A Selection of Three Poems by Liam Michael Stainsby

Content Warning: References of Drug Use

The Graduate

First written the day after graduating from Northumbria University in 2015 – revised 2021.

Time slows –
when light abates.
Of the thousand dead –
why must I remain?
When I failed to witness,
that blinding truth?
The rock-star, graduate –
always high by noon.

If our age is in the ocean
and all this is left to chance.
Is this path I chose to follow –
just another doomed romance?

The joint burns down –
‘bout halfway down.
Our monument to youth.
And all the world –
six feet underground;
will remind us of that truth.

For What I Know of Fear.

First written in New York 2015 – revised 2021

Forever in that moment,
when the anger presses near.
Disguised from head to toe
in this dirge – and on that gear –
and I have known of men in Sodom
and I have watched them disappear.
On that day you brought me kindness –
when all I knew was fear.

I would hear the blessed music
on our nights sat on the pier.
Swam the waters of your tongue
from the darkened to the clear.
While the spirit from your rollie –
crawled my neck, into my ear.
On the night you saw me clearly –
to our spring – the end – a year.

I learned well enough on poetry,
wrote the hate-lines and the jeers.
In the dive bars and the trap house
with the broken, formless queers –
and I want each man to know of,
you, fair mutineer.
Who sang – sweet blues in Summer,
while I watched on – in fear.

To the West Village in Autumn,
watch the ghosts of summer cheer.
Over Mai Tais by the boathouse,
over dreamers flooding near.
While that song – I can’t remember,
dwelled within your silent tear.
And the thought that it might save you –
were the words you longed to hear.

All at once – the leaves are dying,
steady ties – seemed so sincere.
Could we wait until the morning?
Would what’s left of us adhere?
Will I tell your blessed story –
by omission? So severe.
All for a poem – born in silence,
all for a poet drawn to fear.

But there’s a line outside the churchyard –
there is a ringing in my ear.
There’s a hate that’s taken over
and it’s asking what we hear.
It’s the boardwalk in the shadow –
of a bitter, pointless year.
It’s our city – left to nightmares –
it’s a lifetime lost to fear.

Midnight Radio

First written in Montauk 2015 – revised 2021.

Midnight Radio
in an endless sea of souls –
headlights left dreaming
to the sound of the open road
your heart – with mine in Montauk.
The night – our only home.
The highway of our years –
our midnight radio.

About these poems

Liam Michael Stainsby is an English Teacher, podcast host and burgeoning poet with a BA in
English Literature and Creative Writing. Currently studying MA Creative Writing at
Northumbria University and working on his first collective work of poetry. These poems
come from a collection entitled ‘Borders’ which is a blend of travel poetry and dramatic verse that details the struggle, the doubt and the uncertainty he experienced after graduating as a creative upon completion of his BA. In 2015 Liam travelled to Southeast Asia, Eastern Europe and America for a year in order to help define his written style and help him understand his place in the world. During this time, he wrote a myriad of verse that detailed the places, people and cultures he experienced while on his travels. The three submitted poems have been selected from the collection ‘Borders’ – which in turn is an effort to explore the metaphorical and physical concept of borders in our world. The division, the separation that humanity have created for itself. Both culturally, socially and economically. As a queer poet a lot of his content deals with the fear and dissolution queer people feel in different cultures – but also attempts to contrast that with the beauty of our world and celebrate the differences that define us.

A lot of his poetry deals with disillusionment and the issues surrounding addiction and
substance abuse – however – in a self-revisionist approach to his work – he also deals heavily with also the path toward enlightenment and recovery.

You can find Liam’s work in the Spring Issue of Door is a Jar Magazine and on his Instagram
and Facebook page @michaelthepoet

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