Poetry influenced by Sylvia Plath & Anne Sexton from Rp Verlaine

For Sylvia Plath

I wish you had taken
a final impossibly tall
glass of whiskey.

Though I believe
you preferred wine
a slower phantom escape.

For the deeply troubled
before taking a final walk
through an abyss of cut glass.

I wish after that drink
you'd looked at the papers
that would become Ariel.

Piled in a neat stack
while your children slept
and you put head in oven.

Having written a classic
brutal and devastating
candle to a reckoning

between life and death
by one not fully in either
drained of blood and hope.

Yet last week, within days
I saw both a comedian
and a movie use you

as punch lines to cheap
jokes mocking the somber
savage music of your work.

That took all you had
making me so angry
I wanted violence.

But I poured a tall glass
let the whiskey transport
me to a calm cool place.

As I wish that you had
that morning and smiled
with a new thirst for life. 

Transient Bliss

We kiss
to advance the plot
surprises remain.

And the red neon
makes everything look
like glass.

Where I can see
I'm far more

Self defense
escapes me
when her

pierce me
and yes
ask for more.

Ah transient bliss.

Until the next day
both having had
this fragment we
call enough...

The edge of a star
which eviscerates
us to let go...

Hanging on
to memory
a door
closed forever.

Every Fix

She's always
almost/not quite
on the corner or
between as she slides
in and out of cars that
barely register like
revolving Johns, Joes,
Jims who pay
the fare.

Nameless as any
butterfly in stolen
doomed flights
to bed sheets
absent of warmth
in well titled no
look no chance motels.

Until fate
strangles the chase
with death, O.D. or prison.
The lean obituaries  
are grim
for girls of streets
they do not own.

I've watch her
as any sinister doubt
endemic in an overdose
laid bare then lost.
Lost forever as
she leaves  to fall
in deeper  chasms of ruin
as days fall to the warmth
and delusion inside every fix

Distance of The Bees

She says the bees ruin her flowers
I say nothing and drink the air
the sun gives no life to in the shade.

We dance around every empty space
allowed us by former lovers
accounting for denuded dreams we
circle each other with.

Much like the the bees content
with the succulence of
a flower unable to resist

She's an actress when she can
find work worth her time.
A large inheritance takes
care of the rest which she hints
includes me.

At 34 she says she is too old
for all of this, then says
nothing more.

Enters the house and slams
the door after I mention the arbitrary
vortex of spending time apart.
While the bees circle from a distance
I've come to understand.

: 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 newest book, Imagined Indecencies, 
was published in February of 2022.

Small Poetry Showcase from RP Verlaine

photo from pixabay

At 26

Having been on the streets 
long enough for 
the rest of 
his life to be 
an anticlimactic series 
of near fatal falls to
the abyss routinely 
calling his name- 
Les, in his rock 
t-shirts and jeans tighter 
than the grip of drugs 
on an addict which 
he also knows- 
more intimately than 
most of his intimate- 
friends - 
makes himself available 
for men with ghastly 
eyes and smiles so warped 
they couldn't be fixed 
by all the makeup men 
in Hollywood.

It is a living, as it is also
slow death he tells me 
how they eventually come   
to him. Still young 
enough for that 
to be almost easy most 
weekend nights. Where they   
kneel to him as if 
he were a flawed god 
made of something 
more than glass. 

Married men are the 
easiest, he claims. 
And night club pickups 
the most dangerous.. 
Their rock hard bodies 
prisms of violence   
drugs, drink and rage 
born of too many empty 
hours in the hopeless 
thrall of annihilation. 
Which he admits 
to being drawn to 
as well. 

I've seen him spill his 
barren soul at poetry   
readings where he 
makes up for skill   
with stinging candor and   
acid observations   
I'm always moved by. 
His recurrent 
theme is that he 
won't make it to 
30. Based on 
all I've seen of 
his life and others 
equally dissolute 
or exquisitely   
less so… 
I have to agree. 

Crosses & Kisses

Evening of sin 
begins with her 
removing her cross. 
Life's too short 
says her tattoo 
I say maybe. 
Champagne from 
her lips lingering 
on mine. 
She licks 
edge of my ear 
with a smile. 
I lean even 
closer to this 
flawless mirage. 
Wondering if 
it will vanish 
up close. 
She doesn't 
our shadows 
are all too sure. 
They have 
much to say to 
surrounding walls. 
Silent voyeurs 
without eyes 
who hide us 
All night 
and we half pray 
keep some secrets. 

For a Suicide

The first kiss 
and its every echo 
in all the others 
come to me 
swimming upstream against 
each dream that brings 
you back only to steal 
you again to depths 
I remake with tears 
even now, two years  
after you drowned. 
Each day has 
its own remembrance 
taunting as any  
ending that 
begs to be re written such as ours 
it may be our destiny that it still can be 
in all the lives we’ve yet to live

Bio: Rp Verlaine, a retired English teacher living in NYC, has an MFA in creative writing from City College. He has several collections of poetry including Femme Fatales Movie Starlets & Rockers (2018) and Lies From The Autobiography 1-3 (2018-2020). Rp’s work has been featured in Punk Noir, Ygdrasil, and Runcible Spoon. 

