The Prose Poems of EM Schorb

AT HEART, SPEED

At heart, speed is about being where you are going sooner than you can get there, and putting it all behind you. As you race forward to get where you are going, much is dropping behind, falling away from your frontal interest, as it were. If you were as fast as an atom, say, you could probably spin back and pick up some of what you have left behind and so take it with you as you propel forward, wherever that is now—for we have thoroughly muddled the issue in having gone back to pick up what was left behind because in having gone back we have made back forward, forward back. At heart, speed is an attempt to avoid as much as possible until we get to something we may or may not have in mind and stop there, but of course as we arrive there we find that we have just left and are now on our way to something that resembles in its lack of interest to us all that we have attempted to leave behind, so, in a sense, we are going backward, or, we should be going backward, toward what we wanted to get to in the first place. At heart, speed is our heart beating and speeding its beat until it has run out of beats. At heart, then, speed is our heart excitedly beating a trail to its end.

THE MURDER OF GARCIA LORCA
No es sueño la vida.
¡Alerta! ¡Alerta! ¡Alerta!

I tug the strings of my fear, my bad puppet, Diablo, and tap him about this space, my first and last stage, last props, last lights, behind and in front of my painted screen. See, I pull up a leg and he hops, hops, hops! Who are you, Diablo? Herr Hitler, con permiso. Then hop, Hitler, hop! Garcia will be dead when I do this jig under the Arc de Triomphe. Not amusing, Diablo. Be something else. I want light and color! Then look at my gypsy dress, all layered, laced, ribboned, and brocaded—scarlet, gold, and green. Feel the wide wind of my rich fan. Hear my diamonded castanets! When did you put that on? An instant ago, behind the screen, when you were talking. But now I’ll be Franco and rise against the Republic. Another ugly joke! But in an instant, true! Just let me don this uniform. I love good fun, but this is wicked. Night must fall, Federico, even if it frightens you. Diablo, I command you, take off that uniform, with its golden shoulder-mops and scrambled eggs and salads. I wish I could drop the reins of your dark horse. Who am I now? Wait, I recognize you. You’re a man from my hometown, a granadino. Your name is. . . Diablo! Yes, and I am jealous of your genius. I call you out! I name you Red! Red, red, red! I am a poet. I hate politics. Nevertheless, I charge you, Federico Garcia Lorca, with crimes against the state . . . of my ego. And what now? Bang, bang, you’re dead! Am I dead, Diablo? In an unmarked grave! Is it dark, Federico? No darker than this dark century, Diablo.

THE RESPONSIBILITIES OF A MUS
E

A muse has responsibilities, too. She owes her worker a few but important debts of honor. If a muse is going to come to an artist, thinker, dancer, or whatever, she owes it to that worker to stay until the job is done, not desert at the first opportunity. She owes him, who has been loyal to her, her loyalty. She owes it to him not to play such tricks as muses are known to play, i.e., not to inspire him with false inspiration, so that his work is false; and she owes it to him to give of herself freely and not to tease him with half measures. Muses are notoriously whimsical, and they must be brought to book on this account. It is high time that they grew up, that they realized they are playing games with someone’s life, for an artist’s work is his or her life. Muses should be answerable to somebody. They should be compelled to file reports on the progress of their workers at least once a year. Has he taken you up on your offer of an epic? Has she recruited enough dancers for the show? Questions such as these should be posed. Also, have you offered an epic lately? Have you found the requisite number of dancers? Responsibility for the ultimate work must be shared, and shame to the muse who refuses to share. I am calling in all that you owe me, O Muse, a lifetime of suffering in your name.

BADA-BING BONES

A stripper stripped down to her skin, then began to remove her skin by means of a zipper up the back and two more down the backs of the legs. Then she began to remove the muscles, unhooking them from the joints, like springs, and laying them out on the stage. What throbbing music! An old man in the front row fainted. A doctor in the back row called Stop! But the stripper proceeded to strip down to the bone, so that all that was left on the stage was a dancing skeleton. Somebody said it was a trick. But her skull-face called back, Dig it, boys—this is the real thing! Then the stripper snapped some bones out, one of her thighbones, one of her arm bones. A collar bone flew into the air to the sound of a drumroll. She picked up the collar bone, broke it, and shook some marrow from it. Then she called, That’s it for tonight, boys. And as the curtains swooped down and closed, she was heard by the audience to order the attendants backstage to gather up her things. Hurry, she was overheard to say, I’ve got a heavy date.

