A Poetry Showcase from Lindsay Soberano-Wilson inspired by Leonard Cohen, Prince, Portishead

Bio: Lindsay Soberano-Wilson’s debut full-length poetry collection, Hoods of Motherhood (Prolific Pulse Press LLC, May 2023) is a homage to women who had to learn to nurture themselves the way they nurture others. As the editor of Put It To Rest, a mental health magazine, she believes in writing poetry and essays to put personal stories to rest. Her hybrid poetry chapbook, Casa de mi Corazón (2021), explores how her sense of community, Jewish Canadian identity, and home was shaped by travel. Her poems have appeared in Fine Lines Literary Journal, Embrace of Dawn, Poetry 365, Fevers of the Mind, PoetryPause, Quills Erotic Canadian Poetry Magazine, Canadian Woman Studies Journal, Running with Scissors, Fresh Voices and Poetica Magazine. She holds a MA (English) and a BEd from the University of Toronto, and a BA (Creative Writing) from Concordia University. Find her on Medium,Instagram, Twitter, or TikTok. Lindsaysoberano.com

Like A Muse In A Cage inspired by Leonard Cohen (prev. published in Marlene in a Pub)

Like a muse in a cage
like a drunk in a midnight choir
I have tried in my way to be free.

Like a ballerina teetering on a music box
like a skunk stuck in an hour
I have tried in my way to be free.

Like an aloof armadillo in an explosion
like a translucent paper nautilus exposed
I have tried in my way to be free.

But even when my heart spills
like black squid ink upon a page
my essence remains chained.

But you swore on that song
and all you had done wrong
that you would make it up to me.

You said that together we would be free.
But the world’s handprints are still on me.

Like Suzanne inspired by Leonard Cohen (previously published in Marlene in a Pub)

I always wanted to be like Suzanne
feeding men tea and oranges
by the river like a siren
or one of Cohen’s lovers
shacked up in Hydra
like the Paris ex-pats buzzing around
abstract words and images.

But then that would somehow mean
that I would also be in love
with a man who struggled to love
because he struggled to love himself.

But does that matter?

Does it matter
that he didn’t love in their way
in the right way
but in his way
and was it not better than no way.

Is it not
better to have loved and lost
than never to have loved at all?

I still want to be Suzanne
free to love
how and whomever
she wants
because she’s tameless
and irresistible…
“you touched her perfect body
with your mind.”

When Purple Rain Is Falling As Dove’s Cry, Let’s Go Crazy In The Sky… inspired by Prince (previously published in Put It To Rest)

When purple rain
is falling, falling,
dropping, fast,
furious, and then
maybe even a bit
from the open sky…

Letting it all out
just you,
the little old world,
and I.

That’s when we find
it’s okay to say
let’s go crazy
despite the tsunami
elevator we ride
up and down
side to side
but that doesn’t mean
we have to slide.

As Prince says:
“I’m not gonna let de-elevator
Bring us down
Oh, no let’s go.”

Blood Orange Heart inspired by Portishead (prev. published in iPoetry)

She’s so tired,
tired of being a temptress
tired of playing,
playing with the slings and arrows
of outrageous fortune

That pierced her pierced soul
draining her heart like the sweet juices
of a blood orange
in a serial killer’s hands

Until there’s nothing
but dried fruit
because her heart
is of no more use
just a fragmented fragment
of what it used to be
as she slips on an orange peel
before locking it in the glory box:

“Leaving it
to the other girls
to play.”

Oh, it didn’t have to be this way, she laments
as she eats the blood orange
by the light of the full moon in full bloom.

Soak Up the Sun inspired by Sheryl Crow (published in iPoetry)

It’s quiet today
but only because it was loud yesterday.

Will it be quiet tomorrow?

Or only until I hear a tune
looming to some familiar doom.

For how long will
the silence endures…

To will the sunshine to come

I’m gonna soak up the sun …

A Poetry Showcase: Adrian Ernesto Cepeda inspired by Dylan, Miles, Plath, Sexton, Marilyn

Within the palm of Miles Davis
 From a 1986 photograph by Irving Penn

You can feel the grooves
all the notes created from
exhausted breaths, of his 
lips chapped gold on his 
glowing instrument, gripping 
sounds trying to capture music—
by coloring the air canvas 
with new notes he creates
in the gust of improvisation,
always chasing the rhythm that
eludes him— under the sweat 
of spotlight, overcoming 
calluses, he reaches for
creations exhale, when 
he blows, Davis loves 
the taste of inspiration 
inside his mouth, making 
out with masterpieces
in the middle of his solo—
with so many miles to go 
his trumpet never sleeps.

