My Éireann by Stewart Stafford

My Éireann by Stewart Stafford

Éireann is my maiden,
Titian grace spun gold,
Fêted for her fairness,
A goddess sacrificed.

All-seeing eye of piety,
But mauled with scars,
In repose and melding,
With the ire of the land.

In perennial motion,
Rivers meet the sea,
Gaze upon a dark pool,
Soubrette for new suitors.

© Stewart Stafford, 2022. All rights reserved.

Dying Hours by Stewart Stafford

Dying Hours by Stewart Stafford

All debts were settled on Christmas Eve,
Fail to do so, and there’d be no reprieve,
In the dying flame of a guttering candle,
Monies got paid, and cash got handled.

When the last customer left to journey home,
Quinn, the shop owner, found himself alone,
He stared at pooling shadows, no one there,
Told himself to hurry, be with those who care.

As he closed up, something screamed out,
A figure from out of the dark began to shout,
A man with no eyes begged alms for the dead,
Or any old soup with a thick slice of bread.

Quinn said he was a business, not a charity,
The man’s eyes opened with some clarity,
“Very well,” the man said, “Nothing’s free,”
“I’ll drag your soul to Hell, come with me!”

© Stewart Stafford, 2022. All rights reserved. 

Throne In Confusion by Stewart Stafford

Throne In Confusion by Stewart Stafford

The sacked castle casts smoke on the lake,
Cinders’ glow distinguishes it from the mist,
The only gallows the noble knights adorned,
Were ones lowering them onto their steeds.

Thundering warhorses charged the enemy,
Storming across such a gallant battlefield,
Mortal combat with axe, blade and sword,
For king, country and all of Heaven’s glory.

Intruders rush over a downed drawbridge,
Rotten and riddled in darkness incarnate,
To a peregrinating, riderless throne room,
A neophyte sovereign in gold leaf crown.

© Stewart Stafford, 2022. All rights reserved

The Calling by Stewart Stafford

The Calling by Stewart Stafford

Lightning-scorched gravestones,
Leave and follow infinity’s call,
Spring off the edge of Flat Earth,
Know not what lies there and fall.

Silence licks and speaks in tongues,
Darkness the ferryman leading on,
Fingers caress, scraping skin curses,
Talisman whispers the way is gone.

Hit the bottom and scream out for air,
Fill the lungs with each noxious gas,
Decide to rest some in poisoned sleep,
Nourish yourself in an extended fast.

© Stewart Stafford, 2022. All rights reserved.

Hidden Halls by Stewart Stafford

Hidden Halls by Stewart Stafford

Hail the dark prince,
An apostle of perfidy,
Great cull’s architect,
Lavish secret funding.

Wrong horse backed,
Crown shards buried,
Knights get sanctuary,
Sullied pasts shrouded.

Ultra kingdom subjects,
Bloody, unwashed hands,
Eliminating in full denial,
That the bacillus was them.

© Stewart Stafford, 2022. All rights reserved.

Unholy by Stewart Stafford

Unholy by Stewart Stafford

Horrors walk from out a dream,
Apparitions dare reality’s seam,
Gnarly fingers excavate blame,
Sanity stolen in a hellish flame.

No way to think or even breathe,
Or kind worldly goods bequeath,
For Time’s skeletal fingers snap,
Catching souls in a fiendish trap.

Visions boxed, then assail again,
A phantom grin is no one’s friend,
Gasp out awakening perspiration,
Sun falls in creeping desperation.

© Stewart Stafford, 2022. All rights reserved.

Boeing To Gravity by Stewart Stafford

Boeing To Gravity by Stewart Stafford

Tumbling down a hill,
An upside-down idyll,
No time to make a will,
If prematurely killed.

And as you tumble down,
Slowly fades your frown,
Falling ankle over crown,
Rolling all the way to town.

Reach the end with a bump,
Sporting that fetching lump,
And to your feet, you jump,
As excited fists both pump.

© Stewart Stafford, 2022. All rights reserved

In Sanguine Ascendancy by Stewart Stafford

In Sanguine Ascendancy by Stewart Stafford

Courage is your meat and mead,
For fortune’s fighter guaranteed,
Mighty grows the meekest seed,
Hear the charter is now decreed.

