Google+ A Tangled Rope: 09/01/2011 - 10/01/2011

Friday, September 30, 2011

Invasion of the Universe


Soon every solar system was living in fear. It seemed the invasion forces were growing, getting stronger as they landed on world after world, dispersing throughout every country on every continent of that world – or found the most desirable parts of the ocean floor on the water-worlds, planted their signs and sped off in their ships to conqueror the next planet, the next solar system, the next quadrant and the next galaxy.

Soon, it seemed the entire universe was living in fear, all fearing an invasion from the dread Estate Agents of Earth! Forced to leave their home planet by an economic downturn that seemed as though it would never end, the vast armies of estate agents took to their spaceships and set out to boldly find desirable residences where no estate agent had found before.

The galactic federation found they and their armies were outnumbered, out-gunned and outmanoeuvred by the swarms of estate agents that would pour from the invasion fleets to snap up every desirable residence on a planet, and then leave the devastated planet festooned with Estate Agent signs and slowly suffocating under the huge quantities of property description leaflets produced by each invasion force.

Some worlds tried pretending they were out, or had no properties up for sale. The councils controlling the floating cities of Handrash 12 even revoked all property rights and held all land and housing - on their floating islands high up in the sky - in common ownership of the people, but the canny estate agents staged a revolution, showing the citizens just how much their residence was worth on the intergalactic property-price websites and soon everyone on Handrash 12 was a property owner looking to sell as the bodies of the local councillors were pushed off over the edges of the floating cities into the Endless Seas, far below.

It seemed that no-one or nothing could stop the fearsome Estate Agents of Earth and their plans to put the entire universe up for sale... or rent.

The Soft Certainty of Skin against Skin


The soft certainty of skin against skin. The silent eloquence of touch that tells so much compared to the stuttering inelegance of crude words that can never get this close. The words stutter and stumble into incoherence and silence when their inadequacies are exposed by this certainty of touch. My fingers move and your body responds with its own affirmative that needs no words to close this space that forever lies between two people, even two people lying this close, skin against skin.

What more needs to be said now that our bodies have learnt the language of each other? Words only get in the way crudely stumbling into the silences that do not need them, taking away the certainty and leaving their ambiguities and imprecisions there instead.

I could say so much, but my lips are needed to kiss where words can only create distances. The silence envelops us like the warm blankets of safety, keeping us close and taking away that world that lies beyond this room, that world that creates so much to keep us apart, just as any words we could say would take this moment and tear it apart, just as we too would part and leave these wordless moments broken on this bed.

Chick Lit Sales Slump


Despite the apparent recent slump in the sales of chic-lit novels, Sherrytrifle Avoirdupois’ new novel Go On Shag me, I’m A Really Fit Bird, Honest goes on sale today. In this, her 23rd novel, Avoirdupois again explores her familiar Chick Lit theme of slightly chubby girls trying to get a decent bloke to hang around for more than a one-night stand. For those of you needing to know, the embarrassing episode concerning the unsuitable knickers and the immanent shag conflict is on page 134, a staggering 22 pages later than the similar episode in her last novel: OOOoooh Chocolate! and 56 pages later than the original scene in her first novel I Need A Fit Bloke To Give Me A Damn Good Seeing To.

Critics have now claimed that the whole Chick Lit genre has long since been mined to exhaustion. After all, they reason, there can’t be all that many young(ish) urban single women out there completely wasting their lives away on too much alcohol, too much chocolate and a vague undefined longing.

Maybe, as one cynical reviewer suggested, the readers of these books never go beyond a vague feeling that there must be more to life than wine, handbags, shoes and a seemingly endless line of brief unsatisfactory superficial relationships with a long line of men who never really seem to know how to grow up, or even realise that they should.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

The Innermost Thoughts of the Citizenry


Ah, but now all our donkey requisitioning assistants look askance at the small bunches of daffodils we have placed adjacent to the rear of our favourite box of small stationery supplies, whilst we go about adjusting the grommets on several of the smaller ecclesiastical gentlemen who frequent the boudoirs of our more pulchritudinous neighbours.

All-in-all then, a typical autumn afternoon, no doubt something you are all familiar with, which makes you now wonder why I bother mentioning it. I wondered the same thing myself, but at least it got me a paragraph further down the page, and you are still here – aren’t you – reading this. So, evidentially stating, or even re-stating, the obvious is not as detrimental to maintaining the reader’s interest as one would otherwise assume. Providing – of course – that is if that subject is one that you ever muse upon.