Midnight at Newnham Gardens

Sylvia loved speaking poetry
to the sculpted boy and dolphin,
splashing in Cambridge winter 
silence, as she moved her shivered
lips speaking to something who 
could listen without accents.  She
loved to daydream within the snow
globe shadows. Plath would make
up naturally blessed Ariel verses
and the boy would glow statuesque—
frozen marble eyes would attract
her night after night, not saying
much ears open waiting to hear 
her sneaker footsteps, standing 
in front of her quiet friend was
her favorite solitude, conversations
sharing December breaths alone, when 
she spoke in whispered Winthrop, 
Massachusetts rhymes, Plath
would beautifully melt icicles. 
Chewing midnight sojurn, 
Sylvia loved listening 
Trying to decipher all 
the frozen London voices— 
buried in the moonlit snow.   
Driving us, Floating Uptown

Bluntly passing joints 
watching the street
car, car stereo loudly
imagines Bob Dylan 
between us, almost floating
on the grassy median
while on this short 
mind trip, you drove us 
Uptown on St. Charles
Avenue, the trees
are colorful carnival
umbrellas, scattered
with Mardi Gras beads
hanging on every
branch. As I reach
from the car window,
wishing I could grab
one but as you signal
to turn the car onto
your street. I can feel
my munchies kick in,
remembering the laughter
when we smoked out,
it was not just getting high,
passing me the joint,
there was this unspoken
joy of two buddies
lifted, sitting on his
couch listening to Dylan’s
Man of Constant Sorrow,
two po boys munching 
down on our favorite 
Magazine St. sandwiches, 
minds stoned sharing
so many silence of moments—
although I’ve forgotten 
so many NOLA nights, 
shows at Tipitinas, State 
Palace Theatre raves, 
free movie passes at
Canal Place Prytania, 
pizza slices/ SIN discount 
drinks at Club Decatur—
I always remember 
cotton mouth contagious, 
like howlin’ wolves 
lifting our spirits, 
joyfully, sipping 
bottled beers next
to a buddy in a smoky
room, with minds in
the clouds, always 
missing the jubilant 
uptown banter, bongs
of remembrances 
parking grins—
spinning CD’s
imagining Dylan
between us, lyrically
lighting one up, 
in an afternoon daze,
with my buddy Keefer 
the high always transcends. 

Only the wind can truly kiss meI was coming apart. / They loved me until/ I was gone” 
—  Anne Sexton 

Some nights, I sleepwalk
on the beach, waking up
quivering, knowing this
is where my often maltreated
body loves to feel the chills
rippling against my robe,
titillating underneath, 
my naked skin. My face loves 
the way the gust could reach
deeper, each breeze against
my cheeks, the gale kisses
wildly like no man’s lips 
never dared to reach—
the wind never takes me,
she blows inviting thoughts
so cool, revealing the only
time I feel naturally blushing 
without make up, just me—  
my eyes closed loving how 
much the tempest winds match
each storming burst tempting
so beautifully disrobing me 
from my inside.

(If I had) Five Minutes with Marilyn Monroe
From a 1955 photograph by Ed Feingersh at Costello’s Restaurant, NYC

 I would light up more than her cigarette,
and her soft inquisitives smile. I would 
sit across the booth and encourage her 
not to only focus on silver dreams, attractions
becoming only on theatre screens. Instead 
of centerfold, photoshoots, exposing more 
than skin, show all your body, volumes
printed from the spine. Remember Sandburg, 
Miller, Capote’s gift? You too can expose sharing
every imperfect scar, have your legacy so brave
on the page, each line you bare engraved like
a lyrical kiss. So many dreaming to touch 
you, why not reach out with words from afar? 
Reflecting your verses connecting so much 
closer, circulating each of your most secret 
fragments, pieces, crumpled ink stains
see through markings; underneath your flashing 
beauty reveals the most captivating poetry 
a voice of siren, that star is you.  