THE ORBITING X

Hallelujah! saw X twenty-two thousand five-hundred miles off blue Earth, heavenly luminous body, nebulous, long-tailed, fiery Cross, cross Heaven like a comet, airless incandescent meteor-Messiah, whirling Aether, leagues-arcing rainbow-halo of lights, sprites, rolling, rolled into one long-suffering, fragmented Star, returning & returning. The ecumenical others, crew of All Faiths, bound out for the dead red planet, Mars, doubters, saw the Un-identifiable Flying Object, too, but cautioned: a star-cluster, an optical illusion, looking really more like a scimitar, caduceus, fylfot, The Wisdom Tree, a whirling glowing Saucer! Hallelujah! he cried at the infinite night. The links of stars, like bars, crossed everywhere . . . and beyond them, galactic webs, far glittering spiders climbing space. In this vastness, this immensity of lights, his soul seemed unmeterable, or an impertinence imprisoned in endlessness. The others kept bitten-tongued silence in face of this—this what? Vision? Hallucination? Madness? What should they bear witness to? It was too late to abort Mission Mars, too late to turn back. The dead red planet loomed ahead.

Biography

E. M. Schorb attended New York University, where he fell in with a group of actors and became a professional actor. During this time, he attended several top-ranking drama schools, which led to industrial films and eventually into sales and business. He has remained in business on and off ever since, but started writing poetry when he was a teenager and has never stopped. His collection, Time and Fevers, was a 2007 recipient of an Eric Hoffer Award for Excellence in Independent Publishing and also won the “Writer’s Digest” Award for Self-Published Books in Poetry. An earlier collection, Murderer’s Day, was awarded the Verna Emery Poetry Prize and published by Purdue University Press. Other collections include Reflections in a Doubtful I, The Ideologues, The Journey, Manhattan Spleen: Prose Poems, 50 Poems, and The Poor Boy and Other Poems.

Schorb’s work has appeared widely in such journals as The Yale Review, The Southern Review, The Virginia Quarterly Review, The Chicago Review, The Sewanee Review, The American Scholar, and The Hudson Review.

At the Frankfurt Book Fair in 2000, his novel, Paradise Square, was the winner of the Grand Prize for fiction from the International eBook Award Foundation, and later, A Portable Chaos won the Eric Hoffer Award for Fiction in 2004.

Schorb has received fellowships from the Provincetown Fine Arts Work Center and the North Carolina Arts Council; grants from the Ludwig Vogelstein Foundation, the Carnegie Fund, Robert Rauschenberg & Change, Inc. (for drawings), and The Dramatists Guild, among others. He is a member of the Academy of American Poets, and the Poetry Society of America.

PRIZE-WINNING BOOKS
BY E.M. SCHORB
Books available at Amazon.com
_______________________________________

Dates and Dreams, Writer’s Digest International Self-
Published Book Award for Poetry, First Prize

Paradise Square, International eBook Award
Foundation, Grand Prize, Fiction, Frankfurt Book Fair

A Portable Chaos, The Eric Hoffer Award for Fiction,
First Prize

Murderer’s Day, Verna Emery Poetry Prize, Purdue
University Press

Time and Fevers, The Eric Hoffer Award for Poetry
and Writer’s Digest International Self-Published Book
Award for Poetry, each First Prize
 
visit www.emschorb.com.

 

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In Lieu of a Red Pencil. 5 Poems by Holly Day

 Closer

Sometimes you have to get super close to see what the problem is.
You’ve got to take a thing apart and study it under a magnifying glass, a  microscope,
an electron microscope, a nanoscope. Only then can you see how truly fucked up
something is. I tell you this, I wave the photographs under your nose
tell you all the things bubbling under family picnics and Christmas sweaters
but you have subsided beneath concrete and denial. I  could set a barbecue
on top of your hiding place, have all the neighbors over
and no one would ever know
The police could come with their dogs and even they would not know.

