Wednesday, 31 August 2011

Plastic Reader

Family camping holiday
away from tents and
eco-toilets today
on a sea front instead:
windy Wittering

We’re all sat on the stones
drinking tea out of plastic
cups and watching the white flesh
turn blue on those emerging from
the cold sea in search of a towel
“You going in Sam?”
I toss my head savagely
no chance

Close to us a man is reading
a Kindle and we all regard
him for a while
he has a fixed frown of
doomed concentration
it’s either a difficult book
or he’s a poor reader
all impossible to tell
without a book cover
for guidance

We made Ann go to him
and ask what he was reading
“A Kindle,” he replied
and waved the slim case
in front of his stupid face
she came back and we made her
return to get the book title

Ann was there for too long
he showed her his white screen
they both frowned alot
and then Ann returned
broke the news
“He doesn’t know how
to turn the page,” she said

An extract from 'Nothing Poetic', a forthcoming collection of new poems and short fiction.

Saturday, 13 August 2011

Dead Fingers

I can feel the heat closing in as I reach out. She was cold and bony to touch, white strips like frosted chips, nails and surrounding skin savaged by time and teeth, absolute ruin. And that was just the fingers. Her face looked like the face a shovel had slapped in an open grave. It was flat, devoid of life, any humanity. Dark insect eyes sung of an empty pointlessness while her hair hung like burnt rope down the bone-face of her small head. A blistered lizard surface clung to a shrunken skull sat upon a collapsing bony body. Pathetic and vulnerable. Her song of the last twenty years. There was coughing. I was deafened by so much fucking coughing. The choking dead. All around me the choking dead. It made me sick just to be there. So near to it all. She offered me a cigarette. I pushed her diseased ghost hand away. I’ll fucking well smoke my own bitch, if you don’t fucking mind – I would have screamed all of that. But there were these others present. These others. Ten now I count, no, eleven, twelve including me. Others, who would have felt the need to engage, invade my space because I said something upsetting, that they didn’t want to hear. Spitting in my face and telling me how that was no way to speak to my mother. She wouldn’t’ve minded. She knows me and my trends. Of course she wouldn’t’ve minded. But they would. Wouldn’t they just. You see I know the type. Always ready to lecture without a lesson learned themselves. Spectacular bores. The world is crammed with these unfunny jokers. I don’t need advice. Their advice. Like I’d ever take guidance from the living dead and their visiting spawn of scum. They might as well all be put out of their misery. In one foul swoop. Look at the lot of them gathered here. In this pit of misery. Is this what our whole existence really points towards? Brittle, piss and shit stinking versions of former selves? It makes me sick. All of it. Life, death. It makes me sick. And then one of them is sick. I check my shoes for specks of yellow and red. Although I am spared I remain fixed in disgust. We are all held in the wilderness of our disgust for one another. As we wait. Wait for the end to come and smother the last breath of life so that there is no longer anything worth bothering about. Definitely now time for a fag. Are you sure you don’t want one of mine? Repetition, repetition. I exit without moving my lips. Glad that I can still make vital decisions for myself, stick to my own brand.

An extract from 'Nothing Poetic', a forthcoming collection of new poems and short fiction.

Sunday, 7 August 2011

Nothing Poetic

I was lodging
at a quite nice house
tea time
hand out the oven
into the mouth
total disaster

I was only checking
the fuckers were done

Lip pounding
blistered left side
of the top section
culprit, a demon hot chip

We were having
ham egg chips
the burning
turned me off my supper
my upper lip zone all
inflamed & angry
fucked me right off

& madness then prevailed

‘Why just me?’
blistered upper lip then part-whistled
‘why not him below too?’

‘Simon Weston would not
be impressed upper lip’
crunched 2 rows of united teeth
‘you’re a disgrace to this face.’

This exchange between teeth & upper lip
gave me a headache
made me think I really was mad
but also made me think about
how I was at least lodging
at a quite nice house

alcoholic money-taker
bitter old man from Sheffield
said he served on
HMS Sheffield
& was on that ship
when it got hit
but survived
(only in body
not mind)

He was in need of
company & money
I gave him both
of them needs &
I felt it polite
as I handed him
the plate not to mention
past and present fate

About my swollen lip
my burn

& also how I once
had my head caved in
both lips burst open
teeth cracked
one time in his hometown

Outside Hillsborough
on a cold wet Wednesday
(there was nothing poetic
in this: a truly shit night)

‘We’ve all suffered’
he then said
while chewing open-mouthed
on ham

I was startled
but then noticed he was
watching the news
about some massacre
in Amsterdam

‘Don’t think I’ll go
there then,’
I said to Ken (his name)
‘might try Madrid
as an alternative.’

‘Decent place, Ted’
Ken eventually said
before adding quick
‘what the fuck’s up
with your lip?’

