5 Poems from Stephen J. Golds

4:27 in a Morning That Won’t Die 

Where does 

the light 

go when 

it leaves 

me here 

fumbling in 

the dark 

waiting for 

the tipping 

of chair 


creaking of 

rope taunt 

against beam? 

In Bed 

Looking at you sleeping there

it makes me think even hell 

is endurable when you’re there 

with someone who whispers 

the words “I love you,” in the night. 

But then later I’m alone 

darkness crawls across naked floors

on deformed belly to remind me 

love always ends and 

hell is always infinite.

Chalk Outline in the Dirt 

Come untied,

pulled apart.

A ghost before birth, 

dead before being fully formed. 

Deformed shapes in dust 

where something used to be.

Two seasons long, 

been and gone.

A self harm still leaks

leaving crimson trails behind 

everywhere I’ve been to,

everywhere I’m yet to go. 

Bleeding out slow 

37 years old, 

full of bullet holes,

duels I drew too slow.  

You were the only song 

I knew the words to,

a pile of empty clothes & 

bones without you.

Out of Sight 

Fingering splinters, 

Picking flint – out of my mind.

Ripping away at myself 

one stitch at a time. 

Getting a grip 

All choked up,

black and blue.

And it’s so fucking vacant.

And it’s too fucking warm.

Shut the door on me.

Slam the door on me.

Pursed against fabric of night. 

Screwed up letters unwritten, unsent.  

Curled burnt in Autumn fires. 

Rosary repeated on scraped knees.

Bounced off Discolored faded walls, 

thrown through doorways, 

86 me.

86 me.


Too many relapses, interlude cold turkey. 

Weight lost, stomach cramps, 

the shits and the shakes. Hearing 

voices where there are none. Mental

movies on repeat, the screen 

holding you there, a detox most painful.

In My Heart by Stephen J. Golds

In My Heart 

My brain. Black and grey 

on a computer screen. 

The doctor’s talking but I can’t understand 

a word she’s saying. I stopped listening 

after the word ‘lesion’

Staring at the white circle on the screen. Something that shouldn’t be there but is. 

I wonder if it’s from the time

I was in a boxing ring I shouldn’t have been in. Outclassed. Outgunned. Out of my mind. 

The ropes holding me up, 

rocked to my core, refusing to quit. 

Refusing to be knocked down. 

Waiting on the bell. 

After, a migraine lasting days, 

two black eyes and a 

swollen forehead. 


my gloves hadn’t touched the canvas. 

Thought I’d got away clean 

after I healed up. 

But then, 

a year later

the hospital and 

the MRI result on the screen and 

that large white spot —

a bullet hole through my mind. 

I’m sure there’s a conspiracy 

to kill me this year. 

I thank the doctor and 

leave the hospital. 

Hit a bar by the university to drown myself. 


the next morning, 

brushing my teeth before work 

there’s a beautiful woman 

much younger than me and 

much more alive in my living room.

Her laughter had filled my night. 

Bathed the whole apartment like 

a bright light. 

I look at my reflection in the mirror 

grinning because I know then,

I will never let my gloves touch the canvas. 

Three Poems from Stephen J. Golds

The Bus to Nowhere

Spending gathered loose change on Day Tickets. 

Riding the bus in circles around town 

because there was nothing else. No one else.

The Jamaican bus driver always nodded, 

knowing the kid’s face well. 

Part of the Sunday route.

No one else seemed to notice him. The ghost

constantly at the back like the grimy windows, old piss odors and curse word graffiti carved into plastic seats. 

Never pressing the bell just traveling 

through space & time. 

Free for a day. 

Things I’ve Noticed Since 

The bulbs in my apartment seemed brighter. The copper pipes within the walls didn’t hum as much during the early hours. The sound of the alarm clock didn’t make me want to vomit.The train was less crowded in the morning rush hour and the faces there weren’t as ugly. The briefcase was lighter in my clammy hand. 

The working day passed by less painfully. Food tasted like something. Whiskey used to work. 

