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 arriving roadhouse Acknowledgments “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 arriving 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 roadhouse 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