After all, far be it from me to intrude upon your innermost thought processes, especially considering we still seem to have a governmental caste who seem to believe that, not only do they have a right to intrude into the innermost thoughts of its citizens, but that it is a fundamental part of their duty – as a government - to do so. Just why this seems to be the case is, however, I believe a fit subject for conjecture, and for concern, for it goes to the heart of what it is to be an individual and is completely counter to the long struggles we in the west have undergone in order to make ourselves free from the tyranny of others.

Therefore, if you want to be free of such malignities, then it is entirely your duty to yourself to turn your back on the political, the theological, and all other …ists and …isms. Then to take a step forward into true freedom, in which case it may be an idea to make a few sandwiches for the journey… just to be on the safe side.

Always Remember


There were times, like the time she walked naked across a sun-filled bedroom, when I told myself that this was something I must remember. Already, I was thinking of the future and how those far-away empty days could be filled by memories. I knew then that life only ever makes any sense when we look back on it, if we are lucky.

Usually, of course, life never makes any sense. It has no narrative, it has no structure. Usually life is little more than a series of accidents: one damn thing after another.

Back then, though, I knew that there were times that were worth remembering. That way she would look up at me from under her half-closed eyelids whenever I said something she thought was stupid. She could make me regret my clumsiness of thought and speech with just a glance. She taught me the wisdom of silence and the importance of thinking instead of speaking.

She taught me how to hold her and how to let go. When to leave her alone as she sauntered along the sea’s edge the waves lapping over her bare feet as she stared off into distances I could not see.

Not only that, when she went away she taught me all I needed to know about the importance of memories and how to understand loss.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

And so it Begins


Sometimes it looks as though something like this is not going to get off to a very good start. There is a lack of action, a lack of drama in the first few opening sentences. There is little even to say what it is going to be about.

Right about now you begin to wonder if it is worth the time and the effort to carry on reading it.

You decide that unless something happens in the next few sentences then you will give it up as a bad job and go and look for something else more interesting to read.

Then the sentence introducing the naked lady appears.

Suddenly, seemingly out of nowhere, what was turning into something rather dull and pedestrian now contains a naked woman....

It could get interesting....

However, for the time being the naked woman just stands there, not really doing much, not really knowing what she ought to be doing.

She becomes aware of the audience somehow, the readers all sitting there waiting for her to do something with this... this... what looks like it may be some kind of story. She begins to feel nervous,insecure, shy even with all those people staring at her. Looking down she sees that she is totally naked, without even the flimsiest narrative convention to cover her nudity, or even give it some kind of context or artistic value.

The naked woman realises she doesn’t even have a name, or even a description beyond the fact of her nudity. In fact, she is not really sure she belongs in this story at all.

With an angry sigh she glares back out of the narrative framework at the audience of readers, who under her harsh scrutiny feel themselves blush as her glaring stare causes them to look away, giving her the chance to escape the narrative convention of the story and run off home so that she can get dressed, promising herself she will never again believe any writer who promises to put her into one of his tales.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Wartime Secrets Revealed


Many people have, no doubt, heard of the SAS. However, very few have any real knowledge of what really goes on within this - by necessity - very secretive organisation.

It all began, as most such things do, during the dark days of war. It was during WWII, just after the siege of Tobruk that the Prime Minister, Winston Churchill, was shocked to discover that no-one really knew how much the infamous tins of 'bully beef' really cost at battlefront prices compared to the Axis equivalents. So, then, after a series of top level Most Secret meetings involving the top brass of the armed forces, cabinet politicians and the most senior civil servants, the SAS - the Secret Accountancy Service - was formed.

Initially, it was intended to work behind the enemy lines, conducting secret audits of the Axis powers’ accounts. However, vital as some of this information was in streamlining the Allied accountancy procedures, it was still not enough.

Then, one night, as he was awaiting a vital air-drop of calculating machines deep inside occupied France, Major Soggy-Biscuit of the SAS hit upon the idea of introducing fraudulent expense claims into the German accounting system.

After receiving enthusiastic approval from the British government, including a message of full support from Winston Churchill himself, Major Soggy-Biscuit in June 1942 inserted a false claim for travel expenses into the German accountancy system.

The results were devastating as the normally hyper-efficient German accountancy ground to a halt as the discrepancy was found to be unreconcilable. Consequently, with the German army, navy and air force all unable to respond during the auditing period, the British and their allies were able to mount several successful commando and air raids virtually unopposed.