The crows clustered on the power lines weren’t noisy. My head didn’t ache. The record player didn’t jump as much and words came easier. The night streets were not as deserted nor as wide. 

My muscles didn’t ache as much and I wasn’t so breathless all the time. I didn’t know the way to the hospital or even know the women’s name at the reception desk. 

I know more now

than I want to know. 


I was born to love this mistress. 

She’s stood by me my whole life 

the only one 

who never lied. 

Her soft hands to my face.

Loved me since I was a child. 

She wants to kiss my throat with 

Lips of a straight razor and

I want her to.

Her cold hands to my face. 

Too in love with her, 

too sick for her.

Those beautiful empty, 

black eyes look into my mine.

Her skeletal hands to my face 

I was born for her,

to be held by her.

Every single action in my life 

has led me to

taking her warm, darkness 

in my hand & walking together 

into that coma dream night. 

Her dead hands to my face. 

Four Poems from Stephen J. Golds

My Parents Worried

At six years old 

chewing bubble gum,

I enjoyed playing 

Russian Roulette

with a cap gun. 


Stepping naked 

onto the scales 

after a shower

this morning,

the needle 

informed me 

I had lost 5kg. 

It’s as though you were 

a weight of muscle 

wasted and gone.

It is said

the human soul

weighs 21 grams,

I wondered what else 

was ripped away from me  

the day I kicked you out. 


When I was 8 years old 

I tried to hang myself 

from my cabin bed 

with a belt 

because all of 

my broken toys 

wouldn’t fit 

in the toy box. 

When I was 34,

I tried again 

for the same 


She Always was Quicker

Like the child that discards the toy

then becomes distraught when another child 

picks it up to play with it,

I thought as I dialed, listening 

to the dial tone, wondering if 

I should hang up but didn’t. 

She’d already blocked my number & 

I wished like hell 

I’d just hung up.

Three Poems from Stephen J. Golds

PhotoFunia-1590663152A Broken Record Playing to an Empty Room 

It’s when I’m alone

in my own apartment, my own bed that

think about her most and I’m alone

in my own apartment, my own bed a lot recentlyToo much.

Leaving for work while darkness

still loiters in the sky,

Occasionally, I glance back into the hallway and

catch a glimpse of her there like a shadow passing

across the walls, a ghost in a photograph.

Does the love we might have had 

haunt the empty rooms of her apartment 

as it drags itself around the floorboards of mine 

leaving behind a bitter scent 

that stings the eyes? 

When she cleans the dishes in the kitchen sink

feels the hot water over her hands does the memory of us fucking there ever flash through her mind, a momentary blinding stroke of lightning in the skyline of that deserted city?

The couch too, when she’s sat there watching tv with the newest one, the one that isn’t anything 

like me, does she feel me there too?

Inside her again like a tear in the fabric of the seat,

or a dark stain on the cushions that she can’t scrub out? 

When she places the needle down on an old record, 

let’s the music we shared crowd the air from that 

cheap record player and sways slowly in her bedroom 

does she remember that I was the one

who taught


how to





Palsied hands on a door

too white in this

early morning fog.

Empty bottles &

words like shards

of glass.

Wearing the dull

costume of a part never

intended to be played.

Unable to recall

the words said,

though these scars remain.




The cemetery inside me.

Too often I visit it to loiter among

the graves, placing my hands

on the too cold stones,

scraping away the moss that’s

grown over the important parts.

Drunkenly I mourn, knowing

things that are dead,

always stay dead.

And maybe

that’s for the best.

Three Overly Sentimental Love Poems for The Recently Departed by Stephen J Golds

Three Overly Sentimental Love Poems for The Recently Departed 


Questions Over an Empty Grave


The woman who called me on my cellphone

to wish me a happy day before

I pushed myself into the rush hour subway

wasn’t the one

I hoped it would be.

You, I mean. You.


The woman who knocked on my door at 1am

with a wicked smile &

a gift of something she thought

I wanted, needed, no,

she wasn’t you either.