3 poems from Rp Verlaine

Avenue A

Valuable still, 
the near 
fallen star 
found upright  
in a dark stair well 
inquiring into 
a lost wannabe’s 
shared sweet 
by pin pointed 
dispensed pricks 
to flesh. She's 
young, hardened, yet 
nowhere near two 
collapsed veins 
like him at thirty. 
No selfies, 
he tells 
she of no last  
known address. 
At a quarter to three, 
where both inject 
realism away, 
him paying for hers 
while the limo 
driver checks 
the box scores  
in a distorted pause 
until the star walks 
out and she shakily  
says goodbye, 
counting cash.. 
He heads to the show, 
walking on clouds, 
feeling perfect almost.

Getting in Line

Trouble arrives 
apparent to others  
as a glass house 
whose glare  
blinds others  
in the fragile 
unrequited love 
of the obsessed, 
left to tilt towards 
crime or suicide 
in novel form 
an epilogue 
to tranquil 
when, from a distance, 
she conforms  
her beauty to stranger’s 
eyes, leering like  
jungle inhabitants 
at their supposed capture  
while you take the last  
place in her chorus line  
of admirers and offer 
something transparent 
as a greeting  
with sensual undertones 
stuck in your throat 
like an arrow Cupid  
misses for fun. 
You watch her  
walk away as fine  
as any movie starlet 
you have pictures of, 
who romance with  
is just as unreal. 
The dude she left with, 
a one-night fling,  
so you’re sure you’re closer  
now to the front of her  
line or vision even  
a fool might luck into. 

After She Leaves

Mosquito sized 
thoughts of revenge 
return to sting 
and prick 
until rage  
sooner than 
and he finds 
a peace hidden 
like a spider  
in the corner 
laughing, moving 
forward to take  
its bite 
and he smiles 
unafraid of death 
as days pass 
like spirits  
at a seance. 
Soon finding  
he's outside 
invisible pain  
or its surrogates. 
He starts to pray  
and pray again  
that she  
won’t ever 
come back, 
and leaves him 
to this peace  
or anything  
like it. 
That any 
man unhappily 
married ten years  

Wolfpack Contributor: Rp Verlaine

Poetry Showcase from Rp Verlaine

Poetry Showcase from Rp Verlaine


A bluster of wind surprises late in the day, 
hours before the sunset and darkening skies. 
A man’s hat becomes an object of some mirth 
as it avoids eager hands with deft, quick moves. 
The owner, angry when a boy stops it with foot, 
brushing it off and blinking, the man says ok, 
no thanks, or anything such, walking away. 
Similarly, in my back pocket is recent verse 
from her from Paris, with a taste of distance 
I could not find when my arms were hers. 
Her return is in doubt, among other things, 
mentioning new friends with a covert leer, 
or is it wild imaginings that make me think 
I am that rolling hat, and her love, the foot. 

For Orion Isaac Feig

As I read of Nero in a cavernous bar
Among lazy drunks with grey murderous eyes, 
who wait for gorged wallets to fall or any coin 
fumbled away to find them ever wanting more. 
I thought of Orion, a poet of that sliding edge, 
which mental illness jostles with savage glee 
leaving him homeless, sleeping like an aroused owl, 
washing off dirt in bar toilets or gas stations 
where a stranger might be kind with dollars 
the gaping holes in his pants would not keep long. 
A street poet, some hacks misnamed him then. 
To me, an emperor of regal vitriolic verse 
who slept nights in parks and alleyways with 
one eye half open that saw the world.

For Jesse

A delight she is— though to be true, 
she is far more than my words can invent. 
Her smile, a joyous thing, always seems new, 
a dazzling miracle with sweet intent. 
Her eyes, clear blue, summon imaginings; 
azure charmed skies so crystal clear and bright 
with summers of sparkle and sweet dreaming, 
which place no fear or dread of coming night. 
Such praise you say is misplaced flattery, 
a rogue's tongue-tied, slipped into illusion 
but to see her laugh, dance, magically 
dispels any such misplaced confusion. 
under the stars in spring's cool lilac breath 
I see her walk to where my dreams are kept. 

Pandemic Nocturne

Just wanting freedom 
from counting days 
lost forever 
The ashtray tells me 
how many cigarettes I’ve had 
since quitting 
while I drown in debt 
like a lifeguard 
rethinking his life. 
An unused plane ticket, 
a lost flight of fantasy, 
reality grounded. 
On Elvis Presley’s birthday 
I shoot blanks at the TV, 
but the pandemic remains... 

Days of Covid-19

During the pandemic 
we all learned 
what prisoners long knew,
living in lockdown 
with keys to our freedom stolen 
by a virus 
we couldn’t see 
or touch, 
yet affected us all 
while we crawled forward. 
Each holiday brought spikes 
of death and infection, 
more promises of vaccines, 
season following season, 
progress catching its breath. 
While politicians lied worse 
than street hookers 
in the confession booth, 
even with most 
of the churches closed. 
Graffiti spreads the lies: 
Masks are fascism! 
Covid is a hoax! 
It was China! 
Trump is God! 
I was careful, 
therefore safe
until I tested positive 
into days of delirium 
and trying to breathe. 
Yet, comedy had a pulse 
with my boss telling me 
how my work had improved 
when I worked at home, 
drunk half of the time. 
A year and a half later 
vaccines are saving lives, 
yet variants pose a threat 
in a future we’ve yet to face 
seeking hope’s mercurial grace. 

3 poems from Rp Verlaine

Wolfpack Contributor: Rp Verlaine

Bio: Rp Verlaine lives and writes in New York City. He has an MFA in creative writing from City College and taught English in New York public schools until he retired. He has several collections of poetry including Damaged by Dames & Drinking (2017), Femme Fatales Movie Starlets & Rockers (2018), and Lies From The Autobiography 1-3 (2018-2020).