Poetry: from the Cartoon Diaries by David L O’Nan “Your Hollywood isn’t For Chronic Dust Bunnies” & “Watercolour Smile”

Your Hollywood Isn’t For Chronic Dust Bunnies

Now you are Mr. Munchausen Syndrome
With Cherry lemonade cigarettes
A fingerprint criminal
In a dusty Hollywood fog
You want to be invisible
Then spotlight you,
To be invincible
Stamp your ghosts,
Resonate your wails
Infect me with the theatrics
Detach me from my mind
So, in stride you can love me
For all my wrongs
View me from the tiny box
Where you rest like a silky angel –
In the clouds
Realize I am the authority
With a puncture
I can melt you down to wax
Ahh, my Hollywood
Is built in the forest to the plains
My glamour,
White teeth wonders
Are just diseases under the demon’s shawl

WATERCOLOUR SMILE

He lived in the saloons, the old haunts
On the Edge of Kentucky
Lived dangerously like burning pianos
Now, an old man with a Periwinkle cough
In flannel grief
Paint stains on his pocket
A chronic condition
A heavenly gate breaks
Enter in where the shadows can’t
Oh, my where does he fall now?
Chasing angels with my watercolour smile
A masterpiece evolved to clouds

photo on unsplash.com from Vera Gorbunova

An Essay “We the People” by Troy Jackson (from Fevers of the Mind Press Presents the Poets of 2020)

 “We the People” is the opening phrase of the Constitution of the United States of America. “We the People” was chosen by the ‘Founding Fathers’ of the nation as the opening phrase of the Constitution because it would serve as a reminder to lawmakers and citizens alike that the power and responsibilities of the newly founded nation resided in “We the People”. The phrase “We the People” signified that the voting rights of the people would serve as the paramount political act in this newly formed land of various states, laws, and peoples.

Not included in “We the People” at the founding of the nation were women, native Indians, and slaves. Slaves who had been brought into the land as early as 1609 had no rights. Slaves who were the ancestors of a people we today collectively call African-Americans. My family and I are the descendants of those slaves. Slaves were granted no voting rights and considered only 2/3 of persons in the official census of the time.

On the centennial of the Emancipation Proclamation “We the People” gathered on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial to culminate ‘The March on Washington’.  The ‘March on Washington’ attracted over an estimated 250,000 Americans.  The march was organized by A. Philip Randolph, Walter Reuther, and other notable American citizens.

‘The March on Washington’ was organized to advocate for the economic and civil rights of African-Americans and to call for an end to police brutality.  Scheduled speakers included John ‘Good Trouble’ Lewis, Roy Wilkins, A. Philip Randolph, and Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. Performers included Mahalia Jackson, Marian Anderson, Joan Baez, and the now famous Bob Dylan.

Notable voices that day included Roy Wilkins who announced that W.E.B. Du Bios had passed the previous evening. Speaking of Du Bois, Wilkins said ” Regardless of the fact in his later years Dr. Du Bois chose another path, it seems incontrovertible that at the dawning of the twentieth century his was the voice that was calling you to gather here today in this cause. If you want to read something that applies to 1963 go back and get a volume of ‘The Souls of Black Folk’ by Du Bois, published in 1903.”

Also speaking that day was the late John ‘Good Trouble’ Lewis. Who would later go on to become the long-term congressman for Georgia’s 5th congressional district. John Lewis told protesters ” My friends let us not forget that we are involved in a serious social revolution.”

Walter Reuther made a call to the conscious of the nation that day when he stated, “American democracy is on trial in the eyes of the world…We cannot successfully preach democracy in the world unless we first practice it at home.” He went on to say, ” We must take adequate steps to bridge the moral gap between American democracy’s noble promises and its ugly practices in the field of civil rights.”

 Last to speak at the ‘March on Washington’ was the honorable Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. who was to deliver the keynote address. In his now iconic ‘ I have a Dream’ speech Dr. King urged America to become a nation where in which “my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.”

