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Thursday, August 24, 2017

Poetry By Meagan Jennett

Meagan Jennett is a self-taught poet who has struggled with depression since childhood.

Meagan Jennett, January 2016
“Lexapro on Ice”

Lexapro---

tastes best over ice with
a splash of Knob Creek
(bourbon, no rye please!)
Baby if it’s cold outside drop it
in a hot toddy or, if you’re really brave,
take it neat
like the Good Old Boys do
behind closed corner office doors.
That’ll really put some hair on your chest.
Oh, and make sure you have some Clonidine on hand!
For when the twitching starts.
In about a week.
Electric jolts and lightning bolts throughout your
Lower 48 Limbs.
Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitor
-say that five times fast-
What it feels like to fold your Psyche
safely into a Saran Wrap cocoon.
And now (because life doesn’t feel quite right on Mute)
introduce yourself to
Jack Jim José and Johnny
the Four Horsemen of my
21st Century Soul Apocalypse.
My brothers kept
close at hand should Miss Psyche miss
the danger of a breeze under open wings
and find herself pressing her face up against
                                        the sticky plastic of
                                                  her chemical
                                                              cage.


Poet Meagan Jennett

“Inanna”

I caught myself in the bathroom mirror yesterday,
and saw in the steam-smudged glass
Lillith Inanna.
And my mother.
Who is this body staring back at me?
Where did she come from?

When I was a young girl I used to climb to the top of the tallest tree I could find
and leap,
arms thrown out, eyes turned towards the sun,
spinning into the breeze…
Willing it to catch me and unfurl the wings I believed were somehow glued
to the ridges of my tiny, child-spine.
T3, T5, T7…

My wings must have been faulty though.
Or maybe I was too heavy.
Too solid,
for the air to hold my falling body.

There was always too much of me to catch.
Except for in the fog of a bathroom mirror after a shower.


~Meagan Jennett, February 2016



“Untitled”

I am discovering the edges of myself

Running my tongue along the cool metal spines
of my personal mania

They’re sharp.
Sometimes I bleed.


Meagan Jennett, March 2017



Two Poems By Adam Levon Brown

Adam Levon Brown is an author, poet, amateur photographer, and cat lover. He identifies as Queer. He has had poetry published hundreds of times internationally in several languages. He enjoys long walks through the inner­ insanity of his psyche. He is an anti-imperialist peacenik with a love for books. He believes that you should turn your societal education into a living transgressive art piece, and parade it around for all to witness. When not tripping on his own musings, he enjoys reading fiction.

He has been published in venues such as Burningword Literary Journal, Harbinger Asylum, The Stray Branch, Poetry Pacific, and Yellow Chair Review.

Adam can be contacted via his website at http://www.AdamLevonBrown.org
where he offers free poetry resources and his books for sale.



I know You

Kayaking off an inlet
channel of the Pacific
Ocean

Yields many answers
and even more questions

Like, why do Elephant seals
gallop into each other's Peanut
faces?

The Flamingo orb scatters over
the landscape as Pepsi Cola waves settle
at my sand dune feet

A Half-eaten, Sun-splintered
Sand dollar pilfers its way
into my Salt-crusted eyes

I take the ocean currency
and place it neatly into the cusp
of my torn wet-suit

The journey back is a
tarantula's crawl on
naked hands

On the green infested
west bank stands a lone
4-point Buck

He whispered,
"Come to me..
but not too fast..."

The water was moving
as slow as Coffee in
the morning

I inched my nose
as close as I could
to this divine mystery

I looked directly into
his eyes from 36 inches
away and said

"I know you"

The chestnut
bowl of iced cherries
on a 90 degree day winked
at me with his spiral of wizened
candy coated cornea

Turned around, and quietly
moved into the dense thickets
of emerald brilliance 



Sonata strike

Music flutters
in my song lyric brain

The strain of hearing
runs through the treble
and gets caught on a G-clef

Bass hooves clanking
in the sun-shot wind
rumble in waves of acesso

staccato break!

