Stephen Mead

Stephen is also one of Plum Ruby Review's artists this issue.
His work can be viewed in our art section, here.

Swimming Horse

Under sea
Hooves spark, strike fire
Against coral, skirt algae, weedy kelp...
Ripples arc, whirl about, a steady
Impassioned serenity...
Formerly froth thick, tide pulled, a series
Of buckings, the suede legs now gavotte,
Sway with the grace of a mermaid compelled.

It's a frenzy, subtle & slow.
Bubbles gentle it, bubbles, spiraling starfish...
Every where muscles manifest their agility
In swept currents, tongues of song, the lash
Of reins against brimstone, the liquid black...

These manes toss droplets.
The eyes & nostrils seem a kabuki's.

Is this a diety?

Here instinct is control & luxury is feeling,
The freedom to swim, swim, swim
With an intelligence, equine & solo...

In between, gleaming golden, each wave reflects
The stallion's search for a shore where the sands'
Shadows shall lengthen
With unicorn singularity,
The destination that horse glides to
As if in an Eden dream,
The flowering fruit,
The plentiful


Grand Adventure

Which life is this?
Like stars, a little snow's drifting over: flakes,
       From them I settle down, now in a jungle, suddenly
freedom fighter.  Pretty interesting liberation, for a
For once I can do more than cook their gruel or apply
a soothing
compress when fevers proliferate.  Not that such
things weren't
enough.  I'd be doing them still if all the men in my
hadn't been taken, and "for questioning".  None
So what is this cause, just some delusion to which I
like a voice, have some small part?
This gun feels like power.
The militia comes in.  I make my mark.
My, how death comes in, undistinguished,
too quick to be sharp.

Here is my next phase, transported, a gypsy, to some
ballroom, a dollar a dance.  It's not much, but it
pays for my kid's lunches, helps Mama fight the
and the landlord, like these guys, my "clients",
lost and a bit pesky.  It's amazing though, how easy
a smile may be brought to their faces.  Only twice has
wanted more.  The first time I just let it happen.
the second I developed instinct, took a course and now
how eyes can be gouged, throats broken, noses
bloodied.  Quite
useful stuff I never hope to use.  Instead, I dream of
work at not being a victim while, hovering above, some
incarnation waits.

Often I think it'll be a comic fantasy.  I'll become a
wearing some big furry pink rabbit costume hopping
down upon
armies or, more importantly, their Presidents.
Mostly though, I plan on flying, unbound, high and
I'll keep clear of civilization.
I'll consort with the angels,
a celestial primitive
with very deep,
if weathered,


Your Scent

Arms, the sparse
Thickening dark in that field
At a slope you exposed
The chest of once
Just to check
What faint moment I prolonged
The tenderness of by not
Letting on, by deciding
To sleepwalk, longing, a thread
Strung along, unable to cut,
Its humming, gleam-clean
Which found the heat,
Stirred the bitch &
The further shelter within
Tattooed to a foreign alphabet,
Your accent, its rhythms
Of date trees.
How not to breathe that
Make a port there
As if your world
Could ever be?

Imagine My Mother Dancing

Hands first, that under water sway.
Left, now right, steps spiralling,
A staircase behind...

Mother, imagine,
Dance from our porch,
The night sky aglow,
Calling through whistling trains...

So age is approaching,
Ages gleaned, death shed to replenish
The globe in our figures,
Sabra of that flame

Stephen Mead is a freelance writer/artist residing in Albany, NY.  In addition to his writing being
published in such magazines as "Commonweal" and "The Evergreen Chronicles", his artwork has been exhibited both throughout New York state and in Provincetown, Mass. Currently has several of his web books online at cc & d magazine. These works incorporate both image and text.  Other online sources for his art are:, , and . Prints of his work are available in various formats: xerox, grey scale, adobe process, & color.  The artist can be contacted via


Fiction Poetry Art Non-Fiction
Home Contributor Bios

2003-2004 Plum Ruby Review. All rights reserved.