[Taken from How the SAS Began included in Tales of the Unexpurgated]

A Summer of Penguins on Trampolines


Then what? Where shall we go and what shall we do? Will you bring the trampoline, whilst I round up the penguins – first making sure there are no very small nuns hiding amongst them. After all, we all know what happened to the last bouncing nun on the trampoline in that fateful summer of '09, don't we?

After all, there is nothing that lifts despondent spirits like a whole flock of penguins bouncing up and down, even though very few of them attempt anything acrobatic.

Of course, it was back in a summer of penguins on trampolines that we met. You too had a strong interest in trampolining, especially while naked, and it was a philosophy of life I found more than attractive, especially later played back in slow motion. It was almost hypnotic the way your... but I'll have to think about that a bit later.

In depth.

Of course,

But all too soon that summer was over and the trampolines were packed away, the penguins dispersed back to their jobs on the trading floors of some of London's most prestigious financial institutions... and you put your clothes back on.

I still had the memories though.... The memories... and the slow-motion videos.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Monday Poem: Midsummer Dreaming


Midsummer Dreaming

A warm midsummer night can offer dreams,
a possibility of such bright notions
all formed from airy nothings to become
a whole new cast of folk that go beyond

the merely human and its limitations
are only at the furthest reaching out
of our desires where humans change and twist
become strange  animals that turn and prowl

and the beyond the human acquires shapes
that shadow all the shapes of human forms
and hot desires to take us on dark dances
through the confusing woods at night until

all is revealed as back in order now
by the cool early dawn’s revealing light.

Friday, September 23, 2011

The Official God-Bothering Hat


We all know – I'm sure – the correct way to apply an undercoat of paint to any nearby recumbent clerical gentleman without causing undue distress to his vestments. However, with the increasing number of women of the female persuasion entering into religious office, there is now the added difficulty of finding a paintbrush of the correct size to deal with the more exacting female figure, even if it is hidden in clerical garb, especially when on more formal ceremonial occasions the aforesaid clerical personage may be wearing an official God-Bothering hat.

Of course wearing a God-Bothering hat goes way back beyond the current crop of religions and – therefore - back beyond the current crop of gods were invented. Most historians and archaeologists probably therefore presume that the official tribal god-botherers would have felt the need to signify to the rest of the tribe that some sort of official god-bothering ceremony was taking place, and - as with most human special formal occasions – they decided that the best way to do this was to wear a hat.

Even in this age of advancement and wonders in which we live many formal occasions still require the wearing of a hat. The British queen for example has to lob on one of her crowns when doing those ceremonies those that surround her regard as important, people still tend to wear hats at other such great personal ceremonial occasions too, such as at weddings, playing cricket and doing sexual intercourse properly. Therefore it is obvious to see what - in the days when people thought religions mattered – it was deemed proper for all official god-botherers, especially the god-botherer-in-chief to wear a special hat in order to signify that he was bothering whatever god it was in an official capacity, and therefore no-one in the congregation was to giggle at his absurd headgear.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Late Night Tales and Stories


You can, so easily, dance through all the moments of your days, letting the time flow past your movements like some slow languid river that eases the traveller to far distant places only ever heard of in late night tales and stories.

Me? I am merely a teller of such stories. I can weave the words around your movements and conjure devils and demons out of the flames of the camp fires. I can tell of lovers and of princesses I have known. Young women who have followed me away from the dying fires into the darkness and the shadows, once I have told all I can tell.

I have told of monsters and journeys, lovers, wars and misunderstandings. I have tangled and untangled fates and destinies and I have told of what will come to those too young to have seen beyond the distant hills.

I have travelled there, beyond the hills, beyond the valleys, I have crossed deserts and fought through jungles to bring you these tales and one day I will tell the tale of how you came to me to bring me stories in your dances on those days when I thought I had nothing more to tell.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

In the Kitchen Holding a Spoon


Still, though, eh?

I mean... well, come on.


As they say, a needle in the hand is worth all the frying pans in the bush before they hatch.

There was a time... well, there were quite a few times, at least in my younger days. But we won't go into that... which wasn't the case at the time, either.

Oh, no....

Back then it was very different indeed, even though some of our fashion choices would seem a bit odd to those who pay attention to such things, we did have quite a time... or – as I said – quite a few times.

