Bashfully brave

I went to the store
to purchase a howl
no joy in this mission
the stockist did scowl
she had hollers and cries
she had whoops and screams
but these did not match
the sound in my dreams
fashion of future is ridiculed now
awaiting perfect moment
to receive it’s bow.


Watching Patterson by Jim Jarmusch, the movie walks, strolls even, at this pace we can see the pebbles glint, watch the flowers open, a pace where a knowing look is a firework.


Just a little attention, a pause to think on cause and effect, a reflection for humanity, a thought floating out for consequence, an if or a why popping into the head, could spike a sparkle of empathy through cold stone, a tingle of warmth to the marrow bone, burning the lie to a spent ember, just for love to be remembered.


You are trying to knit a future
from wool you cannot see
you may be the highest
imagination devotee.


Happiness resides
in the grass and trees
while we pursue a mirage
happiness remains in situ
in the sky and the sea.


The sun has turned to liquid
another day extinguished.




Duck race

I arrive in Brayford early in the morning, fresh from a redeye flight from JFK, well as fresh as I can manage. The race marshals are feverishly busying themselves with crowd control and river cleanliness. At 8:15am the place is already heaving with race fans and they continue to pour in through the flesh faucet.  Although this is not an officially sanctioned duck race, many major officials remain in attendance, out of respect. They knew the BDR(Brayford duck racers) were screwed over by the IDRF(International duck racing federation), yet had no leverage. So the race will go ahead, despite the(highly suspicious) duck irregularities, but outside of the official federal season. Politics, the scourge that infests all. Despite this embarrassment the spirits are high, we could not have been blessed with better weather. A band noodle in a semi New Orleans style to duck fan’s backs. The ducks themselves all look resplendent in their rubbery yellow liveries, boldly displaying their regulation sized numbers. In the past there were many controversies regarding the size of the number. Some would write their own number so minutely that it was barely legible, claiming the duck would be higher in the water and thus faster. Others would virtually blacken the duck in ink, claiming the weight would take their duck down the river more swiftly. Now each bears a regulation number, each receiving the same amount of ink despite the numbers amount. Additionally each duck is inspected for butt abnormalities before embarking on their voyage.
Looking across the crowds, there is a difference between those who are here for fun and the serious observer. While some whole families are wearing the latest rubber duck regalia, flamboyant shirts, hats and novelty bills. Others are here strictly for business, their long coats are fit to bursting with books of odds and form, they study the ducks histories in these conditions, their weed weaving ability, their bobbing tendencies, every winning edge is pursued.
In the Pimms pavilion the mood is stiffening with the approach of the start of the race. I sit at the bar picking at a bowl of cashews. There are rumours that the favourite has a small scuff on her left breast, an easy thing to miss for the casual observer, but these are hardened racers! Many calls are made, many bets adjusted, these things set off ripples, suspicions, but it is too late now, the race is upon us.
In the launch-net a thousand and twenty ducks await the start. As do the feverish crowd, heaving and jostling for a spot along the bank of the river. I am bumped into the fringes, I was unprepared for the savageness of the crowd. The river looks pristine and calm, she has no idea what is about to hit her. As the jazz band fizzles out, the bullhorns crackle into life, the MC Gives some pleasantries to the sponsors, then he starts the countdown. As he hits ten the crowd join in en mass “Ten!.. Nine!.. Eight!.. Seven!.. Six!.. Five!.. Four!.. Three!.. Two!.. One!”. The net is opened and a custard cascade of rubber ducks are released plunging into the water, I crane forward but can barely make out the racers through the violence of the crowd, the crowd bob as I imagine the ducks are. Now we start our own race, to chase the race along the banks, to see the early leaders. My being bubbled from the frothing glass leaves me at an advantage. I sprint down river passing many a dozing camper in deck chairs, they are unprepared for the approaching mass of fanatics. Miraculously I find myself in front, in clean air. Looking across I see the leading ducks alongside me, serene, they make it look so easy. But reeds lay ahead, and the dreaded duck weed.
I have little time to dally as I can feel the crowd approach, yet my legs are contemplating retirement, I have no heart for the fight, so I back away from the river as an avalanche of loons pours through. I give a wish to the ducks, a blessing that none are fatally caught in the weeds, then head back to the start. Along the way I see a couple of medics are attending to some victims that could not extricate themselves from their chairs fast enough, they were trampled underfoot. As were the flowers once standing proudly by the footbridge, now purple patches on the grass. Back at the start, attendants look in a state of shock, eyeing the endless cans, wrappers and plastic forks, morosely they begin the clean-up. I ask a particularly careworn man in sagging official duck tabard if it is like this every year, he just nods and continues filling another black bin bag. I enter the bar tent and order a mint julep, sitting on my own, I contemplate how innocent rubber ducks came to this. I guess we as a race, are on an unstoppable ride of consumption, no one knows why they are on it, yet no one wishes to get off.


