Wednesday, March 18, 2015

feek and feck

Feek and Feck were lovers. Rolling off the tongue as sailors swaggering on shore leave, sewn up in cunnilingus, eating out on on calamari.
     Feck was the blushing damson. Feek the bruised and butch one. Together they ripened as one fruit, conjoined, no one could come between them. Their bliss was slow cooked. Try as he might, the padre could not contain them.
     A wise man visited the barracks. All the way from Quebec. He made a gift of several bulbs of garlic to Feek and Feck, expressing no interest in what the padre had to show him. The larger work. Those priceless illuminated manuscripts. The ribbons and garters.
     Feek was delighted. Feck, no less enamoured. They stole the bulbs to bed that same night, the bunk which burned so bright. Such a creaking was never heard: penetrating the deepest pockets of the dormitory; puncturing the wound in Jesus's side.
     The padre was furious. Their bunkmates merely intrigued.
     In the morning it was found that the cross on the wall was rent. A great tear running the length of the sleeping Nazarene. A few nails just, preventing Our Saviour from climbing down off his lot.
     The padre immediately denounced it as blasphemy. Feek and Feck as heretics.
     So discharged, our pair had no choice but to haunt the waterfront as wharf rats, scratching what existence they might among the whores and pilots rudely coming and going, pawning all but the wise man's gift, itself a string grown soft and atrophied. And so, in time, was born a not so secret order.
"Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law. Love is the law."
     And, of course, the law was corrupt. In a little mosque west of the shore, a young woman was accused of inciting a fever in verse. A fever which smouldered. Erupted in flame, feeding on the word as law. Though no one saw her commit any such act, word quickly spread throughout the maze of streets and lanes. Dancing on the rooftops. Love was not the law. An assembly of townspeople gathered outside the mosque. Banging on the doors. Hurling rocks the size of fists at windows.
     Presently, the young woman was dragged from the building. Punched and kicked by outraged teenage boys and men. Folded through the gates.
     One of them closest to her struck her in the face with a stick. Another knocked her to the ground.
     Emboldened by the screams of righteous women, a deluge of blood, she was stamped on repeatedly. Trampled on by scores of feet.
     The weight of tendons. Bone. Pulsating hearts.
     A car.
     Someone produced a canister of petrol out of nowhere, and fuel was poured over the stricken woman. Someone else produced a match. The woman was set alight.
     The police stood well back and did nothing to help her. Their cries were enervated. Hoes and spades rained down on her. A blanket was thrown over her prone body to assist in the burning.
      A woman, not much older than the victim, spat in the direction of the blaze and laughed.
      Later, rumours persisted that the woman was still alive when they dumped her body in the river. The apparatus of the law appeared to have lost its voice. The imam made no comment.
      Several arrests were made after tempers cooled.
      It was never confirmed that the hapless young woman had burned the Quran or even attempted to. Her family issued a statement to the effect that their daughter had been mentally unstable for a number of years. Little was said as to the soundness of mind of the mob.
"Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law."
     And savages continued to claim to hear the word of God the loudest. And the impoverished of soul continued to proselytise.

