The Needle

And so she became an object of irritation. Like a mosquito. A needle. Something to be savagely removed.
And she wanted to save the world. She tried to save me. And, like a mirror would do, save herself, by proxy. She was an addict. Her high came when she felt superior. And this often came disguised as help. And she helped everyone, as long as she had no emotional attachment to them. With me it was easy. I was her fuck buddy. And she could help me because she didn’t feel anything for me. All she felt was my dick. That’s all she wanted anyway. When I used to talk, to try to express something, she’d look at me as if to say ‘What on EARTH are you doing…BOY?’
And she fed me expensive chocolates and took me to her bedroom. Three hours later, we’d emerge…
She’d watch Coronation St. I’d text other girls. I’d think ‘what am I doing with nutty cat-woman?’
Then she left. She told me that she started feeling things. And that she thought I had too. And, there was no excitement once the person liked her any more. No challenge.
So I imagine her sitting in her sofa, probably after a sex sesh with some obliging mute, watching Coronation Street and watching the cat staring in, meowing for food.


Off Colour Off River Behaviour

Thames mud, calcification, my old blood, The Gunhouse pub. We never asked for direction in them days. One says. We just knew where we was. She was old, beautiful; tatty, reading the glossy, dirty, gossip rags.
A little river of bile flowed towards the shops, past the pub. There was another, surrounded in a swarm  of singing wasps. He was batty as a stick of charcoal drawing a stick of charcoal with a stick of charcoal. He waved his hands, like a conductor, and smiled as he was bitten. They were his friends, he went on, until unable to form the words properly for bites.

Old love, silt and dirty legged birds. Windows exhibiting rotten, dried then rotten again curtains; browned and quartered. A small parking space. A shared place. Forgotten key. That was the weekend you took off your mask and the bugs crawled from your eyes and ears.

A book of birds, a scarred-up knee; the talking clock chittering like robo-wren. The ham on the boil. No bread. The corner, outside, waiting to be turned. An object thrown by one object at another object for some reason.

Tributes to the Thames.

Tick Tock V.39

I dropped orange paint on my jeans. The paint smeared by the right pocket. So now if I need to get my keys I end up with paint on my hand. And on my keys. Or my lighter. Or my snot tissue. And then I end up with tangy cadmium paint on my snot tissue, which ends up on my nose. I scratch my forehead in consternation and smear more paint on my face.

Sat in my comfy chair after work. After dinner. Eyelids heavy; thoughts of the past. Mental slideshow of fun times and a few horrors. Struggle to move in the chair. Blinking takes up the remaining energy I have left. Luckily, I don’t have to worry about expending too much on the painting, not having that great facility for declaring the world my own brushstroke. No, the world isn’t mine. When I sleep, the world will still be beautiful. And when I die, the view of Earth from the moon will be little changed. After people, the sky will busy with wildlife again. And paradise will return.

Then I remember the paint on my jeans and get really annoyed and burst onto the street all rage and hatred and fight and pull out a cigarette and smoke it because that’s what fucking writers do isn’t it?

A Scrape

You can see my fag ends all over the car park. White tipped. Menthol. Little, dead things. Sort of cute, in a twisted sense.

The winds blow in off the Bristol channel but there is not much else in the way of action.

Apart, perhaps, for one of my little menthol fag ends blowing around the car park.

A swift darts through the air right in front of me. I watch it change direction in a heartbeat, mildly annoyed at its talents. It makes another pass. It gains in confidence and fly’s closer. I find myself smiling. And I’m annoyed that I’m smiling. It zips towards me in diagonal aerobatics and stops, hovering in mid flight, close to my shoulder, to have a better look at me. I hold my breath.

Finally, and in a supreme act of defiance, it settles close to my feet. It seems to be studying me, or playing.

I keep still, but the bird doesn’t appear to be that bothered about me. More, that is has its own reasons for being there and can be out of there, if needs be, in a split second.

I try to imagine what is going on in its little skull. Does this tiny thing consider anything other than survival? Is it possible, for instance, for it to agonise over passing the time? Might it not, in fact, be flying out of fun but due to of a screaming fit of boredom? Is it, just say, aware of the torture of 13:28 on a Tuesday afternoon, wondering how to fill the rest of the day without submitting to the safety and comfort of drink? Perhaps its twisting and turning in the air is a response to the withdrawal from fermented berries, or the result of the intoxication from them. That would explain its cockiness.

No, it’s more likely that they regard me as a curiosity; a thing requiring investigation to eliminate the possibility of whether or not it’s food. Better that than the maddening meanderings of the self-aware; dulling life, or the knowledge of its certain end, with booze. No, better, much better, to fly. It’s the booze that clips away the wings like dry, dead branches from a once glorious rose-bush.

I scrape my brogues into the gravel to stop myself thinking of drink and the swift fly’s away.

