Butts

When the brittle soul man dreams, it dreams of empty service stations; endless isles of junk food, cigarettes, change for the arcades. As he snores, the rest of the world snores with him, perhaps even in harmony. Perhaps not. Tribes of alligator skinned nightmares queue up in a special, spongy part of his future. A lizard eyed, long-legged woman pries open his chest like a tin can; jagged flesh, a small, bulging heart coughing black ink shrinks at her grin. ‘He he,’ she prods, with her talon. Carves the word ‘smile’ upon his rib-cage which expands with the force of his still functioning lungs.
Betty, pray for me. The formica table top was strewn with dead cigarettes and many bottles. The air was alive with shagging insects. Betty opened the window. ‘Shoo!’ she went.
‘Shoo!’
I flicked the dead butts at her peachy backside and watched her jump. ‘Oh!’ she cried, ‘Oh! They’re on me, they’re ON me!’

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Burnt Jam

The sun never really comes out. They, the rich, have stolen it and stored in their castles.
Watching the buzz, from the work house, from the gutter. High hats totter and heels clack into the elite drinking holes, kicking up the odd gutter oyster (a rats liver, half chewed, something discarded from the paupers doctor, a piece of root vegetation). A scene of hoarse-drawn carriages, each with it’s own, lush cabin, inside which virginal beauties dream of star fruits, Turkish delight, tigers, peacock feathers, fountains of wine with rubber duckies boobing upon the semillon skin. The candle light cuts through the curtains. Someone throws blue mud at red wine velvet curtain. They are shot immediately; a crack of smoke. A posturing guard. A faint smile upon his young lips. His master pats his wig.
A fight broke out over some peelings. They spilled from the kitchens. Another shot from the flintlock pistol scatters the crowd. An old man is trampled to death.
By morning, his body had disappeared, leaving only the rags he wore. A phone rang. The kettle boiled. You read this to me. I commented that I hated it. Everything about it.
Everything.
You left.
The sky remained stubbornly sombre but that was exciting somehow. Better than mass hysteria, than making jam, than walks by the sea, than you and me.

Ha.

The sky remained stubbornly sombre but that was exciting somehow. Better than mass hysteria, than making jam, than walks by the sea, than you and me

Waste Water

Brace yourself. When the fire starts we all look for the water with which to put it out. He sits there, with his glass of water and wonders at the progress of the ash. Brendel plays Schubert in the background. The man listens to Brendel. He feels like a dwarf. The music is so mesmerizing. The floorboards click. No one is knocking. The water grins up at him. I’ve got you, it says. Maybe so, he says, maybe so. A cigar shape lights up the sky, briefly. He raises his eyebrow. Farts.
The day passed too much like its many predecessors. Uneasily. Like wading through treacle. Flimsy thoughts of flight copulate with Spanish dreams. The pavements of the Paseo Del Prado. The clubs containing the piano players, the guitars, the singers, the dark-skinned beauties who no one can touch without fire eating them alive.
He takes another sip of his water and ponders the journey. Wonders if he’ll see her. Wonders, indeed, who SHE is. A fragment of rock chipped from the cliffs. An old book containing the last words of a forgotten, yet brilliant, author. The thunder starts. The crackling lightning rods.
No crest fallen hero’s here folks. Just a small, old gentleman. Still baffled at the world. And in contempt at his own, forced part in it. Keep the headlines. Keep the winds, the tides, the turning of the moon and whatever lurks upon its inky backside. Keep the words away. Turn the page like a printer, a proofreader. Soak in as much as you can before wetted fingers snuff out your candle. Work like a dog and sniff at a stray crotch.
Try for more.
Leaning against a wooden post, an old man watches his young self doing press-ups. His phantom heart nearly bursts in an imitation of an ectoplasmic supernova.
Like the sun, crying itself to sleep.

Hot Neck, Cloud Man and Dog Poo

Poppy said her neck was hot. So I blew on it. She glared at me like I’d slapped her in the puss.

A man stood about fifty feet away. He was staring at the clouds. He was chanting too. Chanting that he wanted to make the clouds change shape. A rhino? A girl? A hypothalamus?

Poppy undid the top buttons of her blouse and laid down upon the picnic mat. I raised my eyebrows and blinked out towards the boats. They are going to rebuild the Titanic, I thought, in conversation with myself. I thought about telling Poppy. Decided it was best not.