Thursday, March 12, 2015


It was raining. Not a tidy deluge, nesting its own rhythm, but the vilest of drizzles. Flurrying up into the face and ears. Fizzing on the end of one's nose.
     A celtic rain.
     Birds settle in trees and eaves to escape it. Those mistiming it wheel back on the wing as if struck by a leading left hook.
     So goes Pablo. One hand curled tight around his son's. Steering him clear of the most threatening of puddles. A broken chair. The mattress left out to soak.
     Fucker, fucker, fucker, he thinks.
     Chin crouched this way and that.
     Ha. Ha. Ha. The child goes. Drinking it down.
     The pavement ritually bathes. Never in the sun. Its gutters are muddied, inches deep in stagnant water when it stalls; detritus racing by to stick up a storm drain when it floods. What fool architect unfurls his plans in the shade? The legacy of an era when white people recoiled from a window set ablaze. Suspicious of colour, loitering in obscurity. Sheltering a smile in the most fashionable of moustaches.
     Pablo misses the glaze of summer. Flowering plants laid out on the sill.
     The book he resides in is bent.
     They get to the nursery and there are cars parked everywhere. Right around the corner. Black lotuses, blossoming straight out of potholes in the asphalt. The odd red. A blue.
     Mothers make a dash for it. Between kerb and intercom. The playground is a lake they must negotiate. He catches the fire door before it closes, and they step inside a hothouse of finger paintings. Coats on pegs. A jumble of wet footwear underpinning benches.
     Motherfucker, he thinks. Glad no one can hear him.
     He helps his son step out of his jacket and hangs it up to drip. Switches shoes for Plimsolls.
     Ha. Ha. Ha.
     His boy and a little girl trade feints and jabs. The girl is dressed as Spiderman from the waist up. Her face is flushed as if she has just come from the beach. A thousand miles away. He separates them with an anxious flutter and shepherds his son to the classroom. Signs his name on the sheet attached to the wall. Purple. Yellow. Green. Each little group carefully colour coordinated.
      A woman comes to the door and opens it. The matronly type. They exchange pleasantries but, it seems to Pablo, they might as well be chewing on bubblegum.
      Pop. Pop. Pop.
      Ha. Ha. Ha.
      He is reminded that the school is collecting for charity, and dutifully purchases a cookie wrapped in brown paper. It will be a miracle if it survives the weather.
      No, no, he declines when offered some coins as change. Ha. Ha. Ha.
      He waves to his son through the glass panel on the door and smiles at the young couple who materialize at his elbow. Waiting their turn to sign the sheet. Returning his grin falteringly as he all but throws his hands in the air and steps away from the wall.

Monday, March 9, 2015

one minute poem

There is nothing
quite like tossing and turning
in one's quilt
one foot caught in the tear
to beat
a trip to the laundromat
or sewing
the cat in the bag to hurl
in the torrent
of one's own worst nightmare

Sunday, March 8, 2015

fagin, retiring

Overcome by the coughing, tins of beans rattling against my knees, I danced into the side street. Opened my mouth on a wad of phlegm.
     It leaped into the gutter.
     I paused to catch my wind. Convinced my heart would stop.
     "What a horrible old man."
     The bile wafted down from a tenement window. I glanced up, trying to attach a face.
     All there was were curtains hanging. Balloons. The unseen celebrating
one more birthday.

Friday, March 6, 2015


Not in the best of tempers, I was reflecting on the demise of the music weblog, the nature of those snide terrorists conspiring to plague all with DMCA takedown notices, when it struck me that those last throes may not be quite so premature after all.
     --------, for instance, that obsequious jockeying motherfucker in his Jimmy Olsen hat. Something of an ephialtes, certainly. Wheezing in and out on a dry stick dolled up as a theremin.
     Please god, put me to sleep.
     Playing the game on the last roll of the dice; comparing a not so warm voice in the ear to "a cognac in front of a fireplace". That uptight cocksucker always got right on my tits.
     Exposing the disfigured unwashed as grand farce. The drive by one percenter as Neanderthal clown.
     I prefer my meat carved clean.
     Not dragged onto my plate like a nag bound for the glue factory.
     I opened my bowels this morning and passed a stool the size of Africa. There is only so much shit that one must feel compelled to swallow. I miss Buk. I miss the doctor. I miss the collective howl of the self medicated rabble. I miss the fucking sting of slings and pygmy blowdarts, BB guns. The scream from the balcony, the veranda, the fall.
     I miss the inflamed dribbling nib of Gonzo.
     Thank Christ there are a few scripts still. Pushing what the Feds proscribe.
     And then there is Fuckbook.
     The sheer inanity of the like button to render idiocy superfluous. Fingers drawn to stab at that icon with the conviction of a gnat.
     Fuck me. I'll save you the trouble of searching for that nonexistent button. Fuck me.
     Feel free to trade punches.
     Better still, let's resort to elbows and feet. Boots. Open razors. Anything to mitigate the sheer mind-numbing torpidity of the effluent which passes for vim. Eloquence. And the assumption that shooting for it is the province of the timid. Let's just go at it like drunks.
    Duke it out motherfuckers.
    Let's get it on. It is always the dullard who assumes himself to be the righteous man of the people. The brain damaged seeking out the ever more imbecilic to hector and cajole. Let me confirm it for you. Take a jab at me, and I'll bite your fucking ear off. Bad teeth or not.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