And that’s the way I’ve been thinking…

I’d like to think

you’re painfully thinking

of me

this painful way I’m thinking

of you.


But, I know. I know

you’ve already washed me away with

last night’s date &

this morning’s shampoo.


What is this bloody mess

I’m grasping with in my stained hands,

this septic wound coined Love when

I’m the only one left

holding the damned, poisoned thing?


You said you’d go with me

into that dark place, but

the dark always scared you and

I let go of your hand

somewhere months back.

I didn’t even realize you were gone.

Were you even really here to begin with?


You said I need to change but tell me

where is the success, the victory

in changes made and problems fixed,

when they’re improvements made alone &

birthed from a death like this?


What are the true weight of

a lover’s kisses

in the humidity of the

rain drenched night

when they aren’t yours

on my sensitive flesh?


What is the meaning of sex if

I’m no longer moving inside you?

It’s something boiled down to

a self congratulatory act

of malice that leaves me

spinning records with ghosts

isn’t it?


And finally,

finally, what good is being happy

if it’s being happy

without you now that

you’re another dull ache that

I carry around in my guts?


All The Unanswered Things


Love is subway stations

out of the town you grew up in

and love is the dials on the washing machine in the laundromat

when you’ve used the last of your change on the coke machine.


Love is the rabid spotted dog

that refuses to sit

and love is the black alley cat

after you’ve trodden in its shit.


Love is the silver pocket watch

from the flea market in London that stopped at 12:06

and love is the paper airplane

in the classroom waste paper basket.


Love is the moisture on your face

when you’re without tissues

and love is trying to smile at yourself in the

mirror on a Monday morning before work.


Love is the movie bank heist gone wrong

with a crew full of psychopaths and bad acting

and love is the overweight librarian

without her reading glasses.


Love is going to sleep

not dreading tomorrow

and love is something that

I am thinking about now

that it’s apparently too late.



For C.


It’s hard for me to sleep knowing

you’re in someone else’s bed tonight,


being all too painfully aware we share

the same night, the same darkness


but that’s

all now.


4 Micro-aggressions By Stephen J. Golds


4 Micro-aggressions



My love something

like the fly

against the storefront

glass until death.

You are gone.



You didn’t count to 10,

I thought that was unfair.

When you gunned me down,

I lay there shocked and awed.

I didn’t know

We were playing for keeps, Sadie.



The dead fish

staring forlornly at

the bottom of the aquarium in my

newly divorced,

roach motel room

with the meaningless

hate killing love

on the television.

I stare back at

the dead fish

unsure of why my life is

trying to fucking murder me.


Forecast For Tomorrow


Those painful cockroach

thoughts that crawl their

way through musty cracks.


The apartment stinks of

yesterday’s laundry &

yesterday’s love.


I walk these streetlamp streets,

try to will the winter back to me

but it’s the rainy season and

everywhere is

wet shit & just

no good

at all.


Like Those Old Western Movies by Stephen J. Golds


Like Those Old Western Movies








He wrenched the cleaning woman to her feet and shoved her out in front of him. A shield. He screamed at her to get the fucking door. Get the door! GET THE FUCKING DOOR!

The pulsing lights were blinding.

Cops barked and shouted.

Tremors shook his body and he didn’t know if it was the woman or him that was trembling. Voltage passing through them both like a train. Her long brown hair had come lose and was trickling over his hand and the pistol. She crossed herself erratic as he ripped her head back and stabbed the muzzle into the soft flesh of her jaw.

Him and the maid together, like those old western movies. Butch Cassidy and The Sun Dance Kid.


Shards of glass, splinters of wood and plaster dust exploded around the room. Red and blue colors flashed and danced on the early morning walls.

He gripped the maid around the throat, held her down with one sweat-drenched hand and clasped at the pistol with the other.

The gunfire tapered off.

He peeked out of the shattered window at the bodies on the ground. He was a cop killer now. More black and whites sped into the motel’s parking lot.

