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Having been on the streets long enough for the rest of his life to be an anticlimactic series of near fatal falls to the abyss routinely calling his name- Les, in his rock t-shirts and jeans tighter than the grip of drugs on an addict which he also knows- more intimately than most of his intimate- friends - makes himself available for men with ghastly eyes and smiles so warped they couldn't be fixed by all the makeup men in Hollywood. It is a living, as it is also slow death he tells me how they eventually come to him. Still young enough for that to be almost easy most weekend nights. Where they kneel to him as if he were a flawed god made of something more than glass. Married men are the easiest, he claims. And night club pickups the most dangerous.. Their rock hard bodies prisms of violence drugs, drink and rage born of too many empty hours in the hopeless thrall of annihilation. Which he admits to being drawn to as well. I've seen him spill his barren soul at poetry readings where he makes up for skill with stinging candor and acid observations I'm always moved by. His recurrent theme is that he won't make it to 30. Based on all I've seen of his life and others equally dissolute or exquisitely less so… I have to agree. Crosses & Kisses Evening of sin begins with her removing her cross. Life's too short says her tattoo I say maybe. Champagne from her lips lingering on mine. She licks edge of my ear with a smile. I lean even closer to this flawless mirage. Wondering if it will vanish up close. She doesn't our shadows are all too sure. They have much to say to surrounding walls. Silent voyeurs without eyes who hide us All night and we half pray keep some secrets. For a Suicide The first kiss and its every echo in all the others come to me swimming upstream against each dream that brings you back only to steal you again to depths I remake with tears even now, two years after you drowned. Each day has its own remembrance taunting as any ending that begs to be re written such as ours it may be our destiny that it still can be in all the lives we’ve yet to live Bio: Rp Verlaine, a retired English teacher living in NYC, has an MFA in creative writing from City College. He has several collections of poetry including Femme Fatales Movie Starlets & Rockers (2018) and Lies From The Autobiography 1-3 (2018-2020). Rp’s work has been featured in Punk Noir, Ygdrasil, and Runcible Spoon.