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The Brain of Eleanor Forgiven


Rusty Broadspear

I’d never given it any thought,

As Billy dished the cards to John, Speck and me.

First Monday every month,

Eleanor gave us her back room

Which was Steeleye’s (that’s her late husband) drinking den. 


Steeleye was a self-styled car mechanic,

His inspiration came from millions of microscopic worms,

That played in many of the oil patches on the floor of his barn.


Most afternoons, shortly after rising from bed,

He would ask them for advice

On problems mechanical and personal.


My hand was shite, but that was par for the course.

Speck flicked his butt through the open window

And said, “Seen Eleanor tonight?”


Eleanor scratched a living scratching other people's backs.

She wanted favours

But nobody gave her any, 'cos Steeleye was the man.


She’d watched Steeleye die in the can.

John did up his top shirt button and straightened his tie

His hand was all but manicured; he knew he’d won.


“So Rusty,” John said, “What do you know?”

I played my shit-stabbing hand and said “Eleanor?”

“Last time I seen her she was in the sink.”


See, when Steeleye passed away, we passed Eleanor away,

And then we took her head so that she could remind us

That Steeleye was at peace and our monthlies would not cease,

And that she’d keep her secrets safe from the local State Police.

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