A voice mumbled over a megaphone.

Dust clouds whirled and twisted.

The maid whimpered and fumbled at a black beaded rosary. He tried to remember how many rounds he had left. Not enough.


The bitch wouldn’t shut up.

He’d had to shut her up.

He waited until he hit a quiet stretch, swerved, pulled her piece of shit Honda over to the side of the highway and shoved her out into a ditch.

He found a cloth in the glove box and used it to soak up some of the puddles of blood and then tossed that out too.

Pushed the pistol back under the driver’s seat.

He reached over into the back, grabbed the holdall and pulled it upfront. Dropped it in the passenger’s seat. Its weight made him grin.

Almost nightfall.

Almost at the border and not a cop car in sight.

He needed to stop. He drove past a motel. Dumped the Honda and walked back an hour to the motel and checked himself into a room on the end.


Three black and whites swung into the jewellery store parking lot, sirens screaming as they burst out the front doors.

Vincent and Tony started blasting. Stupid fucks thought they were in a spaghetti western. The cops weren’t fucking around either. He’d watched Butch Cassidy and The Sundance Kid. He knew how that old western had ended.

He saw Vincent jump around, collapse in his peripheral, kick out. He didn’t wait around for Tony. To hell with him. Let Tony play at Cops and Robbers. He snatched a bag and got the fuck out of there.

Around the motel, down a back alley, over a chain link fence, through some kind of a forecourt, over another chain link fence, up an embankment and out onto the freeway.

Panting like a rabid mutt.


The handles of the holdall ripping into the flesh of his palm.

Horns blared.

A baby blue Honda braked, screeching hard when he put a couple of rounds through the windshield.

The women in the driver’s seat screeched hard too as he stabbed the muzzle of the pistol into the flesh of her neck and forced her into the passenger’s seat.  The bitch screamed.


Jerk-off Joe behind the counter pushed the button.

Tony pushed the button on Jerk-off Joe.

Customers screamed.

He swung the sledgehammer, smashed at display cases and stuffed the holdall with everything that glittered and glistened.

Vincent pistol whipped a kid making a move for the door. The kid screamed like a little girl.

He looked at his wristwatch and pulled at the sweat soaked stocking covering his features. He could hear sirens wailing in the distance and shouted to Vincent and Tony to move, fucking move! MOVE!

On Being Fourteen Years Old and Loving Miss Perkins by Stephen J. Golds

On Being Fourteen Years Old and Loving Miss Perkins


Miss Perkins had been teaching at my high school for nearly a year and I was in love with her. It was a fourteen-year-old boy’s love for a personification of a wet dream twice his age, and I carried that love around in my chest like a loaded revolver.


Miss Perkins was a teacher at my school, but she wasn’t my teacher. If I had her as an educator, I might’ve learnt something (and not crashed out so spectacularly). I only snatched glimpses of her strolling to and from the faculty lounge, the sounds of her high-heels on the cracked concrete tearing into my adolescent hormonal heart like a power drill. Miss Perkins waltzing across the title screen of my ‘The Wonder Years’ to the soundtrack of ‘The La’s – There She Goes.’

There was a rumor floating around the school like a bad fart that she was fucking the geography teacher. I liked to think that the rumor wasn’t true. Kids made up a little song about it; “Perkins sucks Berkins.

Berkins licks Perkins.

Perkins fucks Berkins.

Oh yeah, baby, baby!.

Sometimes, spurned by the madness of the crowd, I would join in unenthusiastically with the chant, mouthing and mumbling the words like an atheist singing hymns at a distant relative’s funeral that they’d been obligated to attend.

I didn’t really like the geography teacher whose name was, as the song creatively suggested, Mr. Berkins. I think it would be more honest to say I hated him. He was skinny with brown moles all over his pink skin, his grey eyes bulged out of his head like two half-buried golf balls and he spat when he shouted at you for forgetting your homework or for being late. Long thick black hairs tangled out from his nostrils and when he breathed the hairs slithered and twisted like snakes in dry, black holes. Sweat was always seeping out of the large pores on his forehead.

