You are the pleasing smell of Chinese grease
I am the invisible motivation to frolic in the fountain

You are a stranger’s giggle &
an invitation to dance

I am a Cabaret Voltaire 12″
& half a clove cigarette

You are the diaphanous nature
of auburn clouds at twilight

I am the woman who raised you
but never dared speak your name

You are that familiar left shoe
abandoned on the roadway
never finding its twin

I am an expectant evening
after an expectant morning
spent talking on the phone


You are the receiver
the near-silent listener
the breather of shared truths

I am the walker the watcher
the faint scent of prawns
near the dumpsters at work

You are a newborn angel
a pageant of colors & functions

I am a poet, no matter
where you find me

lost on a street corner
that I’ll never own

You are a plane ticket, yes
only one way to answer

I am a handstamp still worn
but only as a reminder

You are the fairy lights
strung between broken
promises only barely remembered
after a night washed in rum

I am a cluster of strangers, drunk & excited
We are the gift of mystery, alone at the table

We are mutual, the future
the last to be opened

We are the mission completed
the present grown tall

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SB STOKES' first book of poetry, A History of Broken Love Things, was published by Punk Hostage Press in January 2014. A new chapbook of SB's poems, DARK ENTRIES, was also published in October 2014 through a joint effort by Gorilla Press and Pedestrian Press. A fourth generation Californian, SB is one of the founding producers of Oakland's free, annual literary event, Beast Crawl, which happens for its fourth year on Saturday, July 11, 2015. He holds an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from San Francisco State University and is both the former poetry and art editor for Fourteen Hills: The SFSU Review. His poems can be found in print and online in/at Oakland Review, Red Light Lit, Writing Without Walls, The Bicycle Review, ElevenEleven, Luciferous, Red Fez, Bare Hands, Bong Is Bard, SEX + DESIGN, Gesture, Metonym, sPARKLE & bLINK, MUST street 'zine, and many other quality publications.

2 responses to “New Identities”

  1. Very cool poem, SB. Glad to have you as a member of the TNB family.

  2. SB Stokes says:

    Thank you, Rich Ferguson! Proud to be a part of the TNB fam!

    And thank you for your understanding and patience! I hope it was worth the wait.

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