I bleed always


Translucent and odourless, it flows cold


Flavourless and…. pointless?


Not pointless.

Wrong word.


The grief of distant stars…


…no longer there…


…the light reaching us too late.


Can you be saved?


Do you need?


Do you want?


Touch your fingers


Eyelash-kiss my moist cheeks again…



As you snore in my arms, the vibrations run through me like the tremors of an earthquake; the ripples spreading out like stones hurled into a pond.

Your sonorous baritone makes my atoms dance.

I see my reflection in your eyes and I’m always dying.  Always falling to my knees clutching my chest or covering a wound on my neck.  Always clinging to life inside that perfect circle of black.

Hide me under a quilt so I can bury my tongue between your legs, picking hairs out of my teeth.  I’ll wet my broken lips against your sex, nodding my head…




…agreeing with everything you say.  Hide me under the sheets, leave me to nest between your thighs and not come out until the spring.



I put down my cup of tea on the table and pretend to scratch my nose; actually, I’m sniffing my fingers.  I’m wearing her black thong under my skinny jeans, so my cock is half squashed and half rubbed raw against the zip fly.  My hair is filled with her shampoo.  My teeth glisten with her toothpaste.


The question is asked

__ ___ ____ ____ ______ _____?

and I reply;

Excuse the language, mother…

…but I fucking love her.


Bernard Is Close

(Originally published February 2016.)


Do you remember the first time?

The first kiss in a nearly empty cinema.  She had Greek blood, warm brown eyes and exquisite curls.  She was dressed entirely in black, even down to her immature knee-high boots.  You wore whatever you could lay your hands on that looked vaguely fashionable in a wardrobe of market knock-offs and stuff that, literally, fell off the back of a lorry.  So you roll up on your first date in slightly too big jeans that are still damp from the previous night’s wash, and a football shirt that still smells musty around the armpits because you wear it all the time.  When you arrive she looks you up and down and laughs, but after that she confidently takes your hand and leads to you the screen.  By the end of the film your mouth is dry from the taste of a cool mint mouth.  You’ve lapped your tongue around hers and felt the peculiar texture of millions of tiny buds.  Your cock is sore from unrequited attention, trying to stand up but pressed down by the tight hem of a stitched zip fly.  You can’t remember the film but who cares?  Fifteen years later, drunk and depressed, you’ll be channel hopping at two in the morning and watch the film again.  Properly this time; no kissing, no warm brown eyes.  Just alone, with a swimming head and the first creeping tentacles of a monster hangover.

Do you remember the first time?

When you sat in a guitar shop and breathlessly held an instrument across your lap under the sympathetic gaze of the shop manager and the confused but smiling faces of your parents.  You look down at the strings as though someone looking at the Rosetta Stone; infinite, untranslatable possibilities.  You twang your way through a few notes that sound nice together, and even perform the whisper of a famous riff completely by accident.  You like it simply for its shape and it goes on to be a good friend – albeit not a long term one.  Years later, with damp eyes, you’ll hawk it to a pawn shop when desperate for cash.  Even worse than the act of selling such a prized possession, every time you return to the pawn shop you notice that your guitar is still there – still with the notch in the neck from when it slid off your bed and crashed against your desk.  Still with the scratches from your studded belt when you posed and preened, still with the faint outlines of glue from the stickers you placed on it.  After a year, you stop going into the shop because you cannot bear to see your cherished memory hanging pathetically from its gibbet with a price tag that you still cannot afford.

Do you remember?

The first fuck, crashing against a bed that was on the verge of collapse, barely glued together in a moment of parental crisis.  A grinding toil of mere minutes, perhaps even seconds, as you looked confused at her eyes rolling back and her mouth agape and you thought back to the brief glimpses of pornography that you’d viewed and wondered why this seemed so different.  But then, in the porno’s, the woman never cradled your shoulders and softly sang ‘Silent Night’ into your ear in German.

The first time you felt scared and thrilled at the same time, you stood on top of an extinct volcano and dangled your legs over the shelf of a 600ft sheer drop.  In that moment you felt, in your stomach, a celestial hook that lifted you above such nonsense as gravity.  You knew that, should you fall, you would be instantly yanked cloudwards into a cold sun.  You looked down at your mud-encrusted boots and you could still feel the warmth of your first taste of whiskey dancing on the rungs of your oesaphagus, numbing your bones.  When you think no one is looking, you place your palms either side of your hips and lift yourself off the ground, just an inch or so.  When it is time to go, time to descend the zig zag path from whence we came, your old teacher gives you a lingering look.  It may be a smile or it may just be a thought passing behind his eyes but nevertheless he squeezes your shoulder and pats the top of your back.  Later that evening you read a magazine about Indian men who have held their arms up for decades or grown their nails to be as long as buses whilst he tells you about your former art teacher who disappeared one morning to be replaced by a carnival of eager substitutes; sectioned for being a potential danger to herself or her students.

