Saturday, 30 May 2009

Day Two

The motorway is a day beleaguered
by a bloated greedy slob of a sun,
all rolls of heat that flob and slop the skin.

Two trees without a single leaf
like arms reaching from a soily grave,
skin melted into dry bone.

A journey like the space between language and thought:
undefinable and confusing, with an end
that might be a beginning, a long sentence
of road that started with a full stop.

Friday, 29 May 2009

Night One


looks like a bubbleless bath running
in a pale grey room under a dead lightbulb
in a house that no-one lives in anymore,
where echoing wind stutters through the air
and the only sound is the water drowning itself.

Summer poems/ Day One

"I need the smell of summer, I need its noises in my ear."

I pretty much hate summer a lot of the time. So logically, the thing to do is to write a poem about summer each day and night. Well, probably more like versified descriptions and babble, but oh well.

On which, here goes number one:


Someone pulls out that old cliché
– doesn’t time pass so quickly –
and like something you know so well you forget,
I remember there’s a reason things become clichéd.
but today feels like the first day of summer
even if we’re about on the second chapter,
and the sun is heavy enough to squash everything.
And maybe in a world that isn’t scripted by May Sinclair,
Harriett Frean’s parents had the right idea.

Tuesday, 28 April 2009

Day 30


At the end of the road there's another road, therefore
it's a STUPID FUCKING PHRASE and completely void.

Day 29

* Out of the way so I can revise tomorrow. I think I've italicised a bit too much...


At least three times today I’ve overheard
people saying they “have no idea.”

Well I do have an idea, you know, and let
me tell you I’m really the worse off

as all I have is an idea,
circling in my mind like a simple dog

that never even comes close to chewing its tail,
is always tailing itself, hasn’t got a tale

or anything other to do
than play with itself.

I’d give you my idea
if I had any idea what it was

but now it’s merely a blob of genderless cells,
a slow drip in an abandoned rotting shack,

a knot of unrelated images dumped
in a bag of metaphors inextricably mixed.

So take your no idea and put it in
the pockets your trousers don’t have

and pray that like a condom you didn’t know split
it doesn’t grow into something you can’t imagine.

Day 28


I go into the confession booth (God knows why)
and sit down like I'm in a furniture shop
waiting for a friend who's using the loo.

The priest I cannot see, but his breath
passes through that dark holey board
like a swarm of those weird little flies.

They may be gnats, and his breath may be blessed
a little too much; I swear the whole truth
is there's so much booze on it I feel a bit sick.

"I must confess," I say in the unutmost earnest,
"that I find this utterly and completely pointless.
What of the church but a really bad joke?"

The priest is asleep, his mouth like a stigmata.
"Vampire," I hiss, and walk out onto the street
where they're playing The Matrix on a stadium-sized screen.

I turn around, go back inside and pour
a generous glass of blood red wine.
The priest is snoring. I can't tell you how cross I am.

Monday, 27 April 2009

Day 27


God and I are kicking it at the cemetery
in the long grass like the misplaced memories of the dead.

“Why did you ever let go of my tongue?” I sigh,
and he rubs my back like one who’s been there.
“I mean, I tasted all that messy unedited love
and it was good, so props to you on that one,
but after all the structures fall you need to learn again.”

He gives a sympathetic half smile
and takes a drag, careful not to blow the smoke heavenward.

“And of course, post-structure I end up with Derrida,
not so much gymming my brain as beating it with weights,
writing on people’s faces and pets and cereal
because I thought that everything must also be a pad.”

The look implies he’s about to speak, but hell,
I’ve not yet finished and who’s he to get impatient?

“Have you ever balanced Derrida’s bibliography on your back?
I tell you, it makes it damn hard to write. And even
if I could, I’d fucking deconstruct
Every Single Word
until nothing didn’t even mean nothing.”

My eyes still ache from all that reading:
two rotten apples attached to my brain.
God, who obviously knows this, simply shrugs;
I told you so, the way he’s standing says.

He flicks his cigarette and fixes his hair.
“You think you’ve got it bad?” comes the word.
“Every time I go to get changed up there,
I find that sneaky bastard Nietzsche has stuck
another sticker on my back saying:
It’s not the fact Eve ate the apple that bothers me,
it’s the idiots who came along later and turned wood to paper.
Ever since then all I seem to hear
are people who’ve overdosed on cheap black ink
complaining about how meaningless meaning is.
Christ, I’d never have stuck you to that cross
if I’d known how poisonous teaching in general can be!”

