Poetry Showcase: Rp Verlaine (May 2023) inspired by Townes, Kerouac & more

Bio: Rp Verlaine lives in New York City. 
He has an MFA in creative writing from City College. 
He taught in New York Public schools for many years. 
His first volume of poetry- Damaged by Dames
& Drinking was published in 2017 and another – Femme Fatales
Movie Starlets & Rockers in 2018. A set of three e-books
titled Lies From The Autobiography vol 1-3 were published from
2018 to 2020.  His latest book, Imagined Indecencies, 
was published in February of 2022. He was nominated for a
pushcart prize in poetry in 2021 and 2022.

                                                       for Jack Kerouac

Too drunk
to find where I was
headed or been.

Coney Island
at the freak show
I find my soul mate. 

Warming up
the stripper takes off
her glasses.

No strings attached
shows you how even bondage
gets complicated

The ashtray tells me
how many cigarettes
I've had since quitting.

finds the thumb
of the hitchhiker

My dance partner
a bottle


We hot wire a car though we are far beyond any false sparks
we may need. We make out between precautions abandoned
and the waiting jail cells promised to us since birth. Cars seem
to stand still, all going 55, too slow to chase us- totally high on meth
and too crazy for redemption. This is our sixth robbery in three
months. Two 7-11cashiers think we’re joking as if we knew how.
And though my nine isn’t loaded, it looks good in her hand. The
last holdup got us some ink in the local papers.

We peel the Chevy Camaro out of the lot , leaving a blue blur
crossing red lights. Out the window, we throw twenties at
the stunned hitchhikers we pass. They'll remember us which
is the point or it isn't. Outside the city limits she wants to play.
Lust interferes our planned getaway to nowhere but what the heck.
She chokes me and laughs, daring me to do it to her harder. The
backseat leaves us bruised but the wine heals our pain.

We stargaze on a hill, sad we don't see a shooting star which
would be just right. Bottle empty when she starts more kissing. 
As flashlights like sabers penetrate our fog. The Sheriff's gun registers
big time. .When she tells him the handcuffs are way too tight, the Sheriff 
smiles and jokes- we thought you'd like that.   

Zero Kickbacks of Love

I should've stayed
clear or seen past
the broken glass
to what it was.

A mix of liquor
both good and bad
taken straight.

Only one of us  
in love paying every day
for zero kickbacks of love.

Watching always
her lovers real and imagined
in the rear view mirror with
face against the reflector.

Driving with nervous
hands on the wheel 
on  those cruel  nights 
when nerves shook me
not knowing where
she was.

Impossible to find
an illusion which was
all she was.

While I relived
stolen moments 
in a nightmare
waking up to
turn on the radio
to hear voices  to
convince me I was
less alone...

Until she
came home 

We ended it
promising to stay out
of each other's lives. 

I do not miss the distress
or being a jester
stripped of the joke
while played with
like a child's toy.

Love covets
its petty tortures
as it does its delights.

Even with her gone
I can't remove 
the  poison  she left
to crawl in my veins.

Loves petty tortures...

Being drunk before noon
again thinking of her,
in an empty bar 
is one of them.

For Townes Van Zandt

Ever laconic, drifting 
on any number of 
limitless booze and pills. 
Hardened self-respect lost 
in mirrors long ago cracked 
for wire thin showman w/ 
ace songs up and down his sleeves. 
A genius too many said 
to be ½ wrong. 
Bittersweet tunes laced 
with the underdog's sad 
eyed look as wistful idealism 
slithered through despair. 
Only 52 at his demise 
the cheap parlor trick of making 
virtuosity disappear. 
He is much missed.
On his birthday, I listen 
to his masterpieces on 
old vinyl they 
were made in that 
just seemed 
to know... 
the odds of winning 
while playing the devil's 
default clauses. 
Where there's no 
such thing as dying 
from natural causes. 

    For Lou Reed

After  ten text messages
state and restate 
your death…
real tears come.
Much later
I let the usual
escapes fail me.
A foreign movie
the wrong company
and drugs no more illicit
now than then
to fuck me up enough to forget
the present is
temporary as
all of us are
to every mirror
that matters…
as fewer and fewer do.
Making memory 
a hostage we
have no ransom for
only counterfeit dreams
cheaper by the day.

Invisible Handcuffs
                  For Nick Cave

“I'm layers of dark
beneath that, she said
is unsettled turbulence.”

Her invisible handcuffs
I ask to loosen
she sets conditions.

Staling all my Ramones
t-shirts, so I'll like
her a fraction less.

Still it's strange to kiss
her tattoos of Nick Cave
on her thighs most nights.

Until thin ice  gives way
to the deep cracks between
each word we speak.

She tells me
she can wear gold in
other places besides
her fingers.

Not a day-walker
avoiding the sun keeps
her pale skin white.

I wonder about 
her with vague

Her eyes tell me
she's a vampire
but her cross tattoo
hints she might be
just going through
a phase.

      For Lou Reed

You were so fearless
  others followed
  asking few questions.

  In high school
  every boy learned to beg
  after watching you walk

   Doe-eyed girls all 
   wanted to be you toteing
   birth control &  voodoo dolls..
   You who called lovers 
   disposable, not that any got
   close enough to argue.

