, charged manners — readers will be hard pressed to find a finger more firmly pressed to, descriptive of the stilted, erratic pulse of Western ennui and the dark winter of postmodern societal discontent embroiling contemporary existence than in the pages of Cursed House. In our age of urgency and desperation, David L. O’Nan emerges resolutely from the fetid swamps of struggle with an important viewpoint and mission which our imperiled species would be well served by reviewing and reflecting upon mindfully at length. A rousing book of works appreciative of the gravity to our prevailing crises, by a poet who twigs well there is not a moment to lose.
– Jerome Berglund is a writer and has worked in Cinema-Television production and worked in the entertainment industry before moving back to the Midwest. Jerome writes many haiku, senryu and haiga online and in print. He is an established award-winning fine art photographer, whose black and white pictures have been shown in galleries in New York, Minneapolis & Santa Monica.
"When I read a rational, well reasoned, logical, objective argument I laugh and sing and dance through the gaping holes.
What fools we are to stand pounding our chests preaching to the sun and everyone else that we are right, we have the truth.
What is truth? Do you know? We move forward by the aid of created symbols and we change those symbols as we move forward.
What gives you the right to deny the beauty, the honesty of poetry. There is no such thing as an endless straight line.
The shortest distance between two points is poetic distance. Poetry is the way. No one makes it through any black hole of night
without the morning light of poetry. The debate over whether formal or informal, Latinate or colloquial is best is meaningless.
Critics and Judges are the greatest fools. Poetry is the journey, the adventure in and through the valley of the shadow of death.
Poetry is birth, the journey, and death. Poetry is Alpha and Omega. Poetry is life. Life is poetry. The word was the same
in the beginning as the word is now. Say the word. Be the word. Be poetry. Be the poem you write. What else is there?
In his brilliant new book, CURSED HOUSES, David O'Nan is the poet of birth, the journey, and death.
David O'Nan is an original. One of a kind. I can't recommend his work highly enough."
--Ron Whitehead, Lifetime Beat Poet Laureate https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ron_Whitehead
"David L O'Nan's Cursed Houses is a lyrical poetry book that carries so many themes, it's hard to select a few. O'Nan transmits storytelling, narratives, and short story genres within his poems with brilliance. Poems about love, society, death, loss, small town Americana, and loneliness stand out the most. At the heart of these poems is O'Nan's ability to make you feel how the memories of past loves can still be felt in the present time."
- Christina Strigas, “for all the lonely hearts being pulled out of the ground”
David L O’ Nan’s new book, Cursed Houses, from it’s haunting spooky cover to the end prose-piece, is a scorcher – a work of narratives and lyrics, an anxious mythic exploration of landscapes of broken shattered people; some likeable, poignantly portrayed, others monstrous, the walking-living Dead; their political screed like larvae spreading hate, the drunk military fathers, farmers, drifters and grifters, the abject young women and older matriarchs, full of hope and lies. Almost Biblical, its a book of character studies exploring upended toxic glamour, hopelessness, the cracks inside America where people fall.
The book richly escorts questions and trades in entropy, about the lives lived in adrenaline-fueled fantasy where excess drugs, false promises, hallucinations, and lament intersect. In Sinking Prison the narrator’s pain and violence follows him right into the afterlife: “You/were found and punished and/ become a nameless gazelle/in a jungle full of hungry/lions on your trail.” Ruminative and ferocious, David exposes families, meditates on life-lessons, draws from the personal, revels in a search for metaphysical meaning. The lines are alternately clipped and expansive, musical, Intuitive, folk tales told by a raconteur for a lion’s den.
We see ourselves and others, our stories and-our-not-stories in a calm-frenzy of bardic, balladic currency and lyrical leaps. In a poem to a dead brother, the narrator speaks beyond despair, of “Popping firework amphetamine pills, dragons watch the alleys/The abusive and abused in corners and in jars./Oh lonesome traveler, a blood kissed jewel.” Tangled and mournful – this book’s rapid-fire pulse is a circling, uniquely crafted, blistering collection. Bite down hard, get one, roam through its outlaw pages. –
- Robert Frede Kenter, author, visual artist, publisher of Ice Floe Press.
