3 poems by Keely O’Shaughnessy “The Collector” “And You Thought Me Empty” & “Something Like Mount Rushmore”

The Collector

As a baby you are down covered like goosegrass,
Rooted to your incubator with a thicket tubes and wires.
There are two holes in the plastic lid
Where tiny nappies can be changed.
You are a patch of wild strawberries,
Whose creeper stems are too fine and fragile to support their weight.

Age five and seven, you’re Gypsophila Spray. Limbs spread wide and chaotic.
Age nine, you’re green, soft sapling bamboo striving to develop your tough, woody skin.

You see specialists, who ask if you can write your name.
You are weighted and measured,
And sent out into the world,
Where other children fail to understand
Your balance is a delicate dandelion clock.
They sing and huff
Each breath sending you spiralling.

You write in notebooks with crayon.
Sketch out the flowers you think the prettiest.
Sweet Pea,
Cherry blossoms,

Alongside each you keep a list of every time someone says, you can’t.

At eleven, a girl pulls your hair as you try to explain involuntary muscle spam.
You run a nettle the length of her exposed flesh.
Her ponytail gripped tight by a purple scrunchie,
She slaps your thighs.
You bite at loose skin that trails your bottom lip.

Hauled into the Headmaster’s office,
Shame-faced and sore,
It is the girl who cries.
Beneath your skirt,
The Hawthorne grows thick and fast
As your toes begin to cramp in loops and pulses.

The heel of her delicate Mary Jane pumps,
A series of dots and dashes on the muted grey carpet,
The girl stamps out her message.

Your twisted legs, hippy parents,
Your clothes that smell of patchouli oil and incense
Your knees like knots in soft wood
You are bindweed with your creeper vine arms pulled taut.
We wish to rip you from the earth.

The roots run deep, yet your list of cannots grows longer.

Soon you will learn to collect them
Your vines, thorns and blossoms,
Train them to wind round a cane.
Tame them.
Like feeding a monster,
Like precious marbles in a jar,
Like a seedling pushing upward.

And You Thought Me Empty

Wednesday night’s chow mein congealed in the sink,
I open my throat to you.
The noise comes out a gurgle,
That last swig from a bottle left in the sun
Blackout blinds still fully extended at noon,
The lyrics to a Bowie song are blood and spittle on your cheek.
Wiping your skin, you tell me I’m sick.
Yet, in my marrow, I know
You can’t understand the pain and strength
That it takes to feel the smallest bit alive.

Something Like Mount Rushmore

His skin protrudes at odd angles.
His bones crack and grind.
I can almost see them break,
Crumble and reform.

He doesn’t appear to be in any pain,
But he looks at me all the while.
His new form being fashioned:
Chiselled from the marble
Of our kitchen countertop.
Fortified and unyielding,
He is strong.

Keely O’Shaughnessy is a writer with Cerebral Palsy. She has an MA from the University of Gloucestershire. She is Managing Editor at Flash Fiction Magazine. She has words in magazines and anthologies. She’s a Pushcart nominee. When not writing, she spends time discussing David Bowie with her cat.

Photo by Alejandro Pinero Amerio (unsplash)

New Poetry by Annest Gwilym : “Insomniac” & “The Word Collector”


dawn coughs light

  streaks the headache skies

         too early

  back to sleep

today    the milk-sour mother

        of tomorrow

          illuminates curtain edges

        with dust flowers

     too bright

    too early

blackbird alarm-calls        fracture silence

    turn over

      back to sleep

in the young day    light grows dense

          arthritic clock hands

        march on

                     come back night

      back to sleep

the moon has lost its drapery

    ghosted by brightness

          white din

              too early

hands that twist the bedsheets

                      check the clock

    tick tock

           turn over

light coughs    sifts

    through curtains

   takes root

              too bright

      come back night

  cars growl past 

  like the ebb and flow

        of thoughts

                wind-washed rain spatters

            drums on glass

                            too much noise 

           too early 

come back night

The Word Collector

Almost invisible ghost,
she hunts the early morning air
for a sliver of dream
floating down from
a just open bedroom window,
a catch of words in her throat,
wild and untamed.

