3 previously published poems by Stephen House (September 2022 Poetry Showcase)

image from pixabay.
‘paper dreams’ published by Literary Garland India
‘our times’ published by Feral Literary Journal USA
‘a tidy laugh’ published by Scarlet Leaf Review Canada 

Bio: Stephen House has won many awards and nominations as a poet, playwright and actor, including two Australian Writer’s Guild Awgie Awards, and a Greenroom Best Actor nomination. He has had 20 plays produced, many of them commissioned. He’s received international literature residencies from The Australia Council and Asialink. His chapbook “real and unreal” was published by ICOE Press. His next book is out soon. His poetry is published often, and he performs his acclaimed monologues widely. 

paper dreams

most mornings in my local café
i scratch away into one of my notebooks
first drafts of poems and plays
details of literary opportunities   

across the café a woman older than me
scribbles into her notebook too
drinking coffee in full concentration
her creative dedication apparent  

one morning i don’t have my wallet
i find as i go to pay for my coffee
siting near the counter the woman hears 
and insists on paying for me 

she asks me to join her for another coffee
and i take her up on her offer
we talk about our café working time
share publication and poetry stories

we also talk about our daily routine
and our noticing each other writing 
laugh at our scribbling with coffee each day
involved in our own work and way

my paper dreams she says 
as she fans her book out many pages thick
and i notice her beautiful handwriting 
comment on it and then fan my notebook too 

we still sit separately across the café
but smile and a quick nod or wave
but only ever say two words if we pass
paper dreams is all we utter

yesterday at the counter 
as we ordered coffee (and i paid for hers)
she whispered happy paper dreams to you 
and i felt her joy and purpose merge with mine

i quietly said the same words back
flicking though the pages of my notebook
and then she flicked her words too  
and we chuckled as writing friends do

our times

i know a guy  
who presses leaves together 	
with heavy stone weights	 
to make trays
he piles up 
on the veranda
of his small tin shack 
that backs on to a railway line

sometimes i help him work
or just sit near 
watching him with his big green leaves
keeping out the day-time heat
writing my travelling words down
into a notebook 
or dozing on a grass mat
next to where he stacks the trays

as day slides to evening
by light of lamp 
he packs the trays into cardboard boxes
ready for a dawn ride on his pushbike 
to wherever he goes
to drop them off
and collect money 

we don’t speak a language the same 
but our times flow easily 
we laugh 	
make noises with tongues
click fingers
smile warmly 		 
touch each other lightly 	

in the cool of the night
we sit out the front 
of where he lives and works
and he goes inside and makes hot sugary chai
and we drink it on the veranda  	

in shared silence
as trains roar behind us
shaking the tin shack
and us

a tidy laugh

a woman in a café
by a beach
near an empty warehouse where i sleep
in a narrow lane 
behind a five-star hotel
asks me 
are you on holidays
          i’m here for a couple of months 
so what is your work 
             i write poems and plays
             perform when i get a gig

she spits out a tidy laugh
that bangs me in my gut
so you don’t work at all
same laugh
             i do
             i’m working now

i pick up my pen 
begin writing a poem
about a woman 
who laughed at my work

she stands to leave
gives me a look 
goes by where i sit
writing about her
no reply
only a tidy laugh

she keeps walking towards the five-star place
past my warehouse squat

i buy another long black
on credit
	thank you
        i think i can pay tomorrow

get back to my work
my poem

my life

my fear

Poetry: Real and Unreal by Stephen House 

3 poems previously published from Stephen House

By davidlonan1

David writes poetry, short stories, and writings that'll make you think or laugh, provoking you to examine images in your mind. To submit poetry, photography, art, please send to feversofthemind@gmail.com. Twitter: @davidLOnan1 + @feversof Facebook: DavidLONan1

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