the package

I should not have answered the door.
     It was late in the afternoon, and I assumed it was safe. I was working on my second glass of the day when I heard the summons. Deliberating on just how expensive it used to be to operate a typewriter. You know. The paper; those ribbons. It all added up. I have a printer, but it is forever out of ink. I seldom use it. Better just to bang away at the keyboard one fingered and send it out into the ether. The costs are marginal. And no need either for indented paragraphs, since no pulp is involved. Chainsaws. A damn sight easier on the eye these days. Unless one is especially anal and hankers after tradition.
     Anyway. There I was, doing nothing much in particular when I heard a persistent knocking. I don't have a bell, I can't abide the Pavlovian ring to it. If I still possessed a manual typewriter, an electric one even, I might never have heard the sound of bare knuckles on wood. Not over the relentless hammering these old machines served up when stroked.
     I stopped typing and made up my mind to answer it. I might just as easily have ignored it, you understand, but there I found myself, in front of my own front door, my fingers already on the key, turning it, and that - as they say - was that. Done fucking deal.
     The parcel courier could not have grinned any wider if he'd tried. It split his face ear to ear. One more wound in a weathered face. Rained on by hatchets. Inured to the fortune cookie. Had I ignored his knock, as expected, he would have been forced to drag his package back down the stairs unclaimed.
     "Can you take this parcel for your neighbour, buddy," he rasped.
     "Which one ?"
     "3/2. Morrison."
     "Oh, well," I hesitated. "I suppose so. I hardly know her, you know. Just to nod to. In passing."
     "You'd be doing her a favour."
     Fucker. He had me and he knew it.
     "I'll put a card through her door."
     Calculating the return trip upstairs to be worth the trouble.
     The old bastard sounded worse than me. A three pack a day habit. Two at the very least.
     The stairs are a killer.
     "Oh, all right," I conceded. And scrawled my name where prompted.
     Lol. He looked like a Lom, as in Herbert. In full makeup.
     I closed the door and took a long cold look at that package. It was big, though not especially heavy. A millstone around my fucking neck.

Thursday, February 26, 2015


The thing with circles, first and finally, is they have an innate tendency to run into obstacles. To collide with other circles. Squares even. Any number of geometries.
     And the circuits they traverse seldom run true.
     This goes for alliances. Writer's circles. Revolutions.
     Circles are tricky. Often times prickly.
     Stick one with a fork, and nine times out of ten it will collapse, in spite of all defences. Folding in on itself like a punctured lung. It's just a matter of time. Of course, sometimes circles will absorb one another too. Creating even bigger versions of themselves. Swelling like balloons until they rupture without warning.
     Other times simply dissolving.
     Circles are often pleasing to the eye. A polka dot, for example. But when they do burst, inevitably, they are sure to cause a mess. A spot, a zit, a pimple.
     Leaving behind just one more angry infected blister.
     These are the very worst kind of circles. Especially when they gather into a rash. Taking over the face. Uncontrolled. A blitzkrieg. A cancer.
May the circle be unbroken.
     Whoever so wished it was either an optimist or some kind of fool.


Wednesday, February 25, 2015


There is no such fucking thing
as a mystery
mysteries are for halfwit children
A jigsaw puzzle here
a conundrum there
all there is are misplaced nouns
a clouded adjective
the purgatory of a leading left

Monday, February 23, 2015

monk's gift

Out of the mouth of the pious
a working man
the wallet jumped edge straight
a temple, upstanding,
from pocket crease to pavement
impervious to even the shabbiest
rifling stitched corners

