Thursday, 2 September 2010


Lately I have been ignoring linebreaks. I don't have any particular defence or reason for that but I've never really been sure where the line between poetry and prose actually is, and sticking everything in one paragraph is easier anyway.
This is mostly a mashup of a few ideas that'd been floating around for a while and decided to get born messily (I spilled some coffee on the page) on a train to Wales.

You could be tracing lines in the dust caked on the inside of a years-old deep city window, eye following your finger then out through smudged glimpses into a cheap sun and your skin breathing “wind” you shrug loose your nettling terror step wide and out and never glancing back know the image of yourself filtered through smudged dust like blinking; still walking come to the bridge, stare into the river engorged with snowmelt and in that moment of wind and skin you see the world by homeopathy, the eternal memory of water murmuring and how the water in the river beneath you cascading unlocked from frozen was once in your blood sealed to bursting with life, was once still on a Mexican hilltop reflecting the meteor burning like a trapped ant and hurtling, and the memory of water murmured to you so you knew the meteor was in your blood, the fire of it plated iridium and hurtling and you could be looking out at the ghost of extinction, kisses from space, all of it through dusted glimpses squinting, you could be staring in interruptions through the tired glass, you could be still sweating fire, you could be watching your gravity shake loose the earth, you could be smoke.

Wednesday, 17 February 2010

All the basalt

This was when you’d just got home from work. You were understandably tired and a little stressed and were looking to unwind but unfortunately it was raining in every room and obviously that didn’t help matters. So you took out some plastic sheets to cover your sofa and your bed and your waterlogged electronics which took some time and afterwards you weren’t in the mood to deal with any of this. That’s when he stepped into your living room. The carpet, which was drenched, tore a little under his feet. You looked up and sighed.
“What do you want?”
“I was just wondering if you wanted to visit Paris.”
“I need to find someone to dry my house.”
“That, I’m sure, will take care of itself.”
And you shrugged because why not? So he led the way to your front door and you looked back at your soaking wet house then stepped out through. The ground beneath you was dry and dark and cold and under your feet pebbles stirred which didn’t happen often here. You looked around then stared at him.
“This isn’t Paris.”
He gestured to the blank basalt landscape then up to see the earth in the sky and nodded. “This isn’t Paris.”
You sighed as frustration started to surface. “You never said anything about taking me to the sea of tranquillity.”
He nodded. “It’s true, this isn’t what you expected. Then again,” he said as he started to walk up a slight mound, “if I’d followed convention wouldn’t it have taken you days to get to Paris? And the likelihood of you ever coming here would, I think, have been significantly diminished. Look, can you see the Atlantic?”
You shook your head, turned away and held your shoulders. “But this isn’t what I asked for.” You started to walk towards a little depression in the surface. “There’s not much chance of a brief but emotionally significant romance with a sensitive and strong young French man here, is there?”
He considered for a moment then shook his head. “It’s possible but unlikely, I’ll admit.” He shrugged. “Still, if I only ever took you where you wanted to go, how would you find anything new?” He clambered further up the mound. “Oh, the icebergs are twitching. Do you see?”
You threw up a dismissive hand and started the long trek down the depression. “I’m really not willing to commit to this,” you said.
He sighed. “Alright but I think you’d like it here. If you gave it a chance.” He reached the top of the mound and shielded his eyes with one hand. “I think that’s Africa. And the desert! The burning desert, look!”
But you’d already walked back into your house which, it’s true, had started to dry. It relieved you and you sat on your sofa and rolled a joint. I took a toke then passed it to you and looked you right in the eye, I said I think you made a mistake. You blew a smoke ring straight up and shrugged, I looked away from your eye which soon enough would be red.

Monday, 4 January 2010

o the forest the forest

i sort of like this one

his feet creaked on the platform he sighed and said o the forest the forest i said what dyou mean he said look at it just look its a forever spectrum mine i said yeah it looks nice but what if you get eaten or catch something its too far too empty to get help he said no he said all the help you need is there and he said its not empty not ever empty he said there are people yeah not many ill grant you but that doesnt matter every poison you find there somewhere near theres a cure every jaguar every harpy somewhere near theres a rock or a sharp stick he said more than that it will heal you in spirit in mind and in spirit he said think of a vine longest youve ever seen strung with turquoise with feathers with wind chimes think of running your finger down it for days the music youd make thats the forest thats what it does plus as homo sapiens he said its been given to us to have a transformative intellect we have that capacity to look at the world then change it the world new where a snake sees trees we see an infinite procession of possibilities going backwards forever you couldnt count them all like i said a forever spectrum mine and i said well yeah but could you live there and he sort of turned away and i guessed he wanted me to leave and i walked back off the platform onto the boat then when i got back to my hotel i called up my ex i said i just wanted to say hi she said im really glad you made it out there i said yeah i said thanks then we talked and i hung up and i went to the bar and drank mescal which i dont know where he got it and i watched the band they werent great they played standards i was drunk it was hard getting upstairs to bed

Sunday, 27 December 2009

Annotations on a series of firsthand accounts

I wrote this with a quill. A quill motherfuckers. Sometimes I love christmas.

