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)

Patience of egrets a poem by Peach Delphine

This shore of conch and mangrove,

Rain, our mother tongue,

Cast down as glyphs beaten into sand,

It requires the patience of egrets

The long glide of pelicans

To endure the loss of your hands

Weight of your body in the warm night

As clock light breathes against the ceiling

 

This weather of absence, so much moonlight

Contained by scars, delicate

Tracery of struggle, cartography of dreams, your words still summon to this shore,

Congregation of spoonbills gathered for tide

 

The shyness of alligators,

The call and response of owls,

A world not yet fallen into shadow

The plumage of night folds into palms,

It requires the roots of mangrove

To weather these waves, long fetch

Of sleepless absence,

Each day a shell curving upon itself

The sound of emptiness 

Coiled within my ear, the sand of loss

Pouring from my hands

 

Follow @peachdelphine on Twitter

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

Screwed Up in Beaver Dam: poem by David L O’Nan (poetry) satire

Screwed Up in Beaver Dam  

A feeling of grit in my throat
The road kept stretching further and further down a lick of ice
I lost that number from that bar
That girl named after a drink special, I think
All was drunk, I definitely was
Stuffed with chuck wagon and a disgusting sludge
Moving in my stomach like A Vietnam War
Napalm vomit all over these grasses
And that road looks so slick, and those ditches shrink closer into the road.
I remember now, I think she said Beverly Jo
Married to Bo with the cancer growth
But, she was thirsty
Looking for Billy, Jack, or Billy Jack
And judging you by your jeans
She chews on gum with Pabst Blue onion rings
And you dance around like a clown of trash
You decide who needs vows when you know your death is on that backroads.
She snuck away with your wallet
Bending from your back pocket
To a restroom she goes, and you scream something incomprehensible and fall back into a billiards table.
I believe she left off in a big truck with durable snow tires and chains
Now, i’m screwed in Beaver Dam
With a concussed head, no money, no phone signal, and a daddy in the County Jail, all my buddies are drunk at home with their families watching infomercials.
Making plans to buy bronzed Last Supper plates.
All I have left in my pocket is some generic bandages, and a crushed cigarette
So, I start that truck up after 12 tries, I slipped on myself and all my dignity several times.
With ice covered windows I drive straight into the Colonial Motel sign
Now, if i’m alive. I believe I met an angel
And heaven smells like Aspercreme with Lidocaine.

Photo by Steven Lewis on Unsplash

Wolfpack Contributor EIC Bios: David L O’Nan & HilLesha O’Nan

Poetry: Holiday Mass by Gerald Jatzek

Holiday Mass


the accordeon is sweating
tango pearls on the skin
of spanish dancers
lord and lady lizardhead
lipless vile and lidless
under lampoons of lore

raising their hands
in nuremburg fashion
they hail the high priest
his orchards his nails
that pin the star to the jacket
that pin the cross to the word

of course the cross is crimson
in the light of colored bulbs

Follow on Twitter: @jatzek_gerald

webpage: GeraldJatzek.com

Poetry: On Being Awake at 5 A.M. by Stu Buck

On Being Awake at 5 A.M.

some days my sadness is so magnificent
that an acrid taste lingers in the mouth of the night

and i think about the thousand ways
that i might die and i think about the birds

Stuart Buck is a Best of the Net/PushCart Prize/BIFFY50 nominated poet and artist living in North Wales. 

His second book ‘Become Something Frail’ was released to critical acclaim on Selcouth Station Press in 2019. When he is not writing or reading poetry, he likes to cook, juggle and listen to music. He suffers terribly from tsundoku – the art of buying copious amounts of books that he will never read.

An interview with Stu Buck of Bear Creek Gazette