The man was still there, his hands clapping together, silently somehow. An little, old woman was walking her tiny dog. The little, old woman stared at the cloud man. She stared and wore an intense frown on her little, wrinkled face. Rather like how a cat arches its back when it thinks its going to be attacked. She had nothing to worry about though, the man was light years away.

Just then I heard what sounded like a single, muffled note from a trumpet in a mouse orchestra. Poppy cleared her throat.

The little, old woman walked past and mouthed the words “Morning.” I ignored her. I felt like standing up and chanting, just to wind her up.

The man began shaking his head around. If he’s not careful he’ll go over the cliff, I remember thinking. No more clouds.

The tiny dog coiled out a turd into an otherwise pleasant afternoon. The little, old woman picked it up through an inside-out bag. Then she pulled the bag out the right way and tied it off. The tiny dog trotted ahead, not wanting to be downwind, presumably.

“What is that smell.”  said Poppy. “Have you farted?” .

Tired

It’s your eyes. You have such handsome eyes.

But the years later, those long, dragging, alcoholic years; those are the years that take away the handsome.

The other day, let’s say last weekend, a young barmaid said “You look tired”. It got me. I left the bar. Don’t cry for me. You are me. There’s a hole waiting for all of us. And my two peepers, they have sunk deep into puffed cushions; crimson veins spread across those handsome eyes. But still, there is nothing to complain about. There is never anything to complain about. You don’t need to live in a council flat to feel pain and pressure. It’s not necessary to receive physical punishment, day after day, to be a prize fighter. All you need is a heart. Something in common.

Maybe.

You tell me all I need to hear with your eyes.

And I have composed letters to her; many, many letters. None have been sent. I’d have sent them if I wanted to feel the rush again. The shudder from the past. Temporary, at best.

In its original incarnation, we were good. Now, it would be war. War every second, every minute etc.

So I went out and spent money. The cashiers, I avoided eye contact. Still haunted by the ‘tired’ comment. Not because I hated the author, but because I hated the truth. I was tired. I am tired. But still, there is nothing to complain about. There are noisy neighbours. There is a cheap life. There is nothing but the foulness of goodbyes and hello’s. What is in these hello’s and goodbye’s can only be gauged by asking the askers. To me, it’s just noise. A rumble in the air. Like rain. But not thunder. No thunder. Oh, for thunder. Sometimes I pray for storms. Between punches, I jab away the demons with white burgundy.

Through a time of fantasy and dreams, an anti-cynicism, we loved each other. Then the time arrived when we had to face reality. Sadly, tragically, we failed reality. Not the other way around.

Shadow boxing in front of the mirror, I notice my eyes. Tired.

My Sadness Killed the Herring Gull

(The tension in the chest. Eyes darting; busying themselves when all they hunger for is the image of her. A bird soars above the street and waits for the big creatures to leave their rubbish behind and go home, or wherever they go. A solitary man stands by a old, dead statue. He looks the clock. The bells ring through the sour, icy air.)

…stood out in the freezing winter street…how was it ever summer?…when we promised to meet here again, all those years ago…as the sky changed complexion; from peach to India ink?…did you fall out of time and miss me saying it?…did you miss me saying that I would wait?…

…hundreds of tomorrows have crawled by between then and now…and maybe you never dreamed of this day like I did…and maybe, rather than sat in the back of a cab on your way here, you’re cuddled up to some good-looking man…and smudge my self-esteem while you’re about it…

…perhaps you think of me every now and again…as you clear out the cupboards of your heart…and perhaps you chuckle to yourself…as though back then you were just a silly, little girl…but I’m here…after all these years…and I’m waiting for you…my love…and my cold flesh is nothing compared to the winter growing inside me…