Whenever I saw him with Miss Perkins, he would always be trying to make her laugh or trying to touch her arm or shoulder subtlety, the sly little prick. Always pretending that he was something special and not just some ghost of a robot. I knew his game. I was on to him. He wasn’t fooling me.


Miss Perkins looked like one of the women from the Victoria’s Secret catalogue that I kept stuffed underneath my mattress. Blonde, busty, beautiful, young, and probably intelligent too. Nothing seemed to touch her because she was above it all. Berkins on the other hand seemed old and crustified like a piece of dinosaur shit in the sun, even though I’m sure he was pretty young himself.

I remember one afternoon he sent me out of his class for swearing at this fat girl called Shelly. She said I pretended to drop my pencil on the floor, so I could snatch a peek up her skirt, when she had in fact swung open her fat white thighs like the jaws of a shark to show me her whirlpool-like snatch.

After the lesson had ended Mr Berkins called me back into the classroom as everyone was leaving and cross examined me with the eyes that looked as though they were trying to leap out of his face. He kept looking at me as the sweat slid down his shiny forehead and cheeks. Finally, he took out a white handkerchief from his V-neck sweater’s sleeve and mopped at his brow. I couldn’t believe he kept a handkerchief stuffed up his sleeve, to me it was surreal and ludicrous and justified all the hate I felt for him. He finished drying his face off, smiled a slick grin and asked me whether I would like it if he looked up my mother’s skirt. I couldn’t believe it. What kind of a question was that to ask a kid? I knew he was trying to beat me, defeat me. I didn’t know what he was trying to defeat me at, but I was sure I wouldn’t let him win. I licked my lips coolly and said in as manly a voice as I could force out of my shallow chest, without it breaking, that if my dad caught him looking at my mom’s pussy, he would kick the shit out of him.

As soon as the words snaked their way from my mouth and birthed themselves into the awkward silence, his eyes jumped from his head, all white and like lemmings at a cliff edge. He scratched at the bald patch in the center of his head and kept saying the word “quite, quite, quite, quite”, as he scratched, nodded, and stared.

Finally, he pointed a thumb towards the classroom door, telling me to get out and we both knew I had won something ridiculously small and worthless. I attempted some kind of a strut out of the classroom, almost feeling like the character McMurphy from ‘One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest’ and refusing to acknowledge the possibility that a woman like Miss Perkins could be interested in such a man as Mr Berkins. A loser pretending to be some sort of a hot-shot. A man outwitted by an always outnumbered and outgunned fourteen-year-old boy with dirty socks and holes in the soles of his shoes.


In her second year of teaching Miss Perkins handed in her resignation and disappeared from the high school and my life.

A very short while after Mr Berkins quit as well and for the first time I could almost empathize with him. Understand where he was coming from.

A little piece of the sunshine had been stolen from the school and it was now a lot darker and less fluid and more mechanical within the hallways and the classrooms. I supposed even though we were completely different human beings we’d both discovered a red rose growing out of a pile of horse shit and we both knew that with the flower gone, there was only the pile of shit left behind.


Much, much later, I found out that they had gotten married.


Mr. Berkins had won after all.




London Bridge Railway Station, Please Mate by Stephen J. Golds

London Bridge Railway Station, Please Mate.


I’ll tell ya summin the wevas fuckin shit today, innit mate? Still good ole English weva though.

Ya wotchat show with wos ees face on the tube las night? Whata proppa pila shit that wos. The morra watch that flickerin pissa shit called telavision, the morra feel like climbin a clock towa or summin an snipin people.

Na kiddin, mate.

