Poems by Steve Williams

Talking Earth Anthology:  Steve Williams


Steve Williams works and lives in Portland, Oregon.  Together 

with his partner, poet Constance Hall,  he hosts  a reading series

at In Other Words bookstore, a free,  open to the public critique

 group, an online workshop forum -- www.wildpoetryforum.com

 (for 12 years now), and a monthly creative writing workshop 

in an assisted living center.  



 A Hunger

Bobby Sands died on the sixty-sixth day of hunger strike… He had spent almost the last nine years of his life in prison because of his Irish republican activities.  From:  A day in my life – by Bobby Sands

We are the unfiltered faggots, the martyred ice of Belfast .
We are a mattress of maggots under a body of screws*.
We are bloated flies pierced by the bayonets of swallows.
We are snow through iron bars under shit-smeared feet.
We are British thumbs spreading our own anus.
We are ragged blankets made of bruised blood.

We are British thumbs made of bruised blood.
We are snow, the martyred ash of Belfast .
We are ragged blankets spreading our own anus.
We are a mattress of maggots under the threads of screws.
We are faggots passed through iron bars over shit-smeared feet.
We are bloated flies skewered by the bayonets of swallows.

Are we a mattress of maggots skewered by starving swallows?
Are we snow through iron bars of blood?
Are we ragged blankets over shit-smeared feet?
Are we British thumbs, the martyred ice of Belfast ?
Are we bloated flies under a body of screws?
Are we burning faggots spreading our own anus?

We are British thumbs corking our own anus.
We are charcoal faggots, the starvation of swallows.
We are a mattress of maggots eating the heads of screws.
We are ragged blankets woven of bruised blood.
We are bloated flies, the martyred shit of Belfast .
We are snow soft into iron eyes over lock-stepped feet.

We are snow soft through iron bones into hollow feet.
Are we British thumbs fucking our own anus?
We are a mattress of maggots, the crackling ice of Belfast .
We are bloated flies caught by the barbed hooks of swallows.

Are we blankets of Gaelic speaking of bruised blood?
We are the wives eating the lies of screws.

We are body screws.
We are iron feet.

We are Gaelic blood.
We are bolting shut our own anus.
We are barbed swallows.
We are eating Belfast .

 Hunger in Belfast is two feet
of charcoal snow, six screws, one anus,
a lit cigarette swallowed, brother blood.

                                         *screws: slang for prison guards
by Steve Williams 

first place winner Scratch Poetry Competition  Summer 2010



Complexity of Taste


Slip a sliver of dark chocolate onto tongue,

do not chew.  We push morsels against 

our cavity roofs, suck the sugar melt.


Bitter need trickles back, remembers

the cocoa bean, aroma of Sumatran coffee.

Saliva gathers on the tongue, asks for rococo.


Piquancy spreads above my teeth, 

wafts into my throat, 

up the back of smell.


She reclines over a chocolate mound, ribs rise

with her spine.  Pour Shiraz into the more of her.

I savor mouthfuls of truffles,


drool the wine into a pool, submerge her navel,

mingle the harvest of skin, sting, sugar, surprise –

tiny hairs tickle the tip of my tongue.


Beneath her, the confection softens, mixes,

ferments into rhythm oil – primitive pounding

of Delta blues.  We cry names


of unknown spirits, thrash in string bass vibrations.  

Our throats growl past ursine tongues, bodies 

smeared in petroglyphs of the wanton hunt.


We are cross-legged figures in our white

noise room, eyelids closed, meditating.


         from Skin Stretched Around the Hollow, Rattlesnake Press, 2007






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