With that he grunts and leaves me where I stand,
muttering to himself like those who pretend
to hear him in their dreams.

On his way out he passes Hardy’s grave
and –spitefully I must add – destroys it.
“I’ll give my best to Emma,” I’m sure he scowls.

God knows what I’ll do, I think, then correct myself.
I reluctantly take out my copy of Writing and Difference.

Sunday, 26 April 2009

Eyes must roll

Seriously, I just noticed you have to go back as far as DAY 20!!! to read something semi-decent on here.

Day 26

* I've really lost the will to do this, hence the last few poems - and this one - which are just like wordsearches tipped into a bathtub and dumped into the sewer. Like that simile. But, like, people are apparently 'following' me, so I'm actually definitely certainly going to actually definitely certainly write something that constitutes a poem tomorrow.

Apparently we're all sneezing into
the same cultural tissue, but
hopefully some snot is bigger than others;
definitely my hayfever could spray
all over the ever right now, assuredly and
Later that same day
I added two verbs and equaled
'superfluous'. Then Shaly told me to calm down
(also to stop using cheap tricks when
breaking lines like a cripple's spine)
and jump around outside, which
I'm sure to her means inside.
You know,
there really is no connection here
other than the one I'm using
to make the unreal one
look less like no connection.
And I've never met a fiction
that doesn't want to talk about itself.

Day 25

Oh to be a baby! The only time
you can piss on someone's face and still be cute.

There's nothing funny about old people's shit protests,
covering the years in thick brown paint,

or the guy who goes down on anyone
in the vague hope of finding a welcome mat.

Day 24

When she gets excited
she shakes like a packet
of unopened Skittles,
and the air is a procession of feet
marching on nothing nowhere.

"Oh god, you're such an idiot,"
she says as she chews her hair
thinking it's a twig
and she's a Jack Russel.
"Ruff-ruff-ruff," she says.

She takes a Polaroid of herself
and draws on glasses and a 'tache,
sticks it to her face
and walks around like a chicken
speaking in an Irish accent.

"Kettles boil too furiously," she purrs.
"Like a cat flying through a bin
eating toast
when the frying pan has congealed
into a cancerous stomach."

"My sides are so down when I'm up
and remote controls only operate
when your feet are a lonely yellow," I say.
"Shut up!" she says,
and the ashtrays die peacefully again.

Friday, 24 April 2009

Day 23

Trying to watch The Wire
all the characters end up looking like Foucault
and I end up as Foucaulted out
as a high-class whore in the midst of revision
for her second-year exams.

And Family Guy's turned into
little more than a handjob,
and for some reason books about books
are more enjoyable than the books
the books are about.

I have a lot of books,
like I'm trying to look through the binoculars
of the double-o
to find some kind of truth;
my brain is a skyscraper of prose

on a mild-mannered morning
in September of 2001
and the TV broke its own back
chasing stories through the library.
I point bluntly at my reflection.

Day 22

* So I'm late and writing shit to catch up. So?
We regress in the grass and get loud lunged
and pull out the blades like they were years
and dig our hands into the womblike soil.

Until the bus comes - late -
and we have to go to work.

Wednesday, 22 April 2009

Day 21

The Apple shop is white and sterile.
Like hell for someone who actually likes life
and would rather not break their knees with prayer.

A man with a perfectly round face tells me it's terminal.
I hope he means his face. He doesn't. His veins
must look like a smashed up Mac scattered

on the side of the road next to a McDonald's.
I wouldn't even do them the favour of writing
another word about them other than: cunts.

Like a weight around my ankles
I hurl myself into a river
by the iPod plugged into my ears.

Monday, 20 April 2009

Day 20

So here we have the cover, the scalp,
hair thick and dark as an antiquarian book
in the crowded library shelf that is each moment
gathered and collected over time,

The skull like a block of paragraphless prose
to crunch through searching for all the meaning inside,

To the brain that’s never sure if it’s honest to itself,
a dictionary in which so many of the words are misspelt,
a tangled web of neologisms in a foreign language,
though nothing is like the brain
for without the brain there is nothing,

The tongue a fountain pen forever writing
the unfinished lines of the lips,

Nose an open door at the end of a hallway of days
leading to the lungs,

Ears constantly spraying graffiti
on the inside and out of the skull.

A family of siblings always fighting to decipher
the slick invisible ink of the eyes.