I assume no impartiality as I sit to write this acknowledgement and blurb for David. Having known David the editor, the poet, and the human has been the best creative gift of creative brotherhood I’ve grown to treasure and proudly parade. Cursed Houses is a world on its own folded neatly into a book cover waiting for you to unfold like a handkerchief concealing delicacies. Forget what you know about titles foreshadowing content and even casuistic usage of natural elements to convey sentiments as metaphors or similes because David layers natural elements to give you poetic suspense in every piece and theme. He is the magician’s tarot card of allure and demure – yes because poetic talent is in strategically controlling your subject’s emotional experience. Clarity is nice but with David, heavy and surreal is the vogue because Cursed Houses is a hex that will keep your mind spellbound as your lips pitter patter with magic, nature, love, mentality, and life’s other themes on duality. Cursed Houses is a book of personal causes for both the empath and the introvert as well as the curious and the bratty. In this book, his styles vary in tone and emphasis in a manner that gives symbolism and personification another dimension one that is holistic not elemental. The power of his imageries are not localized in a stanza or a part but throughout the whole piece. Have you seen a mood unfold like a jalousie window controlled with two lines to control shadow and light? David’s poems give out this effect because the first time you read a piece, you read it to take in the meaning trying to coin the aesthetics with what you’ve seen previously. However, upon reading his work for the second time, you will realize your heart and mind are the ones controlling what you are seeing whether they be extremes of light and shadow or even pain and beauty. For instance, in his piece “Womanizers”; David allows the reader to explore his subject’s cares and sentiments by showing how their antagonists envision or deal with them. By doing so he reveals his subjects’ points of strengths, advocates for them and showcases them in the light of humanity. Meanwhile in his piece “The Whole Mythology is Collapsing” David’s musings of spirituality are inclusive of dallying in engaging activities whilst touching base on the struggles of finding balance between the material world’s circumstances, the people’s expectations and prejudice and his desire to find peace and clarity. In this vein, the piece “If Masterpieces Were Bloodshed”, has left me in awe because If brushes had hurricane categories for thickness and aftermaths for handles; this piece is the epitome of the creative mind’s agony. He is able to take elements of magic and nature to project anguish and struggle for perfection. And last but not least in “A Botched Sunset”, David’s piece offers a lover’s despair as a palette of experiences in shades of confusion, denial, and unrequited love. Elements of nature speak in this poem for the poet’s lack of visibility and his reluctant bitter surrender to accepting the fate of being forever invisible and rejected like a sunset that was botched. My only wish is that everyone who stumbles upon Cursed Houses gets cursed with awe from David’s work. So, there you have it, Cursed Houses, your new poetic dopamine. Now go and get yourself a copy because you deserve it. With my Utmost Poetic Respect
Pasithea Chan (poet, contributor, artist)
David O’Nan creates mesmerizing imagery throughout Cursed Houses with lines like “You popped bubbles in the hot flames,/in flamenco streets with bleeding trains that lead you/from the whistles to the cheating rainfalls.” It’s easy to want to savor the poem 10 Years “We Are Hummingbirds in the South Wind” with its haunting stanzas that contain potent prose “Through Winter roses and the bleeding Spring flowers,/the Summer storms and the Autumn leaves rustling/Each with a threatening torch in our blessed hearts.” This collection is a must read.
Marisa Silva-Dunbar, author of Allison, and When Goddesses Wake
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 http://www.feversofthemind.com 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) 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 .