Moon-eyed tempest-chaser,
deep as midnight,
as you pass in the street
she’ll sieve your thoughts
before they settle in your head
like river mud.

The soft murmuration of leaves
in glassy, backlit light
gathers in her mind
like the phantom faces
of the children she never had.

She scours the beach
for its salty trawl
of sea pottery and glass,
filleting words and histories,
panning for gold.

Words unfurl and are caught
in the curve of a shell,
the wind’s semaphore
in pollen-rich grass,
the moon tangled in trees.

Magpie-hearted collector,
words can never capture
the surging gold of sunrise,
or twilight’s indigo fall.

Wolfpack Contributor: Annest Gwilym

A Fevers of the Mind Quick-9 Interview with Annest Gwilym

4 poems by Linda M. Crate : “The Choice is Yours” “So I Would Never Fail” “I Love Being a Woman” & “They’ll Hold Everything Against You”

the choice is yours
you want submissive wallflowers
seen but never heard,
but i’m not your arm candy;

i am a woman with a mind,
heart, and soul—

respect my magic or fall prey
to every monster of me
because i will surrender my power
to none,

and you are a jester without a court;

don’t think you’re welcome in my kingdom
should you find women lesser than
i cannot stand people who think they’re above me

or they’re better than me because i’m a woman—

i was given these words,
and this riot in my soul;
i can warm your house or burn it down
the choice is yours.
-linda m. crate

accept me as my dream
i have always been a wild woman
they told me as a child i should be more tame

i only grew more silent as my ferocity grew,
and i could bite my tongue so they never knew
just how sharp a sword it was;

they thought they could disrespect me and get
respect in return but it never happened that way—

all i ever wanted was to be appreciated for
who i was,
but they wanted to point out all my flaws
as if they didn’t have their own;

so i painted every sunset of my rage with their ruins—

because if you cannot accept me as dream
then all you will ever get of me is nightmares.

so i would never fail
i was taught
to be submissive,

but i was never
good at

always questioned everything—

the weight of the world
is sometimes too much,
and i have to remind myself
i am not atlas;
cannot carry it all by myself

still sometimes
i find myself trying—

every time i struggled and asked
for help i was told that i was smart
or that i would figure it out or that i was

and while all of these things are true;
i didn’t ask for help unless i needed it—

i have cried myself to sleep so many
wondering why i wasn’t good enough

i realize now that i always was,
but some people won’t appreciate you
no matter how much you love them
so i decided to love myself so i would never

i love being a woman
they thought they were so clever
with their insults
telling me that i was someone
who was disgusting,

but it was just their reflection
they spoke of;

beautiful people don’t need to put
everyone else down in order to elevate

only bullies do—

because i am a woman i have always been
questioned in everything i do,
and people talk over and under and around me
to avoid the gravity of my life and experiences;

i have been told i have lied about things
people told me by random men on the internet—

i love being a woman, but i wish it wasn’t in a man’s world.

they’ll hold everything against you
when you’re a woman
they will hold everything
against you

too much make-up
not enough

too fat or too skinny

not pretty enough no matter
how gorgeous you truly are

poking and prodding
until they get a reaction,
and you’re always the monster
even when you’re innocent;

if you’re assaulted or raped
somehow that’s your fault
what were you wearing?
did you drink anything?
learn how to protect yourselves.

almost as if men don’t
have any responsibility
to their wives, their daughters,
and their friends.

