Submissions Open for Issue 2 of Red Wolf Journal

Red Wolf Journal is now accepting submissions for Issue 2! I have the privilege of being one of the editors for Issue 2, and our theme is “The River: Within Us and Without Us”. Take a look at our theme statement at and SEND US YOUR POEMS! Submissions open through May 18, 2014.

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“Two Monkeys, a Raven, and a Lizard King” Published in Red Wolf Journal

Jim Morrison, in 1969, courtesy of Wikipedia

I know now that wires
poke out through my skin
and stand at attention.
I hang letters and signs
from their silver, pin-prick
heads: autism, ADHD.
And my monkey still lives.
Ask your monkey sometime
for his name, and see
what he tells you.

That was an excerpt from my poem, “Two Monkeys, a Raven, and a Lizard King“, which was published in Red Wolf Journal on April 2. Woohoo!

Also, I used that poem as a jump-off point to write “What Does Jim Morrison Have to Do With Neurodiversity?” on my Woman With Asperger’s blog for World Autism Acceptance Day on April 2. That post was then republished on the Jim Morrison Project.

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Video of My Paging Columbus Performance on YouTube

Howdy folks! This is a video of part of my performance at Paging Columbus, which includes the poems in the second half of my set — “Iconography” and “You Don’t See It”. Aaron Poochigan and Janelle DolRayne were the other authors reading that evening, so check them out, too!

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“Lizard King” Published on the Jim Morrison Project


Remember not too long ago when I announced that my art piece “Kokopelli’s Music” was featured on the Jim Morrison Project? Well, they also featured my poem (written in 2008) on which that art piece is based, “Lizard King“. Very cool!

Now, go read the poem. :)

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Barking Sycamores: Submit Your Poems by April 30!

And now…a public service announcement from Barking Sycamores:


Barking Sycamores closes submissions for Issue 1 on April 30. So, get in your poems!

What is Barking Sycamores, you say?

Barking Sycamores is a poetry journal whose primary mission is to publish poems by emerging and established writers who are neurodivergent — this includes autism, the state of being currently known as AD(H)D, Bipolar, synesthesia, and so on. We also seek to add positively to the public discussion about neurodivergence as a whole in the form of essays on poetics and the interrelationship between alternative kinds of neurology and the creative process.

Take a look at our submission guidelines…and send us your poems! Oh yeah, we take artwork too.

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Gbadu’s Song

Aanteekwa heard a voice like
wind chimes and drums colliding
above their heads. It sang:
Hear me, O children of Earth!
My eyes are closed no more:
east, west, north and south shine
brightly in every pupil – their expanses
fan out, palm tree fingers spreading
like their supplication before
a King’s entrance.

Continue reading

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Coin Toss

The bathtub ark was lifted aloft
by the river spreading wide
and growing into sea:
and Aanteekwa could see
no land in sight –
it had been covered by a sea
of someone’s tears.

Aanteekwa first looked for a
large, blonde English moppet
crying for a lost world — but
she was not there.
She then looked for a
vengeful, bearded Canaanite
warrior god of wrath
knocking aside wooden block towers
of human hubris and pissing
on his doomed creation below –
but he was not there (thank God).

When the bathtub boat careened
over a clean-edged break between
water and sky, neither Aanteekwa,
nor her fellow passenger,
nor his doom-dated notebook page,
fell out.

The water transmuted into
a glass coin, flipping itself
head-tail head-tail
trying to find its own fate.
Through its limpid liquid
she could see a pale lady
whose orange flag of hair unfurled
and waved to signal truces,
a plea for this damned thing to stop! –

but then a giant blue merman,
starry red-shawled and temple-crowned,
picked up the bathtub and let it
rest in his river-run palm while he
stared at its occupants.

Manu? he questioned.
No, I’m Jim, Aanteekwa’s
companion replied.
Well, that would explain
the bathtub, the blue deity said.

Who are you? Aanteekwa asked.
I am Matsya, the blue god replied,
and this is where history and myth collide.
He pointed to the whirlpool forming
in the ocean at his feet.

