Wednesday, December 13, 2017

a christmas carol

“Some people never go crazy. What truly horrible lives they must lead.” - Charles Bukowski

I squeezed the trigger and watched the fat cunt take two slugs squarely in the face. All because I did not want to get too close. His card was already marked. Terror. Not so much a stone as a sack of delinquent imps writhing about his throat. Wretched. Jockeying.
     Contagious as an curse.
     The first round, more fortuitously than by design, struck him between the eyes.
    The second hit him just above his right cheekbone, depositing on the wall behind him an inverted triangle of scalp the approximate shape of Barbados.
      It was the closest the cunt had come to a holiday since 1992.
      I felt all warm inside just like Santa Claus.

Saturday, December 9, 2017

and the privileged will eat themselves

“Sometimes you climb out of bed in the morning and you think, I'm not going to make it, but you laugh inside... remembering all the times you've felt that way.” - C. Bukowski

Rain threatened. An ugly purple glowering. I was listening again to some Charles - Bukowski not Ray - while my ex-wife dressed the truculent seven-year-old between coffees. '90 Minutes in Hell', via Nothin' in Sacramento. 

     Three short damaged pieces. I did not get so far as 'May Make Paris Yet' before the doorbell chimed.
     The visitors are slick customers. Bearers of gifts. Their sleight of hand when trick or treating is easier overlooked.
     Things are seldom what they seem.
     The outcome is often a far cry from small change cultivated.
     " on the outside with blackened channels, charred tansgressions touching 1mm at the bone."
     Swine flu in the mouths of fish.
     The hand-written note on the back of a folded playing card unsettled me. 
     It conjured for me notions of plague. Bubonic transmissions. That "1 mm", though, seemed altogether too modern. Anatomically precise. 
     The metric overture to an excision. 
     Last night I had a dream. The Chinese had invaded. Or maybe the incursion came from dead space. Pregnant realms deep under. Whatever. 
     Twenty-three to thirty of us were detained by day in a 're-education centre'. Permitted home under cover of darkness to complete an assignment. The Chinese were coolly efficient. Suave and clinical in their Jimmy Chu suits. Papier mâché Mao Tse-Tung masks.
     I had a crush on a female translator with obsidian eyes and a bull horn.
     She promised excellent head without once delivering on it. 
     I did not complete my homework. The deadline came and went. I stepped over tables where the privileged dined. Plunged down winding lanes.
     I walked hand in hand with the visitors.
     Slept fitfully on corners. 
     The very next morning I was outnumbered by a gathering of Caucasians slyly unveiling beautifully executed Cartouches celebrating occupation.
     They disembarked from a gaily painted bus.
     Jewelled porpoises rode the wings through an ocean of supernovae.
     Sperm whales the size of trawlers devoured entire galaxies like so much plankton.
     "You, who have done, have done well."
     The charming young woman behind the bull horn beamed.
     I fled for the bus stop with my bottle of Peptac Liquid wrapped in a paper sack. 
     Aniseed. The Peptac Liquid, not the sack. There is a world of difference between heartburn and underlying condition. When I was a young man, I suffered from heartburn a good deal of the time. 
     A little Milk of Magnesia always worked wonders. 
     I sat down to the desktop monitor as soon as I'd made coffee. Punched open a tab. Googled the line as I remembered it. 
     The computer is growing too sluggish to be smartly useful, the beach ball spins and idles. Like its operator, it may require therapy. Psychiatric intervention.
     The search unexpectedly yielded more than one result. Nothing verbatim, but close enough.
     "illustrate the taphonomic complexity involved in the formation of burnt fish .... transgression, supra-tidal berm building, ... fragments smaller than 1 mm in size. ..."
     "DNA from burnt bone in the early stages of burial. Nicholls. (2000) also considered bone mass as a ...... in the site at all levels, particularly in the 1 mm fraction'. ...... transgression (c.6000 BP). Thus, the archaeological record ..."
     "An Experimental Approach to Understanding Burnt Fish Bone". Something more vaguely archaeological. Well. I am no chef. I might occasionally dabble with sauces on the side, but my capability with fish is strictly third rate. Raw tuna; a breaded haddock tossed under the grill.
     I don't remember consulting any recipe. Folded between Mesozoic deposits.
     This conundrum, such as it is, is more curious than debilitating.
     King Charles' 90 minutes - 12-14 of them, at least - has again given me pause for thought. The finances are not good. I am working up contingencies. Drumming up a sweat.
     The poetry waits on its implementing.
     The telephone rang.
     "Hello ? " a passive aggressive voice intoned. A woman's voice. Crisp. Smouldering. Shot through like a neon frog charred with cigarette burns. "We have your son here at the office. He does not look too good."
     "Well, " I said. "That's a matter of opinion."
     "No. No. He does not look good. Period. You will have to collect him."
      The older boy. His condition, apparently, critical.
      The irony, of course, is that Kerouac - up on bricks - was more often off, than on the road. Visions of Neal. Cody. The train hurtling past his bedroom window as he sat at a desk and fed white paper in and out.
     It was the rhythm which appealed to me, I think. The music of it. Before Eliot. Plath. Camus. Joyce. Stone. Trocchi. Ezra pounding.
     An unabashed exuberance. Sharp creases duly crumpling. Exploding into fragments.
     "Listen," I said. "You'll have to wait. I have bigger fish to fry."
     Well. You are familiar enough with dipping those little squares of paper. The litmus test. Coming up red. Indigo. Occasionally a neutral yellow green. 
     The rainbow in a bruise.
     It's all the forensics I know. 
     Maybe a Pablo could make sense of it all.
     And my older son ? Thank you for asking, he's doing quite well. A lukewarm glass of milk was all it took. 
     A pavement cafe.
     A couple of weeks in Portugal.

Wednesday, December 6, 2017


Family Visits


"I'll tell you what i generally do
- and this is kinda crazy -

well, we go round and visit a lot;
we go to people's houses..."
do what thou wilt.
illustration by ib.

Monday, December 4, 2017


He walked down the street and took a bus to the airport.
     No box of lights.
     The sun through the slatted fence blinked at him like a strobe. It made him sick to the pit of his stomach.
     The road once he got on it was uneventful.
     There was nothing to save him painted on the bricks sliding past.
     He got there and did not think to check in. He held no passport anyway.
     He went straight to the cafeteria.
     Watched the planes roll in only to take off again two or three cups of coffee later. No broken wings or supports in splints.
      It cost him twenty pence just to urinate against a wall.
      He got the bus home and disembarked with a sixty a day habit.