I was or
will choose to believe I was
on some lonely road outside Tokyo
watching snowmelt rise and sink
along paths cut in/I was or
want to believe I was
watching from some gilded window
as below me Paris in awe
began to chew away its own/I was or
would like to pretend I was
restless on waves holding
a candle over my page marking
tracks I'd/I was or
remember being told I was
sweating out nausea in deep trees
listening to a staring match
between/I was or
I know at least someone was
bending back a raven's wingbone
watching someone far away
sucking the end of the feather
waiting for ink

Wednesday, 2 December 2009

Another poem

Where does it say
                                    or did you just decide
that you alone of all those whose
            hearts too may seize and
            can taste that   that air filtered free that
            hair clinging in tufts with        the effort of
            knowing          you alone
            can taste that then call it love?
Will you ever stop
                                    or will you scream till your neck’s paper and straw
without dropping your guard to
            let in even in
            the hope that one day             there’ll
            be time for you too to lean in open
            your starved lips to those perfect      so unlike your own
because without them you’re             less everything that is you

Thursday, 19 November 2009

I was putting this off

Yeah I have been working for some time on a longer piece, 'scalled Hunts. I've been putting off posting any of it for a while but then I decided not to just because I felt like it. This is sort of the introduction.


His mouth hurts.
Call it toothache, for the moment. He presses at a molar with his tongue, gets nowhere. Realises he doesn’t know the date which annoys him for a second but then again they’ll probably mention it at some point. Reassured.
Day’s fairly bright. Hints in the cloud cover that later might be overcast, maybe some rain. He decided a while ago that symbolically speaking this would be perfect.
Cars honk, people shout, he’s exhaling. Smooth lids he blinks and turns roughly ninety degrees, lifts his eyes, face, starts walking. All this concrete. Now he’s halfway up the steps and it’s all pretty quiet but maybe tense. Betting tense. Thick dry shoes gripping flat dry stone it’s all just like it should be he is not slipping. Top of the steps now and is that door – what?
Moving. Steps quick brisk inside just to the side. It’s so full, these people shouting these people practically wrestling these people with problems – hate queues. Lucky though they’re all yelling and being dragged back from the desk, one receptionist free. Looks about ready to break someone’s spine.
He’s inhaling. Still quiet and tenses his leg to step. Not hard. Just a desk.
He steps forward, gives it his best winning smile and says “Hi, my name’s Stephen Jones. I’d like to confess to a murder.”
Receptionist glances up, sighs “Do I look like a priest?” for a second then shakes head, “Wait over there, someone’ll be right with you.”
“Thanks so much,” he says. Takes the space and wow, inside he’s smiling too. Call it a win, then. This time goes for an incisor.

Let me tell you a story-
That little phrase. That fucking- it’s like a code. Not a secret verbal shorthand no it’s like the just-right sequence of zero one zero zero one one that turns people into shadows, splits them at their very core and leaves a smoking radioactive crater. It’s exactly that deadly. It swims and floats through voices and language and sooner or later it gets punched into the right synapse then suddenly someone is dead. Don’t tell tales. Why? Because it is absolutely fucking murderous. (Yeah and nobody believes that.)
Oh, you poor bastard. Look what they do to us all.
I’m sorry sir I’ll try to make it quick.