Saturday, February 21, 2015

the haircut

The poetry, the racking up of words like so many reds and blacks, was making me sick. Mostly I was pocketing the lower register. Yellows. The occasional brown. And my cheek stung from the double kiss.
     I collected my young son from nursery and decided what I needed most was a haircut. Some judicious barbering.
     On refection, this made miserable sense. The boy was clearly overexcited. Riding a sugar rush straight from a party for three-year-olds, glazed and flushed as a fruit machine wrestling a pay out, one arm cartwheeling as I fought to stuff both into the sleeves of a seemingly undersized coat.
     The frigid late afternoon did little to contain him. I seized his hand in mine and did my best to steer him safely through light traffic. The two of us lurching like drunks.
     We arrived at the barbershop and stepped inside. It could have been worse. Just one customer perched already under the sheet, eyes fixed on the mirror. The scissors did not pause as Anthony turned to acknowledge us. His mouth a tiny downturned slit. Saying nothing.
     I hung both our jackets on the coat stand and sat down to wait. Anthony's client did not look to be a difficult customer. Silently watching the scissors dance an inch above his skull.
     I motioned for Milo to sit beside me. Of course, he went straight to the window and parked himself on the ledge. Pulled an unopened box of crayons from his pocket and proceeded to count them out. It was then, I think, he produced the little carton of milk.
     "Milo. Later"
     He put the straw in his mouth and worked on it.
     "I love you, dad."
     "I love you too."
     Smiling the brittle smile of the indulging parent who has declared it for the eleventh time since noon.
     The barber and his client said nothing. The scissors performed their magic.
     The carton slid to the floor, bleeding milk over laminate.
     At this juncture I expected Anthony to put on a little show and tell him off. Just to establish ownership.
     But. Nothing.
     I got up and walked to the little staff toilet to get something to mop it up. Put the wadded tissue carefully in the bin. The carton too.
     In abject silence I sat back down.
     Nobody met my eyes. Not directly. Not in the mirror. No one. Except my son, grinning and oblivious.
     The door to the shop swung on its hinges. Another customer stepped inside. Still nothing. Not one word. I looked at my watch. An hour had passed. The original customer was almost completely bald. The scissors could not shear any closer.
     "Not too much off around the temples," he said.
     Leaves fell from trees. Winter fell. Anthony quietly snipped away.
     Somewhere a shotgun shell detonated and one more species ebbed its last.
     And Milo slid along the floor behind the chair like a puppy which has soiled itself and can not be scolded.
     Of course, I could just have surrendered and collected our coats. I am not immune to calling it a day. I cracked my knuckles. I sucked on my teeth. I brushed imaginary crumbs from my lapel.
     Anthony fetched a hand held mirror and held it to the back of the client's head. Stirred briskly at his neck with a little grooming tool.
     A sliver of a smile tickled the corner of the customer's mouth.
     The faintest outline of the last of the Mohicans.
     The young man rose and stepped out the chair. Glancing in my direction as he shook out his shirt.
     "Whose next ?"

I make sure my son is not about to kick out the window and climb into the chair. Anthony does not spread the sheet over my shoulders, but flicks behind my ears with his comb.
     "I don't know what you want me to do," he says. "You've been cutting at it yourself."
     "Just do what you can," I say. Thinking, I've been waiting for nearly two hours now and what I need is a haircut, not a lecture.
     "Your hair is bogging," he says. "I can't cut it like that."
     "What ?" I manage.
      His face is curled up like he is sucking on a fart. Without anything more he wheels about and steps out onto the street. I am left sitting there. Two minutes later I am on my feet and a girl enters the shop. Apparently, she is the manageress from the salon next door.
     "Look. What the hell is going on here. All I want is a haircut. I have no idea why Anthony is acting like this, he's cut my hair many times before."
     She doesn't say much. Except that maybe he is just having a bad day. Over her shoulder, I can see my part-time barber babbling into a mobile phone. Through the glass door. Another customer enters, a teenager. There are now three generations or more in the shop. Presently, she leaves without resolving a thing and Anthony bowls back in. Chin first. The shadow of a smirk tucked inside his collar.
     "I can't cut your hair," he goes again.
     "You're shitting me. Just what is your problem ?"
     I am boring down into his atrophied soul through a recently cultivated beard. His teeth are a lot healthier looking than mine, the gums juicy, plump, but he has twenty years or so the jump on me. It's to be expected.
     "Get out of my face, you fat dick," he says. "Walking around my shop like you own it, your damn kid tearing up the place and me with scissors."
     I look down at the counter on my left and see grooming product. Jars and plastic tubs. An open razor.
     "You fuck!"
     The razor is in my hand before I can stop myself. He is looking at me strangely, a fish, and he is wearing what appears to be a scarlet apron. I see french fries gathered at his throat and register that they are in fact fingers.
     He is making peculiar gurgling noises.
     The razor continues to whip back and forth like a windscreen wiper.
     "First off, this is not your shop! You just fucking work here!"
     "Daddy ? Dad ?"
     I am thinking. I am thinking. The fist tugging on my pants leg. The wet tingling on my brow which is not quite sweat, nor tears in the hollows between eye and cheekbone. There is nothing quite like a decent haircut. This side of a shave. The smell of hot towels. Shooting the shit. There is no friend like a good barber. The Turks are the best.
     "Let's get your coat. We're leaving."

