Stroking your arm, I navigate my fingers over the hairs and goosebumps, trying to read your thoughts like braille.  There are no clouds in this night sky, so we lie alone on the beach sharing our moment with 4 billion years of chemical reactions, and a trillion unknown worlds.  Next to us, the remains of a bonfire quietly hisses and crackles, like a grumpy child reluctantly getting into bed.

I can’t read your arm, but I feel your breathing quickening.  I stroke your cheek and check your racing pulse and this is all I need to know.  You stretch a leg out, one side pale against the night, the other textured with grey sand, a monolith sending out a signal to distant tribes.

….like a monolith sending out a signal to distant tribes.  I think it’s a good line but when I say it out loud you pinch my nipple hard enough that I feel my calf muscles tighten and my ears involuntarily twitch.  Too much?  I ask.  You don’t reply.

In the harbour, we can see the lights of an approaching ship.  A small boat, one of the local fishing tubs that go out from time to time.  The quiet of the night is interrupted by Dancing Queen by ABBA blaring out across the dark water.  As if embarrassed, the stars begin to go out.

As the boat draws nearer, we see a small group of men and women gathered around a large beer cooler.  One guy is standing on the prow with a girl, trying to reinact the scene from Titanic.  It’s a sweet moment, and I feel you nuzzle close to me, until he downs a can, throws it high into the air and shouts BRING US YOUR RUM AND WHORES. 

The boat putt-putt-putts away past the breakwaters, to the sound of cackling.  I look up and say aloud; it’s safe to come out now.  You turn and look at me confused, but one by one the stars reappear above us.


Tangerine Eyes


I’m always nervous when she is in a good mood.  She draws too much attention to herself.  And us.  I’m standing next to her but a few paces apart.  I can see a tree, and I can see her former boyfriend hanging from the tree by his wrists.  She’s wrapping herself back up in a deep, dark coat covering up the black lingerie she wore to entice this fool.  And then, with one ridiculous heel braced against the oil drum, she kicks it away and This Boy dangles like a trouserless pinata…. his dick already beginning to tumble in panic like a demolished tower block.

She has a knife in her pocket and it’s already out.  This is both good and bad.  If she shows the blade early it means The Boy will almost certainly return home with the rest of him, but on the flip side she is in the mood for fun.  And any second now a passing dog walker is going to stroll past and start asking questions.  And I have my own blade, hidden and considerably sharper than hers, to deal with intrusions.

Whilst they – whilst she – talks, I sit down on a nearby rock, like a grey island amidst the thistles and weeds.  The wind hisses and waves through the grass that seems to charge in unison towards this weird public execution.  There’s dog shit on my shoes, my jeans, under my armpits and behind my ears.  It’s been an odd day.

I should get out of this.  I tell myself every day.  But within her sphere life isn’t boring and sex is dangerous.  A sniff of her greasy hair flecked with pollen and dandruff and I’m hopeless.  To see her squatting, shitting in a field is divine.  People may laugh, but then they end up like This Boy.  Kicking and fretting about the loss of his insignificant sexual vegetables.

Her eyes are orange, thin black pupils over a pair of deep autumn suns.  She always has plans… and strategies and I wonder if she shouldn’t be in the military, or as a modern day Boudicca, riding a tank into a warzone with a sword in the air and a pair of goggles to protect from the diesel smoke.

It always begins like this; we’re going to do something nice and normal, like go and get pizza from Earl the street vendor, but we ‘happen’ to meet up with her ex; and for a while we sit and we eat pizza and she tells us stories about each other and our failings, and I haven’t even asked why a black trenchcoat in June?; and then she suggests a walk out to the fields and beyond to the wasteland, and by now I’m trying to mouth to her ex that this is a bad idea; but he’s cock of the walk right now, especially when she turns to me and tells me to fuck off but with a knowing wink that he cannot see; so I do go away to give her the five or ten minutes she needs to string up this silly boy and prepare him for the entertainment…

…and as I’m walking away, knowing I will return soon I think, there she goes again with those flawless Tangerine Eyes. 







I walk the alleyway, stepping around the burned spoons and questionable puddles, dragging my fingers over flaking bricks, moss and paint. Above me, cleft narrow from the intense black, is the faint dark grey of the night sky lit from below by the many lights that fail to keep anyone safe. I walk this alley because no one else dares to. I walk this alley to get some peace and safety.

The path runs blacker than black before me, and I follow the scents like a dog with its nose glued to the floor. I smell piss, smack and The Righteous; those who believe and who stamp down on those who don’t. I scrape my fingernails over White Power slogans and I caress the multi-coloured forms of gang-tags; The So’n’So Boys, E14 Rebz, Pinky’s Dart Masters…. I don’t fucking know. I’m not a bad person. I don’t know who these people are. I just stare at their art and wonder why they waste their time on robbing the working classes when there’s tens of millions of upper class coin waiting to be shafted for this kind of low-high-brow form. All the Best People have a gangtag covered in perspex in a gallery for chin-strokers to admire. Some of the Really Great People have a corner of their living room for a damp collection of bricks to admire in company and distain when alone.

