Poetry about Joni Mitchell and Jack Kerouac from Elizabeth Cusack

What is that feeling when you’re driving away from people and they recede on the plain till you see their specks dispersing? — It’s the too-huge world vaulting us, and it’s good-bye. But we lean forward to the next crazy venture beneath the skies.  Jack Kerouac, On the Road

Jack Fell Down

My first husband broke his neck
I had a bottle of Jack
Just after he fell down the stairs
Then they asked me for a eulogy.

I said, “Well, he wrote three novels
And he never published a thing
He didn’t trust me for a minute
But thank you for calling.”

My daughter wept, and I made her laugh
She hadn’t spoken to him for years
I said, “Well, isn’t that just typical?
Gone in the blink of an eye!”

They asked me for a eulogy
And I suggested Jack Kerouac
He never really did look back. 



You’ll be brushing out a brood mare’s tail While the sun is ascending And I’ll just be getting home with my reel to reel There’s no comprehending — Joni Mitchell, Coyote

You’re Not Mine

A coyote does not hide in sunshine
Behind mirrors and angles
Biding his time
But like a coyote you are self-contained
And you lope and you saunter
And you play your game
You appear to be wanted
You follow the crowd
You remember me slightly
But then not at all.

I dress you to play
At a cattleman’s ball
I watch you smile
And I watch them fall
No regrets coyote
It always ends this way
With a sideways glance
As you’re walking away
I never believe
A thing that you say
I’m living with the dead anyway.

I thank you for breaking
My heart one more time
I like your dance
And I like your style
I see it coming
For a desert mile
And I open the gate
Hello coyote
And goodbye again
I’ll see you again
Every once in a while.

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. 

A November 2022 Poetry Showcase for Elizabeth Cusack

Dragonfly

inspired by writer’s prompt “The Artist Never Sleeps”

It was a dream
The sand, the wind, the future
It was always only you
My eyes are prisms now
And that is all
I am tripping through the universe
Where love began
You have the power
To throw me off
And you don’t
You are a hard man
With your bit in my mouth
I hang on for one more ride
I am your kind
I am welcome 
In the lost and found
I am crazy
I hold on tight 
Am I irrelevant now
Am I going blind
Am I seeing double
Am I going clear
Baby, we’ll be alright
Baby, you’re whispering
What are you thinking
Baby, I’m not blinking
Everything’s tied up
In a little bow
Baby, keep relaxing
No need to ask me
Anything further
Dinosaurs feed us
Fumes of death
Fumes of greed
I love that I love
I am that I am
I watch the centers come and go.

That is All

We write, we waste, and we suffer
That is all we do
There is nothing
There is just you
Someone has made a hell out of heaven
That is all
Stray dogs love us
They guard and follow us
Mountain goats call our name
The world is turning
And no one’s to blame
Hell is here, and we don’t know why.

Already Dead

When you know you are already dead
That’s when life begins
Before was all a dream
We visit the graveyard in Paris
Or the graveyard in the desert
It’s all the same
We are living on the graves of sheep or kings
That too makes no difference
When you are born already dead
The undead, well, they just harvest
The bodies of the poor
The dogmen keep crying
But it’s just for the show
The fraud is most dangerous
When he’s exposed
The world is more dangerous
When it’s exposed
Dangerously complicit
Like Cohen on the wire
I will return to Ireland to expire
The last champignon bitten
With love in my mitten
I will follow love home
I do not screech into the void
There’s no point to getting a cross
You were born this way
Your children are lambs of the damned
There is no place for a poet on your street
I get enraged because I know
You earned your place from a slave in her grave
Your screaming hives will not redeem
Your lives spent tossing the poor another bone.

Lost and Found

Going to sleep with games in the lost and found 
All the artists have their knives drawn
Ashes, ashes, that is all I am fed
So what? I am spent
The darkness cannot come too soon for me
Nor for you and your thickening lovers
Averaged by comparison.

But I have eyeglasses, and I can pretend to begin again
But right now, I’d rather sleep
I am much more than an emollient 
A fly on your window screen
An unfortunate consequence waiting in the hereafter
But it’s so hard to make ends meet until we are complete
And the whales are circling around our boat
It can’t make up for my heart that’s broken
So I sleep with vultures from the beyond
And I catch them in radiators on Highway 1.

