A Poetry Showcase: Stephen Kingsnorth (June 2023) including 3 Plath inspired poems

Bio: Stephen Kingsnorth (Cambridge M.A., English & Religious Studies), retired to Wales, UK from ministry in the Methodist Church due to Parkinson’s Disease, has had pieces published by on-line poetry sites, printed journals and anthologies, including Fevers of the Mind.  He has, like so many, been a nominee for the Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net. His blog is at https://poetrykingsnorth.wordpress.com/


Why turning rust leaves on the trees
paint wonder - but not metal form,
the oxide scar, green metal bench?
Both witness chemicals at work;
the autumn auxin taking charge,
so damp air driving season’s cost.
A copper beech, the chestnut bract,
fall flaking branch, strip modesty;
yet next that picnic bench neglect,
with viridescent bottle mold,
its palette range a mirror work?
Would pristine tree in summer dress,
unchanging, satisfy our eye?
Why should our plant, this country seat,
not share the turning of the year?  

Bike Ride

I saw this bike, post-war, restored - 
The Repair Shop, a TV show,
and suddenly I’m riding it.

A toddler, at my mother’s back,
the child-seat crude, black rods, red pad,
mudguard white striped, black-out required.

She told me, first air-raid she knew,
new dress, on slab, newspaper laid,
she lay, more fear newsprint transferred.

Handlebars battered, spinning wheels,
as lifted head, surveyed the screams -
and then this bike, her own, my ride. 

Tasting Time

Great grandma’s clock has ceased to tock,
that mantel piece of crude cut wood,
a case too large for inner works
where even dust just lost its way.
That alloy block on ramrod stick
founds its weight too much to sway.
Great grandad sat there by the peat,
sipped Bushmills from up the way,
admired his cutting from the moss.
She would have him up the stairs
but once the whisky had its way,
along with glowing from the grate
he was balanced on his seat, 
content, the ticking of her talk
wafting, smoky, up the stack;
no matter words, straitjacket, Mum,
admonition of her tongue.
He piled bog slack from crumpled pail,
settled back, ignored the pain,
tasting time, port barrel stock.

Urban Swerve

My teenage, borne in urban scape
by serendipity, in stealth,
effected move to moorland heath.
Mount orange box, guide skipping rope,
bold pavement swerves, clipped city kerbs,
week’s shopping bags, strewn apples, leeks -
old go-cart gave way, hiking boots,
that axle burn turned abseil hold.

I longed for yells, clear crowds from path,
big points for scare, here mine alone -
heard belay calls, rock climbing face,
slow rise to rush adrenalin.
Nail granite bite, one toe tip grip,
supplanted by wind rush, tor top,
curbed charm of snaking coil below,
saw route, sail reservoir, canoe.

Words tack and boom, with crampon spikes,
set rhyming slang took on fresh voice,
with burr and rolling singing slurs,
an adolescent culture twist.
Across the tracks, my circuit mates, 
paroled their streets, fixed terms fulfilled;
but I, transferred to peat moss, grouse,
had no complaints, new venture paths. 


We met moor-top one sunny day,
three of us raised and with
sufficient experience and people-interest
to relate beyond silence,
gruff acknowledgement, platitude
into conversation.

So we concede beyond polite fascination,
the courtesy finds connections,
and unspoken, unconfessed,
the sensitive awareness
of intellectual compatibility,
water finding its own level
and finding, as it were,
two vessels joined.

Was that why he asked
if he could walk with us,
we think to his benefit, maybe ours?
The loneliness was chosen.
He walks without
map or compass or even plan;
was this so the gods could chose companion,
rain, sun, heather, grouse, people?
And why as several coalesced
at scenic viewpoint did he speak with us,
when all knew the common vista enjoyment
and its fuzzed horizon, rubbed graphite,
seeped, too bruised to rely on divided line?

We walked and talked,
smiled knowingly, admired
competency, the linguistic polymath
overseas parental-pleasing and expected
drive, yet a ghostly wanderlust.
Short-term psychiatry appointments.
Was that want of wider experience,
or simple impatience, or an unsatisfied search?