Use every instrument of state,
Crown, sceptre, orb and mace,
In virtuous nobility to legislate,
A legacy endowed to celebrate.

A childless king is a man of straw,
No heirs to follow, a dynasty raw,
Take fair hand with beauty awed,
Bloodline safe in a dragon’s maw.

© Stewart Stafford, 2022. All rights reserved.

The Sniper Bird by Stewart Stafford

The Sniper Bird by Stewart Stafford

“Look out!” the crowd shouted to me,
“There’s a Sniper Bird in those trees!”
A whooshing sound shot past my ears,
Making me duck down to my knees.

He must have gone rogue, I reckoned,
Someone cheated him over birdseed,
Then he took a squirrel as his hostage,
Get a negotiator quickly up those trees.

He threw up his wings and surrendered,
They brought him down in a gilded cage,
Never again sniping at innocent people,
He studies elocution with a parrot sage.

© Stewart Stafford, 2022. All rights reserved

In This Darkness by Stewart Stafford

In This Darkness by Stewart Stafford

A limo drove through mansion gates,
Rock star John saw her wait again,
Hysterically begging for autographs,
The gates closed behind the limo.

John said stop, and exited the car,
“I’ll sign it for you tomorrow, 100%,”
“No,” she said, “sign tonight… now,”
He strode towards his home gates.

He rummaged in his coat pockets,
Ripping a cigarette packet to sign,
He found a tiny pencil in his pants,
Trailing breath vapour in the night.

“I can’t see you in this darkness,”
A chilling laugh from the fan’s side,
Three muzzle flashes, John died,
Contorted on a bloody driveway.

© Stewart Stafford, 2022. All rights reserved. 

The Pressure Cooker by Stewart Stafford

The Pressure Cooker by Stewart Stafford

We arrive at the sweltering park,
And disturb a larcenous squirrel,
Trash can raider with easy spoils,
He scampers away down the back.

Solo lady in the gazebo watches,
An outdoor Mrs. Bates silhouette,
As a tuft of angel hair rolls along,
I give the thirsty baby hydration.

Transfixed by a burst helium balloon,
Rocking itself to the unheard beats,
Arid breeze, now ceiling conductor,
Our squirrel pal returns to spy on us.

Text and photograph: © Stewart Stafford, 2022. All rights reserved.

Monkstown Hospital by Stewart Stafford

Monkstown Hospital by Stewart Stafford

My first time away from Mam,
Tonsillectomy at six years old,
Teddy bear fights Action Man,
Pinball Pocketeer for company.

Silver torch lights the dark hours,
A miniscule pack of playing cards,
A made-up game played undercover,
My best guess of what picture follows.

An older man awaits surgery too,
Seeing that I’m alone and scared,
He draws pictures to amuse me or,
We watch “funnies” in the TV room.

Waking from the operation in the bed,
Congealed blood covers my pyjamas,
My mother makes her shock known,
We go home for my First Communion.

© Stewart Stafford, 2022. All rights reserved.

Vex Not The Maiden by Stewart Stafford

Vex Not The Maiden by Stewart Stafford

Let me pluck you from the quarrel,
Resplendent in that emblazoned ire,
How those weighty bosoms heave so,
Ocular infernos fade to stilled vision.

Now cooled lava from a molten flow,
This Chimera, caged within frail bars,
Claws retracted, a threat contained,
Primed to lash out in snarling attacks.

Perforce, the maritime Kraken rages,
In incendiary spray and tentacled fury,
Devouring anyone in her watery path,
Dragging prey down to Hadean depths.

© Stewart Stafford, 2022. All rights reserved.

Netherworld by Stewart Stafford

Netherworld by Stewart Stafford

A haunted apparition came to me,
It was a vortex swirling in a tree,
Leaves sucked back in a vacuum,
A portal to many an ancient tomb.

An occult occurrence so strange,
Of an accursed vision to derange,
Spirits hiding in the vapour folds,
Bony fingers point a way foretold.

Shadows slowly depart and return,
As hail lashes and winds do burn,
Fiery lightning erupts from within,
The thunder cracking heralds ruin.

Souls arose from a deep plague pit,
Becoming the signal to flee and quit,
And out of the chapel graveyard, I ran,
To warm embraces of a welcome clan.

