A bluster of wind surprises late in the day, hours before the sunset and darkening skies. A man’s hat becomes an object of some mirth as it avoids eager hands with deft, quick moves. The owner, angry when a boy stops it with foot, brushing it off and blinking, the man says ok, no thanks, or anything such, walking away. Similarly, in my back pocket is recent verse from her from Paris, with a taste of distance I could not find when my arms were hers. Her return is in doubt, among other things, mentioning new friends with a covert leer, or is it wild imaginings that make me think I am that rolling hat, and her love, the foot. For Orion Isaac Feig As I read of Nero in a cavernous bar Among lazy drunks with grey murderous eyes, who wait for gorged wallets to fall or any coin fumbled away to find them ever wanting more. I thought of Orion, a poet of that sliding edge, which mental illness jostles with savage glee leaving him homeless, sleeping like an aroused owl, washing off dirt in bar toilets or gas stations where a stranger might be kind with dollars the gaping holes in his pants would not keep long. A street poet, some hacks misnamed him then. To me, an emperor of regal vitriolic verse who slept nights in parks and alleyways with one eye half open that saw the world. For Jesse A delight she is— though to be true, she is far more than my words can invent. Her smile, a joyous thing, always seems new, a dazzling miracle with sweet intent. Her eyes, clear blue, summon imaginings; azure charmed skies so crystal clear and bright with summers of sparkle and sweet dreaming, which place no fear or dread of coming night. Such praise you say is misplaced flattery, a rogue's tongue-tied, slipped into illusion but to see her laugh, dance, magically dispels any such misplaced confusion. under the stars in spring's cool lilac breath I see her walk to where my dreams are kept. Pandemic Nocturne Just wanting freedom from counting days lost forever The ashtray tells me how many cigarettes I’ve had since quitting while I drown in debt like a lifeguard rethinking his life. An unused plane ticket, a lost flight of fantasy, reality grounded. On Elvis Presley’s birthday I shoot blanks at the TV, but the pandemic remains... Days of Covid-19 During the pandemic we all learned what prisoners long knew, living in lockdown with keys to our freedom stolen by a virus we couldn’t see or touch, yet affected us all while we crawled forward. Each holiday brought spikes of death and infection, more promises of vaccines, season following season, progress catching its breath. While politicians lied worse than street hookers in the confession booth, even with most of the churches closed. Graffiti spreads the lies: Masks are fascism! Covid is a hoax! It was China! Trump is God! I was careful, therefore safe until I tested positive into days of delirium and trying to breathe. Yet, comedy had a pulse with my boss telling me how my work had improved when I worked at home, drunk half of the time. A year and a half later vaccines are saving lives, yet variants pose a threat in a future we’ve yet to face seeking hope’s mercurial grace. 3 poems from Rp Verlaine Wolfpack Contributor: Rp Verlaine Bio: Rp Verlaine lives and writes in New York City. He has an MFA in creative writing from City College and taught English in New York public schools until he retired. He has several collections of poetry including Damaged by Dames & Drinking (2017), Femme Fatales Movie Starlets & Rockers (2018), and Lies From The Autobiography 1-3 (2018-2020).