All American boys_meditation on memory_for Jerry Waldon
I watch it waving daily in the Ohio River Valley breeze
Across the street, at the confederate blue grey cinder
Block building, a tire shop
It protrudes out off the building on a rusted pole
Every roll of its cloth in the wind
The red white & blue
Of my childhood days of always being the
Miniature shadow of a veteran
Those days of growing when my mind was a better
Soaking up the wisdom & knowledge
Of silence, war, and all American boys
Who traded their Pittsburgh pirate dreams
For an m1 & orders
A life time ago, his and mine too
Always bound by the road, mark twain
& hank sr, beer & Indiana nights
Bound by blood, by memories long gone
Lonesome blues lifetimes of mad
Knowledge DNA mingling with chemicals
Altered through war, readjustment to
Society; & a lingering ghost of youth
Digging out the skulls of mans gods
All American boy days, red white and blue
Covered in napalm & agent orange
Hony tonking, living fast busting loose
Madison Indiana out to the world
I remember going with him for tournaments
All over Indiana, Illinois, Ohio, Kentucky
Any time he gave me money & I ate without him to save
My money I would leave the waitresses a poem
Just a teen & already scribing the road between
the seen & unseen
Its waving to the east, jutting out from the wall
Across west main st, looking out my window
Its' rolling form red white 7 BLUE
SOUTHERN INDIANA WIND BLOWS THROUGH ME
AS ROKY ERICKSON SINGS A DIRGE TO SWEET DREAM
& GRAND CHILDREN CONVERSE OVER A TABLET
I HEAR THE VOICE OF AMERICA
THE VOICE OF MY FATHER
ECHOING THROUGH THE YELLOWING
& RED LEAVES
I HEAR THE VOICE OF FREEDOM
AT THE EDGE OF THE OHIO
RUSHING DOWN TOWARDS THE MISSISSIPI
Oct. 13, 2020
The cool October day, sunny, hushed traffic busying by
Mind funk locked trunk cant look through dream junk
Hushed echoes of Ben Johnson, ancient Skalds,
Or Bards; the dreaming oracles of eternity
Grandchildren's brief voices in the kitchen
All adults off guard; they seek the sustenance
Of refrigerated cheese & play
My skin goose pimpled, I recite the constitution
I claim it As my balls to contemplate the age & sing
Madly the temporal odes of the decayed body
Its' ink made from the blood of millions
Its paper recycled broken treaties
All the roads lead where?
I laugh to myself, knowing the only quote
Like that says Rome.
I digress towards prosody now;
The hustling life of Scott county like back-
The cool October day, sunny, hushed traffic busying by
Mind funk locked trunk cant look through dream junk
A POEM for A.C.M.
I dream of a belly dancer in a yellow sun dress, cheeks red
And full of the motion of bodies
Her twirling blond form, singing some kind of dirge
To invisible crows
Her skin glowing of a mid western sun
Eyes like orbiting satellites transmitting
the ecstatic hope of mothers & lovers
Voices in the dark, sje spins
Whispering her songs
To a lost star
Peeled back scars like gorilla tape revealing
The seeping of stars
Rushing water sounds
Polished stones of eternity
The once Charlestown bridge
The Louisville bridges---
The sound of the furious water
Like static or white noise from a billion televisions
Glaciated currents of my childhood nightmares
The mad coddling of the geo magnetic songs
Of the Ohio river valleys
Ectoplasmic oracles of genetic history
A mirror of madness & culture
The looking glass of mid Americas
Addiction to visual waves from
A flashing screen 6 feet from them
As they drowse in to pillows
Of LED light
Muddy waters, willows, spiral notebooks
& decades of revolution
Around the sun
The rushing water sounds
Good beautiful river vibrations of diadem
Eyelids itch with the blood of gods
Adventure time my whole life, woods
Hugging the Ohio River like a warm lady
Echoing the secrets of memory
The baptismal of mind labyrinths
Traced out in bones & history
POEM #2 (BUTTERFLIES)
Listening to the slowly fading out screams
