Since performing at the NYC International Fringe Festival in 2007, LA poet/spoken word artist and TNB contributor Rich Ferguson has made it his mission to once again return to the city to perform.

This coming week (April 20th – 23rd) Ferguson will be back, performing three shows in NYC (one solo, and two others with musician, Bo Blount).


Most Cherished TNB Readers, From the Farthest Reaches of Outer Mongolia to Some Starbucks Wi-Fi Setup in Downtown Peoria:

 

I’d like to take this opportunity to whole-heartedly welcome you to the finely tuned, hopped-up, fuel-injected, engine humming, all pistons popping Poetry section of The Nervous Breakdown, in glorious 3.0.

My relationship with TNB started back in the original 1.0 days. When Brad Listi first asked me to write for the site, I wasn’t quite sure how to begin. Around that time, however, a dear friend passed away. So I decided to honor his passing by taking a stroll from Santa Monica’s Third Street Promenade, down to the ocean. Armed with only my camera, a notebook, and my dear friend’s favorite food—a corndog—in tow, I marked his passing in photos and various remembrances. That became my very first posting.

Since then, I’ve seen the site go through various incarnations. I’ve seen my own life go through various changes, as well. I’ve become a better writer, a better person; a lot of that having to do with all the wonderful folks I’ve met through TNB. As you’ll witness in either the Poetry section, Fiction section, Arts & Culture, or wherever the site takes you, we have a lot of heart, humor, and intellect to offer.

And we the forever faithful and fearless Poetry team; Associate Editors Uche Ogbuji, Jennifer Duffield White, and Milo Martin and I, as Editors, will do our best to hold the Poetry section to those high standards of quality. Each week, we’ll bring you the most thought-provoking, soul touching, mind melting poetry we can find from those farthest reaches of Outer Mongolia to that Starbucks wi-fi setup in downtown Peoria.

This week we offer you poetry from such varied talents as Iris Berry, Jackie Sheeler, Lisa Johns, Kenneth Shiffrin, Jerome Dunn, Doug Knott, and this week’s Featured Poet, Michael O’Keefe.

So wherever you are in this big old world of ours, most cherished TNB readers, strap on your seatbelts, rev your engines, shift into overdrive, and get ready to take a ride on the TNB Poetry section in grand and glorious 3.0.

 

Onward and upward,

Rich Ferguson

Solo

By Jackie Sheeler

Poem

I’ve lived by myself since 1993, cracking
jokes about the singular life:
my way of whistling past the graveyard.

In the beginning, I felt freed—
no more lies, no more toenails
in the bathroom sink, plenty of milk
for morning coffee. But now,

I’m playing a solo when I want a duet
and sometimes I think anyone would do.
Other times, no one. I haven’t sculpted

a space in my days for a lover to slide into
because I don’t want to watch it while it’s empty,
like sleeping every night beside a ghost,
or setting an extra cup on the table

for the absent guest, like a Passover jew.
It’s easier to act as if my private music has absorbed me.
As if I wouldn’t have it any other way.