Do you remember the narrow road, where you spent hours with that Coke can scoring every World Cup Final goal ever scored?  It still glows and hums now with the vibrations you left behind.  Like a perspex ruler bent over a desk, the molecules continue long after it appears to be silent.  Certain places envelope you in an eternal sunset, perched agonisingly on the precipice of endings without a solution.  I find more comfort in the optimism of a sunrise than the reflection of a sunset.  Sunsets are always too late.  Tomorrow is always too late.

Growing up I seemed, quite by accident, to surround myself with creative people.  All these individuals had their individual dreams – writers, painters, sketchers, musicians, poets, wits, vagabonds and delinquents.  I find it disturbing now how many of these people – friends and acquaintances (whose only crime of distinction is distance multiplyed by time and divided by memory) – have fallen away from their original dreams and decided to passively sit and observe the fruition of others.  I talk to them now, abstracted by distance time and memory, and when I enquire as to their past passions they tell me apologetically that it is all in the past now.  Haven’t done it in years.  Too old for that shit.  Time to start having a real life.

I know they still cling to those teenage dreams so hard to beat.  I know that the wannabe artists still crawl the galleries, the wannabe musicians stare forlornly at the stage during gigs, the wannabe writers still plough through their libraries spitting bile at the trash in hardback.  I’ve met so many middle aged and elderly people who have lamented the passing of a hobby for the sake of A Normal Life, and it scares me to see so many people that I’ve grown up with, whom I honestly thought would make it – and probably still could – falling like so many jumbled race horses over the fences.  Most of them I was convinced would make it well over and above my feeble creative efforts.  And yet, in many ways, I cannot blame them.  Who wants genuine heartfelt music in an iPod generation of auto-tuning?  Who wants penetrating writing in an age of ghost-written celebrity lifewank and E.L James’ prose that would fail a GCSE exam with only the laughing tears of an invigilator smearing the D-?

Which leaves myself and a decreasingly few other horses frantically hammering the turf, approaching every new fence with fear.  One of my worst fears, and I’ve always been a habitual worrier, is being so disillusioned with creativity as to abandon it altogether.  The thought of never creating anything ever again, whether it be a pleasant riff or a piece of Artwank, is anathema to my purpose of being here.

I’ve always felt different.  Partly this is because I’ve always been made to feel different and it is something that I struggled with during my teen years but which then blossomed after leaving the sociopathic viper’s pit that is school.  Ethan Hawke’s character Jesse, in the sublime Before Sunrise theorises that, because he was an accidental pregnancy and was never meant to be born, he’s gatecrashing a party to which he has not been invited and thus doesn’t have to abide by any rules and can govern his life as he sees fit. I’ve always suspected I was something of an unwelcome surprise, piecing together the fragments of my early childhood.  My parents were not exactly wealthy and my biological father took off when I was not even two years old.  Years later I found a note, signed by my biological father, waiving all his rights to my upbringing and care – basically the opposite of a father fighting for custody of his son.  And although this event has never cast a long shadow over me – my mother soon remarried to the man I would call, and always call Father – Jesse’s little theory does provide a succinct blurb to my thirty-two-and-counting years alive.  I like the idea that I am not supposed to be here.

I hope my fears are never realised.  Today, my one day off from a week and a half of Hotel Hell; I burned a lot of incense, did two small abstract paintings experimenting with oils on canvas, finished one ink sketch and drew another pastel piece, played some guitar and wrote this entry.  Aside from good friends, sex and long walks it was about as perfect a day as my mind can conjure.  It was not an effort, it was easy.  I woke up and I realised that I had a day to do whatever I wanted and I did just that.  I hope it continues.  I need for it to continue.



Magnetic Coins

It all comes down to the footsteps in the end, the point at which you realise you’ve gone too far and you try and retrace.  So you try and retrace, even as the elements have eroded your prints away.  You still see them in your mind’s eye, you just cannot place your foot inside anymore.  They are there.  Every lonely alleyway, every leaf-strewn avenue.  A smear of bubble gum on a bench or a bead of sweat on a bent blade of grass.  Crunching in the loose stones, walking the routes of the old highwaymen.  Sitting on a gravestone to admire a view.  Piece together the forgotten names, and watch their footprints emerge from the gentle bump.

