“The Blood Serape,” and other ekphrastic poems by Paul Brookes

El sarape rojo (1918) by Mexican artist Alberto Garduño (1885-1948), Public Domain photograph


A shot like a backfiring car.
I lay full length on the border.
Still as midday sun.

Folk think me dead.
So fire back. I get up.
Skitter like a lizard.

Now sit here, wrapped
in this blood serape eyes flit
side to side as bullets zip by.

Not a time for dance so shakers
are sleeved above me. Soon victory
will give my life back like clarity.


Photograph by Paul Brookes


The Elephant

Stumped at my English homework.
We’d read Edward Lear
and homework says write
an absurd poem.

I can’t. I cry,
in front of Mam,

who writes one for me,
almost instantly,

and titles it:
“The Elephant With A Propeller For A Nose”

“The  elephant died and from his grave
Where would be a stone a propeller rose.”

is all I can recall.

Now good friends buy us
this elephant and her calf.

I see dark wooden sculptures
of lions, giraffes and elephants

stare down at me from mahogany
sideboards below Clwydian hills

in Grandad’s home.

Only later does Dad tell me
he was a merchant mariner
for his National Service.

In my memory home
I place the elephant and calf
on a coffee table.


Photograph by Paul Brookes


Rothko Meant Nothing

canvases painted in one colour.
Where the detail? I’ve painted
house walls with one colour.
Modern art is crap. Money
for nothing

then I saw the ordinary light
of a wintered Humber Estuary
subtle difference to the sky

and understood.

© 2017, Paul Brookes 


Paul Brookes

PAUL BROOKES (The Womwell Rainbow, Inspiration, History, Imagination) was a shop assistant, security guard, postman, admin. assistant, lecturer, poetry performer, with “Rats for Love” and his work included in “Rats for Love: The Book”, Bristol Broadsides, 1990. His first chapbook was “The Fabulous Invention Of Barnsley”, Dearne Community Arts, 1993. He has read his work on BBC Radio Bristol and had a creative writing workshop for sixth formers broadcast on BBC Radio Five Live. Recently published in Clear Poetry, Nixes Mate, Live Nude Poems and others.

This spring 2017 Paul’s  illustrated chapbook The Spermbot Blues, was published by OpPRESS. Other recent collections include A World Where.  Recent magazine publications inclue Clear Poetry, Nixes Mate Mate Review, Live Nude Poems, The Bees Are Dead and others. His work has been featured in The BeZineHe participates regularly in The Poet by Day, Wednesday Writing Prompt. I [Jamie} am currently reading Paul’s upcoming collection, She Needs that Edge and writing a cover blurb.  So far so Great! 🙂


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