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Tuesday, 27 March 2007
Love On The Line

If I saw anything at all, I saw you. You stood out from the crowds, waving your sore thumb at me: you had evidently hurt it in the fight.

You may not have realised, but I had witnessed the fight from relatively close range; and I think you put up a good show, despite your obvious shortcomings; though some of your tactics were a bit near the bone, don’t you think?

Well, I think the sooner you clean your teeth the better. I’m definitely not going to kiss you, until you’ve gone through them with a fine tooth comb. I’ve just had my breakfast.


Out of the sky, there came the ‘copter which had evidently been surveying the skirmish from an air-pocket.

Its blades worked a grinding siren and a most searching headlight picked out those considered to be the prime stirrers - my girl friend included.

I tried to warn her, because I had seen all of this coming a mile off. But all she could do was grin a wild, fateful, almost loving smile, with tatters of raw scrotum still hanging from the teeth - and then she was picked off like a sitting duck.

You did not die straightaway. I’m sure you felt me kneel beside your body. I kissed your brow.

The paddles of the ‘copter churned towards the distance but were sent peculiar in mid-flight by a sudden vacuum - the ‘copter flopped to the ground, where its blades froze but its body still wheeled like a dying bluebottle.

You opened your eyes, or so I thought. You sucked your sore thumb, like a babe just born.

The breathless air - your dying whisper - the dispersing crowds - all is like a photographic tableau.

When I got back to civilization, I checked that my hotel room had not been rifled in my absence. The heat was over-bearing and the room was full of the fattest fucking flies I’ve ever seen; and some were evidently feeding off each other.

I crawled on all fours under the bed, to hide my sorrow and my shame: for I had last seen my loved one picking her way towards the sharp remains of a twisted ‘copter: to suck the blood it had toted far in the belly of its engine.

(published ‘Something For Nothing’ 1988)

Posted by wordonymous at 2:27 PM EDT
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Friday, 16 March 2007
Adrian's Spacewalk

Beyond land and sea, there was a space for matter to take which was neither.

Adrian, one day, awake in his father’s castle at the edge of the known world where clifftops beetled and skies funnelled downwards. The weather seemed amenable, as well as his mood. Indeed, the rest of the castle was up and about, taking advantage of their own moods. So, was this the optimum day for seeking that space for matter to take which was neither land nor sea? He asked himself the question, with nobody to answer but himself. Yes, it was simply ideal, being the answer in question.

And Adrian rose from his bed to check his alter ego’s instinct. For the first time in his living memory, the mists had dispersed, allowing a clear view of the way forward - except, of course, where the mists regained their landbound status because his eyesight, at that distant point, became too blurred to disperse them. You see, bodies had moods, as well as minds.

He’d’ve missed breakfast altogether, given a free choice. However, many servants of the castle had spent the whole night preparing it and he didn’t have the heart for hurt. So, he sniffed and snaffled through many of the various dishes, containing steaming rashers of back bacon, divine kidneys, cream eggs, cherry tomatoes, blood dumplings, all fried to the perfect hum. Such comestibles served to put indigestible fat on his muscles and a weight of force-fed pigs on his feet, which slowed his departure from the castle, as he set upon his quest to discover the space for matter to take which was neither land nor sea.

Naturally, in those days, nobody knew that there was a real space above the air where one could travel between worlds. For Adrian, it was already incredible to believe in a space for matter to take which was neither land nor sea, if it were, indeed, possible, in a sane universe, to believe in the incredible. He had forgotten the main reason he had not previously been so foolhardy as to venture from the castle on such a quest, the purpose of which quest bore so much repeating. The disincentive was presented by the legendary monster which guarded that space for matter to take which was neither land nor sea. Adrian customarily depended on his saner self to keep the dangers at the forefront of his mind, but, on that optimum day, his alter ego was entirely in charge: with not even a sniff of an id.

Adrian’s father was not in residence at the time (the cause of his absence being the subject of a different tale than this) and that absence my have been the presence that did not deter his son. He usually breakfasted with Adrian, when the servants needed no excuse for increasing the helpings available upon a ratio in excess of the increase in the number of stomachs. And, during such periods of chewing the fatted cud, father and son cancelled out each other’s moods, as well as split personalities. But, not today.

Thus, upon that optimum moment in a long-running saga of stranger things than this, Adrian, unshriven and unstarved, strode towards the cone’s end of perspective which had previously been at the far-sighted blind spot of his visionary powers. He soon discovered that the guardian monster was the space itself: an area of near nothingness which could neither shape a world we knew nor, even, concoct a tenable territory to house a world we didn’t know.

