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C.N.P Poetry 

  • Writer's pictureCathexis Northwest Press

To Be Found in Festivals; Pagan; December Fair at Spirit Hall

By: Jonathan Heidenreich

To Be Found in Festivals

for Kaitlin

Keeping a winter court

at the base camp of coffee grounds

we learn that climbing is a love language

The praising of caterpillars

becomes unnumbered verse

dispersed through

leafy cathedrals

crowned in



Rivers can't help but ramble

when in love

Skirting the curtsey

of merchant stalls

these hazel days dangle,


from Heron calls-

the currency of a river witch


as it falls

Here, between a course

of garnet rings


as a drunken kettle sings

"Be mine"

She bleeds the day

of its silvers and Citrines

A lion craft-

for while all others were looking,

we were watching

It's only proper,

tipping our saucers

to the Renaissance

between tea leaves

Hidden there

where words fall apart

She heralds

the laughing of the


Forever still

beveled between

Marrakesh and Memories

of Prague

we inspect intently

two kings contently

in check.


Fools would let reason


the wild of damp rye

or demystify

the piping calliope

of a sigh

their bridled look-

all gavel and gallows

digests as easy

as icebergs

But while eyelids bark

echoing glances

in the twin-wisdom

of competing silence

learn the shredded

pleasure of

muzzle-skin, gnawing


without and within

speaking is Becoming

lean to the world when it whispers –

Meet me in the Avalanche

Sample the Albatross

Atlas is laughing...

Far from this,

true portent 

reeks singular:

the lone sock

an unfinished sneeze

a photograph of Plath

left colorless

Where's the sin

in reading the mind of a


climbing ladders

in the dark?

sinking in the


of a broken flower pot?

Feel all things


if only

to find, more and more

that God's the Bull

and not

the Matador

December Fair at Spirit Hall




Memory is wilier than sequence.  

Anthology of waves

aware of itself

splashing random

like freehand filigree

      (at least it is for me)

Often in its teasing

the book sellers appear

scales of small press


a phalanx between 

firm and fragile

Eyes graze

palms glance

hesitation is an invitation

to dance

Leather spines

sweat sugar cane  

My fingers snag, then clasp

with the nagging drag

of a rasp

Bury me in such

terrarium musk 

paper panels open




cinder king 

foxed-lips singing—

I'll be in the fire,

If you need me.

I reach for Heaney 

and know myself 

(overstated and undone)

a black light behind the sun

But pity, being fibrous


catching the bullet train

to entropy

Focus goes the way 

of the Scythians

trampling broadsides with 

reckless imagining


what I cannot afford 

Born at the end


the “Exit” sign  

(red godhead)

leads away from the self 

a procession pointing

true north

drumming its final tattoo

Underneath, steel teeth 


like column flutes on the Acropolis

finding that light is 

raw laughter

chambered in direction

Bucking upstream 

I draw the hand of Roethke in our water


Plunge me further, Father 

that I may become a reef

without need of memory.

Now when I return to 

where screams are born —

late to the work I hate

blame spreading 

like arteries in moss agate  

I beg to be again

crammed in the crawl space

between periods.


Jonathan Heidenreich is a classical actor, director, and Secondary English educator . Jonathan is a suma cum laude graduate from Point Park University, and the founder and executive director of the Pittsburgh Shakespearean theatre co. 'Food for Groundlings. His writing has appeared in print and online in such poetry publications as Wingless Dreamer and Sons and Daughters. Recently Jonathan was short-listed for the international Wingless Dreamer Poetry Prize.

"To Be Found in Festivals

I rarely set out with a fixed objective when I construct a poem. I’ve never been one for the restriction of prompts, externally or self-imposed, so in this I have few pieces that can be easily classified as wholly one type of poem (confessional, romantic, elegy, and so on). An exception to this is To Be Found in Festivals which from start to finish was always going to an unabashed tribute to the love of my life, who is herself a poet. I set out to distill our first year together and honestly capture the essence of our partnership, and what eventually presented itself was a never-ending series of excursions away from the world and into ourselves. The images of these retreats, great and small, needed not so much to be organized as allowed to fall randomly into place, and that is where the sense of movement within the poem derives. Hopefully the piece achieves an organic stride in its leaps between the natural world and the one that only revolves around two people- a dance that has always been at the heart of our love.  


 Simply put, this piece (which can feel more prescriptive than the rest of my work) came about as an affirmation of why I write poetry. As a genre, poetry offers little in the way of a commercial success, financial stability, or even validation. The temptation to curtail your voice to suit marketability can be oppressive as rejection letters roll in as quickly as your submissions roll out. It was at one such point of frustration with the nature of the publication game, early in my writing, that I doubled down on my “style”( if I can be said to have established one) and continued following the themes, musicality, and devotion to textured language that I believe defines my art. It was at this point that the tides turned in my meager success with publications, and I wanted to avow in writing a sort of statement of intent going forward regarding who I am as a poet. 

December Fair at Spirit Hall

If there is any motif I hope to impart throughout my poetry, regardless of the subject of a poem, it is a love affair with textured language, and how the honesty of that relationship bleeds into life and memory. This piece is essentially a desperate groping for the ripcord that is inflated memory when self-realization is exchanged daily for safe monotony. As a sidelined educator and writer, juggling multiple jobs outside his field, I bristle, as I believe many do, at work/activity that does not inherently ignite a sense of fulfillment. This is not an issue of mindset, but what I feel is repulsion on a molecular level for time wasted living outside my truth just to get from one meal to the next. So, often in these tug-of-wars between what is practical and what is purposeful, vents appear that serendipitously release my frustrations and allow me to shrug the present for moments that likely weren’t intended to be future touchstones of identity. These escapes, for me, are provided by those poets whose own love affair with intense language has left a sort of living Braille for others to run their fingers over when the demands of the world and the demands of the artist feel forever incompatible. One such escape was born during an hour between work shifts when my fiancée and I ran to attend a local book fair where we had previously first kissed. The release we found in the space was severed by demands of a side job I would’ve been late for had we stayed longer, and that elation cut with frustration served as the basis for this poem."


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