Nervously I bit
on the good side
of my lower lip
& then blew determinedly
on a chunky chip
a long time seemed
to keep us both hostage
the tension rising
so regular this pressure
but no rhyme this time
a nightly occurrence
his northern abhorrence
of my lack of appreciation
of wars fought
his Falklands stretch
& the other night
me in the grip of his
stinky armpit headlock
for hours on end
no laughs; he wont even
use Old Spice
now Henry Cooper’s dead

An extract from 'Nothing Poetic', a forthcoming collection of new poems and short fiction.

Saturday, 6 August 2011

Jacob's Crackers

Had the sky fallen? thought Jacob as he munched on a cracker. What had fallen where the many crumbs that abseiled like golden dust down the front of his blue and white checked shirt. While he munched on another cracker, Jacob contemplated the end of the saga. That bloody saga that ended with a nosebleed and a headache. From Alpha to Omega; in a single night.
          His eyes ached and his eyelids hung heavy like the weight of hanging horses over a cliff face. The hairs on his forearms were stiff and prickly like cacti. Was this morning glory or morning dread? All around the land was still, desolate, at peace. This must be a positive sign, thought Jacob as he stood and stretched out his crumpled body, bones cracking, skin unfolding, followed by a long lethargic sigh that filled the room with renewed apprehension.
          Was Jacob standing on the threshold of a golden dawn? Whether he was or whether he was not, Jacob did not want to venture out; to move about, scream and shout. He had done enough of all that throughout the night, up until the coming of this new dawn.  Jacob poked his head up and looked out from behind the scratched window. The demons were invisible again. But so were lost souls.
          The landscape were deserted. The sun hidden, cowering behind a large black unmoving cloud. Then he could here a voice, deep and endless, calling out his name. Jacob now understood. He had been told to fully exit the shed and enter the garden. Jacob wisely contemplated the garden sheers for protection, but realised that such an act would be frowned upon as a ‘weakness of the soul’ – so he ditched the idea.
          Although the shed door was unlocked, he had felt safe behind the closed door. He name was called out again, only this time the voice had changed, words now seemingly spoken behind tightly applied shrink wrapping.
          “Mother?” he said as he remembered the story that she had once read to him when he was bad, those dark nights when he could not fall asleep.

“…Old Nat Crawley had a daughter he named Creepy.He never wanted a daughter. Nothing original in that. But that was his reason for keeping her locked away in the shed. He blackened the window. And left her alone, day and night; in the dark. Where she could be at home with the spiders.He wanted her to die. He wanted to forget. Wanted her to die. Just like the others. But his daughter survived. She was visited in the black of night by the ghost of her mother. The ghost of her mother told her daughter she must avenge. To do this, it was of paramount importance that she had to survive, gain strength. Therefore she had to eat. Creepy began eating bugs and soon learned to use her imagination to get by. Sometimes she pretended she was outside, at the fairground or by the seaside and cobwebs would become candy floss. One time during spring she ate the meat of a dead mouse while fooling herself that it was a chicken wing from KFC and when some mouse hair got trapped between her tiny dulling teeth she began to choke  and then she…”

          “Jacob, is that you?”
          “Mother, but you’re dead.”
          “Always had a reason to find a negative, you haven’t changed.”
          “Is everyone dead now?”
          “Oh here he goes. Yes, of course everyone is dead.”
          “Am I the Daddy now?”
          “You certainly are.”
          Jacob opened the shed door and raised clenched fists towards the heavens.
          “Fucking well have that!” he said, triumphantly, fists still raised and shaking.
          Then the voice spoke and his arms fell.
          “So what exactly are you going to do now then, son?”
          Jacob paused to ponder.
          “I dunno. Mooch about, see what I can get up to.”
          “Oh Jacob. As much as it pains me to say this: but perhaps your father was right all along.”
          Jacob frowned towards the direction of where the voice of his mother appeared to travel from; northwards.
          “What do you mean?”
          “You know what he once said to me? Jacob is a selfish self-centred egotistical cunt and I can’t never deal with him woman; he’s your problem now.”
          Jacob had every right to be angry.
          “That’s not very nice. Fuck him though.”
          “You can’t say that about your father.”
          “Yes I can. You’re all fucking dead anyway. I’m the Daddy now.”
          Jacob would never hear the sound of his mother’s voice again.
          After a while of strolling around his deserted hometown, he suddenly began to appreciate how he would probably never hear another voice of anyone else ever again either.
          Hours before, this new and tranquil way of life had pleased him. But now Jacob was becoming depressed. Fuck it. Everyone really was dead. And this now presented Jacob with a harsh truth – how he knew that the dead couldn’t give two fucks that he was now the Daddy.
          Jacob collapsed face down in the road and began to cry. If only there was one living soul left alive in the world to run him over.

An extract from 'Nothing Poetic', a forthcoming collection of poems and short fiction.