Sunday, 19 April 2009

Day 19

*Not really finished, but then none of these sCRAPs ever are. However, (potentially the) opening poem from a series I hope to work on about the body, so any feedback would be much appreciated.
The Water’s Reflection

From the showerhead water
rips and screams into life
howls and wails like a newborn
or an old man barking
at the dawn that rises and refuses
to give him even the briefest glance.

And it spreads its arms and fingers
and it unpeels the lids of its eyes
and it is morning here
or it is evening here
or does it even matter?

And it laminates the body of work
each letter paragraph chapter
every footnote and annotation
and the water rejoices from the showerhead.

Until the body of work closes
the sliding door behind itself
and the possessed rapture
becomes the silent drip of faith.

Saturday, 18 April 2009

Day 18

This is so not cheating. Read that and hear this:
King Laconic is a Norwich-based singer-songwriter. His guitar playing is reminiscent of an Elliott Smith or a Nick Drake in its intricacy and expressiveness but in no way bound by these references, transcending any and all of his influences through sheer passion and an often startling originality, from delicate fingerpicking to propulsive chord progressions and back again, sometimes in the space of a single song; hear, for example, the frantic picking of ‘Patient Communication’ switch seamlessly to an at once euphoric and despairing thrash, or how ‘Muddy Water’ veers between icy folk and crunching, dirtily melodic rock.

Vocally he is much the same; his voice stretches from a sparingly and perfectly deployed falsetto to what can at times only be termed an impassioned yelp, wild yet utterly controlled, always unaffected and always tailored to best fit his lyrics.

David Berman of the Silver Jews manages to compress novels of meaning into single sentences; Ezra Pound espoused the need for poetry to be “hard and dry”; and the lyrics on display here stem from this same school. They are compressed with meaning, shunning superfluity so as to hone in on not only their precise intention but an open eyed and unspoken ambiguity, much like a Raymond Carver story, tackling ‘big themes’ in a fresh and subtle way.

King Laconic is, like all good musicians, best seen live. His solo acoustic sets are revelations, all of the above and then some. When an artist can not just play but so obviously relish and revel in his performance, you know you’re in for a good gig, full of intensity and intimacy. In short, he is the perfect antidote to the sentimental dribble dripping from the fey-vocals-and-pretty-fingerpicking that the music scene seems to be drowning in at times, an artist with enough bite to pierce even the thickest skin and enough heart to stitch it back up afterwards.

Day 17

Valley of the Clones

In the valley of the clones a sheep will steal your shawl
and wear it like a baby’s spit-splattered bib,
and leave you sheared and naked on the high street.

There are stalls that sell popular fiction rewritten
as an anecdote by the new author about the old book:
‘In Chapter One, Dan Brown opens the story thus...’

You may start to feel you don’t need your friends anymore
because all their beliefs are the same as yours.
Evolution eradicates the existence of scars.

In the valley of the clones ‘BAA!’ is a treasured aphorism
and there are too many versions of this poem to accurately count.
The second-person ‘you’ is in fact a synonym for ‘I’.

They changed the ‘ks’ to ‘Marx’, as in ‘Marx and Spencer’,
though according to the reigning government
the West always ‘Caps it off with a list.’

They changed ‘homogenous’ to ‘homogenius’. I’ve heard
the fields are now bereft of their white puffs of cloud.
I’m about to brave the walk and see for myself.

Thursday, 16 April 2009

Day 16

Apologies Anna Siggins, whose format I have shamelessly stolen for this piece of filler. But it's your own fault for not putting on a Russian accent for me and exorcising this useless infatuation. Tut fucking tut.


Dear Natalia,

I don't know where to send this. You're in hiding, and, of course, we've never met. You only entered my life today, with the force of a flashmob.

It's wet here and my ceiling's bleeding water, the day is a fat kid refusing to get out of bed, and now I feel like the Kremlin cold on your tail.

We could just crawl into a bed as if sneaking behind enemy lines, and every grunt and gasp and grimace of pleasure would hiss like dynamite underneath parliament, and our little death would kill us safe from harm.

Because of you, Natalia, I will have to drink myself into a state where I can't walk unless you prop a large stick up my arse and carry me around like a barely sentient puppet.

Yours as hatefully as lovingly,

Wednesday, 15 April 2009

Day 15


Lightning claws out
of the black inevitability of night
like the twisted hands of the dead forking
for what is here and alive.

The thunder is no warning but a battle cry
as shoots of hands spawn into flailing arms
and here I am, a helpless plated morsel
with walls shaking like guts in turmoil.

