ONE POEM – Stephen House

Photo by Nicola Fioravanti on Unsplash

on a corner in Paris

there is something disturbingly honest
about living in another city
wondering why
create measures to gauge the seriousness
of fragile moments
strung together
by no more than the present notion of life

another moment
now
no longer the one of just before
so i turn my attention to the rap boys
on the corner playing their music
and i dance
here on a corner in Paris
i dance

the rap boys of a dozen races give me a wave
laugh amongst themselves
cheer me on a bit
and whether it’s because they like me
or think i’m an old fool
alone
on a city sidewalk
doesn’t matter
because their acknowledgement of me
and that mixed up moment just gone
that they saw too
means something real
no matter what

other people hanging around
still staring
wondering what the encore will be
stuck in their tracks and pulling me down
with a group denunciation of my behavior
from just before

and as i babble jumbled words at them
and give a scream for maximum effect
they begin to shuffle back in fear
to their footpath to follow
thinking that if i completely fly off the handle
in the next burst
they might all be totally fucked

Stephen House has won many awards and nominations as a poet, playwright and actor. He’s received several international literature residencies from The Australia Council for the Arts and an Asia-link India literature residency. His chapbook “real and unreal” was published by ICOE Press. He’s published and produced often, and performs his acclaimed monologues widely.

This poem was previously published by Foreign Magazine and Scarlet Leaf Review Canada, and is an adapted excerpt from Stephen House’s monologue, “Appalling Behaviour” published by Australian Plays

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