 “We the People” spoke at ‘The March on Washington’ to forge a more perfect union, to demand economic and civil rights for all its citizens, and to end racism.  The people that day also called for an end to the police brutality that many protesters faced in the pursuit of the same democratic ideals inherent in the Constitution of these United States of America. 

The ‘March on Washington’ is highly regarded as the catalyst for the passing of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Voting Rights Act of 1965, and Immigration and Naturalization Act of 1965. I think that many scholars of democracy overlook the deleterious effects of the immigration policies of the era.  American democracy as we know it today owes much of its potency to the tireless work of Senator Philip A. Hart who was called the “conscious of the Senate”. 

Fifty-seven years later, “We the People” are here again in Washington at the Lincoln Memorial protesting racial profiling, police brutality, and systematic racism. The ‘March on Washington 2020’ was themed ‘Get your knee of our necks’ and was a call to the nation and lawmakers to end police brutality and systematic racism. This march was spearheaded by the Black Lives Matter Movement which had galvanized after the murder of George Floyd in police custody in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The ‘George Floyd’ protests as they are now known were held in big cities and small towns nationally and globally. It is estimated that as many as 25 million people have participated in these protests worldwide. Which has led to the forceful removal of monuments that many see as racist. The state of Mississippi a historical bastion of “White Supremacy” was even pressured to change its flag due to its symbolism of the Confederacy. “We the People” are speaking again… Washington please listen. 

  These protests have occurred during a global pandemic which has halted life as we know it. The Covid19 crisis has infected over 26 million people worldwide and killed over 850,000 according to the World Health Organization (WHO). While, here in the United States Covid19 has infected over 6 million people and killed over 190,000 people. It has also left as many as 50 million people jobless and with little or no health coverage. Many of whom voted against affordable health care just a mere four years ago.  Living during a global pandemic and facing systematic and structural racism is another barrier to the pursuit of happiness for many of today’s black and marginalized communities. Many of today’s voters are saying ” enough is enough” and it’s time for Medicare for all. Drastic times call for drastic measures the voices seem to echo.

Covid19 has caused the closing of schools, businesses, and government offices. The cancellation of many sporting events, entertainment venues, and live shows for musicians and performers. The NBA, MLB, CFA have all been impacted by Covid19. I’ve even had to suspend my attendance at my beloved University of Memphis Football games. Many people now see how vulnerable ‘Our Democracy’ really is to the winds of change, the climate crisis and other realities of life in the 21st century. America… young voices matter! America… black voices matter!

 Qualified Immunity and the Blue Code of Silence are widely regarded as obstacles to the end of police brutality here in the United States. Qualified Immunity makes it almost impossible for police to be held accountable for their actions. The rate of black deaths at the hands of police is three times that of white citizens. No wonder the popularity of organizations like Black Lives Matter.

Among Democratic voters 90 percent see police brutality as a “serious problem”. On the other hand, only 14 percent of Republican voters see police brutality as a ” serious problem”, as reported by a Gallop poll. Only 30 percent of African- Americans trust the police. With all these killings caught on video who can blame them? No amount of money can bring a love one back, even if anyone is ever held accountable. “Why turn your body cameras off” many people are saying?  Why aren’t they being convicted? Systematic racism is the most logical conclusion.


 ‘The Ending Qualified Immunity Act’ is a Police Reform bill proposed by Congressman Justin Amash of the the Libertarian Party that seeks to abolish Qualified Immunity for police personnel. Rep. Amash has so eloquently stated that ” The brutal killing of George Floyd by Minneapolis police is merely the latest in a long line of egregious incidents of police misconduct. This pattern continues because police are legally, politically, and culturally insulated from the consequences for violating the rights of the people they have been sworn to serve. That must change so that these incidents of brutality must stop happening.”

  “We the People” must vote to end police brutality! George Floyds death must not be in vain! Tamir Rice’s death must not be in vain!  Breonna Taylor’s death must not be in vain! The death of untold numbers of victims of police brutality must not be in vain!!! In this November’s election the choice is clear. It’s time for “We the People” to be heard!!!  

