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Letters to Verlaine Stephen Emmerson

The Red Ceilings Press MMX [rcp 9]

Letters to Verlaine Stephen Emmerson

i) You let that little turd manipulate you again didn’t you Paul? Well without him you wouldn’t have amounted to much would you? Even taking into account that time you smashed a jar with your stillborn brother pickled inside. The stench must have been a weapon. Think of your poor mother staring at that foetus, wishing it was you. Pigs trotters. That’s what you thought it looked like, didn’t you Paul? And your wife, did you make her take it up the arse, or was it a strictly missionary affair? I can see you now, holier than thou preaching scripture to her in the midst’s of one of your catholic breakdowns. You fucking grunt. Coward. At least we have that in common. So what’s next for you? More of that vague impressionistic stuff, or will you let them ride their luck on the back of that bladed morning air? I know you might liken me to the gut of a hung dog, but I’m here for you Paul. I’m waiting for your reply. And you know the funniest thing happened to me today. I started drinking again. I knew you’d be pleased. I was thinking of you sat in The Maggot sucking on absinth. I was green with it Paul. Green with it.

ii) I’ve done it again Paul. I threw the door off its hinges and she ran outside screaming into the copper evening under the spat word sky that is a shivering alphabet. How do you live with yourself when you lose all sense of reason? Kim took off and wouldn’t answer her phone but she replied to my text saying that she couldn’t be around me if I acted like that. I don’t blame her, but its no reason to over react. Is it? I was going to kill myself to teach her a lesson, a sticky bloody heart pumping lesson of plasma and white cells, but we’re going to my dads tomorrow and I cant really get out of it. Is there anything you need Paul? I can send you some more books if you’ll just tell me what you want. You don’t send your poems anymore and I need them. I need some more of that soft sunset song or bright sin Some vast symphonic store of vivid dreams An evil plume of moon silhouettes An evening star throbbing on pale water An old park frozen and alone A white sun poking through trees The blurred summit of a yellowed hill A blind intoxication A bashful dawn drunk on scuds

Please write back I helped you Remember?


I’m not surprised your having hallucinations again. I mean your brain is run through with those flat white worms that made the skyline seem like old fogies frowns to you all those years ago. I hear your teaching in Stickney Marshes. Is that true? You cant get a drink for love nor money there can you. Neither of which you ever have anyway, but it’s the thought that counts Paul. The thought that counts. Lincolnshire’s as flat as a Frank I hear. That’s a lot of sky for god to see you with. Are you really willing to lay yourself open to that level of scrutiny? And on that note, should you really be around all those young boys? Because pulling yourself off discreetly under the table probably isn’t your forte. Your more likely to stand up and shout STAR JELLY STAR JELLY WHO CAN TELL ME WHAT STARJELLY IS?

iv) Paul, I cant believe you haven’t come back. I waited at Calais for days and there was no sign of you. Did I miss you? Maybe your already back in Paris and you’re looking for me and wondering where I am and thinking that I don’t care for you anymore, but it isn’t true. You know I’m here for you Paul and I can help you, I really can. When you feel like your about to break down and suck that sugary green treacle into your gob, just drop me a line. I understand its not pretty Paul, but nothing beautiful is. You know the other day I was thinking about that time when you me and Arthur were playing that game. When we were running around with those little knives in Camden, stabbing each other an inch into the guts. Not ‘those’ little knives you filthy old pervert. Those daggers who’s blades we wrapped in rags. I’ve still got scars on my tum tum from that. One looks like a star cluster and one looks like a wolf fighting a squashed fly. Why don’t you ever ask about my girlfriend? Its only fair that you take an interest in my affairs. We’ve managed to find a decent supplier now, so no more cold water extraction in the kitchen till 3am wondering if its worked properly or whether we’ll die in 3 days time from the glut of paracetamol that’s washed through the coffee filter and into the receptacle. 60,000 mgs would do me over for certain the state my livers in. You know someone got shot the other night around the back of my house. That’s a good way to go if its done right.

Alcohols too slow Paul Grow up and die.

Stephen Emmerson lives in the North of England and his work has appeared in Jacket, Great Works, Cake, Poetry Salzburg Review, nthposition, FREAKLUNG, SPINE, and The Red Ceilings. He is the author of “X” The Arthur Shilling Press 2009, Chimera, Erbacce 2010, Attack of the gas powered Angels, Knives, Forks & Spoons Press 2010 and ‘Poems found at the scene of a murder’ ZimZalla 2010

The Red Ceilings Press

MMX [rcp 9]

letters to verlaine  

by Stephen Emmerson