However, time happens to us all and it leaves us standing here, usually in the kitchen holding a spoon, and wondering how we got here, where all the time has gone and – most importantly – what did we want the spoon for?

Somewhere at the back of the mind is the sneaking feeling that we may have made a cup of tea at some point and can't remember where we left it.

Or was that yesterday...?

The days seem to slip by so fast, often without even stopping to say hello or make some other mark of their passing. There was a time, way back in childhood when the long summer school holiday seemed to last for years, now it seems the kids are back in uniform only a day or two after those first few days of the holiday. Christmas seems to come every few months and we seem to have more birthdays than the Queen.

Time – who the fuck keeps stealing it all?

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Falling like Rain



The rain was falling heavily as we stepped out of the pub. We huddled close and began to walk. The wind blew the rain hard into our faces. I could feel the dampness seeping through my shirt and through Alison's T-shirt as I held her close to me. She stopped walking and turned to face me, rain trickling down her face. She laughed and kissed me hard on the lips. I picked her up and spun her around in my arms, laughing. I could taste the rain on her lips.

We arrived back at the house soaked and dripping. Alison turned to me, rain running down her face from her hair. ‘Have you got a large towel I could use? Mine is probably still soaking wet from this morning.’

‘Yes, sure. You go to your room and I'll bring one up.’ I turned into my room as Alison climbed the stairs, leaving damp footprints on the carpet.

I quickly changed out of my soaking wet clothes, leaving them lying on the floor, and grabbed a couple of towels. Still fastening my shirt one-handed, I started to climb the stairs. I could hear the wind hammering the rain against the front door.

Alison was standing in front of the wardrobe sorting out some dry clothes when I walked into her room. She was still wearing her soaked T-shirt and jeans. I held out the towel to her. She shook her head, pulled off her T-shirt and dropped it on the floor. She shivered and I saw her nipples harden. She let her jeans drop to the floor.

Naked except for pale blue knickers, she walked towards me. I held out a towel and wrapped it around her. She looked up at me and I kissed her. She took the other towel from me and wrapped her hair in it. I started rubbing her back and shoulders under the towel.

Alison looked over her shoulder at me. She smiled for a moment, then put her hand over mine, stopping its movement. The smile dropped from her face and she looked across the room. She shook her head slowly.

Wrapping the towel around herself, she walked across to the window, leaving me standing in the middle of the room. My hand was still raised as though her shoulder remained beneath it. I let it drop.

‘I'll bring the towel down later.’ She stared out at the wind and rain lashing the treetops.

I stood for a moment, waiting for some words to come to my lips, but I could think of nothing to say. ‘There's no hurry,’ I said eventually, and turned to the door.

‘Isn't there?’ Alison said as the door closed behind me.


[Extract from Hanging Around Until]

And There You Were... Gone


There is not much time and not much left to say. We had the days, we had the time, but it was all over too soon. The time left us, the reasons why we were there together left us... and then, finally, you left me.

I woke one morning to find you gone. I had half-expected it. For the weeks leading up to that time you had never really been there anyway. It was almost as if we were there together rehearsing your leaving. You withdrew bit-by-bit from our life until all that remained was to physically take yourself away, and there you were... gone.

It took some time to get use to you not being there. I had lived so close to you, so entwined with you, for so long it felt as though I had lost some part of myself. I suppose I had, without you I felt incomplete, unformed. You had given my life its shape and its purpose and your leaving left me lost and unformed.

The days lost their focus without you, just became a jumble of moments heaping up on each other. There was no structure, no purpose and no point. Life became dreamlike, tumbling from one moment to the next without purpose or reason. Day after day fell down like this, until that day when I suddenly woke up.

That was the day when I found the space around me was not an absence of you, but a place of possibility, somewhere where my life could grow and fill again. All I needed was to start living again.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Monday Poem: The Key Collector


The Key Collector

She has so many keys,
collecting them all
since she was a young girl,
to lock her secrets
deep inside her dreams

to keep them all safe
from this heartless world
that leaves so many
young girl's dreams
broken, torn and trodden
on the waterlogged ground.

Friday, September 16, 2011

You Have to Laugh


Still, you have to laugh, don't you?

At least until it dawns upon you that it is indeed yourself that is staring back incredulously from that mirror. Then, you either have to carry on laughing, or start to cry.

No, I don't know what happened either.

One day, it seemed, you were young and... well, if not entirely beautiful, at least the fearful villagers didn't march with flaming torches en-mass to the castle of your creator demanding an end to the abomination.

