Rp Verlaine

Borrowed Cigarettes

There are days when
it seems like you can
barely afford to breathe.
Much less find a cigar 
you like and can also
afford. So, borrowed 
cigarettes will do.
Usually, it’s a landlord,
a lover, or a job that’s 
digging deep with knives, 
leaving wounds that 
heal only until 
the next knife comes.
While my neighbor sits
in front of his house 
peeling apples into a
seemingly endless, single, 
white thread. Whether 
they're red, green or
yellow. I’ve never seen
him do anything else.
But sometimes sunlight
is too bright to deny itself,
sneaking  in your window 
before the singing birds. Or
the rain will make
a gentle music you’ll stop
everything for. Or
it’s the  church bells reminding
you of forgotten things.
Almost as good as the
cigarette you don't pay
for, after quitting your
job and avoiding landlords
who kill with their eyes.
As if you were a cat with nine
lives or hope itself with none.

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. His first volume of poetry, Damaged by Dames & Drinking, was published in 2017 and a second collection, Femme Fatales Movie Starlets & Rockers, in 2018. A set of three e books titled, Lies From The Autobiography 1-3 followed in years 2018-2020.

Flights, Issue Three, December 2021