July 2022 Poetry Showcase by Elizabeth Cusack

Who Are These Ghosts?

Why can’t they make you happy? You don’t love yourself.
And you never loved anyone else. Understanding was never enough.
I’m walking past these death machines, talking to these ghosts,
Channeling my misery. Never was never enough.

A fascist jumped out of a bush. I said, oh please arrest me.
I’m such a threat to your sovereignty, a woman walking through a lea.
Women learn sooner than men that you are not allowed to walk.
You cannot speak truth to fascism. You’ll end up in a box.

Carry on with your friviolity. Pretend it’s all okay.
Fascism is alive and thriving in your town today.

“Do you know who I am?” means nothing at all.
If you dare report them, good luck forevermore.
They do not like your gender. This is not their war.
They hate your faded blue jeans. They hate your battle scars.

They have a big shiny gun. You’re theirs forevermore.
If you’re black, good luck, but if you’re white and female,
No matter what your age, expect an early grave.
Do not think you’re special, they especially hate the aged.

The elderly are pushed around, interrogated near their homes.
Don’t think whiteness gives you quarter.
These new fascists are not from your town.
They’re even in my home, I keep my ringers down.

Speaking out of turn means speaking anything at all. The police here are very young.
Don’t walk further than your driveway. Keep your voices cheery.
Until one of them goes off his rocker, you’re safe in America tonight.
I’m too frightened to post a video, I’m a woman caught in flight.

They Will Not

They will not put us down, my darling. They will not drain us dry.
I am by your side, my darling, our love will never die.
Each day I make an inspired choice, whether to live or die.
I live for you, my darling. I do not wonder why.
Death is quite a bore. It is for the amateur.

I live for you, my darling. I do not ask for more.
With you anywhere, on a divan, on a floor, in a caravan,
There is no better morphine, there is no better cure.
It is better than any flesh. You are as beautiful as night.
We are not shining bright. Our souls are not rainbows.

Other than in each other, we do not trust in words,
Words such as humanity. We run to hide, anonymously.
We have seen the hate. It comes as no surprise.
They drive by to view us. We know their reasons why.
If you cross their paths, you may surely die.

So walk as though you fall in line, and stay close to your home.
You cannot walk fast enough from the eventual storm.
So please leave us alone. We walk alone.
Check your mailbox, if you’re able. Your choices are diminished.
Everyday behind this wall, there is a glittering gutter.

I See, My Darling

Virginia is here with me.
Female or male, it does not matter.
Her kimono is still a watery colour.
Her style is still imaginary.

My wrists are thin and bracelet’d,
I am tall, by any standard.
I am Virginia, and I am in your garden.
I am in England, nearby your lover.

I write and suffer imbeciles.
With pens and ink, I draw their sobs.
Inside my room, it is a tomb.
My soul is in remission.

I love a man whom I pity.
I am so short, perspectively.
So enter, spirits, and sing.
My street is in another zone.

This is why I roam.
My life was made of clay.
The silly princes all fell down.
It’s still a prison there.

It is austere, and I’m alone.
It is shabby, thanks for asking.
But it is sublimely easy.
Don’t ask about my family. The details do not matter.

The one who shattered my poor heart is the only one who mattered.
My best day, you ask? I struggle to find an answer.
The day I laughed, then realized, I’d never want another.

The Dance of the Cat

Your woman is in the form of a cat. 
She appears in the night to bring you burrowing creatures.
She holds them in her jaws and drops them at your feet. 
She watches you. She depends on you too.
She tickles your ears with her nose. She pushes you down.
She traps you under her soft paw. She squeezes, licks, and purrs.
That purring you hear is her saying, 
Come, there are rocks thrown around
On this ancient sea floor, and salt in the air.
You will not lose me, I hunt at night in a world of dreams.

In the day, you show yourself to the world and say, “Draw near.”
I am in wonder when I hear your verse. We live in your words,
Immortals dancing on the sand, feet and hands without pain,
Spirits without clamour, no need for exchange,
And we lie down, breathing the fragrance in the grassy field.

Shakespeare wrote in pandemics. Missives flew between friends,
The hidden lords of the deep state, terrifying courts, and the banished.
Their terrors were greater than the plague that killed within three days,
Their mummers, minstrels, and gay buccaneers, all silenced.
But he wrote what he dreamed, of an island queen, 
His neural pathways opening to castles in air.

Who am I to stand in your way? I shall swipe against your calf as you pass,
I will rub up against you, raise my tail and sway, I will circle away,
Put my forehead in yours and gently nudge your third eye,
Then bite you once, just to let you know I’m alive.
Look in my eyes! You see mine dilate. You say, “Love, is that you?” 
But I am light years away, ash, salt, or dirt. 
Yet I am with you now, a familiar you find at your door.
I shun your friends but accept their gifts. 
When you come in at night, I greet you with a complaint, 
Two or three times until you settle down.
You fix your drink, maybe it is rum, then sit in the lounge and say, 
“However did you find me? I am ageing and gray.” 
You are comfortable here, and so am I, as we watch the shadows play.

Do Not Call

Do not call
I am alone
I learned young
To avoid the heart.

I lived on intuition
I learned what love was not
Daddy in his honky tonk
Mama and her pills.

Some days were better than not
Some days she was drunk 
I thought Mama might see me
But then Daddy’d beat me.

I’ll never forget those days
I’d came home bleeding
I stared inside the mirror
And knew I was alone.

I survived
I thought I was invincible
I might’ve been right
But then I loved a man.

I wish good night
To those I’ve bitten
I dance tonight
For the unforgiven
They drain me dry
But I survive
Tonight I’m high
I walk right by
I dance for the forsaken.

Bio: Elizabeth Cusack is a recovering actress. Ever since playing Rhoda Penmark in “The Bad Seed” as a child, deservedly, she has endeavoured to keep up her end of the bargain. Elizabeth has been blessed with the best of teachers over the years, mostly from the school of hard knocks. She has championed and performed in fringe theatre in America. Elizabeth edits her favourite poet while not otherwise inspired by her muse to write. 

By davidlonan1

David writes poetry, short stories, and writings that'll make you think or laugh, provoking you to examine images in your mind. To submit poetry, photography, art, please send to feversofthemind@gmail.com. Twitter: @davidLOnan1 + @feversof Facebook: DavidLONan1

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