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Stephen J. Golds
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A Yellow Thread of Cotton Like a Piece of The Sun

 

by Stephen J. Golds

 

The rooms are empty.

The plants are dead.

The cupboards are moldy.

The crucifixes are dirty.

All of your things are gone.

 

I found

a yellow thread like

a piece of the sun

from that dress you wore

on our anniversary.

 

I placed the thread on my tongue and

I swallowed it.

That frayed fragment of

something

that used to be

everything.

 

The garbagemen

have all of your

belongings and all

you have left me with

is this time and this space.

 

Time and space

that cuts me

to the bone.



LOL

 

by Stephen J. Golds

 

It feels as though

someone has closed

the blinds on me.

As though, I have been left

in the city dump

for these shadows.

 

Locked in a piss-stained room

with night terrors

and a full bladder.

Full of worry and

full of something

heavy and cold.

 

She tells me to:

pull myself together,

like a pair of curtains. Jokes

make it all better.

But,

they don't.

 

I'm left wondering

how long

this artificial smile

will remain

carved on my face

and not fail me.




A Day in Summer Years Back

 

by Stephen J. Golds

 

The day

of the procedure,

I still can’t bring myself

to name the crime

we committed

together,

I waited outside

your house.

 

The island was hit

by a biblical typhoon that summer and

I wondered if it was

God punishing us,

even though

I didn’t believe in any

Gods then and

still don’t now.

 

Underneath the eaves

of your neighbor’s garage,

I waited for your parents to

bring you home

from that place,

with nothing but time

and cigarettes and prayers to a God

I didn’t quite believe in.

 

Your neighbor,

the kind old lady with the dogs, brought

an umbrella outside and

offered it to me but

I refused it

because the rain

that was on my face

was a mask for tears.

 

I just waited that day

in the storm

with my sins

and my cigarettes and

my time and

my prayers and

my ghosts of Gods

and my guilty relief.

 

 

 



Hospital on the Hill

 

by Stephen J. Golds

 

 

All the kids 

with their grins &

lunch money at school. 

There with you in that other place. 

Words flashed 

naked behind glass. 

Clustered people incessant 

about their hearts, 

minds as though 

they’d been bought 

broken secondhand, 

non-returnable &

receipt gone, warranty 

in a language unspoken. 

 

Smoking desperate, 

blue smoke plumes, 

drifting hallucinations 

in a cafeteria odorous of last week’s

meat loaf, piss, and nicotine limbo. 

Hands tremble winter in 

a sick summer sun. 

There with something that 

was once you in that place. 

Then leaving solitarily 

with unspoken words in mouth 

broken, loose teeth touched 

lingered upon by tongue. 



Perpetual Motion

 

by Stephen J. Golds

 

Over the line

you tell me you’re coming over. 

I hold the phone the way 

I hold my tongue. 

 

The way we use 

each other up like kitchen bleach 

to cover the stains of 

ourselves is always fun. 

 

But it’s the silence of 

the apartment after, 

the bed seemingly 

become too small,

 

the smell of your perfume 

a hangover. Talking like strangers 

awkwardly sitting next to each other 

on a long bus ride. 

 

I know the mole on the inside of your thigh 

but not your sister’s name, 

or your happiest memory or  

anything that might matter. 

 

You’re already damaged it seems

so there’s not much for me to do 

with you except

use you the way you’re using me. 

 

And maybe that’s okay. 

I tell you to come over. 

Holding the phone in my hand 

like it’s a heartbreak in motion. 



The Best Ones Are the Crazy Ones

 

by Stephen J. Golds

 

I’ve tried to love the good women.

The kind who talk about their day

with a vacant smile on their perfect lips,

who cook me delicious healthy

dinners and enjoy watching soap operas, while

resting their head on my shoulder.

The women who answer questions frankly,

honestly when I ask them.

Women who make me

feel content and confident.

 

But I always find myself going

back to the kind of women

who disappear some nights,

their phones switched off.

The type of women who will text me

the sexiest photographs when we’re apart

and then send them to others

when I’m in the shower.

Or the women who lie about

what they ate for lunch, who they met yesterday afternoon

and the men who are messaging them

while they are in bed naked with me.

 

The women who fake birth control or

are sleeping with me because

they’re still angry with their ex-boyfriends

or their absent fathers.

The kinds of women who cheat with me and

then later cheat on me. The ones I have to warn

that they’re making a scene and

then they try and slap me, miss and

knock things that smash onto the floor.

That run off into the night threatening

to throw themselves off a bridge or

threatening to call the cops or both.

Or worse. The kind of woman,

I know, that’ll see me swing from

the end of a rope one day and

smile a little.

 

I could say I love these kinds of women

because I just can’t love myself. Maybe there

is some truth in that

but maybe it is

they’re just a euphoric kind of self-harm

that I inflict on the ragged soul

instead of on the flesh. 

 

 

“The Best Ones Are the Crazy Ones” originally appeared in the October 2020 print issue of Chronogram Magazine.

 

Stephen J. Golds was born in London, UK, but has lived in Japan for most of his adult life. He enjoys spending time with his daughters, reading books, traveling, boxing, and listening to old Soul LPs. His novels are Say Goodbye When I’m Gone (Red Dog Press), Always the Dead (Close to the Bone) Poems for Ghosts in Empty Tenement Windows, and the forthcoming collection Love Like Bleeding Out With an Empty Gun in Your Hand.







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