3 Poems by Paul Brookes in Fevers of the Mind: Her Fiftieth, Her Fur Elise, A Black Bead

HER FIFTIETH

You would have been

fifty this mayday, sis

five in the car, you drive.

nail in the tyre, too much

wine last night you celebrate

a workmate’s birthday

drive down the motorway

to pick up your son from school

a bottle of wine a night

amasses fat in your face

a business built from zilch

debts you hide from view

grieving for a mother

dead three years

bumps in the road

nails in your tire

car leaps over reservation

somersaults onto bank

and back again

the other four crawl out

sit on the bank

watch firemen cut you out

your excess weight

squashed against steering column

the only one to die

only thirty five

finally, with mum

I celebrate your fiftieth

my dear, dear love.

Her Fur Elise

I awake to Beethoven as Mam taps the upright

Piano downstairs in the through lounge

where morning light highlights dark brown dining table

And varnished coffee table both polished

with Pledge until you see yourself. Later

chemo will make her petite fingers fat,

Fur Elise break into fragments as disease progresses

and piano sold as her hands come to rest.

A Black Bead

I was given in Fifties by an Indian guru

in Madras with advice “Keep this

and you’ll be alright.” Correctly guessed

I had two girlfriends.

Eighty one now with asbestosis

a cough that hacks​

at his body more each time we meet.

-You’re so thin dad?

-He said I’d be dead at eighty two.

-Where is it?

-I can’t find it.

-I’d best start preparing now.

-It’s a joke,

he says and spits

into his half full spitbag.

I find the blue paper

he wrote the prophecy on

dated 1962

the year I was conceived,

and take a photo of it with my mobile.

I give it to him

in the hope he’ll notice

it says he’ll die at 84.

He died at 83.

BIO: Paul Brookes is a shop asst. His chapbooks include The Fabulous Invention Of Barnsley, (Dearne Community Arts, 1993). The Headpoke and Firewedding (Alien Buddha Press, 2017), A World Where and She Needs That Edge (Nixes Mate Press, 2017, 2018) The Spermbot Blues (OpPRESS, 2017), Port Of Souls (Alien Buddha Press, 2018),Please Take Change (Cyberwit.net, 2018)

Forthcoming Stubborn Sod, (Alien Buddha Press, 2019), As Folk Over Yonder ( Afterworld Books, 2019). He edits The Wombwell Rainbow Interviews

greyscale photo of grand piano

The Unresolveables (An Heroic Crown Sonnet Sequence) by Paul Brookes at (sonnets 1-15)

Anthology Post: Finding a Wonderland in Alice by Paul Brookes (poetry)

2 Poems by Peach Delphine: Coyote Song & 84 (any scar)

Coyote Song

Not yet dead already ash,

Already invisible, unknowable,

Smell the sea just beyond the pines,

Hear the wind combing out salt Marsh,

Osprey call, mullet get eaten,

Gather up what you can

We will flee with falling light, with coyote song,

Emptiness of waves welcome us, mangrove

Conceal our passing,

Not yet dead, already gone,

Sleep with one foot against the door,

It’s your neighbors that will come for you,

After coffee, eggs and bacon,

What my father never knew,

The sharpest blade

Is for cutting sorrow.

84 (Any Scar)

Cutting was the secret language

of moon and moss

textured layers of shadow

without day or spark

oaks hold themselves penultimate

ancient in a landscape of erosion

cabbage palms shaggy

with my supplications

sheaves of paperwork

endless recitations of symptoms

a midden of discarded words

what we cast off

wave tumbled round

sea is my only certainty

liquid incandescence

saltier than blood

smoother than any scar

Bio: Peach Delphine is a queer poet from Tampa, Florida. Infatuated with what remains of the undeveloped Gulf coast.

Poetry/Short Story: Cash Card by Mark Anthony Smith

CASH CARD 

 

