Monday, 9 April 2018

Lethargy is endemic/this is the future, the future is now

An antennae scans beyond the horizon.

The packing crate is shifted in the hold of a cargo flight, moving as far as it can against the cables and ties restraining it.

Blood is rinsed from hands, the water returning to clear in the stainless steel sink.

He cycles in a mask. Coiled aggression channeled into carbon fibre.

We hear words: “When I visit the shop
and they do not have what I want,
I feel a sense of hopelessness.
I feel as if my whole life is a failure”

Cars cruise idling at 80mph. A sliding tapestry of stitchwork lights, heading in opposite directions.

She speaks: “I feel as if I must buy something. To validate the visit. To validate me. To validate my needs”

Half built buildings stand by. They wait. Wires hanging, gaps where their windows should be. On pause.

The river bends here, and as it careers around the corner, it sheds foam and bleached sticks, bottles, the head of a doll, a filthy traffic cone. Sunk into the sand is a trolley. Coin still in the slot, but too far, too treacherous for anyone to dare a retrieval. Risk outweighing reward.

We hear words: “It is not so much that I want to define myself. More that I want the job to be finished. I want to sigh and place down my bags. I want to fix myself a cup of tea”

Clouds of starlings erupt.

A child careers up the path, legs looking as if they will go from underneath them. Behind him trudges a parent, pushing a buggy with the resigned air of a ploughman. The child stops, exhausted and just sits down. Right there. Just sits down. As if that’s something you can just do, as if you’re allowed to just sit down and stop because you are tired. There and then.

The robot arm moves back and forth with a high pitched whine. Swiveling and plunging.

We hear words: “It is everything. Y’know, just I want to breath out and say, there it is, that’s what I need, I’m safe now, I’m provided for, I’m safe.

Moss grows in guttering, little purple stalks, tendrils reaching for light. Moss grows on. Slowly. Surely.

The book is taken from its shelf, flicked through, turned over and dismissed. Placed back, in the wrong place.

The church is empty. A single candle burns. The donation box is light. It smells of old stone and old books. It deadens sound.

A satellite dish hangs, rusted and useless on the corner of a pebble dashed building.

We hear words: “It is that I will have to go, again, to take that risk again, to face that feeling again, that whole tension and indecision, the ring road, the which lane, the finding a space to park, the when should I go, now or later and what if they don’t have it and I waste more time. What if I waste more time, when I just crave to be, finished. To sit down, breathe out and rest. Finished. Done. Over.”

The television plays at the end of the aisle. It is so big, the picture looks ghostly, belying the promise of clarity and sharpness promised by the paper banner that obscures a third of the screen.

The plate is pushed aside, wiped clean, mopped up. Blank now but for knife and fork.

The clouds rise from a doorway. A break.

The punchbag is thumped and thumped and thumped until her knuckles are red raw, salty sweat stinging her eyes, hair matted.

We hear words:“In the most empty of places I find peace. I am at one amongst places devoid of any spiritual meaning”

The traffic light is temporary. It is obeyed.

Leaves pool in the grid, swirling in grey water.

He dives and breaks the surface with barely a splash. White tile echo is dulled as he streaks through the water and rises to the surface.

Somewhere in the thicket, there is a fox and it’s cub.

We hear words: “I don’t know where things come from. Where they get it from. I want it to be there, on that shelf, but I don’t really know what it is or where it came from”

A kid is playing the trumpet. He’ll never be any good, but he hasn’t yet realised that. The agonised noise is frustrated but hope keeps him going.

A clock face is reflected in a puddle.

An escalator glides emptily till an elderly lady gingerly steps aboard, rearrnging her bags from two hands to one to allow herself to hold the rail.

Listen closely and you can hear the sound of an ancient river under the manhole cover.

We hear words:: “I don’t know where things come from. I don’t know how they get there. I don’t know anyone who makes these things, but I just want them to be there. Then I can sigh, breathe out, release the weight from more arms, sit down, slump, into the embrace of the sofa, fix myself a cup of tea, let my shoulders relax and drift into a dream knowing I am done, I am finished. I have what I need and I do not need for anything”

Red light reads lines. Turns lines into numbers. Numbers become some kind of meaning somewhere. Somehow.

An ant scurries in no particular direction. Lost. Instinct gone. Backward and forward. Hesitant.

Wednesday, 4 April 2018


Waif on a bike, far too big
wheels back and forth across the road
Scowling into the rain
that is turning the recycling into mush
Discarded bottle is crushed under his tyre
As he mounts the curbstone, he spits,
Flicking his rain soaked hair from his eyes, spit and flick in one movement, like the fire and recoil of a pistol.

Sunday, 1 April 2018

Breathless for Jesus.

Plate glass, space station shut.
Hermetically sealed.
The things inside
Vacuum fresh.

Outside, I slowly rotate in zero gravity
Orbiting aimlessly.
Oxygen slowly running out
Waiting for the airlock to open.