The crescendo halts
to a whisper and
the crowd
is left dangling on
a sweeping coda

Life (With Pain): Poems By Craig Firsdon

I have had juvenile rheumatoid arthritis since I was 4 years old. At around 12 I'd lose the abilty to walk or even stand. I began writing as sort of a therapy to deal with this, the pain, acceptance and depression. I believe that all types of art can help people as much as some medications and with art the disabled can be free in ways never imagined.-Craig Firsdon

Life (With Pain)

It hurts
     Grit teeth
     Shake hands
     Scream
Anger
     Blame
          God
          Parents
          Life 
     Get on hands and knees
     Tear up
Sadness
     Cry
     Breathe heavy
     Fall to knees
     Pray
Acceptance
     Wipe away tears
     Breathe slowly and calmly
     Stand up
     Smile
Strength

Another day ends.


Normal

I used to imagine I was a normal child 
living a normal life with a normal family. 
On weekends I would go to my normal friends’ houses 
and play normal games or with normal toys, 
eat normal lunches like peanut butter and jelly 
     or bologna and cheese. 
On weekdays I’d go to a normal school where my normal teachers 
would usually give us homework before sending us home for the day. 
At home we would eat a normal dinner that my mother 
normally gave her all to make sure we had. 
My normal father would come home at a normal hour 
to spend time with my brother and I.  
The entirety of my being was…normal. 

But it was a lie, one I told myself in order to feel like I was just that
.    …normal.  
In reality my friends were bullies, 
my father was a psychotic abuser 
who often worked late and came home angry, 
sometimes smelling like bottom barrel alcohol and old tobacco 
after going bowling every Thursday night. 
My mother was the strongest person I had known, 
but never strong enough to put my father in his place. 
Often our meals would end up on the floor 
and my mom back in front of the stove in tears.  

In the winter of 1983 I came in from playing outside in the snow 

and immediately noticed my neck was hurting and getting very stiff. 
What came after for the next few years was something 
out of my worst nightmares. 
A time when I would scream in pain when touched, 
daily ice baths for 103 plus degree fevers, 
long car rides to get me to sleep, 
my father blaming my mother for everything 
and doctors of every type running tests of every kind 
diagnosing me wrongly with all types of diseases 
from leukemia to multiple sclerosis.  
In the end it was arthritis. 
The reason for my pain. 
The reason for my poetry. 

Since then half of my life has been spent within 

the sterile white walls of a hospital, 
stuck with thousands of needles, 
given hundreds of toxic poisons called medications 
and told time after time that if only I pushed myself harder, 
thought more positively 
and did every single thing the doctors said 
I wouldn’t be like I am now.  

But it doesn’t matter; this is how my life was meant to be. 

All of this, every single thing I’ve gone through, is MY normal. 
These words are here because of it.
My life, what I view as my normal, IS my poetry. 
So the next time you grab a pen and piece of paper
or sit down in front of your computer 
show the world how your normal life is poetry too.


My Letter To You (Arthritis)


I always feel you there within me,

that unforgiving itch I can’t scratch.
Each attempt to rid myself of you
grows more useless.
It dilutes the feeble whisper of happiness 
just under my faked public happy thoughts
you are the voice from the nothingness 
tempting me to give in, embrace you,
Stockholm syndrome for the corrosive entity inside.
I stand firm every time my skin is pierced
just to prove that I am not weak
but to you, me, them?
As days pass, forever, one after another
I am here and will always be
you along for the ride
and it is no choice of mine.
You live in this cell with me,
never getting out,
never escaping
I’ll sit here
you and I chained together
and chained to this cell.
and no matter how weak you make me
I will keep searching for the strength to simply
escape.




Closer (Images In A Mirror)

The mirror spoke to him in words unspoken.
An infinite number of truths growing day by day, 
every breath he inhaled led to another scar.    
that passed by unseen by his vision, his soul,
only another checkmark on every bully's list of fulfilled tortures.
Even as the checks appeared, check one, two, three,
the whips cracked and gashed his soul
leaving permanent tattoos as reminders of his pain.