Sometimes you have to rip a wedding dress into shreds and make a ladder out of it
sometimes you have to stuff bits of the wedding dress
into the necks of bottles filled with gasoline
before anyone listens.
Sometimes yelling isn’t enough because people develop selective hearing over time.
Sometimes you have to get super close to see what the problem is.


and Run

You can wake up before the sun rises, pull the suitcase out
from under the bed, slip into your shoes
step quietly out the door
but you will never leave them. You can dress up in any
traveling costume you want, apply for a passport
tell the dog you’re sorry it has to be this way
slip into your children’s bedrooms and kiss them
in the dark

but you will never actually step out that door, no matter how much
you’ve spent on that plane ticket, that overnight bag
those high heels that seem silly on a mother, a wife.
It’s all pretend, which is why
You always keep receipts for anything other than groceries
you always cancel your flights, your cruises, you rental cars
within the 24 hour return window

because there is nothing that can tear you away from this reality you’ve built
there is no fantasy strong enough to pull you all the way out the door.

 
When It Happens

When I kill you, it will be as a bird, a crane with a long, sharp beak
great wings stretched out like an angry cape, there will be no misunderstanding
no talking me down, as a bird I cannot help but be very single-minded
with eyes as black and sharp as my intentions. You’ll see.

When you hear me singing outside your window, perhaps tapping on the glass
in the middle of the night, when a bird should be asleep, head tucked under a wing
you’ll know why I’m there and how I’ve come and what I’ll do
because you’ve read it all in the chicken scratch of diary pages
in the letters I’ve folded into the thatch of our nest.


Carrier

I slip a piece of paper beneath the perch and ask the bird to take a letter
paint ink on its little toes and dictate in German. In between my bad diction
and the canary’s inability to properly shape words, I imagine
that someone might think we had composed a poem together,
written in some archaic language from an extinct desert people
who carved words in the mud with the ends of pointed sticks.

This is how hard it is for me to talk to you, it’s as agonizing
as corresponding via avian persuasion. In the end
the letter I pull out of the bird cage will need heavy editing
before I fold it into a paper crane, puff air into its chest to fill it out
toss it out the window and pretend it’s fluttered away.


 In Lieu of a Red Pencil

The longer a book sits on a shelf in the basement
the more editorializing book mites and silverfish makes to the passages
the more likely entire passages will be excised from chapters
by brachiating arms of lichen and blossoming paper molds.

Eventually, the book will become more the property of the tiny editors
that swallow words whole and allow pages to disintegrate
until it becomes so unrecognizable  from the original text
that even the author will have a hard time explaining the inspiration
behind phrases reduced to nonsense, illustrations encrusted beyond repair.

Holly Day

Short bio: Holly the books, and Day’s poetry has appeared in over 4,000 publications internationally and she is the co-author of Music Theory for Dummies Music Composition for Dummies.She currently works as an instructor at The Richard Hugo Center in Seattle and at the Loft Literary Center in Minneapolis.

Holly’s cover note to the Editor:

Dear Robin Ouzman Hislop, Poetry Editor, Artvilla:

Just outside my window, hundreds of brown and white sparrows are covering my back yard. They blend in so well with the curled brown leaves and dried-out plants that the only way I can tell they’re there is when one of them encroaches on the other’s foraging space, resulting in an explosion of tiny wings and the occasional puff of loose feathers. Every fall, this congregation of birds both excites and depresses me—excites me because it’s simply glorious to see so much wildlife, even if it is just sparrows, right outside my window, yet depressing because they only gather like this at the end of summer.

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THE TIME OF NOSTALGIA . A Poem by Nolo Segundo

THE TIME OF NOSTALGIA

by Nolo Segundo

We went to visit our old neighbor
after they moved her to a nursing home,
an old English lady of ninety-one,
still with that accent of east-end London
and the sweet pleasantness of the kind.

She was too old, too alone to live alone.
She would forget to turn off the gas range
or how to turn on the thermostat or TV,
She had trouble following a simple talk,
but remembered the Blitz, 75 years past,
as if the Nazi bastards were still at the door,
and London was in turmoil: as though Hell
had crashed through the gates of Heaven.