Bio: Linda M. Crate (she/her) is a Pennsylvanian writer. Her works have been published in numerous magazines and anthologies both online and in print. She is the author of ten poetry chapbooks, the latest being: Hecate’s Child (Alien Buddha Publishing, November 2021). She’s also the author of the novella Mates (Alien Buddha Publishing, March 2022). She has three micro-poetry collections out:  Heaven Instead (Origami Poems Project, May 2018), moon mother (Origami Poems Project, March 2020.), and & so i believe (Origami Poems Project, April 2021). She has published four full-length poetry collections Vampire Daughter (Dark Gatekeeper Gaming, February 2020), The Sweetest Blood (Cyberwit, February 2020), Mythology of My Bones (Cyberwit, August 2020), and you will not control me (Cyberwit, March 2021).

Several new poems by Linda M Crate

3 poems by Tuur Verheyde : “April in Exile” “May Meandering” “March in Ending”

April in Exile 

The Morrigan soars across emerald skies.
Devilry will only join in doom.
Madness mixes as much it can.
Harpies hover above my barren mount,
They shit tar and turpentine.
Depression and Delirium struggle to reign supreme.
Sloth, my deadliest sin, blasts them both.
It owns me now.

My cloven tongue licks its bloodied lips
An unshaven cheek peels away,
Its barren rotting skin.
This face may show decay,
For none who care shall look upon it.
My sluggish hands slowly get to work,
The cogs cough and moan, as dust rises
And cobwebs are torn by movement;
Black smoke rises from my nose.

Exile tastes of mouldy bread.
Envy projects scenes of joy,
I miss the play, the party-lights.
My nights glitter with the spectre of artillery fire.
I anger and confuse my former friends.
Forgive me, Jocasta. I am blinded by bitterness.
I am hollow.
I cannot join your merry nights
Without defiling them.
Forgive me, Medea, I will bleed for your craft.
Forgive me, Flowers. I will not disturb your bloom.
Forgive me, classicists, for leaving your velvet fold.
I am weak, but will return.

I am woken by battle cries.
The homestead shivering once again;
The ravings of an old Ogre,
Whose self-righteous mania
Makes even the dogs cringe with shame.
How cruel, for Dementia to curse this hold a second time.

Academia appears to me,
Her patience is running out.
Mild, she once was.
A golden Minerva for whom I knelt.
Sloth now stays my hand,
And she grows darker every empty day.
She is Nemesis, fuelled by the furies’ zest.
She will have my blood before summer.

May now crawls upon the stage,
A month before the horrid trial.
Academia and Sloth fight without an end.
Depression is a man-eater with crimson manes.
He tears my flesh,
Bit by bit.
In exile, I cannot bring pestilence upon the blissful.
In exile, I can diminish in desolate dreams.
As a beast peels off my skin with the utmost patience,
I await my doom.
The way is shut,
All paths will unravel soon.

May Meandering

This is the prologue to my obituary,
I write it while lashes ring in my ears.
No more scribbled shit will further burden
Your tired eyes, reader.
I stroll betwixt sand and storms,
Waiting for Damocles’ blade to be released.
Don’t worry, it won’t be long.

Maggots hollow out the flesh,
Carving caverns into bones,
Carving homes for bugs and beetles,
Rotted beneath the sun,
Rotted beneath the rain,
I lie slain in meadowsweet.
Destined to be a den
For crawling creatures of the night.
I slew myself for the greater good,
For shame, for honour and such toss.
Ajax-like I plunged a blade into my chest,
Oedipus-evoking I gouged out my eyes.
A hollow husk to house the gnawing ones
Is what became of me.
Blood spilled in idle crying,
Flows deep into the chasms of the earth.
Gaps and fissures open up to swallow me.
The black soil shows its teeth,
Its vampire-like grin.
‘Desde abajo te devora
Desde abajo te devora.’

And none around to bury me,
None to cover my bloody tears with gold.
None to take a scalp or a bone,
A token of death.
None to sprinkle lilies, to sprinkle blooming death,
None to mourn the eternal dead.
And I awake from a maddening dream,
To see death without a grave.
The earth vomits me back out,
And I rise in the moonlit night.
Claws and spikes grow from me,

And I remember how I passed.
I see faces I once loved,
Through the midnight hour
They glare, now unloving.
I sow the seeds of absence,
To reap hatred in return.