Saturday, December 2, 2017

twin decastich for hauf blind fucks on a glesga sofa

fat cunt

The fat cunt upstairs is limping again
through the early hours
a three-legged elephant locked in a trunk
psalms from Postman Pat
recited at the top of scorched lungs
he would go over the balcony as at the Somme
so entrenched is he in his night of the soul
and his doctor has spared him antidepressants
a sick note rubber stamped
on the flat screen rattling like an MG 08

butcher’s girl

I am hankering after your calves
a butcher hamstrung at the foot of his larder
the indecent swell above the ankle of one laced boot
those dimples sleeping behind each knee
I am smitten by the timing of your tide
that erratic flow inside the seam of your tights
girl’s shorts
I am gladly bludgeoned
a servant to your footsteps on the stair
a harvester of unspoiled fats, meat, marrow

Sunday, September 24, 2017

well well well

A torrent. A cloud burst. 
Cats. Dogs. Now and then, spit. 

An oily smear across the t.
A single droplet dotting the i.

The passage of water eats words
the stutter of consonants
a paragraph that can not swim

A voiding of the vowels.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

diplomant 2.0

"Every truth passes through three stages before it is recognized. In the first, it is ridiculed. In the second, it is opposed. In the third, it is regarded as self evident." - Arthur Schopenhauer
All flight paths to perdition converged on P'Yongyang. A ridiculous haircut.
     He sat snuffling Cointreau like a spoiled little bitch. All that was missing was mink, a shard of ice off the shoulder.
     He sat trailing a long shadow.
     It spilled off the stool and onto the floor. Climbed up the washing machine and ate into exposed brick.
     An inky aspidistra itching to shed leaves.
     The decor was frigid. Magnolia. Baked tile. A tea-towel hanging next to the porthole window. A map of San Francisco in the shape of a heart. Pier 39; Fisherman's Warf. Bleeding out toward the Golden Gate Bridge.
     It was a night for arseholes.
     Buses in the rain.
     He got down off the stool and threw open the door. Fell twice, while cueing up George Jones.
     The cigarette glow mashed across his face.
     Aside from ghosts, he spent Halloween happy hours holed up alone. His left elbow practically in the kitchen sink. Flirting with anxieties.
     He could not wait to buy himself a dog. A Shih Tzu maybe. Teach it to squat in a sandbox in the corner like an infant spilling out its pants.
     The right hand a paddle as eager to chastise as reward.
     Like a bitten ring left in the ashtray, the tail of a dress shirt caught in the closet, he gave himself away. From here, under the ceiling light, he could glance back between the years to count close friends lost.
     He missed each more than he missed his mother, his wife, that was the still pulseless heart of it.
     His legacy was a tumour ducking into a taxi like an engraved folding blade.

Sunday, September 3, 2017


"you cannot shake hands with a clenched fist." - Indira Ghandi
Me and my dick have seen better times.
     I say this, in part, to rattle an acquaintance so anal grammatical treatises are practically dropping out of her arse.
     In the main, I mention it as a nod to fumbled moments better spent.
     That which doesn't kill you makes you stronger, some say. That which doesn't quite snuff out the candle has a propensity to simply maim instead. My pissy old dick is not so much a monument as an embarrassment: wrung out; battered; a stub of rubber cod after years of legally prescribed chemical abuse. The head all scarred and listing like a middle-aged spastic trailing a shopping cart full of kelp home after dark.
     A target for sticks of two by four. Crumbling bricks.
     Well. I refuse to tie it up in latex as a gift. Leaking pearls before swine.
     It limps on as we all do. Tiny wind-up soldiers marching in circles. Straight off the kitchen table and onto the linoleum.
     A runaway jihadi hoodwinked into modelling a suicide vest.
     We are all of us, at the end of the day, survivors of sorts.
     Rewind the tape. Spit it out. The morning anti-psychotic. The gastro-resistant gelatin capsules.
     Doctor Feelgood is in rehab and unable to answer the phone.
     My tumescent appetite trembles on the wire.

Friday, July 28, 2017


"...don't bite the hand that feeds you, it's said. I'll chew the f@cking digits off the first paw that rattles my cage." - ib

Outside in the quadrangles bees hustle atop the daisies.
     Jockey and drone. Inch and fart.
     Strung out. Buzzing.
     Pursuing the amber dust which underpins their shantytown.
     I sit nursing the hole in my tooth while the half shogun slam poet from Negril lays down his Mocha. Chases a crumb from the dreadlocks fizzing onto his lapel.
     His giggle tumbles out the nostril like a finely tuned summer sneeze.
     "Half past four is good," he trills.
     A master at racket ball, he squashes the opposition with a well timed glance to the midriff. He prides himself on his athletic bent.
      Less so, that priapic pilfering waist deep in the bowels of the lower third.
      It's a long way down from the twenty-second floor.
      The smile recedes abruptly and his eyes narrow as if surprised to find me there at all.
      He offers me a finger of shortbread.
      Berates the stricken of heart apropos of nothing and glances at his watch.
      "Hmph," he huffs.
      I look to the spaces lurking between bookshelves. Newspaper clippings. Marley's martyr. Despite ghosts past he is astonishingly far from advanced in years.
      The skin peeking out from under crumpled linen a youthful laundered suit.
      Up here in the ivory nest where the bumbling hover the reception is peculiarly rarefied.
      I vow to flee before he smashes my ball down centre court. But not before I deliver up a map. Surrender it entirely. His head is still dizzy with hurricanes. That perfume etched in the seam of Irene's raw silk knickers.
      Some fool's nectar.
      It's why I read so little, these days. The fear of synchrony.
      Religious intolerance.
      Road rage. 
      Pygmy villagers brandishing torches to light the failing thread from one paragraph to the next.
      "Ah well," he concludes. "I can't promise anything, but let me wish you all the best."
      He reaches across the desk to clasp my hand.
      The old magick.
      Invitations. Ropes which maim and cripple.
      And, lodged in the corner of his eye like an aristocrat in exile, something which resembles disdain.

