Stephen House has had 20 plays, 3 short films, and several exhibitions produced. He has won many awards and nominations as a poet, playwright and actor. He’s received international literature residencies from The Australia Council to Canada, Ireland and USA, and an Asia-link India literature residency. His chapbook “real and unreal” was published by ICOE Press Australia. His next book is out soon. His poetry is published often, and he has performed his acclaimed monologues, “Appalling Behavior” and “Almost Face to Face” widely. Stephen’s play, “Johnny Chico” has been running in Spain for 2 years and continues.
dead men’s clothes
dead men’s clothes hang sadly limp in a world of once-worn wares beaten by time in her tin shed shell she rubs her eyes blinks twice gapes smeared pink lipstick pasty rutted face cloudy eyes in stance of age acceptance of a sort into her desert store of only what remains i have come on my meandering way threadbare fear from disintegrating middle age another tick in time on a lonely icy day muddled from substances coming down no room or bed tonight for me or friend or family either i try on a humble vest of era long gone add a coat of wool in olive grandpa green she smiles slight a knowing hint at where i may have roamed to be fingers sleeve with bony stroke no one comes here anymore she says with only gaze once it was different she breathes silently thrift shop queen won’t see me pay gives sincerely her woven generosity holds lost dreams in wrinkled brow set in stone her quiet tenacity our brittle selves meet and we freeze within our haze knowing well our own mortality reality of humanity probably i am warm now walking on my never knowing way through another vacant dustbowl of extremity i slow to stop glance back now safe in mothball tweed she waves from pebbled path stepped outside of her reality and in my dead men’s clothes i signal back a simple nod another moment wise still wandering and alive
it is on the second-hand nowhere bridge i cry acid accepting of defeated cast finally in stoning thump the scamper drifts to dust in movement of blame once meant joy but freedom falls into obedience drives deep heartbeat of happy eroded by rhythm we were association un-separated by plague boil inability to save earth natural world continuum beat our environment grew nil our race once complex flat apathy depressive anxious result of over-kill heating when final has become the stop point then what now climb in bright for this domain now controlled you say once be it of choice self-destiny determined is halted gasp rolling hankering smile disintegrated in wet blur did you see ex-president controlling own lie preach that has become usual dragging walk peace step gone on shattered glass we roll for no more remains solid greenery we once loved sweet is charred death brown and that is an ending without try to repeat exculpation
when he spoke about the love he had for his cat as a boy his eyes glazed over misty sentiment or feeling tears is all the same with us how he hugged that beast held on tight and the jaunts they would take together away from the house to secret spots to be just them and i knew why pain sailed into me from him as he spoke why i wanted to hold him across the table in the budget restaurant of our excuse for dinner out i knew what he’d suffered as a kid he ‘d told me about it on a beach walk in a dim room looking sadly down and at the end of a jetty over stormy sea and so the cat-story about the comfort that feline friend gave him as a kid made me melt in quiver and whispered a soft reminder that i would never leave him to his aloneness without me to care as we walked out of the eating dive he smiled as his hand brushed mine and my eyes glazed over too