© Stewart Stafford, 2022. All rights reserved 

Let It Bee by Stewart Stafford

Let It Bee by Stewart Stafford

I once was a bee,
All striped and dorky,
I got crushed underfoot,
By Amber Heard’s Yorkie.

It mashed my wings,
I never sought money,
Even when it made me,
Poop out some honey.

As I flew to Bee Heaven,
In a mystical fog,
She made such a fuss,
Of that murdering dog.

© Stewart Stafford, 2022. All rights reserved.

Johnny’s Shitemare by Stewart Stafford

Johnny’s Shitemare by Stewart Staffor

Amber did shit in Johnny’s bed,
She did it while he was sleeping,
Right by Johnny’s head.

Stank awake on a mattress lumpy,
He saw what Amber had left him,
A hot, steaming grumpy.

Browned off, he leapt to his feet,
No dogs stained his manhood,
Or crapped on the sheet.

Now he’s sued her for defamation,
And they call her Amber Turd,
For her reckless defecation.

© Stewart Stafford, 2022. All rights reserved.

Opposites Attack by Stewart Stafford

Opposites Attack by Stewart Stafford

Winter’s eagle talons swoop,
Scratching sweet faces raw,
As battering waves file back,
The coast’s jagged teeth further.

Concerts of hedgerow angels,
Storm the dreaded demon field,
Dispensing ancient retribution,
Righting wrongs along the way.

Gladiatorial combat in the Heavens,
Lightning’s fiery net crashes against,
Thunder’s convulsing cloaking shield,
And the rainstorm’s flogging garlands.

© Stewart Stafford, 2022. All rights reserved.

Champion Spirit by Stewart Stafford

Champion Spirit by Stewart Stafford

When Freddie Mercury passed away,
Where did his spirit go to play?
Zanzibar, Feltham, or Wembley?
Or did he go and visit Brian May?

Did he stand at the mic in Montreux?
De Lane Lea, Trident, or to Tokyo?
Did he party in Munich, NY, or Rio?
Did his purring cats watch him go?

Did he take a last look at Garden Lodge?
Or whisper a final joke to his old pal Rog?
Waves of affection were hard to dodge,
His superstar status will never dislodge.

© Stewart Stafford, 2022. All rights reserved

Once A Sister by Stewart Stafford

Once A Sister by Stewart Stafford

In a mirror, admirably still call yourself sister?
Of festering, viperine plot and scaling threat,
Cast your brother out as a street mongrel,
Then counted coins from his dwelling’s sale.

If this is a blood relative, yours is now poison,
And tears his, for none shall believe his truth,
That family acted so cruelly in his innocence,
What made his loved ones mortal enemies?

No apology will ever pass those lips, not one,
Explanations merely justify the unforgivable,
Sober fact imparts the brazen cuckoo nests,
With ignominy’s profits in bricks and mortar.

© Stewart Stafford, 2022. All rights reserved

From The Darkest Depths by Stewart Stafford

From The Darkest Depths by Stewart Stafford

Salvation swallowed in a bleak abyss,
Of impossibly lost and betrayed souls,
Swarming screams of frantic contrition,
Clawing collisions in a drowning grip.

Drops of reason cascade down the vortex,
Falling infinitely through the fallen infamy,
Snaking doubt constructing every delusion,
Of false idols, prophets, and graven images.

Scaling its putrescent and lacerating walls,
Is a repentant struggle beyond endurance,
Then distant dawn appears, growing nearer,
Darkness fades and a basking reign forms.

© Stewart Stafford, 2022. All rights reserved.

The Blood Supper by Stewart Stafford

The Blood Supper by Stewart Stafford

Nightcrawler leaves their dirt bed,
Seeking an essential blood supper,
Cloaked in regal Stygian armour,
Bar one chink in the left chest area.

All the experience of centuries used,
Lives lived long before their victims,
Stalking stacked in a predator’s favour,
Shock overwhelms when blindsided.

The infected victim then becomes one,
With their undead attacker, connected,
Sharing their contagion and obsessions,
In a parasitic void betwixt life and death.

© Stewart Stafford, 2022. All rights reserved.

