by Steve Johnson


by Luigi Coppola 

A Sketch of the Artist as an Object of Ridicule

When family look blankly and don’t understand
the labour and longing and love at your hand,
when they’re meant to support you not slander and slate
– know that it’s simpler to crush than create.

When friends gawk around you and snigger and smirk
at the passion you put in your craft or your work
when they point out the errors, each fault and mistake
– know that it’s simpler to mock than to make.

When strangers hurl insults or throw rotten fruit,
when they show you the door and then give you the boot,
when you’re desperate to howl with all of your might
– know that it’s simpler to bark than to bite.

When a voice that is yours says it’s true what they said,
so don’t get out of bed, you’d be better off dead,
when you start to believe that your moment has gone

– know that it’s simpler to stop than go on.


I built a tower of all my fears

I built a tower of all my fears: syringes,
spiders, people touching my neck, intimacy,
failure, being found out, being made a fool,
mispronouncing an Italian item on a menu,
someone seeing the sweat mark my arse crack
left on the chair when I stand up, the crazy person
sitting next to me on the bus, the person on the bus
that I sit next to thinking that I’m the crazy person,
love, lost love, aging, taxes, death – all of this and more;
oh, and waiting for the tower to fall.


Art by Steve Johnson, on Instagram @artbystevej