So her family moved her, leaving empty
the house next door, empty of our friend
of 30 some years, empty of her lilting
English accent and her sharp sense of
good old fashioned English humor…
and it seemed like someone had died.

After a few weeks we went to visit her,
my wife and I, taking some sweets and
a small plant– oh yes, and our sadness
too– though we made sure to leave it
outside, unattended to for the moment.

We entered a very large and rambling
sort of building, with pleasant lawns
and locked doors and intercoms for
some voice to decide if you can enter.
It was like sort of a prison, you think,
but a very nice and very clean prison.
Our neighbor was in a special wing,
called rather romantically, ‘Cedar Cove’
and as we entered through yet another
set of stout doors, we greeted her and
she smiled back, but very much as
one might greet a total stranger….
 
 


 
 
Nolo Segundo, pen name of retired English/ESL teacher [America, Japan, Taiwan, Cambodia] L.j.Carber, 76, has in the past 6 years been published in 165 literary journals/anthologies in 12 countries. A trade publisher has released 3 collections paperback on Amazon: The Enormity of Existence [2020]; Of Ether and Earth [2021]; and Soul Songs [2022]. These titles and much of his work reflect the awareness he’s had for over 50 years since having an NDE whilst almost drowning in a Vermont river: That he has–IS–a consciousness that predates birth and survives death, what poets have since Plato called the soul.

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5 sonnets from the poetry of R.W.Haynes

1]

The Knife and the Retreat

One awaits the knife, not that that
Is all that dramatic, cathartic, or just.
But anticipation can miss surprise in the dust
And there it pops up, wagging its hat.
And that’s the great crisis right then, of course,
That jolt of suddenly being unprepared
To cope with emotion one had never cared
To consider might land with unexpected force.
“I’d rather be a Stoic,” old Wordsworth might say,
His teeth clamping down on his old corncob pipe,
“Than be clotheslined to whimper and to gripe
While my sweet fantasies evaporate away.”
Now retreat and recover, live, do not die.
Be that imagined hermit, lonely by the Wye.


2]

The Cliffside Stroll

Her sonnets struggled along the cliffside path,
Shells and flowers tracking her aimless way,
As a dark spirit followed in shadows of the day,
And blue jays whispered, choking back their wrath.
But the bright sun vanquished in the blue sky,
And earthquakes held themselves in control
As she nibbled wafers and prayed for his soul
A little, and watched the hungry seagulls fly.
Below her, breakers gnashed at the rock,
And old prayers ascended upward as mere mist,
And memory quietly reft how they’d been
One sweet time, never to come again,
Since they’d looked at each other and kissed.
But now the jays can resume their clamor
And earthquakes swing their devastating hammer.


3]

Barks

So there is madness in exaggeration
And some cold, bold sanity, too.
Get unexcited by unthinking silence
Till the dogs start barking madly at you.
They know, these dogs, what’s in your mind.
They hear everything, and they’re not blind.
They smell all the aromas of violence
And long for the bite of imagination.
It is the bark of time that philosophy
Avoids waking us with to keep us free
From madness and unleashed disorientation,
One kind of wisdom, our mortal enemy.


4]

Last Conversation

Do we mix admiration and regret
For prudence managed half-heroically?
For half-blind pleasure felt half-painfully?
Ha ha, no paradise has come here yet,
Nor has a fatal drama played for us
With gestures, shouts, soliloquies,
Devastating recognitions—no, none of these
Has come, no, no bother, no fuss.
One turns away, right, when warning lights
Blink in the guts, and one’s breathtaking act
Of false control works to distract
Destructive impulse as it wildly fights.
And, O you craven philosophic Judas,
You let the grinning Fates come burn and loot us.


5]

The Quicksa-a-a-and of Laughter

One cannot keep writing sonnets.
			Tennessee Williams

The double-Debbie’s dud dude did
What he could and whenever he could
And sped sometimes up to no damn good,
And they all laughed hard wherever they hid,
Laughing like lobsters with haha like crows,
In musical moonlight uttering chuckles and snorts
And torrents of turbulent hilarious sports
In musical starlight until the sun rose.
“The operation of masks,” he nervously spoke,
“Is best done by women, whose all-wily wits
Confound men’s arguments and logical fits
Like music the mad game of mirror and smoke.
Get away, Cassandra!” he shrieked in agony.
“All right, brother—have you no faith in me?” 

