Saturday, 1 March 2014
I take wet sand in my fist
and crush it
and it dribbles down into growing, misshaped towers.
I build the uppermost spire,
but each time I squeeze the mixture
I try to build it too tall
and it topples.
Always it topples.
Eventually I conceded that it is done,
though of course it is never done.
I can not sit here for All Time
in this salt-water beach pond
merrily pissing myself.
That would just not be proper.
Friday, 28 February 2014
We could not find methylated spirits,
which was what our little stove required
and so we could not cook.
And, as we could not cook,
we were damned to make a plan,
or else eat in overpriced restaurants
which dried our funds.
It was not enough to simply eat fruit and bread,
so we filled the trolley with
she thinking it was what I wanted,
and me doing the same.
Communications were down,
or else we would have noticed the
For fifteen minutes, we deliberated
in the cheese isle.
"This cheese smells."
"This cheese is squishy. And also expensive."
"This cheese is not cheese."
She wanted cheddar,
which was too lacking in adventure,
and so we chose a cheese neither of us wanted,
just to be done with it.
And so ended the saga of the cheese.
For today, at least.
Thursday, 27 February 2014
seconds of water.
Abruptly it stops, and in-so-doing
"Yes," I say and press it again.
Countless times I press.
I say yes because I know
that when I am out of the shower
I will eat
and drink and write
and after that I will sleep
and after that I must wake and get back upon
I say yes because I hate the bike.
Wednesday, 26 February 2014
but this was no surprise
or shouldn't have been, anyway.
There were two dirty marks on either side of the porcelain
where someone had put their feet
Before now I have sat on cold ceramics.
I must say
I was not satisfied.
So I too perched upon that white receptacle
and dropped my dung.
I was perturbed by the feeling
which was at once so natural
and yet so alien,
and I contemplated nature and nurture
from my pagoda.
Scratched into the door in front of me were the words,
"I'M WATCHING YOU!"
I wondered if the writer was having a good show.
Monday, 17 February 2014
Here I must thank the music, jarring and spiky though it was, and the drinking children, those multi-coloured exotic birds with matching shrill laughs, for without them this would have been a long silence. As it was, we drifted into our own worlds for a moment, or ten minutes - I can't say which.
The story, damn it! You came in here for a story, Forks. Not to drink tea in silence! I thought of my editor, and how he had fought to get the short fellow to meet me up.
Wednesday, 5 February 2014
Thursday, 2 January 2014
Wednesday, 14 August 2013
This is for the snails, who wander along
at their own pace,
and the world be damned.
just the path,
the unplotted route,
visible only with hindsight.
And construction workers
and valuable businessmen and
may they all be damned
as they rush for the bus
or curse and frown as they reverse their cars,
dung beetles, rolling their shit around town,
thinking their shit's the most important shit,
muttering hateful nothings in stagnant traffic
at all the other dung beetles;
also, stressing over paperwork,
bills and nondescript forms and sheets which swarm in flocks
around the brain,
winged beasts that inhibit sleep,
birds diving into the calm water to feed,
churning the quietness of the mind in hunger.
A trusted recipe: One glass in front of the tv,
just to relax,
to slow the brain;
the act of retarding oneself for freedom.
But the snails push on,
homes worn lightly on their backs,
caring not for speed,
living only to be living,
moving only to be not still.
Silver roads, they leave behind.
Tuesday, 13 August 2013
When you smile
you are beautiful.
It doesn't matter that your wife left you
that your wrinkles are becoming more obvious
that your father just died
that you just lost your job
that your investments are worthless;
when you smile, none of these things are important.
When you smile
you are disconnected from your darkness;
you step out of your grim misery,
just for a few seconds,
and, like a reptile,
in the sun.
When you smile
it doesn't matter that your teeth are falling out
that your bones creak when you stand,
that you just miscarried again
or missed your period
doesn't matter that
you hate your belly
that your girlfriend doesn't respect you
that you don't have good cheek bones,
because who needs cheek bones when you can
It may only have been for less time than it takes
to tie your shoes
or wipe your arse,
but when you smiled
everything was okay
and you were alive
and it didn't matter that we are
and always were
When you smiled
I remembered that I love you
and that it was all just
to cause your mouth to curl up at the sides
to split your face horizontally
down the middle
and let sunshine slip through the crack
so I might tan my tired face.
All so I could make you beautiful
so I could dampen your pain
pain of loss
pain of inadequacy
pain of guilt
pain of damaged hope
pain of aging.
All I ever wanted was your smile, tattooed in gold
onto the insides of my eyelids,
so before I dream each night
my thoughts are guided your way.
