Stephen Mead’s poetry takes us on a journey of the mind and heart.
For Christy Brown
Saint rogues are these, the spiritual cynics
in a Dublin pub, a bedroom for seven, feet
next to heads, stolen covers, the sagging
mattress, & all that weight.
Oh roll, roll brawling sisters. Brothers toss
your angst, your laughter, your will
through gossip streets, the narrow doors,
the eyes opening.
Not enough coal. Porridge again?
Da lost his temper, his job. Ma’s stashing
cash for a wheelchair, for Christy.
Let’s drink another round.
I’m frenzy painting, holding the line,
a brush between toes, a world out of confines,
my body, this body of wrenched muscles,
yet able to dream.
Desire is my face, my mouth & my mind,
the miracle & punishment, but I
am no freak, no poet, quite, only
a man, like most, attempting some freedom.
A typewriter might help, a room, enough
space to bring home, shape the landscape of flesh,
of hands against this cramped backdrop—–
Love, here is the life
amid war shadows, factories, amid want
as painful bliss.
Love, here is the life living simply
& not so simply
(spin the bottle)
to be shared as a jig
(I’ve scotch in me pocket)
& a wheelchair of wings
Mother & Child
Wheels & tracks, baby
don’t worry, I ain’t gonna
let you be taken. Hush-a-bye.
Hush-a-bye. Sleep now, that’s right.
I got a couple hundred dollars
& in this knapsack you’re pretty
much hid just in case, you know,
that welfare lady’s put out some
We’re hitching a ride & will hop
the next train soon. 3 A.M.
I think it’s early enough:
the whole station still groggy.
Thank god, it’s rainin’, good
warm muggy dust of diesel…
Makes me wanna doze too.
Come on, hon, don’t wake up.
Here’s your old tick tock clock,
just like a heart, & I’m right
with ya, rockin’ soft & close.
La la la. You see, I have to
sing quiet, ‘cause they’re takin’
our ticket & hey, lettin’ us board.
Nobody suspects. Want your bottle?
Look at those lights, the whole
city a Christmas tree blinkin’
“so long” as we plunge,
express cargo, into the
of this safe moving dark
& little sleep there
really & love there
somewhere for the wrong
the right reasons & reasons the voices
of many different spirits…
the earth my body back to me says this one
given the country rooftop high in my veins
the veins in excelsis sky landscape roots
to remember to remember…
christ says another whose arms are these
now in somebody’s some body’s not mine
not so pure says a third you mustn’t be
have a drink little bird bird here
a little blue pretty quiet quiet baby let
yourself be be ready self for gospel strains
night trains a wilderness city fill up
fill up empty out empty in in
innocence cynicism sin sin
religion in in time passing
passing time time up in up
in hurry slow oh
shut up & come
come kiss me
come kiss me
Stephen Mead is an Outsider multi-media artist and writer. Since the 1990s he’s been grateful to many editors for publishing his work in print zines and eventually online. He is also grateful to have managed to keep various day jobs for the Health Insurance. Poetry on the Line, Stephen Mead