Friday, February 20, 2015

the poet

So there he sits
the dunce, the dullard
the toerag
the eternal glowing optimist
cigarette drooling
on unscored paper, what kind
of fool is that ?
This white man deserving
of nothing
but contempt
waiting on a line or two
to drop into his lap
as ash
without the sense of timing even
to call it quits
what kind of truant is that ?

His poems, should he promise any
ought to go unanswered
breakfast for the institutionalized
the terminally sedated
God help us
they replace pistons, rods
with processors
so he may perch steeped in wanking
a bona fide effrontery
what kind of damned idiot is that
where are his credentials ?
who encouraged him in the first
to sit all day hatching piles
while leftovers
stink up the place unattended to
and people come knocking
just to ensure
that he has not done us all a favour

what kind of a waste is that ?

Wednesday, February 18, 2015


Just when I get to
climbing down out of my ass
I remind myself
that they removed his prostate
Now that is some
powerful fucking Brujería
to pin on his tail

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

in the clinic

They sent me for this Cat-Scan
to see just what the trouble was
why i had been coughing
as regular as a terminal TB case brewing

As I waited my turn
to ride the machine
a nurse gave me a little cup of water
to drink on down

It was far less desperate off the page
this wait, the bag of rags between the knees,
I appeared to be the only patient there
yet to receive
a diagnosis
All the rest bowled over on Chemo
brittle as vases
nodding occasionally like sunflowers
in spite of it all
the cheerless expanse of wall

They sat across from me sipping
as though the simple act of swallowing
was something unfathomable

And the machine
older now like the best of us
chipped around the edges
a fairground jalopy for catatonics,
listing this way
and that

injecting iodine for the simple
ballpoint reason of it

Well, I have squandered less memorable moments
and called it fun

The results
came back
a few weeks sooner than anticipated
The respiratory
scan was miraculously unblemished
but shadows
laboured in orbit

The clinician
made it clear
that this was something far from that
a trip to the moon, the unwritten side

beyond that
it was not his field

I remind myself of this
as I tear the cellophane
on my second pack of cigarettes
of the day
The picture on the reverse
is of a row of irreparably damaged teeth
it appalls me
how one is compelled to pay look on it

Saturday, February 14, 2015

the beard

I decided to sport a beard.
The more it grew the less convinced
I grew. I asked my boy
for some advice.

Shaved, you look like Herman Goering.

Unkempt, a dirty old man.

Could be as close
to a poet as I might hope to get.

Friday, February 13, 2015

pat garrett + billy the kid

When I say
I picked up my son from the subway
I mean I laid in wait
with grocery sacks
halfway between his stop and the house
I am getting old
the wine is not so easy on the joints
never mind the other shit
the food, this and that, the perishables

He took one bag
without my asking, he is a stand up kid
we wound our way
back up the hill at a snail's pace
I don't have it
in me to strike out pigeon chested
not with
a cigarette clamped
between broken teeth, spit feathering

I fumbled the key
and we stepped inside the smokehouse
no meat cured
dishes piled up in tidy stacks
set down those sacks and cracked a bottle

Well, I said.

I poured
two glasses, one small one just to be polite
and while his back
was still turned
while dogs bared fangs and dybbuks rumbled
the hair long,
blond, on his neck like some doomed
Greek god
twilight gathering at the shoulder
sat down to write a poem.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

after siberia

Like Chekhov's mouse
not Kafka's
goes out the bellow
raw and prolonged
To scream with pain, to roar, to marshal help
where no
help is forthcoming
Not from the balcony
but between the stalls

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

my uncle

My uncle
kept house
in the fashion of a serial killer

Rooms full
of valves
in boxes like excised organs

A monkey
puzzle tree
casting shadows on the half landing

soldering irons
laid out
like spoons

After my grandmother
I went from room to room searching
for just one
but never uncovered anything much beyond
those valves

a partially eaten
in a speaker cabinet

A newspaper:

The local
tooled up under Young Bundy
mob handed with hatchets, knives
as old as twenty
as young as twelve
A murder
My uncle
none of it, he dressed like a Ted

sunglasses, hipster goatee

A loner
in all ways
aloof and hunched behind the wheel of his van

A Ford, of course,
unremarkable as bread

a winning ticket

Let's assume I take a pencil
scratch the words "lottery winner"
on a blank piece of paper,
put it in a stamped envelope
with my name and address on it,
mail it to myself.
Will it solve anything ?
For once to go so easy on oneself ?