I am sitting facing east, turning I see the same in every dimension, I see every east, I look up and east is there, behind me east remains, every east of every dimension, trapped looking east in every direction. juddering and flickering in all rainbows, in all colours as I twist, in every shape, in every time, east, I may have been looking east forever, or a moment, but I have seen all moments, in that moment east.


Once I was lost in the water, she was the stars, the boat and the shore.


Do not listen to the table, she does not know
she was not here when the chair legs grow
contain your madness in a jar on the shelf
twist the lid off, cheers to your health
drain it all, there will be much more
listen to the yarns from the door
good to hear that you got older
I love the crazy when sober.


On Tuesday nights the oddballs and marginalised descend upon the local sports hall, to practice tai chi. The would be martial artists come in many differently shaped sausage sacks, wearing a variety of haphazard clothing. Some arrive in brogues and ties with an air of confusion, perhaps they intended to arrive at an IT course and are too polite to leave. Some float through in saffron robes, crisp and new with shiny kung fu shoes, their credit card a little ahead of their experience. Gladys has been attending for ten years now, yet never practices away from the hall, arriving to start anew every week. June floats serene in yoga pants and hoodie, breathing the form as she moves, she is eighty two yet barely looks a day over seventy four. Dave is huge, robotic, the supple subtle art rattles and clunks, reminding me of Lost in space. Flailing, stumbling and misremembering, distracted by guff and guffaw. In mind, in the time between, soft and floating, in imagination, water, effortless strength. Yet now in motion, inept and unbalanced, Looking to the instructor for anchor, there is transformation, solidity. But upon turning away, inspiration is now the flailing lost Dean, leading to a rough turgid sea of incoherent movement. But there is comfort in drowning together. Next week we shall convene to drown once more.


The secret to life is finding the way of being drunk sober.




Opulent squalor

In black armbands we followed the horse cavalcade. Black feathers adorned head-dresses on two black horses, pulling a black hearse bearing a black coffin. Such a grand honourable send off, for such a despicable man. Black turned the skies too, shards of lightning led thunderous drumrolls from the heavens. Black umbrellas were erected swiftly to protect black hats from the rain. The horses whinnied, as from the ether a black cart riding on blue flame approached. The cart bore a black cat of unimaginable size, it’s eyes aglow, it’s dagger fangs bared. In a flash of violence the coffin lid was shredded and with a menacing hisss the Kasha hauled the hell bound corpse away.


I am laying watching the wood, the panels on the ceiling. The grain moves in watery motion, I see ripples and waves, I see fish tails, countless eyes and bubbles floating above me. Like when the wood was tree.


The alpha male has always been a big threatening bully, a repugnant peacock of an animal, a violent overbearing egotistical thug of questionable at best values, a striding beast of a thing, trampling the fey and feminine, pissing on all in false ownership, one who wallows in their own testosterone, a swaggering bastard, a palaeolithic creep.


