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Best Poems Written by Stephen Wilson-Floyd

Below are the all-time best Stephen Wilson-Floyd poems as chosen by PoetrySoup members

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Should I Not Be Found Alive

Sty all your bodied waters
And libelous pretensions.
Hang leather headed juries
Beside some tethered eddies.

Drown me down
In new baptismal rivers.
Spread eagle me upon
Some granite black outcroppings.

And let my liver ribbon 
From beaks of shadowed ravens.
Let my thigh bones 
Fossil on the rocks.

Should I be buried under
When cliffs calf shuddered thunders,
No words of prayer be spoken
Just leave and let me be. 

Copyright © Stephen Wilson-Floyd | Year Posted 2017



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I Do It For The Doing's Sake

I pick up litter on the road.
What shines is often roadside trash.
I do it for the doing’s sake.   

What glitters most is always gold,
To us who keep a highway clean.
Most cans and broken glass attract
Our eye like daytime fireflies.
I do it for the doing’s sake.

Not punishment for drunkenness.
(Though something I’ve been guilty of).
Nor for some passer by to take
Me for some do-good citizen.
I’ll not be known when dead and gone:
No apples trees as legacy.
I do it for the doing’s sake.

No stealing of what’s thrown away,
No trespass on what’s public land,
No evidence of DNA 
Disturbed nor finger printed cans.
Just drive to give me wider birth.
Don’t honk or wave or two thumbs up.
Unless escaped from elder care,
Call no police to help me home.
I do it for the doing’s sake.

Copyright © Stephen Wilson-Floyd | Year Posted 2017

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The Ballad Of The Jack-a-Lope

Above a cloudy jar of brine
That floated greenish hard boiled eggs,
Beside a Schlitz beer waterfall
That told bar time (ten minutes fast),
A taxidermied Jack-A-Lope
With rabbit ears and tiny rack
Stared marble eyed into the dark.
“We don’t have many Jack-A-Lopes
Back home in any city bars,”
I told a man who served us drinks.
“At prices there, that’s no surprise.”
The barman said without a smile
And told us of the Jack-A-Lope:

Time was you looked, you’d find his kind,
But rarely in these mountain slopes.
They only bred in wintertime
And only in electric storms.
It’s rumored round that milk that came
From mother Jack-A-Lopes could cure
Whatever walks on twos or fours 
So rare it was most called it myth
As much as Sasquatch ever was.
Until one day a dowser came 
Divining where to dig a well.
And gripping his good witching stick
Could swear he saw the front branch twitch.
He scrunched his eyes and looked again.
“No, something’s in that undergrowth.”
Up popped the branchy antlers of
This fearsome critter,  Jack-A-Lope.
Now as it was this dowser had
A more than common whiskey thirst.
And had to live his life downwind
From ordinary decent folk.
Like pictures of Napoleon,
He stuck his hand inside his coat,
Produced a flask of sour mash,
And threw it at this portmanteau.
Some say it hopped away afraid,
But those that know have winked and said,
“That animal attacked the flask;
Without their bourbon Jack-A-Lopes
Will fade away until they’re gone.”
Outsiders paid some license fees
For hunting season, dates of which
Cannot be found on calendars.
The most were poached as trophies for
Hotels, saloons and brothels where
The mounted heads amazed their guests.
No hunter had had an interest in
An animal that can’t be killed
Because it never ever was.
But now so heavy was the hunt
The Jack-A-Lope was soon extinct,
So every one of them was killed
To prove one time they did exist. 

The bar grew quiet just as if
Some meaning might be understood.
I pointed at my empty glass
And asked the barman pouring drinks,
“What’s on that plaque below the head?”
“Some Latin words, a kind of crest.
A family motto more or less.”

Copyright © Stephen Wilson-Floyd | Year Posted 2017

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A Boy In The Back

The boy gets teased for wearing Holy Keds
And never Michael Jordan tennis shoes.
A field trip for a Friday afternoon:
Today, it’s modern art, the locals’ wing.
Head down, he tags along behind his class.
At least he is polite, his teacher thinks. 
The parquet floor makes crackling under foot.
A landscape hangs along a barren wall.
“In modern art, emotions bring in shapes...”
Not listening, as usual, she thinks.
“Look, that’s my home!”  he shouts aloud and points 
“No, that’s the modernist O’Keeffe!” she scolds.
And herds her charge with open arms past guards
And docents under disapproving eyes.

Copyright © Stephen Wilson-Floyd | Year Posted 2017

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A Hovel In The Woods

I stumbled on a hovel in the woods
Dug in a foothill roofed with mossy shakes.
Inside, its furthest wall was made of stones
Piled high to make a chimney and a hearth.
Two stovepipes served as draft to bring in air.
No window spent what little warmth there was.

