High Street, Wombwell, England
—Anonymous Photos of Wombwell
—Poems by Paul Brookes, Wombwell, England
above coral canopy of trees
throw nets of birds
to catch fish clouds
aphids in currents and eddies
cross atmospheric bridges of gusts,
dead cells in clouds and ice
morsels for migrants in the swim
through rivers and waterfalls of air.
A WINTER LAPWING
flickflack, barrel roll,
Cuban Eight above fields,
a fan that winnows grain
a long, slender, upcurved crest,
a shrill cry,
catches the insects of words in flight.
máquè tōu liáng
Sparrows steal grain
from my daughter's mouth,
we must go into the fields,
with our neighbours
bang pots, pans, beat drums
keep the birds in flight so long,
exhausted they fall from the sky, dead.
Tear down their nests,
break their eggs, kill their chicks,
shoot them out of the air,
poison the pests,
but without these little hunters,
locusts swarm the crops,
take food from mouths
and my starved little girl
I shall bury tomorrow.
The government wish to cull
badgers, raccoon dogs,
rats, and cockroaches.
I will not beat their drum.
tears slip down her reddened cheeks
fall on his dusty feet. She unsandals him.
Drops from an expensive perfume bottle splash
in her palms, she massages his heels to toes,
unbraids her long hair, moves it over his refreshed
skin until dry. Her resurrected brother watches.
of absences in the photograph
In the hollows where time passes
as if it is an empty space
where their ashes
in the blue
Filled with lost places
that are not places
until they are found
here something from here must leave.
Whenever a gift accepted
another must be stolen.
Whatever peak of a hill is reached,
bottom of a valley must be explored.
Whenever what must die lives,
another life is forfeit to maintain balance.
If dust is cleaned from one surface,
Its equal in volume and weight
will settle elsewhere.
Every debt must be paid,
every bill settled.
Payment is always due.
IN THE HUSH
from bare limbs silhouetted
against a grey sky
a sudden voice
from tiny lungs
your full heart lifts
as if the tree had blossomed
Our thanks and welcome to Paul Brookes from across the Atlantic in Wombwell, South Yorkshire, England, for his poetry today! Recently published in Clear Poetry, Nixes Mate, Live Nude Poems, Literati Magazine, Literally Literary, The Bees Are Dead, Open Mouse, Inbetween Hangovers, and Three Drops Press, Paul has been a shop assistant, security guard, postman, admin. assistant, lecturer, and poetry performer, with "Rats for Love" included in Rats for Love: The Book (Bristol Broadsides, 1990). First chapbook: The Fabulous Invention Of Barnsley (Dearne Community Arts, 1993). He has read his work on BBC Radio Bristol, a creative writing workshop for sixth formers broadcast on BBC Radio Five Live. Forthcoming this summer is an illustrated chapbook called The Spermbot Blues, published by OpPRESS. Then, tentatively in autumn: The Headpoke, an illustrated chapbook published by Alien Buddha Press.
Welcome to the Kitchen, Paul, and don’t be a stranger! For more about Wombwell (Wum-well), including driving through town, the haunted Wombwell Woods, and other videos, see www.youtube.com/watch?v=F_LfcKER8UY. For some old photos and memories of Wombwell, see www.francisfrith.com/us/wombwell/.
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