July 6, 2018

Three Poems by Steve Denehan: "School Books", "Signs" and "Him"

Steve Denehan lives in Kildare, Ireland with his wife Eimear and daughter Robin. He has been published in The First Literary Review, Better Than Starbucks, The Opiate, Sky Island Journal and many others. His poems are to be published in upcoming issues of Evening Street Review, Poetry Quarterly, The Folded Word, Ink In Thirds, Fowl Feathered Review,Third Wednesday and as a "microchapbook" as part of the Origami Poems Project."

School Books

The knife was small, and dull
maybe not too sharp
but sharp enough
and cold against my throat

he wanted my wallet
I didn’t have one
he wanted my money
I had just spent the last of it
on school books

I held them out, useless to him and
for spite, he took them
he was angry, he was loud and
passers-by heard nothing
looked through me
and walked around us

when it was over I felt weak
and needed to sit but I could not
not there
not where the world quivered
and blistered
where the cement was scorched


I like old signs
aged only by weather
they show me the way
they give me instruction
remove my decision
they do not care
and do not worry
they have a function
and do not fail
they tell the truth

there will come a day when life is over
there will be silence
with nothing to fill it
“Beware Of Dog”
there will be no dogs
the signs will lie then
to no one


I had heard
at the market
hushed whispers
of him

doe eyed women gossiped
men were silently respectful

I was introduced to him
and understood
his eyes were all the colours
they saw me
and they knew me

I wanted him to love me
through his perfect smile
he said
he did
and kissed me

I defended him
against the jealous
the doubters
I crumpled my life
into a ball and

handed it to him

it was wondrous
for a time
until I peeked behind the curtain
and saw the innards

of the show
lights and sandbags
trapdoors and ropes

I saw his facade slip
then twice
I saw him snap and
sulk and sneer when
he thought no one could see
I saw
I saw

the others looked at him
in raptures
without question
I envied them
he loved them too
he loved everyone

I watched his legend grow
and stood idly by

I heard impossible truths
that I knew to be lies
rendered mute by his narcissism
his stories sprouted wings
and flew off toward the horizon

I took the money
to bring them to him
to bring an end to the pantomime
my name shall be remembered
I am the bringer of truth
I am Judas Iscariot
I regret nothing

Steve Denehan

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