Mash Up Myself

If you cracked open my abdomen, you’d find an assortment of tired organs; a heart barely beating; more glugging than anything else, and probably a small rodent seeking shelter.
And all this while I’m driving. The car wasn’t in much better shape either.
One or twice, I could swear I heard her cough. But it was the weeping and wailing which I was less prepared for.
My sympathy vehicle and I had the appearance of having been dragged through electrical wire after being slapped around with sides of beef.
The things we have to do.
So when I parked the car and shut off the engine I could smell the fear. Then the heart leapt into life, presuming upon the advent of fight or  flight.
In the end, it was a little of both…regrettably.
And I left her with tears in her eyes whilst I got out of there, not knowing what else to do. Instinct told me to run. Like a rat’s must.
Idiotically, I expected to feel as though a weight had been lifted. But as I drove back to the destroyed city, my heart hung in my chest like it was a lead bowling ball.
Only the warm, tickling sensation on my face gave me any clue at all that I was in floods of tears.
Though…
Guilt put in the best performance of the day by a mile. Robed in sequins and neon, it strode onto centre stage with murder in its eyes. Blinding light spewed from every pore of its poisonous form like space worms with razor teeth attaching to my flesh at the speed of light. And its tirade hissed through an iron grimace; flesh still attached to its teeth. Like a hot knife, it stabbed into me again and again.
“Tsk, tsk, tsk…leaving people in the gutter like so much throw away detritus?…loathsome…all you do is rampage over people who care…no thought for their feelings…then act all surprised when it KA-BOOM’S in a shower of shit…your fault…forever…an ever…it will always be your fault…you are worthless…why can’t you just get on with it like everyone else anyway?…just go with the flow?…do you think you are BETTER than everyone else?…is that it?…hahaha, one thing I’ll give you is that you’re a funny specimen…no, not funny, you’re fucking hilarious…and I mean that; you are so funny that I’m giddy with it…look at you and your gut…and what is going on with your face?…I mean it’s all lop-sided, like a livid corpse…maybe that explains the smell that blares off you…you’re dead…DEAD…because only a dead thing would behave as you do and fail to realise how thoroughly disgusting it is…you’re a putrid, little nothing…you might as well be nothing…no guts….no substance…no balls…yeah, you heard, you’ve got no BALLS…you’re a eunuch; emotionless, compassionless, pointless…a hard, unfeeling husk…”
And you take these beatings because there is nothing else to do. You know it’s coming. The fight posters are glued up all over town. The tickets sold out within minutes. The audience members are composed of ghosts: old friends, lovers, acquaintances, those I was rude to for no reason, those I was rude to with good reason. They all watch the walk-in. Some throw urine in open top bottles. Others just throw abuse. The noise recipe included large quantities of malevolence and retribution. When the crowd favourite makes its appearance, all decked out in black sequins and laser beam red eyes, the stadium erupts. Women scream lustily at the mere thought of your downfall. Men have fantasies of being the one dealing it out; just to watch your body reduced to mashed flesh, burst blood vessels and splintered bone. And when we stand opposite each other to hear the referee’s instructions, they laugh. The monster opposite towers over me. I can feel cold air hitting me rhythmically with grief’s sub-sonic glee.
After 12 rounds of brutal punishment, the creature puts me out of my misery.
And they’re right. The one that knocks you out you don’t even see.

Like the Clappers

He lived by the sea in the middle of a thunder cloud. On a shelf there sat a skull, some old fish and chips and a copy of an old, mysterious novel. On the front of the novel a gold sketch of a butterfly was embossed. The book was hard for him to read. Every day he picked it up, with open mind and heart, and tried to see if it would reveal something to him. And every day he closed it with a heavy feeling inside. When he went to bed he was visited by ghosts who appeared at the sound of a clapping hand. A dog was heard whimpering, though he never saw the dog. Perhaps it was something else. He would lie in his hard bed at an awkward angle. He appeared to be frowning. In the dim light, occasionally brightened by passing cars, there were what appeared to be tears rolling down his cheeks. In the man’s mind, phantoms walked the streets; they appeared through blinding bright keyholes from houses in his childhood street. A vicars face would approach him, bodiless, and sneer evil incantations into his head. The whimpering would turn to a bark. The bark would become louder and louder until, finally, the man woke up, sweating and shaking through to his bones. And for a split second, he thought he saw an animal at the foot of his bed, teeth bared, grinning back at him. The thunder never stopped. And the book became harder and harder to decipher. So he left. He ran away from the sea. To the man, it was as if the waves were fanning the badness into his life. And, who knew, if he’d never found the book, things might have been simpler.
He moved to the city in the middle of winter. On the bar there sat a pint of beer and a whiskey chaser. He sipped the beer, dumped the whiskey in and waited for it to mix. A packet of pork scratchings sat, half empty like a destroyed animal next to the drinks on top of a book called ‘how to write’. On the front of the book there was a picture of an old mans face. The book was hard to read. Every day he opened it at a random page and yet the same information presented itself to him. “In the old days, those of storms and no heating; when my wife was pregnant with the kid, I’d sit down and think of those first, immortal lines. Of course, they never came. All I could hear was that fevered applause that was so dear to me. The congratulations from peers, the proposals from beautiful women who’d read my work and want me for my words. The waterfall of success. I was damned from the beginning…” And he would go to bed except there was no bed. And he would phone his loved ones but there were no loved ones. They’d all died in his own, personal tragedy. A nail comes loose on his finger. He peels it off and hopes no one can see. Then he dabs another finger in the whiskey dregs and smears it on the weeping finger. It stings and aches at the same time. The lights of a police car flash through the window of the bar. The siren comes and goes, trailing off as though losing its intonation.
A butterfly lands on his pork scratchings. He hammers it hard with a closed fist, mingling soft, radiant colours with dead, grey fat. The wings of the butterfly move slowly and then stop forever.

