Stephen Mead, US



Free  Verse

Can’t Sleep

‘til rest has come
for every other member breathing
the pages of this home, house, whatever
domicile I frequent is of no importance
should slumber not happen for those
I tiptoe around...

I am statue as lantern, fountain as phantom.
I shed wands of willing in my vibrant
Feet, hands, eyes…
They are the snowflake feathers
Falling from great down quilts.

I also have strings wound about
My Rochester heart attached to every
Other dreamer never sleeping sound enough
In the likes of this city.

In this city, the likes of which
Never before felt,
Never before seen

Lay me down as a prayer
Of flame to sleep & sleep
Cat easy as the turning of a page




Singing soft, voice from rooms away,
Voice beyond the door & under
Such curves, blankets, cats,
I wrap myself down sensing
As well the outer climate.
There: patterns of snows…
There: rain & here—
Picture junks in Kowloon,
Picture clouds over drifts
Of the rocking, the mind’s
Eyeful where I get started
Into the apartness
(altogether now)
Of dreaming…

Dream to dream,
Such towers babbling,
Such silken screens…
I enter their liquid, turn translucent,
Stay, a stem, a root, to float flowering,
Lily, calla, while yet under the tow…

& the reed of a song steers me
& the voice is my Mother’s,
My best friend’s, yes, the voice,
The familial stranger is

Surely some angel keeping vigil



Angels Weep

Angels weep, the cuffs of their sleeves
Catching the tears that roll into wax
At the hems of their robes.
They turn candle-lit & globe hover.

Folds, folds—
What stretches under those gossamer gowns?
Warfare, torture, & the lonely, the bleeding,
Ulcerated with an addiction to be absolved.

Love, angels hold these legions
Through leagues of wings
As meanwhile the dead swim in a rebirth
Of rain.

Ascend then, every dying hand I have held.
Dreams name you ‘til sleep is scarce &
The grandeur of heaven is a message from earth.

Watcher, guardian, how long can I go on losing you?

Angels, gold, noble, silver,
With eyes of a certain brown,
Deliver me from this question
In time to acknowledge that if I can ask
Than I can hear as well.




The arched neck, the curving
Back, your body a dreaming
Acrobat, as your hands reach behind
Finding mine at the waist.
Then your head goes to my shoulder,
A sweet Chagall image hugging in…

In the mirror I watch us.
The tenderness is awe.
How now, love, to turn my mirror
Elsewhere? I shall try through the effort
Of moments whose breath already incorporates
Your air into my shape…

Are you there?
No longer must I call or doubt, holding
The canvasses of your soul poems—
“You look good.”
I remember your voice, so matter of fact
Upon waking, with you reaching over
To hold me, same as you did when the mirror
Reflected us…

The exteriors of these times fills my insides
Entire, wandering to the new sights you urge me to.
Death has not severed that promise & I lean,
Juggler of our puzzle, to drink in eyes, arms, mouth
Of this star, that—

Clearly you are there




Wings once more,
Wings at edge of sleep…
I stir, I wake, half
Memory, half
Forget. Angels
Have been around
At some business still
With nothing still
About the stillness…

Instead, kinetic, quiet rises &
The waves of calm spread ebulliently.

I greet the faces passing, & there is
Something about you haunting their
Earnest eyes. They are of seals & goofy

Surgeons, lovers, healers, saints,
The purest of the pure, know the guidance
Of this skin.

Do they also know the soul is caramel
Coloured as arab sands?

About the rims it goes from pink
To yellow ‘til the whole spectrum is
Glowing through tangibly ineluctable.

I caress that, finding out that the touching
Touches back, & even now from the empty room
Where our loving went on, off goes your call
Light & I astonished, answer.

Loves’ absolution does not question anything
Any more. I rest. I move. You stay on the fringes,
Stay through me, a centering guest…

Then it’s hello again, goodbye—
But wings waltz, lift, embrace.
After this possessed moments are modeled
With purpose unawares


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