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


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)

Wolfpack Contributor: Paul Brookes

Imagist by Paul Brookes

Worms Of

light bury through wooden clouds.
Insubstantial trees disappear, or are reshaped
by sunlight and gust. They bucket down leaves,
make the earth sodden with them. Rain making,
thunder making anvil shaped trees make rainbows.
You can see the grain in the clouds.

Depending upon how and where 
gust and light saw through wooden clouds, 
defines their grain, curly,straight or flat 
in relation to their growth rings.

I splish and splash paving slabs
sending concrete waves and ripples
to either side. Dive into the pavement,
backstroke through crazy paving.

Have You

seen the face of flowers?
A furrowed brow of lavender.
The skin folds of a rosebloom.
Gustblown fascinator of a Daisy.

A lily with its yellow tongue out.
A field full of closed mouth Tulips.
Climb a mantelpiece of mountains.
Pass the ornaments added to
by every visitor. Step carefully round
the opened envelopes of scree.

An affectionate crown of thorns
The gentle stigmata of a caress.
The spiked maiden of your hug.
Thumbscrews of our hand holding.

Look out of the windows of the moon
Let in a fresh air of stars. Street furniture
of an ancient wood. A sofa of raised roots.
Trees become lampstands ready
for the moonlight bulbs to be switched on
in their crowns, meanwhile sunlight bulbs move
from crown to crown. A shared lighting display.

What wallpaper did you choose for your face
before you went out? Large red open flowers
with a brown background? Anaglypta?
The red brick wall, or geometric lines?
Watch out for those with cat faces
who may use your face as a scratching post.

Skirting board round the hem of a room.
Are we under the dress of this lounge?
Or are we outside admiring the folds
of paint or wallpaper the room has chosen
from her wardrobe? Colour matching
the carpet and three piece suite
under or outside the skirt.

Walk carefully over the floorboards
of cirrus and nimbus. Especially,
at night when you don't want
them to creak and wake up
the house. Watch yourself
on the cumulonimbus,
one false move could see a downpour.
Your socks polish these clouds.
They sparkle, after mop and bucket work. 

Bone Colours

This morning sky is a blue bone,
winter tree branches untouched
by gust. Sky breathes easy
amongst the silhouettes.

Sometimes there are holes in the sky
and you can hear a bone flute
Naked branches become Aeolian harps,
plucked by gust, sky's breath.

The White bone walks
across itself using its body
as music. Hear the voice
of itself. The voice goes ahead

The body follows the sound
from bright light to bright light
from cirrus to nimbus
from gust to gale

The white bones is talking.
It walks across the sky.
A sunlight and moonlight path.
At night it is a black bone.

As if the sky is ash. A cremation
of the blue and white into grey.
Night is the burial time.
Day is the resurrection time.

The sky is a white bone
made of clouds.
Thunder is percussion
of lightning against bone.

A Knifeblock

Winter's knife block
is the key to unlock
sharp and keen edges
slice tracery and pages

of thin skin let flow
blood juice, let know
a thin line between
the bone and the dream.

Every Bone is

a word
We grow into, one
that may learn to stand,
Uncertainly before the first step.

Others may crash their words
against us, to show
how their strong
meaning and confidence,

might replace
our word with another.
Our words hold our frame up,
a scaffold to others.

Every word is a bone
coming out of your mouth,
wishbones, charmbones,
angerbones, lustbones.

Smallbones stick in your throat,
largebones make your mouth 
bulge as they muscle out
between your incisors,

bang against your molars,
restrict your tongue, breath
blocked, wordbones hard 
to utter through spit and mucus.

My Mop Bucket(Apologies to William Blake)

I create moods with mop and bucket.
My chiascuro is very expressive.
My brush is very free. I learn
from the Old Masters.

My floors are landscapes.
Spillages become portraits.
Accidents are worked in
In my head there is colour

on my mop that describes
dashes and dots. I'm a mophead
full of bright colours I dip into
and out of my bucket. No two

floors are the same.
I'm a buckethead.
Washing away the muck,
remaking it I imagine outside.

Different temperatures,
gusts, light. Bring them all 
into my bucket.

To see the world in a mop
And Heaven in a bucket.
Infinity in a dustpan,
And Eternity in a brush.

A One Eye

The sky is a skull.
One eye is the moon.
One eye is the sun,
The sky only uses one eye.
The one eye of the moon
waxes and wanes, sometimes
a crescent eye, sometimes full,
the blood eye, harvest eye,
wolf eye, hare eye, storm eye,
chaste eye, Blue eye, seed eye,
corn eye, snow eye, mead eye.
Ocean eye works the tides.
Draw down the eye lit
by light borrowed 
from the other
eye of the skull.