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

apples | oranges | MP3s | M9A1-7s

To expose
the workings of one's bowels in print
offends most people,
the smear of the ordinary
the taint of the awkward.

They would sooner bend and flush
than pause to examine
the fabric of self
to open one's guts with a scalpel
is a squalid affair
better left to the half-crazed imbecile
clogging up the plumbing
in hospital or zoo.

To bare one's flaccid ass in public
derails those senses
sensibly tuned to the finer things in life
for after all,
we all of us have our crosses to endure
it is not as if we need the reminder.

Bukowski said it best

we have come from the alleys
and the bars and the

we don't care how they
write the poem

But just when we got busy celebrating
they unveiled sweeter technologies
than the flame thrower
to punish or seduce
the invective proved all but redundant.

Nobody reads anything any more
Our eyelids are all tattooed and written over.

Monday, February 9, 2015



Tap, tap, tap
the stickmen go
moving over the bric-a-brac of shattered
the gimcracks of a gimp wedding
tap, tap, tap
half erect on sticks as stickmen are
a caravan on stilts
a paucity of drumming
juggling obscenities
the delusion of good timing
snuffling suits as only stickmen will
tap, tap, tap
go the stickmen
dancing on one leg, the fats of narrowed 
knick-knacks from the boc 'he-goat'
stinking up their twills
tap, tap, tap
loitering with intent
those sick stickmen
should we ever sober up we shall snatch away
their crutches,
scatter them like matches where we err
tap, tap, tap
the stuff of bilge and bandages
rudderless, stammering,
the stickmen go.


Her mind is an apartment where good things
spoiled over long summers

Where photographs yellowed
grew brittle so she could scarcely touch them

One memory after another dulling so that
all that is left are negatives.

Saturday, February 7, 2015

flowered up

Liam Maher, Tim Dorney, Joe Maher, Andy Jackson, 
John Tovey, Barry Mooncult

FLOWERED UP: WEEKENDER from "Weekender" 12" 45 Heavenly (HVN 16X) (UK) 1992

Friday, February 6, 2015

to the management | a skinny poem

We rouse in vicious morning
to dress after a suicide,
zippered boots
jeans, t-shirt
pea coat venting, a mosquito
on last night's stubble rash
a stew of causal nuisance
nothing too fancy
disarmingly attired,
hobbled from the first
The Watford Gap
a jockey might advance
to put his nag down gently
fuck off,
fuck off and die
in the fashion of dice,
an equestrian ruse
no tie, colours lashed, bruised
a breakfast of losers
a banquet
a bouquet of serrated roses
no thorns
for John or Jane Doe
Dom Perignon over dawn
twin rum babas
No raincoat
famously truncated
let them come out in the wash
We lean on a rod
of our poor back's devising
we would not have it
any other way, we might sooner
not have it at all
for where we dwell in dreams
of self maiming
there we relentlessly pursue.

Monday, February 2, 2015

granny takes a trip

THE PURPLE GANG: GRANNY TAKES A TRIP from "Granny Takes A Trip" 7" 45 BigT (BIG 101) (UK) 1967

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

pink as a freshly squeezed sunday

My dick,
summarily belittled
is not yet quite dead

it rests on cinders
mildly agitated

My tongue a slab of felt
surplus ounces
wound about
a sparking plug
sucking on my jelly bean.


Joe Henderson erects a monument on a blue note. Grant Green slowly climbs.

PETE LA ROCA:  LAZY AFTERNOON from "Basra" BlueNote (BST 84205) (US) 1965
GRANT GREEN:  LAZY AFTERNOON from "Street Funk & Jazz Grooves" Blue Note (BNZ 317) (US) 1967; 1993

Thursday, January 8, 2015

curiouser and curiouser


(To my voracious reader from Redmond, Washington. Please email me or leave a comment.)

I am curious.

Monday, January 5, 2015

happy new year

Sunday, December 21, 2014


the yule on the hill

For those who still frequent the bleachers, however sporadically, you may have noticed there has been a cull on dead links. Moreover, siblings & reprobates has seen a scythe run through it in a bid to weed out those sites which have not been updated in more than one year. 

Fonts sadly run dry.

