A Poetry Feature for Rickey Rivers Jr

Glassy Houses

Pour yourself a glass of eyes.
See how swiftly you move to dramatics?
Saw how slippery you were and used that to slice you open.
Funny how broken we are.
Even our houses are made up of oddities.

Oh, I know how silly it must seem to be who you are yet still – not be seen.
Perceptions are everything and superficial.
Officially be direct.
Stick it to social expectations.
Then you can see yourself in the shards.

Closed Mouth Thoughts

The truth isn’t wanted.
Some prefer a sweet lie.
It’s easy to die.
It’s much harder to try
and convey
how you feel everyday.
Without sense of doubt
you feed a shut mouth.

You Try Hard to Hurt

I am not shocked.
Your behavior doesn’t surprise.

You are watching me walk
Keep the talk.
I won’t listen.

I move in strange rhythms, steady within chaos.
The back stabs don’t hurt anymore.

No fresh wounds, expected, yet pain rejected.

You thought you were clever yet surprise only yourself.

I laugh a lot loudly.
I laugh a lot proudly.

Baby Bird

A baby bird jumped across the grass.

I came so close.

I couldn’t believe it let me.

In the moment of then I wish to return, so close to nature, the beauty of then.

Simplistic moments are to be cherished, remembered.

A baby bird so young and free, hopping from here to there,

allowance of observation, as if knowing I would not interfere.

I did not.

Simply, I enjoyed the hop: a small bit of peace in a chaotic reality.

Anonymous Somebody

To be anonymous and adored, self-esteem has taken hits.
I’m bored.

A cord cutter yet tied to the net.
Lines to you extended contain lies I haven’t wrote yet.

I wrote a lot about the outfitters, the house sitter.
The kid and the carriage I carry.
I’m pretty pitiful.

Don’t pity me though.
I do that enough, a shell of myself in a shell of myself.
Don’t go.

I say that a lot.
I shovel the dirt and lie in the grave.
Surely you can see me peeking out from the cave?

From your standing which do you assume?
Am I the bride?
Am I the groom?

Rickey Rivers Jr was born and raised in Alabama. He is a Best of the Net nominated writer and cancer survivor. His work has appeared in Brave Voices, Sage Cigarettes and Hell Hued Zine (among other publications). Twitter.com/storiesyoumight Sensurlon here: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B09XDHZXHB

photo by melethril on unsplash

Poetry by Tony Brewer : “You and I are Human Beings” “the Seashell & the Clergyman”

You and I are human beings

small enough to be details
large enough to care
destined to disappear
containing all Earth talk

land mass from the feminine
to be time divine Father I suppose

laughing thinking fretting
even dreaming we lie awake
peopling other lives
finding ourselves living
our own lives when awake

O comfort you and I are the muse
when the world is like this
(and it is never not exactly this)

love secondary to no thing
as we rise from shadow nests
bleary with a dawnward work look

no small think to see & squawk
human consciousness a terrible burden
I will carry when you are weary
(and you are often tired)

I will always give it back

sharing not a human invention
we constantly realize
after the fact

The Seashell & the Clergyman

He holds it to his ear
& hears the universe
speak his name

an orchestra
of clear reverence
& wizened listening

while I get static hiss
echo of my halting
tinnitus for reveries past

shhh they shush
shut up

a collection
of soaps in a basket
on the back of the toilet
in the bathroom at Mr Lubie

TONY BREWER is executive director of the spoken word stage at the 4th Street Arts Festival and his books include: The Great American
Scapegoat (2006), Little Glove in a Big Hand (2010), Hot Type Cold Read (2013), and Homunculus (2019). Tony has been offering Poetry On Demand at coffeehouses, museums, cemeteries, churches, bars, and art and music festivals for over 10 years, and he is one-third of the poetry performance group Reservoir Dogwoods.
IG: @demand4poetry
TW: @WordsmithTonyB
FB: @xtonybrewerx
website: tonybrewer71.blogspot.com

photo by Catherine Ari-Harthiany (unsplash)

3 poems by Tim Heerdink : “In a City of Cathedrals, I Weep” “Veteran’s Day” “When the Cardinal Comes to Visit”

In a City of Cathedrals, I Weep

I weep upon sight of the towering cross
       each block there is a new monument risen by the faithful
     to stand and remind passersby
                that tithes and offerings can raise astonishing structures
          and account for the maintenance
                while cleansing your conscience and wallet.

Belief in the unseen isn’t impossible for me,
                              but it’s getting hard to continue practicing
         worship for an entity
                         who damned us at conception.

How can I find peace in such hostility?
            All these denominations standing
    like hotspots on a city map
                                have a common outlook.
        Chosen ones awaiting departure,
                                     waving farewell to the unforgiven.

What if there is a Creator
                   who gets off on our torment,
           events that could be prevented but play
                                      because of will and destiny?
       Is that love?

Perhaps we are entertainment
                       on the stage of a grand theater on opening night.
          A night without end
                           for death just begins the next act
                       where roles are decided upon your behavior,
                                                   how much you’re willing to sacrifice.