Friday, April 7, 2017

eat poop

Eat poop! the mimeograph chants. Each letter rippling on the t-shirt's bib where he drops down in his armchair.
     A sackful of rubble upended from the rafters.
     The years, as they are wont to chime, have not been kind.
     Springs eaten at by various body fluids protest and expire. Explode. Cockles and whelks sewn beneath the waterline disintegrating in clouds where fishwives dance in lead clogs.
     Pablo Dillinger, errant choirboy, sibling to that medieval guild, is never hasty. Too rotund by far, a portly disciple, he is slow to respond to flattery or jibe. "Later" is his mantra. A Vedic hymn fallen on deaf ears mostly.
     A sullen mediator. A sulky correspondent.
     A Prussian brat.
     News comes to him that some words or other have been published in Sacramento, of all places. News falls unheralded out a trove shipped across the seas, greedily received, plugged through all the same by this dreadful pause he is powerless to commute.
     Red and black. Well, more of an orange. Dusted with ochre.
     It reminds him of the thirties.
     Bertolt deconstructed in the wings.
     Bottle caps studding the stage where the have fallen on the comet tail of Kristallnacht.
     Even as the first air strikes detonate benignly, the scaffolding has come down. Labourers have fled. Joiners, painters. Bakers of bread.
     Pablo carefully unfolds a yellow slip. Until it occupies the space served up on a napkin.
     8½ x 14, halved.
     No staples. 
     He hoovers up the ballpoint.
     The brotherhood has been busy.
     Fuck, yeah.
     It tickles him immensely to learn that the word is right now in the process of being dispersed, undiluted, to see his initials in print, to think of entire paragraphs dribbling into corner culvert incontinent, or spirited away half torn under the windshield wiper of a runaway blue and silver civic bus.
     Fuck the Ministry.
     The primary content is thus. A 9mm parabellum handgun, fully oiled and loaded, manufactured in 1969, parcelled in a tricolour of vests. A panther on a leash.
     If we are not yet despondent we are disconsolate, nonetheless.
     No fleas on Ahab. 
     He already has paid six years in advance while on remand waiting.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016


A watchful neighbour might attest,
he is not one to shout
A watchful neighbour might
be hard of hearing

The whisper when it comes
bubbles on the lips, dribbles off the vest
before it has a chance to form,
evolve into a


A maroon snail backfiring
at the traffic stop
A splash
A mollusc sewn with the bends
An atheist grown secular
as a dung beetle at a donkey convention
An ass courting elephant ears

The shout that is stifled at the straw poll,
the bellow that rattles around the waterhole

The roar that is the exquisite fruit
of assembly lines given over to rust
between 3 and 4 AM.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

once again for emphasis | the only book you'll never need

"I was hungry for words, the anarchist typography of dub..." - ib
The first paragraph had no legs. It fell out my mouth sideways on a stutter, a wad of phlegm gathering in the crotch of a paraplegic with a tic.
     The black dog was busy licking its balls. Under my bed. The sofa. I got up and kicked it two thirds unconscious.
     A thin stream of snot issued from its snout.
     It was only about two inches tall, the cunt, a ball of wool with broken kirby grips for limbs. Much like the rest of us, it was destined for a bad end. I nudged it onto the fringe of the rug and coughed again for emphasis.
     "See you, you little shite," I snarled. The ghost of Hector Nicol eating up the consonants, my teeth not in yet, an old woman's shawl at the shoulders.
     A truck out front dropped its gate and with it several lengths of scaffolding.
     Someone howled. The scream of a child forced out of forty-year-old lungs. It looked like it might turn out to be a fine day after all.
      "Heh." I went.
      The clock winced where I left it wound up on its shelf. I ground the heel of my good foot on that soft part of the mutt. A tiny watermelon sprang a leak.
     The first paragraph of the morning is often wasted on the cheap seats. A premature ejaculation.
     If you have never lived in Paisley, you will not appreciate the irony.
     The middle class on its uppers, scribblers in Edinburgh in the main, do their best to disguise it as writer's block. One off the wrist.
     The small minded will often try to collect it in a handkerchief before disposing of it politely.
     Well. What they dismiss as wank we bottle as an aperitif.
     Where there is muck there is brass, and where there is brass there are monkeys smashing cymbals. Anarchy around the corner.
     I am nothing if not a kindly old soul. I like to think of myself as genteel in my dotage.
     If you are shrewd you might forgive my shortcomings.
     Just like Alan Ladd I need a box to step up on to reach a measure of myself. A splash of colour in those freckles diving between a sweetheart's breasts.
     The mutt stirred. Writhed.
     I shook one toe at it.
     Its head snuck back beneath its paw. Its hindquarters shivered. The tail, tragic, bruised - a choirboy wizard's busted wand - entirely gave up the ghost.
     Gingerly, I picked it up. Popped its backbone between two fingers.

Sunday, August 28, 2016

mickey's monkey

""Shoot," I said." - ib
I was hungry for words, the anarchist typography of dub, but my stomach had other ideas.
     I was waiting for one or other's finger to drop on the letters "h-e-a-v-E", but even those few I still held out for were visibly asleep on the mouse. On the run from the burden of correspondence.
     Heavy, heavy manners.
     One bone after another. Jawbones. Trombones. Hambones. Eventually connecting with the bird-cage nesting cerebellum.
     Left and right hemisphere, hindbrain.
     That lowest part of the brainstem responsible for the art of breathing; the ebb and flow of digestive juices.
     Heavy manners.
     Hangovers. Alcohol. Narcotics. The humming bewilderment of sinsemilla, without seed.
     The entire world seeming for one second to inhale and sit on it, the news not even wholly bad, it is as if our collective bent is on convalescence between one foul atrocity and the next.
     There is a war going on, it is not the war we were taught we were waging, we are out of cigarettes but not yet out of skins.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

See my baby jive

"...we lived on the same page. We shared a certain olfactory bent." - ib
The man hovering in the doorway resembled Henry Chinaski in a suit borrowed from the C.I.A.. An invisible pork pie hat.
     The rain spat into empty flowerpots on the balcony behind him.
     The boys bickered down the hall.
     I don't mean several rude acquaintances deep in a game of cards. I mean my boys. The five-year-old and the teenage delinquent Waffen-SS tank commander rumbling in their turret.
     The Chinaski character pretended not to hear.
     He held onto the demeanour of someone who sets store by tact. A civil servant, for instance, moonlighting for the Agency.
     In less than a month or so all residue of it would have evaporated. Leaving in its place a caustic observance of protocol merely, a standing on ritual chewed up, masticated, coaxed into a line delivered out the side of one's mouth.
     He held out a laminated badge. Pinned to the pocket under his jacket lapel.
     "Good morning, sir."
     Ipsos MORI, the blue and green square announced. G-Man.
     "Shoot," I said. 

Monday, August 22, 2016

the indiscrete art of ass puppetry

"A Stephen Hawking voice said Take it. Share it." - 15.08.2016 18:12
The lemur's keeper read my mail while I sat hatching a plan. Where we diverged geographically, we lived on the same page. We shared a certain olfactory bent. The lemur. Me. His keeper
     An obligation, an irascible itch. An able filcher's predilection for ass puppetry.