And if your smile should one day die
of a terminal case of pain,
a part of me should die also.
Where before I could have seen trains
that soared across lands
bringing strangers into each others' gardens,
without your smile all I would see
is the bugs dotted on the front,
their tiny, pointless lives ended
for no reason.
Pigeons would turn,
unbeknownst to them,
from flocks of winged pedestrians
with friends and grievances
to hoards of feathered parasites,
that disgust me, because they are so human.
Without your smile
not even humans are human;
they are my lost hope;
my unending regret that we are not
what we could be,
that, despite our individual honour and generosity
we are selfish,
and will always be so.
Without your smile, even colours offend me,
though I know them to be the most blameless
of abstract nouns.
Red is too violent,
green too weak,
black too depressing
and yellow is simply too happy.
And if I could settle on one colour that would irritate me less than all the others
I would turn its paint over the floor
and lie face down in it,
waiting for the end.
But if your smile is not dead,
but only comatose
or receiving chemotherapy
or awaiting a bone marrow transplant
then I would dredge the seas
and rake the fields
and sweep the streets with a hand-brush
looking for something that might bring your smile back to me,
with my breath held all the while.
I would return with a thousand things
and hold each one up in front of you
and say, "This one?
Or this one?
Or this one, perhaps?"
There, through day and night
I would take the found things from my bag,
things of interest
an elephant's bad joke
a vegetarian cannibal, which is to say a vegetable which eats other vegetables,
a coconut tree that cut itself down as a form of protest
and all the other things which I think might cause you to return from your
your cupboard beneath the ground
where slugs draw shining lines
over your brain.
And when you are ready
and you smile again
and the sunshine cracks through the trees
and we are warm, dappled,
and you are beautiful
and, by association, so am I,
and all is well,
and this cannot be denied.
Monday, 5 August 2013
and yet she is not,
as to others she lives
and will continue to live.
The dead and the living,
we walk together.
I have found my own lover now,
just as she had hers,
and mine is music.
Her touch is magic,
her company, contentment.
She has her own ghosts, of course
and all ghosts haunt us
if we let them;
but not only in photographs;
in objects too:
mugs that we drank from,
for tea time was always pleasant,
where we all, all of us
sat round and talked and remembered that we were human,
and that all was all right in
the circle of tea;
dresses that now hang like
in the edges of the wardrobe,
telling stories of bodies
that used to inflate them
and make them
whole and beautiful.
But now they are just skins
that we do not wear
because we are not those people any more.
Those people are dead.
And ghosts live in the paralyzed objects, which are the gifts.
We can not bring ourselves to throw the given things out,
for they once meant something,
even if only love,
though they have long since ceased to be useful to us,
if ever they were.
We keep them,
heave them from home to new home
in cardboard boxes
until, eventually, we have the strength
to lay them to rest,
in the mass graves of all objects:
those charity shops.
We must bury our dead
or else concede that we are weaker without them.
All things die because
all things must die.
Saturday, 20 July 2013
|Ageing clocks made from orange and grapefruit peel.|
|Pointless clock made from plastic cutlery and found objects.|
|Clock made from wine box.|
|Windless wind-chime clock. Goes off every ten minutes.|
|Pointless grandfather clock.|
Made with one pallet, some brass, a spoon and a fork.
|At my degree show, with my pointless clocks.|
|Free at last.|
|Chicken-Sister, Lady Sunshine, Thunderbloke.|
Friday, 19 July 2013
Monday, 15 July 2013
Giant pristine faces smiled blandly down upon us
from up on high, and they said,
"If you put these chemicals onto your face you will be beautiful."
Always in my head they spoke with
the wisdom of the young American who was raised by mobile phones.
The voice echoed round my brain, it did,
for I was raised by their words.
Surely, I reasoned, they
were the ones who knew beauty,
if anyone did.
"If you don't want your friends to mock and deride
and eventually cut you loose," they grinned,
"You should wear these synthetic robes."
They used more seductive phraseology than I have,
because it is not my job to write adverts,
and so I have not received training in advertisement literature.
Dutifully I filled my wardrobe with the things the beautiful Americans told me to,
and I used the proper chemicals
to scrub away the human stench
that my body insisted on producing,
and covered it with plastic-flower-scent.
I was beautiful.
But not one of those smiling morons told me I would grow old.
Can you imagine such a thing?
A creature of such perfect beauty
as I, turning into a wrinkled skin-bag, with eyes that burrowed into their sockets?
The lines grew out from my eyes
and explored my face
like tree roots
or a cancer.
I have a chronic case of
non-terminal face cancer.
The drink and the smoke aged me,
and food was all synthetic too,
and, to a man, no-one ever told me
where it really came from.
