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. 


Dylan Poetry Showcase from Elizabeth Cusack

Little Girl

Little girl had an answer
Wasn’t she cute
You bought her a leopard-skin suit

She got the blues
She was too far gone
She wasted it all for you

No worries, darling
There’s plenty of air
Back there somewhere

I hear parrots 
From inside your cage
Shouldn’t you be going somewhere

Her head’s in a cloud
Her hope’s run out
She’s living in the seaweed now

You Know Me

You know me, I’m singing
Way down in lonely town
Feeling the bite
High as a kite
Wanting more of your time
Never being satisfied
Burning fuel like it’s out of style
Waiting for the turn-style
Waiting for the switch in the yard
Waiting for a crossing guard
Waving my plane just out of range

I did not take apart the gate
When love came dancing down
She came in like a ton of bricks
I laid back and took the licks
I did not know there
Could be such joy
I did not understand
Love is like a rubber band
It can snap
It can tear
It can fit anywhere
It can wear thin
It can twist and turn
It can strangle

However hot or overwrought
You may become or be
I am here
Like the geese on the floating sea.

Another Lover

Leave if you will 
The most convenient way
I don’t need it anyway
Who understands the play
Is there anything left to say

Howling at the moon
That won’t make it
One more night in Utah
I can make it
Is that what you’re thinking
Sounds alright
I’m not looking for a fight.


Highway Song

It’s Ten AM
I’m wasted again
I might crawl out of bed
Hit the street
Find something to eat
Write a rhyme
Commit a crime
Not folk rock, but never mind
A real soother
A blues-er, a boozer
Not a loser, a teaser
A pleaser, a honey-dripper
Something to piss-off the masses
Go out and buy cheap sunglasses
Grow out my hair
Till it’s fuzzy and kinkier
Like Ricki or Frankie Lee
It don’t matter, anyhow.


Straight Up

I was straight up against the wall
And I did not let it slide
You want to see some damage
Look at mine

Some hide behind religion
Knocking at your door
But they’ll get you if they can
Then they’ll want some more

I hear any day now
I will be released
I have got a number
Do not misconstrue me



I Contain Rock and Roll Multitudes

Riding shotgun in overdrive 
Little Susie by my side
You make me crazy Miss Lizzie 
The way that you drive
The Jack of Hearts just left town
He’s looking for another clown
Let’s go downtown anyhow
Let’s turn the music way up loud
Your Chevy’s got a brand-new sound
And you’ve got lots of time
Let’s drive this pony into the ground
It’s the fastest way out of town
In the desert of New Mexico
Or against the cliff in old Del Mar
I know where you’re going
And I know where you are
When you have time drop me a line
It’s the same old rhythm, the same old rhyme
I love you baby all the time
It’s the same old highway
It’s the same old sound
It’s the same old way out of town
The demon’s always screaming
There’s no way round
We’re one gearshift from eternity 
And just for a minute we’re looking so good
Let’s slide into another neighborhood
Pretty girls and pretty boys all fall down 
It don’t matter anyhow.

Old Bird

Like that old bird
Like that old flag
Once nearly free
Time wants to fold
Faded and proud
Frayed at the age
Battered around
Bleary and weary
With no way out
Brought to the ground
A train that’s gone
But not for me
I wait for release.



More Bob Dylan Inspired poems from Elizabeth Cusack (Poetry on the Rocks for Lonely Hearts)

Poetry on the Rocks for Lonely Hearts Submissions from Elizabeth Cusack (inspired by Bob Dylan)

Many more poems from Elizabeth Cusack (some Inspired by Bob Dylan)

Poetry Showcase from Elizabeth Cusack

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. 

More Bob Dylan Inspired poems from Elizabeth Cusack (Poetry on the Rocks for Lonely Hearts)

Muse Blues, Part 2

You learned who your friends were
In times like those
You walked through the wreckage
With infinite joy
You smiled and said
Whatever pleases you. 

You were beautiful and they were vicious
Screeching at reflections
Until they fell down or fainted.

The smoke filled the rooms
They learned tricks from you
It paid the rent that kept getting higher.

They wrote a story but 
It never included you
You were just there to deliver the goods.

Fourth Street/Joker

You were a sorcerer
You strolled backstage
In your Cuban heels
You were part of the show.