The miasmic mist mingles with humidity.
Mingled is our mind, our sense.
We close the soil and salt the earth.

War is waged on cyber fronts,
Digital domains raided again.
Chechnya drips into the mind,
Love is being murdered there,
Another silent genocide.
Eurovision slouches on the screen,
Gasp, laugh, gloat and applaud.
Trump whines and weeps,
The pustule always keep erupting.

We are walled in with cardboard boxes.
Wotan’s host crossed the border,
This time passing past the hills.
They tamed the salient and brought us rain;
Hooved stampedes and hissing iron.
The hammer falls,
And zealous floods spice the panting air.

The triple-faced Diane rises from the rain,
Hounds howling as she ascends.
Youngling’s blood flows as her libation.
She slides across a sleepless eve,
To show me white cliffs,
The Demeter landing on ravaged shores.
A beast disembarks,
Lashed limbs left in its wake.
Vapour crawls beneath your doors,
Lidless eyes pierce the skies,
They watch us as we sleep.
The worlds were poured
Through my waking hours.
In the night,
I am poured through them.

I return on the snake of steel,
The land is not what it was.
Sociability, a maze,
Crooked walls, cloaked in black,
Curling on the horizon’s hills,
Plunging in the valley’s depths.
The sky wears a scarf with violet tones.
Sighing in silence, I retreat.
This is no place for a pariah.
Forgiveness is a godly gift.
Unworthy fools must make way.

Forgive me, friends, for I have sinned.
I pay in unshed tears,
In absence and in cold.
In silent faces frowning.
In powerlessly texting first,
Against an ocean of silence.

My soul shows me deserts,
Earth cracked by drought,
Citrine skies blazing
With whirling clouds.
I see rusted metal ridding.
Rotting citadels of steel
Tower above ashen lands.
The furies pave our barren roads.
Skies are burning above our graves.
The killing of the world,
No future for the wicked.
Morpheus tells me to prepare,
Forsaken, I stand before an envoy of divinity.
The gods of godlessness have abandoned us,
The old alliances are fucked to bits.

The blade sways above me,
To fall
On Ascension Day.

March in Ending

March, in ending
Becomes the gravedigger of last year’s ambitions.
Spring is the true season of death.
For as Autumn and Winter peel away
The life in nature,
They do so gently.
The slowly balding head
Of Gaia
Does not provoke
A tear in time.

Spring, however, disrespectfully
Blasts its way through the gloom
We had become so familiar with.
The beauty of the blossom
Caresses the eye,
The explosion of colour shakes
The jaded soul into summer sentiment.
But in the tremors of rebirth
Lies the realisation of death.
How long since we gazed upon
March’s caressing sun.
How many things have died since then.
But unlike the flora,
Many of these things were not made for rebirth.

Time has passed, alas.
The sweet warmth of the sun,
Leaves the bitterness of loss
Upon our merry minds.
Thus March,
In its final days, covers
The lost with fertile earth,
And allows for new life
To grow upon them.
They disappear beneath
The carpet of colour
And sink in the soil
Of faded Memory.


March in ending,
Summons the hounds of hell.
Demons take a hold of me.
Not the paralysing
Not the self-loathing
No, Anarchy now inhabits me.
I cover Time with a cloth,
I turn of the power to the social leash,
I knowingly abstain from Duty’s emotional blackmail.
I answer to no one.
I renounced fancy and its tricks,
I renounced the grey pantomime of sociability,
I renounced it all.
Lectures on Woodrow Wilson’s great aunt’s aching toenail,
On anecdotes concerning curry and self-indulgent wank.
Seminars on the structuring of souls harvested from
Their now dreamless livestock.
Drunk on our blood, we are judged by the ivory towers
Of sycophantic sociability in the name of scholarship.

I am Judas to thy Christ.
I am Brutus to thy Caesar.
I am The Confederation to thy Union.
I must the betrayer to thy cause,
Serving a cause before which even you
Should kneel.