The thing that makes expensive cars expensive is, they cost more. If you find yourself envious of an expensive car, a supercar or hypercar, remember they are largely the same as a cheap car, you will find all the same parts, it will sit in traffic much the same, the switches will have been borrowed from a cheaper car, you will also find the cheap car is perversely more reliable. The supercar will be beautiful to your eyes yes, yet beauty is free for all to see. The cars are expensive, as many things are, to keep them from poor people’s hands, to give meaning to being rich, for exclusivity. If everyone could buy one, they would no longer be special. Being rich relies on feeling special about just doing the ordinary with phoney twinkles on.


An open mind is a wonderful thing, they should all be open, to the closed of mind we have help for you, we have chisels and crow bars and claw hammers for you. Soon your minds will be open, free to know what love is, what care is, what humanity is, what pain is..


My cat at first serene
became older then
he would stray all the day
would not come home till ten
all his love dissolved
I was so sad it seemed
he had transformed
to a bakeneko fiend
I heard howling in the night
I followed to the trees
writhing around a fire
a sight one wished not to see
a clowder on hind legs
I stumbled on perchance
wearing towels on their heads
the bakenekos danced
eyes burned down to my soul
they attacked in screeching wails
serpentine they stretched
and split their tabby tails
aghast I stumbled back
such a sight and sound is foul
but I dug the courage out
to steal their power giving towels.


I believe it,
due to witnessing it,
through someone else’s eyes.


If one believes in the next place, this place, just a test, and what test is easy? Tests are full of pain, poison and creatures that burrow into the brain. Tests leave us distressed and drained. The next place holds the rewards, the true punishment, in the eyes of the believer. So why judge a religion on a cruel god? Ignorance disguised as some higher thought. I choose to wait, respect the belief, maintain the bridges.


Our brains are far more complex than our action would have us believe.


Marching in a blinkered line
unencumbered by all wisdom
unknown must stay that way
for I do not trust the system
the abuse has set my path
I will not tread another
shackled to my prejudice
to never know my brothers.



For a sunbeam

In the lush green grass a divot appeared. In the middle of the road, scooped up into existence by who knows what, perhaps a trowel, perhaps a sand wedge, perhaps an outraged boot, a tufty turf sat and thought. It thought of movement, it thought of limbs, from thought and root it grew four legs and waggled them in a movement experiment. It’s green spines waggled, it’s dirt nose twitched, it skipped and scampered forwards a foot. For four more moments it sat upon a cat’s eye, it’s tufts blew as cars shot past, it could feel the rush, could smell the road. In rapid instinct it felt the rush was bad, to be avoided, it waited for the rush to cease. In a quiet moment legs scampered to where the fresh scent emerged, where it smelled of him. He felt the rush at his rear, just as his nose touched the verge, he made it. In the grass he sat, he stayed, there was nowhere else he wished to be.


I love our cats to bits but, Jesus, the hunting..
Two starling chicks appeared in our bedroom in the middle of the morning. One sadly had left this place early, the second was fighting on, we rescued her from the clutches of doom and put her in an egg box with tissue padding. She was barely feathered, we had no clue where the nest could be, so we fed her mealworms soaked in water. I tried to mimmic in different ways the parents coming in, dark to light, light to dark, flicking the card to simulate the flap of a bird’s wing, encouraging her to open her mouth wide, I fed her as much as I could. She transforms into a different bird when begging, a funnel of plenty, she pooped physics defying poops. Then she settled down again.
After a while we managed to find a place to look after her on this bank holiday (How inconvenient a time to arrive). She looked tired as we headed out, perhaps the wounds too much, perhaps the food not right, yet while we drove, the box shuffled in my hand vibrantly once more. Again I tried to feed her as we approached the door marked closed. She opened wide and ate some mealworms, as the vet hospital door opened too. She now resides there, in knowing hands, with a second chance at spring.