Currency Affairs by Stewart Stafford

Currency Affairs by Stewart Stafford

Monies lent with warm smiles of trust,
Are debts collected at a dagger thrust,
Gold shipped home from battles worst,
Are taxes paid to the mermaid’s purse.

Whoever seeks to locate buried treasure,
Digs their own grave by merest measure,
Wealth bequeathed, deceased’s pleasure,
Forfeited by greed, a dead countermeasure.

Cupidity looms outside a counting house,
Alimony spat out to a prenup-free spouse,
Bankruptcy declared by a profligate louse,
Dermatitis creams for itchy hands do douse.

© Stewart Stafford, 2022. All rights reserved.

Mists of Pendle by Stewart Stafford

Mists of Pendle by Stewart Stafford

Lightning’s eye flickers through the fog,
As thunder’s blasting baritone backs,
The keening lost souls on Pendle Hill,
Executed in the wrong for witchcraft.

Killed on the say-so of a nine-year-old,
In 1612, yet the accusations echo still,
Pardon requests have gone unanswered,
Still, no justice for The Pendle “Witches.”

Give them peace so they may rest finally,
Though no one knows their burial place,
Silence the cawing crow of false witness,
Cleanse the stain of wickedness from them.

© Stewart Stafford, 2022. All rights reserved

Prisoner Of Paradise by Stewart Stafford

Prisoner Of Paradise by Stewart Stafford

I am a prisoner of a desert isle,
Reality but a waking nightmare,
My life before, a surreal memory,
Will I ever taste freedom again?

Why can the sun move freely,
Across the Heavens and I not?
Why can sea and air creatures,
Do as they please while I watch?

A boy dropped pebbles in streams,
Now he throws rocks at the sea,
That incessant nemesis laps still,
The rattling keys of my watery jail.

Enough sand to count time itself,
Yet time no longer exists here,
Stretching all sanity out to infinity,
A smashed hourglass as a home.

So long since I have witnessed,
A smiling face or any face at all,
Perpetrator or victim of a crime?
It must have been a previous life.

Does anyone remember my face?
Or consider me alive and search?
Such thoughts bring on madness,
Burn them out with a tranquil fire.

© Stewart Stafford, 2022. All rights reserved.

Double You by Stewart Stafford

Double You by Stewart Stafford

Life can make a twin of you,
When you occupy the same air,
You can’t feel them twinning you,
Until your doppelgänger’s there.

You’re twice the Sapien you were,
Cloned and replicated new fellows,
You’re not feeling yourself just now,
Feats and phrases are all echoes.

But if someone seeks out a quote,
You tell them to ask the mirror you,
Only things trumping who you are,
Are you and matching Double You.

© Stewart Stafford, 2022. All rights reserved. 

Where All Roads Lead by Stewart Stafford

Where All Roads Lead by Stewart Stafford

As I journeyed toward Rome,
On the dusty road, I passed,
Beggars, lepers, soothsayers,
And dogs foaming at the mouth.

Through the fresh mountain pass,
Then the long descending road,
Temperature rising with each step,
Anticipation grew with the heat.

Class of companion changed,
Upon nearing the city of cities,
I heard talk of gladiators, and,
Barges of Venuses on the Tiber.

Thunder and before my eyes,
Stood a vision of distant Rome,
The curve of the Colosseum,
Teeming humanity to and fro.

© Stewart Stafford, 2022. All rights reserved.

Ode To A Spider’s Web by Stewart Stafford

Ode To A Spider’s Web by Stewart Stafford

O to dwell in the skeletal palace,
Of the spider’s ceiling cobweb and,
Spy on all as none can spy on you,
An arachnid deity astride the world.

Even with many eyes to see things,
It’s blind to those monstrous features,
Nimble, lean legs, as wicked fingers,
Weave a webbed masterpiece home.

Outdone by his garden cousin’s web,
With backlit, bejewelled beads of dew,
Undulating in a tepid, animating breeze,
The house spider is a satisfied squatter.

© Stewart Stafford, 2022. All rights reserved.

Stanley Kubrick: The Thing About Violence

Like Orson Welles, another great film director, Stanley Kubrick was not prolific in his career, making less than a dozen feature films and a few documentaries. Kubrick’s movie projects were always meticulously chosen. (His secretary remembers jumping whenever Kubrick rejected novels as movie projects by hurling them at his office wall one after another.)