R. W. Haynes, Professor of English at Texas A&M International University, has published poetry in many journals in the United States and in other countries. As an academic scholar, he specializes in British Renaissance literature, and he has also taught extensively in such areas as medieval thought, Southern literature, classical poetry, and writing. Since 1992, he has offered regular graduate and undergraduate courses in Shakespeare, as well as seminars in Ibsen, Chaucer, Spenser, rhetoric, and other topics. In 2004, Haynes met Texas playwright/screenwriter Horton Foote and has since become a leading scholar of that author’s remarkable oeuvre, publishing a book on Foote’s plays in 2010 and editing a collection of essays on his works in 2016. Haynes also writes plays and fiction. In 2016, he received the SCMLA Poetry Award ($500) at the South Central Modern Language Association Conference In 2019, two collections of his poetry were published, Laredo Light (Cyberwit) and Let the Whales Escape (Finishing Line Press). His Latest collected works are Heidegger Looks at the Moon (Finishing Line Press 2022 ) The Deadly Shadow of the Wall (finishing Line Press 2023)

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A Quicksilver Trilling (Inspired by Leonard Cohen and Bob Dylan) A Poem by David L O’Nan

A Quicksilver Trilling 
(Inspired by Leonard Cohen and Bob Dylan)

Once upon a time we met the platinum blonde, with a letter in hand and a brown Loro Piana handbag.
She was quiet and frantic at the same time (the obstacles of running from beautiful to damnit!)
You popped the bubbles in the hot flames,
in flamenco streets with bleeding trains 
that lead you, from the whistles to the cheating rainfalls.

Now, she’s as quiet as the storm swept flower.
Now, she’s an atomic bomb in the heart of desire.
She’s as damaged as the ignorant meal to the fiery belly of a carnivore.
Meeting the vagrants are as easy as meeting you she’d laugh to herself.
Maybe, she’s just a little deaf when the city shakes in a quicksilver trilling.
A little blind when the joy begins to fade from a celebration to just a thronging. 

So, you missed the thrills of the small crowd now.
That city took your bravery and your crown.
It’s hard to be superficial in your walk.
The thrills of a million helicopters circling down.
Your heartbeats, a quilted bundle of wires.
In the Hollywood hideaways the public does watch with pinkies up in a permanent smirking 
shadow.
Hurry up to snap a picture of her durable nucleus falling apart.
Behind the bars, to the many alcohols and elixirs falling straight down the cold rocks.
Her beautiful monuments showing the crackles now,
and the drinking of the sweet fruit tree has become a little thick in the dust cloud social ball.
Maybe she’s just a little deaf when this city shakes in a quicksilver trilling.

Maybe, she’s a little thirsty when the water is sealed from the dams to her  willing lips.
This blessing is just a disguised curse when she’s dressed up for another Judy Garland downward
spiral. 
I’m starting to rethink this shadow looking at his shoes, playing little Mr. Socialite and wearing a
Poor man’s Bruno Maglis blues.
I’m standing here holding your golden cup catching the feathers of your golden goose,
and a shriveled-up ticket to the sacrifices you make at Tiffanys.
My culture lies behind the ropes holding the inside of my head.
To play lover and not to play dead.
So you can play elegant and hip for the artsy coffee shops.
They can spell your name in the drink and your heart melts, and you finally feel like a somebody.
So you tip the baristas and joke about the rats.
They don’t know art, don’t have MFA’s and haven’t been bought their gardens to thrive.
I just watch the fakeness leave your timid hazel eyes. 
And you try to adjust in the restroom and cry, I hear you in there weeping like a saturnine 
coyote.

There are a couple of genuine fools, 
Walking around pretending to be the rules of cool.
They folded under the pressures of rebellion, but they are beginning to wonder my darling.
They are wondering exactly how many canvases you have put your brush to.
Since you tell them all you’re so smart and like a branch.
I’m just this poetic clown stuck with oversized t-shirts and a smile of a stripped screw.
Don’t worry he’ll pay for this free meal at this simpering Italian restaurant.
Then he’ll be on his way back to the job of being a wonderful muse when the art professors 
aren’t calling you.
Never to share a true linen of a sunrise together. Tell me exactly what art is when you don’t 
Know the art that is a natural weather.
Oh, perhaps. Just perhaps, she’s a little deaf when the city shakes and is shrilling.
A little more quicksilver trilling.