Moments before there was nothing, just time as always
until the racketing dead kicked life
into a heaving panic-attack frenzy
like a shock to the chest
in a sterile hospital bed.

So the sky crumbles,
a grave ripped to shreds from the depths,
and only with each flashing hand and arm
does it all become clear, yet unknown
as the void between inhale and exhale.

Tuesday, 14 April 2009

Day 14

I’ve painted a picture of her on my window
so I can see her, but also to fill the horizon;
only, it’s dripped, it looks like her entire body is crying.

“But look at all the colours,” I know she’d say.
She’d point out how they’re mixing into something new.
I close the curtains, but still the stench of paint.

Later on, consoled by John Darnielle
like a drop or two of whiskey in baby’s bottle
I drag myself up by the eyes and peel

the curtains open like a plaster. The sun
is a corpse sprawled against the glass
and in my head she tells me just wait for night.

And sure, it soon comes along like a bucket
full of soapy water, but the glass is thick
and of course it can only clean the outside.

With the onset of winter the sun starts to stink less of death
and the leaves on the trees like rustling eyes start to close.
The paint has stopped running all over itself and frozen

and I spend the day cleaning my canvas and rinsing my brush.
Slights of colour cling to the strands like blood
but the stains on the sink are dispersed with a burst of water.

Monday, 13 April 2009

Day Thirteen

* I hereby vow to post something tomorrow that is neither empty, wanky, dumb or annoying.

Mr. Cringe is so absorbed with his speech
that he’s missed the cringe on his hostess’s face
as he fumbles home his closing line like a drunk.

Earlier on Little Lee had stolen his diary
and Cringe had raced down the street behind him dressed
in his purse suit, an eccentric number he pretended to like.

“That’s not like Lee,” Lee’s mother scowled in doubt
when Cringe explained to her this most awful of thefts.
He bought a new one right away, took out his pen

and stayed inside it until the onset of evening
like a pig, deriving as much as he could
from his own special filth, his messy sweat-stain scrawl.

He takes his time as he sits down post-speech
and hides it away in his pockets like a snotty tissue.
The guests smile politely, eating melons. Collie,

the hostess’s terrier, stares up at him knowingly.
“I knew that mutt was in it all along,” thinks Cringe.
“She must have given Lee all the info he needed.”

“All a long person needs is a room of his own,”
says a guest, whose trousers are choking on the hair of his ankles.
The rest of them laugh. Collie licks her own genitals.

Mr. Cringe makes his way out as soon as he can
with all the subtlety and skill of a stupid pun.
Another guest, a pundit, plays dumbly on words.

Cringe shuts the front door quietly,
the threads of his purse suit hanging loose like change.

Sunday, 12 April 2009

Day Twelve

This guy with a hairlip comes in and says,
“I have nothing to say, except

We barely even move, as we’re too focused
on scribbling witty one-liners to each other
on MSN, even though we’re sat less than two-feet apart.

I think I hear that guy scaring kids on the street.
A non-committal breeze blows in, like the girl at the party
you can’t quite figure out, and get so drunk

you’ll figure the only way is out. “Did you see that?”
my friend types. “His lip was oxymoronic
in relation to the rest of his face.”

I spell out an ellipsis to show I’m thinking
but really I’m running through the alphabet in my head:

Saturday, 11 April 2009

Day Eleven

Road Signs

Cars are tears trickling down
the cheekbone of a dimly lit motorway
under the droopy lids of a bleary eyed night

with the quiet composed dignity
of a short story detailing an epiphany
in prose succinct and skeletal as a ribcage.

Friday, 10 April 2009

Day Ten



Anna liked her Skittles. She once made a dress out of them, took it into town. But she got peckish on the way; and that is how we met. She stood there in her pants with chocolate stains around her thighs and face. I walked her home; it turned out we lived on the same street.

We were both unemployed at the time. And so we both got jobs at Downfall Dictionary, where we had to condense the world’s greatest novels down into haiku. For example:

Some stuff happens in
Dublin. Lots of shit and wank.
Modernism roars.

At night we worked on our joint dissertation – ‘Metasmoking in the Postmodern Underbelly’ – before disappearing to the ashtrays of our rooms.

However, she was not without her sorrows. She liked to juggle, but sometimes I’d hear the compressed thump of multi-coloured balls accompanied by the quiet metronome, like a buried memory, of her tears. I’d linger like the touch of an ex outside her door, before choosing to say not a word.