Alex Maxwell leaves his house on Morrill Street at 12.20pm. He always does, like
clock-work, for the 2 pm shift at the aerosol factory. It’s a comfortable job and they
have a laugh. He’s worked his way up over four years and gets left alone by The
Management now.
He crosses the busy road. Alex doesn’t see the Police sign asking witnesses to come
forward with details about a car accident last month. Not many do come forward.
But that’s a different story altogether.
He walks towards the betting shop and steps around a bundle on the path. He
doesn’t take much notice. The shops have their wheelie bins out for collections. It’s
Monday. He shoulders the betting shop glass door open as be rummages through his
jacket pocket. His cash card isn’t there. “Damn!” Alex panics. He checks the time on
his mobile phone. It’s 12.32 pm on Monday 20 th January 2020. Where did he last have
his card?
He last had it yesterday as he withdrew some money out at the bank. He questions
the odds of his card still being in the cash machine or of being handed into the bank.
‘Someone will have pocketed it.’ There’s no chance of it being found. He’ll have to
cancel it at the bank. He leaves the betting shop. He still has plenty of time to pop in
at the branch. Alex worries about his balance as he dashes. He had barely registered
the body he stepped around to avoid. From the corner of his eye, it could have
passed for bin bags, perhaps. He dashes past the homeless man sitting outside the
convenience store. There’s a queue in the bank.
Alex is fidgeting in line. There’s only ever one cashier serving. The older lady is
telling her life story as she’s being seen to. A child in a pram, before Alex, starts
crying. He doesn’t make eye contact with the child’s Mother. He feels an anger
growing in his chest as the older customer rambles.
Another staff member makes her way to the pedestal by the door. Alex goes over.
He doesn’t acknowledge her name badge. “I need to cancel my card,” he fumbles.
“Your name?” Alex tells the staff member his name, “Mr. Alex Maxwell,” he states.
Nadia replies, “Just one minute, please.” She heads out the back. Alex is sure his card
is missing. People aren’t as honest as they used to be. Nadia checks his date of birth
and address. “You’re a Pisces,” she smiles. Then she hands him the card. “Someone
handed it in yesterday afternoon.”
Alex is relieved. He notices how bright the sun is for an afternoon in January. He is
heading for the bus. The child is still crying. He goes over to the pram and drops to
his knees. “Can I give him one of these?” He shows the Mother a small cake from his packed lunch. She smiles and nods. Alex unwraps the bun and the little boy stops
crying. There’s plenty of time to catch the bus.

 

Mark Anthony Smith was born in Hull. His writings have appeared in Spelk, Nymphs, Fiction Kitchen Berlin, Pink Plastic House and Eerie River. Hearts of the matter is available on Amazon.
Facebook: Mark Anthony Smith – Author
Twitter: MarkAnthonySm16

Poetry: Failed Hypothesis by David Ralph Lewis

Failed Hypothesis

We triple checked the results.
Today, with it’s heavy skies,
is an impossibility. We are

between ourselves, stuck in
the gaps between electrons
without any observation,
that nebulous space
of possibility, despair
and hope merging together
to create endless static.

The charts are incoherent
the data now unreadable.
We halted the experiment
early, filled up beakers
with tears and released
chemical compounds into
the fragile atmosphere,
just to see what would happen.

All textbooks are now runes
from a lost civilisation
too poorly studied for
comprehension. Under this
fractal tree, I breathe
and try, unsuccessfully
to forget all I know.

David Ralph Lewis is a poet and short story writer based in Bristol, UK, When not writing, he enjoys dancing badly at gigs, attempting to grow vegetables and taking photos. His debut chapbook, Our Voices in the Chaos was released by Selcouth Station in October 2019. He understands a very small amount of what is going on in the world. You can follow him at www.davidralphlewis.co.uk

Poetry/Short Story by Mark Anthony Smith :A Sidewalk Romance

NPofL9GN_400x400

A Sidewalk Romance

Solid grey slabs
are sheened by the shortish
downpour that shimmers –
these blocks awash with the neon
signs that dance ‘open’
outpours in sudden puddles.
Here, there
are splashes of worn splaying
chewing gum or chalked
marks scrawling underfoot;
are they drawn to draw those niggles
away from the cracks? Perhaps,
you are shivering
or shaking that umbrella
when a weathered man or two
still holds onto values and holds
each door open. The rain
trickles down the nape –
roused by a nodding gratitude.
Shop the Spring
sale if you will for
that special occasion to
be snapped from a future lover.
Then, perhaps, later you’ll blow
to cool a green or Chai tea
and remember that we, once
hand in hand, had shared

the same hard pavement.

Mark Anthony Smith was born in Hull. His writings have appeared in Spelk, Nymphs, Fiction Kitchen Berlin, Pink Plastic House and Eerie River. Hearts of the matter is available on Amazon.

 

Facebook: Mark Anthony Smith – Author
Twitter: MarkAnthonySm16
 

Poetry/Short Story: Cash Card by Mark Anthony Smith