At Marilyn's grave

Still everblooming 
like the roses glowing

on your wall, despite 
everyone who doubted 

you, those who could 
never see beyond your 

beauty, your life, a poem, 
like the most perfect 

rhyme, in eternity’s 
spotlight, Norma Jeane even 

my shuttering camera knows 
you will outlive us all. 

Bio: Adrian Ernesto Cepeda is the author of Flashes & Verses… Becoming Attractions from Unsolicited Press, Between the Spine from Picture Show Press, Speaking con su Sombra with Alegría Publishing,  La Belle Ajar & We Are the Ones Possessed from CLASH Books and his 6th poetry collection La Lengua Inside Me will be published by FlowerSong Press in 2023. 
Adrian lives with his wife in Los Angeles with their adorably spoiled cat Woody Gold.

Poetry Showcase: Jason Ryberg inspired by Tom Waits

Bio: Jason Ryberg is the author of eighteen books of poetry,
six screenplays, a few short stories, a box full of folders,
notebooks and scraps of paper that could one day be 
(loosely) construed as a novel, and, a couple of angry 
letters to various magazine and newspaper editors. 
He is currently an artist-in-residence at both 
The Prospero Institute of Disquieted P/o/e/t/i/c/s 
and the Osage Arts Community, and is an editor 
and designer at Spartan Books. His latest collection 
of poems is The Great American Pyramid Scheme 
(co-authored with W.E. Leathem, Tim Tarkelly and 
Mack Thorn, OAC Books, 2022). He lives part-time 
in Kansas City, MO with a rooster named Little Red 
and a billygoat named Giuseppe and part-time somewhere 
in the Ozarks, near the Gasconade River, where there are also 
many strange and wonderful woodland critters. 

The Island of Lost Personal Items and Effects

He told us he came from the Island 
of Lost Personal Items and Effects 
and handed me an ancient cigar box 
lined and padded with crumpled receipts 
and scraps of scratch-paper with phone numbers
and addresses hastily scrawled on them.

In it were nested keys, gloves, driver’s licenses, sunglasses, 
and three fairly expensive-looking Zippo lighters. 
Whenever he closed and reopened the lid,
different items would be contained inside:
pens, cell-phones and wedding rings, earrings 
and cufflinks, pocket-knives and pocket-watches.

He carried a fancy oriental parasol
which he claimed gave him the power of flight
and wore hip-waders which he said allowed him
to stroll freely around in the fabled River of Time
as often as he liked (and with little fear
of being pulled under and swept away
by its notorious undercurrents).

He also had an old cane pole
strung with telegraph wire which he baited with 
glittering baby dreams to lure variations of the Truth 
(in all its slippery countenances and for his own 
personal and unspecified use, I would assume).

The candlelight in our kitchen made his shadow 
dance a curious dance along the opposite wall and 
made his face seem like the face of a grinning 
bone china Buddha.

When he got up to leave he stopped and said to us,
I wouldn’t put too many of my eggs (golden or
otherwise) in with planets and stars, nor with lucky 
numbers and fortunes, no more than I would 
on dogs and horses ...

We never saw him again.

Big Sister Wind

Man oh man, only 10am and I can tell you already, gonna 
be one o’ them days when the temperature’s climbin’ 
steady and the air is a thick and heavy sludge. One o’ them 
days when the neighbor’s always-yappin’ mutts lay 
neutralized and sprawled about and all the birds refuse to 
budge, when the sun and the ground aspire to conspire to 
boil us down and sweat us out into the churning, bubbling
atmospheric soup above. But Big Sister Wind with her 
gears and cranks and her cast-iron tanks and her pneumatic, 
automatic, operatic bellow-fulls of cool basso-profundo
aint never gonna let it go that way (well, not today, anyway).

Dinner With the Devil (Sleight Return)

Without so much as a warning, an unwarranted weather-front 
of attitude is just now swoopin’ down; yes, a dark and snarly 
storm (with roots reaching deep beneath the norm) is about 
to come biblically floodin’ out from some meta-psychic-al 
steel drum into this tiny china tea-cup of a town. 
                                                                                             And the 
wind is nervously squirming and moaning and pacing around, 
lookin’ for a quiet corner to piss in. And over at the Congo 
Room (way out there by the tracks), the Stoics are demanding 
that the Taoists let them pass, but the Taoists are just hangin’ 
ten, man, cuz those guys know when it’s all been done and 
said, neither they nor we nor you nor them ever beats The 
House: naw man, no one ever really wins (you just hope to 
cut your losses and call the whole thing even). 