Wolfpack Contributor: Paul Brookes

Sonnet Series: “Wombwell Cemetery” by Paul Brookes

Arachnida Sonnets by Paul Brookes (an occasional series)

our god sleeps by Paul Brookes – poetry

Folktober Sonnets by Paul Brookes

Bio: Shop Assistant. Writer and performer. Books include  Please Take Change,  A World Where, As Folk Over Yonder. Latest: Wonderland in Alice...
Twitter @PaulDragonwolf
https://t.co/FM3fFo6T8z  for the Wombwell Rainbow Blog. 

Introducing the Marine Sonnets by Paul Brookes

The Marine Sonnets by Paul Brookes

1. The Seawatch

I watch the sea as the sea watches me.
The changing colour of my surfaces,
Waves blown by gust, what my tides, what my sea
leaves on the shoreline of my many faces.

The lagan and flotsam and derelict
and jetsam. Two buoys of my eyes bobbing
anchored in a silt of images mixed.
Always memories waxing and waning.

My inside sea watched by the sea outside.
Speaks to sea beasts moving in my blood.
I rise to where the waves move to imbibe
breath before I dive below livelihood.
The sea is me, I am the sea, watching.
I am a dying sea, a dried up thing.

2. The Rockpool

Before the tide turns I wend my own way.
Starfish tube-feet caress my mussel beds
Beadlet, snakelocks anemones snare prey,
sting it with their tentacles, and shore crabs

scrupulously pick over carcasses.
From under my fringing seaweed shannies
and prawns dart to shelter in crevices,
overhangs, safe and secure nooks and crannies.

One minute I am scorched by sharp sunlight,
next I'm cold enough to ripple shivers.
Soon it'll wash over and we unite.
Soon I'll have new creatures to discover.
In the wane I'll have my own way,
Every to and fro never the same.

3. Herring Gull

The Sideways walker in my beak I drop
from Up to crack it open. My flockmates
and me enjoy the meat. I ask you to stop,
know me by my actions,my voice, translate

my language to yours, must note position
of my head, wings and tail, to my perch.
They're stronger, bigger, spread wings expression
saying this is mine, I won't share, go search

for your own. Wet Leaf fall we feed on soft squirm appear out of soil, we trample - ground
to make them rise. Her submissive begs stop
me attacking, upright I mew a sound.

Synchronise head tossings, I sick up rest undigested meal for her. We choose nest. 

4. A Strandline

I welcome the abandoned, discarded
and lost. My creatures scavenge arrivals.
Sandhoppers hide in day under stranded
debris, emerge to feed when darkness calls.

Find in me ambergris from a sperm whales 
intestines, sea beans, coconuts and sea hearts, plastic packaging and nurdles,
egg capsules of sharks, skates and rays, spongy

pale whelk egg cases, cuttlebones, moulted 
crab shells. I am never the same. Four tides
change my shape, what I am, how I'm molded.
I can't hold on to you, others decide.

I'm not permanent, secure or stable.
Have to let you go. Inevitable

5. The Sand Dune

A youngster, I am blown about scatter.
Roots arrive, dig into me, I grow here, hid
behind something from elsewhere, what matters.
Marram grass. Youngsters make a seaward bid,
sheltering me. I am background. My lime
rich shell sand, home to burrowing bees, quick
digger Wasps, sand swimming sand snakes.
In time
I grow older, taller, more chaotic.
Soon I may have a lake and marsh grass,
Later Sea buckthorn, birch. I am woodland.
My oaks rise, sunlight blooms through leaves, wings pass
in between branches. My youth blown sand.
I was near a sea but now I'm forest.
I hear my trees converse. Life never rests.

6. The Sturgeon

Bottom feeder. I live in two waters. 
Sense their electric impulses vibrate, 
suck into my mouth all their shells and claws. 
Soon move from Deep to brackish water. Wait 

until I am used to warmer Narrow, 
release my sticky eggs. My babies swim 
seaward. Get used to brackish in Shallow 
before move into Deep, not over rim. 

Above dredge our living, scarifying 
life, haul us up into light and dryness. 
Harvest our babies before their birthing. 
Hunted my ancestors rich meatiness. 
Deep returned I may leap, keep the reason 
a mystery, splash my flat sides, frisson. 

7. Therapy

Listen, soft crash of my waves alter your brain patterns, feel my sand exfoliate, 
your skin as my unevenness makes floor 
walk harder, works your calves and thighs. A state 

of meditation lulls, slows your heart beat, 
deepens your breath. My blue sky and sun shoot  
up your bodies feel good drugs, my heat 
and negative ions ensure reboot. 

I massage the vagus nerve in your neck, 
enough for all this to happen. Watch fish 
in rockpools provide aquariums check 
your stress, rejuvenate a hug and kiss. 

I'm health resort, recommunion, 
refresher, renewer, good reunion. 