He still stared at the mirror in front of him
as it rambled loveless melodies on and on
with an image that said it all.
No smile.
No one cares about him.
No one notices him until he's gone
and when they do he's remembered 
for one short moment in time
when he was true to himself
But to others what seems to be a triviality,
something that is nothing,
just words to him and only to him
and his wrists become like his heart, sliced by each syllable,
nouns and verbs cut deep
cut by cut by intentional cut,
he bleeds until he no longer can bleed anymore.
As the words become sentences,
sentences become razor blades, Xanax and shot gun shells
and continue to cut,
to swallow,
to pull the trigger.

Eventually it all begins to fade,
getting darker as painful shadows
get closer and closer.
Drifting, thinking of what others have said
what they have done and continue to do.
What will I do?
What have I done?

They say they understood him
but they didn't.
They wonder why he would hurt himself,
they had no clue.
Objects in mirrors often appear closer
than they actually are.

Monday, July 10, 2017

Poetry By Ryan Quinn Flanagan

Ryan Quinn Flanagan is a Canadian born author presently residing in Elliot Lake, Ontario Canada. His work has been published both in print and online in such places as The New York Quarterly, Windsor Review, Vallum, The Antigonish Review, CV2, Horror Sleaze Trash, Evergreen Review, Your One Phone Call and In Between Hangovers.


Taking my Meds

We have grown comfortable enough 
in the past few years 
that I can stop and take my medications 
when it is time.

In the past you had to go without
and get twitchy in a pinch.

Shutdown and not say anything.
Caring what others might think.

Now,
I just take the damn 
things.

We have a travel vial
so we’re not carrying giant med cards 
around.

Even the airport people 
don’t give us much trouble 
these days.

There is still a stigma 
sure as bush fires,  
but we are no longer
a part of it.



“Stressors”

It is not good to be both mentally ill 
and poor, 
but the two often seem to go 
together.

As though there are certain personal
and societal “stressors,”
boy do they love that word,
almost as much as the historians climb 
into bed with “aforementioned”

and the many science club girls 
play hopscotch
with “fact.”

Everything is a stressor, what can I say?
Me, you, gravel drives, flashbacks,
water pressure, large crowds,
the price of gas…

And when you can’t get sleep
everything is magnified.

The anxiety and depression and bad thoughts
and behaviours all feeding on one another.

Like a hungry wolf pack tearing you apart
from the inside.

I cannot describe it any better 
than that.

Those that have been they, are there,
live in the dragon’s mouth each moment of the day,
I pray for you.

And I am not a religious man in the least.
This is about you and not some god.

I share your horror 
and in that way we are 
brothers and 
sisters.



Exposure Therapy

If exposure therapy really worked across the board
we would expose everyone to the bubonic 
plague for their own good.

Somehow, I don’t think that would fly.
But they do it with the mentally ill.
As if such a practice is not torture.

Scared of dogs?
Here’s a snarling Rottweiler
three inches from your face
who’d like to get 
closer.

Public speaking is your thing,
lets do that every day until 
you have a heart attack…

When I was an outpatient 
in town
the first counsellor I had used to 
cough in my face each week
as though it was a mistake
and be disappointed when I gave
a reaction.

My second counsellor was smarter.
We didn’t even shake hands.

I remember wanting to tell her once 
that if we bombed all the cities into partial oblivion
that wouldn’t mean people were
now used to bombs, and that 
that was good thing.

But I kept my sane mouth shut 
and smiled.

Like the shining success story 
I was.



Monday, June 26, 2017

P Is For Portmanteau

We now have a lesson plan to go along with Atrocious Poems A To Z and several schools, church groups, and literaacy organizations are interested already. It's extremely gratifying to to know people are enjoying the book and think of it as a learning tool. P Is For Portmanteau was one of my favorite poems to write for the book. 