Whether he was aware of it or not, Stanley Kubrick did seem to have a preoccupation with violence and its origins. The obvious starting point are the ape-men sequences at the start of 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968), where we seem to witness one of the first murders in history. Kubrick’s 1951 documentary, The Big Fight, is about a boxing match. Then we come to depictions of violent crime in The Killing (1956) and A Clockwork Orange (1971). There is also the sexual violence of the rape scenes in A Clockwork Orange and what would today be called paedophilia and toxic masculinity in Lolita (1962). The violence of war in Paths of Glory (!957), Dr. Strangelove or How I Learned To Stop Worrying And Love The Bomb (1964), Barry Lyndon (1975), and Full Metal Jacket (1987). And the violence of relationships in The Shining (1980) (physical, psychological and emotional) and Eyes Wide Shut (1999) (emotional). Even HAL, the spaceship’s computer in 2001, has homicidal tendencies.

Kubrick was also interested in exploring how violence affects the mind. We see that more in his later films like A Clockwork Orange, where we almost feel sympathy for the amoral thug Alex when he gets mentally and physically tortured by the future state he lives in to recondition him to be “normal.” “I was cured all right!” Alex quips sarcastically at the end of it all.

Then there is the descent into madness of Jack Torrance in The Shining and Private Pyle in Full Metal Jacket. When all three characters are at their most evil, they do the infamous Kubrick Gaze or Stare.

Press play above.

I also have a theory that Kubrick was doing his versions of Shakespeare’s plays. Spartacus being his Henry V (featuring the star and director of the 1944 Henry V movie, Laurence Olivier), A Clockwork Orange his Richard III, and The Shining his Macbeth. You could also argue that Eyes Wide Shut and its themes of marital jealousy and perceived female infidelity echo Othello and The Winter’s Tale. (Let’s not forget that Shakespeare was another artist interested in exploring violence as evidenced in the bloodbath of Titus Andronicus and the putting out of the old man Gloucester’s eyes in King Lear“Out, vile jelly!”) It’s such a pity we never got to see an actual Kubrick adaptation of Shakespeare. What would have resulted from this meeting of great minds? We’ll never know, and it probably wouldn’t have interested Kubrick to go over such well-trodden ground as The Bard’s plays.

In another similarity with Orson Welles, he and Kubrick died at 70. By being spartan in their output, they never gave us a chance to get bored with them. They always left us wanting more (in the grand showbiz tradition). I think of them smoking cigars and watching and critiquing films together in the Great Movie Theatre in the sky.

Text: © Stewart Stafford, 2022. All rights reserved.

Stanley Kubrick Photograph: Allstar Picture Library/Alamy

All other photographs © Warner Bros Pictures

The Springtime Guest by Stewart Stafford

The Sprigtime Guest by Stewart Stafford

From winter’s wounded sleep,
Dear Nature rouses itself again,
Bearing no ill will for the scars,
Timely movement blooms again.

Bursting colour, praising birdsong,
Easy smiles when sprightly of step,
Lambs and cats frolic in sunny play,
Banishing winter’s despair for now.

Welcome warm kisses on the wind,
Summer’s young sibling promises,
Much more to come in rolling time,
With comfort in the heart of progress.

© Stewart Stafford, 2022. All rights reserved.

A Most Violent Boy by Stewart Stafford

A Most Violent Boy by Stewart Stafford

Born with a knife in his teeth,
He threatened all at his birth,
Until in a moment of lucidity,
He reconsidered his actions.

He went walking with his mother,
Swearing to break the legs of passersby,
His mother said they meant no harm,
So he offered to break their ankles.

He said he’d cut out the tongues,
Of everyone asking his name,
On his first day at school,
Then he ran for class president.

Thus, a politician was born,
Becoming his party’s Alpha,
Fiercely attacking opponents,
Then negotiating with a wry smile.

© Stewart Stafford, 2022. All rights reserved.

The Winter King by Stewart Stafford

The Winter King by Stewart Stafford

With no fanfare, he returned,
A blizzard in the hedgerow,
Of a chamber servant’s bloodline,
To claim the throne for himself.