LUNAR LEMUR: OM LATTE from "The Indiscrete Art Of Ass Puppetry" Trinket Trance 2016

Saturday, August 20, 2016

silky arachnids | stickbots are go

"One by one, his audience, if that is what they amounted to... stole away." - ib 
The black dog was busy licking its balls. Under my bed. The sofa. I got up and kicked it two thirds unconscious.
     A thin stream of snot issued from its snout.
     A truck out front dropped its gate and with it several lengths of scaffolding.
     The driver hopped drunkly on one foot and howled. It looked like it might turn out to be a fine day after all.
      I snapped the waistband of my undershorts over the cold barrel of a snub nose .38. So the label read. If it still held just one in the chamber I might have emptied it into the mutt. As it happened I was loaded with the flu. A couple of Paracetamol ought to do that trick my night nurse refused to turn. The bitch would not put out.
      Even pumped full of steroids she could not fix a limp.
      The Russians were in no hurry to accept her defection. No one else got in line.
      Just like Alan Ladd she needed a box to step on to reach a measure of her shortcomings. Four feet eleven in socks and only a rose in black and white.
      A blush. Well. A suspicion of colour in those freckles diving between her breasts.
      The mutt stirred. I shook one toe at it.
      Its head snuck back beneath its paw. Its hindquarters shivered. The tail, tragic, debilitated - a boy wizard's splintered wand - entirely gave up the ghost.

Monday, August 15, 2016


"I have grown tired of confederacies I strive to sculpt by rote. I have grown secular as a dung beetle." - ib
After a long, sleepless night the sky was the sweetest of blues, candyfloss, dusted with sugar from a tuppenny wrap.
    An unused toilet roll stretched loosely about the heavens.
    While he waited for the kettle to boil he read several lines from a newly published anthology of poems. Penned by an old acquaintance.
    The imagery was crystalline. The thrust of it not remotely obfuscated as he had led himself to expect. A change of tack. He found himself reflecting on familiar patterns. Terrains. Cellular structures.
    He thought he recognised in it something of his own. A trick of the light.
    Though it was far from cold where he sat near the window, he slammed shut the jacket of the book as if escaping a draft, and moved his fingers to the buttons on his cardigan.
    His hands shook. A marionette's on a trembling wire. This acquaintance was old, but in years a virtual youth still. The issue of a younger island. A Caribbean jewel once the playground of tricorn hats.
     Hushed admonitions thundered overhead. Accordions wheezed. His feet jostled to move him to throw up in the kitchen sink.
     He went out to the veranda instead and sat with his morning coffee.
     He had long fallen out of love with burning flakes of tobacco, but the craving still arose from time to time like a fluttering in his throat.
     The woman was at her habitual spot in the window across the street. Her neighbour sat on the stoop just above the concrete stairs. One ear cocked. Listening to children squabbling on their way to school.
     He raised his cup and in the act of it broke wind. None too cacaphonous, but loud nonetheless.
     His fart had an elegant mellifluousness to it, he felt, trumpeting on the accent, faintly whistling as it tailed.
     Reverberating through close to break as waves against brick walls.
     The scribe was unbowed. He had committed many wrongs in his life, certainly, but always he resisted that old testament notion of original sin.
     One by one, his audience, if that is what they amounted to, calmly shuffled to their feet and stole away.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

zip gun method stuns riot police dunkin' donuts

Dearest vegan,

     Pit bulls and pinheads, bullfrogs and spiny fins,
     brothers and sisters.
     Well. Well. Fuck the punctuation. That bucket sunk in the ground. Fishing for tadpoles, where a more emphatic pause jostles to be received.   
     Rejoice. The abject demolition of the lung, the pin pulled on a nebulizer.
     Better just to dance after the bandages come off than raggedly recite a weather forecast in reverse.
     1976. #7. A dragon. The fire snake asleep at the hearth.
     The summer has not delivered. The promise of a mistrial. The master wind blows ill, a lot of hot air in the bullhorn.
     A Honda backfiring at the traffic stop.
     I have not taken up a cigarette in more than sixteen weeks. What is the point ? Better to give up finally than give in to last requests.
     We are smoked. The bacon fat curls the edges of a knocked off Qur'an. A prop. A counterfeit. 114 units of varying lengths, distressed like orphaned pigs' tails.
     I have not done much writing. I walked a good deal. Then I came down with a virus. A cold. Man flu, a nurse uncharitably quipped. They were all out of nuns. The best of them got eaten up by airstrikes. Dispensing alms to unbelievers, hogtied under hospital beds. 
     The faint rash of a sun tan came to nothing in the end.     
     I have grown tired of confederate effigies I strive to sculpt by rote. I have grown secular as a dung beetle.
     A schizophrenic tried to put me straight and failed to proscribe my meandering. My gums continue to bleed in the bathroom sink of a morning. The teeth themselves remain mostly intact.
     Aside from this, I am quite well, thank you.

Monday, March 28, 2016

doctor benway makes work for idle hands

"It was just that I felt out of step with prevailing weather patterns." - ib
I resolved to divest myself of corpse hair from head to toe. To more accurately calibrate the distance between bruise and wall, the Velcro bracelet of eczema and smooth plaster.
     I did not make the first phase of it, the shaving of the skull.
     I did not make it.
     There was no ritual cleansing of the body. There was no rolling away the stone.
     I stepped out the bath without treading water. I could not bare to hear the sudden rush of it.
     The razor lay where I placed it next to the soap, a pubic curl embedded in the amber translucent heart of it like a fossil or a negligent surgeon's stitch.
     Something happens between January and April. Resolutions wither on the vine, just as yellowed fats asphyxiate the vein, the artery, dislodged like the best of intentions.
     My quit date came and went. The cigarette glued to my lip, the ceramic perimeter of a inexpertly mended ashtray.
     How do you like my emotion tree ? she asked.
     It looks like it needs a Valium, doll.
     I never learned to keep my mouth shut. Even as I forgot to breathe.
     Through the narrowest of tunnels.
     I listened to the radio. The channel murmuring thick invective as I slumbered on the sofa in a rudely sewn together pile. Too sick in my bones to move beyond a twitch.
     A young woman in India had been doused in acid. A suicide bomber in burning dungarees had just detonated his vest in a children's playground in Pakistan.
     I chewed on curdled sours. Spat them back out like Robert Mugabe breaking bread with indigenous insurgent admirers. I fled to the window and watched two dogs squaring up to fight.
     A bitch in a Pomeranian furred parka. A witless terrier.
     The needle grazed fifty while my eyes were resting. My pelvis fell like it was floored.
     My mind had scrambled back in the trunk years earlier but it had a habit of sneaking out to write once in a while when no one was looking.
     There were twelve cunts gathered round the table.
     I pulled up a chair and made it a baker's dozen.
     No-one was going to invite us any time soon to sit down as a jury. You could tell from the errant tufts of hair, the furtive glances, the chewed on hangnails, that we were likely more accustomed to being molested in the dock.
     One of us sported an alarming contusion where practicing Sannyasi daub paint upon their brow.
     He was frigid and unflinching under polite interrogation. He gave no indication as to whether he was tripping out his socks or simply mad.
     He rolled the pen across the table when prompted a little too fast.
     He failed to pass his disability assessment.
     A voice rolled upright and wrestled for clarity.
     Sanders savages Clinton in Washington. Milwaukee pokes its tongue into the corner of green sedimentary blown glass. Garry Shandling dies. There is no encore, no part two.
     The surgeon knits one, purls one just like granny. The barber calmly snips.
     The fat man upstairs is depressed but has been prescribed no pills to alleviate his condition. They throw him out of hospital after just a fortnight.
     Those two weeks are nothing short of a holiday for all concerned.
     The fat man relishes the free dinners served at regular intervals. And, because the ward is all but unoccupied, he enjoys a monopoly on the flat screen television.
      How do I know this ? The fat man tells me so.
      I take in a young Jack Russell to see how far I would get walking the dog. I listen to Emerson, Lake & Palmer just to punish myself and find myself implausibly wanting more. The puppy pisses on my carpet. I do not warm to the neighbourly practice of wrestling its turds into plastic bags to dispose of them discreetly. It escapes and I labour after it in the dark, attempting to lure it away from the genitals of other dogs with rawhide chews purchased from the crappy lime lit corner shop.
     Stop me if you've fucking heard this one before.
     The circus tent is straining under all that political correctness. The global village has been commandeered by terrorists, geriatrics in a national lottery to sock the patsy in the jaw. The barbershops are overrun by skinheads. Merle Haggard is back in the saloon.
     Don't stop me now. I'm having such a good time, I'm having a ball.

