poems by Sam Rose

The Television


The television talks to nobody.

(Nobody is home, and nobody is listening.)

Why does it press on, forecasting scattered showers

when nobody will be around to see it,

reporting the news with nobody to care about it,

showing the most lavish lifestyles, the tastiest recipes,

the most fantastical stories, all to an empty house?

Nobody is there. Why does the television continue?

The radio doesn’t. The radio knows when its time is up,

but the television is hopeful,

like a dog waiting for its owner to come home.


The television is at full volume.

It’s shouting to be heard

but all anyone can do is walk by the house and tut.

The neighbours have complained.

They haven’t been able to hear their own television,

no matter how hard it tries to compete.

They have rung the doorbell and tried the door,

but that is no competition

for the journalist reporting from Syria, or the Loose Women,

or the cast of Coronation Street, who gather

in the living room of that house, all day and all night.


The neighbours can’t sleep. Their dog howls.

Every day they knock on the door

and every day they are ignored.

The clock on the mantelpiece times their visits.

Every evening after six.

They want to eat their dinner in peace.

(They can’t.)

The Russian dolls standing by the fireplace

wonder why the neighbours don’t call the police.

They wonder what the neighbours would do

if they knew who the television was playing to.


If a television is on but the owner of the home

is too dead to watch it, does it still make a sound?

Why, yes it does.

The television talks to nobody.

Somebody is home, but nobody is listening.




Gasps between Words


He stumbled from room to room, from reason to reason.

If I’m drunk, there is an excuse for what I do, he said.

If I’m hungover, there’s a reason for feeling as bad as I do, he said.

There wasn’t a day he didn’t dread waking into, not a

night he didn’t beat himself around the head with

excuses for being the way he is, excuses for signs he misread.

And the feeling he was looking in the wrong place hung over

him, the numbness that the pain had turned into as he

continuously clobbered himself with his own heavy thoughts,

persisted like a black cloud that he so wanted others to see, but

they didn’t. They didn’t know anything.


Maybe if he beat himself up a bit more, got a little more

rough around the edges they would see and ask and be

concerned, because that was the only way that he

could communicate, the only way he could tell everyone

what was wrong, otherwise there was just silence, just

deafening gaps – if only people would listen more closely to

the gasps between his words, those desperate pleas for

air or to be heard, those words that look so simple written

down but that he couldn’t find a way to say, and that’s

why he stumbled from room to room, from reason to reason,

clobbering himself with his own heavy thoughts; because it

was the only way that he could express what he couldn’t find

the words to say.




Off The Rails


There are good and bad ways to deal with things.

Writing is right and drinking is wrong. I know this.

But it’s fun somehow to pretend for one night that

I am going off the rails, I am losing control. If you’ve

lost control how can you have any responsibility?

If things go wrong it’s not really your fault, and

nobody is going to put you in charge of anything –

not even yourself – if you’re a loose cannon. I often

think it would be easier to run so far that I can’t

even see those rails in the distance anymore.




Brain Space


I think I’ve finally figured it out:

I have a capacity problem.

When something’s all I can think about

it’s taking up too much brain space

and there’s no room left for that place

in my head that tells me to breathe

I need a bigger hard drive

to keep myself staying alive.

That’s why when I’m trying to work I just sigh

because I’m huffing and puffing and

trying to breathe, just trying to catch my breath.

At least it’s not fear this time,

fear is the worst, that’s when it most hurts

but now it’s just nothing, nothing thoughts,

pointless thoughts, blank thinking while somehow

still thinking about it, that thing that takes up

so much brain space and leaves no room

to breathe, no room for doing other things

like not thinking of it, scarier than anything

Stephen king could concoct, not something

lurking in the drains, but

a big black cloud in the middle of my head

that gets bigger and bigger the more it’s fed,

its fog spewing into every crevice, what a mess –

what a mess this brain space is.






It’s like I can see myself

teetering on the edge of a cliff

and I don’t know how to save myself

I‘m the only person around

who has the equipment to

pull me back up

but I don’t know how to use it.

When did the cliff edge get so close?

I had been doing so well

but I don’t know how I was doing it.


poems by Sam Rose

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