The machine gun beats of drums as fast
As artillery spewing forth
The music clings to ribs
To memory the soft parade files
The stirring of something unseen
Fingering the senses
I watch the vibrational ripples of air
Twirl like some kind of dervish
From the 13th century
Or like monks drunk on wine
Dancing through streets
As if the mad infinitesimal energy
Of our own divinities
Clasped tight to hand
Dragging our vision through
“you got to meet you a few
Animals at the crossroads”
Their filming the scuffling figures
Scuddling down the sidewalk
Following them to the ledge
High above them
In the brownstone next
To the liquor store
Their vibrations sing with the sun rise
The last poems of a drunken poet
Crying on the shoulder of his muse
Waiting for the unseen
To pull them from the ledge
The image is not new
The holy renaissance of senses
& star c(h)ords
The music lingers
Sinew, piss, and rivers
Undiluted spirit of youth clamors
“everything must be this way”
Cyclical waves of never ending
Ever see the lips of an ancient bard
Chapped & surrounded by hair
Weeping 3 stories in to the night
Calling to the dogs or the gods
Looking for the lack of gravity
What brought this far to this mild equator”
Looking for something new
Like wine growing from the decomposing
Bodies of Aristophanes
& Jim Morrison
Listening to the slowly fading out screams
POEM _ Meditation
i was thinking of a uniform
Uniforms. how skin could be
Thoughts like an invisibility cloak
Wearing it like being consumed
Strange idols burning with blue flame
Lounge chair made of razor wire &
History's caustic finger nail scratch
Across the bardic swirl
This quarantined year lazily slouching by
Looking for the absolution of freedom
All the cyclical lips & their gutter odes
Pouring from great speaker
With a milky way subwoofer
Permeating the rhythmic turbulences
Through the living
The laughter of clowns & muses
Til their hips cant gyrate any further
Or their livers stand the test
Of the ambrosial significance
The slow embers of flesh in the throws
Of passion & mortality
The melting of beings in to singular
The tongues of unity flashing
Uniformed bodies of oneness
Uniforms of the living
Like individual flags or
Or bio waves of invisible
Waves that form whispering
Bodies like static through
In to images we seek our selves
Unrelatable to stars til we
Take off the uniforms of our lives
portrait by Ryan Heacock
Merritt Waldon. Born September 12, 1974 Madison, Indiana just few blocks from the Ohio river.
Born and raised by U.S. Air Force veteran of Viet Nam and his best friends sister. Merritt was almost named Stroh’s Waldon; after his dads favorite cheap beer after rotating back to world. As long as he has been able to hold a writing/drawing utensil he has dreamed of being a published writer. spending a lot of his late teens & early twenties traveling the united states & writing constantly, eventually returning to Indiana marrying having children divorcing marrying etc divorcing; still writing living . Has had work in Sun Poetic Times, Mojo Risin’, Beyond The Pale, One Hit, RoaDDawgz a magazine for the voice of the homeless ( under the pen name Ru mi), Smalltown Monthly, Crisis Chronicles, Cheap and Eazy Magazine, The Brooklyn Rail, Twizted Tungz, Fearless, Voices From The Fire, Bedroom Anatomy Lessons, The Rye Whiskey Review, The Black Shamrock, River Dog Magazine #1, Fevers of the Mind, Be About It #18, Americans & Others anthology, A Cooch Behar American poetry Anthology, Strange Gods From The Prairie: A Gasconade Review Anthology, The Sparring With Beatnik Ghosts: OMNIBUS vol 1., and Cajun Mutt Press Features. He has three books of poetry published; Oracles From A Strange Fire co-authored by National Beat Poet Laureate Ron Whitehead published by Cajun Mutt Press, then Pistol City Blues & Madison Street Screams and Smoke Break Poems published by Dead Man's Press Ink. 47, he lives and writes in Austin, Indiana.