The sunrise is a little overbearing. I can’t see the canvas from the golden glare I’m wearing.
Operation, a colorful tornado on a disco floor. We’ve got weak legs dancing.
Drunk and the quick pills are mixing.  And you’re a drunk and grinding against the pistons.
More strangers trying to keep from pissing. They want to call you up for a night of your 
skin glistening and introduce you to a hypodermic waterbed.
You forgot me behind the trees. A little dirty when you have to sit and plead.
You have nothing you really need, but everything you want is in the halos of that river.

Well, those birds wake up a little earlier than you. And they seem sick without the worms to 
chew.  There isn’t a masterpiece for them to view.
You went right into the darkness with your colors and your strength. 
Frail bones fail frail forests.  Simple supernatural spells bring crumbles to a magic mountain,
The journeys are hard to walk when the valleys and the lakes are droughts for the scrawny to 
swim in.
Maybe she’s a little deaf when the animals stopped howling.
The wind is full of heat and rain is even melting. Around the curves the body is sealing.
The city is shaking to a quicksilver trilling.

From the windows, we used to see the clarity of the glass.
Now it’s a little oily and hell is seen through the overcast.
It’s a holocaust, razor sharp raindrops with teeth that bite, just like a brand new disease.
The queen must hide from the flee. Our humanity isn’t built anymore on heartbeats.
Sometimes humanity is built from cardboard signs. Hold a little higher and ask for a prayer.
Ask for a shave of cool air to save you from a Tinseltown cataclysm.
So what does the wonder girl do? When she goes from pretender to blue to the shrew?
Does she realize her hair wasn’t always so cute?
Does she realize the geniuses are all crooks?
Does she feel the jazzy palm trees have always been a little plastic and fake?

Much like the hypnotized starlets in the platinum blonde destruction game.
Oh, maybe she’s a little deaf from the chess game that keeps yelling checkmate!
Maybe she’s been blinded by the hysterical cut-throat authority waifs.
Maybe, she’s just part of this jealousy, a vanish haze they thrown on you to make you a product.
A little pill sick and when the city keeps shaking.
Tiny slits of cracks in this quicksilver trilling.
Now, she’s as naked as a blurry mirror. 
Now, she’s feeling as pitiful as a stuttering preacher.
Now, her art is less of a picture that hangs above bountiful nouveau vanity mirrors.
Her art is the magnetism that pulls the moon through her evening veins.
Her art is when the clouds move in and pulls the curtains of stars over her delicate frame.
Maybe she grew tired of her ears constantly ringing.
Loud masochisms and feminine leeches luring and lingering.

A city shook to pieces in a quicksilver trilling. 

 
 
 

 
 
 
Bio:
David L O’Nan is a poet, short story writer, prose & lyricist, an editor living in Southern Indiana. He is founder and lead editor for Fevers of the Mind Poetry, Art & Music. He has edited & curated anthologies under Fevers of the Mind (7 volumes) since 2019 in addition to anthologies inspired by and dedicated to Leonard Cohen (Avalanches in Poetry & Before I Turn Into Gold), Bob Dylan (Hard Rain Poetry: Forever Dylan), Joni Mitchell (The Blue Motel Rooms Poetry & Art) Tom Waits (The Whiskey Mule Diner), The Poetica Sisterhood of Sylvia & Anne (poetry & art inspired by Sylvia Plath & Anne Sexton), On the Highways with Many Miles…to Go! (poetry & art inspired by Jack Kerouac, Townes Van Zandt, Miles Davis, Langston Hughes, etc), Waltzin’ Through Rusty Cages (inspired by Elliott Smith & Chris Cornell), The website is
 
www.feversofthemind.com
 
He also has solo works “The Famous Poetry Outlaws are Painting Walls and Whispers” “The Cartoon Diaries”, “New Disease Streets”, “Our Fears in Tunnels”, “Taking Pictures in the Dark”, “Bending Rivers: A Collection”,”Lost Reflections” (micropoems), “Before the Bridges Fell” (2022), & “Cursed Houses” (2022) his work can be found in several litmags and books.
Twitter/X is @davidLONan1 and for Fevers of the Mind is @feversof and Facebook is the
Fevers of the Mind Poetry, Arts & Music Group.

