Poems from Paul Brookes to Honor Reuben Woolley and I am not a silent poet

c estate of Reuben Woolley

“I wish to honour Reuben by thanking him for all the poems he accepted that I submitted to I am not a silent poet.” Paul Brookes



Note: Due to a technical challenge all of Paul’s poems were left out of the original homage to Reuben Woolley. Hence, they are shared here. / J.D.

World Is

always at war.
Every bulletin lists casualties,
devastated buildings, grief.

Bloodied, scarred, lost, missing,
found dead. What about the lost dead?

Forever wanting you to discover,
uncover their brief candle burn.

We Live

in a fake peace between world wars,
shop and shop to stay reasonable.

Families are killed elsewhere.
We see their relatives tears on plasma screens.

Sometimes tears drop closer to home,
and we are reminded of our fake comfort,

that is preferable, a faux fur covered blade
sometimes bleeds and we are keen.

Our Justification

for the gang rape
and killing
of your eight year old
Child
Is that, like you,
She was
Not human
And therefore
Not under
The rights
And privileges
Of humans.

You must
Be tolerant
Of our beliefs
If you wish
To stay
On our land.

Some Baked Bread

or the journey
to the hole in the ground

where they were asked to lay
on the still warm dead
neighbours and children
to be shot

As their ethnicity was cleansed.
the soldiers with guns
wrote home from the war.
It was such an event.

A Queued

Life. Born to this line
Of cotted bairns,

Crocodiled infants,
Slumped with others outside

A locked classrroom,
Marshalled exams desks,

Job interview staring at strangers,
Ranked at work,

Drs, dentists waiting rooms,
appointmented even my wedding.

Waiting list for a council house,
Parents evening lined up with others

Listed as deceased in papers, online.
Regimented plaque for my cremation.

As that world ends another begins.
Join another queue, another thought

of final judgement already delivered,
or forever pended.

Without Permission

he walked on her grass,
uprooted her wild flowers,

She says “Don’t touch
without asking. It’s abuse.

Stop it. No means no!”
Fantasies of ravagement

on both sides who know
these are merely fantasies

that should never be public
so a no becomes yes,

and abuse pleasurable. Always safe
words agreed beforehand.

Always taken too far, control
and power corrupt.

Slavery

is good for you. All folk
should be chained,

manacled to a mortgage,
to work, to an employer

a partner. Freedom denies
your human rights. Slavery

teaches you the meaning of life.
demands you act properly

constrains you to common sense,
sets out a wild world of imagination

creativity and invention. Freedom
is too wishy washy. Lock

and load your chains. Don’t let
loose and free your mind. Freedom

Is heavy, restricts, denies movement
of blood, bone and brain.

Become a slave and see our world
with new eyes, fresh perspectives.

Hopelessness Is Life

Only the hopeless live.
Only hopelessness makes you smile.

When all hopelessness is gone
then you will grieve at the loss.

There are three streets we can go down,
Faithlessness, Hopelessness and Selfishness

Without one of these the others cannot exist.
There must always be hopelessness

in the best of times. It reminds us of an edge
to life. Surrender to hopelessness

and all will be well. It is the force that drives
all that is worthwhile and good.

An Inappropriate Life

Born inappropriate to this inappropriate world
this inappropriate earth I learned how to be inappropriate

in school, met a lass
who said she was inappropriately ready

to be inappropriately wed, so we inappropriately married
after three months of inappropriate courting

she bore inappropriately our first kid
after six months whilst I worked inappropriately

in inappropriate employment
Promoted inappropriately to inappropriate manager

so we bought our first inappropriate home,
furnished inappropriately, after decorating inappropriately.

I had an inappropriate allotment where I grew inappropriate carrots
and potatoes and cabbages.

She died inappropriately after seven years inappropriate fighting
lung cancer. I never remarried inappropriately

Bring up our second child inappropriately
tell her inappropriate dream stories
of our inappropriate love inappropriate life.

Guns Are

good. Make you feel safe.
Make you more responsible,

like your own child. Nobody
hurts my child. I’ll shoot anyone

that does. My child needs
A decent education. Some shooter

Who wants to be famous kills
my little one in lessons.

I’m glad I’ve got my gun
So I can kill the shooter

And his family. Guns are good.
Make folk sit up and listen.

A Bridge

anastomosis [ah-nas″to-mo´sis] (pl. anastomo´ses) (Gr.)

It is bin day. Sound of breaking glass.

A vein.

between places,
one person and another,

A Bridge

anastomosis [ah-nas″to-mo´sis] (pl. anastomo´ses) (Gr.)

It is bin day. Sound of breaking glass.

A vein.

between places,
one person and another,
you and your kids,
a busy crossing between beliefs.
from wick to ash.
full to empty.

Broken, blocked, under investigation.

No link, information dammed,
Adamant your side is right,
other side apostate.
Bloodied metal sends a message,
via media bridges.

Bins must be wheeled back to their places.

a busy crossing between beliefs.
from wick to ash.
full to empty.