Who built this cell and for what purpose built?
If navvies built some shelter from the cold,
Then why not near to any railroad tracks?
A two day hike from any farm or town,
It made too far a lovers’ rendezvous.
Was it to help someone who’s lost survive?

Unlikely as it was, it might have been,
But only those who know to look can see
So meadowed as it is in growth and slope.
Opposing thumbs can easily unlatch
Its door inviting all who enter in
And equal welcomes guest or ghost alike. 

Copyright © Stephen Wilson-Floyd | Year Posted 2017



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A Moth

What is a moth?
I only know flitting shadows
Magnified upon my wall.

In closets and in chests of drawers, 
Despite balls that smell of hospitals,
Holes in clothes where they once were.

They dance around my lantern
Made by Coleman, forest green,
To a deep sea diver breathing kerosene.

They’re drawn to candles too.
One misses a beat 
And in diaphanous tragedy

Falls to my table top,
A crushed, tropical cocktail umbrella, 
Match sticks and news paper mâché. 

Its carcass dusts
My hand with mica shininess
As soft as talc.

If everything is wings
And flame, what need
Does this one insect feed?

Copyright © Stephen Wilson-Floyd | Year Posted 2018

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The River Styx

Below indigenous herds of species’
Soft stampeded tramplings,
Profound caves water rivers underground.

Roots grow their nether forests
Down to a shadow fathom depth of earth.
Tendrils leaf out only tuber leaves of dirt.

Flooded backs of charcoal catacombs
Snake like water moccasins through
Aquifers to rise disguised as springs and wells.

Here there is a bargeman who 
For pennies holding eyelids down
Will help you to forget

Vaguely chambered 
Urges of the heart.

Copyright © Stephen Wilson-Floyd | Year Posted 2018

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Marbles

I remember shooting marbles during recess time.
There were puries, tiny worlds of milky blindedness.
Big heavy steelies, bearings from salvaged, derelict machines,
Hematite cores of some new known planets.
And cats' eyes with color-filled center swirls.

I horded them in a sweat darkened leather pouch.
A drawstring puckered shut this purse's mouth.
Sanctioned by an adult playground guard:
Risking all for a marble that you want,
You might lose the marble you liked best.

Until marbles everything was
A sideshow midway carnival arcade
With plastic ducks you paid to overturn
And received a prize of a number underneath.
Everybody won.

Years count fewer and fewer ducks
And more and more the marbles grow.  (8/3/22)


Copyright © Stephen Wilson-Floyd | Year Posted 2022

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A Thorn In A Rose

A thorn that needles in a rose 
Is while it’s true we cleave as one
We also cleave apart.

No sooner do we struggle to
Share any meaning of our minds,
We say goodnight among the stars.

Our words and hands so purposeless,
Among a travesty of trees.


A thorn that nestles in a rose 
Is while it’s true we cleave as one
We also cleave apart.

No sooner do we struggle to
The very knife quick cut of love,
We fall our separate ways.

Our arms and legs so purposeless
Among our sighs and smell of salt.


A thorn that nettles in a rose
Is while it’s true we cleave as one
We also cleave apart.

No sooner do we struggle to 
Survive each other by alive,
At different times we die alone. 

Our skin and eyes so purposeless
Not even see or to be seen.

Copyright © Stephen Wilson-Floyd | Year Posted 2017

Details | Stephen Wilson-Floyd Poem

The Day I Saw The Elephant

Pile drivers have replaced gandy dancers
And Mayflower trucks the circus, open-cage parades
Horse drawn down Main Street U.S.A.,

But overnight canvas bosses still command
Roust abouts to raise big top sails,
Over decks of prairie dogs and tumbleweeds.

There are gaudily painted juggernaut ride machines.
Smells of grease, heated white from oozing knuckle joints,
Calliopian music and rounds of happy screams.

A carney operator offers two a Scrambler car,
Teases riders with the tip of his bitten off cigar
A flick on your nose and ash that crashes to the circus grounds.

Jukebox music by Wurlitzer gets tinny with distance
On both sides of musty tented, kid show exhibitions
Mushrooming quiet translucent, sideshow shadow lands.

One sign says:
A WOMAN’S LIVING HEAD!
And inside there is a severed head up on a tabletop.

She answers questions easily, smiles and winks.
A kid shill says she’s doubled up
Inside a box affixed with mirrors.

Our cheeks redden more for her
Than the fact that we are led astray ourselves.
We leave to let more unenlightened in.

That day, I left forever past free throws
To win erstwhile girlfriends
By shooting hoops too narrow to be made.  (4/4/21)

Copyright © Stephen Wilson-Floyd | Year Posted 2021

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