3 re-published poems from Stephen House (May 2023)

Bio: Stephen House has won many awards and nominations as a poet, playwright, and actor. He’s had 20 plays produced with many published by Australian Plays Transform. He’s received several international literature residencies from The Australia Council for the Arts, and an Asialink India literature residency. He’s had two chapbooks published by ICOE Press Australia: ‘real and unreal’ poetry and ‘The Ajoona Guest House’ monologue. His next book drops soon. He performs his acclaimed monologues widely. Stephen’s play, ‘Johnny Chico’ has been running in Spain for 4 years and continues. 

3 published poems (2) © 2023 

cat story


“cat story” published by Mojave River Review USA 
“arriving” published by Former People USA
“roadhouse” published by Panoplyzine USA

cat story

when he spoke about the love
he had for his cat
as a boy
his eyes glazed over

misty sentiment or feeling tears
is all the same 
with us

how he hugged that beast
held on tight 
and the jaunts they would take together 
away from the house
to secret spots to be just them

and i knew 
why pain sailed into me from him
as he spoke
why i wanted to hold him across the table
in the budget restaurant 
of our excuse for dinner out

i knew
what he’d suffered as a kid
he’d told me about it
on a beach walk 
in a dim room looking sadly down
and at the end of a jetty over stormy sea

and so the cat story
about the comfort 
that animal friend gave him as a kid
made me melt in quiver

and whispered a soft reminder
that i would never leave him
to his aloneness
without me to care

            as we walked out of the eating dive
            he smiled
            as his hand brushed mine

           and my eyes glazed over too 


crawling on beach rocks bare knees grazing blood 
no other reason but perceiving approaching panic  
as whining dog watches baby cry spit and mother
lights one cigarette off another halleluiah shouts no 

stop lights flash red to green and bang back yellow
then freeze as i’m amused by drivers confusion more
than what this musters in our present isolated struggle
with my own seeking need for newly exaggerated zilch

a thin drawn couple i had by pull down tin shutter
swear and fight gabble faces curled lips tight white
grasping wrist as my second-hand coat mirrors poverty
i wonder to motivate care help their toil but maybe not

he said don’t post collected explicit you know your past
stinks of what others gape only in movies and i say back 
i’m not crouching on fuck lies for god’s sake i never hid 
sex drugs creative slide as everyone waiting knew my all 

so hoarding junk is reason enough for fearful apathy
to ride my ageing distance of self-grown answers wanting
not found in vending machines that bubble from dreams
i don’t know anyone’s names so call them all whatever

the best thing happening in my failing is being dropped 
by mean clutch of old friend as he wrote rules of need
yawning on tablets of bile not living up loyal be is dead
stacked in box accountable was only tally screaming go

as summarising at crossing roadway gives knowledge blind
consumed by greedy seekers of look here comes another one
staring in cracks as cruisers suck pop music sensation need  
and i just cry relief finally arriving at what i never was 


i stop at a roadhouse 
fill up my car with petrol and go inside
to the tingle of a doorbell

i pay a green haired woman for petrol 
and order a strong black coffee
looks like you need an extra shot in it mate she says and laughs 
an old woman in a pink cardigan sitting on a lounge chair 
echoes you need an extra shot in it mate and laughs

the roadhouse feels like a home

a chubby bald bloke in ripped jeans enters
to the tingle of the doorbell
stained t-shirt covering half his belly
hi fatty the women say together
hi ladies fatty replies
he orders fish and chips

green hair goes out the back of the shop
calls i’ll nip down the river and catch you a cod
old woman echoes nip down the river and catch him a cod 
both women laugh
i laugh and fatty laughs 

old woman throws me and fatty a tooth gap grin
fatty says hi to me and i say hi to him

green hair comes out with my strong black coffee
i take it and turn to leave
fatty and the two women say bye to me 
i say bye to them and exit the roadhouse 
to the tingle of the doorbell 

i pat a skinny black dog with three legs

get in my car and drive along an empty road
not sure how far i’ll travel today
or where i’ll sleep tonight

i stop the car
drink the strong black coffee on the side of the empty road
and think about driving back to the roadhouse

to ask the two women how they know fatty 
why the dog has only got three legs
and if the roadhouse is actually their home

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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