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 based on photography “The Lone Road to Moloka’I” from Maggs Vibo

(c)Maggs Vibo

A Lone Road on the Island of Moloka’i by Maggs Vibo

Our plane putters over patchwork pillows of rusty clay 
Celebrating the day's first rays at a coffee plantation

Top down, and around the bend the breeze kicks dust into our locks
We visit spaces of ancient mysteries and forgotten history
Not far from a phallic rock and a peninsula of exiled patients

Where jagged cliffs leap to kiss the sea
Towards desolate paths that stretch and smile at roosters crowing
as if echoing the road sign:

Slow Down
This is Moloka'i

Untitled from Jacqueline Dempsey Cohen

Here the earth glows,  
breathes from its molten core
laying bare its soil 
reborn with radiant heat
This iron-rich clay beckons
hands to touch and feet to scuff
staining fingers, soothing toes
caressing knots of need.
Untouchable limbs frame the path
relentlessly muted 
urging travelers ever onward 
to mountains birthing fire.


A JOURNEY by Petar Penda

He took a fiery road
towards distant hills,
with wild shrubs on its sides
not to let him turn off the path.
This solitary journey led to
his self-knowledge of
the lack of something central
which permeated.

Copper Dust Road by Robin McNamara

I’m on a dust road
unburdened by winds /
unshackled by conformity. 

Humbolt of a cloud; 
wispy in the sky 
where the land lies 
with dust and rust 
and rock and ruin.

I saw a desert man he
was wearing wisdom of
an Indian spirit / I crave  
the aqua of his knowledge.

My face copper-rust from 
the swirling dust of the road  
to nowhere /
rattlesnakes and coyotes on
each side watching /
waiting patiently for hope to die.

ABOUT TO ACHIEVE by Spriha Kant 

Crossed many long tortuous paths
beaded with many thorns
showering under the sun’s anger
Every time, found me 
a bird flying
to touch the horizon.
Cooler sun
Roaming clouds
Swaying thickets on both sides of the path
as if about to welcome me
to my destination
by showering me in water
from the skies.

(c) Spriha Kant

The Red Road by Elizabeth Cusack

Why is this road so red
And what makes it real?

Why is perception a tunnel?

Who decided our destination
And what do they know?

What is a bramble
And why is it dark?

Why are hedges bare
And why do thorns stick up in air?

Why do rabbits fall into lairs?

Everyone knows these skies will part
And our lives will not end here.

Beguiled by Lesley Curwen

Rust bloodroad flares to brightest crux
its russet track armed by hedges' dark
overed by long mynd and sailing cloud 

the eye swept back and back to fiery light 

its centred throb, perplexing Delphic shape. 
Witch trio aflame, altar to neon gods
or haloed mothers keening at a grave? 

She is on fire by Constance Bacchus

not going anywhere she is rambling on to the lake she stops off at one of two gas stations won’t eat anything but licorice candy extreme pop she spins out of control across so many hills the vultures at the top pay attention she has passed the other one watches the fire blend in arrives at the launch hardens her heart in the water you could say it fossilized you can say you miss it you can say anything you want it is cold doesn’t care breaks apart amongst milfoil

Inspired by Leonard Cohen lyric visual piece from Maggs Vibo  

Congrats! To Fevers of the Mind contributor Maggs Vibo 

A Fevers of the Mind Quick-9 Interview with Margaret Viboolsittiseri aka Maggs Vibo 

Visual Poetry by Maggs Vibo: Drinking the Ash Pt 1 & 2 

Poem from Constance Bacchus : Memories from a party last 4th of July 

Poetry based on photography Challenge from Ankh Spice pt. 1 

Poetry based on Photography challenge from Ankh Spice pt. 3 

2 poems by Spriha Kant from Hard Rain Poetry Forever Dylan Anthology 

A Sylvia Plath inspired poetry showcase by Robin McNamara 

A Poetry Showcase from Robin McNamara 

August 2022 Poetry Showcase from Elizabeth Cusack 

Poetry by Petar Penda : Tiresias

August 2022 Poetry Showcase from Elizabeth Cusack

L.A. re-imagined from another photo


And they are empty
Their hats are small
It’s just me now

No reason to fake or crawl
There’s nothing to fight for
Let them take it all

We live on in a string of threads

Impulse is a strong motivation
Be aware of consequence
It is the primary cause
Of inconsequence

I feel so irrelevant
One minute to the next
That’s what’s so interesting
About the internet.

Georgia O'Keefe

We will set up two studios
With lots of pleasurable things

In between
We will walk into the night
And gaze at the stars

If I had a brave companion
I would gladly live
And combine with the spirits
A rifle by my side

I am loaded but living free

Like Georgia O’Keefe
This world is not for me.

He Phones

He phones me when I’ve lost my phone
For a second I almost remember
What I dreamt last night.

I wash it down with alcohol
And go to sleep again
I really nail it today
For the petit bourgeoisie.

I was the best thing
Which is why we met
When the world goes black
We’ll cuddle again.

I finally found my white wand
And the circle of light to banish it from
One foot away is where we’ll stay.

You may not enter here
All things are possible
Except for happiness
Those who want it have it least.

You Shot Me

Still, you shot me last night
Thought we were better than that
We aren’t living long, are we?
I am the thing called death
And I’ll see you after a while.

You hold my heart with your trigger
This thing they call love
And no dreams
Nothing  left
But memories of what used to be.

Stay with me—
Tonight I don’t recognize the name of the poet
The signature, the annotation,
None of it
It is mine.


Mother comes in dreams
Offering me skirts
I would never wear
Short skirts
A-lines in bright pink or navy blue
She says, “Now you’ve put on weight,
They’d look good on you.”

She must fix me somehow
Her Cinderella
So we are she
Wear her clothes
And have her body.


We’ll see you every once in awhile
On a lonely street
I hold the golden  fleece
Empty drinks
Empty sinks
Empty bars
A small hill to keep in place
A cleft on a sharp chin
No one except one old used to be
Somewhere there’s a paper with my words on it
They’ve got me
They’ve got gall
Ready to fall
The men at the other end
The men on the other side.


I lived underground
Then went somewhere
And started over again
I had a voice like a sedative
Things turned out perfectly
The bars stayed open
I could drown out cars
I could crease my cheeks.

Someone would find me
We’d align like planets
We were practiced outlaws.

The moon falls and the world wobbles
But we get the plot
We beat them to the draw
We’re high on the chain.


I lose the thread
Pretend it’s not happening
I slather on paint
All this frivolity has gotten to me.

There’s a plane to catch to eternity
Jokers confess alibis I’m willing to believe.


I predict futures when no one is listening
I predict futures all of the time
This is what happens when no one is listening
The future surprises the deaf and blind.

You don’t need absolution dragging around
But if you do, it’s the same old sound
There’s just so many ways to brutalize the empty
I distil frequencies – it’s not as easy as it sounds.

I Love You

Another delicate breakdown
Another reason to laugh
No need to disillusion me
Never explain anything.

I love you.

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. 

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.