Ben Brooks

10 girls from Albuquerque

I would lead them home and play
Spank theatre
They cry sometimes but I am wise beyond
Sympathy, no
And when you hold them
Plastic, they breathe fumes
And when you sew their lips,
Ivory, they wish marriage.

Victimise me.

She was 1, ebony and wideness
A canvas painted
Blind and wild, with
Dappled skin, repulsed I cut
Notches in the corners of her
Eyes and pulled them wide,
Her before mirror,
Look, I tell her, look you
Are beautiful, you have eaten
The world,
So selfish, I am self
Less and teacher, hold this
Book for me, don’t
Touch your eyes.

I was shaking, had to pass
Out make coffee smoke
Black and collect myself.


She was brine and stifling,
Didn’t shout, there is
Some honour in
Pavement business;
Not enough! No the child
Was no child of God,
Her church is jade
And neon.


Lastly blowing with
Steel to skull, she falls
Ungraceful and out flicked
Her eyes for kitty, here
Kitty, starve no longer.

Was cut and kept in
Blue rubber crate.

Then 2, copper roots and
Freckle, a slight sliver of
Stem grown grudging,
Perhaps a lack of light
And so to rectify
I tore her,

In sweat and half-sleep
I shower, bloody balls,
The oil less caress of soap
And wine, fresh flesh

Took toenails, slow count,
So lined from ill health
And easily plucked,
Slept with an iron rod
Sent in through ear

Cut her into nine
And blue barrel.

Oh 3! Latin tangle of
Coy tan and denim,
Held her in duvet, reading
St Paul, taught her
To see him in spaces.

Carved a cross into
Blades of the back then
Off with breasts and arms
And heart.

Inside of blue.

A quiver of black, see nothing now
But numbers, smokescreen,
The man below sings opera,
The widow above breaks
Glass, odorous almost, perhaps
It permeates the brick, drink oil
And run.

4, aged dispassionately, blank
Strands of hair and fungal folds
In skin, she dreams in concrete

Her face made again
With rouge and ochre,
Painted lips russet and
Eyelids dawn, hips out she
Dances, knees to breasts, for
Applause and delay.

Then the lifted face, skin
Peeled from arched
Cheekbones, broken
For luck.

Hide beneath bed.

5,6,7 in lines and groping,
Full house? Then her! Ah,
She is flushed, take the
Bleach, fork,
Prick and chastise! Start
With thighs and climb, 7,
She left us too soon.


5,6 please launder and
Polish while I search
Out marbles, gracious,
How many of these
Will your trachea take?

Extra. Pillows.

Now 8, here are two nails,
A plastic ball and a newspaper,
Do your best, if you don’t then
Peeling and salt,

Good girl.

Ah, 9 & 10, the clock in perfect
Symmetry, you both look…
In woolsacks. Here are matches.
Distraction. 9 please with the
Skull beneath the foot
Of 10. Go! Yes, yes, yes
You do well. Scarlet soles!


Ben Brooks first novel is called Fences and is out on Fugue State Press. He has two other novels forthcoming. His furniture is oriental.

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