Langston Hughes Inspired Poetry Showcase from Elizabeth Cusack


“Maybe your bodies’ll be lost in a swamp
Or a prison grave, or the potter’s field”
— Langston Hughes

Where are your devices
Were they lost
When the ships came in
The ships laden with 
Slave-wage servants.

Come in, you said
Come down off the plank
(You cannot swim)
Welcome to hell’s kitchen
There’s a place for you
On this killing ground.


Who searched for lovers 
In the night
Has gone the quiet way 
Into the still, 
Dark land of death 
Beyond the rim of day.”
—	Langston Hughes

The truly desperate
Have no boundaries
They cross every ocean
They unleash their ghosts
They have to be found
They break hearts
In chance encounters.

So, be gentle with them
First love will find them
Then seek to destroy them
In a thousand silent ways.


“Say, who are you that mumbles in the dark? And who are you that draws your veil across the stars?” — Langston Hughes

Soon I won’t know 
If it’s dark or light 
I’ll find a hotel 
Then walk into town.

As the stars glisten 
And love is for sale 
A wolf’s on my trail
So, I run.

The street I am walking
Is empty and flat
My hands start to shake 
So, I run.

I knock on death’s door
There is a church choir
They let me in
So, I sing.


“God slumbers in a back alley
With a gin bottle in His hand.
Come on, God, get up and fight
Like a man.” —Langston Hughes

This is the next ice age
And it is all happening again.

I hear you tapping
On a drum,
Your fife is long gone.

I hear you whisper
In my ear,
Is it really haunted here?

I think it is.
You tortured and torpedoed its heart.

My dear adder,
Whatever is the matter?
Is it too late
To sleep or to wake?

In the underground
The demons are screaming
And I am waiting
For your silent apology.


“The boss’s got all he needs, certainly,
Eats swell,
Owns a lotta houses,
Goes vacationin’,
Breaks strikes,
Runs politics, bribes police,
Pays off congress,
And struts all over the earth—”
—Langston Hughes

I hear the lightning rod of distant magazines—
One more sister is lying in a camp,
On his knees, a son who created is put to death—
I am more than dead,
I am more than six feet under,
I have taken a deep dive into your underground,
And I find life here is far worse—
They crucify every Kurt Weil,
They silence every struggling voice,
And worst of all, the preachers
Are making manic calls,
Taking what they want
As their disciples face firing squads
Then roll over and play dead—
Oh, look what is happening,
The fascists are clapping,
They’re dancing on our graves—
With all the big money betting on borders,
Don’t let it distract
From your empty galleries 
Up and down these fair streets—
They’ve bought up all your art 
And hung it over their mantels.

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 Twitter: @davidLOnan1 + @feversof Facebook: DavidLONan1

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