On That Early Morning Street
Hot piss seeped dark into the grit
hard cases squealing like the children
about who would open
the bloodied, unconscious drunk’s
No one wanted piss on their hands,
the blood was all right.
The blood on our fists was something
to be measured and compared
as though it were the size of our pricks.
Too many relapses, interlude cold turkey.
Weight lost, stomach cramps,
the shits and the shakes. Hearing
voices where there are none. Mental
movies on repeat, the screen
holding you there,
Found off the Redwood Highway. Oregon.
Pink and beige checkered coat
Size 8 and a half
One braided ring with a mother of Pearl stone and
38 cents in change.
A map of recreational sites in
California in her purse.
Killed and dumped
so far away from where she was going.
All that remained of her
so little not stolen.
The Thing That Stood in Hemingway’s Kitchen
I can’t seem to shake it off.
It clings to me, wrapping itself around my eyes, my tongue, my throat,
sprouts from cracks in concrete on the street outside.
Taste it in mouthfuls of food and on the lips of lovers.
Hear it in between the rain drops and in the barks of the dogs
in the apartment on the first floor.
See it written on cereal boxes and in the
Faces of people waiting in subways stations and convenience stores.
Crooked little shapes in the center of a too yellow sun.
Standing featureless in corners of rooms too large or too small
in the middle of fever dream nights.
A bruise that spreads, unhealing, dripping on floors, seeping into walls.
Speechless at the end of telephone lines.
Hunger, thirst, want, compulsion, addictions and it.
Ask me how I feel and I’ll nod my head and say okay because to give it words
Is to give it breath and organs and nails and
those fucking canine teeth.
Stephen J. Golds was born in London, U.K, but has lived in Japan for most of his adult life. He enjoys spending time with his daughters, reading books, traveling, boxing and listening to old Soul LPs. His novels are Say Goodbye When I’m Gone (Red Dog Press) Always the Dead (Close to the Bone) Poems for Ghosts in Empty Tenement Windows and the story and poetry collection Love Like Bleeding Out With an Empty Gun in Your Hand. He is also current Poetry Editor of Close to the Bone @scatterofashes . Find him on Twitter @SteveGone58