Given my own very prolonged absence, this was an exercise I was somewhat reluctant to undertake; as I remarked elsewhere, I find it depressing that so many fellow siblings seem to have tired or simply bowed out. The motherfucker - and I quote Beer here - is in the passing. Should you happen to fall into said category, the world is a mildly duller place, I think, without your continued commitment. You know who I mean.

If I have been a tad too gung ho - and let me confess that I annihilated a host of distant relatives without a second thought - please accept my apologies. If I have inadvertently deleted any site which remains active, let me know by way of comment or email and I will gladly reinstate it.

A proportion of sites which have fallen silent, I suspect, may have found more vocal presence on Facebook or Twitter. Well. Since I participate on the former only rarely, the latter not at all, chances are your footprints there have gone undetected.

But Martha, the dead man’s sister, protested, “Lord, he has been dead for four days. The smell will be terrible.”
John 11: 39 

And the dead man came out, his hands and feet bound in graveclothes, his face wrapped in a headcloth.
John 11: 44

Get up. Get on the good foot. Unwrap it, wind it up and watch it go.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

the nursery

The little classroom smelled of energy. Fizz. It was not a smell, I don't believe, immediately familiar to those adult bodies squeezed into chairs several sizes too small. It was not a smell of skin. Finger paint. Cleaning products. Its totality was greater than its parts.

The children came in in pairs. Loosely joined at the wrists.

The murmuring unsettled them just a tiny bit. The raw skirts on the Christmas tree they had helped decorate. The fluorescent strip lights striking baubles; the cotton wool on the walls.

Rudolph's shiny nose.

My son was one of the last to be seated. One fist fluttering up in salute. I waved back.

Hey. Milo. 

The handbell sounded. The children gasped. Santa Claus approached with his sack full of gifts.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

there is no higher power

I went to a place lit nicely for recovering nuts.

They played ping-pong. Some of them frequented an arts lab where one might safely throw paint.

When not flailing over a table or weaving baskets signed off by Jackson Pollock at the corners, a good proportion of souls in transit chose to exorcise demons. In one rehab or another. The place, it seemed, had been hijacked by the twelve step program.

It was a haven for the stumbling. An ark of sorts.

Before rehab kicked off, they passed out bowls of soup to the assembled.

It was not for me, the rabid confessional. I sweated in my socks, hankering after an aperitif. Forewent the pea and ham for a cigarette, finally. Loitering at the wall-mounted ash cans out front with a few of the wary.

Jesus, one said. I'm not ready for this. It's too fucking full-on for my taste.
Amen. Said another.

I smoked my cigarette and said nothing at all. We had not been properly introduced, and I did not feel like making pleasantries. I had just had my head shorn. Every time I caught sight of my reflection in one glass pane or parked car I was greeted not by a penitent but the ghost of Hermann Göering. A nazi runaway on subpoenea.

Rehab's about to begin, boys. If you're interested.

The voice was kindly enough. I had seen the fellow collecting names at the door. Steering the malnourished here and there with a steely kind of reserve.

He had trouble keeping his dentures in place. We had something in common.

My legs wanted to move of their own volition in a similar way. To fashion an escape. Of course, I was not so rude as to begin to run. Not quite yet.

I had left my jacket to steam over a chair back there. A skin jumped out of.

I might as well have been standing up in my pyjamas. Drizzling in the rain.

I stubbed out my butt and went back inside to trade banalities with my escort, who, trapped in a phone call to the office, seemed blessedly remote. I smiled. Secretly glad. Withholding any evidence which might prove incriminating.

I did not make rehab. Nor have I been back since.

CODEINE: LOSS LEADER from "The White Birch" Sub Pop (SP166B) (US) 1994

Saturday, November 29, 2014

my block

"Completed May 31, 1963, the 8.27-acre Bronx development is bordered by Schieffelin Avenue, and East 225th and East 229th Streets."

Documenting the universal in delicious minutiae, this exemplary slice of life is lit in the shadows of the newly erected projects. 

Released the same month this Baychester development met completion, The Four Pennies' low rent issue - penned by Jimmy Radcliffe with Carl Spencer - sadly failed to dent the Billboard Top 50. Better known as The Chiffons, the Bronx quartet instead peaked at number five that same summer with Gerry Goffin and Carole King's "One Fine Day".

THE FOUR PENNIES: MY BLOCK from "My Block" c/w "Dry Your Eyes" Rust (5071) (US) 1963