My Night’s Two Hands

A poem by Paul Brookes


against exits and entrances,
eyes cornered by sleepdust.

Riff raff cast offs witter
as they’ve seen better.

Day is two rats in a bag
snotting one another.

Light, light against the living of the rage.
Life measured out in how many
plastic carry bags for your shopping.


Paul Brookes was and is a shop assistant. He was previously employed as a security guard, postman, administrative assistant, lecturer, and performer in the Rats for Love poetry troupe. (His poetry has been included in Rats for Love: The Book (Bristol Broadsides, 1990).)

His first chapbook, The Fabulous Invention of Barnsley, was published by Dearne Community Arts in 1993; his second chapbook, The Headpoke And Firewedding, was published by Alien Buddha Press; his third, A World Where, was published by Nixes Mate Press; and his fourth, The Spermbot Blues, was published by OpPRESS.

Brookes has read his work on BBC Radio Bristol, and hosted a creative writing workshop for sixth formers (grades 11-12 high schoolers) on BBC Radio Five Live. Some of his written work has recently appeared in Clear Poetry, Nixes Mate Review, Live Nude Poems, The Bezine, The Bees Are Dead, and other publications.

Feel free to visit his website!

The Postman Does Not Deliver

A poem by Paul Brookes


insists she break the law,
stuffs his heavy, packed bags

around their home, under the stairs,
in the loft. Other folk’s messages

and parcels never arrive
as he sups pints in the local,

pots balls over the green baize.
She sees him chat up lasses

in the pub, online, changes
his FB profile to single,

She coddles their new bairn
till he returns to her why.


Paul Brookes was and is a shop assistant. He was previously employed as a security guard, postman, administrative assistant, lecturer, and performer in the Rats for Love poetry troupe. (His poetry has been included in Rats for Love: The Book (Bristol Broadsides, 1990).)

His first chapbook, The Fabulous Invention of Barnsley, was published by Dearne Community Arts in 1993; his second chapbook, The Headpoke And Firewedding, was published by Alien Buddha Press; his third, A World Where, was published by Nixes Mate Press; and his fourth, The Spermbot Blues, was published by OpPRESS.

Brookes has read his work on BBC Radio Bristol, and hosted a creative writing workshop for sixth formers (grades 11-12 high schoolers) on BBC Radio Five Live. Some of his written work has recently appeared in Clear Poetry, Nixes Mate Review, Live Nude Poems, The Bezine, The Bees Are Dead, and other publications.

Feel free to visit his website!

ontology

A poem by Paul Brookes


Lifted the black rubber bin lid
saw antlers first then nostrils
then eyes without light
as if looking upwards

horticultural handyman
emptying grass cuttings
into a bin beside greenhouses
owned by a venison farm

hands soft and puffy
pen push finger bone
grooved over years
nursery to college
glad with calluses

scraped, scratched bled
gloveless heave of concrete
flags, grasp shovel handle
to mix sand, water, gravel

collapsed tired muscle
in mam’s deep armchair
knackered and a smile


Paul Brookes is a former shop assistant, security guard, postman, administrative assistant, and lecturer, as well as a member of the poetry performance troupe Rats for Love. His work has been included in Rats for Love: The Book (Bristol Broadsides, 1990), and more recently in the publications Clear PoetryNixes Mate, Live Nude Poems, The Bezine, and The Bees Are Dead.

His first chapbook, The Fabulous Invention Of Barnsley, was published by Dearne Community Arts in 1993.

Check out his website!

Her To and Fro

A poem by Paul Brookes


to and fro the iron

over bedsheets, his shirts,

as she stands three hours

hot poker of pain

in the small of her back,

lists what else to do,

take down window nets,

wash and iron,

vax front room,

lug it upstairs for bedroom,

carpets,

hoover front room,

lug it upstairs for bedroom

carpets,

clean windows inside

to and fro,

to and fro

polish beneath knick knacks

bought on holiday,

to and fro

strip and remake beds,

make his tea,

always meat and two veg

He arrives home and says,

“What have you ever done for me?”


Paul Brookes has performed in the poetry performance group Rats for Love and is included in their 1989 Rats for Love: The Book (available from Bristol Broadsides). His first chapbook, The Fabulous Invention of Barnsley (1993), is available from Dearne Community Arts.

“You’re Always Where I Want To Be.”

A poem by Paul Brookes


A marriage

of chalk and cheese.

She says,

“I’m more southern:

cold hands, warm heart.

You’re northern:

warm hands, cold heart.”

her with her tv quizzes,

me with documentaries.

We have similar thoughts

at the same time.

“You’re always in the way.”

When out, I go my way,

she goes hers, so we double up

on milk and bread.

Clairvoyant said, “You’ll marry a foreigner.”


Paul Brookes has performed in the poetry performance group Rats for Love and is included in their 1989 Rats for Love: The Book (available from Bristol Broadsides). His first chapbook, The Fabulous Invention of Barnsley (1993), is available from Dearne Community Arts.