Things: just in
Things: marked down
Things: which speak
to my very own soul.

I could sharpen the contrast
Recolour the lines
touch up the colour
of my fading self

Or strike out boldly
in a new direction
Rebirth by receipt
and removal of security tag.

I could browse,
muse and wonder
sheltered from static storms
and solar flares of doubt.

Tilting my head back
to feel the warm air
under the archway
I would feel myself relax

becoming purposeful,
strong and vital.
Doing my duty to myself.
Being kind to me.

But the doors stay sealed
and I am lost.

Thursday, 15 March 2018

Cul de sac

You will you limbs to move
desperate concentration
an unheard mute message
to a lumpen stolid body.
slumped slack stringed puppet
awaiting the next awful scene
in the grotesque mannequin cabaret
A ghoulish ballet of exquisite torture
In which you must inflict
outrageous acts of depravity
in the name of who knows whose unseen hands.
You are paralysed
Head on your chest
Looking inward
Blaming yourself
for what you are made to do.
Maybe if you do exactly what you have to
they will leave you alone.
But still
You think
You await
a flicker
a twitch
anything to tell you that you are alive.

Monday, 12 March 2018

The hum of the fridge.

Behind the couch lie things
unsearched for
Choking in a layer of dust
remnants of another time.

The house is quiet
distant barking dogs
the hush of cars on a wet road
if there was a clock
(which there is not)
it would tickkk-pause- tockkk


Like the waves that lap against palid grey slick sand
tide turning
you standing safe
then submerged
in cold water
numb and breathless.

Friday, 9 March 2018

Seared draft.

High above the muddy field gripping tightly.
Aboard the shoulders of a man barely known but still trusted
because of who I was told he was.
Here now when usually he was not.
The taught string pulled against my hands.
Ridged plastic against skin softer than it is now.
A scudding, grey, whipping wind
The line heaved, ebbed, then whiplash dragged me.
A little boat adrift on stormy waves, darting, dipping, plunging
and popping up like a cork.
My grip is all that ties it to the coast line.
My grip and my arms which are tiring.
Fingers cold.
This is a special day because he is here.
We must try on a special day.
We must try our best.
The tacking and turning is yanking at my shoulders, prising my fingers and trying my patience.
The vessel yearns for the open sea. The chained dog gnaws at its chain. The unfired gun holds in it an explosion of imagination. A question.

I let go.

You run. You run so hard, like I've never seen you run before.
You run and though you smell of sweet tobacco smoke and motor oil you run like an athlete.
You run across the slippery precarious municipal turf
You run across what is barely grass, more a churned bog punctured by studded boots
You run to the goal pasts, with the naked patches of bare metal and bubbling welts of welded angles.
You run, beyond, going past, not through, you head up, following the path of the plastic meteor
You run, you climb, a struggle, a fence you thought about vaulting, but you hesitate and the momentum is gone and beyond the fence is a hill, made from earth from under our feet. A hill of shale and ugly black welts, landslips, gouges and you are slower now.
You are scrambling, slipping and the kite hits the slag with a thud I can't hear but I can feel, the rigid frame is surely cracked, the bright orange sail is surely ripped and there on the hill, way in the distance is the man who makes the world ok and he's tiny and I'm back here and I wish, with all my heart that I hadn't let go because he might fall and the ground might give way and this is a special day and on special days we are good

I'm still on the shoulders of this man. This man I'm told is your brother. Who speaks to you like he knows you more than anyone and I do not understand your secret code.

I wish I still held the tight line and I could just hand it over and you were still here to reel it in and pack it away, making it all neat to be put away for next time, to be put away, where ever it is that things which are special for special days go that I don't know about.


As you near the summit of this industrial Everest you stoop and go to take in your hands the polythene Icarus, to rescue the downed cosmonauts the effort catches up with you.

And you double over and breathe, hard and heavy and look, for a just a moment, broken. Sucking air, legs burning, vision swimming.

And then.

You have it.

You came back, slowly, Edging your way down, feet turned sideways as you stepped carefully on the bare patches. Little rivulets of gravel broke free and then you climbed the fence again and ambled back.

There were spots of rain. Feather light flecks, no rhythm to it. We walked, slowly towards you and
as we met, I was placed down, and as my feet sink slightly into the ground. I felt more aware of my weight than I was before.

"It's fine" you said and started to untangle the bits of it which have got all tangled up.

The rain picked up. We walk back and it feels like dusk. Maybe I held your hand. I don't know. It feels like I did.

Thursday, 8 February 2018

The back of the shelf.

All night conversation
The thrill of the bus journey
Drinking till you speak something of the truth
The white noise inside
Vomitting words to 200 beats per minute
Stumbling for a piss
Eyes stinging, borrowed fag unlit.
Loose change and sweat.
Waxen face, painted like a death mask.
You found nowhere.
Drunken embraces.
Slurred words as we cling to each other.
Spinning and breathing great gulps of cold smoky air
by the bus station.