I’m a wild nature Kentucky farm boy who loves adventuring into the unknown. I’ve been blessed that poetry, my main vehicle of communication, has taken me across the USA and to at least 20 countries around the world. I love to travel to new places and meet new people. I admire and respect all our beautiful differences. And I’m forever searching for and discovering what we have in common. We’re all dirty potatoes floating in the same tub of polluted water and the more we bang into each other by openly honestly sharing the stories of our lives the more we come clean. I love to hear the stories of people’s lives. I have friends everywhere. When I was a boy I learned that to have friends I’ve got to be a friend. If I’m friendly then most other folks will be friendly too.
The older I get the more I realize I don’t know anything, no one does. We’re all guessing, feeling our way, grappling for answers. But every day I have encounters with the spirit world. We are all in perpetual motion, in transition, even when we are still, silent, listening. Listening is the greatest art of all. Not-knowing is the fundamental plowed earth of our being, not-knowing. It is our life source. Embrace the wind. Embrace my heart. Born to die, there is no safety, all is demanded. Expose yourself completely. Accept the consequences of your successes, and your failures, as no other dare. Enlightened mind is not special, it is natural. Present yourself as you are, wise fool. Don’t hesitate, embrace mystery paradox uncertainty. Have courage. Through fear, and boredom, have faith. Be compassion. Embrace the wind. Embrace your heart. Not-knowing is the fundamental plowed earth of our being. It is our life source. Not-knowing.
Today ‘Specialization’ is sold on every corner, fed in every home, brainwashed into every student, every young person. We are told that the only way to succeed, here at the beginning of the 21st Century is to put all our time, energy, learning, and focus into one area, one field, one specialty: math, science, computer technology, business, government, the gaining of material wealth, the material world. If we don’t we will fail. We are subtly and forcefully, implicitly and explicitly, encouraged to deny the rest of who we are, our total self, selves, our holistic being. The postmodern brave new world resides inside the computer via The Web with only faint peripheral recognition to the person, the individual – and by extension the real global community, the real human being operating the machine. The idea of and belief in specialization as the only path, only possibility, has sped up the fragmentation, the alienation which began to grow rapidly within the individual, radically reshaping culture, over a century and a half ago with the birth of those Machiavellian revolutions in technology, industry, and war. And with the growing fracturing fragmentation and alienation comes the path – anger, fear, anxiety, angst, ennui, nihilism, depression, despair – that, for the person of action, leads to suicide. Unless, through our paradoxical leap of creative faith we engage ourselves in the belief, which can become a life mission that regardless of the consequences, we can, through our engagement, our actions, our loving life work, make the world a better, safer, friendlier place in which to live. Sound naive? What place does the antinomian voice, the voice that, though trembling, speaks out against The Powers That Be, what place does this Visionary Outsider Voice have in the real violent world in which we are immersed? Are we too desensitized to the violence, to the fact that in the past Century alone we have murdered over 160 million people in one war after another, to even think it worthwhile to consider the possibility of a less violent world? Are we too small, too insignificant to make any kind of difference? The power and greed mongers have control. What difference can one individual life possibly make, possibly matter?
Today the millennial generation is swollen with young people yearning to express the creative energies buried in their hearts, seeping from every pore of their beings. They ache to change to heal the world. Is it still possible? Is it too late? Is there anyone (a group?) left to show the way to be an example? To be a guide? A mentor? James Joyce, King of Modernism, said the idea of the hero was nothing but a damn lie that the primary motivating forces are passion and compassion. As late as 1984 people were laughing at George Orwell. Today, as we finally dwell in an Orwellian culture of simulation life on the screen landscape, can we remember passion and compassion or has the postmodern ironic satyric death in life game laugh killed both sperm and egg? Is there anywhere worth going from here? Is it any wonder that today’s youth have adopted Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg, William S. Burroughs, Herbert Huncke, Gregory Corso, Neal Cassady, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Amiri Baraka, David Amram, Diane di Prima, Bob Dylan, Hunter S. Thompson, Patti Smith, The Clash, and all the other Beat Generation and related poets, writers, artists, musicians as their inspirational, life-affirming antinomian ancestors? These are people who have stood up against unreasoning power/right/might, looked that power in the eyes and said NO I don’t agree with you and this is why. And they have spoken these words, not for money or for fame, but out of life’s deepest convictions, out of the belief that we, each one of us, no matter our skin color our economic status our political religious sexual preferences, all of us have the right to live to dream as we choose rather than as some supposed higher moral authority prescribes for us.