Laid out along the lush green fields
stone rolls out among the bracken
for a hundred miles the tail trails
of a slumbering stone dragon.


Sitting enjoying a lovely evening moment with a margarita, blue skies and the best company. One moment later a glass is launched, shattered across the paving and Mapacho is covered in cointreau, tequila and lime. Pop!




We bought a small hot spa, a cheap inflatable one, after all, they all hold the same water. As per the instructions I inflate it, attach the pump and fill it with water. I then continue reading the instructions. It says to make sure the pump is tested before every use, to make sure the cable has not been damaged. It then goes into water treatment. To keep the water clean there are chlorine granules, for the eight hundred litres in the tub there are two tea spoons of chlorine. At first they say to boost the dose, a double dose for a new tub. They say to wait a day for the chlorine to reduce, then to test the PH with a test strip, using another two additives to adjust the alkaline levels. There is also a filter, this is to be checked and cleaned every day and to be changed once a week. Oh, additionally, they recommend changing the entire eight hundred litres of water every three days.. The relaxation of a hot tub..


Chippy chop chop in the air again
the military are flexing their muscle
showing off huge green monsters
impressing none but the pheasants.


With my new electronic eyes I can see more colours, more colours than I ever imagined. I can see texture and temperature, I can see flavour. With my new electronic implanted ears, I can hear every tiny nuance of tone vibration, every attack and refrain as crisp as Christmas frost. I can see and hear so clearly, we have not learned a thing.


Distraction till destruction
with our heads in the sand
we will only burn our butts
We could change our ways
we could extend our days
if we only had the guts.


The Shaman settles the water,
so when you sip you enjoy your trip
she subdues the waves and clears the sky,
so you may delight with the twinkling sun in the sea.
Alone you would reside in turgid cruel waves,
plunge into the ink, swallow the foam,
you’ll be lucky not to drown.
Yet the Shaman has humour
so she might splash you
in fun.

Is there anybody out here?

What we love most are stories. We love interesting, funny, charming and romantic stories. Yet mostly.. we crave horrific stories. We subconsciously create them all the time, sacrificing our now to materialise a great gruesome memory. We drink ourselves into corners to provoke interaction, fruitful malady, we push the limits, to create interesting anecdotes of how we glimpsed death and of extraordinary behaviours. No one wishes to hear of sitting, of watching TV, not of feeding ducks or of taking tea. We wish for extravagant tales of aberrant slaughter, of how we only just survived. We could choose the peaceful path, the loving path, yet we sacrifice our now, we vote in the monsters, because if we survive, we have incredible stories to tell, the near misses and the lunacy. If we survive, we will fill the books with this idiocy we suffer. But we will not learn from this, we will sacrifice another now, to write for another generation of disbelieving readers.


While out walking through Glastonbury, the towns clock is making faces at me. The fruit trees are reaching to play with the clouds, removing their grey clumpy billowing shrouds. Clouds giggle at attention and sprinkle with glee, they deposit spring rainbow drizzle on me. All who I meet give out copious grins, two feet and growing making their eyes glow and spin. Green lap dogs bark like ten violins, squirrels cycle up trees to collect polished push pins. My legs are noodling, but never in tune, from way up here I can ride the bumps on the moon. I can feel my dizzy heart claw at my ribs, garbled and jittery it’s hitting the skids. It drums and complains, it questions my stature, I should not have come when they empty the dream catchers.


I spilt some water on the floor
the boards began to sprout
vines writhed and burst a pipe
sending gushing water out
the house is growing still
drinking every water drop
each house becomes a tree
it is never going to stop.

To feed the earth again
dilute our poisoned past
a shoot of rapid change
redress the balance fast
abandon concrete floor
climb into the canopy
back to from where we came
to swing on through the trees.


