Poetry: Paul Brookes

70s Prawn Cocktail


It arrives in knobbly green womb shaped fruit,

on an occasion when mam said we must

act our age for once! Sis says I look  cute,

beneath sniggers at me grey blazered trussed


up in wide colourful tie, Burton's shoes,

trouser bottoms flapping in the cold gust

as we stand for photos, lasses in new

dresses hold onto fascinators, just


can't wait to get to reception's warm meal.

I snaffle little pink prawns and lettuce.

Ask Sis whether we're to eat like for real

flesh of the hollowed out fruit and get Sis


she says it's an avocado. A what!

My teaspoon digs it out. Like it a lot.




Sausages On Sticks


cheese on sticks

pineapple on sticks

prawn cocktail starter

Pavolovas and Black Forest trifles,


Mam and Step Dad tipsy

flirt with their guests,

lights downstairs, whisky, loud noise,

smell of cigars and fags


some come upstairs

to slop a kiss and good night,

scantily clad women's perfume

and red wine

mens aftershave,

and beer sweat.


and only see your Real Dad

at weekends and maybe

spend time at his latest

girlfriends home to leaf


through her record

collection, while they're elsewhere,

and there's three day weeks,

tv on few hours a day,


electric off so we use candles.

Nothing is certain.,

so you sob into your pillow.






All our food have ears, so we must use stealth.

They hear our echoes, make their own so we

hear theirs and think it ours. We must change depth

of our echo so they cannot hear. Free


to hunt, until they find new ways

to stop

us. In flight I glean water as I skim

it, flit quick, echo up at Tallness top.

New echo works. Food is no longer thin.


Dark colder sooner. In Long Cold we must

enter Slow Time. Heart to few from many

beats, gathered together in Hard Dark roost.

All flitterers we ate feed our bellies.


Come Long Warm this heart will beat quicker, these

wings unfold hungry for flight and release.




Fish Strawberries


A fish eye is my belly button.

Inside my stomach flaps, flops,


flips when I see her. My tongue

tastes her rich perfume.


Spice entices a sky full of Cod,

Haddock, Halibut, Salmon and Pike.


Sky is her aquarium. Fish

and chips and two forks


are the heat of heaven.

Warm ourselves huddled on a kerbside.


I can taste the salt she threw on her portion,

the wash of vinegar and strawberry lipstick nibbles


on her lips, inside her mouth where our tongues

talk in tastes as we stand at her front door.


Wings out I am a fish in flight.

Splash between bright pools home.




My Pit Ponies


Old George like all others

given half a chance

knew tha had two

bits o' snap

one for them

one for thee sen

so he'd nuzzle inside

your donkey jacket.


Times on entry to pit

down drift leading others

he'd stop

                  swing his head

to              and            fro




a         moment.    or.    two


turn and gallop up and out 'pit.


Take thee 3/4 of a bloody shift

to get bastard back down there.


When tha were leading

guarantee some wily bugger'd

stand on thee toes

if tha got behind 'um.

He'd hit you so hard

tha's winded three days.


That 'un got nowt

Out my donkey jacket.

Pullin' them tubs

were noa joke. One

after a week pullin'  doubles

just up and died.


Old George were best.

He were me mate.


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