Fool’s Paradise by Zoe Brooks (Black Eyes Publishing)

Tears in the Fence

This unusual work has had a leisurely path to print. Written after a visit to Prague in 1990, two extracts were published (inAquarius, no less) in 1992. Twenty years later it appeared as a self-produced e-book. Now, after ten more years and on the heels of its author’s similarly slow-arriving but sporadically awesome short-poem collection (Owl Unbound), it’s finally made it out.

It’s ‘a mystical poem for voices’, or a verse radio play. Three unnamed travellers start their journey at a gibbet and so may be newly executed – or not. A riddling Fool with his dog ‘gather[s] their shadows’ and ‘take[s] them to be cleaned’. He uses a skull as a glove-puppet. ‘Your way is down,’ he says, so he may be a courier demon – or not. Traveller 2 says, ‘It was your country which sold mine/ for a few years’ peace’, which could…

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