When Adrian looked back for the last time, the castle had vanished into a white hole. If it weren’t for the baggage of his own body and the bilious stench of its contents, he’d’ve been hard put to make belief from his own heady communion of thoughts - which, in the end, had no room for matter that mattered, because the monster swallowed its own tale as well as the space within which was neither self nor someone else.

(Published 'Ocular' 1993)

Posted by wordonymous at 5:15 PM EDT
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Saturday, 10 March 2007
After The Requiem

Every seat in the concert hall was occupied. I was sitting towards the back, accompanying someone from work who had offered me a free ticket. I did not know him very well, but he must have known enough about me to guess I would be interested in classical music.

“It’s a pity your wife couldn’t come,” I proffered as an attempt at conversation. This was in fact the only reason I was there, as a late replacement. I said this as the conductor, amid applause, strode, baton aloft, to the rostrum.

The lights dimmed and the audience quietened, except for an isolated cough or two. But, then, my companion announced, in an embarrassingly loud voice, that his wife had died earlier in the day.

With that, Verdi’s Requiem took off, thus releasing me from any response. But I hardly heard the music, as my mind ticked over...


The resounding roar of a multitude of human palms smacking against each other, as the orchestra and chorus took their bows. A few people were standing in ovation, including my companion who was even shouting his head off.

We walked out eventually into the night where the roads were still glistening from a late shower and the sky was sufficiently clear to see the stars. I plucked up courage to continue our conversation:

“I’m so very sorry to hear about your wife. It must have been very sudden.”

I could not believe that he had cane to the concert at all, in view of the circumstances.

“She’s up there somewhere.”

He pointed to the night sky.

“I expect she was with us tonight in spirit,” he continued, “because even if Heaven is beyond that half of the sunlit moon, souls of the dead are always everywhere . . . In fact, I heard her screech in the violins, her wind in the brass...”

I was speechless. I could not credit what I was hearing.

We were walking towards the underground at High Street Kensington, along with several others who were chatting of the performance. It was almost as if we were being dragged along, as the rain began to soak down again. I pulled up my collar and looked to see if my colleague was keeping up.

He had evidently disappeared into another part of the crowd. Everybody seemed happy, but something in the behaviour of my colleague had turned something in my brain and my stomach was heaving as if I was about to cry.

I was hustled into the tube entrance, even if I had not wanted to go down there. The platform was milling with ex-concertgoers, and I was relieved to hear the churning noise of the train arriving fran the dark tunnel. I felt I did not want to see my colleague again tonight – Monday at work would be soon enough.

The train careered into the lighted station, its doors sliding open even as it drew to a halt.

The whine of the wheels, the hiss of the doors, the clatter of feet and the insistent tannoy calling “Mind the gap, mind the gap” were almost musical, but composed by Satan rather than by God.

I was thinking along tracks I’d never thought along before.

I was a bit behindhand getting on board, what with the crowds, and the doors came together smoothly through my body, slicing bone from flesh like a chef with his expert cleaver. It would have no doubt hurt me if I had stayed in that position long enough, but I escaped from that body space by the skin of my teeth, to miss the exquisite agony of my own gristle being pulled from its flutings.

I was relieved to find that my sanity and identity had returned and, as I brushed off my spectral skirt, I sat down, through the lap of a complete stranger, beside my beaming husband.


Published 'Dark Dreams' 1992

Posted by wordonymous at 3:39 PM EST
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Saturday, 17 February 2007
Mustard Kat

Collaboration with Paul Pinn


            Your memory wavers like a fading photograph of a distant unimportant relative. However, your surname sticks in mind, gives you away.

            Charnock - charlock: a weedy annual of the mustard group; bright yellow flowers reflecting the day in cornfields down by the chicken coop where, back in some lean year, during a crisp brown fall, a rodent's nibbled teeth gnawed at an empty moment under a sick grey sky that frowned in vague torment at yet another lie as I left you to die, a bewiskered woman, a filamentary mole, burrowed 'neath the nap of past events, your spoor ugly hills 'midst other peoples' dreams.

            Hah! And to think you posed as something exotic hidden in a brightly coloured shell, like a pacific mollusc, expecting me to coax you out. If I had I would have missed the catch, and let's face it, there were plenty more fish in the sea without me having to spend time on thee, slug in a pretty shell, crossing your legs for me.

            But it's no good trying to escape from you. Every night I dream of flawless prisms of faceted gold glittering becalmed in a sea of mud, strange creatures milling around in attentive excitement, burbling and guzzling, probing and uttering sounds of pleasure, inebriation, desire. And when muddy hands reach out to touch the prisms and capture infinite spectrums, to twist and torture their colours, caress and love their brilliance, your form appears and turns my guts, and the prisms laugh, weave a slick temptation, flash smiles of silver beauty, a perfect manipulation with which to confuse me.