We shall never know.
We shared his meagre ration,
at his insistence.
At ours he returned with us for soup
which was not to his taste
but of course feigned sufficiency.
He signed our visitors book,
took a card and said goodbye.

The police rang some months later:
Shayne missing in the mountains,
found your card at home.
Our tale fitted the present circumstance.
Six years on his death declared,
presumed victim of  Adam and Eve
on Tryfan, beyond Ogwen
where darers leap between the rocks,
though body never found.
His namesake, nightmare novelist
writes 'the void of nothingness',
as my stranger's alter ego.

I wonder if this multi-lingual
doctor of the mind, lone wanderer,
open to the guiding wind
was some kind angel in disguise,
missed in mountain mist.
Entertaining strangers unawares.


Borne nugget of Aurelia, 
what channelled such genetic trail, 
that broke in storms - passed to her son -
bipolar swings, bipolar things,
from obsolete, fine white flying myth?
She missed Dylan, whom would have milked,
a Harvard no, a Fulbright yes.
scholar to Newnham, Cantab pressed,
but self-harm nurtured in her breast -
could nacreous pearl emerge from grit?

I’ll take a punt - I by poled so,
beneath the Newnham balcony,
some dawn of dusk she saw it low.
Crossing the Water of the Cam,
by Silver Street where rollers lift
rift lower, upper, lower drift,
with splashes, waves, lap gurgling stir,
fleck lashes sweat, stern chain-gang haul,
far reach, Grantchester, honey, tea.

Confessional of Lowell guide,
grave Sexton, care beside, on side,
the woman dares to speak her mind,
and tell her side, heredity,
the voice in type of common woe,
far commonweal all she’s deserved,
domestic surreal in flow,
bee keeper seeking how to be.

Her jarring bell distorts, disturbs,
as Ted her lover, rental cursed,
Double Exposure found her lost,
as from storm, tempest, Ariel,
some spirit breaking from the bole.

I’d want the spritely smiling girl,
not drab flat Chalcot Square portrait -
‘flat character I do not want’ -
sourcery, Wikimedia
commons view, black white of negativity,
rejec-ted, dejec-ted hues espoused,
of ouija and astrology.
His chiseled face off granite slab -
chips off the old block, gravel grave -
could she find self-worth, alchemy,
the golden lotus in fierce flames
at least in those who followed her? 

Dismantled Almosts

We all hear not to wave as drown,
some, killing field of Primrose Hill;
mad ricochet from happy, sad,
her childhood scars as beauty marks,
rejection slips that showed she tried,
than deserved, content, happier.
And Ariel, the posthumous
received as relic, not a book,
bright hair bracelet about the bone,
in mix, rebirth and death forlorn.

But for her cut and thrust of words,
polar explorer of extremes,
was there no one to hold her down
when she rose up, found empty skies?
How could her Daddy, laureate
not bind her childish adult wounds,
North Tawton hives or blue plaque signs
not signal hope within the rage?
Dismantled almosts may be shame,
but of rebuilding what remains?

Did she expect her orphaned two
to know that noose left hanging there,
new mother, lover, ill dispute,
who also took her life, her one?
These revenge tragedies of life
seem hellbent on remorse and pain.
And Nicholas, of Farrar name,
brings Little Gidding into frame,
with Sylvia, and that own son, 
Assia, daughter, a quartet. 

Teddy’s Bare Picnic

Plath’s pleas, wronged women, kept in place,
yet ‘butcher’ Ted rôled on through list
and lay in bed at lover’s nest
as told of his wife’s suicide;
Plath’s flat, two days, where lover lay,
and would, abort recovery.

Draft constitution, mistress’ rules,
outlined permitted, what ruled out;
two pages type, of sixties man,
when rise, how dress and what to cook.

His other lovers, some his wives -
‘Which bed? Which bride?’ exemplified,
an alphabetti soup of code,
Assia, Brenda, Carol too,
reduced to A, B, C, his joke.
And laureate, a poet too.

