Poetry: Selections from Brenton Booth

Winter for a Young Poet
The young poet was
living in the tiniest,
crappiest apartment
in the red-light district.
It was the coldest day
of winter and the gas
and electricity had
already been shut off.
His summer clothes
and thin blanket made
him as balmy as a half-
eaten box of fish sticks
in a large industrial
freezer. He looked at
the brick wall a few
feet from his window.
Wondering what the
best way to end his
life would be. Soon
opening it. Examining
the substantial drop.
All the cigarettes,
broken bottles, and
garbage that had fallen
before him. Taking a
long, deep breath.
Having a final look
around his cheap,
shitty room. Suddenly
etching, "all you need
to survive is poetry",
on the cold, indifferent

Bradbury's Nightmare
The streets are all
silent. It is 4:31am.
Nothing but darkness
all around. Military
trialling robot dogs
to the delight of the
country. Obviously
no one has read
Fahrenheit 451. Next
the books will be
burned and anyone
with any sense at all
shall be imprisoned,
killed, or banished to
the fringes of the
cities. A new person
will take their places.
Sleek, metallic,
empty. Able to take
any order without
question. Never
a correction,
disagreement, or
argument about
higher salary. No
need for any salary
at all. Just work,
work: work! Life’s
new purpose to
work. Endless hours
without question,
or personal benefit.
The perfect race.
Coming soon to
a town near you.

Secrets of the Damned
I get another
form rejection
from the same
Los Angeles
editor. Was
sure this would
finally be the
one. Feeling
like he stabbed
through my
heart with a
long burning
quill pointed
straight to
hell. Finished
reading the first
novel by the
great Los
Angeles writer
(that grew up in
snowy Denver)
with a full smile
and tickled soul
a few hours later.
A book filled
with honesty and
passion like no
other. Bandini!
Self-taught writer!
Published in
The American
Mercury and
Atlantic Monthly!
Signing his name
as his hero, Knut
Hamsun. Hating
Drinking buddy
of Thornton
Wilder and
William Saroyan.
Stopped writing
after releasing 2
of the greatest
titles of the
modern age to
pen screenplays
for successful
films he refused
to give his name
to. John, I wish
I could say
otherwise, but
nothing has
changed. The
worst writers
still get all
the publishing
deals. Constantly
hearing how
far we have
come. We will
know how far we
have really come
when the books
finally become
readable and the
best writers don't
need to work as
taxi drivers,
cannery workers,
sailors, ushers,
security guards,
store clerks,
janitors, deck
hands or
Regardless, all
that is in the
blurry distance
now fortunately.
Thank you,
Mr Fante, for
lighting this
dark unfortunate
day with such
brave, timeless
words. Steering
my pummelled
soul once more
from death to

Brenton Booth lives in Sydney, Australia. His poetry has appeared in New York Quarterly, Chiron Review, North Dakota Quarterly, Main Street Rag, Naugatuck River Review, Van Gogh's Ear, and Nerve Cowboy. He has two full length collections available from Epic Rites Press.