            Alas, the prisms fade as the gold facets dissolve into a glaucous backdrop, and your form remains bearing a warmth that sickens like the stench from unwashed armpits, and in that hour before wakefulness, you touch my body with a coldness straight from the sneering face of Time. And so the inebriated grow sober and lose their desire, and I awake, hungover but relieved, calm enough to face another day, close-shaven and without the Slough of Despond.

            I can think of your sister then, young Kat, who slinked like a horny wraith down to your father's cellar, pushed open the freshly painted door, and drank one of two vats clean dry. With her hippy hat she looked quite pretty, as she sat and watched a cat chase a rat round and round the other vat. But the cat was slow and fat and lost sight of the rat, which ended up sleeping on the brim of Kat's hat, the cat drunk on the contents of the second vat, Kat floating face down in what was left.

            Vats without bottom, young Kat. Vats without a top. They're cylinders which I dream through from beginning to end. Prisms I crawl through - breaking each golden shaft of dreamlight and letting it mend behind me. I seek your golden eye - the light at the end of the tunnel - a little girl's eye, whose innocence can only cast such heavenly guidance. You see, Kat, it was your sister who should've had it up to the neck. Not you. Not you at all.

            A circular tunnel is the worst tunnel of all - which is my own particular cellar - and it's where my bottles of red are stored, like glass sleepers. Until I touch them and find them softer than shellfish without shells. Wobbly containers, each with its own coiled-up soul of slumber. One drips a white cat-lick substance that the cork itself seeps.

            I wake yet again to summer. The meadow wafts with motes from shedding plants. Motes not moles, Kat. It's my whiskers that itch when you kiss my lips. Not yours. Picnics are nothing without the wine-cooler close by. Have another glassful before we retake the rhythm of our love. You're nicer than those characters I used to read about when I was a child - those peers of mine that Enid Blyton sent on adventures........into cellars.


(published 'Psychotrope' 1996)

Posted by wordonymous at 6:15 AM EST
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Thursday, 8 February 2007
Carving The Fish

 The fish had been poached perfectly and Rachel turned from her atlas to scrutinise its potential eatability.  Bill had prepared it for her - and had sprinkled several herbs and whole peppercorns over it.  Bill was currently her Ex.  But they were still fast friends


.            Bill was a geography teacher and Rachel’s worst subject at school -- but she enjoyed the shape of maps more for their aesthetic quality than their representation of reality.

              The atlas she had been browsing through was one of Fantasy Worlds, where all literary maps had been collected together.  Tolkien’s Middle Earth.  Thomas Hardy’s Wessex.  Lewis Carroll’s Wonderland.  Samuel Butler’s Erewhon.  James Hilton’s Shangri-La.  Cervantes’ La Manche.  And so on.  Rachel adored poring over them with studious grins – lovingly tracing their margins, imagining herself in the various purlieus of mindscape.


            “You want to read a real atlas one day, Rachel,” announced Bill as he carved the fish: thick-slivering fillet after fillet upon each of their plates.


            The reason for them falling out as soulmates had been caused by their lack of sympathy regarding these very maps.  Bill was fascinated by the salt-of-the-earth disciplines of physical geography.  Political, too.  Brown contours that swirled around outlandishly tall peaks.  The bright primary colours dividing chance nations.  The pastel ones depicting exports, customs, geological features or striations, irrigation projects, hydroelectric dams, forestry conservation preoccupations…  


          Rachel loved nothing better than the more nebulous worlds that occupied her precincts of thought.


            She grabbed the fish knife and, in a desultory fashion, prodded her share of the mutual meal. 


           Bill, by now, had taken a whip from his wide-mouthed briefcase.  It was a snaky, quirky terrier of a whip.  It snapped and coruscated.  It almost had a life of its own.


            Bill positioned it on the table in the shape of the country whence the fish had come.  In this case, a country not a million miles dissimilar from France.  This had been a tradition at their dinner parties.  And Rachel smiled as she recalled that their differences over mere atlases were not the only reason for their love affair foundering.


            There were also Bill’s habits to contend with.


            He seemed to smile back at her as he watched a rather different habit that inhabited Rachel’s own reflexes: the one of beating the fish at its own game.


            She was evidently not steaming to France.  But quite another place.

Posted by wordonymous at 10:26 AM EST
Updated: Thursday, 8 February 2007 10:29 AM EST
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Thursday, 18 January 2007
Baffle 39
Angels sing loudest when their wings are unfolded, not flying, as such, but pinned to the dartboard by consecutively thrown darts from two contestants.

