Saturday 25 June 2022

Two Poems by Stephen Crowe


An Ode to California




The bridges are silent and   empty, there’s no one left to cross. And magenta. As the sky is open and bleeding liquid sunshine, there’s no one left to cross. Can you hear me...? Feel worn breath, know what is behind waterfalls see the roaring bullets of sunlight, scissors through cortex, tungsten glow, sleep, the nightly tv head.


There’s a dog sniffing along the seashore at Laguna Beach.

There’s quiet when you wake in the dead morning and know that you are dead.

There are streaks of candle wax running down the wall.

There’s a heart next-door pumping naked in an exposed chest.

There're eyes staring into traffic. There’s bread on the table and warm milk in a glass.

There’s Rock music drifting in through an open window.

There’s a star on the tv screen.

There’s cocaine piled high on the table.

There’s Jesus hanging above your bed.




There’s flesh roasting in a frying pan. There’re women soaking up the morning fog they glow in crucified light.

There’s a car crashing on an LA freeway, across from busy Van Nuys.

There’s a dope-sick angel singing gracefully for a broken stick.

There’s a boy coiled in a corner--naked.

There’s sex in room 15b Alta Saga Hotel.

There’s a heroin mother defiling sun wine, spraying her blood into the LA sky.

And in magenta, there’s a dog sniffing alone on Laguna Beach.

The bridges are silent and empty it is time to cross. Alone. Rock music. Golden Gate.






Needle, razor, aspirin, O+ in a sink.

Widow hiding under its porcelain belly.

Outside a kid rides his bike in circles around a dead palm.

Fetal tissue in an unflushed toilet. Coarse lambs wait for a ride on Hollywood Boulevard.

Young men film their first homosexual porno.

A time alone...

And in magenta, a dog alone, sniffing the sand along a narrow beach, sea spray coats his fur and wets his nose.





Escape to the mountains and lunge for the clouds.

Samantha still loves you, go back to her arms and nestle snugly against her warm breast.

Sigh deeply and think of tomorrow.

Sigh deeply...

Sunday beasts dine at the Gorgons’ feast.

Sunday beasts dine at the Gorgons’ feast.

San Gabriel Mountains at sunrise.


Her last, last hurrah

Coffee perks on the burner

coffee perks on the burner giving off its brown aroma.

a shot of whiskey; a cup of coffee

It’s 1971

My aunt in her pink robe and fuzzy yellow slippers

“I tied one on last night”

{Long drive home passed out in the back seat}

A black child looks in on us from the fire escape. He’s smelled the coffee his arms hold a black blind kitten gently he will barter for milk

War tears the TV apart it’s the morning news

NY bathed in the brown aroma of coffee and a shot of whiskey


America in the early 70s- seen through the eyes

of a Catholic boy in the basement of Sacred Heart school

America slips through his fingers like melting lead super heated

A butterfly collapses in the death of its ecology

thin rice paper wings snipped by the blood of a chemical smog

Ode to the bicentennial cricket the weight of its ebony body

bending a black-eyed Suzie like the arc of a rainbow

crows sail like paniced sky boats as the dog lunges through the field I blow my whistle and the young lab races back to me

in the distance swells the city tall misshapen like a crippled animal

I live in the country don’t give a damn.

please take this child from the war. A boy with a plastic gun fires on us as I water the lawn

please take us from the war

By Stephen Crowe


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