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

The Aware Wolves

By Doug Knott


To the aware wolves belong
The space between ghosts
And night of eggplant dark

The moon, himself a wandering lost soul,
Peers through tree-tops for
My heart – a deer frozen
In a forest of eyes
Shaped like leaves

I know the wolves are near
I see them when they
Blot out the moon
Hear them when they call
My name. Summoning them
Is an entertainment
At my own expense

They lope alongside me
And when I look at them
Their eyes get bigger

I treat them now as my children
Feed them everything I have
They all live with me
And I am everything I wanted to be
Except I am living it backwards

“It’s time to wake up,” I say, “It’s
Time to make furniture and food;
it’s time to open the big front door
and find the Universe whizzing by
in peak form, and true”

And at night I draw these new friends around me
Like a fur coat, and look up at the moon
Awash in darkness, and the hunger
Comes out of me
A long wail in the night