Monday, March 14, 2016

president gas

"The point is, you can never be too greedy." - Donald John Trump

The needle grazed fifty while my eyes were resting. My pelvis felt like it was shattered.
     My mind had scrambled back in the trunk years earlier but it had a habit of sneaking out to write once in a while when no one was looking.
      It was not that I felt old. Or more beleaguered than the next inebriated wretch.
      It was just that I felt out of step with prevailing weather patterns.
      The world was fucked. The fat man padding restlessly back and forth upstairs until my brain felt like it might erupt out my nose in a Pharaoh's sneeze.
      America seemed hell bent on electing an imbecile to office, and while I never once fancied to venture far from my island home - to holiday in extremis - the mosques were piling up in rows while the beach huts winced and paddled out into the sea. Just to escape the crowds.
      The niqab had all but eclipsed the ubiquitous little black dress in all the smartest periodicals.
      Going postal was the fashion.
      Strapping on the explosives vest. Posing for Instagram with the pin between thumb and forefinger. YouTube.
      In our schools, the lockers bristled not with sticks of incense but clips and magazines.
      The ones getting stoned had been accused of adultery.
      The KKK shared column inches with the PKK. The ballots were not rigged, they were governed by market stalls peddling trumpery. Tiny hands fluttered like blades at work on a rabbit. Palming coins, shuffling cups.
      I took in a young Jack Russell to see how far I would get walking the dog. I listened to Emerson, Lake & Palmer just to punish myself and found myself implausibly wanting more. The puppy pissed on my carpet. I did not warm to the neighbourly practice of wrestling its turds into plastic bags to dispose of them discreetly. It escaped and I laboured after it in the dark, attempting to lure it away from the genitals of other dogs with rawhide chews purchased from the corner shop.
      It is not that the Donald is some kind of magician.
      The sleight of hand is pure deception.
      The circus tent is straining under all that political correctness. The global village has been commandeered by suicide bombers, geriatrics in a national lottery to sock the patsy in the jaw. The barbershops are overrun by skinheads. Merle Haggard is back in the saloon.
      They might as well share a joint and fuck each other in the ass on stage like people used to do back when Cassius Clay welched on Uncle Sam.
      Obama. Merkel.
      The baby boomers are having none of it.
      They are too close to retirement to countenance their Miami burning down like Aleppo. Beirut. Old Baghdad.
       The Jack Russell packed her bags after just three nights.
       Millie. She was a sweet little thing. Like Michael Jackson's pet rat.
       A week after she had gone I could not get the smell of shit out from under my nails. My balls. It followed me around like a migrant in cheap cologne.

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

nurse with wound

"Selfishness is the unwillingness to give up your soul for the rehabilitation of your future." - Michael Bassey Johnson

There were twelve cunts gathered round the table.
     I pulled up a chair and made it a baker's dozen.
     No-one was going to invite us any time soon to sit down as a jury. You could tell from the errant tufts of hair, the furtive glances, the chewed on hangnails, that we were likely more accustomed to being molested in the dock.
     One of us sported an alarming contusion where practicing Sannyasi daub paint upon their brow.
     He was frigid and unflinching under polite interrogation. He gave no indication as to whether he was tripping out his socks or simply mad.
     He rolled the pen across the table when prompted a little too fast.
     There was a hint of agitation in his delivery. A touch of the disorderly.
     A pregnant woman in her forties did her best to pacify us with lure of charitable inclusion while fellating a Subway sandwich.
     "I'm Mabel," she said. Pausing to let this new enormity percolate on down. "Have any of you's done unpaid work before ?"
     A boy with acne raised his hand.
     "Ah did," he volunteered. "But then I got ill."
     "What happened ?"
     " Mania," he said. "I was diagnosed with mania."
     Mabel blinked. "Nae bother."
     Fair play to her. She was not about to let drop. Ball, breakfast or brat.
     She went on briskly to describe the proactive role voluntary work had to play as part of the recovery process. Most of us knew the script.
     It's a side effect of being subject to repeat examination. In court. Detention.
     The dugout at half-time.
     You eventually learn to give a little of what's expected.
     Mabel fed us from the line. Pointed at the spot.
     Two or three of the clever ones converted a free kick down the wing and finished with a well rehearsed set piece. Some dribbled inside the box. The more blatantly injured - the most cunning, maybe - never set foot off the bench.
     I wondered when Mabel got fucked last.
     More recently than me. It was not the reason I was here, but it was part of the conundrum.
     Over time the various medications turn a body flaccid. The tissues hang like an overcoat left out in the rain.
     It runs deeper than appearance.
     I glanced around the table. Most of us looked like we'd never been laid at all. You could almost smell the underlying arrest. The frustration. We resembled a bunch of deviants getting ready to rehearse a walk in the park.
     Even those of us with bread crumbs still in our beards had lost their hard-on for pretending to feed the ducks.
     And the women all nursed menopausal chiselings.
     We just did not tick the boxes.
     Initiation into the "Young Persons Befriending Services" quite frankly seemed absurd. Two tickets for a Sunday matinee. "Accidents & Disasters", while initially more promising, smacked of malingering. On closer inspection.
     "Do any of you's have a bus pass ?"
     Two or three woke up just long enough to delve unnecessarily in anorak pockets.
     It was not clear whether Mabel's experiment in largesse might prove prejudicial to our financial interests.
     Most of the vacancies offered no remuneration for travel expenses. Lunches.
     By the time Mabel signed off, interest in the accompanying PowerPoint presentation had waned to a degree where A&E nurses wheel out little square trolleys and doctors administer atrial fibrillation.
     "All right," sang one of our patrons. "All right." 
      There was an inevitable smattering of applause. All the red crosses had been laundered and folded away. Our facilitators all nursed wounds.
     "Next week is DVD week, so you're all invited to bring in something you feel might benefit the group."
     Thirteen pairs of eyes mildly blinked in unison. Crutches were palmed.
     The boy with acne lit up like Linda Blair on a crucifix.
     "La plume de ma tante," he rasped.
     His face a rosy stepped on welt. The quarter inch of tongue a turd smothered in Peri Peri sauce.
     "Well," one hausfrau standing near the door smiled. "That's not entirely appropriate.
     "Frozen? Have any of you's seen "Frozen" ? I kid you not, it's a fabulous film."
      A tiny shiver waltzed through us, erupting zits and spasms.
      She had recently had her hair done. It hung like sculpted ice cream scallops. Defrosting curl by curl.
     ""Frozen", it is, then. And don't forget to tell your chums."