It was vicious —
The stakes were so low
You waited in the wings
Your cup full of poison.

The stalls filled with snakes
The knives came out 
There was no other way out 
So, you took it.


Song and Dance Girl

Referring to his immortal 1965 San Francisco Press Conference in which he said, "I'm a Song and Dance Man".

I never thought spermatozoa was phallic
But there you go
I just thought it was seed.

I won’t sing in singsong for any choir
I won’t raise my voice any higher
I don’t care about the funeral pyre.

I am a song and dance girl
So, build a scaffold and burn me
If it makes you feel prouder.

Slightly Nicer

It’s time to draw the line
Before I fall apart
If it weren’t for the music
I wouldn’t know much
Out on the border
The going gets rough
Don’t ask me for reasons 
I might tell you too much.

Big Hotel

I tried to kill the serpent
His eyes were like an owl
They were big and blue
And they followed you around
No matter what I did 
I couldn’t beat him down.

I had to get out quick
They were coming for the bill 
It was gonna be big 
And when they saw me 
They said, “Well, well, well.”

I had no money and no Cadillac
There was no way to leave
I couldn’t get back
So I stayed in that big hotel
Way downtown.

Dead or alive
I don’t know which
I am still here —
And they still come around
Him and his friends
Looking for a pound.

The lines are long 
The hotel isn’t breezy
You won’t find a friend
There’s no cleaning lady
In the Big Easy.

I Threw It All Away

Early one morning half past four
A stranger knocked up on my door
He brought two albums from 1974
He was crashing but he was alive
I came out to meet him
He was bent over my records
Then he looked up sideways
And saw this sandy-haired girl 
She was very much alive.

He handed me two albums 
One from Clive on Columbia 
Four bad boys from Boston 
The other from The Faces 
Then we walked down the cliff
For the first time since I’d run away
I was feeling alive.

He dug me right away
He said, “Misery enjoys company”
I knew just what he meant
Then he flashed me a pirate smile
We came back up from the beach
He was breathless and I was yearning
He fell down on my bed
When he surfaced my cat was lying on his head.

The stranger said, “I’m the devil, baby
I’m a space traveler, too”
I knew what he said was true
I threw it all away
I moved to the border where I stayed
After seven years I’d seen enough
There was no one even left to bluff
He left matches and a daughter, and that was enough.


Poetry on the Rocks for Lonely Hearts Submissions from Elizabeth Cusack (inspired by Bob Dylan)

Many more poems from Elizabeth Cusack (some Inspired by Bob Dylan)

Poetry Showcase from Elizabeth Cusack

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. 







Poetry on the Rocks for Lonely Hearts Submissions from Elizabeth Cusack (inspired by Bob Dylan)

Ozark Girl

Well, she’s a rebel
You may remember 
She’s the little Ozark girl
She never took a prisoner
Not even for you.

The problem was
She fell so hard
She stayed for a pirate like you
She’d been better off 
Sleeping with a mule.

A whole lot of people
Want to blow her up
Get you a girl that’s new
But this world is trash
And I think you’ll pass.

She settled Appalachia
I’m sorry that upset you
She left her family behind
Then came to San Francisco
Just to be robbed blind.

The water’s still running
For the little Ozark girl
She thanks heaven for that
But she never forgets why
She came to this desert to die

Jet Blue

I know what you’re thinking
She’s drinking again
Little girl, little girl
Why are you so blue.

Be careful where you go now
And barricade your door
Lose that fucking wifi
You’ll lose the fucking war.

Come on little honey
I’ll put you up in bed
I’ll read another story
Running through your head.

I’ll take you down easy
And I’ll tell you no lies
I’ll sing a song and make it long
All about the great beyond.

It’s love every day, honey
With you by my side
And it’s love that blinds me
When I spin and I dive.

Sleeping with the devil
Barricade your door
Remember what happened
Just the night before.

Is there something, honey
You still want to say
Erase that old name, honey
We’re starting a new page.

One Way/Jimmy Reed (an homage to Jimmy Reed)

There is only one way it will end
With a bullet to the head
Jimmy had many issues
But he had the rocking blues.

I’m up all night again and again
Fighting angels just for you
It will be the death of me
I’ve got the rocking blues.