Then suddenly, it seems only a short while later, you have turned into this... this creature that stares back at you from what obviously must be one of those funfair mirrors that someone has put here as some form of practical joke.

Yes, there is a practical joke, but it is not the mirror.

It is life itself that is the joker playing its cruel tricks of time upon everyone. It is time that is lurking there behind the ajar door giggling at your discomfiture as you despair at the disparity between what you hoped, assumed, you were and the cold reality of that reflection.

It is the weight of those sniggering years that have taken what was once young and firm and turned it into the failed creature that stares forlornly back at you, waiting to be put out of its misery, but you must learn to live with it because the alternative seems much worse... and then, you realise that you were right to laugh in the first place, after all.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Thursday Poem: Unfolding



There were always ghosts in her eyes.
She lived in a room packed full
Of memories, movement and voices.

She would sit, still, in her chair.
A vague wistful smile just touching
The edges of her lips, watching

Her past days unfolding before her.
All she needed was her memory,
That room and a cup of tea.


Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Just Another Love Story


I was never sure if Kim loved me, but I was always sure that she loved my cock. In our early days, I would sit there in my big old green armchair, reading a book, listening to music or just staring off into space and she would curl up on the floor between my legs with her head resting against my thigh next to my cock. She would kiss it and stoke it and rub her cheek along it, much as a cat rubs itself against you when it hurries in from the cold or the rain.

I can remember waking up on those young summer mornings to find her already awake, either sitting up cross-legged in the bed, or lying at some odd angle, my cock in her hand already wide awake and eager to greet her.

Kim would sleep at night, snuggled up close behind me with her arm over me and my cock held tight in her hand, sometimes so tight I had to prise her fingers open one by one if I needed to get up for a piss or something. Then, if I was lying facing her I would wake suddenly to find her sleeping halfway down the bed, her hands resting under the side of her head as she lay facing me, my cock resting on her arm and her slow, even, breath blowing across my cock, her lips touching, almost kissing it.

During the day, several times a day, Kim would, whenever she could, take my cock in her mouth and suck it with the intensity and concentration of a hungry baby desperate for the breast. It seemed to bring her that same comfort that the baby got too, often falling easily into a contented sleep once she'd got her fill.

She would ride it, too, as though it was some kind of magical steed riding some fairy tale princess to a distant magical land only she could believe in.

When it was over, and she was satisfied, she would open her eyes and look down at me as though I was someone come to meet her at some train station, airport or dock as she returned home from her travels to some exotic far-off distant country that lay somewhere deep within her orgasms. She would be distant, hesitant, even somewhat formal, as though I was some third person, some outsider trying to come between her and her cock.

I knew then, even in the early days, that one day Kim would set off to find that far distant country she visited, only for a while, in her orgasms and that she would leave the cock behind when she realised she could never take it with her on her journeys far deeper than I could ever go.

I could see it in Kim's eyes that morning when she kissed my cock good-bye, that she was going, going forever and not coming back, and that my cock would have to learn to live, like me, alone.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

The Mystical Priest of the Beat


The throbbing beating brain-numbing noise was almost solid enough to touch. The noise used as music in clubs like this was too loud to be music, too primal to be music, too crude to be music; a noise stripped of almost all its possibilities of becoming music. It was music beaten up, raped, buggered, pissed on and left for dead with its lifeblood oozing out of it and running down the drain with each pulsebeat.

Pete loved it now.

He was dancing, with a half-full bottle of Champagne in each hand. Dancing – or so he thought – like a shaman, like a witch doctor. He was the mystical priest of the beat. He was primal too. He was savage. He was base. He was Dionysus.

The lights throbbed and pulsed showing then concealing the smiling, laughing, grinning coterie he - or rather, his recently discovered valid credit card – had gathered. He had disciples. He was the pied piper, the pied pissed-up prankster that would lead his gang of grinning cavorting lovelies to a new, higher paradise.

‘Wsdsd…FGGFvmm…? HGTffvbb!’

‘What?’ Pete jammed his ear up against the mouth of… whatever her name was.

‘XXXXZXzzzzzz! Quuallll! Tits?’

In the briefest of silences in the noise, Pete was sure that he had heard the word ‘tits’. He nodded his head enthusiastically. ‘Tits, yes!’ he yelled grinning down at the items in question. He was almost sure she had only the normal complement, but there seemed to be far more than just two in there. However, she proved his notion of the conventional correct when she whipped her top off and shook both of them in Pete’s face.