What’s the difference between
them? Jim asked.
You must decide that, my friend,
Matsya replied, chuckling.
After all, you humans insist
upon both as absolute truth.

Written 4/8/14
Revised 4/10/14
© 2014 Nicole Nicholson. All Rights Reserved.

This poem is the latest in the Aanteekwa series, a continuation from “Flood” and was written for my We Write Poems Prompt this week: Mythology.

I borrowed from the general idea of the flood myth. Many early cultures have some sort of a flood myth, be it the story of Noah, from the epic of Gilgamesh, the Hopi tale of Tawa destroying the third world with a flood, or as this borrows from, the story of Manu and Matsya. Matsya is a anthromorphic Hindu god who is half-man and half-fish, and is the first of the then primary avatars of Vishnu. Matsya warns Manu to construct a large boat, and depending on the story either asks him to store all of the grains of the world in it or these grains plus every animal. Manu follows Mastya’s instructions and is saved, and ends up repopulating the human race after the flood destroys the rest of the earth.

The angry Canaanite deity in the second stanza is Yaweh. Aanteekwa is referring to his earlier Canaanite self before the Israelites evidently adopted him as their national god. And the blond English moppet is, of course, Alice Liddel — the same from Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. The redhead is Tori Amos, and her cameo in this poem is inspired by this music video of hers.


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The river broke, bursting
out of its silver snake skin and
submerging the metal
amusement park spiders
around Aanteekwa.
She floated upside down
in a filthy fluid sky, clawing
at passing clouds of dirt
and the rickety, rust-bone legs
of the Ferris wheel
which had not spun anything
in almost three thousand years.
Continue reading

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Aanteekwa Gets Herself Out From Under

The amusement park was
a gaggle of metal, skeletal spiders
gathered around a gray washed,
rain-bleached fairway reduced by termites
down to toothpicks and riddled
with broken arm nails.

At its center sat a
screaming red carousel full of
old nags who no longer neighed,
shined, or tooted. Inside of it,
a murky bass-bottom calliope
warbled out a sad, stair-step raga that
hooked itself around Aanteekwa’s earlobes
and pulled her forward.

A multicolored inked, stamped
slick thing lay in her path.
It was too new to have been
left behind by the last passel of
children stomping their way past
motley booths stuffed with
fried fatness and plastic nonsense.
She picked it up and saw the
comic book heroine of Paradise Island
staring back at her.

Why are you here? Aanteekwa
asked the Amazon, who was all
black lines and hourglass,
gold bracelets and gleaming red boots.

She stuffed the princess princess
under her arm and continued towards
the cipher-drone flute wreck Morse code
of music, obeying it like a magic lasso.
When she stopped in front of
the carousel, she saw two reflections
in the angled mirrors at its center:

one of a brown frizzy-haired girl
make-shifting superpowers with a jump rope
and her mother’s golden bracelets,
and the other of her mother, alone,
clanking together gold-bound wrists
while watching herself in a vanity mirror.

She knew, and she understood.
When a cathode ray tube ghost
floated through her head,
she laughed and pirouetted
until the carousel horses turned into stars.

Written 3/27/14
© 2014 Nicole Nicholson. All rights reserved.
This poem was written for We Write Poems #206: which childhood?. I went with the idea of DNA, our past, and our parents’ experiences affecting our childhood — and then borrowed from my own childhood my love of Wonder Woman (yes, I had the Underoos :) ) to construct the next segment of Aanteekwa’s saga. Keep in mind, Aanteekwa was born in 1943, so she would have seen the original comic books, and she would have been in her early 30′s when the TV show aired. I, however, was a child in the 70′s and remember seeing the TV show (and boy, did I love how Lynda Carter piroutted to changed into Wonder Woman!). The title is also taken from part of the lyrics of the Wonder Woman theme song.


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Fog Mother

Listen, Helen: my arms have
failed my bones, just as I
have failed you, a voice
called out from within the
patchwork cloud fog crawling up
around Aanteekwa’s ears.

Continue reading

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