Sunday, February 21, 2016

high plains drifter | in fear of the cloud

I am not good at networking. I am ambivalent as to the advantage of submitting to a higher rule of thumb.
     By higher, I mean the cloud. Tethered to terms and conditions.
     Some notional island autonomy closely monitored by government agencies. 
     This space on the bleachers is far from perfect. It sometimes lacks a discernible pulse.
     It is, nonetheless, where I lurk.
     Anyone too modest to expose themselves through commentary is perfectly at liberty to send me a private message.

Friday, February 19, 2016

grrravitational waves

"Everybody in the world eaten up by waves blames the [WASP] child for their ills." - ib

When the fat man upstairs starts to singing
where the ceiling bends lachrymose
hornets conspire to swell up his tongue
a confederacy of aculeates
gathered near to blindness sharpening
when the flatworm upstairs starts to singing

The fat man upstairs is depressed. Stricken by a hissing in his ear which entrenches itself all the more acutely when they take away his father. Deposit him in a care home.
     The fat man's dad has grown demented. The fat man can not cope. Merely the act of wiping an old man's arse so disgusts him it eventually drives him to small acts of cruelty.
     Still. Even so, a government cheque goes some way in mitigating the relentless erosion of living alone.
     The fat man upstairs is depressed but has been prescribed no pills to alleviate his condition. They throw him out of hospital after just a fortnight.
     Those two weeks are nothing short of a holiday for all concerned.
     The fat man relishes the free dinners served at regular intervals. And, because the ward is all but unoccupied, he enjoys a monopoly on the flat screen television.
      How do I know this ? The fat man tells me so.
      After the kitchen ceiling begins to let in water. Bulging alarmingly and spoiling those perishables laid out on the counter.
      Some bread. A little pile of chicken. An uncovered glass of Saturday night's wine.
      I drag myself upstairs and stab at the doorbell. He pins me to his doorstep with a mop. His shag pile carpets reek of damp. He has no money to call out a plumber.
      I say he is fat. I am less than charitable. While his jowls blow soft as a woman's shift on the communal green, he has lost a deal in weight. After they stopped his benefits. He is quite exact about those pounds shed. He almost died. On the street outside the butcher's.
      His physician barely recognises him.
      On and on he confides at length. He had spoken to no-one more garrulous than mental health professionals in weeks.
      I am not unsympathetic. It is just that his washing machine is in the throes of emptying its bowels. There is a blockage under his sink. It is his sister's fault. She is probably praying on her knees this minute as the flood unfolds. She is not one to visit. He can seldom reach her on the phone.
     Despite the bucket, the baby blue basin I leave downstairs to gather up the worst of the leak, I confess I vex impatient. Don't worry, he tells me, if it gets any worse it will cost me nothing to fetch out a plumber myself. After all. I am a tenant, right ? He expounds upon the privations of ownership, the power of attorney. They may have to tear down the ceiling to get at the pipes.
     Turquoise irises laced with amber piss swim in circles. Round and round like a floundering fish.
     I remember when the fat man snuck off to be observed quite fondly.
     He has this disturbing habit of rising between four and five in the morning. Every morning. The floorboards wince. The ceiling trembles. He adjusts the volume on his TV set to its ritual blare.
     The muezzin in his minaret.
     It is pointless trying to combat the assault by nesting a pillow over one's head. Escaping one room for another. The sound-proofing is not good. My neighbour makes it less than tolerable.
     After ten or twenty minutes the fat man begins to croon.
     My bladder forces me up off the sofa. The fat man chases me overhead and dives like a ferret into the u-bend. The sound of his pissing drowns mine out.
     The fat man is my doppelgänger. My fragile, disfigured, fleshy twin.
     He is the last stop on the subway. That failing Goering shadow in pastel cardigan and gaberdine pants.
     If I am not careful, we might knit at the hip like two black holes colliding. On the landing between the stairs where neuroses come unstitched. Like Howard Hughes I scarify myself at the spectre of contagion.
     The fat man is a cul-de-sac in surgical procedure. A botched operation.
     The worm-ridden step on the evolutionary ladder.
     He stays up late into the night on the anniversary of his mother's death. He toasts the curtains where they shiver, wipes the mildew from one eye. Far from impervious to the vagaries of do-it-yourself, he makes tiny coffins out of date boxes. Where Mr. Kipling ices individual cakes.
     Where are the swimming pools ? scream disgruntled migrants. Had you not invited us, we would not have come. The colours run unevenly in all this rain. The edelweiss has dropsy. You promised us so much more than this. Where are the balustrades ? The window boxes ? The errant fatwa tumbling off the beard of a goat dressed out for Eid ul-Adha.