8. Beachcomber

Gale force Eight or more with an Easterly 
throws things on my shores, material drifts
on my strongest waves and currents, firmly
North to South. Comb me as my gales desist

start to subside or veer West. See patches
of weed and black coal amongst my rocks.
Delve into huge feet thick seaweed masses
Find rare ,warm Baltic amber in same spots

as coal and Whitby jet. Prove real amber
sandpaper it and smell Pine tree resin.
My fossils, bullet shaped Belemnites are
with curled Ammonites released from within.

Don't get caught by my rising tide, falling
cliffs. Every find, a story calling

9. The Barnacle

Before I make my shell, I float in search 
for a permanent place to live. My home 
is beside others, where waves swell and lurch 
I stick my head beside them. Make my dome, 

secrete six plates outside myself. Include 
four as one to open and close with ebb. 
Aswim, I went through many changes, food 
swam ahead of me, I chased, as it fled. 

I stand on my head and eat with my feet. 
My glue will outlast me. Incoming tide 
makes me open to sift food brush and sweep 
it into my shell to my head, inside. 

I grow, enlarge my home, with neighbour 
I make babies, who one eyed leave my door. 

10. Rocky Shores

My high tide mark periwinkles, limpets, breaking wave spray moistens, incoming tides 
and storms envelop them. Exposed in its 
drying heat and extreme cold lichen thrives. 

My seabed's shoreward fringe between upper 
and lower, dried twice a day, barnacles , algae, mussels, sea palms. Sea cucumber 
catches passing prey in its tentacles. 

My scoured fissures, fractures and joints, abrased 
and weathered rock refreshed every time 
with new water, my pools isolated 
when it withdraws, small worlds redefined. 

Every tide renews, sculpts, refugees new blood, 
reinvigorates, new life, new food. 

11. Doggerlands

Below the waters of the German Sea rests 
imagination bound with histories. 
Massive creatures roamed valleys and forests, 
folk hunted them down for wondrous stories. 

In firelight told how they killed great toothed beasts 
whilst feasting on the monster's meat and bones, 
Then the landslide., waters rose and all ceased. 
Their remains tell tales to fish, crabs and stones.

Above they farm the gust that turns the blades. 
Ferries wend their way to the other shore. 
The sea now beast that harbours other trades. 
A sunken land to be discovered once more. 

A sea becomes land, as land becomes sea 
Geography of our narratives legacy. 

12. Pelagic

We are not dry land, we are open sea.
Marine snow, always falling detritus,
feed zooplankton, organisms in deep sea,
where sunlight cannot reach you will find us.

We are more different deeper you go.
Muscular bodies become flabby, strong
ossified bones become weak, eyes so
large, sensitive, small, heart too, pressured throng.

Lantern fish, a sound scattering layer,
deeper when the moon is out, if a cloud
passes over moon, it becomes shallower.
Night ascent, day return to cold, dark crowd.

Depth changes the way we live, how we are.
Shallower, more predators, under stars

13. Marine Plants (List Poem)

Eel Grass, Sea Grass or Grass Wrack, Dwarf Eel Grass
or Sea Grass, Marram Grass, Sand Sedge, Hound's Tongue
Sea Couch, Sea Rocket , Common Scurvygrass,
Sea Kale, Yellow Horned Poppy, Adder's Tongue.
Sea Holly, Sea Spurge, Sea Stock, Sea Spleenwort,
Autumn Lady's Tresses, Rock Sea Spurrey,
Ray's Knotgrass, Sea Milkwort, Long-spiked Glasswort,
Sea Beet, Sea Stork's-bill, Lesser Sea Spurrey.
English Scurvygrass, Shore Dock, Autumn Squill,
Common Glasswort,  Sea Arrow-grass, Rock Samphire,
Cord-grass, Sand or Warren Crocus, Spring Squill, 
Sea Pink, Sea Daffodil, Golden Samphire.
Saltwort, Buck's-horn Plantain, Sea Plantain,
Sea Campion, Sea Aster, Sea Purslane.

14. A Breakwater

I watch the giving and taking away.
Waves give gift of shells, drag away castles.
Waders long beaks punctuate my seaspray.
Old wood headland divides and crackles.

I have two sides, updrift and downdrift. Trap
sediments, prevent longshore drift, make beach.
I'm a hand held under a running tap.
I cut gust into two. Firm in waves reach.

Soon I'm to be replaced, "i'm in decay.
My timber is rotting, brackets rusting.
I have done my job, as well as I may.
I'll be broken up, lobbed in a waste bin.

Creatures on me always losing their homes.
Tide is ever changing, it's in my bones.

15. Sanderling Shanty

Stab the sand, my little ones, while it's out. 
In it comes, retreat, retreat, my fellows. 
We flew from cold, my little ones, watch out. 
In it comes, retreat, retreat, my fellows.

