Thursday, April 22, 2010

Letters to Verlaine ~ Stephen Emmerson


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

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 absinthe.
I was green with it Paul.
Green with it.


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 -



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 -





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

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 has recently appeared in Great Works, nthposition, Jacket, and SPINE.
He also run a monthly poetry night in Leeds called LETTERBOMB.

Publications include the broadsides: Villains from Silent Films, Cocaine/Codeine, Mad Songs & Ayers, and the Cleaves anthology.

He also has collections/chapbooks - 'X' The Arthur Shilling Press 2009,
'Chimera' Erbacce Press 2010 and 'Attack of the Gas Powered Angels' KnivesForksandSpoonsPress

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