A Fistful of Poems by Stephen J. Golds

As a Kid


One Saturday morning, 

I found a man who had been shot
in both knee caps.
Sprawled, wailing on the street outside his house.
His front door wide open —
I could see 

he’d been watching cartoons.

As a kid 

I lived for those Saturday mornings.
No school, 

bacon sandwiches, milky tea,
fetching the newspaper
from the corner store for my father
and those cartoons.

I’d like to write a poem 

about that man
and the blood that stained 

the concrete
and his trousers
and the golden Saturday 

morning sun —

so red —

seeping into everything 


but all I can ever remember
are those cartoons
and how they made me feel then.
As though everything was 

always going to be okay, 

I could live forever
and maybe I would.

But I was just 

a stupid fucking kid. 

Red Hotels for Red Flags

Maybe I should have known how it would all end 

the Christmas I found you cheating at Monopoly. 

How you lied, overreacted, screamed and cried. 

You flipped the board and 

sent pieces of my little red heart flying. 

You always won 

at all the games we played together. . 

But 

really thinking about it, 

maybe I should have known how it would all end 

the first night we met, 

after, cigarette smoke exhaled 

through a crack in a motel window,

you told me 

not to worry about your husband because he lived 

in another country and 

then told me 

actually 

you weren’t really married, just engaged, no, 

he was just a boyfriend, 

so it wasn’t like it was really cheating,

don’t worry about it, he wasn’t a good lover. 

Annoying, immature and needy, 

you were going to finish with him next week but 

half a year later you still hadn’t. 

Or 

maybe I should have known how it would all end 

the time you stood me up 

on my birthday because we’d fought, you were 

in another motel with another man, and

then told me it was rape 

when I found the messages and the photographs 

you sent him of your naked body. One month later.

If they’ll cheat with you, they’ll cheat on you, 

a friend warned me and 

I never listened. I should have known 

but 

you were just too much fucking fun to play with. 

No one played 

Monopoly quite

like you. 

I still find a red hotel occasionally

behind a book shelf or underneath 

somewhere I forgot. 

I don’t smile 

looking down at the 

red piece of plastic like a scattered piece of my heart

but 

I don’t frown either and 

maybe that means

I won 

finally.