‘Yum! Yum!’ Pete shouted, watching mesmerised, as they performed a slow-motion gravity-defining dance all of their own.

The rest of his entourage had now noticed that one of their number had managed to monopolise the attention of their platinum-credit-card wielding sugar daddy. So, in the spirit of good old free enterprise they too decided that a revealing of their own not-inconsiderable assets would be a way of restoring some balance to the proceedings.

By this time, Pete was already seeing double – if not triple – the sudden avalanche of naked mammaries bouncing and undulating for his delectation was almost too much for him to cope with. He stopped his cavorting and took a step back.

Unfortunately, his backwards motion brought him into contact with the almost full pint held by one of a group of young men. The men were already feeling more than a touch aggrieved that this bloke – at least old enough to be their father – was monopolising so much female attention seemingly through the mere fact of being significantly wealthier than all of them put together.

‘Oi! Cunt. Watch it.’

Pete heard and turned. He grinned. ‘Sorry, mate. It’s getting a bit crowded in here isn’t it?’ He gestured behind him towards the undulating mammorial tide that was threatening to engulf them all.

‘Are you taking the piss?’

‘What? No.’

‘Hey Jimmy, this old cunt is taking the piss, as well as all the birds.’

Jimmy and the rest of the gang began to circle around Pete. Even in his befuddled state, Pete could recognise that things were beginning to get ugly. As the circle closed around him, he could see the girls edged out one by one. But still the first punch to the side of his head took him by surprise.

Pete staggered back into the men who had moved around behind him. They pushed him forward once more. It was over twenty years since Pete and Johnny had to fight their way out of an Austin bar. Since then Pete had not had to raise a fist in anger. Despite this, he knew he was easily able to handle half a dozen or so blokes who were probably over twenty years his junior. He raised his fists, noticing that he still held the two – now empty – champagne bottles.

‘Hmm… useful,’ Pete Muttered. He could feel that his mouth was already starting to swell up. He raised the bottles and took up a martial arts pose.

There was a whirling blur and the man directly in front of Pete collapsed. One of the topless girls took his place. The way she was swinging her lethal looking handbag around her head caused all the young men to turn in her direction. They gazed, mesmerised by her breasts and the slow, almost, leisurely way they developed independent orbits around her upper body.

Two more of the men fell, handbagged from behind be Pete’s tribe of vengeful amazons. Pete lowered his bottles and just stared as the gang fell one by one. Out of the corner of his eye, Pete just noticed the handbag bouncing off the shaven head of one of his attackers and heading towards him.


There was pain. He fell. It went dark.


[An extract from Dance on Fire: a novel]

Like a Life put on Hold


There are things unsaid, left there like some invisible object we know is there, but cannot touch for fear of some sharp hot shock. Each of us walks warily around it, sensing the danger and fearing the consequences. Deep within each of us there is the unpleasant hope that if someone is going to stumble into the invisible and set it all off then let it not be me, let it be the other one. We go treading warily around this same room where all our future possibilities lie under these dust sheets like a life put on hold.

There was a time when we could have danced together, oblivious, through this room. A time when there was no invisible presence inhibiting our every move and every word. There was a time when this room held our future bright in the sunlight streaming in through breeze-blown curtains at the open window.

Now the curtains are closed and the furniture is draped in mourning. This door is kept closed in case that invisible object that fills the space inside should somehow spread and grow out into the rest of our lives; in case it should spread and grow until it fills every inch of our days. Growing until we have nowhere else to go and nothing else to do but turn together and face it.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Monday Poem: These Battered Landscapes


These Battered Landscapes

Your hands carve shapes in the frosty air
as you describe one more nightmare.
These could be your dreams blown around
like dead leaves by a harsh wind
that respects no sanctuary.

We stand on these bared hillsides
where only defeated grass grows
and look out over landscapes
battered by winds and the falling rain

looking for answers we know
cannot ever be found, and we know too
that those dreams that haunt your nights
will never let us escape from them.

One day we know we must return
to walk those empty corridors again
and open all those doors we left closed.

Friday, September 09, 2011


[One of my all-time favourite books – see link at end]
Well, you know, or perhaps you don't. After all, at this time of day my mind-reading powers get a bit hazy... what with all the coffee I've drunk and reading some of your thoughts, especially the ones about the.... well, I don't need to tell you about that, it is your mind after all.

Even if you don't seem to spend that much time actually in there.