This work was inspired by the dedication and sacrifice of United States lawmakers John ’Good Trouble’ Lewis, and Philip ‘conscious of the Senate’ Hart.

Troy Jackson is a literacy advocate and writer based in Memphis. You can support him by purchasing a copy of his current work. Life: A book of Poems available on Amazon. 

https://www.amazon.com/Life-Book-Poems-Troy-Jackson-ebook/dp/B07Q1X

Feature image is from Unseen Histories on Unsplash.com

Poetry: Dear, he who must not be named (T/W) by Faye Alexandra Rose

I say I don’t, but I remember that night.


There were eleven lights in the ceiling and five trains went past the window. You told me to
be silent. Not one word or your violence would speak a thousand. It turns out you wrote a
novel all over my skin was a map of the places you had been uninvited. Watercolour bruises I
could not dilute with bleach. I cried to the police reliving that moment once again. The
examination was filled with swabs and humiliation as a male doctor went near my wounds. I
feared men for a long time after, I would even flinch at my brother’s touch. I’d often see red
and lash out, like a bull I would charge at whoever told me “I would be okay.” I can’t even
look in the mirror without seeing shame! I scrub my skin until it bleeds and please don’t
patronise me with so-called kindness! I’m damaged, disgusting, drowning in pain, I can’t
bear to wake up and feel this again, I –
realised I still have breath in my lungs. When I shut my eyes, I feel at peace. I’ve learnt that
quiet thoughts speak volumes. That love doesn’t shout, it whispers. That hands are to hold
and not to make fists with. That for a moment I was hollow, a woman who would wallow in
self-pity until I remembered who I am – A lioness with courage. So, to ‘he who must not be
named’ watch me as I push out my chest and fear the roar that comes from its depths.

Faye Alexandra Rose is a UK based writer studying English Literature and Creative Writing at the University of Worcester. Her work has been published in several online magazines such as; MookychickThe Drabble and the online project Poetry & Covid. She is also a Poetry Editor for small leaf press – a magazine dedicated to giving a voice to undiscovered writers. She can be found on Twitter: @FayeAlexandraR1, or via her website: fayealexandrarose.wordpress.com

Featured image from Unsplash.com from Neonbrand

Re-post:Poetry by Neel Trivedi from Fevers of the Mind Press Anthologies

Why the Hate?

I ask a stranger how s/he was born?

From a mother’s womb they say.

Just like I once was.

So why the hate?

I ask a baby what religion is.

To the best of my ability to decipher baby talk,

s/he appears not to know.

Just like when I was a baby,

blissfully unaware of grown-up talk.

So why the hate?

I ask a stranger how s/he communicates?

With a tongue just like mine, they say.

The birthplace of every language, I think.

So why the hate?

I once spilled paint on my arm.

A palette of various colors made habitats on my skin

before leaving during my next shower.

Yet my heart, personality & identity

remained the same throughout.

So why the hate?

I try to form a collective hypothesis of my conversations:

We’re all born the same way & die someday.

Skin color & religion prove to be highly incompetent

to help a heartbeat, lungs breathe & brain cells grow.

So why the hate?

Beauty: A New Definition

For generations the wise ones have said

That beauty is in the eye of the beholder

But time passes, generations evolve

Some simple, some a lot bolder

Some proverbs die

Some new are born

Left to all to choose

Which are progress, which are scorn

Perhaps a similar time has come

To give beauty a new definition

Leaving the beholder out & say

beauty is in the heart of the pious one!

Beyond the Obvious

How the naive think

What abuse means

Perhaps some blue bruises

And a shattered spleen

Such evidence & signs

Are no doubt a fear

But is there no value

Of an isolated tear?

Everyone sees the obvious

Without a look inside

Curse this bloody flesh that makes

The wounded heart hide!