The Revenge of the Customer Service Attendants

The big woman yapped on at her colleague in the petrol station and reached out for my items. It was lunch. Then she burped and, under her breath, said sorry; not directly to me but to someone, or something else; perhaps as a force of habit. It was lunchtime. I had been hungry.
* * *
Have lunch in my car again. On the menu was reformed foam is the shape of crisps, sushi and apple juice. And it all tasted the same just looked different. And when it was eaten there was neither the feeling of contentment or satisfaction. Rather, that my body was part of a larger experiment. Maybe the experiment could be called, ‘What Can we Pass as Food?’
* * *
All the time we spend in queues at petrol stations is less time in nature, more in hell.
* * *
I’ve never seen anyone smile in these. Not, at least, the customers anyway.
In my mind the day has already arrived; we each of us have our heads clamped between to iron bars in long rows. We kneel on all fours and are grazed and our own shit stings, and infects, the gashes. And here they come; the customer services attendants, grinning, with slop buckets in hand. And they are burping and enormous, waddling towards us. They eat chocolate bars and dump a pinkish porridge on the floor in front of us.
And though we know the contents, we are hopelessly programmed to eat it anyway.
Our necks strain at the bars to finish every last morsel.

The Pinch Test

He smelt of washing powder and sick. He drank from a crystal glass and talked about nothing but himself. It was as though the world owed him something.

I don’t know. The way he was…a kind of rat…in formaldehyde.

He dressed for cold weather.

‘Cause he expected it?

It’s Alive

She stood before the children. She wrung her hands continually. Her heart fluttered with fear, not of the children but of God. She was afraid of God. Her children never knew what it was she wrung her hands about so much. Sometimes it was as though she’d been crying for hours, her glasses seemed to be made of tears. We watched her and were afraid ourselves. Afraid of what would terrorise us as adults, of what was waiting for us. At least, that’s how it seems looking back.
And of those that are still around the old town, those that did not escape, are postmen, butchers, builders, grocers, single mothers, check out girls, convicts.
And of those who shone like supernovae, there was a terror. A terror big enough to put out the brightness. And it come in the form of television, newspapers, alcohol, women, men, the ‘real’ world, stepfathers, operations, accidents, medication, breakdowns, muddy scars in the front lawn where the daughters boyfriend parks his saxo, a ‘quick’ bottle of wine before breakfast and the doctor who couldn’t; save you, save me, save anyone, the damp walls, the cold shoulder, the clattering fencepost, the dead grey days, the season of murder garnished with tinsel.
What we saw in her eyes was perhaps a fear of the truth. The realisation of deception. An uncaring, all powerful being.
Looking back now it’s easy. It’s easy to see what was going on. Back then we were just children. They made us sing their funny songs about God and how great He was and how lucky we are that He loved us.
We were too fragile to be told the truth. But we would, all of us, find out sooner than we expected.
None of us were astronauts, firemen, prime ministers, doctors.
And none of us had a chance in the beginning anyway.


He has this funny way about him. I don’t know. And what is going on between them anyway? You always see them together. I mean, there must be something going on between them, you know? I don’t know.

He ‘d been having problems with the phone for  three weeks now. He knew all about the neighbours vaginal discharge, that the husband stayed out too late and always came home drunk, that the neighbour, that was me, had funny ways and must have been having an affair with this woman she kept seeing him, or me, with.

His tee-shirt had ridden over his belly and he pulled at one of the hairs there while he listened to the neighbours. Better the devil you know, he thought.

Fried  up some eggs and took his tablets and looked out at the street, the garage, road signs, men, women, dogs and thought ‘fuck this’. He was desperate for a piece but feared that it might fall off. Some people have irrational fears about tsunamis, his was about spontaneously detaching genitals. The thought horrified him enough not to pursue the urge.

*    *    *

“What do you do without a teevee?” Someone at work once asked him and he felt the need to scream. It was as though the world had really turned into the hell feared by some it might become. Somehow, he thought, the ad men have convinced us – by using sinister techniques – to buy things we don’t need, in order to convince us that the world had not died. We were all mourning, alcoholic widows clutching the ad men’s bottle of gin; popping pills and wearing strained, awful smiles.

He imagined these men as a little mournful themselves. But it was their job to lie and make-believe everything was fine. What was the alternative?

The war of despair…a return to street massacre for no other reason than boredom and frustration…anarchy on a level to turn the stomachs of the anarchists…lawlessness…disease…malice…

So, instead, we gaze a our dream-boxes and pray to a god with fake tan and tippex white teeth for a fresh trinket to distract the brain from setting the sky alight with madness, sheer ‘I know that one day I shall die’ madness…

*    *    *

He checked his watch; two hours later; he popped another pill, sighed and went back to bed.


Travelled there in my old, falling apart car. Wind pushing me across lanes on the motorway like an invisible bully. No rain though. Yet. For some reason I notice my fingernails. They are dirty and the paint has dried. The metallic taste in my mouth comes back and my stomach leaps. I would eat, but…
I never knew her but she was a friend of the family and, while I was away, had helped them out.
A good woman.
So, out of respect, I un-cap the bottle.
Pour it over the grave.
She would have liked that.
They said.