All rather untidy, if you don't mind me saying. All those thoughts piled up all over the place, especially the ones about the... well, you know, left where anyone strolling into you mind could see it.

Usually, people tend to keep thoughts like that somewhere down the back, out of the way, not brazenly out in the front like that.

Not that there is anything wrong with a bit of untidiness here and there. I mean, you go into some minds and they are suspiciously neat, y'know? Too neat. All the thoughts catalogued and filed away, all in their own special little places. A bit like walking into a show home, or a look through one of those house-interior magazines where they are all so neat and tidy you can't help think there is someone hiding in the next room cackling manically and whispering secrets and love songs to their favourite stabbing knife....

Anyway, where was I?

Ah, yes, those thoughts. Do me a favour before the next time you come here and put those thoughts somewhere out of the way... if only just for me.

I don't think I'll ever be able think about pickled herrings and a badminton racquet in the same way ever again.

Thursday, September 08, 2011

Thursday Poem: Monuments in the Rain


Monuments in the Rain

Here is everything that stands
monuments in the cold rain
standing sentinel against hard time
and the cruel heavy weather
slowly wearing them down,
fading them in lost history
so that no-one who passes by
notices them at all.

Just another pile of heaped stones
passed by each ordinary day
with no significance to them
and nothing special about them
to make anyone glance across
to where they lie fallen
and to even wonder why
anyone ever took time
to mark that single place
in such a significant way.

Or to ever wonder about
what extraordinary event
would ever have prompted
such a powerful need for remembrance
and why no-one now passing by
can remember why it was built.

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

A Warm Sunny Beach


Obviously, giving the choice I would rather be somewhere else too, possibly somewhere involving nothing more taxing than a warm sunny beach, a hammock and a good book, with several dusky maidens waiting nearby, all eager to pander to my merest whim. But, however, we are stuck here so let's just get on with it and make the best of it.

After all, Rome wasn't buttered in a day and you can't make an omelette without engaging in some sort of omelette-making activity... no matter how half-arsed and desultory.

So, anyway....


Well, I suppose we could have some of the usual stuff. I'm sure that given the right circumstances and a bit of encouragement, I could come up with something about the penguins. But, If I'm honest, today I don't really feel like exploring the complexities of the various conspiracies that rule the world, despite all the evidence to the contrary.

After all, the world is not supposed to make sense and the various things that humans get up to – especially in the names of religions, politics and other irrationalites – are almost by definition bound to deny any kind of rational analysis and explanation.

So, if you could just give me a hand with this hammock, I'm sure those dusky maidens will be along any time now to lay a cool hand on our fevered brows.

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

The Woman in White and the Panther


The words themselves are just standing there in the desert. Describing nothing, they stand as monuments: separate, unconnected, devoid of meaning. I do not have the strength to dig them out of the wind-blown sand, to move them and make shapes out of them, shapes both pleasing and sensible.

I carve the shapes, the words, from the rocks I find as I wander the desert, leaving them where I find them. This desert - in the valley between the two hills - is now littered with the words I have carved, some almost buried by the wind-shifted sand. They stand like statues or monoliths, isolated from each other by the uneven rise and fall of the dunes at the valley sides.

Down there, on the plain, there are other carved stone words, left where I tried to arrange them, tried to find some meaning amongst them. I gave up on that a long time ago. The heat made it too hard to shift the heavy stones. The words lie where I last moved them, half-formed sentences and phrases - nothing more.

I used to want to form patterns, pleasing patterns, find meaning among these stones. But now, once they are carved, I leave them, feeling I have done enough.

The woman in white stands watching from the opposite hillside. Her dark hair and long flowing white dress fluttering like banners in the breeze. At her side, the black panther sits patiently, the pupils of its eyes slits against the bright sunlight.

I tried, once, to go to speak with the woman. As I climbed the hillside the panther stood and strained against its chain. I saw the woman's hand tighten on the lead as she held up her other hand for me to stop. I knew she meant it, and I could hear the low purring growl of the panther as its pupils widened. I paused, then turned back. At the bottom of the hill, I turned again and looked back. The panther was sitting down once more, relaxed, and the woman was watching me carefully.

Twice every day another woman - totally hairless - and naked, except for a leather collar arrives. She carries a decanter of red wine and a glass on a silver tray to the woman in white. She waits, motionless, next to the black panther as the woman in white sips the wine. Only two glasses - always just two glasses. Then the hairless woman climbs sedately back over the brow of the hill and out of sight.


