cold empty beach day time mine in slow pacing
walk seaside lone thought view nature calm being
ice mist breathe steam air drift upwardly rising
silent fall rain glowing distant horizon
rough wooden steps climbing drizzle escaping
under paint-peeled tin shelter sit comfort dry bench
second-hand wool coat pulled tightly be nearer
grateful safe cover hide weather surrounding
slam-bang-clap thunder shock sound living instant
seagulls soar screeching unbridled call flurry
car too loud roar fast distant road racing
hip hop play beat rap maybe snoop dog or dre
guy my age similar enters shelter stop my spot
rain bucket down hard song sky teaming earth
drink sip fast him skull wine golden in bottle
drag rolled cigarette smoke breathe deeply needing
grey matted hair damp drip beard chin cold facing
thin denim shirt no ease man shiver biting
ripped jeans in tatters tied belt crusted holding
ice pink feet tremble thongs rubber squelch slippery
smiling eyes both meet each other mid-winter
fucking cold utters out he
indeed said from me
his bed-roll and bag stuffed without home it whispers
offers me cigarette i decline offer friendly
showers stop clouds part slight above sharing moment
peep glimpsing sun beckon us walkers from rest
rainbow appears great as all those before seen
stripe colour spun magic paint picture poetic
wow it’s so beautiful says he outward gazing
it definitely is reply me answer heartfelt
stand him hold out hand two men grip built fresh bonded
shake we tight know selves be
he leaves our shared shelter


it crawls in
latches on
penetrates perception
questioning all
losing belief
living in fear
hiding from everyone
dropping confidence
as it grows stronger
and its hold becomes tighter
it paints internal pictures
giving up
closing off
misplacing reality
imaging the bleakest
and finally
as it has snuck into every living pore
overtaking entirely
manipulates sneakily
abuses cruelly
hurts repeatedly
suggests self-destruction
and shouts death is the only answer
i will not be possessed by it
i will fight against it
with all the strength i have
i refuse to die
because of it
it is the imposter
i am the real of me

About the contributor

Stephen House has won two Awgie Awards (Australian Writers Guild), Rhonda Jancovic Poetry Award for Social Justice and the Goolwa Poetry Cup.

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