I lie,
With my thirty pieces of silver:
Buying books I have not the courage to read
Writing poems that will not be read,
Wasting my time with self-indulgence
That that sustains and destroys me.
Occasionally, I leave my row house cave.
I look at the world through coloured glasses—
Literally, not metaphorically—
March frees Persephone from Hades’ clutch,
March heralds Ostara of the Dawn,
And all those who resurrected by her.
March must be the season of war,
As old grievances bloom accompanied by flora,
As old hellish creatures screech next to songbirds.
All beasts do the dance of death
On blossoming meadows filled with life.
I dig the grave of my academic future,
And the guilt wains, day by day.
Day by day, a few hours of work
Undermine my self-sabotaging whims.

Cut the flesh and heal the wound,
Cut the flesh and heal the wound,
Not for pain,
Not for guilt,
But because we must.
If Sisyphus was happy,
Why not Tantalus?
Why not us?

In the end, it matters not.
Fulfilling duty or opposing it.
All seems equal.
All echoes with the same resonance,
The same fickle tremors.
Anarchy is master
When no one else is.


March in ending
May end me,
May end the me that was.
It tells me nothing,
Shows me nothing.
But the fickleness of time,
The treacherous nature
Of Nature.
Thus we end,
Like March
On a pointless
Sour confusing note,
As my anticipation of serendipity
Resembles a less brilliant
Less existential
Less poetic
Less humorous
Waiting for Godot.


Tuur Verheyde is a twenty-four year old Belgian poet. His work endeavours to capture the weirdness of the 21st century; its globalised art, culture, politics and problems. Tuur’s poetry seeks to further cultural, spiritual, political and emotional connectivity on an international level. His work is personal and outward looking and seeks to accurately represent the blurred boundaries between the real, the surreal and the hyperreal, as well meshing the personal with the political and the spiritual. https://tuurverheyde.com

An Interview with James Diaz of Anti-Heroin Chic Magazine.

  1. What are the origins of Anti-Heroin Chic? When did you first decide to create a literary magazine?

James: I think, in a lot of ways, the origins for Anti-Heroin Chic were born out of a yearning for community. I didn’t necessarily feel part of one at that time, and sometimes the best thing you can do when you feel that way, is to just be the thing you feel is missing, in your life and in the world. My initial vision was for a literary journal that shared a very common core with 12 step recovery meetings, where people from very different walks of life could all sit, side by side, in a circle of caring and sharing. A place where, as a friend of mine used to say; “our differences make no damn difference.” And on the heels of my time spent in Occupy Wall Street, I also wanted to be able to mirror some of the egalitarian ways of being together that I found there, which is why I likened it to the spirit of a commune. You know, honestly, some days it feels like group therapy. It’s amazing how I can be going through something really intense in my own life and then I’ll receive a submission from someone who opens their heart to me in their cover letter, a stranger going through the same damn thing, and in their poem is their heart speaking to my heart, and in some inexplicable way that encounter seems to make a difference in the lives of two people who’ve never even met before. I feel extraordinarily lucky in that way. But I also know we only ever get what we put out on the table. That’s what I was looking for around 2016, and I am very happy to say I found it. It is community, but it feels like there should be another word for it also.

  1. How long have you been writing poetry? When did you become serious with writing and interest in helping in other writers?

James: I began writing poems when I was around 13. I remember I had come across some poems in a Rolling Stone Magazine, written by death row inmates, who had turned to poetry as a way to cope and make sense of their impossible situation. My household, and my neighborhood, were both very chaotic and violent, and I remember thinking; “if this thing could help them, maybe it could help me too.” And it has. Who can say for sure what saves us in the end, but my bet is that I would not have made it without poetry in my life. As to when I became serious about writing, well, I was institutionalized for two years when I was sixteen, it was a serious moment in my life, where I had little else but the poems, and I think that moment was do or die for me, really. The urge to help other writers began around 2016. But the urge to help people in general, that began in a jail cell at age 16, when I wrote a poem called “The turning of the tables,” and my cellmate cried reading it and copied it down so that he could carry it with him. Sadly, he didn’t make it, and ended up taking his own life. In so many ways I often feel like I’m still writing all of my poems to him. A little light, in a lot of darkness. But that was the moment I realized that I (or the poems, really) had the ability to touch lives, to help those in great pain feel understood and held in it.