The Invisible Aura

Step into the vortex of my soul

To decode the language

I often speak to myself

Every night when I peel off my mirage

That the sea of gazes around me

surmises to be nonchalance

This is my universe where:

Depression is not a mere mood swing

It’s an actual chemical imbalance

My facial expressions are not always

Gateways to the feelings of my heart

Sometimes they are merely decor

My silence is not a symbol

Of any kind of equanimity

Listen to the aura who’s decibels

Don’t roar like a lion

But squeal like a mouse

Observe the aura that’s the

shy one in the corner

Acknowledge the unfelt emotions

For you may not feel them

But just a moment of your cognizance

Could determine their fate for eons

Soul Whisperer

I come with no ostentation

No glory or cavalcade

For I creep upon this junction

Not to arouse a racket

But to dismember the status quo

I make no proclamations to be

Your knight in shining armor

Or to dry your tears

But to bequeath equity of them

To feast on the salt with thee

I come not to sheath your malformations

But to stand in their gallery

And be a zealot for ages

Of what my heart senses to be

Not wounds but victors of endurance

Think not of me as a paladin

In a quaint fable

But a commoner just to proclaim :

I once bore what you did

 

And hearken the language of your soul

That others have stained as an enigma!

 

The Midas Scratch

 

Lay your fingers on the canvas of my flesh

And scratch till what you carve

Becomes the cynosure attire of my body

Never to be removed

Till the mind in its entirety

Is severed from the bones

Take no heed of any provisional brood

Or waterfalls of blood

For the blemishes will eventually mitigate

But the fable your fingers nurture with love

Will give me an immortal prevalence

To any and all around me!

Playing Along 

After Leonard Cohen’s “Waiting for the Miracle”

When the heart drowns in total despair

I soothe it by telling tall tales

Of an intoxication known as hope

A miracle is coming, says the heart

The mind just plays along

I dance in the name off faith

Even when my feet are numb

Lest I reveal the inner abyss

A miracle is coming, says the soul

The body just plays along

Stay in the slaughterhouse

So, my wounds can blend in

Lie in the rain so tears seem small

A miracle is coming, say the tears

The eyes just play along

So far not a sign

Not even a mere shadow

Or the calm before the storm

A miracle is coming, I say

The miracle just plays along

Neel photo(c) Neel Trivedi

Neel Trivedi is a freelance journalist & in the advertising business in Dallas, TX. He writes poetry & fiction. His work has been featured in Rhythm & Bones Magazine, Drabblez Magazine, Paragraph Planet, Dodging The Rain, Mojave Heart Review, Elephants Never, Chronos Anthology, Rising From The Ashes Anthology and Purpose Magazine. As well as Dailywisdomwords.com  He can be reached on Twitter @Neelt2001   

Anthology Post: Finding a Wonderland in Alice by Paul Brookes (poetry)

1.         Her Hole

A rabbit hole falls into her.

The pocket watch looks at the rabbit

and know it’s late.

 

The big hand claps the little hand

to see such fun.

 

How will the door enter Alice?

Alice says  I am cake. Eat me.

 

The door takes a bite of her hand.

It grows and grows

I am too big to enter you, now,

says the door.

I am a bottle. Drink me,

 

The door sups her

and enters her.

2.         Shuffle

A pack of playing cards

decide to play inside her.

 

They shuffle her into black

and red, divide her into suits,

 

Her heart becomes diamonds

Her hands spades,

Her legs clubs

Her torso hearts.

 

Alice says Off with her head!

to the Queen of her heart,

but the Queen topples

the suits and escapes.

 

Alice has two thumbs:

Tweedledee and Tweedledum

she twiddles in thought.

3.         Tea Party

Teapot is fast asleep

curled inside the dormouse

curled inside Alice.

 

Her table lays the cloth.

The cloth places the teapot,

cups and saucers.

A hat and watch sit on

the only two chairs.

 

Take a seat.

They say in chorus.

 

“There are no seats”

Alice answers.

All the seats taken then.

 

Is it the month of your time?

Ask the hat and the watch

 

“It’s ALWAYS the month of my time

while I’m alive.