A Poetry Showcase: Adrian Ernesto Cepeda inspired by Dylan, Miles, Plath, Sexton, Marilyn

Within the palm of Miles Davis
 From a 1986 photograph by Irving Penn

You can feel the grooves
all the notes created from
exhausted breaths, of his 
lips chapped gold on his 
glowing instrument, gripping 
sounds trying to capture music—
by coloring the air canvas 
with new notes he creates
in the gust of improvisation,
always chasing the rhythm that
eludes him— under the sweat 
of spotlight, overcoming 
calluses, he reaches for
creations exhale, when 
he blows, Davis loves 
the taste of inspiration 
inside his mouth, making 
out with masterpieces
in the middle of his solo—
with so many miles to go 
his trumpet never sleeps.

Midnight at Newnham Gardens

Sylvia loved speaking poetry
to the sculpted boy and dolphin,
splashing in Cambridge winter 
silence, as she moved her shivered
lips speaking to something who 
could listen without accents.  She
loved to daydream within the snow
globe shadows. Plath would make
up naturally blessed Ariel verses
and the boy would glow statuesque—
frozen marble eyes would attract
her night after night, not saying
much ears open waiting to hear 
her sneaker footsteps, standing 
in front of her quiet friend was
her favorite solitude, conversations
sharing December breaths alone, when 
she spoke in whispered Winthrop, 
Massachusetts rhymes, Plath
would beautifully melt icicles. 
Chewing midnight sojurn, 
Sylvia loved listening 
Trying to decipher all 
the frozen London voices— 
buried in the moonlit snow.   
Driving us, Floating Uptown

Bluntly passing joints 
watching the street
car, car stereo loudly
imagines Bob Dylan 
between us, almost floating
on the grassy median
while on this short 
mind trip, you drove us 
Uptown on St. Charles
Avenue, the trees
are colorful carnival
umbrellas, scattered
with Mardi Gras beads
hanging on every
branch. As I reach
from the car window,
wishing I could grab
one but as you signal
to turn the car onto
your street. I can feel
my munchies kick in,
remembering the laughter
when we smoked out,
it was not just getting high,
passing me the joint,
there was this unspoken
joy of two buddies
lifted, sitting on his
couch listening to Dylan’s
Man of Constant Sorrow,
two po boys munching 
down on our favorite 
Magazine St. sandwiches, 
minds stoned sharing
so many silence of moments—
although I’ve forgotten 
so many NOLA nights, 
shows at Tipitinas, State 
Palace Theatre raves, 
free movie passes at
Canal Place Prytania, 
pizza slices/ SIN discount 
drinks at Club Decatur—
I always remember 
cotton mouth contagious, 
like howlin’ wolves 
lifting our spirits, 
joyfully, sipping 
bottled beers next
to a buddy in a smoky
room, with minds in
the clouds, always 
missing the jubilant 
uptown banter, bongs
of remembrances 
parking grins—
spinning CD’s
imagining Dylan
between us, lyrically
lighting one up, 
in an afternoon daze,
with my buddy Keefer 
the high always transcends. 

Only the wind can truly kiss meI was coming apart. / They loved me until/ I was gone” 
—  Anne Sexton 

Some nights, I sleepwalk
on the beach, waking up
quivering, knowing this
is where my often maltreated
body loves to feel the chills
rippling against my robe,
titillating underneath, 
my naked skin. My face loves 
the way the gust could reach
deeper, each breeze against
my cheeks, the gale kisses
wildly like no man’s lips 
never dared to reach—
the wind never takes me,
she blows inviting thoughts
so cool, revealing the only
time I feel naturally blushing 
without make up, just me—  
my eyes closed loving how 
much the tempest winds match
each storming burst tempting
so beautifully disrobing me 
from my inside.