The old fragile of thought
the stubborn
the changeless
the stiff unmoving evil
Their tantrums at change
their offence at love
their blinkered obscenities
They will kill for hate
they will kill for stagnation
they will kill to keep the different away.


There is now not one grain august
Tinkerbell has had enough
she is shredding throats
she is poisoning eyes
all these monsters here must die
in lupine rage she does let loose
we are splashing around in evil’s juice
Mephistopheles shins are splintered
the devil himself is limping injured
she is tearing through in a raging trance
violent balanced righteous dance.


She wore tassels that shimmered
obsequious to her dance
she took whatever she wished for
propitious in her stance
a deserter to urbanity a demon
accident bechance.






Chimney. Part 5

He speaks it as a trope he has sung many times before. I sense a foreboding atmosphere and go to leave the circle. But I am hemmed in. A large lady confronts me, she preaches to the mob “Maybe Hell is where he belongs, to where all the deceitful go, we will give him to them”, The boy speaks up once more “We pay our token to Hell, so we may live in peace!”. Large working hands take hold of me, there is no strength in me to wriggle free from such strong faith. More people arrive with bindings, One woman carries a sack, before I can reason at all, the sack is on my head. My pleas are answered only with silence. My hands bound behind me, my legs bound together, no word coaxes any response but “We pay our token to Hell, so we may live in peace”. Where is Hell to these people? A fire? A lake? Will I be crucified? I give up pleading, I just cough as the sacking’s fray fills my lungs.
When we arrive darkness has too, when the sack is removed my eyes adjust quickly. I know this place. They remove my bindings and manhandle me to the edge of the well, I look down and see three moon-lit reflections in the water, my head flanked by two large men. “But why..?” I plead, as they heave me into the well, they chant “We pay our token to Hell, so we may live in peace”.
As I brace to hit the water, I hit the witches bend with a gruesome crunch, pain flies through my body as I splinter on impact. I ricochet and land in an impotent heap on the hearth. I have time to recover and time to reflect as to where I live.

The end.


This marks two years writing here,
a most enjoyable two years.
Thank you for reading and sharing.


Chimney. Part 4

  • The water’s energy brings curiosity where fear resided, so I rejoin the path and cross the bridge. The sky is adopting a tinge of evening orange as the detritus crunch reestablishes it’s rhythm beneath my shoes. The forest positively glows with life, yet with no life at all. But soon the forest thins and some buildings appear. First a dozen huts squat low to the ground, then a church built of logs and stone, the doors stand ajar. I am drawn inside by curiosity. On a dozen and ten pews, I see many people sit wearing unfamiliar rustic clothes, they do not see me yet. In front a woman who may be a minister is closing books and organising papers, the congregation has ended. People turn to the door, where I stand, “Hello, welcome, where have you sprung from?” Asked one lady with a kind smile. Her partner looks upon me with more suspicion than her. I reply “Um, well, far away from here, actually I’m a little lost”. She put a hand on my shoulder “Looks like we found you, your clothing is so odd, but well made, pity they are looking so tired, you must have had quite the journey”. I nod in agreement. The congregation are now all walking back to their homes, some chat, some whisper, some flash glances towards me, but the place remains eerily quiet. Walking with my new found friend I ask her “Where are all the birds, the animals? It is so quiet here”. I think I may have offended her, she looks as though I swore, “They are in Hell with the rest of the heathen sins. What do you know of these creatures?” Our conversation has tweaked a few ears, some stop, some approach to hear what this new person is spreading. “Where I come from there are many beautiful animals, birds sing and fly..” My words fade with the dropping of their faces. “They were all banished millennia ago, you are mistaken, perhaps you have been taken advantage of, fooled by a trick”. Her partner interjects “Perhaps you are trying to draw my wife on this matter? We have no such creatures here, or anywhere outside of Hell”. I hold up my hands “Clearly I was tricked, I don’t mean any harm”. The group begins to gather around me. A boy speaks up “We pay our token to Hell, so we may live in peace”.