Poetry inspired by Jack Kerouac and Joni Mitchell from Elizabeth Cusack


They’re clamoring for Buddhists
At the end of this sitcom
Sometimes their hearts shake
When nothing’s happening at all
Like the gibberish they’re speaking
Wondering what it means
These underworld muses of Bedlam
Who would like a drink 
Along with the monks
On a Sunday afternoon
After a brawl
At a picture hall
With mirrors breaking
And stories they’re faking
And IDs are required
They find them eventually
Then take off in a bus
And strip off on a platform	
Separating the men from the dogs

I’m setting love free
Do not torture me
Hate me
But all love is blinded
Whoever said otherwise
Was laughing or lying
Love always returns
In a new disguise
Like engines of blood
Whenever it’s smiling
But love will not work
It returns later
To pick up the dead
With heads in the oven	
In need of more licks
Should love be leaving?
Oh no, it’s not leaving
Although we have parted
Love is our home
I feel you above me
When I am below you
We’ve walked through these rooms
Many times before
You visit my tombs 
You break through my caskets
And now we’re undone

But love is the answer 
To all of our prayers
And when you struggled
Remember, I loved you
When you were trying
And I was blinded
And my life was hacked
And my eyes weren’t blue
And you weren’t true 
And I was too small
My darling, you knew
I was past forty-four
And I dragged and you sagged
And I stayed as far away as I could
Like a cat on a hot tin roof
With Tennessee whisky
And butane lighters
And Marlboros in the drawer
Don’t flatter yourself
I won’t kill myself
It won’t be suicide
I’ll just be writing 
And smoking a bad habit
Burning my sheets
And pushing love aside
I can smell fire
Coming over these mountains
My voice is slacking
Your checks aren’t cashing
And I’m not good enough

We drunkards do amazing things
We sit up at night 
And think about things
And then play dead
And go out of our heads
Hear voices grinding us down
Until we can’t speak
Until we are sad
We change everything
Then we are glad
When you go mad 
Will you return
Or will you let love burn?

Oh darling, let it die
I’ll write every day
That’s what it takes
I’ll make some mistakes
Don’t do anything
It’s just a transaction
My plan is to die
With a bullet in my mind
And no bible of great expectations
I must run to you
And be bold
Though my love is so old and slow
I try to imagine 
Being at rest in your arms
But I can only muse

On the night I die
When I retrieve my heart
I will say
It was not a bad life
Did I not sin
Did I not sigh
Did I not bleed
Did I not weep
All for the love of you
Death will lie in my arms
It will help me to know
Who to believe
I’m just walking through. 


There’s a lot of things
I cannot take with me
I’ll never pass this way again
But I’m searching for love
And it’s so hard to find
I can’t even locate a taxi
Or an easy way around
The trees in this park
Waiting for the axe

I lean toward love
And the kindness of strangers
Who show me tricks 
As the taverns close
It’s hard to get stoned
On these thickening streets
Of honking cars
But I’m grateful
To be lost and then found
By a man like you

So, give me your love
And after you do
Our story won’t end
I’ll write you a song
I will say I am sorry
You never understood
Women like me come undone
We’re mystic and not easily lead
But we always remember you

It wasn’t enough
But that’s alright
I stayed away
But I’m not dead yet
My music still plays
So, I’ll say goodnight
It’s just that we were never even
You loved not enough
Or was it something else
What exactly I don’t know
Did I surrender too easily
Or did I try too hard

My music plays on
But love never comes around
So I put your hand in mine
Life is a puzzle
Not a means to an end
With a flick of the switch
Or a spike in the arm
It is gone

Love is good, right or wrong
Every day my heart is heavy
Every day I’m closer to death
Come and listen to me now
As I play a refrain
As if nothing ever happened at all

Why did love have to hurt so much
We flew the Atlantic
We sailed the Adriatic
We made up stories as we pleased
I heard your pauses
And I knew their causes
I was battered and bruised easily
Like a doll that was used
Like the wives you despised
I’m just so confused

You wanted romance
What else could I do
But to make love to you
How much longer
Until my body breaks
And my hands start to shake
Catch me as I fall
When you were lost
And you loved no one 
You decided to try me
Darling, I still love you
So, lie with me now
And when you shake
And when you are cold
And when your heart aches
Or when you are lost
On your love, I will wait.

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 Joni Mitchell from Diane Elayne Dees

For Joni

The canyons echo the coyote's mournful cry
of loneliness, for which there are no words,
yet suddenly, like graceful home-bound birds,
the words appear as written on the sky.
The painted ponies dip, then leap so high,
they startle us. In silver-bridled herds,
they bear us through the grand and the absurd;
at journey's end, we still do not know why.
And yet the music calls us to go on,
amid an often misty atmosphere
that tends to blur the darkness and the light.                                     
The melodies remain after we've gone,
as glorious reminders we were here,
though we are stardust scattered in the night.

Originally published in the anthology, Poeming Pigeon: Poems About Music 


Diane Elayne Dees is the author of the poetry chapbooks, Coronary Truth (Kelsay Books) The Last Time I Saw You (Finishing Line Press), and The Wild Parrots of Marigny (Querencia Press). Diane, who lives in Covington, Louisiana, also publishes Women Who Serve, a blog that delivers news and commentary on women’s professional tennis throughout the world. Her author blog is Diane Elayne Dees: Poet and Writer-at-Large.

Women Who Serve


Return to the Garden poetry by Robert Fleming

Return to the Garden (Dedicated to Joni Mitchell)

apple trees are under the sky but need a roof		Eve needs sky

pear trees are soiled but need a linoleum floor	         Adam needs soil

cherry trees are in open space but need walls		Jack needs open space

banana trees have sap but need blood			        Jill needs sap
move the orchard inside the house			        return all humans under the sky

Bio: Robert Fleming lives in Lewes, DE. Published in United States, Canada, and Australia. Member of the Rehoboth Beach, Eastern Shore, and Horror Writer’s Association. 2022 winner of San Gabriel Valley CA broadside-1 poem, 2021 winner of Best of Mad Swirl poetry and nominated for Pushcart Prize by Ethel Zine and FailBetter and double nominated for best of the net by Devil’s Party Press. Follow Robert at https://www.facebook.com/robert.fleming.5030 .

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. 

Fevers of the Mind Poetry & Art Blog

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About writer/editor David L O’Nan

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My newest book released October 2022 “Cursed Houses”


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