(If I had) Five Minutes with Marilyn Monroe
From a 1955 photograph by Ed Feingersh at Costello’s Restaurant, NYC

 I would light up more than her cigarette,
and her soft inquisitives smile. I would 
sit across the booth and encourage her 
not to only focus on silver dreams, attractions
becoming only on theatre screens. Instead 
of centerfold, photoshoots, exposing more 
than skin, show all your body, volumes
printed from the spine. Remember Sandburg, 
Miller, Capote’s gift? You too can expose sharing
every imperfect scar, have your legacy so brave
on the page, each line you bare engraved like
a lyrical kiss. So many dreaming to touch 
you, why not reach out with words from afar? 
Reflecting your verses connecting so much 
closer, circulating each of your most secret 
fragments, pieces, crumpled ink stains
see through markings; underneath your flashing 
beauty reveals the most captivating poetry 
a voice of siren, that star is you.  

At Marilyn's grave

Still everblooming 
like the roses glowing

on your wall, despite 
everyone who doubted 

you, those who could 
never see beyond your 

beauty, your life, a poem, 
like the most perfect 

rhyme, in eternity’s 
spotlight, Norma Jeane even 

my shuttering camera knows 
you will outlive us all. 

Bio: Adrian Ernesto Cepeda is the author of Flashes & Verses… Becoming Attractions from Unsolicited Press, Between the Spine from Picture Show Press, Speaking con su Sombra with Alegría Publishing,  La Belle Ajar & We Are the Ones Possessed from CLASH Books and his 6th poetry collection La Lengua Inside Me will be published by FlowerSong Press in 2023. 
Adrian lives with his wife in Los Angeles with their adorably spoiled cat Woody Gold.

Poetry by Jackie Chou inspired by Plath,Sexton and Marilyn Monroe

The Morning Walk

I wander the streets 
in late mornings,
windblown hair brushing 
against my face,
jagged at the ends,
as if torn by a shark's teeth.

The eyes inside the booming cars 
pierce my thin skin.
I wear a sweater,
but it doesn't protect me 
from their glares.

I'm a pedestrian.
My slow steps and daydreams
get in the way of a world 
that needs to keep moving,
keep its children fed.

Escaping the Voices

The night has fallen,
turning the sky deep purple,
the color of bruises.

Outside the glass door
of the place I call home,
the noises,
and the witchy voices 
on the intercom,
are drowned out.

Some men have tried 
to quell my anxiety.
We've gone browsing 
in the shoe store,
the phone company,
to distract me from fears.

But I've come back
again and again,
to hardened criminals 
with hard hearts.
I've held them to my chest,
let them chew me to bits.

I've gotten used to 
this frozen sidewalk,
where I've learned 
to ground my feet.

The following Poem inspired by Marilyn Monroe's poetry


I have been a rose,
sometimes wishing to be the bee
buried in its petals,
the one who is intoxicated 
by another's nectar.

But life-

I have bloomed 
in your very dance halls,
twirled under the strobe light 
in satin and chiffon dresses,
red-lipped and silver-footed.

I've looked into the mirror
long and hard,
my flushed cheeks yellowing 
under the bathroom lamp, 
the years stolen from my face.

Bio: Jackie Chou writes poems about romantic love, friendship, coming of age, grief over losses, mental illness, the creative process, and more.  Some of her works are published by Fevers of the Mind Press.  Her new poetry collection, Finding My Heart in Love and Loss, published by cyberwit.net, is available on Amazon.

Poetry inspired by Plath & Sexton by Sarah Wallis

Bio: Sarah Wallis lives by the sea on the East Coast of Scotland, since moving from Yorkshire x4 years ago. She publishes cross genre, highlights are poetry in The Yorkshire Poetry Anthology, Abridged The Violet Hour, flash fiction at Ellipsis, a winning story at The Welkin and art in Feral. Recent work includes hybrid poem art at Osmosis, in print journals Gutter, Fragmented Voices, Eat the Storms –print and podcast. Chapbooks include Medusa Retold, Precious Mettle and How to Love the Hat Thrower.

Old Eign Hill

after Anne Sexton’s 45 Mercy Street

In my dream 
I’m walking up and down the Hafod Road
and searching for a sign to - Old Eign Hill – 
but no, I’m on the wrong hill, and every time. 
I know the number, the varnished door, 
the clean, clear glass to see visitors through, 
and just in case, the Brasso’d doorknock, 
the shining bell.  

