Poetry from Stephen Golds

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. 


15

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.

Mercy

A damp Sunday afternoon

walking with my father 

through fields.

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. 

Medicine 

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 

it was 

her.


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.

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