Side A: “Night” a poem by Brenton Booth


She says she has been
thinking a lot about killing

herself. How everything
would be much easier then.

She has tears in her eyes she
can’t control, I know

she isn’t lying. I think of
our first date. Wandering

around the Botanical Gardens
just before it closed for

the night. There was an
exhibition of large koala

statues, painted in crazy colors.
She liked the purple one

with the bright yellow spots all
over it. Ignoring the “no

climbing” sign. Jumping on
its back, wrapping her arms

around it with the biggest smile.
She wouldn’t let me take

a photo. I put the camera
away, knowing I’d never forget

anyway. Walking home she
told me her dreams, the many

obstacles she had already faced,
how no matter what, she

never gave up. A smile formed on
my face. What are you

thinking about? she said.
Something you once told me,

I said, looking at her tears:
hoping she’d remember too.

Mini-interview with Brenton Booth

HFR: Can you share a moment that has shaped you as a writer (or continues to)?

BB: When I was 19 I worked 50-hour weeks as a security guard in a cosmetics factory: 60 when they got a big shipment. I wasn’t doing well, was really struggling for a reason to keep going. After work one afternoon, I went to Chinatown to have dinner. I parked a few streets away in the free parking area and walked. On the way, I noticed an underground bookstore. I’d never read books before but decided to have a look. It was well stocked. I made the decision to buy a book from every section. A few days later I finished Chekhov’s The Seagull. Everything changed that day.

HFR: What are you reading?

BB: Currently reading Jack London’s Tales of the Pacific. Recently finished Steinbeck’s Cannery Row and Salinger’s Franny and Zooey. I read a lot of literary journals. My good friend Tony Gloeggler gave me a bunch of old New York Quarterlys I have been getting through. As far as living writers Catfish McDaris, Wolfgang Carstens, Matt Borczon, and of course Tony Gloeggler are some favorites. Favorite authors are Anton Chekhov, Maxim Gorky, Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Knut Hamsun, Voltaire, Hermann Hesse, Franz Kafka, Henry Miller, Ernest Hemingway, Raymond Carver, John Fante, Dan Fante, John Cheever, and Charles Bukowski.

HFR: Can you tell us what prompted “Night”?

BB: I will let the poem speak for itself.

HFR: What’s next? What are you working on?

BB: I am always writing new poems. Finished a one-act play a few months back called “The Patron Saint” that I am shopping around now. Have way too many submissions out there. Been getting killed with rejections. Had a good run of acceptances the past few weeks though. And super grateful to have work in Heavy Feather Review.

HFR: Take the floor. Be political. Be fanatical. Be anything. What do you want to share?

BB: I have always been best at communicating through art. I guess that is what attracted me to writing in the first place. Everything I know that is worth saying comes out sooner or later in my writing. For anyone that wants to read more of my work my most recent collection Bash the Keys Until They Scream is available from Epic Rites Press. Thanks for the interview.

Brenton Booth lives in Sydney, Australia. Poetry of his has appeared in New York Quarterly, Chiron Review, North Dakota Quarterly, Main Street Rag, Naugatuck River Review, Van Gogh’s Ear, and Nerve Cowboy. He has two full-length collections available from Epic Rites Press. More:

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