[Taken from Memory Stones – a short story in How I Became the Fat Bloke and Other Stories]

A Tray of Tomato Plants


Well, there you go... or not. It is not that easy finding out that you are not really supposed to be here and especially not naked, except for your wellies and a pair of deluxe person-fondling mittens and carrying a tray of tomato plants, that – by now – should have been planted-out ages ago.

However, such is the nature of both space and time that it makes such things seem almost inevitable if you trace the sequence of cause-and-effect back far enough. Taking that as read though, it still doesn’t adequately explain your presence here to the rest of the people in the supermarket, or why the necessity of carrying the seedlings in their tray makes it difficult for you to manoeuvre your shopping trolley with the ease and dexterity you would normally possess.

Still, we can only presume that we can all assume there are adequate, if not compelling, reasons for this state of affairs you find yourself in. A situation that has all the hallmarks of one of those strange dreams you have been having lately, but this time it seems to be real – or, at least as far as you can tell.

After all, when we are in the middle of them, dreams can sometimes feel so real.

However this does not feel like a dream and leaves you - without the dream logic that would solve such a conundrum in the least-likely manner – how you are going to pay for your tin of soup, three boxes of free-range eggs and a small jar of raspberry jam if you are naked and therefore have no cash or cards?

Monday, September 05, 2011

Bank Robber

Then there were the things....

You know the ones?

No, not the purple ones with the attachment used for detecting honest politicians that has a tendency to rust and seize up from disuse, but the other one.

Well, anyway, I'm sure you'd recognise one if you saw it, especially someone of your rather lax reputation in the area of experimental rudeness.

Anyway, as I wasn't saying, there should be no reason at all why we shouldn't get through this current economic downturn with the shirts more or less in the vicinity of our backs, at least - despite the somewhat disapproving tone some people adopt, blackmail does tend to provide a steady income stream.

Furthermore, unlike other slightly illegal activities there is much less of that running around with guns shouting at people business that tends to leave you with a headache... and the occasional bullet hole.

After all, there comes a point where armed bank robbery does become more trouble than it is worth, especially when the wife keeps complaining about how many stockings you keep nicking from her underwear drawer and her theory that you may be using them for more than just disguises when robbing banks.

Especially the black fishnet ones....

Friday, September 02, 2011

The Hero


He lived as though he was the star in his own life. He was the hero who managed to avoid almost certain death. He defeated the baddies in a last-ditch stand, foiled the plot and – of course – in the end he got the girl.

After that, though, he didn’t know what to do. He'd assumed that he and the girl would live, if not exactly happy every after, then they would live some sort of romantic-comedy life where their foolish misunderstandings could always be resolved by a last-minute kiss in the pouring rain.

Then, maybe, as they grew older they would somehow segue into a family-based sitcom where their kids would infuriate them, but by the end of the programme everything would be resolved as they sat down together in the main room of their surprisingly spacious house for some kind of reconciliation.

Then the kids would grow up and go away, leaving him and the girl living a cantankerous old age, taking arms against a hostile, indifferent world, and often each other, but – as always - in the end with everything somehow – against the odds – coming out right.

Whatever, it was – however – his life turned out, and as long as he kept the girl by his side, he knew that – in the end – it would all turn out all right. At least, it would as long as the script was all right.

Thursday, September 01, 2011

The Rucksack


Still, I thought, y'know... maybe she did have a point. There were usually a couple of points of interest with her, especially on colder days, but I would want you to think I always stared... not too much anyway.

They were magnificent though, especially in the bath when she got them all soapy and leant over your face and....

Anyway, where was I ?

Oh, yes, she had a point. After all, we had the money. No-one had come looking for it. No-one seemed to want it.

What else could we do?

There it was, thousands and thousands of pounds in fifties in thousand-pound bundles. A rucksack filed to the brim with them.

Neither of us could bring ourselves to touch them, let alone count them. It was as though while they were there in the rucksack they had nothing to do with us, that we were innocent, uninvolved... which we were of course.

But, like I said. She had a point.

Then lying there on the bed next to her in that hotel room with that bag of money on the bed between us, I got quite a point myself too.

So, it was sometime, well a couple of times later, after we'd showered together too, and after she'd done that thing with the soap and her points of considerable interest, we lay back down on the bed.

The rucksack was still there... and so was all the money it contained.

All we could do is look from the bag of money to each other and back to the money again... wondering....