I’ll Never Forget
Wearing the sneakers my mother’d
got from a catalogue
smiling on half-price sale for my birthday.
The kids at school sneered, pointed with
fingers like pistols.
Somehow they always knew.
I never wore them again &
Mother kept paying the layaway.
alone in that old house
It felt the least haunted then.
Smoking my father’s cigarettes,
sipping at his whisky.
knowing I should be at school but
realizing that was just exchanging
one kind of isolation for another.
I’ll Give It Your Name
Right here, I said. I want your mark.
She holding the straight razor,
couldn’t do it, hurt me that way.
It wasn’t in her nature, she said.
She fucked that guy she met
from the internet instead.
When It Flares Up
That vicious stray clawing
at the door. Rain moving,
a grey blanket inside this room.
Counting worthless things lying to
myself that everything’s going to be alright.
A damp Sunday afternoon,
walking with my father
We found a rabbit
that was blind and deaf,
its fur moved like water
underneath my tiny fingertips.
My father snapped its neck.
The kindest thing, he said.
I was seven years old
& I cried.
My father shook his head at me,
the dead rabbit hanging limp from his fist
like so many words unsaid.
The VD clinic was empty &
the smell of her lingered
over my hands & fingers.
Tinny music left small speakers,
my sneakers dancing alone &
the nurse at the reception desk frowning.
I grinned a little, while I
waited, thinking if anyone
had given me a disease,
I was happy
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 novel Say Goodbye When I’m Gone will be released by Red Dog Press in October 2020 and another novel Glamour Girl Gone will be released by Close to The Bone Press January 2021.