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My Place
by Paul Brookes

I am seventeen.
I wish my stepdad would tell me:
“Do as you like. Whilst you live
here you do as you want.
Turn your music up loud as you want.
Your mam and I are not bothered.
Help out if you want,
but you don’t have to if you don’t want.
You know, like, cut the grass
or clean your room.
If you go out, be in anytime you want.
You’re young. Enjoy it while you can.
This place is as much yours as ours”
I’ll stay.
I am seventeen.
My stepdad says.
“In your own place you can act
And do as you like. Whilst you live
Here you do as we say.
Turn that racket down. Your mam
And I don’t expect much. Help out.
Cut the grass. Clean your room.
If you go out, be in by eleven.
If you respect us we’ll respect you.”
I need a place of my own.

AUTHOR’S PHOTO CAPTION: Me, outward bound at 17.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: A struggle for independence. Establish your differences and confirm your dependencies as the hormones kick in to separate child from adult, parent from child.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Paul Brookes was shop assistant, security guard, postman, administrative assistant, lecturer, poetry performer with “Rats for Love,” and his work has been 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. His writing has recently appeared in Clear Poetry, Eratio, Nixes Mate, Live Nude Poems, and others.