Poems by Michael Steven

Emma Smith, "Tender Erkling III" (2008).
Emma Smith, "Tender Erkling III" (2008).

Dunedin Fives

The Octagon

A lost man
has just found

his bearings:
sitting at the feet

of Robert Burns.

Raven Books

Seen through
the store window —

two lovers wait in a car
going on the nod

while kissing each other.

Spring Broadcast

Carrying a television
across Princes St —

two men send
news from the sun

back to its source.

The Excelsior Cafe

The warmth of
the counter girl’s palm.

The softness of her gesture.
Taking my two coins

as payment.


It’s snowing tonight —
riding on a field

of white rooftops:
the red neon jockey

chasing the silver moon.

Le Punk

The winter storm
once raging

through his heart
has been downgraded

to a tropical depression.

Dented Moon

Far as she wanders
lost in the dance —

her path becomes
the red margin

         between sky & sea.


Yellow leaves stipple the front lawn.

My lungs bubble: my tobacco is stale.

A log implodes on a bed of coals.


The year grinds away; the edges burr.

I nod out: braiding syllables to snare the sun.

Wake shivering. This necktie of ashes.


These inertly predictable days ebb slowly.

They play out their miniature endings.

They are of one end. They arrive without you.