Broken, blocked, under investigation.

No link, information dammed,
Adamant your side is right,
other side apostate.
Bloodied metal sends a message,
via media bridges.

Bins must be wheeled back to their places.

Mobiles

are in the shape of small graves
for children who mine the precious
metal inside that make it work
and I look Into the screen
to stay connected but do not see
their gritted lives as they haul
the valuable out of the hole
and the world has never been
so connected by this small grave
I carry in my pocket.

Deliberate Death Of A Conformist

I insist I nod in agreement
at all they accuse me of.

I refuse to make a spectacle of myself.
I will not protest. I agree with all

the folk in power do. I always obey
the law. Drive correctly. I want

an easy life. No hassle. Why am I
guilty? Whatever it is I did it.

They tell me -That’s too easy.
You must have done something worse.

If we told you to jump out
of that window would you do it?

So I do. Now they arrest me again,
-You caused a public disturbance.

-I agree I say. – There must be something
you don’t agree with they say -No I reply.

– If we tell you you died in that fall,
and this police station is heaven – I agree.

Refugee

is good. To belong
is wrong. Be homeless.

Mortgages and rents are chains.
Tread the world without burden.

Find a banquet in a crumb.
A glassful in a droplet.

Warmth in a newspaper blanket.
Comfort is a concrete underpass.

Our Folk Burn

Management say “Lessons will be learnt”
Folk have already warned bosses.
Management say “Our sympathies are with the families”
Death toll expected to rise.
Management say “Lessons will be learnt.
Austerity costs must be met.”

Because

people killed further away
do not grieve any less.

a mother is a mother
even if her fashion is not ours.

a father is a father
even if we disagree with his beliefs.

an explosion is an explosion
even when on a flat screen.

Nothing (For Manchester)

is real.

My smile was a pink balloon
floated above me. I sang.

A big bang.
Blood on the balloon.

I find metal nuts and bolts.
I can’t sing. It isn’t real.

I’m Just About

managing between the barricades.
My kids play between sniper targets.

I fetch the shop through broken
buildings perforated by gunshot,

past cars jammed across streets.

I’m just about managing between regimes.

“Why Dad?”

It happens a lot.
I look up to see
a soldier
with the butt of his rifle
move Dad forward.

“Why, Dad?”

“They don’t know where
we belong.” He says.

© 2019, Paul Brookes

My Muse Is Not A Demon by Karen Fayeth

Photo by Paulo Carrolo on Unsplash

“My mind is like a carnival?” Karen Fayeth



I don’t know what to write I don’t know what to write I don’t know what to write.

Is exactly what I wrote when trying that age old advice for writer’s block:

Sit down and write something, anything. Just get words on the page.

I’m not saying it is bad advice. Quite the contrary. But repeating the sentences isn’t working.

Oh, I know, I’ll try my old trick of using a random word generator.

*click* The word is: carnival.

A juicy word! Here we go.

Heeeere we go.

Go.

Ugh.

My mind is like a carnival?

That’s it, that’s all she wrote.

It’s more like the carnival that left town. Quiet. Dead. Random bits of debris blowing around.

That was almost lyrical and then it wasn’t. A sudden gust of wind that just as suddenly went still.

So goes the ongoing wrestling match with my demons. Well, not demons, that’s an unfair characterization. My Muse is not a demon and my demons are not Muses.

There are those who would say that having writer’s block is simply lack of discipline. Just sit down and write words is the cure.

I get the point but I think it’s unfair. I have always prided myself on being a disciplined writer. I don’t take for granted my ability to quite easily write a thousand words a day. It takes me about twenty minutes.

So when I say I’m blocked, it’s not for lack of words. Knocking out a thousand words with no purpose is unfulfilling. What I yearn for is that pull, that feeling of being in the flow, when the words that flow from my fingertips are not just words but a cohesive chain with something to say.

I have read the experts like Natalie GoldbergAnne Lamott, and Julia Cameron. They are all right and they are all wrong. Their guidance matters and at some point they have all helped me.

The best thing for me to remember is that the good words don’t go away forever. Writer’s block isn’t permanent. That is the focus that keeps me going, knowing they will return and we will flow together again.

But until that happens, I am both thirsty and hungry and yearn for pretty words and meaty thoughts and the satiation I can only feel after feasting on a good turn of phrase.

Until then, I will keep ahold of that good juicy random word. I will work it over like a bad tooth until I find the story that flows from the word carnival. I’ll carry it around in my virtual rucksack until I figure out how to build the word and sentences and phrases that go beyond “my mind is like a carnival.”

Somehow. Somewhere.

My carnival awaits.


Karen Fayeth (Oh Fair New Mexico): Raised most of my life in New Mexico, my job brought me to Northern California. I don’t usually identify myself as a Californian, simply a New Mexican living in California. In the first couple years after moving, I distanced myself from my home state thinking it backward and remote. Then I began to visit home more frequently and truly learned a love for my home state that only comes by gaining perspective. I’m a writer, a crafter, a photographer and labor at a “real job” during the days.