I am used to all this
There is nothing you can do to surprise me
I was born this way, with Morrison and Grandma Jane
Out on the highway, the suspense is killing me
But I’ll wait awhile longer, just until I die
To see once again your outlaw smile
Who cares, I’m just a lonely flame in the fire
Looking for an ash in a funeral pyre
It’s been a day for licking trash cans
And finding what’s true
It’s a bloodborne disease, and I’m feeling blue.

Its Eyes

Its eyes are extraterrestrial
But its mouth is from this pissing planet
Its nose has no consequence
And its hair is perfect
It is a werewolf
Ready to bite
Cracking lines with cheeks
The color of pie.

Love is a phantom dancer
An illusion with a voice
It spins you around
It’s a cruise, a fantasy
Just close your eyes
It’s a window that is viewless.

Just stay inside
Don’t blow its bubble
Or it’s up in smoke
Don’t kill it
Before it kills you
Just take a pill
And have another drink.

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: Gilded Peacocks in Coffins (Ant Farm Empath) collaborative poem from Elizabeth Cusack and David L O’Nan

photo from pixabay

from the series “The Empath Dies in the End”

Gilded Peacocks in Coffins (Ant Farm Empath)

1 (from Elizabeth Cusack)

 I am on safari today
Leading around an empath
He is high on feeding ants
Then watching them brawl

We are surrounded now by fire ants
But he is not bothered at all
He loves his ants as much as he loves me
And I’m not bothered at all.          

2 (from David L O'Nan)

300 miles away on a crowded boulevard
They are watching peacocks fight in the street
The winner gets the moneybag, the loser gets the feathers and the coffin.
Feathered fans are to be beautiful,  Where is the beauty in brutality?

3.

Let’s walk down skid row, and crawl around some suspicious bones.
To get to that half-eaten waffle that looks like it isn’t too disgusting just yet.
They have August prancing in the streets, aids in her blood and –
No blankets on her cold feet.    Still, Mr. Jack Daniels wants to throw her –
On the back of a Harley and treat her to his idea of Neverland.

4. 

We can’t always believe empathy will lead us to sincerity, it often leads us to depravity.
We wish upon crooked beaten stairs with loos nails, falling from the brittle sky.
Continuously and see if we can wake up from a nightmare or just sweat through another
dream.  A murder was caught on videotape and they showed the world in blue lights.
I believed Gandhi was there paralyzed and crawling through the deserts of scorned corn.

5.

They began to walk the peacocks in coffins to bury them in the desert,  and I’ll I’m thinking about 
Is you, a love that honesty died in. I never fully met the woman you became after your many scared 
Ideas. Confusion was a common feeling. Then met were your constant weakness. And in your strong
Heart you felt you could change them. Maybe they were never your appetite and my taste a little –
Too Avant Garde to explore. A little clumsy, a little wanderer that wouldn’t stray too far from your pains.
That I always felt in my fingers.



6. 

We found the man with the ants,  fire ants… burning through dirt.
Scarring our asses and chewing at our fruits. 
Maybe we shouldn’t all be soldiers after all, 
Monarchies, hierarchies, control us to our last debts.
Does the last of humanity have a voice, or does the cannonball 
Singe louder than the guitar strings while my pain sings louder than imploding bombs. +

 July 2022 Poetry Showcase by Elizabeth Cusack  +

Current bio for Fevers of the Mind’s David L O’Nan editor/writing contributor to blog.


Poetry inspired by Nick Cave from Elizabeth Cusack

Clubs and Diamonds

You were not there
On the sleeping veranda
When we watched the sundown
You did not see me shiver
In a wet bathing suit
As the sun went down
Grandma was nearly 
Out of her head
As she taught me to balance
The silence and dread
And daddy was in town
Feeling sorry for himself
His immaculate revenue
Dead on the ground
And mama pretending 
Jangling and pushing
Everyone around
Did not see me slither
Watching grandpa
Remembering mama
In her silk nightgown
I want to arrange 
One more vision of you
Lying naked in the sun
On a rock by the sea.

Third War(Colossal)

You knew what an alert was,
You exited when told,
You did not protest,
You covered up quickly,
And left with the rest.

