Michael P. Steven
New Zealand

motorway voices
beyond the window

are premonitions

you lost teeth
trying to forget,

slow fucking the city
in its stolen blue sleep

motorway voices
beyond the window

are love-letters

covered with
bloody fingerprints,

supplicants faltering
in genuflection

to unknown saints.

©Michael P. Steven 2006


It is the variable distance, between
two fixed points, one as close
as the other removed.
A burden of unknowing
the known burden,          
                             Laying back
in your cut, preparing some kind of demonstrative
resolve. The answer: always a lie, becomes the whisper
fed through thick-fingered hands—a question

self-guessing its origin.

©Michael P. Steven 2006

a journal entry on the subject of longing


the city is a maelstrom
of neon uncertainty

an evening
of false starts

an evening
falling short


moved (to tears)
by insomnia              

I leave my room
& wade thru pools
of midnight

searching tired streets
for places

to hide a million
daylight secrets


the Moon is a fleet-footed dancer,

her partners are parked cars
& sad iron roofs

she leaves them all
to follow me

I kiss her wrists
as she reaches for my face

©Michael P. Steven 2006

takaka to zero

Morning found us hung over & grimy
in a farmhouse attic, where
instead of sharing we fought each other
for the last cigarette.

In the soft alpenglow, I found my cue to split
leaving you alone at the gate
with your bad crank
your green pills
& your inadequacies.

I rested my head on a duffle bag
stuffed with books;
old clothes
& dirty memories,
in the passenger seat of a milk tanker;
the friendly driver stopping
out of fearful curiosity
to find me wild-eyed & thirsty
for ways to explain
the things I said I couldn‘t.

The palpable emptiness
of time & distance, our truck cabin silence
the endless black-top stretching
through mountains
& valleys
offering no plausible solution.
I thought only of McCahon's paintings
mapped across
your head & heart
as the sting of good-bye
settled upon my lip in Richmond.

©Michael P. Steven 2006

gold letters & flaming suns

A nameless face amongst many
it was easier
to walk the streets in suburbs
he had never known
than the one
he called home,
where he fell victim
to a particular brand of scrutiny—
the type only real money could ever buy
glaring out from behind
thick black sunglasses
embossed with gold letters &
flaming suns—worn by
those who rode in late-model
European cars
he would never own
& rested at night in palaces
in which he would probably never sleep.

© Michael Steven 2004

Bio: Born in !977, Michael has started and aborted English degrees at two of New Zealand's major universities.He has spent the last seven years living all over New Zealand, working as a labourer, dishwasher, and electrician.
Currently he lives an hour north of Auckland, where he is working on completing his first collection of poems.