Friday, January 15, 2016

the return of el niño

"He ain't dead. He's just asleep." - r. zimmerman
In the last days between December and January I placed an order for a Chinese timepiece. To see in the new year.
     I lost a week waiting for that watch. The courier's knock at the door, the gnawing of the letterbox on bubble wrap. It was a good thing I had no way of knowing the time precisely.
     Shooting stars winked and went. IFK, not J. Aladdin Sane. Librarians made a deal of androgyny. Men in suits puckered their lips and swooned.
     I counted the days by Dope City Free Press.
     Nathan on the west coast campaigning.
     I lost my appetite for hard liquor. Cigarettes, to a lesser extent. I idled through one stretch into the next billowing vast clouds of milk tea laced with jasmine. The Nicotine down to 0.6 of a gramme, or something along those lines. You do the math. The weather was neither ferociously cold nor especially clement. Entire causeways were swallowed up by the rain a few miles to the south and east.
     I reside these days in a tenement perched half way up a steep incline. Untouched by drowning hands.
     The river rushes past and does its thing. I am a hermit through Monday to Friday, a father on the weekend. When the wristwatch finally arrived it was missing that piece of its winding mechanism designed to negotiate the change in time zone; a tiny stud detached in one corner of a rudely opened envelope. The Chinese are like that. Deft with their hands but inscrutable.
     They build things cleverly only for them to fail or fall apart.
     Customs officials rip and prod and joke among themselves while calculating taxes.
     One gasps at the attention to detail even as the wheels come off.
     My younger son is no longer the infant but no less curious for it.
     He constructs things out of brightly coloured Lego bricks more durable than watches. Elaborate conceits on spider legs held together by sheer force of will.
     He eats like a bird. Cereals mostly. Nuggets of chicken smothered in ketchup. Where other children resemble Buddha, he looks like a fasting monk.
     Catsup may have etymological origins in the late 17th century, I gather. The Cantonese dialect. Stir the most ordinary of waters and one uncovers odd half secrets. Filaments. Conducting wires and threads in a soup of shared DNA.
     A Portuguese peasant floats his tomato. A Chinaman aboard a junk spears it.
     You may read of El Niño. A warm front pushing up from Peru and Ecuador. Donald Trump failed to proscribe it. Like King Cnut he could not turn the tide.
     Everybody in the world eaten up by waves blames the Christ child for their ills. Before he got nailed as our Saviour. Come Easter, they have forgotten about all that unseasonal heavy rain. They are all too busy carving out a slice on the bid to rebuild the dam. It is a shame Miles Davis is no longer around to riff on it. Don Van Vliet too. Together they might have blown away that misconception.
     January, it seems to me, is a good month to lie low. I still wish from time to time that I was back on the 22nd floor. Tossing my bags down the hall. Well. You can wish in one hand and piss in the other, as they say. On the back of the mildest of drafts, I go where I am bidden.

Friday, November 27, 2015

i sit on my hands

"Pablo had nothing to say on the matter. Nothing of eloquence." - ib
FAUST: ICH SITZE IMMER NOCH from "jUSt" CD Bureau B (bb182) (DE) 2014

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

je suis charlie | infidel

"She stood behind them at the kerb. Hectoring. Bullish, in her taupe anorak." - ib
There was a crater where the news stand once dispensed, a doctor at large, Charlie. Analgesics. Twists of caffeine percolating through the tables, chairs, pavements loitering inches above the cobbles.
     Every time a vest went off it took the wind out one's sails. Just a little bit.
     The baby carriage detonated at the intersection between two avenues. Its canopy shredded like a purple flower where the blast ventured up.
     A wall pocked with holes.
     Pablo had nothing to say on the matter. Nothing of eloquence.
     The lunatics jeered through bullhorns. Mobile devices. Closer than one cared to think.
     It was a little piece of Vietnam, at least, carved and served with all the trimmings. Chickens smuggled home in knapsacks. Ugly orange feet bound and drumming.
     The Americans fought among themselves to ship back home their tired, huddled masses. The Turks grumbled. The British agonised and procrastinated in their peculiar Shakespearean way, like Hamlet sucking on a good cigar.
     The world is fucked, a monk complained, scarcely a heretic, and few consented to riot.
     Pablo walked Seul and Stein for the last time. Black muscle straining at the collar, hocks at heel.
     Together they paced the perimeter of the quarry, sniffing the air for intruders. Rumbling in their throats on the scent of fleece and hoof. Steaming vents. Football scarves of a less than rosy colour.
     Pagans, the three of them. Crusaders in the strictly catholic sense.
     Waging war not on dissenting hoards, but wards of the mentally diseased.
     A caliphate of midget tyrants.
     Seul uncovered something half buried in the dirt. What first appeared to be the handle on a broken vase or jug turns out to be something stripped of meat. Her tail wagged wickedly as her jaws worked at it. Yellow teeth scrabbling.
     "Nya!" Pablo admonished, but he did not have it in him to scold her.
     Stein regarded her enviously out the corner of one old eye, but knew better than to get too close. The shard of limb was not for sharing.
     December is a harsh month for unbelievers. Wise men mingle with fools. The firstborn is cruelly exposed, hair-lip turned against the fold.
     Pablo flirted in mirrors as he walked on down the hall. Stopped at the door to take a piss. In spite of the constant scribbling he had grown fat. Palsied. The century had grown old prematurely. Its children leery. Devoid of charm. There was no caution in his eyes.
     I am Charlie. Infidel. Paunch without a stick.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015


"It clung to the silks. A smell of mothballs from the coffin, a crack pipe in an unventilated lift." - ib
Pablo Dillinger was not one to open his mouth much in public. Even when soused.
     It was not so much that hawks and doves continually vied for dominion, that was given - one swooping after the other to nail it at the expense of meaning, fluency - it was more the fear of dentures slipping which prohibited him from flirting with the staff.
     The perforated ulcer in the join between lip and jaw which made him wince.
     The discomfit of always physically gravitating in disparate directions which made him feel he were coming apart at the seams.
     "Thank you," he said. Carefully.
     Watching bubbles rise and burst in token effervescence.
     "You're welcome."
     He swallowed it on down in less time than it took to smoke a cigarette. Sniffed at the two or three busy vaping along the length of the bar. He had tried it. Like a graft on a ravaged limb, it refused to take.
     "Peekaboo." He went.
     Feeling the teeth shift incrementally. Chewing over the burlesque bump and grind of the waitress's hips as she wove between the optics. Antonin Artaud's dead sibling in the mirror above the gantry.
     He remembered leaning out the window smoking on an autumn day. The rain coming down in fits and starts. Deep puddles in the potholes between parked cars. The brothers shaking hands with those departing mass. Sheltering under umbrellas while their priest tilted his head and took it on the chin.
     A man stepped between two vehicles pushing a child in a buggy. He looked to be in his early thirties. He lowered his head not so much to escape the drizzle as his wife. She stood behind them at the kerb. Hectoring. Bullish, in her taupe anorak.
     Pablo smiled and pulled on his cigarette. Turned the dial on the transistor radio resting on the ledge. Diluting the sound of her under a sheet of all hallows staves.
     The man turned to say something and his teeth slipped, the full set, emerging from his mouth before he could raise one hand to stop them. Falling in the road. Lurching sideways like a crab with amputated limbs on impact.
      The infant wailed. Pablo laughed.
      The man stooped down to collect up his dentures and jammed them straight back in his face.

