Poetry: Selections from Steve Passey


Let your hair grow long
if only for your mother’s sake.
After all, you said that after she cut hers,
she never danced again.
I will not apologize for loving your hair,
still long enough to braid, so braid it, if you like,
and pick up something off of the bottom shelf because I love that ass too.
Someone told me once
that women aren’t any good until after they turn thirty,
and that just might be true,
grow it out long,
and wear that dark red lipstick you have always wanted to wear.
Let your hair go to that strong and steely grey.
Women only have asses like that
if they’ve never cared to feel too sorry for themselves.
Nothing weighs upon their spirit to make them old, so
nothing else matters.
Do not begrudge me my longing
and my looking,
it’s as honest praise
as I can give
and it’s rendered fair.

We Should Get Clean

I told her, in a moment,
that I thought that we should just get clean,
and try to live a normal life
and try to be two normal people.
She laughed and told me not to be stupid.
She could always find a man,
but to always, always be high was what she wanted.
I watched her dancing slowly there,
making mudras with her hands,
nothing behind her eyes,
and I wondered who would circle the date for her
on the calendar, the date on which she’d die.
She is vacant now and swaying quietly,
this Goddess of wasted times and beggared prophecies
and I know that when she spoke to me
she did not care to lie.

If You Knew Bukowski Like I Knew Bukowski

If you knew Bukowski
like I knew Bukowski
Fuck Off.
Neither of us knew him,
and neither ever will.
Swing from the dead man’s nuts all you want,
I’m going to go it alone.
I don’t even drink,
and by the looks of it,
you can’t.
So, if you knew Bukowski,
like I knew Bukowski,
(Which is to say; not at all)
Fuck Off already.
You’re going to have to do it alone.

Love Like the Pain of Fire

I want to say there’s no such thing as love,
but love comes on like truth,
and that’s the way it starts.
You know I’m just like you and
I know we both have hearts.
Love, it comes on like truth,
at least when it first starts.
I’m not saying that this is love,
or that it’s is built to last,
but when it starts to come on,
it comes on like truth,
something like the pain of fire,
something learned hard and fast.

I Will Never Wake up Beside Tricia Zapata

I fear that
I will never wake up beside dark-eyed Tricia Zapata,
and that I will never feel the warmth of her body,
and smell the vanilla on her skin,
and the perfume of her hair.
I want to hear her say buenos dias,
in that low and soft voice of hers, and
buenos dias, si
just for me to hear.
She is shy, like all wild things, and
the animals tell me she has a kind heart.
These wild things say, leave her alone, she is ours,
but I want to wake up next to her,
and spend the day alone with her.
Time and distance,
and all other things are against us, so
I fear I will never wake up beside Tricia Zapata, with
her beating heart and her soft voice, her fragrant skin and hair.

Steve Passey is originally from Southern Alberta. He is the author of the short-story collections Forty-Five Minutes of Unstoppable Rock (Tortoise Books, 2017), the novella Starseed (Seventh Terrace), and many other individual things. He is a Pushcart and Best of the Net Nominee and is part of the Editorial Collective at The Black Dog Review.


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