We saw pictures of cows,
but never any real cows.
We heard rumours that there were people who had seen real cows,
but I never met a guy or gal who saw one face to face,
if they even have faces in real life.
My point is this:
burn the young people,
and their plastic chemical faces.
One day they will rot,
as I have turned rotten,
and they will scowl
as I scowl.
I am a product of my upbringing,
just as you are.
I am the apologiser.
I walk these streets with my head down,
like I don't deserve to be here any more,
if I ever did,
because that's what we all do.
I assume I am wrong, or at fault,
because it has always been so.
I step aside for attractive people,
not because I am attracted to them,
but because I am worth less than them.
I am nothing.
Do not look at me now.
Sunday, 14 July 2013
Whilst taking the train North we crossed a motorway
and saw a campervan emerge from beneath us,
and not just that, but one with
bicycles on the back.
It burns now, the call of the road,
the white lines in the middle being headless arrows
that beckon us forward.
Maybe later, once bicycle days are over, we should get a van
and follow those intermittent lines,
because you can't live in a tent forever.
A bicycle is beautiful,
the only object worthy of being worshipped.
A lifestyle, rather than a vehicle.
But a van, now that's a verified abode, of sorts.
We'd roll from here to there,
then from there to over there
(allí, en español),
and when we get tired of over there we could wander beyond yonder,
We are the Great Perhaps.
I could write and Lady Sunshine could photograph,
two small people
living their little lives,
and recording it for those who care
as we roll around
silly and free.
I suppose we are champions, of sorts.
Often it is necessary to see someone do that
which we have always longed to,
to show us that it is possible.
It is easily forgotten that everything that has been accomplished has been done so by
lowly humans, blood and bones
and little else.
Then one day
the need for sounds of a small-person voice
to accompany the music of the wheels and stars
would become too great to deny.
Fill the giant silence.
Then we could park up
on a portion of land fertile enough
to bear Eden,
and tell our families we'd found it.
They'd come, sure enough,
if they heard we'd
found God's own back yard.
Build some houses,
grow some food,
adopt some animals,
a Noah-type variety.
And rabbits, because rabbits are lovely, and the rabbits of the past
would want the rabbits of the future to be happy.
Make a tree-house,
watch the sun come up and down,
to make sure it's doing it right each day.
Then park a boat out on the drive,
take it out when the Wanderlust bites.
Be happy, wander, grow older, repeat.
Our bones would creak after a time,
but if we'd done it right, we wouldn't mind.
But anyway, though that all sounds lovely, and if it goes like that I'll be a pleased fellow, but
here's a new plan, of sorts.
It is to let it all be,
to put ourselves at the mercy of the great winds,
to have no egos, nor false purposes.
To simply unmoor ourselves
from this reality
and let the road and the sea take us
wherever they choose.
First there were bicycles; more than that we cannot tell.
Thursday, 4 July 2013
Tuesday, 2 July 2013
Sunday, 30 June 2013
And so with bicycles, humble steeds of cheap metal, we rode South, because it seemed like the only thing to do. It seemed as though this was what it had all been about. All along we had been preparing for this god-less pilgrimage. We rode from the darkness into the light. Out of the fire, which used to burn brightly, and the smoke, which had seemed so enticing at first, and into the clean sunshine.
Sunday, 2 June 2013
I said to her
Do you want to come cycling with me
and live on a ranch on a southern continent
and she said yes.
We loved each other then
But first she had to break her old lover's heart.
I waited for her to return and we drank coffee
And smoked rollies
and made a fire
And Andy squirted lighter fluid
Up the wall
And it set on fire briefly
And there was fire where there usually should be none
And then he cooked sausages
And I had a courgette.
I found a tie in the street
And put it on.
"When life gives you a tie, wear it."
I waited there in pergutory
6 hours sleep in 4 nights.
I was fucked, knackered
Beaten but smiling
From trapped and hopeless
To free and in love
In 48 wild hours flat.
I waited for her to ring me and say
"I have two weeks' clothes,
Come and pick me up and we'll cycle
Back to yours
And we'll be happy."
Why do we feel we do not deserve happiness? Why do we care too much for others and
Someone always gets hurt.
Our happiness is important now.
It was Sunday and the universe is
No matter what people say.
The sun had been given to us
And we loved it.
All we can do is find something beautiful
And love it
And cherish it
Like a small fire
Against the winds and rains of the sky.
"I'll be fine, I've never died before,"
Said Andy as he rolled a cigarette
With his lighter fluid soaked hands.
The message read,
"I'm packing now. Meet me in the park in 20 minutes X"
The universe winked at me.