I’m not fucked in the ed or anythin like that, I’m jus sick an tired of bein forced fed all this crap that is on nowahdays. Yanno wottamin? I don even pay fer ma telavision license. Issnot worth it. Issa fuckin ripoff, that’s wotit is. In the past, telavision ust’a be good, ya were actually entatained, ya actually learnt summin. Y’ad that Attenborough geezer crawlin through undagrowth, watchin lions an shit. Y’ad that Krypton Factor, Master Mind, even that Crystal Maze was arf good. The shows that were menta be funny, actually were funny, ya didn’t get nunna this canned laughta bollox that ya do taday. I fuckin ate canned laughta. Tell ya summin, I would prefer ta piss fuckin razar blades then sit throuwa show with canned laughta. Yanno Wottamin?


An reality telavision, that can jus fuck orf. Fuck right orf. Few yearsago when the first coupla reality shows came out, it was arf good, it was new, entatainin. Lookatit na. I’ma as bin celebrity put me outta my shittin misary. Big Brotha? More like Big puddla piss. Yanno wottamin?

I can piccha the produsas of these telavision shows satin their big meetins na,

They rather liked the first ten series, they’re going to like the next ten. Who cares if it’s getting old, the public are too stupid to notice.


One has a rather brilliant new idea for a show, ten contestants in a house with cameras watching their every move, it sounds like all the other programs on television but it’s not. The difference is, they are all going to be ex-child stars and we shall give them loads of contraceptives and alcohol so they have loads of sex and then our ratings shall go up”.


Torkin jus like that. All toff like.

The only telavision they make nowah days is aimed attha perverts, the bloody nonces, the joeys, an the tossers . Innit mate. yanno wottamin?

An don’t get me started on nonces, the bloody lotta em should av their balls cut orf an fed ta em. There wossis one nonce livin near ma gaff got an axe in the ed, there was claret everywhere. An axe right inntha kissa. Geezer ooh done that deserves’a Victoria Cross, medal of honour or summin, yanno wottamin?

The thin that pisses me orf the most about watchin the old lizer, is the poxy daytime shows an the other thin is ma girlfriend gets brainwashed by all that shit. She actually sits there an bloody watches it. Y’ave Trisha, This Mornin, Loose Woman an that fuckin Jessica  wosser face, the big nosed cow. It does ma bloody ed in. She can’t keep er chevy shut either when she does watchit, the missis, she keeps onanon bout it.

“Doncha talk ta me lika pissa shit, I won’t stand farit, I deserve betta, I seenit on Trisha.”

All uppidy, like that.

She seenit on the Trisha Show, that’s what she says, innit. Every time. I tell er ta get offa er arse an clean the ouse or summin. Yanno wottamin?

Woman does ma bloody ed in, all she cares about is er air an bloody diets an that. Diet. Diet. Ya can’t even turn on the tube without earin the damn word. Everybody’s too ealth conscious nowwa days, I tell ya. Wotever appened ta drink, eat an be merry. I don’t wanna turn on the tube ta ear sum old geezer yappin onnat me that smokin’s bad fer ya, drinkin’s bad fer ya, even eatin a fry ups bad fer ya. Jus fuck orf, fuck right orf. Stop tryin ta brain wash me, ya cunts.

Ya see the thin is, the people tryin to force us ta live like em, don’t work in a job like mine, six daysa bloody week, do they? When I finish my shift, the first thin on ma mind is ta go down the local, av a few jars an get rat’ed, wind down. Yanno wottamin?

I see these sorta people, uppa class ponces, like I see on the tube, waltz inta the pub like they own the bloody place. Wearin their suits an their fancy watches, playin golf on the weekends, cushty nine ta five jobs an all that malarki. We’ll sit an watch em, then when they’ve finished orf their gin an tonic or

woteva, we’ll follow em outta the pub an kick fuck outta the cunts in the car park. Trust me, they

aint so big an smart when they getta fist in their gob. Scream an whimpa like little gels, the

majority of the time.


Anyway, looks like the rains gonna stop inna bit, good old English weva, eh?

Do ya want me to pull over ere on the left, matey?


That’ll be fourteen quid fifty, please boss.

Nice talkin ta ya.

Take it easy, mate.

Ave a gud un.