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Amare Invano & Because of the Train. 2 Poems by Ernest Williamson III

Amare Invano
For the Enemies of the Fancy Free

As we live to cry and cried
our eyeless eyes with all others
of straight normal lives green
happy fair approved yet dry.
red sopped in birdsong.
shady in gauzed shades are these
goffs they are those who
thrive they follow as it follows.
safe wound sound
though lit in lies.

But never should the wind turn for letters
bruised in memory of millions of me.
I am but lost and in demand
to help woman and man
but to love in vain is latent allegro.
cant merriment day with
wan cake wedded to screen and toggle.
let us let go to go and pray in vein.
there are millions of me.
there are millions of you.
but there is only us.
amare invano sings
much too much too loud
allowed aloud out
proud vanities!
its children are vanities!
children as vanities!
it ends time and in time
we cry our eyeless eyes with all others
of straight normal lives green
happy fair approved yet dry.
yet in envy feigned
the sea under constant
crying consanguinity
platelets red you think
they bleed for
above and over
peace in pieces of exhales.

But we are upheld alone happy
quiet with sea
taut august verbs
solemn sanctity
length and lot
the fancy free
but for you not foe
unwanted enemy
of the fancy-free

but not for you
vociferous frocks
members without limbs
pink diadems pregnant
hirsute dancing daughters
laughing in gated gruff!
amare invano amare invano
I run to speak with the caring waters.
alone in company where you could benefit and be
we who sound virgin light.
the fancy-free love
peace you pieces
of the common good
you good you risible legion!
married male madonnas
who look for Elvis, Lennon,
and the fancy-free.

Sunlight, speech, acceptance.
these the joys they cannot see.
the vanities kept in you
yet unknown to thee.


Because of the Train
                         In memory of Bloke Porter                   
                                                                                
We have twenty minutes till dawn. 
For at least twenty and twenty years 
I have worked in night.
all the night. In all the nights. 
Even though no one knows
or knew about it.

Nearly now
we can go
like many things
Go away. Shrills cuss words in utterances.
Mean letters coldly aligned
shutter then lie down. 
Though we pant in grey resultant.
                                                       
Because of the train.
                                                       
ennui in we in soaked silence 
who smile 
with wisdom of the fish bolts.
As Romance and Old Visions of Rome
land
  In our seats. 
  We know nothing of these people.
                                                         
Because of the train.
             
Iced auburn rails against the rails.
All of them so sweetly. I cannot begin to count
the burns. our assumed words 
burned into our ears because we wasted not
our time. In hour's midnight. 
                                            
Because of the train.
                                                 
Soon birches will bend for
in smile of us, even when lights 
release glitter ash 
minus
moment
plus, my soul.
  
  blessed is thy soul.
                                                          
Because of the train.
        in spite of no solace. We worked.
        and this too. this is what
        I too remembered.
                                            
                                  Because.

Bio: Ernest Williamson III has published poetry in over two hundred journals. His poetry has appeared in numerous journals including The Roanoke Review, Pinyon Review, Westview, Decanto, Pamplemousse, Oklahoma Review, and Poetry, Life, & Times. Ernest is a three time Best of the Net nominee. Currently, he lives in Nashville, Tennessee. Learn more here: http://www.ernestwilliamsoniii.com

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Come, come, come pigeons. A Poem by Bhuwan Thapaliya

Every morning

dank scuffling begins

on the edge of our roof

as hungry pigeons

leave their nearby

shrinking shelters

and rush towards

our old Kathmandu house

when my mother calls

them as usual,

chirruping to them

in a high melodic note,

“Come, come, come pigeons.”

Then they lean over

the solar panel’s rusty edge

and look at us

with dark shiny eyes

and wait for the

sudden appearance

of the manna.

“Breakfast?” we ask.

They lower their head rapidly,

spring off to the floor

and start picking the grains.

Finished, they fly off.

