blackmail press 18
Michael Steven
New Zealand

Michael Steven was born in 1977. His poems appeared in FUGACITY 05, 0BAN 06, Otoliths(Australia) and BMP15. A chapbook, Homage To Robert Creeley is soon to be released through Soapbox Press. He lives in Auckland.
Homage to Robert Creeley

Like water
passing over toes
& feet

rising to the waist,
it offers an

alluring sense
of familiarity – making it
easier to remain

while a cautious
whisper turns into a frenzied

tasting of steel, cold
acrid, bitter


Behind the Country Gate

Night is a simple time, really.
Now that the casual excess of summer has been
spirited away,
headlights are nothing but ineffectual distractions.

Like the truth, you’re always
welcome. We both know what it really boils down to
is just how one chooses
to stay afloat,
once they finally reach the shore.

Just remember, always
be mindful—
the lavender plant is a famous eavesdropper.


(for Martin Edmond)

Clear of any harm
real or perceived, trawling
the lengths of introspection,  
a quiet order prevails.

But the same nerves still
rattle like a drunk shaking off the past
and cravings return for a strong adhesive
to keep you stuck in a catalogue
of sepia memories. Laughter

becomes the cool spike
within a fabric of delirium
while another day slowly fades
to elevator music.



Revved and tipped
morning delivers seductive fog,
a treacherous collusion.

Shooting from my thigh –
sniper pains aim at the spine.


Will Oldham sings,

‘A little guilt is some guilt spilt
and added to our load’

The authority
we fear most is internal –

is always on our backs.