excerpts from the ghost train

You might recall sly stooping, a little frozen rancour on the turnstile. A ladybird caught in the corner of my mouth, pubic hairs between my teeth. Snowballs.

Slipping in front of a House of Cards.


And then there was the barker belching, tempting good grace. The taint of cockles and whelks, snails on the puckered lip of a lurid painted precipice. A wall of sudden death. iii

Of course, that is the wicked thing about detours. Shortcomings. Often there is just dereliction in addressing the germ of things. iv

And again. The old lady in the sideshow booth was only so much of a charlatan as demand allows. Fair game for change. A pastry in a blonde wig on a Saturday. Black and Tan. Ill. Stiff as a motherfucking board. v

Rusting zippers and jammy fortune, fair to middling. The running soft to firm. Long gone now, I expect. A faltered scam laid out flat on the slab. Or spirited away in a puff of smoke; There is magic in a gypsy funeral. vi

A halogen lamp on a stairwell. A bike of wasps travelling in circus formation. The unstung heckler at the back of the tent. A collapsed lung. A handkerchief waiving.

Hammer and tong on a bed of nails.

illustration by ib.

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