                                                                                 And everybody 
knows (that is, everyone that’s in the know), the Devil, he’s out 
there cat-scratchin’ somewhere, shuckin’ and jivin’ and makin’ 
the rounds, hemmin’ and hawin’ and playin’ the clown in the 
ever-increasingly sinister most interior of a broken-down 
                      He’s rackin’ balls and talkin’ trash, punchin’ tunes 
and pinchin’ ass, tryin’ to sniff out a good time or maybe just  
shadowin’ the sidelines, sippin’ on a scotch-and-soda, chewin’
out a toothy grin.                                   
                        Yeah, he’s rode into town on crow’s wings 
and a cloud of Oklahoma dust and he knows just what to
say and do to turn the burner up a touch (beneath a city 
already close to boiling over with ids and egos and ill-
advis’d lusts). 
                         And the wing’d monkeys are circlin’, and all 
your sources  and connections are layin’ low, and the cops 
are all out in force tonight, and the city’s fixin’ to explode. 
But, as everybody knows (that is, everyone who’s anyone 
who’s even slightly in the know), Taoists never spill their 
drinks crossin’ a crowded room, and if you’re gonna dine 
with the Devil, brothers and sisters, better bring yourself 
a long motherfuckin’ spoon.

Truly a Feast

There’s always
a serious swinging
and flinging
in her stride,

a flurious fountain
of sparks in her skull,

and a rich ruby radiance
serpentining wildly
through her veins:

truly a feast
for the hands,
the mouth
and the mind’s
x-ray eye, as well.

But please,
will someone tell me
how the hell
I’m supposed to crack
the shell

of her hypnotic
and confounding

Mr. Grey Skies (Sleight Redux)

Don’t you come ‘round here, no more, Mr. Grey Skies,
Mr. No-Heart-And-All-Lies, Mr. Fork’d-Tongue-And-
Snak’d-Eyes, with your no-more tomorrows and your 
low-down tonights, your goat’s feet and your crow’s 
wings and your icicle-daggers always refracting a, some-  
how, unnatural light, your gibbering devil-monkeys  and 
third-rate conspiracies and your spindly spider-web 
dreams spinning from the fat, under-belly of night. No 
one wants to see your cockroach of a heart pinned to 
your sleeve. No one wants to smell the unhealthy funk
of your ragman’s bag of miseries. No one here wants any- 
thing to do with what you got to offer, Mr. Black Hand 
Man. So, get your shit-house rats and your loaded dice,
your hangman’s noose and your butcher’s knife, then, 
take two steps back and turn away, turn away, turn away 
from the river of life (in which you may never, ever again 
step twice). Now go get your shine-box, boy, pack your 
bags and PUT THE GLASS DICK DOWN! Go wait 
shamefully at the station (with a dumb look on your 
face) for the last bus out of town. And you best not be 
seen creepin’ ‘round here no more you dirty little whore, 
Mr. Grey Skies, Mr. River-Of-Tears-And-Halo-Of-Flies,
Tries. No-sir-ee, Stagger Lee, from this day forth I break 
with thee, I break with thee, I break with thee. I reclaim 
the body, mind and soul that I once mortgaged to thee.
I spit fire at your cold fish’s eye. I kick hot sand at your 
sly gargoyle face. I kick dog shit on your fancy shoes. Not 
one more time will I hand over my money and my keys 
to you. Not one more time will I sacrifice my precious 
time for you. Not one more time will I follow you like a 
little, lost lamb or a red-headed stepchild into your forest
of black, creaking skeletons. Now take it on the heel-and-
toe, motherfucker, before I whack ya one!

Poetry by Amanda Hayden influenced by Depeche Mode

Bio: Hayden is Poet Laureate and Professor of Humanities, receiving the Professor of the Year and League for Innovation Teaching Excellence Awards. Her chapter, Saunter Like Muir, was published in Eco pedagogies: Practical Approaches to Experiential Learning (2022). Additionally, many of her poems have been published in literary journals, in both print and online.She lives on a farm with her family with dogs, cats, goats, pigs, chickens, and a duck named Dorothy.  