Posted by wordonymous at 2:50 PM EST
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Tuesday, 19 December 2006
Spicier Than Truth
   Seven swords/four of coins a Zulu shield woven from their enemy’s swords: a knotty triffid kaleidoscope wherein the enemy’s cherubic soccer-mascot wields a spitsnake to scare the Zulus.A heraldic raft with druggy blooms at each corner for tidal trips (a brave barge with dank swords blossoming out beauteous fungi): a reflective face, reflective face with an ancient paedophiliac brooch used as the single nose. Hiya, Four-Eyes!! the four antherine blooms seek the pollination upon the four rose-plates.  The sun/judgement the sun comes out after the storm blast, raising naked people from hollow brick-rafts whose particular specific gravities allow them to alternately sink and float like feathers in a swamp of green bile. The lagged red lightning from the erstwhile storm becomes the sun’s own starform shafts: a kind sun which allows the children to come out to play in a near nudity: too cunning to strip off completely like their resurrected parents.God dressed in His mouldy wings is astride the thunder angel’s back. The Sun is God’s enemy, because He wants people to stay dressed. But not for morality’s sake. Omniscient Imagination is spicier than truth.  Nine of coins/ace of cups A banquet with nine covers, where the ninth and last guest to arrive has his cover set in the middle of the table, to act as overseer of the untangling of the nectar siphons. The feast lasts forever and the ninth guest gradually turns into a Kaiser cup: the Platonic Form of Drink which the other eight once eschewed but now covet.  Queen of coins/queen of swords Two tankards of ill-bodied bitter, each with its aftertaste and even sharper tongue. Lithe playpen is mightier than the sword, then money is greater than both bookends. Time’s the only taming of shrews.Mace and sword their only stems, eyes their only tears he ets.  The world/juno The Twelve Days of Christmas is sung as they board the ark with Noah’s premature wreath. When the flood subsided, unregulated transvestism’s final unscarfing betokened the wrong permutations of sex and the end of humanity as we know it (or knew it). The world is now simply populated by animals who only know us people as old Jungian dreams in gaudy dresses or skimpy scarves.  Ten of cups/five of coins Ten empty egg-cups for a salady tea. Two eggs each! Greedy beggars! But which came first, the egg or the egg? When green vegetables turn mouldy, they don’t simply turn greener. Impatience grew rampant. Condiments and insults, till the egg-chef broke his head on the five platters that came winging angrily into his hen-pen. His blood formed into chick-foetus roses. Eventually all manner of things would be well. And abstemious.  King of Coins/Knight of Cups Two chess pieces became playing cards overnight. They were angry at becoming not only two-dimensional but face down. So nobody, least of all me, could form images from them, but fulsome darkness was better than being hidebound as to strict paths and angles of wayfare.   

Posted by wordonymous at 5:25 PM EST
Updated: Tuesday, 19 December 2006 5:26 PM EST
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Saturday, 2 December 2006
A Glass Darkly



The hand went through the glass - but really, at the end of the day, the glass got its own back.

Until that day I had never really thought about the relative vulnerability of human bodies. So soft, so pliable, so very bone-cushioned: all for the sake of providing a vehicle for life. And, indeed, it is a rule of thumb that advantages do have their side-effects -- even the rule that all is for the best in the best of all possible worlds.

Which brings me straight back to the window I accidentally smashed with my hand and which in turn, simultaneously and not so accidentally, smashed my hand! The purpose of windows, like eyes, was, I thought, to ease viewing of external existence around the fragile pod of life that’s you. And to let light in and darkness out. But windows may see their purpose as something quite different. And eyes, too.

I know it’s not original: but eyes are windows of the soul. And the onset of death (which starts at birth) causes splintery sparks to dig ever deeper from the skull’s twin sockets until the biggest shark’s fin of all ribs through the conduit nerve of reality...

Still, you can be thankful for small mercies: it would be worse in a worse world.


Posted by wordonymous at 2:12 PM EST
Updated: Saturday, 2 December 2006 2:14 PM EST
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Tuesday, 28 November 2006
Secret Wheel (7)

The titles of the stories are embedded in the URL addresses below:



































































































































































































Posted by wordonymous at 6:56 AM EST
Updated: Tuesday, 28 November 2006 7:21 AM EST
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Wednesday, 22 November 2006
Baffle (30)

I saw the soldier step in the dogmuck.  In the First World War, the trenches were full of such droppings from beast and fowl.  Many dreamers collected it up in “doggy bags” to make their hard beds more comfortable in the dream whence the stuff came via the filters of sleep, dream and waking, back to the modern soft beds whence they came.

Posted by wordonymous at 1:22 PM EST
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