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sits rakishly on his head.
Gratefulness infests his unwashed
hair with proboscis and antennae.
Desire's soil blackens under his long,
long yellow fingernails.
Need wrinkles his youth, puts years
in the deep porcelain grease of his eyes
Cold flat pavement hurts
your feet as you walk
in soles that can feel spiky grit
flung by car tires from the newly
resurfaced tarmac embed
between the icy wrinkles of your flesh
burst the balloons of sensitive
blisters that give you a hobble
when you walk, as you inhale
the sear of recently cooled tar
and thirst for wet on your lips.
Paul Brookes was 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, The Bees Are Dead, Live Nude Poems and others.