Memento Mori

As a kid, you put your tongue-tied
faith in crashing waves, hidden

street shadows of broken vows

You put it in harmful, violent
words, wasted truth, red

velvet, trivial tea for two

You put it in adobe prayers,
believers, theory forgivers

flesh and bone pay the price

Now, you put it in your golden
crown of silence, lessons learned

a place to sit still in the snow

2 poems by Spriha Kant inspired by Anne Sexton

Author’s Notes:

"A Downward Spiral" is inspired by Anne Sexton's poem "The Addict"I added the reason leading to drug addiction and the person responsible for it, and also his role and response to knowing about the addiction. However, I was highly inspired by the details that Sexton gave about her addiction phase so I followed my inspiration, again, I opted to choose my way of expression different from Sexton's in this case since I wanted my soul to linger in this poem.        

" A Marred Loyalty" is inspired by Anne Sexton's poem "For my lover returning to his wife"   The difference is that I didn't put the role of a wife in a man's life in my poem and extended it to the next levels; the betrayal by a man to a woman and the outcome of the affair
which was becoming the mother of that man's child. & also I wrote the intimate details of that affair that weren't in Sexton's poem. So, I took the "affair" theme from this poem and directed it. That's because I wanted to show inspiration but also didn't wanna lose my originality.


To induce my mind 
to turn a deaf ear to the 
reverberations of 
your taunts
on my unsuccessful career 
I blended in with a flock of wild-spirited dancers 
Emitted smoke through my mouth 
Consumed a peg of alcohol and a snort of cocaine
in that late-night party
and my body 
kept on augmenting to
the dependency on the doses of 
serotonin, endorphins, dopamine, and nicotine
for survival.
Cigarette wrapping papers, pipes, syringes, soiled cotton swabs, cut-up straws, lighters, bongs, razor blades, burnt spoons, burnt bottle caps, and cut-up lined mirrors started depositing like algal blooms in my bedroom.

Mercurial temperament and kaleidoscopic hallucinations often grasped me with their glutinous grips for extraordinarily long hours.
Doses reigned over the production of my melatonin hormone recklessly.

Whenever I tried to untether myself 
from the tenacious grips of narcotics:
Nausea greeted me each morning
My body burned in aches 
I oscillated between hot and cold every few minutes
Intense cravings shimmied in my body
compelling me 
to take any of them that I could lay my hands on.

Bloodshot covered my scintillating eyes like a quilt.
Unkempt appearance cloaked my elegance.
Slurred vocal cords took over my melodious vocal cords.
Bad breaths and unusual body odours glued to me.

You, busy basking in your success 
never noticed all the messes encompassing me.

When the messes barged out of control
you sent me to the rehabilitation centre
but you did not even visit me there once.

When I recovered 
you left me saying,
“You tarnished my reputation.”
But you did not wonder why and how I was trapped in that downward spiral.


I was attracted like an iron piece to a magnetic charm.
Constant friendly gazes and WhatsApp chats
shaped to 
watching cinemas, casual long drives, and dinner dates
leading to
a late-night tryst where I swam in a passionate sea with him:
Romantic chats 
Sips of beers
Wetting of parched lips 
Duet by the tied tongues
Crawling like snakes in
birthday suits 
deep sighs 
to crescendoed deep trills
inside a thin white sheet.

His marred loyalty 
is swelling inside my womb.
As for him, women are sand dunes.
And he 
a windstorm 
who impersonates sun
till the quench of his sensual thirst. 

Bio: Spriha Kant is a poetess and book reviewer. She has been published in six anthologies out of which the anthology “Hidden in Childhood” became the #1 Amazon bestselling book. She has been a part of events celebrating the launches of the poetry books “Nature Speaks of Love and Sorrow” by Jeff Flesch and “As FolkTaleTeller” by Paul Brookes. She has been featured in interviews on feversofthemind.com and brokenspine.co.uk. Her quotes have been published as an epigraph and a blurb in the books “Magkasintahan Volume VI” and “Swiped Right” respectively, both books published by the publishing house “Ukiyoto Publishing (Philippines).” She has been a guest of honor in the award-winning show “Victoria in Verse” on Bloomsbury Radio, London.