One day we had a concert. Anna played a selection of her own compositions on a broken piano. (In a moment of desperation she’d sold the plug to a local kid for a pack of Liquorice Allsorts.) She hummed the notes between sweets and gulps of whiskey. I clapped like a child who’d just been given a drum.

We bought a variety of cigarettes by way of research, and spent the rest of the evening coughing until our lungs felt like burning villages.

A hooded guy on a scooter arrived with a delivery of white chocolate mice, and we ate them along with a tercet of ketchup sandwiches whilst writing poems about smoking on the table in ash.

“Juggling is like the fear of being alone,” I said, but Anna had passed out underneath the piano, gargling ‘Plug In Baby’ in her sleep.

I covered her with a duvet like butter on toast and left.


Downfall Dictionary sacked me for being too wordy. The letter informing me was simply a sealed envelope. I went to see Anna to moan and eat Curly-Wurly’s, but found her house as empty as a celebrity biography. The bare room, quiet and settled as dust, existed with complete indifference.

A note she left informed me she had gone to join the circus. As a mode of expression, she said, haiku’s simply too limiting. I remember an argument we had about how life rages like an explosion regardless.
“That’s why,” I’d said, “we need to impose form: to cage off and enclose our own little patch.
“No,” she’d scowled. “I go wherever I go, the wind blows like a sprawling piece of free-verse and I follow, I’m there, my eyes like throats swallowing all it has to say.”

Evidently one of the windows had been left open. A gust like a knockout punch shook the house, and one of her juggling balls performed a solitary dance down the stairs. It hit the floor in the hall and rolled for a second.

I went upstairs and closed the errant window.

Six weeks have passed. I’m yet to hear a word.

Thursday, 9 April 2009

Day Nine

If I whispered I’ll tear you apart would you mishear me
and think I meant I’d rip a hole in my life for you to climb in?

It’s all so complicated nowadays and hard
to stop the clichés, like flies, buzzing through my brain.

Have you ever thought that when we take off our clothes
we’re really hiding the evidence?

Or how in our clever conversations about theory
we always confuse ‘deconstruct’ with ‘decompose’?

Maybe we stare at each other with such fire in our eyes
in the vague hope that one of us will melt.

Maybe in winter when I’m happy to give you my coat
I’m really trying to freeze the feeling out of me.

I don’t know. That time we were on holiday
filling the unexplored rooms of our interest with light

You said, “I’d forget you in an instant and just disappear
if only because I could then meet you fresh once again.”

The thought made you look like a shadow covered in dust
and I was completely speechless, like trying to define love.

Wednesday, 8 April 2009

Day Eight

* I'm going to stick to just the one poem today despite the day being as fruitful as a really big garden. That way if tomorrow is dead and all I get are the stinking results of a day of eating way to many apples I can just cheat and whack an older one up. Yep.

Some of us smoked so much skunk
that our brains ended up resembling
a ravaged bowl once full of delicious dessert.

Others lay around in gardens
flowery as Whitman’s verse, discussing
the irony of the word ‘grandiloquence’.

Some debated whether or not a beard
is a nest for intellectual growth or a mask.

We’d write the names of days on blue Rizla
and lie on the thrones of our backs as we smoked them away.
But if one thing bleeds into the next too much
all that blood is bound to lead to disease.

We once had someone draw a picture of us all
sat around like stuffed animals, grinning
about nothing because nothing means more than a grin.

I’ve lost my copy now; but I still own
the poems we translated into other languages
on unreliable, meaning-mangling websites.
They’re filed in a box I buried called ‘Nostalgia’.

We passed the time despite the fact
we shuffled so slow, and left it dejected
like a puppy banished simply for growing up.

At night sometimes when the neighbours’ dog barks
I jolt from sleep in the saddest terror ever.

Tuesday, 7 April 2009

Day Seven

* You get two poems today, lucky lucky people, as I can't decide which is worse.


“I’ll be back in a sec,” I say,
“to strip your sense of self
and fuck you ‘til you can’t remember your name.”

“Make love,” you say, “out of
all these body parts like years
leading to something we can only mis-term ‘knowledge’.”

“Oh yeah, spread your brain like legs
and let me in so I can forget the day
and afterwards, like reading a clever book

you don’t quite get, I can pretend
I learnt something.” “You tit,” you say.
“We both know

that underneath your silly little facade
resides an empty coffin covered with dust
just waiting for someone like me to fill it up.”