I take the chair in my arms and together we foxtrot, past the windows and down the hall.  Shut off the television from the grim fires, handkerchief waving people desperately plunging.  Smell the old perfume and dance to the radio.

Outside, the moon crosses the sun and we shiver, digging for bones in thirty centimetres of rough dirt.  Rough walls and pine sap caught on your sleeves.  The smell of grass stains, cuts and bruises from a hard day’s exploring.  Dreams, trees and grazed knees, striped socks high up the thigh and a thousand colours of hair, nodding furiously to strong guitars.  She offers me an out of date condom and I politely decline.  As I leave, the cactus plant near the front door comes to life and punches my arm.  I pick out the needles on the slow walk home.

One lonely man is propped up against a tree with a bottle of whiskey, toasting a cold sunrise as he works his way through the sleeping pills.

I’m covered in writing.  It’s all over my arms, instructions on where to go.  Things to do.  I have six people to meet on my left hand alone.  I high five a shuffling man as he emerges from the public toilets with a plastic bag in one hand and a look of guilt in his eyes, beard caked with phlegm and stained by strong bitter.  He’s returning the property to families who missed it.  He’s going to cry on his mother’s shoulder as his father rubs circles on the nape of his neck.  This time he made it and he won’t make that mistake again.

Home now, but that could be anywhere.  For now, it’s here.  Three floors up, through the miasma of someone else’s cooking.  Cold steps.  Heavy doors.  I close my eyes.  Stare at the wallpaper until it stops moving and rests.  A snap and a hum, and everything settles again on a rickety, leaning bed.


(Originally published 2015)

Moon Dust


I heard footsteps… mingled with the steady drip from the broken ceilings.  In silence I strain to hear more but they hide like midday shadows in the trees.  Back against cold concrete, I peer towards a doorless opening, looking for the steam of your breath.  Dripdripdrip, drip, drip, it continues, in jazz rhythms.

Time slows and I sense an object…. then a puff of dust close to my eye and a metallic ringing in my ears.  I curl back around the wall, laughing.  You fucker!  You nearly blinded me! 

Shrinking to the floor, I get on my hands and knees, crawling away.  I round another low wall, thinking that I am flanking you, and as I look up you’re crouched on your haunches, pressing the pistol barrel into my forehead.

Hey sweety. 

(Ah fuck.) 

And then we’re running.  Tearing through the old factory, leaping the remains of workshops; just the noise of footsteps, whooping, laughing, the pop-pop-pop of BB guns, deaf to everything but the moment.  Shots burn into my thigh, my shoulder and then two hit my face – grazing my chin and flicking my cheekbone.  Instinctively, one eye closes.

We crash into the main hall, the rusted yellow remains of a conveyor between us.  I’m half blind, but I can see your mane of brown hair shaken loose from its ties.  Jumping onto the belt, I hit the switch – just like in the movies!  But there’s no power, and you laugh as you plug me full of little holes.





Walking corridors on hollow legs.  A person’s touch passes through me and falls away.  Their face falls away.  No connection, no friction, no worries either.  A smile, a gracious nod, a flick of the eyebrow, and they are convinced that everything is fine.  Everything is fine.  Keep the mind private.  Keep the thunder rumbling.  Leave them to the drizzle and the cloud.  I like the thunder.  I didn’t always.

I once sheltered from a storm inside a half buried concrete war box.  The earth thrashed under my feet like a slumbering grand mal.  I covered my ears, as rainwater poured in through slits of light.  I can’t remember the last time I felt so scared.  I can’t remember the last time I thought I could die.  I can’t remember ever feeling so alive.

Stepping through a portal, four walls glow and embrace me.  A bannister holds out a beam, beckoning me upstairs.  A bookcase leans forward and offers a tome.  In my little cathedral, the sermon declares a unilateral end to emptiness and insignificance.  The spirit soars, the skin falls, and the corners fill with memory like a balloon fills with air.

I look down at blank sheets of paper and a pen, and realise masterpieces of literature started this way.  I put a guitar in my lap and realise, masterpieces of music started here.  Just using these simple tools, in my hands.  And although I will never reach the gods, I can at least see them, far above me.