Jimmy Reed had fits
They gave him alcohol 
His wife softly whispered lines
He recorded them for you all.

He jump-started Elvis
And Carl Perkins too
Got a harp from a marine band
He learned to rock the blues.

Now the Poet Laureate
Leads with Jimmy’s tunes
From the cotton lands
Of the delta Mississippi blues.

From the assembly line in Chicago
To the death rows in LA
We play Jimmy and we play Dylan
And we rock the Mississippi way.

I Sought

I sought and I found
Blood on the tracks in moon light
I sought and I found
A footpath in the moon light
You were waiting for me there.



Slay

There are angels out there
And you will be fine
They sent me here
But never mind
I do not fit into that pool of time
They drew straws to see
Just who was at fault
And then they sent me back.

I Suggest

I suggest you lose your phone
And then you lose your glass
And then you may begin 
To see just who is the ass.

It’s not that I’m ungrateful
I praise you everyday
But, Jesus Christ
What happened to your way?

There is no chance of sleep tonight
Judge me as you may
I am here to pick up the pieces
And then be on my way.

I Grieved


I grieved — 
I am not sorry I forgot how to pretend it wasn’t happening 
And slather on another anniversary.

All the frivolity got to me —
Was there a plane to eternity?
The joker was working on his alibi as I prepared to leave.

It was always time to leave.


Dylan Poetry Showcase from Elizabeth Cusack

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. 
















Many more poems from Elizabeth Cusack (some Inspired by Bob Dylan)

Greek

I am waiting at your ocean door
I have a lover, but I have no sister
Circe had pigs, but that’s why I kissed her
I hear the harpies, the sirens call
They’re not brain-dead yet
So, I’ll endure them all
On the island of Ithaca, I’ll make a stand
I’ll spin a web they’ll never understand
I’ll bring it back home and then
We’ll start a new band.


Soon

Soon I’ll call the porter
And then I’ll drive away
I’m taking my troubles with me
To the bottom of the grave 
And what about that man
I loved but could not keep
It doesn’t matter now
I’m leaving like I left
So many times before. 

Plebeians

These plebeians masquerading as academics
Masquerading as aristocrats
It draws my heart to bleed
What they call poetry
Reading their receipts
All I have to say is
It matters not
They’ll twaddle through infinity
And I just say, good luck.

Spare Me

And spare me all your portraits
Your poems are mere burlesque
Are they adequately free 
Of gender or the worst?
But satire never grasped you
Did it now, my dear?
You drew to see just who would lose
In this game of fools
The breach is there, but never mind
It waits for everyone
So, babble on through Babylon
With the picturesque 
And think it will absolve you
From the universal mess


Bereft

I may be bereft
But I’m in love
I split the Tao in half
It did not hold
I did not let go
I watched the dawn
I watched the fall
I saw to the heart of it all.

I stepped into omega
I watched the circus clown
I watched him bow
I saw the years of hell
No matter what I did
The yin and yang dancing
The universe cracking.

He lifted the veil
And let me in
And now I stand before him
Asking, where do I begin?
My feet are broken on the ground.

She is So Dark

She is so dark, she never fails
She just walks on top of me now
Funny how this happens
She never quits
Does she care? I do
But I do not understand her game
And when it is raining in the desert
I cannot comprehend.

She is better off not here
Where my blood is real
I bought her sprigs of cedar
And I tried not to cry
Some perfume for her mother
Though she’s past ninety-five
It is the season for disguise
But I am crying.

I am so unhappy
And there’s nothing to do 
I have been this way forever
And I am nearly through
The wind keeps blowing
And I want to die
It is pouring in the valley
I say I am sorry to the sky.

Monday Moves

Ophelia is laughing in the tower
She wears a long dark coat
And walks around after hours
A glass of whisky waits on her counter
If you want an apology
Avert your gaze 
Reconsider your aim
She does not distinguish 
The ember from the flame
She loves a man now
And the two are the same
She receives his flowers
Down in the water
And she wishes no pain.



A new poetry showcase from Elizabeth Cusack

Poetry Showcase from Elizabeth Cusack

Poem by Elizabeth Cusack for Before I Turn Into Gold Day

Poetry by Elizabeth Cusack inspired by the Dirty Three


Twitter @ecusack4
Youtube: PoetryonTheRocksforLonelyHearts

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.