Friday, November 6, 2015


Their guru passed among them a shallow plate
on it arranged some raisins.
He invited the shyest to partake of them.

She dropped hers on the floor
rose clumsily to her feet and collected them up.

The guru, a psychiatrist seemingly,
rang a handsome Tibetan temple bell three times
so they wiped the sleep from their eyes
rolled up their mats and stretched their limbs, smiling.

She stumbled and caught the bell with her toe
kicking it under the chair in the corner to lie there
/ broken.

party pooper

"Water flowed into it. Out of it. It was a place where The Young Team sent off their dead." - ib
Just when the old honest fruit remembered its roots, he was reminded he no longer had any confidence in it. 
     He despised the floral scent which could not quite be expurgated. It clung to the furniture, the silks. A smell of mothballs from the coffin, or a crack pipe in an unventilated lift.
     He could see the divorce coming.
     Sometimes, when he had fallen asleep on a train, for instance, the oncoming weight of it would jolt him awake. His eyes would snap open. His tongue fall out of his mouth.
     His hands automatically climbing to the inside pocket where he kept his cigarettes.
     Even though it had been years since one might smoke in the open without inviting penalty.
     In  hindsight, he supposed he was always aware of its inevitability.
     It was something which lurked somewhere in the near future like an accident which could not be undone. It was the unavoidable consequence of an irascible union, the firstborn coiled in utero, a tiny thumb wedged belligerently in the corner of its cheek.
     Where envelopes were stamped and invitations mailed, it might have been more prudent to remind their small circle of friends of incumbent alliance.
     The trenches were already dug. Snipers deployed.
     To that end, he felt outnumbered from the first.
     All through summer he could not bear to be close to the wetlands. Its fecundity.
     He traveled by day through the stifling heat of public transport just to escape into the concrete cool of the terminus at dusk. Meandering corridors where gusts pulled and nudged and theremins vacillated at three in the morning.
     He drank ginger spiked with ice flakes from a thermos at noon. Traded it for coffee when it grew dark. Brown tea laced with whiskey.
     Only when he was properly laid to rest, goaded in a welter of feral cats loitering between sleepers, did he feel capable of risking resurrection.
    That was the nub of it. Never in the most lucid delirium or temper did he presume to be reborn a Nationalist. Not so thick in middle age.   

Sunday, November 1, 2015

smyrna 2:8–11.2

" the end that vacuous Halloween lantern grin of the junkie. Chiseled in sinew and bone." - ib

Jody the Hat and Pablo Dillinger were just miles into the stretch formerly known as The West Highland Way when they made contact with The Young Team.
     Pablo Dillinger squatted in the road. His guts an oily river.
     Under the brim of a Fedora, the Hat's ears howled.
     The Honda buzzed. Fizzed. A lion of Judah painted on one side of the petrol tank. A blue and white saltire on the other.
     On it perched a boy, a skelf, in oversized headphones. A tumble of filaments. Puffer fish. The ancestral shock of auburn hair partially tamed by the connecting rod of plastic carved into his skull.
     At a distance he resembled a tiny gladiator preparing to cut a rug with Auntie, bring the roof down on the spoiled, but the sounds bleeding over the whine of the engine were pure CT.
     Government approved silt.
     The bike was almost certainly borrowed from the Brotherhood. The dusted.
     Behind them the ground fell away abruptly. Plunging by twisting degree into a hollowed out channel littered with empty bottles. Buckfast. Mad Dog 20-20.
     The Devil's Pulpit.
     Water flowed into it. Out of it. It was a place where The Young Team sent off their dead.
     The boy opened the throttle some more. Balancing the weight of the frame on the heel of one boot.
     Aside from the headphones, the boots, he wore nothing but shorts.
     In another locality, a different time zone, Jody the Hat and Pablo Dillinger might have reached out to him with sticks of gum.
     His mouth a sea anemone blistering in sun bitten pool.
     "Trubba," said Dillinger.
     "Fuck," spat the Hat. Dropping one hand to the Tascam dangling on its strap.
     Like a child soldier caught square in the eye of the lens, the boy exuded a toxic photogenic charm. Pablo Dillinger raised his camera and composed himself for the shot. Clenching both buttocks while continuing to squirt.
     Where correspondents chase awards across a double page spread, Pablo Dillinger was nothing if not diligent.
     Overtaken by a weakness to bludgeon the house senseless with a royal flush of dubs, the bleachers echo with the whisper of melodica.
     The Hat let him have it with a full stream of FLAC. Asbo. Straight between the eyes.
     The boy pitched over. A sheep with the staggers on a barbed wire fence. Sprawled in a tangle of spoke. Engine noise. Rust. The headphones unstuck. The china pelvis dislocated.
     A stream of urine sizzling on the cylinder block.
     Pablo Dillinger leaped to his feet and fastened his pants.
     "You got him," he said.
     The Hat's tiny mouth said nothing. Shut the fuck up, the tilt of felt brim advised.
     He and Pablo covered the ground by inches to where the body sat half upright. Tugged at by ghosts. Those invalid brothers and sisters buoyed by elegy.
     The sky to the south rolled with smoke.
     The Hat seized the boy by the hair and dragged him back on the seat to expose the tattoos on his chest. Young Team Pygmy Death Squad. We have Come For Your Children.
     He looked to be about twelve-years-old. In truth, he was closer to forty.
     Under the blue tattoos, the skin clung like varicose porcelain to rib and joint. Tented over the distended belly where the navel bulged. An eye engraved in cataract.
     A rash of old and fresh tracks wove a dark bloom on both arms. The thread of brown matter issuing from the ear indicated long term abuse.
     Cock in Pocket. A pitchforked nut. A big fat man pushing a little pram.
     The Hat and Pablo Dillinger rolled a joint and shared it.
     Plucking a filtered cigarette plugged like a bullet into the leather belt slung around its waist. First generation Ministry. Shredding it. Pilfering a pinch of tobacco.
     Disposing of the body in those tall weeds at the side of the road with no concession to ritual magic.
     They lit up the Tascam, too, and listened to some Tubby. Worked out those kinks that result from being on the farm too long. They were being watched. Ears older than their's were tuned to the dub.
     Jody the Hat checked his batteries. Exhaled into the encroaching darkness.
     By 1AM the sirens falter. The hammers to the south bed down to a pulse. Pablo never sleeps. Not soundly. The quiet he inhabits is the space between sinew and socket. The dials twitch. The tape rolls. Spooling behind eyelids, the fluttering of moths. East of the Nile. A mile upstream. The engineering nowhere so critical as the end result: chin to midriff, thickening to a river. What started out as an anonymous pouring, a splash from a carafe, a water bearer.