Were the woods radioactive,
Were the corks, were the genes,
Was the glass in the desert,
Were the ways and means?
Were you there when the bomb came,
Did you see it fall,
Did it leave a shadow on your wall?

The man had a blade,
And he cut your throat,
He burned down your city,
And he made you choke.
When you woke with the dead,
Did your heart still pound,
Was it the day of the dead,
The day you were found?

When the innocent bathe in blood,
Is the war over then,
And are you set free?
Breathe in and breathe out,
The night is still here, 
And oh, my darling, you are so near!



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 Showcase from Elizabeth Cusack (some inspired by Plath & Sexton)

Killing Floor

What if I were invisible, she asks
where would the liquids go?

She’s serious now
She’s given up on life
and this is her last request
an answer to what is death
and what use is anything without a drink
a dry martini and a pack of Marlboro Reds.

She has priorities
when it comes to life after death
Is there darkness and laughter
If not, I’m not going there
I’ll hang around with you lot 
thank you very much
and I’ll see you on the killing floor.

How do I mute key phrases
key poets and prophets 
who are a stab to my heart.
I am as unnecessary 
as a disposable razor blade
and I am sharp enough to die.

My first highs—
Marlboros before they were Light
drinks from the basement
Guy de Maupassant— when they used to read.
I was put down there
with the spiders
in Omaha
I was disposable after all
an after-effect of the war he went through
so he beat me when I was inconvenient
and he loved me when he was through.

Assassin 
inspired by Ariel by Sylvia Plath

Sylvia Plath knew —
Endings have beginnings
Like snakes in drainpipes
Or Lynette Fromme on a very bad day
It’s dust to dust and hell to hell
The devil comes and rings his bell
We all have that train to ride —
Spoil the illusion and we’re gone
Blow it up, but we’ll  go on
We’re endless as the sea
And nothing contains everything.

Ruthless

That night was ruthless 
And I went insane 
But it was a good thing.

I spoke to the prophet 
Who explained it all.

He shot the bullet 
Because he was searching for life.

He was a mystic looking for a star.

I am dispensable now.

Howling

My slippery days are over
But the fire still lives on
There’s a soft moon rising
Any day now.

There’s a wolf I loved
And I let the beast destroy me
It doesn’t matter now
No one believed me anyhow.

But I kept on crying wolf
Pretending that I mattered
I’m a voice howling in the dark
One day they’ll find my heart.

Plath and Sexton

Your eyes are extraordinary
And your mouth is red
Like roses at midnight
Your nose is of no consequence
But your hair is perfect
And I’m ready for you
To crack me again
You are the phantom 
That spins me around
Who picks me up
From the floor of despair
I’m a passenger here
So close my eyes
My window is viewless 
Anyway, I like your disguise
I’ll do as I’m told
I have a pill to take
But I’ll take that drink now
Then I’ll die when you say.

Faith Has Been Broken

Faith has been broken,
It was silly to try, and really, why?
Throw the bomb and blow us apart,
It frightens the fish, we’re pathetic anyhow,
Feasting on powder falling from your tongue,
Circling around with our mouths open,
Begging like top or bottom feeders,
Like husbands and wives,
We’re entertainment in an aquarium of lies,
Like a cat with no paw, we’re fantastic,
No need to drop us a line,
We’ll eat what we’re fed, and we’ll play along,
And we’ll die when we’re told,
We’ll believe you, somehow,
That this is an ocean or a natural pond,
But really it’s your game, and we’ll live till we’re done.
Strange dreams may hold us,
Lead us around by the tongue,
Making sweet sounds,
Drawing us down, clasping and dancing,
Claws in our crowns, you’re lethal with smiling,
With incisors we don’t see until it’s too late,
And we’re flopping around,
Why don’t we get it? A tiger has stripes,
A Siamese has twins, coon cats aren’t black,
What does anything mean, because a cat is a cat,
And we’re fish in a bowl, every one,
Red, English, Spanish or French,
We have gills and we’re gullible,
We’ve a tail that moves around,
But we’re just swimming in order to drown. 

August 2022 Poetry Showcase from Elizabeth Cusack 

July 2022 Poetry Showcase by Elizabeth Cusack 

Dylan Poetry Showcase from Elizabeth Cusack