  1. What do you find most rewarding when putting an issue together, what do you find most frustrating?

James: I put together a very special issue on grief and loss a couple of years ago, after my Grandmother died, (I had cared for her in hospice during her final days,) and was completely undone in my grief. Unanchored and adrift, I really didn’t know day from night then. All I knew was I didn’t want to be alone in it. My thought was that a lot of people probably yearned, just like I did, to share their grief as well in a community space. That issue was the most rewarding and meaningful issue I’ve ever curated. That was a real turning point for me as an editor. I realized then that what I was aiming for was a shared and collective healing process over all else. When that’s your focus, the frustrating parts kind of just roll off of you like water. Each issue feels very therapeutic to me, to our contributors, and to our readers. It’s hard work to put the issues together, of course, and before each launch, I am quite literally spent, but the joy, healing, and hope that gets spread around from it, my God, makes it all worth it.

  1. How often do you put issues out, and do you change thematically between issues?

James: We currently put out 6 issues a year, in the months of February, April, June, August, October and December. The themes are always guided by the contributors, but tend to be about addiction, mental illness, poverty, working class issues, trauma, abuse, recovery, and hope. My co-editors have a big hand in helping to shape each issue also, my main contribution is our poetry category, as I want my co-editors to feel they have complete autonomy in selecting what resonates with them. It’s really astounding, organically the issues seem to always be what they need to be. Often, I just have to get out of the way of whatever force brings all of that together.

  1. Tell us more about your own work? How often do you write, and tell us about your book/books.

James: Most of my work centers around many of the same themes explored in Anti-Heroin Chic. My first book, This Someone I Call Stranger, was a loosely autobiographical book of poems that delved into my childhood experiences around poverty, abuse, parental addiction, institutionalization, and the ways in which we find our “homes at the edge of the world,” how often our families of choice, much as we would have wanted them to be, are not always our families of origin. My second book, All Things Beautiful Are Bent, forthcoming from Alien Buddha Press soon, is a themed book of love poems which imagines two lovers with deep trauma in their lives, trying to sort out ways to love each other that unburden the past from the present, and go forward in new and more vulnerable ways. I imagine it as a book where two people’s inner children speak to the goodness we all once were, irregardless of all that may have gone wrong along the way. Another collection that I am still sending around to publishers, called Motel Prayers, is a very character driven work that tries to tell the slightly fictionalized stories, in poem form, of the people I have known, who, as Carson McCullers’ puts it; “found it hard to live and therefore had to live a little harder.” Most of my recent poems are centered around addiction, as my little brother battles an intense meth addiction and bouts of homelessness, the only thing that I have in my tool box that helps me move through the ‘living loss’ of that are poems that speak to the fact that, where there is life, there is hope.

  1. What authors, poets, musicians, artists have helped shape your mind & work?

James: Joyce Carol Oates was probably the first to impact me as a writer, along with the poet Jorie Graham. But long before I was a reader of books I was a reader of song lyrics. I was very lucky to come of age in a time when singer-songwriters ruled the air waves. I learned to write from them, really. Songwriters like Shawn Colvin, Mary Chapin Carpenter, Lucy Kaplansky, Dar Williams, Cheryl Wheeler, Julie Miller, John Gorka, Natalie Merchant, Paula Cole and so many more. Folk music is definitely the closest thing to poetry, I think, and having it in my life at such an early age really helped me to fall deeply in love with what words could do. In my early to mid 20’s, outlaw literature was my steady diet. Authors like Kathy Acker, William Burroughs, kathe Koja, Jack Micheline, Miguel Pinero, Samuel R. Delaney, Doug Rice, Lydia Lunch, Pierre Guyotat. My anger probably very much needed these authors to help find ways to ‘scream it out’ onto the page. Suffice it to say though I have mellowed out quite a bit in my late 30’s. I am back to where I started these days, reading mostly Joyce Carol Oates and Jorie Graham.