“Huh?” “We both seek the void; at least
one of us knows what it means. Now spread
my legs and let me climb inside.” I look down

at that open invitation and find
I’ve forgotten where I’d been invited
and if I even wanted to go in the first place.

“Girls are so much better at misogyny,” she says.
“What does the word ‘dictionary’ mean?” I reply.


Did you notice how Freddo’s
look like they’re sucking suggestively
on their index fingers? We did,

and we chose to take it as further evidence
of the (not so) subversive sexualisation
of children in Western culture. Also

we sometimes like to eat so much
that we couldn’t fuck if we wanted to,
and we think this proves our love. Perhaps

it’s best to face up to facts: that
everything we do (and I mean the collective we)
is like taking a pen to page and just

scribbling. Anything we form is coincidence
and it’s easier to stay
in the jumbled disorganised line breaks of our lives.

Monday, 6 April 2009

Day Six

Winner of Spain’s National Prize for Literature

Carmen and I walk with a back room gait
into a bowling alley shaped like a literary genre.
“Fantastical!” we say in unison.

Carmen is made of ink and signs covering her
like a tight-fitting polka dot dress.
I’d try and sleep with her if I had a chance.

Carmen speaks like a ticking typewriter,
etching her sentences into my ear
with a full stop like a gavel.

There is nobody in the bowling alley but Carmen and I.
Chinese whispers brush the air in a multitude of languages.
I take off my new shoes and she shakes her head.

Carmen knows I know. She walks towards me
and plants a kiss on my lips
like a metaphor you wish you has come up with.

She waits until I’ve bowed my head in submission
and raps as carefully as possible on my skull.
My eyes pop out like potted balls into the net of her hands.

“Good,” she says. I can see the things she’s hidden
in the lines of her skin. It all makes sense.
She bowls my eyes one after the other

and knocks down every pin, leaving a space
like eyeless sockets.
“Fantastical!” we say in unison.

Sunday, 5 April 2009

Day Five

Does It Have A Title And If It Did It Would Be ‘Name’

At ‘The Start of Something New’
I open my eyes with difficulty
like they were pill bottles.

In my book-shaped bed
my limbs hang out like bookmarks
and ‘The Opening of Doors’ begins.

I hit my head on the fridge
and give myself a bruise as cringeworthy
as badly titled writing.

Oh, ‘The Windows and Air’
are so intense on days like these,
when the eyes rattle

and only end up spilling on the floor.
And then ‘The Dogs’,
which take on the form of overt symbolism,

devour the scatters, like ‘Crumbs
Of Aspirations’ being tossed down
to the poor ‘One Unholy Sunday’.

My house is called ‘No.3’
My name is ‘Sloppy Grammar’.
My lungs send ‘Overworked Breath’,

like a chimney-sweep, up my throat
as I spout alternate names
for the days. No, nothing

is no bigger than some nothing,
and ‘Philosophy Only Gets Me Far Enough’
to ‘Conjecture’ that ‘An Empty Space

Means Far More’ than a tacked on
zipped up superfluous phrase. But is talking
to yourself like ‘An Empty Speech Bubble’?

Saturday, 4 April 2009

Day Four

Valentine Cunningham Ate My Baby

“Valentine Cunningham ate my baby!” I scream
and throw my book to the floor.

The teacher places it back on the desk
and returns to the front of the class with rhetorical flourish.

“Russians all like forming lists,” says Igor.
“But don’t take my word, I’m new to criticism.”

The teacher claps, her eyes like spanking paddles.
I pretend to retch and almost choke on my fingers.

No, I do wish I was clever as Igor sometimes.
He continues: “Still, I like to structure lists,

and when I’m done I always post
my structured lists.” He smiles a knockout.

The turn to me, expectant. “Erm, touching reading
is all I can remember. Y’know, that chapter...”

“No!” they chorus. I know what’s coming next.
They grab their heaviest books, features blurring

like dense paragraphless prose after hours of reading,
and start to beat me until I fall from my seat.

“Touch this you dirty little worm,” they yell, my skull
yo-yoing on and off the floor. “Tell us

you like it!” “I like it!” “You like it?”
“I love it!” “Okay,” says teacher.

“Now open your textbooks at page 317:
“’Rainbows and Pots of Gold in Contemporary Literature.’”

Friday, 3 April 2009

Day Three (it fucked up my formatting the first time. I'm tired)

The Adventures of T-Bone and Fillet


T-Bone and Fillet decide to go out for a walk in search of lemonade. T-Bone and Fillet really like lemonade. They find the clarity of its essential cloudiness to be a powerful metaphor for the nature of, well, just about everything.