The two levels, off white kitchen and apple
green bathroom, changed since last time, 
so now the old suite is sat, hunched and bitten, 
smashed up slowly, as if a giant passing 
the garage took a bite, the teeth marks left 
by your hammers as time devoured the toilet 
bowl - you put it in the bin, bit 
by bit, to fool the council. 

The house is one of china 
for best, and good matched cutlery, 
tablecloths of old Irish linen, fetched out
and cut glass crystal goblets full of wine, 
the table set for Christmas cheer, I know it 
well, the kitchen steaming, laughter 
simmering, along with the distant chatter 
and song of generations 

long since 
passed, and passed again 
right through the varnished wooden door.  

Time is getting on, the hour is set, 
and yet, and yet, although I know 
I know it well, I cannot, cannot find 
this hidden, vanished Old Eign
street sign, sighing to the silent, winding hill. 


after Plath ‘Out of the ashes I rise with my red hair’

My grandmother was a miracle everyday she lived, 
middle child marvel of Celtic descent, strong and red 
haired, akin the warrior queens of the old songs, rising 
from sick beds like the phoenix, fought off tuberculosis,
once, twice, diphtheria, pleurisy, peritonitis (appendicitis 
gone much worse) mini strokes and eleven years of vascular 
dementia. The One Hundred Lives of my Grandmother
born 1920 on the Welsh coast, taken to the Salisbury Plain 
where she missed the sea and two brothers sent to school 
but she, enraged, made to work, opening the Tidworth 
Post Office at sixteen, saluted by Churchill, barrelling by 
in his chauffeured Daimler limousine... Dementia was a low 
blow but still she rose to play Holy Terror - always an edgy 
sense of fun –spooking her carers in white gown, white halo... 


Introducing a new print journal dedicated to poetry, writings, art & more inspired by music, artists, movies, and writers “The Whiskey Mule Diner”

The Whiskey Mule Diner Journal will include past blog posts and new submissions sent to us at feversofthemind@gmail.com  

Each issue will include sections dedicated to certain musicians, artists, actors/actresses, writers/poets.   Looking for poetry & other writing styles (prose, sonnets, haiku, essays), artwork (AI artwork works as well), photography, drawings & more.   

With every new submission send a bio & any social media info.  

We do not send rejection e-mails.  If you want to withdraw a poem or have any specific questions regarding what you have sent, please just send us an e-mail at feversofthemind@gmail.com   We do send acceptances however.  Also, for editing/curating reasons we will most likely add a considered piece(s) to the website prior to any print publications.  We are unable to pay contributors.   After an issue comes out pieces could be published on this online blog and will be promoted online as well.    Each contributor will receive a free pdf.  Even the editors have to pay for these issues!   No cover letter needed and please only send in word doc, pdf or in subject of e-mail.
  If you'd like to donate to our PayPal the e-mail for that is also feversofthemind@gmail.com 

The next batch of musical artists we are focusing on will include (but not limited/you are free to send work you've done on other artists/writers as well)  Tom Waits, Joni Mitchell, Miles Davis, Anne Sexton, Sylvia Plath, Townes Van Zandt   and also we are re-visiting other past subjects we've had on both past print issues and online anthologies that'll be revisited in one of our first issues since we already have some pieces on these    Andy Warhol, Nick Cave, Leonard Cohen, Bob Dylan, Claude Monet, Jack Kerouac, Langston Hughes, Elliott Smith, Pablo Neruda, Lou Reed, Audrey Hepburn, Prince, Depeche Mode, Elvis Costello, The Dirty Three/Warren Ellis, Marilyn Monroe

Fevers of the Mind Poetry & Art Blog

we are accepting poetry, prose, sonnets, haiku, artwork (really needed by the way for this type of project) and photography possibly.

*Also coming soon from Fevers of the Mind Print Anthologies Issues 6 The Empath Dies in the End and Issue 7 : Bare Bones Writing II.

A Poetry chapbook from my wife and Co-editor HilLesha O’Nan entitled “Werifesteria”