Veteran’s Day

When the eleventh day of the eleventh month comes
around, I am forced to relive the beginning of the end.

I still can hear the frantic cries of my dad on the phone
as he informed me that he was too late in saving Mom.

What we feared for months came into fruition with a wreck
that for us made all the clocks in the world come to a stop.

Others are celebrating veterans of wars on foreign soil
while I recall her internal battle with her brain tumor.

Cancer pulled the first shot to ignite months of struggle,
& it ultimately claimed her in the war, yet she is the victor.

This disease is like a bully that keeps finding more victims
to wear down until they no longer are themselves.

Mom has a new body where she’s at now & no longer needs
the broken shell that had no other choice but to crash.

When the Cardinal comes to Visit

It is said that when a loved one crosses planes
of consciousness & enter their new form,
they occasionally come back as a bird.

Cardinals are the commonly chosen hosts
for their red feathers are stark in the gray
skies which cover the lives of those in mourning.

Like a little girl tossed around among the crowd,
the cardinal fights its way through for a glimpse
& to deliver a message from beyond the treetops.

I hang special seed to attract only these kind
so I can feel my deceased ones’ presence
nearby whenever doing my best seems hard.

Several states share the cardinal as their official
bird to be treasured by all who watch with scopes;
we remain in eternal mourning in the Midwest.

Bio: Tim Heerdink is the author of Somniloquy & Trauma in the Knottseau Well, The Human Remains, Red Flag and Other Poems, Razed Monuments, Checking Tickets on Oumaumua, Sailing the Edge of Time, I Hear a Siren’s Call, Ghost Map, A Cacophony of Birds in the House of Dread, and short stories, The Tithing of Man and HEA-VEN2. His poems appear in various journals and anthologies. He is the President of Midwest Writers Guild of Evansville, Indiana.

Wolfpack Honorary Contributor: Tim Heerdink

A Fevers of the Mind Quick-9 Interview with Tim Heerdink

Poems by Sadie Maskery : “Safe Spaces” “Faith” & “Haiku”

Safe spaces

Refuge comes in shadows, small corners.
I had two dens as a child.
I made acorn babies with twigs for limbs,
curled beneath an old pallet
propped against an oak tree.
Other children found me. Get out they said.
I dropped my dolls, sidled to one side,
a small animal observing humans
wreck her nest, uncomprehending
as they smashed the wood with branches
torn from trees, crushed my friends underfoot, laughing; I was confused.
They would not destroy without cause,
I must have deserved it somehow.

The other den was a hole, a scar
in a hillock of tattered tarpaulins
and dumped fossil cans. I dreamed
amongst the weeds, alone except for
the flasher behind the chain link fence.
Come closer, he would cajole.
I would smile shyly from my fort,
squint at his friendly flaccidity.
Part of the scenery, he never moved,
just leaned, squares and diamonds
pressed into his soft pale belly.
Come closer, do you want to touch it?
I would sigh and wish he had acorns
I could make into little babies.


it’s a     shock, 

the first time

an old man 

sticks        his tongue

in your mouth

leechlike,     i did not 

expect the feel 

of dried slime 


in a        space reserved 

for orange squash 

     and moon dust 

 no    words   to      say

 so     i recoiled     and 

my mother told me

not to be        rude as

i backed      away

all i could think of 

was the      egg       stains 

on his      collar 

from the wedding     buffet

and the      scum of 

spit round his         lips

when       he smiled

the next 



(I never mention

all the times being female 

meant ‘I deserved it’.)

Bio: Sadie (@saccharinequeen)
Sadie Maskery lives in Scotland by the sea with her family.  Her writing will be found in various publications both online and in print, and she can be found on Twitter as @saccharinequeen where she describes herself, optimistically, as “functioning adequately “.

photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

2 poems by Jennifer Roche :”in the City of X” “February Poem 2: The Calving”

In the City of X (on Barbara Guest’s “Photographs”)

We speak in photos now. What had been distance
may be memory but someone has taken the accident
and refracted it.

The sun lights the street lamp. The street lamp finds
the government building. The tree trees

until it closes. Memory is loss
whose fear of more loss releases the shutter.

A negative rises from whatever is stilled. A feather
can not play a violin

even in a walnut sitting room.

Emotions cycle in a clockwise manner.
Pause. Rewind. Play: In the city of X,
they pour genies into cameras.

Originally appeared online in Rain, Party, & Disaster Society, 2015

February Poem #2: The Calving

February calves
and turns the city
the color of ash. Every/
where is one glove. Every/
thing seeps. The pineapple chunk
picked from a Pyrex bowl in the fridge
tastes like a cold, thready sun
and the lone pulley of spring.

Originally appeared in Ghost Ocean Magazine, #14.

Now available: “20,” my chapbook of erasure poems from Jules Verne’s 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea out from Alternating Current Press.

feature photo by: Sven Scheuermeier (unsplash)