RP Verlaine

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. 

At The Blues Nightclub

Listening to the singer 
turn a phrase 
sublime simplicity 
from primordial growl 
the blues man's words 
leave you feeling his pain. 
 
But does he feel mine? 
With my woman gone 
like a breeze 
In the shade 
with no hint of where. 
All these tears I got 
I can't loan out or lose 
so I drink another beer. 
 
The Blues singer has 
a mighty fine seven 
hundred dollar suit. 
Yet, he sings those blues 
about a woman 
ten shades worse than mine. 
Who took his good used car 
out of town with 
a pimp at the wheel. 
 
I switch to whiskey 
feel it burn 
till I'm feeling it 
less and less. 
Yet the blues man knows 
how to heal with song. 
Rhapsodies in ascending dark 
from a voice filled with hurt 
of troubles ten times worse.

Lonely Street

for Elvis 

I wonder if Elvis ever 
really left. 
 
The heartbreak hotel in those 
final lost years. 
 
The devil and death heavy on 
his trail. 
 
For all it had given and all 
he had taken. 
 
Until the mirror reflected caricature 
of what was. 
 
A prototype beyond duplication 
or perfecting. 
 
Now the faded neon births but 
a faint glow. 
 
As his voice no boundaries 
could ever contain 
 
roars from jukebox but not a soul 
looks up. 
 
Deep in their cups to a voice so alive 
it made us think 
 
The world was ours and we free 
while new prisons threw away 
 
any pretense we were 
with larger cages to make us 
 
slaves to masters that 
fed us religion and dreams 
 
To the end just like Elvis 
who also never saw 
it coming. 

Factory blues

Though they 
need a better robot 
I'm not up to it 
today at work. 
Lifting crates onto 
trucks, why 
the fuck 
did I even show up 
after a night 
of drinking 
with Eve. Leading to 
improvising through 
our vast litany of 
sexual positions 
natural and the opposite. 
Over and under furniture 
and a new black rug 
appropriately 
christened with our 
first and much later 
after dinner at KFC, 
last orgasm. 
Her first in 2 weeks 
she swore with 
every inch of her 
including new 
Puerto Rican beach tanned 
white bikini marks. 
Yet she hadn't responded 
to half the calls 
I made at night 
as if preoccupied. 
So I said sure 
until at 2 am. 
my face fell heavy 
on her perfect 34c 
sized breasts. Sleep 
came, telling me work 
would be a goddamned bitch 
tomorrow... 
and dear god 
an hour left on 
the time clock... 
it was/is. 

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