It’s goodbye till we

wake up the next morning

to recreate the same scene

once again.

Leaning against the wall,

I take a sip

of lukewarm herbal water,

and exchange glances

with the colorful birds

flying low above me

in the gorgeous morning sky.

Their habitats are waning

in the face of global warming

but I can no longer pretend

that things won’t  be fine

 for them, for us. 

This generation

is growing up

with a lot more

reverence for nature

and I believe

in the extraordinary power

of human connections.

Suddenly,

the wind howls.

Fallen pigeon feathers

and chocolate wrappers

litter the terrace floor

and a squirrel swirls past my legs.

Kathmandu is still sleeping.

It’s not Saturday

but the city seems eerily silent.

Around me, the painted deities

sneer and snarl.

High above,

a flock of pigeons

coronet the sky. 

 
 
 

 
 
 
Bhuwan Thapaliya is a poet writing in English from Kathmandu, Nepal. He works as an economist and is the author of four poetry collections. His poems have been published in Wordcity Literary Journal, Pendemics Literary Journal, Poetry Life and Times, Trouvaille Review, Life in Quarantine: Witnessing Global Pandemic Initiative(Witnessing Global Pandemic is an initiative sponsored by the Poetic Media Lab and the Center for Spatial and Textual Analysis at Stanford University), International Human Rights Art Festival, Poetry and Covid: A Project funded by the UK Arts and Humanities Research Council, University of Plymouth, and Nottingham Trent University, Pandemic Magazine, The Poet, Valient Scribe, Strong Verse, Jerry Jazz Musician, VOICES ( Education Project), Longfellow Literary Project, Poets Against the War among many others.

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I Can’t Stop Imagining Your Death: 4 Poems by Matt Thomas

I’ve included an original photo of a wasp, taken in our pasture, that I think represents the theme of these poems Matt Thomas


I Can't Stop Imagining Your Death

Your ragged snores scoring the day losing seconds like
bright feathers shed onto black dirt
each breath snagged and restarted, stubborn as the planet's inertia
and yet yours is not a friction-less existence
so I worry, sure, but that’s not this, this is 
playing your absence, 
crying on cue tears that heat
the material of the present to impressionable goo
and stomping in the puddle of it. 
It's harmless, no big deal.
Sometimes I imagine your death.
I'm not prescient. It's nothing. I shouldn't have mentioned it.
It's just that in moments of transition, 
such as now, sun setting, estranging the house and your breathing, 
or when some unexpected light or cloud disfigures a familiar road
and causes me to become momentarily, startlingly, lost,
I imagine you dying.
No different than thrilling at the wind stirring dead leaves, 
everything going to play, to steady the staggering present.


What / Nothing

A photo
of dogs long gone
to look at it is to feel
the furred skin sled 
over fat and ribs
Dead dogs looking lively 
at the down on your cheek
what / nothing
your question / my answer
accidentally true.


When you stretch I feel the


shake of your daily climb 

up a use-shined ladder 

leant against my optimism

tousling the jangly suckers, 

buzzing my fruit, your wing noise 

a resined horse hair sigh

that the keeper is coming.


Self-Harm at the Outlet Mall

You are looking for a sundress.
And it occurs to me.

A wet footprint retreating 

between a dead chickadee and my sneaker, 
grass straightening to the light,
a calm spot in the chop 
of water rippling toward 
Old Navy, Lululemon, Ann Taylor. 

Not in the rain, after, 
in the steam of returning heat.

I’m glad to be here with you.
But this country is all teeth.  
I'm tempted to lie down next to the bird, 
tell time with it, 
be the guy who's fucks flew off, 
that the world walks wide around.

It’s obvious, despite the signage, 
that we are most real in the nose. 

I can’t be the only one 
carrying sad luck like a fidget toy, 
distracting my mind 
with motor commands 
while the world sucks the evidence 
of my being back up into the sky.

I don't want to give up on you, 
or finding your sundress,

I just have to believe 
that it’s normal to be tempted 
to cut a thin cold moment in the heat, 
to allow my eyes to catch rain, 
and despair 
that living won’t allow it.

Matt Thomas is a smallholder farmer. His poetry has appeared recently in Dunes Review and Bluepepper. He lives with his partner in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia.

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