With the felling of Richard Crookback,
In fortuitous battle, the refugee,
Swept to power with mercenaries,
And a ragtag group of supporters.

Then coronation and consolidation,
Sullying the previous fallen king,
Marrying well the thorns of disunity,
Into the bilateral, prudent Tudor rose.

© Stewart Stafford, 2022. All rights reserved.

Ladybird Heart by Stewart Stafford

Ladybird Heart by Stewart Stafford

O darling o’ my heart,
If ’tis true that is what thou art,
Then recognise and see me.

Didst I not win thy heart so bold,
And giveth thee rings of gold?
Anon, honour our precious union.

But to interfering teams,
Thy loyalty now it seems,
Thee grants these canker blossoms o’er me.

Recall how they hath tried,
To jilt me from mine own bride,
And keepest thou lonesome and melancholy.

So, returneth, my dove,
To this, thy bed of love,
And sleep soundly beneath thy lovebird’s wing.

© Stewart Stafford, 2022. All rights reserved.

The Abundant Chamber by Stewart Stafford

The Abundant Chamber by Stewart Stafford

Divest yourself of sword and coin,
And burn all your illusions and airs,
Let the cave mouth swallow you,
Go willingly into its dark recesses.

A comforting seashell to the ear,
There is no sound out of place,
Stillness a vast garment grounded,
Encroaching ambiance calms.

Now look within and take stock,
Have you reached your apotheosis?
Be cleansed by pure water pools,
Then become reborn to the light.

© Stewart Stafford, 2022. All rights reserved.

If Time Never Flew by Stewart Stafford

If Time Never Flew by Stewart Stafford

If a horologist froze time at dusk,
And there was no day or night,
Or days, months, and years,
What then for Earth’s masters?

Winged time stilled in a bell jar,
A castaway preserved in aspic,
Or stickily-entombed in amber,
Statuesque life an infinite daymare.

Boredom creeping up slowly,
A lockdown without progress,
The horologist would thaw time,
Freeing reality’s ebb and flow.

© Stewart Stafford, 2022. All rights reserved.

The Green Man by Stewart Stafford

The Green Man by Stewart Stafford

Passing dense woods,
I saw monstrous briars,
And stopped to pick blackberries,
As I had with my grandma.

It was then my horse reared up,
Knocking me headlong into thorns,
I hit the rock wall, and it collapsed,
On top of me, trapping me there.

A cold-eyed man passed by,
Glaring at me from horseback,
He assumed I was drunk,
And bid me go sleep it off.

Darkness fell, and I grew weary,
A giant figure stood before me,
With moss-like green fur all over,
I thought it was my death for sure.

It reached for me, and I screamed,
But it slowly began freeing me,
From my stony prison and was gone,
I retrieved my horse and fled.

© Stewart Stafford, 2022. All rights reserved.

A Remembrance Of Fair Anna by Stewart Stafford

A Remembrance Of Fair Anna by Stewart Stafford

Here we commemorate Anna,
Remembrance of a fair maiden,
Whose ravishing, stellar beauty,
Matched her munificent heart.

Her porcelain dimples echoed,
With her angelic voice and,
Many declarations of love,
Atheists swore on bibles.

Some tried denying her breath,
Or self-harming at losing her,
Her children became her life,
Worthy shavings of her virtue.

© Stewart Stafford, 2022. All rights reserved.

A Tyrant’s Stratagem by Stewart Stafford

A Tyrant’s Stratagem by Stewart Stafford

Though these dulled cobblestones,
Be my dumb conspirators, nevertheless,
Their horrified objections shall be as muted,
As their stunned pauses upon my victories.

I shall be as the predators that strike,
In forests, jungles, oceans, and skies,
Inflicting myself on others as I please,
Without warning or crawling expiation.

Then the disdainful dogs that cocked their legs,
Shall kiss the boots that soaked up their mess,
And curse where they relieved themselves,
For relief shall be their banished sensation.

© Stewart Stafford, 2022. All rights reserved.

The Great Carouser by Stewart Stafford

The Great Carouser by Stewart Stafford

The Great Carouser approaches,
His belly as stacked cheddar rolls,
Used as a springboard for lust,
And a battering ram for tavern doors.