I choose to be a spiritual warrior poet.
Can poetry, music, film, dance, art matter? Are they merely a gold exchange for the rich? The crucible of the alchemical arts blends the terrible beauty of the natural world with questions of global social conscience. Poems stories songs films dance photographs art defy categorization. They are authentic original expressions of spirit dwelling in dynamic harmony with nature.
What is involved in the process of artistic creation? And how is that process related to space and time? What makes it possible for a handful of poets, musicians, filmmakers, dancers, artists to maneuver in a molecular universe, where immersion at will into things and being other than self is readily accomplished, rather than the dreary chore of drudging through the thick cellular world? The answers are simply complex and like truth, time and water they constantly slip through fingers away, away but the past recalled becomes present again and in a sense when we look anywhere including back into the past we are looking with some form of anticipation which is an attribute of future time so where are we really? How do how will poets, writers, musicians, artists, filmmakers, photographers, inhabitors of the creative realms of the 21st Century respond to these questions? Some respond with ironic, comic faith, some with passion, with compassion, without which the intelligent sensitive creature will inevitably traverse the Valley of The Shadow of Death encountering Angst, Despair, Ennui, and possibly Suicide. The sensitive individual poet writer musician artist filmmaker photographer prophet, the empath whose natural ability is negative capability, ineluctably chooses the life-game quest of self-creation in the possibly infinite probability of possible realities in the self-contained inter-connected Ocean of Consciousness.
There are no answers, only questions.
My argument for The Ocean of Consciousness reaches back to the early experiential understanding of holy while reaching forward beyond the limits of dialectical gnosticism to an alchemy that also transcends divisions inherent in the alienation the fragmentation of Deep Modernism and the superficial chaos of postmodernism. Even if you are a cryptanalyst and are able to turn into plain text the coded messages of Lacan but also the utterances of French existentialists, deconstructionists, poststructuralists, and all the other sibilant schools that flowed out of postwar France what leads you to believe that the deadly serious egocentric humor of postmodernism where theory is lauded as more important than text (whatever text might be: book, song, painting, film, life, etc) can possibly be the final word? Deconstructing a text does not designify does not make the text less than what it was before you playfully surgically took it apart and, if you’re a good mechanic, put it back together again even if you gave it new features. No matter how much taking apart deconstructing you do there will always remain something, a meaningful essence that cannot be destroyed.
Lightninged passion compassion filled art matters.
The poet writer musician filmmaker photographer dancer artist deconstructs realism. She employs the innovative technique of intercalation: the juxtaposition of scenes in time. She is Elus Cohen, Elect Priest of Expressionism, Cubism, Modernism, Dadaism, Surrealism, postmodernism but she is more. She is Master Alchemist, Master Magician. Her long slender hand reaches towards me, grabs my throat, and pulls me into the text, the book, the song, the art, the film, the photo, the dance. Manger du Livre indeed! I not only consume the book: the book consumes me. Now I, with her, am Elus Cohen juxtaposing scenes in time and space in her, in me. My original perception, awareness, and senses are fractured, fractalled, and exiting the poem, the song, the film, the dance, the art I find I am rearranged. I now have new perspective, awareness, senses. I look at others. Are their expressions different as they look at me? I must look different. I feel different. I am different. Me. And me now. I,I. Ha. Aha! Now as my hand moves this pen across this page I change. I am transformed. I am never the same. My molecules jump, sway, swoon, dance across the page, giggling, laughing, singing, happy to be new! It’s spring again! They shout Yes Yes Yes!!!
Poetry, music, film, dance, art create new resonant myths.
