Steve Williams


Steve Williams says:

I spent three years in Sacramento and participated in the weekly workshop downtown. I've now relocated to Portland, OR and live with a lovely woman who writes and edits much better than I but refuses to admit it. Together we administer an on-line poetry forum/workshop at

Steve was also the featured poet in the very first littlesnake broadside.  If you’d like a free copy, send an SASE to Rattlesnake Press.



Steve Williams Poems

Complexity of Taste

Slip a sliver of dark chocolate onto tongue,
do not chew. We push morsels against
our cavity roofs, suck the sugar melt.

Bitter need trickles back, remembers
the cocoa bean, aroma of Sumatran coffee.
Saliva gathers on the tongue, asks for rococo.

Piquancy spreads above my teeth, wafts
into my throat, up the back of smell –
a cloying compulsion.

She reclines over a chocolate mound, ribs rise
with her spine. Pour Shiraz into the more of her.
I savor mouthfuls of truffles,

drool the wine into a pool, submerge her navel,
mingle the harvest of skin, sting, sugar, surprise –
tiny hairs tickle the tip of my tongue.

Beneath her, the confection softens, mixes,
ferments into rhythm oil – primitive pounding
of Delta blues. We cry names

of unknown spirits, thrash in string bass vibrations.
Our throats growl past ursine tongues, bodies
smeared in petroglyphs of the wanton hunt.

We are cross-legged figures in our white
noise room, eyelids closed, meditating.




Motel door locked, do not disturb outside, writhe
into a dark moment of sleep, scamper through pre-dawn,
forget the phone charger, again. My cell is almost dead.
Map the day in my head, another room, call my numb
wife, Linda: The cat is sick again. The vet says when a cat
is in pain, it does not remember past days of painlessness.

I lock the door: another hinged-lid ending of the undead.

Third divorce wakes me up. My daughter calls,
speaks in her mother’s voice: I hate my life.
Why can’t you come home daddy?
I ask how
the cat is: we went on a trip, she ran out of water,
died trying to get out the front door.


This motel room has expectations, sighs Katherine,
gives me an incantation to recite before
the unveiling, removal of her bra. The only place
we sleep is the tub, her quiet lies back
on my chest—she cannot sleep in bedrooms
where an ex-lover knows to find her.

Kat lay still and silent, unconscious under window,
beneath rain. I have been redeemed from dreams
of the second level of Hell – half awake in my hospital
bed. Part of my liver now regenerates in her chest.
Already she bloats from the anti-rejection cocktail.
I turn my gaze out the unlockable door.

Suitcase that never traveled until arrival
of expectations, rests by her bed. Zippered within
is a sheaf of signs. Words on each in Spanish,
French Italian, English – all the same: do not disturb.
I do not recall any room without her.





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