Stephen Todd Booker

November 10, 2014 Booker Stephen Todd



It is well-past old hat and hurt

When having to feel the hooked barbs

Of who had angled for all of your faith,

All of your confidence, who’d kept insisting

To you that she was the epitome of trust,


While hot screws spun within your soul,

Scoring the life that you’d lived by your wits,

By your word, and the steel-tight bond

That had secured it as a code, for granted.

But don’t you dare define your hurt


Though feeling it from a long ways off,

For years (tipped off by her romance

With speeding on rain-slicked roads,

Her lust for coffee the consistency of mud,

And her icy baby-blues incubating grief),


The hatching of “You haven’t a clue,”

And, “I’m sure that I can look deep

Into your eyes and lie to you without

You ever catching on.”—How shabbily

A rube tries her hand at grifting


And turns into the mark.  But how satiny

Is consolation, remembering a black kitten

Rescued from freeze-drying in a snowbank,

At home, warm, dreaming of stampeding mice

She had never seen, her wee panther paws


Paddling the ethereal halo at the bosom

Of beauty, the Belgian Shepherd puppy

That adopted her and was also dreaming,

Her wolf paws fluttering, describing herding

Or corralling rabbits she believed were real.


With control as my quarry, my bristling

Needs working on, but I dream of a lamb

Backing away from its mates that are pushing

To gain ingress down a chute.  A belled goat

Stands off to the side with smirking men.



from The Reharkening (Black Mountain Press, NC., 2014)


Stephen Todd Booker, born in 1953is originally from Brooklyn, and has spent 38 years in prison, 34 on Death Row in Florida, where he started writing poetry. His work has appeared in numerous publications worldwide, most recently in the new renaissance, Mudlark, andWatershed. He’s the author of four collections: Waves and License (Greenfield Review Press); Tug (Wesleyan U. Press); & Swiftly, Deeper (Mandrake Poetry Press).  THE REHARKENING is his new book from Black Mountain Press, published this past spring (2014).