"Forced generalisations are my forte", T-Bone says, rarely.
"You're dripping everywhere," Fillet replies, gesturing at the puddle of blood at their feet.

They sit awhile in a field next to a river. The waves glisten like a tray full of cutlery. The trees twitter hungrily in the breeze.
"Do you ever wonder whose mouth you're going to end up in?" Fillet asks.
"No", T-Bone says. "More so who's going to end up in my mouth."
They rump around like they were on a griddle.

The sun is chargrilling the sky and our heroes are getting thirsty. They indulge themselves in a lengthy conversation about squirrels. Both relate to the squirrel's way of life, and tend to speak of themselves in squirrel-like terms. T-Bone tries to climb a tree but only ends up slopping into the soil. His juices trickle and other assorted clichés. Somewhere in the distance in ice cream van jingles. A rabbit bullets by."I fucking hate verbs," Fillet sighs.

Fillet likes to moan. T-Bone flaps a crispy bit in front of her face and they play kiss-chase for a while, both fully aware that the beauty is in the chase, even if they sometimes end up panting like a cancerous lung slopping down a shiny steel wall.

It's hard to tell two steaks apart from a distance.

"I'm as thirsty as a spitting pan," T-Bone says, well-donely.
"Time will froth, my sweet one," says Fillet.
"So much that it spills?"
"So much that it spills."


Day Two in the abattoir. T-Bone feels like he is drying out. "It's okay," says Fillet. "The abattoir is boundless, like a disabled man. And the horizon will bubble. It will."

T-Bone dances to pop songs wearing a T-shirt bearing the slogan 'Inory'. He thinks this infinitely witty and sings John Cale lyrics to the melody of 'Don't Stop Moving' by S Club 7. Fillet cringes at him. He falls over sometimes.
"Eroticism hurts," he whispers.

The door is unlocked and they escape again. Fillet struts through the marketplace catching men's saliva in a wooden chest. She pretends she's going to splatter it over T-Bone when the grill finally gets him, but she won't really. He, of course, can't be sure of this. The thought sticks in his teeth like chewy meat, poorly cooked by a fat man with seven fingers and, unbeknownst to him, an STI. A mouse scurries out of a cheese stall.

"You'll never catch me licking blobs of fluid from other people's glasses," T-Bone professes proudly.
"I should hope not."
"Your eyes have the warmth of a favourite restaurant in winter."
"I know. You're my dishcloth."

She walks ahead.

"I'm thirsty!" Fillet says.
"Me too. Shall we go for a swim?"

At the river a kid is fishing with plastic worms. He tells everyone that passes that it's a potent statement about the nature of contemporary society, and that we'd better watch out. His tanktop reads in angry capitals: BAUDRILLARD'S GONNA GET YOU!

Fillet mounts T-Bone's back and they sail out. She drinks from the river. "This isn't lemonade," she says. "Soon," he promises. "Soon."


Fillet has a bad dream. When she wakes she feels like she's in a pan, oil like sweat bubbling around her. She remembers her time in the fridge. It was there where she met T-Bone; he was bundled in too, squashed against her by the very unsavoury Chicken Breast and slovenly Sirloin. He was bemoaning their lack of conversational ability. "Sirloin just blobbers on and on about Anthony bloody Trollope, and Chicken Breast incessantly clucks faux-witticisms about deconstruction, chickens and eggs." Two weeks later an obese man with Ginsberg glasses devoured Chicken Breast in a most unstructured and sloppy manner.

T-Bone is nowhere to be seen. Fillet can smell fear in the air like peppercorn sauce. She forces herself up and goes to find him. A sadness marinates her. She feels like an empty restaurant on a Saturday night. And she's painfully thirsty. All that time ago T-Bone promised her bubbles, yet she feels flat as a pop star without Auto-Tune.

There's an ominous screech from just outside the abattoir. Fillet jolts, steadies herself, opens the door a crack. The sunlight is white and intense.

But outside there is only a steady droning nothingness, insistent as tinnitus. She sighs, unsure whether in relief or disappointment. Then she sees it, there on the ground like a murderer's confession: drops of blood that she knows from experience belong to T-Bone.


Old Sack Gut is hungry. He walks like a suitcase being dragged along cobblestones, swings the doors of the restaurant open like a swallowing throat. Waitresses scribble smiles and the lighting pays him cheap compliments. His stomach growls an empty threat.

