in crumpled song

in crumpled song

so many parties
too much everything
dancing on broken glass
blue lips of lust

nurse my mind
bathe my need

wake up to a vibrating dawn
in a shrouded park again

in shattered mist i crawl within
grip my soaring thoughts
why do i slide back and back
slouched in my way of always the same
i feed me a cigarette
hey didn’t i see you mumbling and stumbling
last night or the year before
craving hard in multiple loathe 

a dying bird beached at the edge of a pond
i kneel to hold its rolling gasp
stare blind at screeching eyes
me and my other truth entwined
in crumpled song
of sharing death with sliding more
and i say nothing like always before
now by repeat in void  

a scarlet flower in bubbling mud
i touch the bloodied petals
whisper prayers into a wobbly breeze

don’t cry clinging in fight
wet trickery never helped before
for fuck’s sake
stand up and move away from disintegrating you
do something new
recite your manufactured real
of repetition midnight through and through
feel limp courage fade

hold me
help me
or slink away as you do and do
and release me until the next time chimes


he’s gazing into oily black.
asks me how much life i’ve got left in my now.

it’s disappearing; stifled can’t return.
i lost me to grasping ghouls on veiled junctions;
you owe me for yesterday, seeping from my real.
he sneaks out his need. i touch him a taste of my hope.
is truth fact? hazy souls in yearning mist; blind existence
warming need. vibrating to quench famished reasons
as we seize each other’s search. i’m me under crusts
you strip away to paste back on at will. i’ll  ascend
our lust sought mess; watch valor sprout from desperate.
“please stay,” he drones in a pathetic smolder,
fuelling my destitute cling. i halt my nowhere amble.
grasp, fuck, hold, die, repeat. why are we screaming blind?
he leans into mute plea; stares rigid at crushed faith falling;
scowls sliding dial of youth, like i was once as him.
how old are you? he mumbles, “thirty two.”
forgotten saga glides in, when spun magic on seeking path
was mine in all ok. alive, now stranded in crumbling wonder
of you; my next possible god. slide, pray, panic.
can’t you sense noxious tears? “fake moons shine on dearth,”
watching angel sings, witnessing recurring snatch
at waning loss. he whispers, “let’s keep trying.” we crawl;
hushed moans sealing secret neon dread
as feigned respite tickles burden; rising dawn spurts
clutched belief. he kisses my beg. holds desire
in mortal ransom. please don’t smash my gift of me, i ooze
as fright feeds incapable escape. he passes wine. i skull: reach,
vomit, drop, writhe, soar; sinkin shared anticipation
of compulsion, disintegrating to re-emerge. how long
have we been drinking? he flicks me anonymous pills. croons,
“swallow baby.” i ingest present lie as he thrusts tepid flesh
at me; drives hard inside me; beard scrape hollow face. i drown
threadbare identity, bury emerging demise: gulp, breathe,
swallow, lick, plunge, pant; explode in manufactured parody
of two men spinning; trapped in web of helpless.

he’s peering into icy grey.
asks me how much life i’ve got saved in my here.

it’s gone; slaughtered won’t revive.
still you reel me back from flee; hurl disguised span
of sacred lure, and i clench on; wallow in attempting remains
as smidgeons of enduring wish glow; entombed: in brutality.


he’s staring into oily dark
begs how much life i’ve got saved in my now

it’s disappearing
stifled won’t return

i sold me
to grasping ghouls on corners savage
you gave me yesterday seeping from my now

he sneaks out hope
i touch him a taste of need

so true rambling with you in ignorance of surround
scraping banks of empty rivers
high music hush be shadow pace drumming
cool and warm 
of new

your beautiful face in smile

and the way we held each other in the room of the rat

was that the rat’s lie
he’s a lost rat that ratty-cat

and how all the shit and hell and wondering what is
into voids
when the times
are so us
the real is no longer the real

that’s what’s so good about two

when the real is no longer the real

when we are only
in us

Stephen House has had many plays commissioned and produced. He has won two Awgie Awards (Australian Writer’s Guild), an Adelaide Fringe Award, First Prize Rhonda Jancovich Poetry Award for Social Justice, The Goolwa Poetry Cup, First Prize SA Writers / Feast Short Story Prize & Second Prize Poetry at Sawmillers. He has been shortlisted / highly commended for: Overland’s Fair Australia Fiction Prize, Patrick White Playwright and Queensland Premier Drama Awards, the Tom Collins, Robyn Mathison, Eyre writers, Mindshare, Rhonda Jankovic Poetry Awards, Di Cranston Script Award, and a Greenroom best actor Award. He has received Australia Council Canada and Ireland literature residencies, and an Asia-link India literature residency. He has seen his plays and poems published, including by Currency Press, Australian Script Centre, Australian Poetry Journal, Third Street Writers USA, Page and Spine USA, grey border magazine Canada, The Blue Nib Ireland and many websites internationally. His poetry collection “real and unreal” was selected for publication by ICOE Press Australia. He travels widely and continues to perform his acclaimed monologues, “Almost Face To Face” and “Appalling Behavior.”

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