  1. What are some of your hobbies, what keeps you creative & interested in putting together poetry & mags?

James: Music and films are my biggest hobbies. I used to love going to live music shows back when the world was somewhat normal. I enjoy photography, though I am by no means a photographer, I do like to capture things that most people might ignore around the city. I began making art collages a few years ago, which I really enjoyed and allowed me to tap back into some of my early and darker influences. It helped me to deal with my depression in ways the poems couldn’t and they reflect just how dark my head was becoming. I’ve also enjoyed putting together interviews for Anti-Heroin Chic, which allowed me to learn a lot about things I didn’t really know beforehand, like the world of comedy and visual art. I was also able to find that I had a real knack for live conversation that I didn’t really know was there. I tend to be pretty introverted, but interviewing people, at least by phone, forced me to improvise and take risks. I learn a lot about myself through others. The interviews have been sort of therapeutic for me in that way as well. They keep me curious, which is probably the main ingredient in staying creative.

  1. What styles of writing do you prefer engaging in?

James: Confessional, I guess. I used to be much more experimental and Language poetry oriented, but it didn’t allow me to go deep enough really, or to the heart of the matter. Something Jorie Graham says about knowing when a poem is ready is that one should test it against one’s own pulse, and when it matches, there you go. Part of it is that I feel a lot more grounded in my own life today, thanks to a lot of therapy, and so I feel like I’m in this season of my life where I kind of know what I want to say in ways that weren’t always possible for me. I’m still learning what this strange expression known as poetry is. It’s like a conveyor belt of despair and hope. Most days you’re working with both. How do you make room for it? Well, I’m learning to invite it all in. Style is probably just listening to where we’ve been and telling that story.

  1. Have hometowns, vacations, people influenced your work?

James: Hometowns, definitely. I grew up in the south, in not so happy places. I try to tell the stories of the people I’ve known and been. The people that have influenced me the most though are less poets than they are the one’s in healing professions. Case workers, respite providers, therapists, psych ward staff, art therapists, special ed teachers and guidance counselors; I am a legacy of these people who held me up when I could not walk emotionally or psychically. They were the first people to take real, genuine interest in my writing and encourage me to not give up on it. The biggest debt in my heart goes out to them.

  1. How has the pandemic and lockdown effected your work?

James: Well, I got Covid last April and the long haul effects of the virus took a toll on me. I’m getting better, but I still have days of brain fog and weakness, and I have some other health issues that have stemmed from Covid that I’m still getting treatment for (but not much answers.) It can be hard to write when all these weird things are happening to your body that no one can seem to explain, but I’ve managed to write some things I’m proud of, despite it all. I just have to know there are days when I can’t function at full capacity.

  1. Please leave any promotions for your work, social media, blogs, etc.

James: I have a new book, All Things Beautiful Are Bent, coming out soon from Alien Buddha Press, you can follow them on Twitter @thealienbuddha. My first book, This Someone I Call Stranger, is available from Indolent Books and Amazon. You can follow me on Twitter @diaz_james and you can follow Anti-Heroin Chic @Heroin_Chic_Mag. Visit our website for the work that we do there, and my own personal website for more on my work.

Thank you so much David!

photo by James Diaz on his website https://jamesjdiaz.weebly.com

Bio: James Diaz is the author of This Someone I Call Stranger (Indolent Books, 2018) and All Things Beautiful Are Bent (Alien Buddha Press, 2021) as well as the founding editor of Anti-Heroin Chic. Their work has appeared in Line Rider Press, Resurrection Mag, Negative Capability Press and As It Ought To Be. They have never believed in anything as strongly as they do the power of poetry to help heal a shattered life.