Yank the worm, my little ones, while it's out. 
In it comes, retreat, retreat, my fellows. 
Stab shells, my little ones, don't get caught out. 
In it comes, retreat, retreat, my fellows. 

Scurry, scamper, my little ones, surf's out. 
In it comes, retreat, retreat, my fellows. 
Stab jelly, my little ones, ebb's out. 
In it comes, retreat, retreat, my fellows. 

In it comes, retreat, retreat, my fellows. 
In it comes, retreat, retreat, my fellows. 

Wolfpack Contributor: Paul Brookes


The Insect Sonnets by Paul Brookes

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

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

A Fevers of the Mind Quick-9 Interview with Scott Cumming

with Scott Cumming:

Q1: When did you start writing and first influences?

Scott: My first writings would have been in my teen years with what I called lyrics, but since I’ve never been able to play an instrument it might be more accurate to call them poems with choruses.

I was influenced by the music I listened to through the years starting with Oasis and the Manic Street Preachers before getting more lovelorn and aping the likes of Weezer, Ed Harcourt and Ash.

Q2: Who are your biggest influences today?

Scott: Shawn Berman is the other as he has taught me to embrace my light, silly side in my writing through his work and his site, The Daily Drunk. I’ve had a lot of stuff published there throughout this year and I’ve had an immense amount of fun doing it.

Q3: Where did you grow up and how did that influence your writing? Have any travels away from home influence your work?

Scott: I grew up in the Bridge of Don in Aberdeen, which has the distinction of being the largest suburb in Europe. We lived on the outer edges of it and there was room to explore the surrounding countryside.

Subconsciously it is there in my writing as when I think of places the image will often come from a place I remember from when I was young. The place truly was a collision of rural and urban spaces.

Q4: What do you consider the most meaningful work you’ve done creatively so far?


LCD are Sitting Next to Us at the After-Party (dailydrunkmag.com)

This poem is about a great night I had with a friend who has recently passed. I’ve written a few others that will appear in my forthcoming chapbook. 

Poetry has helped me to process my feelings about his death and made me confident enough to reach out to people I hadn’t spoken to in some time and clear the air about things either real or imagined.

Q5: Any pivotal moment when you knew you wanted to be a writer?

Scott: There really isn’t. 

I was never someone who had the confidence before and always thought I wasn’t good enough to write or create. You see all sorts of people with their PhDs and MFAs and I’m just a guy who didn’t realise the value of education until too late.

Now I have the confidence, if not the belief, that I can write whatever I want and even if it only finds an audience of one, it’s the doing it that matters.

Q6: Favorite activities to relax?

Scott: Recently I’ve been playing the Nintendo Switch we got for our seven year old’s birthday a lot to destress.

As well as that I obviously love to read and have been keeping up to date with the latest stuff from B F Jones, James Lilley and Andrew Davie among others.

In the past few months, I’ve taken to filming myself reading poems that have particularly impressed me and posting them on Twitter.

Q7: Any recent or forthcoming projects you’d like to promote?

Scott: My chapbook, “A Chapbook About Nothing”, will be released on the last day of 2021. It is so called because of its complete lack of theme and the duelling, possibly jarring nature of my crime/dark poems against my light, pop culture fare.

Q8: What is a favorite line/stanza from a poem/writing of yours or others?


“I remember when we had nothing, but

allergy medicine spiked into each of our legs
licking the drip of epinephrene blood from your thigh”

This line is from a poem I had published at The Five-Two (The Five-Two: Scott Cumming (poemsoncrime.blogspot.com)), which is among the favourite things I’ve written thus far and perhaps the darkest thing I’ve written.

Q9: Who has helped you most with writing?

Scott: Stephen J. Golds, B F Jones, Max Thrax, James Lilley are probably the main ones. They’ve each taught me something that has become integral to how I continue to write. It can sometimes be a lonely furrow and I’ve been able to rely on them to pull me through at times.


New Poem by Scott Cumming : Magical Realism vs Middle Earth

2 poems by Scott Cumming : “The Layer Between Us” & “Ear Worn”

Poetry by Scott Cumming : the Daily Battle & To Be Written Upon Waking

Twitter: @tummidge





Bio: Scott Cumming unsuspectingly went to see Garden State wearing his Shins tee. He has been published at The Daily Drunk, Punk Noir Magazine, Versification, Mystery Tribune and Shotgun Honey. His poem, “Blood on Snow”, was voted the best of Outcast Press Poetry Things We Carry issue and nominated for a Pushcart. His collection, A Chapbook About Nothing, was released in December as part of Close to the Bone’s First Cut series. Twitter: @tummidge Website: https://scottcummingwriter.wordpress.com/