Another Day in Space

So I’m driving along and talking to myself as usual. And I’m trying to speak to the air about the dream. I’m back at university. And there’s this girl there and I know who she is but I can’t place her. She’s slight framed with these penetrating eyes. And it seems as though she exists in another dimension. In the dream I find myself having to concentrate hard to get even a tiny glimpse of her. All I know, in the dream, is that I want to see her all the time but I can’t. She slips away from me when I fix my gaze upon her, leaving what look like brightly coloured, smoky ribbons indicating where she was a split second ago; such a small fraction of time, indeed, that it’s as though she might not have been there at all. And I’m really getting vocal in my car, talking it out as I say. And I’m expecting some answers. Thundering down the motorway in the dark, nothing but spots of red and white lights to indicate my surroundings, it’s as though I’m in space. I suppose it went to my head; being alone in the car and alone in the dream. But, there is this girl. And she is everywhere that I am. And I realise, after a while, in the dream, that all my movements are dictated by my desire to see this girl.

Then, without warning, the scene changes, as is so often the case in dreams. And I’m aboard a boat. And it seems to me that the reason everything changed was because I became aware of the motivation for my movements around this approximation of my university created by my subconscious mind. On the boat, which is also a restaurant, it’s as though my memory has been erased. I know that, moments ago, I was looking for something. And that that something had eluded me; lost aboard this mind boat (comprised of many levels and as long as my imagination can fathom) where people busy themselves taking orders and giving them. And I am there, sat at a seat by a porthole with a view out into an immense river. Call it the physical manifestation of my train of thought or lost memory. Through the porthole, on the other side, I see an unknown face looking right through me. I turn away and close my eyes. And, like retina burn, there are these weird ribbons. I press the accelerator to try to get to the point of this visualisation. To arrive at the truth of what is bubbling in my heart. And I’m just wishing that the car had a tongue so that it could tell me that there was some sense to the dream. Because to me it feels more than the usual psychological somersaults of a resting brain. It’s almost as though my heart, whatever that is, had cupped its hands over its mouth until it was too much then screamed a perfect truth in the shape of a girl. Perhaps it was that. Perhaps it wasn’t anything at all. Perhaps I’m just tired. It’s been a long journey and sometimes, when the scenery leaves little to be desired, the mind, or heart, can fabricate that which it needs. Then we arrive at where we’re going, lock the car, get a drink of water and wind down for another day. Another day of red and white lights.

Another day in space.

Generic Regret – on – Sea

It was late and it didn’t feel late.

A faint glow lit up one side of the hill. Had ‘they’ landed? Was it just a bunch of drunks setting fire to things out of boredom? A sacrifice maybe? One wonders these things when the air is dead of sound and one has a mouth stuffed with dry bagel. A slight frown of concentration, toes wriggling inside trainers, a few spots of rain tapping the top of the skull. And what about the twinkling of the lights across the channel? Surely they weren’t really twinkling? An illusion of twinkle caused by every rain drop and particle between the source of the light and my eyes?

And why is it that cigarettes give me toothache?

No answers materialised.

Only questions, questions. No sooner had one faded to less than a flea fart in the grey matter when another stomped in, chest all puffed up and demanding my complete attention.

My hands shook for no reason. The past three hours had come and gone without any memory of their passing; like so many hours, lost in pointless, abstract thought.

Ha. Balls.

It seemed as though it could easily be early in the morning. But it wasn’t morning. If it were morning there would be things to do, places to go. Instead, stuck with that insufferable time of night (11:22, or 23:22), matters had become serious and in need of urgent attention. The whole world, all of a sudden, appeared on the brink of total collapse. Issues were simply not being discussed. Time was a-wasting where there was no time to waste.

The glow disappeared.

Standing in the cold and tapping trainers in puddles, it was as though time might freeze, the world become lost, unless one answer to one question was revealed.

Instead, I picked my nose.

My nails had grown at what seemed an unreasonable rate in just one week.

Why did that cat always stare at me?

And why did she have to say that she just wanted to be friends?