    No one has forgotten
    the night you threw Marcy
    halfway down the stairs
    For calling you a whore
    even if it was true 
    You did fuck her boyfriend
    In a bathroom
    when a party got
    too damned dull.

    Or the time a limo pulled up
    to the club and the driver
    picked you from the rest.
    And you got  400 bucks
    to piss in an old man's mouth
    he didn't touch you- you said.

    For years, you supported
    more musicians than welfare
    by stripping in clubs

   Your drug habits so well known
    tales abound of near arrests and
    spectacular overdoses.

  Yesterday, I learned you have Aids
   that the new drugs can't help you
   nor will friends scarce as hope.

   So I write this -to mark in the wind
   a fragile beauty fallen- wishing only
   you or I- had learned how to pray.

For Marilyn Monroe in Niagara

Not yet the actress-Strasberg's method made her
nor the diva forcing directors to wait for hours.
Nor the legend books would fail to decipher
she is here a presence that somehow towers
over the falls themselves with callow ease
moving as if each false step carries an alibi
beyond a shady past she wants no one to see
through a primal allure of 1/2 smiles and lies.
Her cunning however is undone by wild fear
when she's hunted and becomes the prey
Monroe dazzles as she totally disappears
in the role till her violent end can't be delayed
Hands on her throat her mad husband gasps
“I loved you Rose- You must know that”

                 for Joni Mitchell

please dream of me you said
and i ask what for
when the stillness in my heart
is but an ocean roar
beating for you like 
ocean water into the sand
washing away everything that was
my love will stand 

and where will you be
away somewhere
laughing at me
all too unaware
of the blood in my hands
that ill hardly know
gotten by touching you
thorn of the rose

and when our words are
mere echoes that no longer ring
lost in the confusion and
doubt that strikes deep within
to a truth so uncertain
that it cannot be found
know only this-longing
and you-shall always be bound

and what would you say
nothing i could hear
that wouldnt make me cringe
or reduce me to tears
when your lies and deceptions
are finally exposed
tearing those they embrace
as do thorns of the rose

and when the candles have
all blown out in a fold
and like the starless night
the airs searching and cold
as it looks for a reason
and traces what was
if theres nothing left
there will be my love

and how will i find you
away somewhere
laughing with another
all too unaware
of the blood on my hands
that ill hardly know
gotten by touching you
as do thorns of the rose
yes the blood on my hands
that ill hardly know
gotten by touching you
as do thorns of the rose

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 inspired by Nick Cave from Roy Duffield

How I Feel About Our Father

                                                    after Nick Cave

under the cold sunshine
cracked and bloody

through the swollen cotton-ball cloud
a golden mo(u)rning-
only after

I've got nothing to say to him.

He, not even an eye for me.

Bio: Roy Duffield helps edit Anti-Heroin Chic and his writing, which deals heavily with social injustice and youth rights, can also be read in The Nashville Review, Into the Void, Spillwords, Versification, Sein und Werden, and most recently, Seppuku Quarterly.

Poetry inspired by Nick Cave from hjarta

From hjarta (on Instagram) name means ‘heart in Icelandic’

Into Your Arms

Home and space
A moment for my head to clear at last
We’re moving together
Hearts beating fast
Sounds of love spinning in sweet circles of sensuality.

You say we are serendipity personified
Spinning skywards,
I know I’m falling but too scared to say
I want to play you a song to tell you how I feel 
You say.

But my head is playing a song already
Into my arms, Oh Lord
Into my arms, Oh Lord
Into my arms, Oh Lord
Into my arms.
I’m heading down that glorious downwards spiral, 
And yet upwards, out of control
An out of body experience that hasn’t been present for oh so long, 
My head keeps playing that same sweet song.

Our clear cool river
We’re drowning in our own space and time
With lightness of touch
On sensitive skin
Collective warmth…our closeness
Together we merge as one

We’re orbiting in our glorious galaxy
Dancing to our own collective symphony
We move to the music
That plays in our heads
Sensual sounds with rhythm and flow
Orbiting virtual worlds below

We lay at peace, 
Our place of sanctuary 
And notes that reverberate again in my head
Into my arms
Oh Lord
Into my arms
Oh Lord – into my arms.


Poetry from Alexander Poster inspired by Nick Cave & Warren Ellis’ album “Carnage”

Apollo One-Six by Alexander Poster

The stain of beetroot on my hands 
As I hammered the patrolman
Negative space
Remains unsanitized.
All astronauts have blue eyes.

The spaceman with the round moon face 
Proclaimed, demanded
One small step for a man
A proud man,
A gilded man,
An armored man,
A man in stack formation,
A man, rabid, foaming bullets inside the atrium,

He brought loaves and fishes and an amplifier 
And promised us dreams in still images only 
Of an unchanging
Topography like Mars.
A shining city on Olympus Mons. 
We prayed and tore our raiment 
At the moonlight of His visage. 
He will rise!
He will launch!
Because I gouged the patrolman 
Because we died for His sins.

But fruit when it sits
In its own juices
Tends to putrefy.
Out, damned spot!
These rancid, ruddy hands
Now reek with iniquity.
But still, they will stain any white flag that,
in weakness,
I may wave
Into the blackness of space.

Alexander Poster is a poet and fan of Nick Cave from Washington D.C. this song from the album “Carnage” strikes a chord with them due the Capital Insurrection even though the song pre-dates the event but feels in a way it predicted in a way.