In the kitchen the staff are like the sentence structure in a Lee Child novel. Orders etched on little slips of paper are a multitude of flags seen from the plane as you sink closer and closer into a new country.

T-Bone is dazed. His eyes are bloodshot, his juices are squirming around him like rats fleeing the infected in some Hollywood movie. “Fillet?” he whispers.

The men in white are everywhere.

Old Sack Gut absorbs his usual seat in the corner, stares dumbly out at the car park and sees nothing. He doesn’t see Fillet as she sneaks past to the staff entrance, her mind sharpening like a blade in the hand full of violent intentions.

“What can we get you today?” a waitress asks, pulling a pad from her top pocket. Old Sack Gut stares at her breasts, but he sees only meat. He orders.


In the kitchen there’s a sign that reads: “Everything is a text.” This is where the employees congregate to use their phones. Little Kevin is standing beside the sign, feeling completely unsignified. He’s tired. His wife thinks she’s pregnant. He thinks she’s been eating too much. “You’re such a complacent bastard, Kevin,” she sometimes says to him, usually before forgetting to turn off the oven or burning her toast.

The kitchen is full of odours and grit and sweat and testosterone. Whisks hang from pegs like football boots, and there are muddy stains where sauce has been spilt. Kevin puts his phone away and subjugates T-Bone across a chopping board.

Old Sack Gut trembles like a tumour. The waitress’s breasts tremble like a T.S. Eliot poem. T-Bone is swallowed in the hiss of fat and his own flesh, bathed in his blood, screaming as his skin is scorched.

Fillet makes it into the kitchen. She clambers up and up, following the stench of T-Bone being burnt alive.

The waitress pins up an order and fiddles with her bra. Kevin reads it, and just as he turns back to the pan he sees Fillet flop down beside it, like she was praying below a cross. “Perfect,” he shrugs, and tosses her in with T-Bone. He grabs a bottle out of the fridge and gulps, places it down. His phone vibrates. He returns to the sign like an argument being deconstructed.

“So we meet again,” T-Bone says, his voice becoming medium-rare.
“I’m so sorry,” Fillet cries.
“It’s okay. The pan is a lot like returning to the womb.”
“You think?”
“Put it this way: my mother used to refer to her guts as The Seven Circles and to my dad as Virgil.”

Fillet nods and splatters T-Bone. They are beginning to crisp, to blend together in the oil and flesh. They try to think of it as amniotic fluid.

Little Kevin’s wife has burnt down the house. Kevin reels in shock, his arm knocking against the bottle. It falls, floods into the frying pan, covers Fillet and T-Bone as they are devoured along with it in one quick cremating explosion of flame.

When Kevin manages to recover and get them ready for their plates, he notices how perfectly cooked they both are, how they’re flopped over one another as if holding hands.
He tosses the now empty bottle in the bin. The half-burnt label on it reads: Quality Lemonade.

Old Sack Gut quivers in his seat as the kitchen doors spring open like credits rolling down the screen as the lights come on.

Thursday, 2 April 2009

Day Two

She wears my Pavement T-shirt
like a gravestone wears the dead
to a passer-by who knows neither band nor corpse.

It was a grey morning and the rain
flickered in and out of the air
as tears were held on the tips of tongues. Actually

I'm lying, it was bloody hot
and we preferred to have a waterfight than a funeral
and the various stones of all our days were shields.

Mount me in the morgue, drain
my blood, fill my veins with gin
and we'll do our best to forget

that all our friends are dead, my favourite band
defunct, and every ceremony we concoct
is just the wilful murder of everything we know,

forget that from the corners of the room
the corpses are crawling ever closer
like the future.

Wednesday, 1 April 2009

Day One NaPoWriMo

The Mount of Misused Commas

A teacher flees, screaming down
a hillside we call ‘The Mount of Misused Commas’,
a whole novel of the buggers scuttling behind.

We laugh and make ironic jokes,
speaking in spliced sentences, tapping
Morse code on each other like ellipses.

But the seasons might be changing, and from here
the half-dressed branches seem to be propping up
the sky like it were a casket, trying to hide the strain.

Some of us have to go home, to crawl
into the cosy parentheses of family life.
The rest just sit around on yellowing books.

Pathetic and Fallacy embrace behind a hedge.
In empty alleys it’s hard to trust our nature.
And pretty soon our curfews reel us in.

As we sleep, the teacher’s lamentations
drop like someone tossing litter, rustle
and echo round the polished glass of our brains.