Knowledge, from the inception of Modernism and through postmodernism to The Ocean of Consciousness, is reorganized, redefined through literature, music, art, film, photography. The genres are changing, the canons are exploding, as is culture. The mythopoetics, the privileged sense of sight, of modern, contemporary, avant-garde poets, writers, musicians, filmmakers, photographers, dancers, artists are examples of art forms of a society, a culture, a civilization, a world, in which humanity lives, not securely in cities nor innocently in the country, but on the apocalyptic, simultaneous edge of a new realm of being and understanding. The mythopoet, female and male, returns to the role of prophet-seer by creating myths that resonate in the minds of readers, myths that speak with the authority of the ancient myths, myths that are gifts from the creative realms of being, gifts from the shadow.
On Being an Outlaw Poet
“To live outside the law you must be honest.” –Bob Dylan, Outlaw Poet
“An outlaw can be defined as somebody who lives outside the law, beyond the law, not necessarily against it. By the time I wrote Hell’s Angels I was riding with them and it was clear that it was no longer possible for me to go back and live within the law.
There were a lot more outlaws than me. I was just a writer. I wasn’t trying to be an outlaw writer. I never heard of the term, somebody else made it up. But we were all outside the law, Kerouac, Miller, Burroughs, Ginsberg, Kesey, me. I didn’t have a gauge as to who was the worst outlaw. I just recognized my allies, my people.” –Hunter S. Thompson, Outlaw Writer
“time was, time is, time will be no more” and it’s the big bang epiphany in the gap between thought and image voices streams racing whispering through my blood pleading through my bones strange activities of my nerves the unconscious life of the mind a tetrameter of iambs marching shouting alchemically transmutative symbol decipherment the book as sacred elixir manger du livre eat the book and the words will set you free
“the shortest distance between two points is creative distance”
and Allen Ginsberg howls “i saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness, starving, hysterical naked”
and Diane di Prima rants “the only war that matters is the war against the imagination all other wars are subsumed in it”
and Amiri Baraka chants “they have turned, and say that i am dying. that i have thrown my life away. they have left me alone, where there is no one, nothing save who i am. not a note not a word.”
and Lawrence Ferlinghetti paints pictures of the gone world
mysterium tremendum gnostical turpitude
Allen Ginsberg Diane di Prima Amiri Baraka Lawrence Ferlinghetti
numinous howls and rants and chants and paintings
and years of tears come fiercely flowing streaming all the pain wells up years of failure of not being enough for anyone years of wandering lost on the outside outlaw being told “you ain’t shit you don’t fit what the fuck you doin here? all you’ve done is create pain and sorrow wouldn’t you be better off dead?”
turning away from walking away from disappearing from bullies authorities tyrants the past the dead in the hermetic corridors of authority the dead somberly splash in their shallow sewers devouring and regurgitating themselves and with tears in my eyes a snarl on my lips and peace in my heart i’m failing as no other dare fail
and i’m in the gap between thought and image how’d i get here after all the years of not being self after all the years of being other of floating out of my body on the ceiling watching skin blood bones nerves going through the motions believing in space and time without realizing i was already out out of sync beyond chaos breathing rhythms at the ending of time and now here in the gap between thought and image where the only distance is creative distance here now at the ending of time i focus all three eyes in wolf fashion closing time i walk through the stone called lump of fat and i float through the fire that is central and i enter the upper chamber of the golden pyramid the confluence of all streams polyglot commingling of all voices thalass feeds herself and as i float over the open sarcophagus i am the ocean of consciousness
Ron Whitehead, U.S. National Beat Poet Laureate
Never Too Many Sunsets: Amram, Whitehead, Messina: Three Generations will be released by sonaBLAST! Records on August 17th
Official induction as U.S. National Beat Poet Laureate, International Beat Festival, New Hartford, Connecticut, September 4th.
Outlaw Poet: The Legend of Ron Whitehead will be released by Storm Generation Films & Dark Star TV late summer early fall 2021.