Shrieks of terror and welcome,
Greet his arrival with ale demands,
Tankards clank and merriment begins,
Lewd ditties and jokes by the bar.

Balancing acts on tables,
With tongues held hostage,
By braggadocio squatters,
In an intoxicated stranglehold.

Slurred speech and equilibrium loss,
Signal festivities end for the gang,
Staggering out into the starlit street,
Partners on each arm for shady exertions.

Then waking as if mauled by a bear,
A quick drink and a greasy feast initiated,
For the strange girls snoring in his bed,
The Great Carouser has struck again.

© Stewart Stafford, 2022. All rights reserved.

Pariah Luggage by Stewart Stafford

Pariah Luggage by Stewart Stafford

I am the last piece of luggage,
On the baggage carousel,
If there’s a suitcase deity,
It has cursed and forsaken me.

I see the excited faces drop,
Blank me and turn away,
And around I go yet again,
Condemned to ovoid limbo.

The stumbling supermodel,
On a mortification catwalk,
Bursting at badly-taped seams,
Spilling contents everywhere.

On my next lap of shame,
Those same faces show pity,
For the uninvited leper guest,
At life’s most fugacious “party.”

© Stewart Stafford, 2022. All rights reserved.

The Cryptic Sea by Stewart Stafford

The Cryptic Sea by Stewart Stafford

Walk free through Jailer’s Gate,
Sail to where corporeal forms fade,
No longer seen as a common cutpurse,
Now in a navigational cut-and-thrust.

Note how the ocean heaves and boils,
Swirling into towering vortex coils,
With hideous creatures at every base,
Bearing the haunting Kraken’s face.

Great ghost ships groan from the mist,
And balls of light form fast betwixt,
The horizon and the sea spray foam,
Save us all and set sail for home.

© Stewart Stafford, 2022. All rights reserved.

Some Cutting Advice by Stewart Stafford

Some Cutting Advice by Stewart Stafford

Before you pick up your knife,
To run your enemy through,
Know the entry wound bleeds red,
And the exit thrust bleeds blue.

Not because they are of noble birth,
But they are protected by a mighty hand,
Not just of those moneyed and influential,
But the mightiest hands in all the land.

So stab with caution, I urge you,
For the blade jabs back in your gut,
Swallow the bile that fuels you so,
Lest it be your throat you cut.

© Stewart Stafford, 2022. All rights reserved.

Midnight’s Toll by Stewart Stafford

Midnight’s Toll by Stewart Stafford

As the lungs of our world burn,
SS Nero crashes on plastic rocks,
Kamikaze Captain Mann at the helm,
Safety is beyond our salvation.

As a loved one cruelly disfigured,
By a crazed passerby in the street,
The house we once loved as life,
Now a distant, renovated stranger.

Midnight’s toll becomes due,
The malicious piper paid in full,
Only desolation, bones and dust,
Our necropolis legacy to the future.

© Stewart Stafford, 2022. All rights reserved.

A Splash of Accusation by Stewart Stafford

A Splash of Accusation by Stewart Stafford

The discovery of foul play,
The equivalent of cold coffee,
Unknowingly drank to the last drop,
With a sickening, bitter aftertaste.

Then sifting through the dregs,
At the bottom of the mug,
A veritable reading of tea leaves,
Or a casting of the runes.

Then the coffee reheats,
The boiling point reached,
To confront the murderer,
With a splash of accusation.

© Stewart Stafford, 2022. All rights reserved.

Night’s Pleasure Veil by Stewart Stafford

Night’s Pleasure Veil by Stewart Stafford

A kiss, that beauteous wound,
Struck by love’s yielding blade,
Feel the arrow’s welcome strike,
As we roam in life’s ecstatic glade.

Memories momentarily wiped,
As the lover’s lips become parted,
Then at sea again in sensory squalls,
Where passion’s spark first started.

A stranger interrupts adoration’s swell,
Desire’s mask of reality swiftly donned,
Vows to reunify in night’s pleasure veil,
Longing looks, and the flames are gone.

© Stewart Stafford, 2022. All rights reserved.

Writing, life and whatever takes my fancy at any given moment.

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