Illustration By Jenny Mathews
P Is For Portmanteau


In the end, I needed to simplify this poem quite a bit because my original conception was far too ambitious. I wanted to combine elements of portmanteau and chimera in a poem that would take place at a zoo. It was far too much for the 12-15 lines I had allotted myself, but I had it up on my wall for over five years trying to force it into existence. In the end just not biting off more than I could chew was the solution. Jenny came up with the portmanteus she illustrated on the stairs. 







Tuesday, June 20, 2017

E Is For Eye Patch

I'm one of those people who has never been able to fully enjoy a 3d movie. I just never got the full effect, and even if I did, I wasn't entirely impressed, but I always wondered what it would be like to be a kid wearing an eye patch at a 3d movie. So I tried to incorporate that sense of wondering into a poem about eye rhymes. Two fruit bats with one chiclet, so to speak.

For some reason I spent more time on this poem than any other in the book. I think because originally I had a much grander vision of what the poem would entail. In the end I just had to stick with the central image I was trying to convey of a child at a 3d movie unable to enjoy the full effect while everyone around her was completely transfixed. Of course Jenny got it right away and did her usual bang up job of conveying even more than I was able to in my poem.



Illustration by Jenny Mathews

I think some of the more complex poems like this one in the book make me feel much better about writing about dog poop and urine because it gives children a sense that in poetry one is free to explore many different levels of subject matter, from absolute nonsense to deep, philosophical quandaries, like in the W poem. Everything is fair game. Wherever your mind might wander, and all aspects of the human experience are worthy of poetry. 

D Is For Dog Poop

D Is For Dog Poop

I don't think it would be a gross exaggeration if I told you one of the proudest moments of my poetry career was being asked to write my poem about dog poop from my new book Atrocious Poems A To Z on the walls of the Rockford Art Museum, then getting local morning show anchor Andy Gannon to read from my dog poop poem live on the air. We don't get paid much as poets so we must take our secret pleasures where we can. Sort of gather our leavings where we may, so to speak.

Although I made sincere attempts to teach some heavy literary lessons about form, meter, and literary device in the book, D Is For Dog Poop is not one of those cases. It is an unabashed cry for attention.


Illustration by Jenny Mathews

As Willy Wonka says in Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, "A little nonsense now and then is relished by the wisest men."

The expression on the face of the dog is a great touch by illustrator Jenny Mathews here. 

I'd like to go on to describe the complexity of this poem and its literary merits, but it's a poem about dog poop.

See why Paul can't stop eating his crayons
See why it's hard to watch a 3d movie with an Eye Patch 




Monday, June 19, 2017

C Is For Crayons

Who hasn't eaten a crayon?

Why make them so tantalizing, and give them such tempting names, if they're off limits for eating?

In my grade school we had one of the world class crayon eaters... Paul Drake. I name him here because he has no reason to feel shame. In fact, in my childhood, he became a legendary figure by eating his entire box of crayons over a week at Mary Morgan GRade School. And he had the big 64 crayon box with the sharpener. 

I used to go over to his house sometimes because we had the same walking route home, and he'd fry sugar in a frying pan and we'd eat it then watch Speed Racer. 

Illustration by Jenny Mathews
I think this poem is a Triolet. But really it's about the age-old tradition of taking a bite out of one of your Crayons. It's really just another right of passage every child must experience for him or herself.

When I got to the Rockford Art Museum and they wanted me to write my poems on the wall next to Jenny's illustrations I thought of this poem first and suggested doing it in several different colors. The curator was all about the idea so I drove out to the art suppy store and bought a bunch of different colors of markers. It took three days to do all 26 poems, and I was sore all over because there really aren't many corresponding situations in life where one uses the muscle groups one does writing on the wall of a museum about groovy things like crayon eating.

Atrocious Poems A To Z is a book I began as a class project in the 5th grade, and procrastinated on so long I ended up writing the first draft over the weekend. Almost forty years later I got this idea when they demolished the grade school that I went to that I shoudl finish it. 

One thing I tried to do in the book was work in various forms, meters, and rhyme schemes to give young readers a broad range of poetic approaches to be exposed to. 

If anyone would be willing to write a review on Amazon I can send a PDF review copy of the book.