Stephen Daniels – three poems


I struggle to live with you,
throughout the day, I find it easy
to ignore you. I grind down hard
refuse to accept the discomfort.

When we try to sleep together
the hurt increases, it’s unavoidable,
we desire different things.

You have to leave,
but beg with nerve-
ending pleas to stay.

The only outcome is extraction –
root removal.

To dig deep into me,
the only thing holding us together
scrape out everything
that lets me know you are there.

I am saying goodbye
and I’m not sure how to feel.

I will miss the function you performed
the sensation of you being there.

I will notice the space you leave. I’ll fail
to recall how unhappy you made me.

Forget how I used to lie awake
concerned about the damage

you were causing.


You were all top and I all bottom, which should have made it easy
as I shuffled past you. I wondered where
to put my hands and If you
were thinking the same
as your hands
from one
to the other,
the moments in between.
I placed my hands behind me and looked
at you. This unsure smile we shared, as you apologised.

To the cat

that sits in the front window
all day. I see you relaxed
with each paw firmly in place,
your knowing grin
or is that your cat mouth,
it looks like a smirk as I trundle
past on my way to work.

I can’t understand
how you sit in the same spot –
without a cubicle or a screen
to stare at. Without having someone
barking orders all day,
and no vending machine
to keep you going.

As I return I wonder about your worries
about the dog-eat-cat world
you live in and how each passing pet
admires you, every cat wants to be you
and every dog wants you.
You are unmoved.
The taxidermist’s prize specimen.

Stephen Daniels is the editor of Amaryllis Poetry and Strange Poetry websites. His poetry has been published in numerous magazines and websites. His debut pamphlet, Tell Mistakes I Love Them, was published in 2017 by V. Press. Find out more at


Stephen Daniels – two poems

The first person I ever hated…

was nine and had serrated breath
her vice like wit held me captured

O! The tearing of personality
she inflicted with each prod

left me chasing her charm
around the playground like a dog

there were times when she
would sew my social status

into the skins of my enemies
continually provoking a chase

I caught her one day
and my hands felt her shoulders

after years of pursuit
my position was now fixed

in retaliation for all the ridicule
and embarrassment she now dismissed

we scowled at each other
then shared our first kiss

You lay on the floor, waiting for me

When I accused you of being dead,
I thought you’d smile.
I thought you’d look up and mock me.

When I accused you of being dead,
I looked at the coffee table,
I threw the coasters at you and waited for a twitch.

When I accused you of being dead,
I touched my arm, the way you sometimes did.
I closed my eyes with your fingers.

When I accused you of being dead,
I pulled at the rug,
I waved its ripples towards you, waiting for you to give up your pretence.

When I accused you of being dead,
I took the deepest breath, inflating silence.
I released the moment slowly.

When I accused you of being dead,
I pointed the remote control at your head.
I pressed the buttons – on, on, on, volume up, brightness up.

When I accused you of being dead,
I shivered, a back of the neck brush.
I let the cold linger on my words.

When I accused you of being dead,
I tickled your toes, your still toes.
I waited for you, you could never resist laughing.

When I accused you of being dead,
I coughed, rasping reason.
I clung to my trembling.

Stephen Daniels is the editor of Amaryllis Poetry  and the Secretary for Poetry Swindon. His poetry has been published in various magazines and websites, including The Interpreter’s House, Ink Sweat & Tears, And Other Poems and The Fat Damsel. You can find out more at and @stephendaniels