Ida Arnold
Brighton Cock
The Palace of Pleasure



"Hale knew, before he had
been in Brighton three hours,
that they meant to murder him"
—Graham Greene, Brighton Rock

After I offed Hale —
I had to try to cover up
My involvement with
The murder and all that

I had to silence Rose —
The waitress who was the
Key witness to the thing
Marry or murder her

I was allergic to intimacy —
Even though she was so
Innocent and naïve but
Like I really didn’t care

Hale was a squealer —
And Rose knew too much
So their fates as far as I was
Concerned was the same


“I’m not superstitious,”
she said, “but you can’t
get over that. The Board
knows.”— Graham Greene,
Brighton Rock

The only person who stood —
In my way was Ida Arnold
Fred Hale's companion on his
Fucking last day on earth

Ebullient and full of laughter —
She was a middle-aged dumpy
Dame but she was determined
To fuck me over that’s for sure

Once she found out —
Then she tried to save Rose
From the fuckin fate I had
Planned for the whole gang

I was supposed to be the —
Avenging angel for Battling Kite
My sugar-daddy who got his
Throat slit by the creeps

You know, the motherfuckers —
The Colleoni gang trying to
Horn in on our bookie protection
Racket at the Brighton Tracks


“It’s lovely,” Rose said,
“being out here in the
country with you.”
—Graham Greene, Brighton Rock

Rose was a sucker for the —
Usual Heaven and Hell thing
The same old crummy Catholic
Racket of grace outta the blue

I never did believe in that stuff —
Redemption offered to suckers
But never really taken up cause
It was never there anyway

The same with Ida’s shit —
I didn’t believe superstitious
Shit like ghosts, ouija boards,
Stupid card tables that rapped

Hell for me wasn’t faraway —
Not in some distant realm with
Angels and all that stupid crap
They cram down you in church

Hell was right here —
Right here in the fuckin now
It was all around me just like
It always had been that way

Brighton Rock was bleak —
It didn’t make any difference
Whether you were Catholic
Or some punk gangster like me


"The huge darkness
pressed a wet mouth
against the panes”
— Graham Greene
Brighton Rock

Punks like Pinky Brown
They’re dime a dozen
But they turn me on…
Just ask Graham Greene

Richard Attenborough —
Smirking “Young Scarface”
Typical British teen gangster
Like American film noir punks?

A greasy full moon slides —
Down my bedroom window
Me lying in bed hesitating
Fuckin even getting up today

Is it gonna be —
A black licorice day?
Dark, sticky and seamy?
Like seedy Brighton Rock?

Or a red licorice day —
Bloody and murderous
With punk Pinky Brown
Out to fuckin get me???


“Something trying to get in;
 the pressure of gigantic
wings  against the glass”
— Graham Greene, Brighton Rock

Battling Kite got done in —
His throat slit by the nefarious
Colleoni rival gang of Brighton
At the train station

Battling’s young “kept man” —
Amoral, charmless Pinky Brown
Seethed with resentment after
Losing his Sugar Daddy lover

He hung out by the pier —
The Palace of Pleasure with
Its seedy peepshows and ugly
Little slot machine parlors

The shooting booths—
Pinky was pretty good at quoits
Even though the stall-holder
Hated his fuckin guts

Shelves full of Kewpie dolls —
Chestnut ringlets, blue orbs
For eyes staring down with
Glassy innocence like Virgins

Like a church repository —
Hail Mary in our Hour of Death
Painted cheeks, all it takes is
Six shots for a Big Prize

Pinkie smirked, walked away —
Holding the cheap Kewpie Doll
By the hair, waiting for Hale
To show up for his demise

The stink under the piers —
Dark, poison-bottle green
Mottled with seaweed, salty
Wind smarting his eyes

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