April – Stephen Daniels

small high res




Her satin body nestles, close
to breath and temptation.

Between my intentions, my desires,
alongside your indentations.

I used to care about her
movements, how she would rest   

in a high corner of our bedroom,
waiting for the light.

Occasionally, I find her children
in the wardrobe. They sit   

between cotton and wool,
take turns to bite the fabric.

To escape the moments I would wave
a hand in her direction.    

Now she lies next to me,
asks me to touch her.   

I reach over, tease
the tip of my finger   

lightly on her body,
watch her disappear into dust.


Previously published in Picaroon Poetry
Taken from forthcoming V.Press pamphlet ‘Tell Mistakes I Love Them’.



negative version




I imagine you
are splintering

I don’t touch you
to save my fingers
and my evenings

squeezing tweezers
removing your remnants   


Previously published in The Interpreter’s House
Taken from forthcoming V.Press pamphlet ‘Tell Mistakes I Love Them’.







My dad swam down the street;
the first time he was pushed.
His shadow rippled,
like an unshakeable eel,
wriggling to remove the clinging reef.

Our second separation was more believable;
he stared down the channel,
on the look-out for stray boats
and memories of the sea,
saw anything but me.  

Distance un-packed moments,
as mum filled a cup of tea for dad
to drown in. Now I see
him sitting on a box,
drifting away from the shore.

Taken from forthcoming V.Press pamphlet ‘Tell Mistakes I Love Them’.



green versiongg



Calling Occupants
After the ’78, “The world will be mine”

Our Moon is falling to Earth, to crush
our lakes and make a lust-sized crater. Its form

will warp,
will tremble,
will shake, until collision. A ring
will be proof, and its voice
will vow ‘The world
will be mine’. It
will unleash,
will release a provocation, no more eclipsing or being eclipsed. The dust and ice remains
will be their halo. Today the Earth
will reclaim its body. The space between
will disappear and everyone
will wonder

why distance could not be kept,
why urges were not suppressed.



Holding on

Edges of light warm the bed.
Indentations remain, remind me,

you were here. I pretend
the pillow is you,

as I grip, my hands
around its neck and squeeze.



large high ress



reason to run

reason to run #1
to escape or hide
i did everything they claimed
all things worth finding are hidden
deeper than most people are willing to search
when i told you my mistakes we both stopped staring

reason to run #2
liberty or freedom
i am privileged my feet don’t hurt
i once ran until my knees started
aching and my leg muscles broke
i felt like you wanted less than i did

reason to run #3
pursuit or chase
there was this girl at school
who would squeeze my arm until it hurt
reaching the place you targeted and slowing down
i knew you were close behind which is why i didnt retreat

reason to run #4
fitness or health
i weighed myself today
i have fat all over my body
but the leanest of limbs
my arms were tired

reason to run #5
competition or winning
my best lap time was fifty two seconds
sometimes going around in a circle
is the same as moving forward
a medal is not always a symbol of success







I watch you make tea and I see
plantation workers in Kenya, every pull
of a leaf from the plant, each fistful
of flavour, their Rooibos coloured palms.

I watched your mum make tea, how she
flash-brewed it, ensuring flavour remained
in each bag, trying to save money on milk.

I see the waiter make tea and the way you wait
patiently for the perfect five-minute brew,
carefully pour each drop.

I watch your brother make tea at your mum’s funeral,
see his hands shake at the burden to replicate
this standard, or the loss of a parent whose tea
failed to live up to the farmer’s labour.

I see everyone making tea, with their milk first,
no water first, with their as it comes, or their strong
with no sugar, with their builder’s brew, and wonder
if we should all demand more from our tea.


bent metal bench

blue as obesity
stretched into shape

each rusted crease
creaks on each seat
solemn strained pose

early years mock
the breaking bars
of burly elders

now its torso waits
for heavy-loaded passengers
to place over-indulged pressure

into every aching scar
to maintain its figure



Stephen Daniels is the editor of Amaryllis Poetry (www.amaryllispoetry.co.uk) and Strange Poetry (www.strange-poetry.com). His poetry has been widely published in numerous magazines and websites, including The Interpreter’s House, Obsessed With Pipework, Ink Sweat & Tears, And Other Poems, The Lake, Clear Poetry, Picaroon Poetry, The Fat Damsel and Three Drops from a Cauldron. You can find out more at www.stephenkirkdaniels.com or follow him on twitter (@stephendaniels). His poetry pamphlet ‘Tell Mistakes I Love Them’ is published by V. Press in 2017.