I round the dog-leg with my heart racing. I don’t believe in astral bullshit but I sensed them before I saw them. An arm grabs me around the neck and throws me against one wall and then the other. Then I hear the voice; a young woman with the rasp of a fifteen year cigarette career, but with the vocabulary of someone who is no older than her mid-twenties. Cold steel catches against my seven o’clock shadow. I’ve felt a few blades at my neck over the years, but this one has been maintained. This blade has been taken care of. The bluffers keep it blunt and for show, the pro’s use it regularly and keep it lethal. It’s sharp.

She demands some things but I’m not listening. I think of my girl in her summer dress, dancing through the weeds. I think of her climbing on the old oil drums, flashing a glimpse of knickers I’ve never seen before, and may never see again depending on how I behave. I think of her in goggles and a thick winter coat setting fire to glue along the flank of her thumb and wrist, inhaling the fumes before shaking the vapours free, leaving her with a smouldering grey line on her skin. I think of her ex-boyfriend, the one who gave her black eyes and made her shoplift for concealer so she could go to school. I think of her gleeful smile as we chloroformed the swine, nailed him to a dead tree and watched his body fit and writhe into darkness as the blood ran red over white wood.

My new friend demands my belongings again and snaps me out of my moment. She whips the blade across my skin causing a deep cut, my skin parting over muscle and flesh like a silent scream. The blade is returned to my throat as the blood pumps warm down my shoulders.

I forget my girl for a moment and search through my pockets… I cannot find my wallet and phone.




Walking through the graveyard in shoes that don’t fit me properly, looking at the stones leaning here and there…. some face down and others scarred by weather and youths.  I cannot help feeling anxious.  Everything is the same – old church, young trees, dead mothers and fathers.  I got my first blowjob here from a girl with scarlett hair, clutching the cold stone as I felt the twitch and the rush and I looked down and warned her something was arriving fast, at which she took me deeper and wiggled her head and my legs almost collapsed from under me like a broken cherry-picker.  Cherry-picker.  First time.  Get it?  Sigh.

A dreadful joke for a dreadful man.  I kick a stone around to make sure it isn’t dog shit and weigh it in the palm of my hand.  Perfectly smooth, decent mass, perfect missile.  The question is, what can I smash?  A car window, a church window… what’s the use?  I stand in front of an old gas lamp, refitted for electric but still just a black pole topped with a bright vase.  I aim, I throw, and the stone misses the glass and hits one of the narrow strips of metal holding everything together.  The boneyard echoes with the clang and suddenly the entire town could be sitting up like dogs at the rattle of food, glaring at me.  I’ve done nothing wrong.  I’ve tried to be good here.  For once.

I go home, drink three fifths of vodka, take the car out to an out of town drive-thru burger joint.  The young man with the broken voice behind the broken speaker can’t smell my breath, and between us the communication is so fucked he can’t tell that I can barely speak… can barely see.  I almost give myself away at the end, when I rev the engine loudly in neutral, thinking I’m in gear, swearing loudly into the fucking steering wheel to fucking move as cars honk behind me.  Then I realise, and I’m away with a screech and a lot of smoke.

In the darkest corner of an unlit car park I eat my meal too quickly and throw it up.  I have relish down my shirt and in my lap.  I wiggle my pants down to my thighs, whip it out and have a go but I’m too drunk… I still feel sick, and it swiftly curls up and dies.

I’m sat there, covered in sick and food, trouserless and drunk, when I see a flash of scarlett hair near my window.  I panic and start to claw at my thighs to make myself decent, and I’m mumbling over and over again; I’m lost… I’m sorry…. I’m so lost… I’m sorry… but she’s not there.  It’s a trick of the flashing red and blue lights of a car that is cautiously approaching me to block me in so I cannot escape.



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.




She has a voice that shatters memory.  Every time I hear it, I forget another birthday.  Another past crush dies.  Relatives cease to be names or faces.  I cannot bring them back.  I can only focus on hips, knees and shoulders.  A tuft of hair above The Zone that I deliberately nibble on so I get a thread caught in my teeth.  It makes me feel like a teenager again.

I look for her car as I walk the streets; any time I see that model in that colour I push my chest out and lift my chin.  It might be her, and I don’t want to be slouching.  I have nightmares about tripping over my laces and falling at her feet, breaking my nose and bleeding all over her sandals.

She calls me Martin and she calls me a cunt.  I’m neither.  But I give up dignity and identity to cuddle her jacket when she gets too warm.  I rehearse conversations in my spare time, and then try to spring my ‘spontaneous’ one liners on her anecdotes.  They always fail.  I always stumble.

Perhaps I’m too weak to be adored.  Her on-off boyfriend, Taylor, is now off.  He was too weak to see a rival in the short grass when he focused all his attention in the trees.  That’s why he looked the other way when I lost control of my car, breaking his pelvis.

I see her, sitting in the park.  Chest out, chin up.  Hold that thought…



Sanctuary II


Sanctuary II is here.

As with Sanctuary, it is a combination of my pictures and my writing.  Please click here if you wish to purchase a copy.