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 by Jackie Chou inspired by Plath,Sexton and Marilyn Monroe

The Morning Walk

I wander the streets 
in late mornings,
windblown hair brushing 
against my face,
jagged at the ends,
as if torn by a shark's teeth.

The eyes inside the booming cars 
pierce my thin skin.
I wear a sweater,
but it doesn't protect me 
from their glares.

I'm a pedestrian.
My slow steps and daydreams
get in the way of a world 
that needs to keep moving,
keep its children fed.

Escaping the Voices

The night has fallen,
turning the sky deep purple,
the color of bruises.

Outside the glass door
of the place I call home,
the noises,
and the witchy voices 
on the intercom,
are drowned out.

Some men have tried 
to quell my anxiety.
We've gone browsing 
in the shoe store,
the phone company,
to distract me from fears.

But I've come back
again and again,
to hardened criminals 
with hard hearts.
I've held them to my chest,
let them chew me to bits.

I've gotten used to 
this frozen sidewalk,
where I've learned 
to ground my feet.

The following Poem inspired by Marilyn Monroe's poetry


I have been a rose,
sometimes wishing to be the bee
buried in its petals,
the one who is intoxicated 
by another's nectar.

But life-

I have bloomed 
in your very dance halls,
twirled under the strobe light 
in satin and chiffon dresses,
red-lipped and silver-footed.

I've looked into the mirror
long and hard,
my flushed cheeks yellowing 
under the bathroom lamp, 
the years stolen from my face.

Bio: Jackie Chou writes poems about romantic love, friendship, coming of age, grief over losses, mental illness, the creative process, and more.  Some of her works are published by Fevers of the Mind Press.  Her new poetry collection, Finding My Heart in Love and Loss, published by cyberwit.net, is available on Amazon.

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 Marilyn Monroe by Sarah Wallis

Bio: Sarah Wallis lives by the sea on the East Coast of Scotland, since moving from Yorkshire x4 years ago. She publishes cross genre, highlights are poetry in The Yorkshire Poetry Anthology, Abridged The Violet Hour, flash fiction at Ellipsis, a winning story at The Welkin and art in Feral. Recent work includes hybrid poem art at Osmosis, in print journals Gutter, Fragmented Voices, Eat the Storms –print and podcast. Chapbooks include Medusa Retold, Precious Mettle and How to Love the Hat Thrower.

Fuchsia the Illusionist 

She sweeps in all tremble-breath, so perfectly Marilyn, 
hour-glassing, bedazzling the gazing, adoring masses, 
and they unkempt, bedraggled, full blown roses, through 
a hedge backwards, she takes it all in and flicks her eyes 
one way, smiling, then another, frowning as first one faints, 
one fans, one befurgles themselves, Oh Marilyn! 
She raises an eyebrow, a sunbeam smile and dark
glasses, waves... but still she is a fuchsia, an eminent 
specimen, bedecked in fine pinks and purples, the soft 
focus jewels, the balmy tinted nights, her twilight 
chandeliers twinkle like sails at sunset, out of the light 
ready to sparkle, lets her full skirts fall, begins the flower 
duet, alone, a ballet on the breeze, lanterns lilt, for a final 
breathless shimmywilt, down to the close of the day.