Poetry: Selections from Steve Passey

Prophecy and Law, Motherfuckers

If you give one bum two dollars,
you don’t have to give anything to the rest.
I once almost married a woman
because of the way she looked in a thrift-store dress.
People get married for dumber reasons.
We could have made it, if we really wanted to try.
This is law, it seems.
No one cares about me.
No one cares about you.
I dream of this cat I had,
limp in a coyote’s jaws,
carried away on a bright September morning
into a wind-blown field of rye.
That is prophecy, motherfuckers,
everything ends just beyond your eye.
That bum I gave two dollars to?
He’s still there, hat out, open-mouthed,
one of the innumerable believers,
but now I just walk on by.

On Love

Her rule was:
Love, but only after you are loved,
and love a little less,
not a little more,
than the other.
This not to love at all,
and there is no love at all,
nor has there ever been.
there is the truth in this story,
all the rest is a lie, and
Cluster B and Purple Kush
and breaking out in hives.
It hurts,
it hurts,
but it was worth it.
Maybe that’s a lie,
but if I loved first, I loved first,
and if I loved more, I loved more.
I can remember the good times,
the Purple Kush and the anxiety, too,
no air, no air to breath, and
I can’t keep up, I am
begging, begging,
the anxiety like
the high.

Give Me the Shit that Killed Heath and River

I’d have to say that if I was there,
watching Heath sleep in the Styx and River twitching on the pavement,
I’d have turned to my guy and said to him:
If you’ve got any drugs like that,
whatever money I’ve got,
you can fucking have it.
Sometimes the semi comes,
blowing through the stop sign,
never touching the brakes,
but for the rest of us
we have to score some serious shit
to see what we can take.

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.