“The thing is, sir, of all the people who come in here, confess to a murder or an abduction, whatever, maybe five percent of those even know anything about the crime in question. Maybe five.”
Ramon glanced sideways from his slouch. “What month we in?”
Ramon nodded then settled back. His position in the seat was like this kind of perfect physical apathy except there were these sort of overtones to it so it wasn’t just like I truly don’t care it was more along the lines of look there are so many things I’d rather be doing right now and there are so many reasons for me to go and do any of those instead of sitting here listening to you talk so what could possibly keep me sitting here? What, about you, could even in the slightest interest me?
“I understand that, officer but I promise you I’m not wasting your time. I was the one who killed her. Am the one, I mean. It’s me.”
Cormac nodded. “Alright. How?”
“I strangled her. Threw her body in a dumpster. It was all, I was behind a Japanese restaurant, I’m not sure of the name, it was dark but I think there was a picture of a flower on the sign. I might be on the surveillance tapes, I’m not sure.”
“Yeah like only someone who killed her could possibly know these intimate details. This guy’s an asshole,” said Ramon mostly to himself, partly to Cormac.
“There’s probably a wound on her neck, I think her necklace might have stabbed in a little when I was strangling her. It got my hand too, you see? Just here.”
“Oh, you got a cut on your hand? Shit. Guess he must be the guy after all. Knocked that one out the park, huh?” Cormac glanced at Ramon then back away.
“Look, I – I don’t really know what you want to hear. I killed her. Okay? Isn’t that enough? I mean, surely – there’ll be some evidence on the body, right? Something, or at the scene, I don’t know. Shouldn’t it-”
“What, you mean like skin cells? DNA? Microfibres? All that kind of thing, yeah?” Ramon leaned forward but slow, kind of like toppling from one position to the other. Would almost be grudging but there was no energy in it, not enough to feel something like that. No room to care. “Fuck you. Forensics, the fuck you think this is?” Shook his head, sat back, looked at Cormac.
“The thing about that kind of, uh, physical evidence is that it’s a little more complicated than a lot of people think,” said Cormac. “There are a lot more factors involved than – well, essentially what it comes to in the end is that no, even if you did kill that girl there’s no guarantee that any evidence we can find will prove it. It may even disprove it.”
“So I think,” said Cormac, “I think the best thing for everyone right now would be for you to tell us – tell us everything you can and we’ll-”
“Come on, man. He’s got shit,” said Ramon. Quiet but no kind of whisper. Cormac looked over and he shook his head. “Waste my fucking time.” Muttered.
“I’m sorry, sir. I’ll try to make it quick.” Now he blinks. “Okay, so basically – I guess my, uh – I guess for everything you have to start, well, quite a way back. There’s – okay, when I was younger-”

Yeah and they never even had a chance. However masked it was the sequence has locked itself right in, the input has been received and there’s nothing left but the getaway. Honest: anyone not running right now anyone not already out of the room and if at all possible on their way out of the country is well not to put too fine a point on it fucked. If only – they knew.
But he’ll try. With branches, with slips he’ll try. He will do everything he can to keep hidden beneath the waves and beneath his running tongue to keep hidden down there his story. Which, yes, they are letting him tell.

Wednesday, 18 November 2009

Two Poems

These poems are two different poems.


One day I’ll give myself to you
muscle and mouth but
not yet.
                                    (you’re already half holding on anyway)
Every time I should tell you I
get this urge to lean into the
rushing and shake your hands and clasped fingers
                                    but I’d be pulled
                                    off balance; my fault.
My name’s not yet been dipped
in your fat not dipped not coaled and
as a result it’s uninsulated
though I think
                                    by some adopted.      
Will probably never really get the
rolling and the green right in my
                                    but you keep
                                    november out okay.
I can see where I’d’ve looked for
treasure in your pebbled beds
and monsters in your darks
                                    and I could have
                                    raised (snapped) armies
No but it’s okay because I
first screamed I think in clean walls
but I know where
                                    I was made, wasted
                                    drenched, tripping, tumbling
                                    down slope (to damp) to road to
                                    get helped up


then when you broke the window
when you smashed the window
when you shattered into sand the high window
                                                                                    we flinched
then when you dropped the plate
            when you threw the plate down
            when you hammered the china plate straight down onto the marble
                                                                                    we blinked
                                    We made ships from the
splinters you seeded.
                                    We glued mug rags into
statuettes of Buddha Ganesha and Set.
                                    We tickled into stacks the
dripped off corn sheets.
                                    We rubbed the scum of
work hours off your knuckles and lips.
                                    We wouldn’t
bother you because it wouldn’t have been
fair instead we
learned to sew
every day again we learned to sew
quiet fast so you couldn’t see the stitching we learned to sew
then when you broke the lock
            when you couldn’t find your keys and broke the lock
            when you half tore down the door the time you had to break the lock
                                                                                    we jumped
then when you woke up
            when you got woken up late on night
            when she woke you up hungry late and pitch black on night
                                                                                    we looked down and
it was in nights like those that we
learned to sew those dry split sweating nights that we
really and truly learned to sew hands clasped to every toga then
quiet fast so you never knew there’d been a stitch we
learned to sew
then when you couldn’t eat
            when you couldn’t force it down
            when you gagged
                                                                                    we ducked
then when you just needed to think
            when you just needed room to think
            when you just needed some quiet room to think
                                                                                    we shut up
                                    We coloured the lines in with
chalk from the bricks.
                                    We carved your meals with
scissors you dropped.
                                    We blackened the mirrors with
blowtorches in circles and squares.
                                    We scrubbed the hulls the
doors with water and wax.
                                    We were
always grateful we knew we
owed you all we had we didn’t
ever want you to think we
didn’t know so to
show we were so grateful we
learned to sew