 

You ought to eat and drink less.

You’ll get fat.

 

I  have had my fill, she replies

You haven’t had anything

 

Less is more, she answers

and leaves the table

inside her

4.         The Door

Suddenly she feels the alarm

of  the biological pocket watch

inside her.

 

Where, o where could they be.

O, my little hand, o my big hand.

Alice will kill me if I can’t find her

bracelet and mobile.

 

Alice wants to say she has those

already but searches her pockets

and can’t find anything.

 

A door sits beside her

as she begins to cry.

Through her tears she sees

a painting of a tree on the door.

 

Soon her tears make waves,

she swims, but her arms

get tired, so she clambers

on the door where she is dry.

 

She thinks she fell asleep

and opens the tree on the door

and finds herself on the naughty step

of some stairs and a voice says:

 

“Is that you, Alice? You spend

far too much time outside.

Go inside and get some fresh

air and vitamin D from the sun.”

 

She checks her wrist and pockets

and sighs. The tears

must have washed the bracelet

back on her wrist, mobile in her pocket.

 

5.         The Mushroom

sits on a caterpillar

behind Alice’s eyes

The mushroom engrossed

in its mobile phone,

 

Alice says to it:

How are you?

 

I love change too much.

Change isn’t quick enough,

Says the mushroom.

This Caterpillar should have

pupated and flown.

 

Why? Asks Alice.

 

I’m not sure. You

and I should be wrinklies.

You a middle aged woman,

and I mulch for something

creative and growing.

 

Time is too slack. Should

buck its ideas up. If you see

it about give what it for from me.

 

And Alice tries but can get

no more from mobiled mushroom.

6.         The Watch

She hears the biological pocket watch inside her

say  I’m slow, so slow. I’ll be early

and Alice wants me

not too early, not too late

but prompt. O, my little hand,

my big hand.

 

In its more haste less speed

Alice sees something drop

from its pocket.

 

It is a silver nomination bracelet,

and a mobile phone.

 

Alice picks them up

and shouts after the watch

but it has gone.

 

So she tries on the bracelet

and it fits. The mobile won’t

work because you have

 to key in

the correct code.

 

That’ll teach it to look after things,

she thinks.

7.         Reduces

A court rises in her.

A scroll unfurls and reads from

her biological pocket watch

Tarts have stolen the Knave.

 

Alice is the judge.

Alice is the Knave.

The judge is the accused.

The accused is the judge.

 

Testimony transcribes the witnesses.

The spaces between their words testify.

 

Hat says the party is always ending.

He does not know when

it began to end.

 

Off with the head

of the guilty, Alice says.

Evidence is an atom.

 

Alice is guilty, says

the heart of the Queen.

 

Alice feels herself getting smaller.

She cannot see over

her desk.

 

Alice has disappeared,

says her pocket watch

Everything gets smaller.

Bracelet and mobile left on the chair.

 

Alice feels these are the worst

days of her death that glorious

summer afternoon she finds herself

beneath a tree in a stranger place.

 

Paul Brookes is a shop asst. His chapbooks include The Headpoke and Firewedding (Alien Buddha Press, 2017),  She Needs That Edge (Nixes Mate Press, 2017 2018) The Spermbot Blues (OpPRESS, 2017), Please Take Change (Cyberwit.net, 2018), As Folk Over Yonder ( Afterworld Books, 2019). He is a contributing writer of Literati Magazine and Editor of Wombwell Rainbow Interviews. Recently had work broadcast on BBC Radio 3 The Verb. Paul also runs a poetry blog site http://www.thewombwellrainbow.com for book reviews, art, poetry, and more! Follow on Twitter @PaulDragonwolf1 “Curator and Editor of Wombwell Rainbow Book Interviews and poetry and artwork challenges”. YouTube site: “Poetry Is A Bag For Life”, Soundcloud is “The Wombwell Rainbow” Facebook: Paul Brookes – Writer and Photographer

Featured image is from Unsplash.com Sincerely Media.