stuff i write

Month: January, 2013


Leaves as soft as the hands of babies,
Upturned and pleading to a thunderous sky.
There’s a sun in the east low over Margate,
Bronzing the leaves with fire.

Then snuffed, cuffed, puffed out, flinch from the fists,
Turn their cheeks to the wind’s rage;
Tip tapping twigs, tentatively twitching,
Like snake tongues flickering away –

Under another mother sky.

Like the scared fingers of children
Chickening near power-lines,
How close will you dare to go?
It’s like sometimes I’m scared
That if I touch her it’ll wake her,
And she’ll go.

But touching eases the storm,
And the wind drops like it’d never been there;
And the fists of the leaves,
Clinging soft to the branches,
Precious and golden as pears

Under another mother sky.

Sick senth

I scatter hormones all around me,
Saying ‘Whatever you do, don’t come near me’,
But no one uses their noses anymore.

I’ve got ugly cracks right through me,
Yet on the surface nothing moves me;
But no one trusts their eyes anymore.

Cos seeing ain’t believin’ no more.

Need a sick senth to even know I exist at all.
Did rutting and cutting; done shutting down and muttering, before.
Need a sick senth to even know I exist anymore.
Got to stop filtering it out and believe it all.

Got these songs oozing out of me,
A drizzling, whittling litany,
But no one really listens anymore.

Been sour as smiles are,
As bitter as this soap bar,
But no one’s really clean anymore.

I’ve never had taste, can live without tact, and tactile, that’s f’sure.

Need a sick senth to even know I exist at all.
Did dodging and doubting, done divining and dowsing, I done these things before.
Need a sick senth to even know I exist anymore.
Got to stop filtering it out, and believe it all.

The ballad of John and Nico

John Cooper Clarke and Nico –
Two people you might or might not know –
But one’s a poet and the other a chanteuse.
He spoke like a machine gun, and cackled;
She melancholically sang through her nose.
They were a strange, but perfect couple,
And everywhere they went there was trouble;
Friction; they shared more than their love, and addiction,
They shared bad diction.

Where did they go? Who ever knows these things!
Perhaps they disappeared inside their own translucent skins.
They were as white as my arse!: What chemicals bleached their scars?
What potions, green lotions, kept them so thin?
It was as if they’d been suspended in formaldehyde or their skins had been tie-dyed.
Or perhaps a list of curs had left stigmatas with their jaws?
They were all cramping guts, paperslice cuts,
And weals left by some demon’s claws.

He used to walk with his Bella Donna
When the purple snow fell on her,
They used to walk hand in hand after dark.
People would stare, and laugh at his hair,
They were even spat at once in the park;
By some kids wearing Nikes, and riding £300 bikes,
That’d rained phlegm down on his old leather coat.
He’d been angry; she sad. She just stared, he went mad,
And the snow turned the colour of creosote.

She fell off her bike, dead as you like,
Her insides must have been stained black like tar.
Heroin and booze, she was born to lose,
That’s just the way some people are.
There’ll be no more hauntings on the harmonium.
All tomorrow’s parties have been thrown into pandemonium.
Deutschland uber alles? Not any more.
Though she’s deep in the ground
He can still hear her whining, creeping, weeping and pining, evermore.

He’s in the pub drinking beer.
He scratches his ear,
Andy Williams, on the jukebox, is bringing him down;
He lights another fag, and curses the fact
That Solitaire’s the only game left in town.
He missed her like a sister (though, you know, he could never resist her!),
He’d been as sad as a puppy since she’d been gone;
Her hollow eyes, and jutting hips,
(He could taste her bones when they kissed)…
But life, it’s said, must go on.

It left him with a depression, that goes without question –
Something squeezing him from all sides at once.
He’s sick of the hassle, the old razzle-dazzle,
And of being stared at by cunts.
They make him feel unsightly, no, downright ugly,
He’s a duckling among jackdaws with crowbars;
His head feels tiny and as fragile as china,
Cracked by just a sarcastic remark.

Jukeboxes don’t lie or care if you cry,
The songs don’t really give a fuck what you’ve lost.
Or about her hand me down clothes and her voice cold as snow,
Or about the amphetamine mixed with snot
That drips from his nose with a very soft plop,
Before he could smear it across the back of his hand;
His eyes clenched to slits,
Like red tumours ready to split,
Behind fake, crap, plastic Raybans.

At 11.15pm we find him reeling.
He breaks a glass as he’s leaving
And outside the sleet knocks him back like a blow.
He’s a scarecrow of twigs, legs thin as sticks,
The whole man sharp like an elbow.
Mourning suited in black, snappy as tack,
A back waiting to crack,
He’s Kafka’s cockroach out on the streets.
He drinks like a visionary
But only remembers half of what he does see,
And by then he doesn’t care in the least.

Surging paranoia is urging him down further
As if God’d got him backed up against the wall.
Clinging to the shadows trying to stay out of trouble
He wraps his coat, tight as he can, round his soul;
To keep out the chills, and all the world’s ills,
With a blatant disregard for the obvious:
They’re ugly things – truths – like snipers on the news,
There’s always one waiting in ambush.

He swore to himself, forced up a belch,
And heaved his last three drinks up on the pavement.
A dog skulked from a gutter and half-licked at the puddle,
Before limping off to a more pressing engagement.
He should put his case to a jury and sue the fucking brewery:
That’s just good booze going to waste.
You don’t get much for your pound if you can’t keep it down;
It’s not much use when you’re wiping it off your face.

Now he’s trudging past the neon of Salford’s new religion –
The rave bars – they’re calling him in.
Out of the rain, maybe a pill to soothe his aching brain,
And there’ll be lots of pretty girls shaking their thing.

But outside Club Trax there’s a jag full of slags,
Driven by a man with a gold tooth and a cosh.
He’s keeping his dames out of the rain
And letting them know, with his wallet, who’s the boss.
And there’s a big bloke on the door who’d repelled him once before,
Because of his way, like a dog worrying sheep;
Even sunglasses can’t hide all the bad things inside,
Writhing like a sack of ferrets let loose round their feet.
And although the bar’s open ’til two, the barmaids never serve you,
So he might as well wait and start drinking at home:
Less cleavage, fewer handbags, certainly less backchat,
And it’s never bothered him drinking alone.
We all need some way to help us bear it
And if the straitjacket fits, wear it.

He’s got thin blood through lack of love.
That, coughing, and retching up the cud, have conspired to leave him resistant to nothing.
Sometimes just rolling a ciggy,
(Even with extra light papers),
Is enough to leave him huffing and puffing.
But a couple of stiff slugs’ll get the damp out of his blood,
And there’s a gas fire to dry out his boots,
And a mangy red cat, lean as Jack Sprat,
That does nothing but give him dirty looks
While she waits for her food, not giving two hoots,
About the fragile state of his mind;
She’ll just give him a purr, bristle up her fur,
And then curl up in front of the fire.

Perhaps he’ll sit and write a poem with the electric filaments glowing:
Let words take the chill from his heart?
Ugly, but funny; black, but strangely sunny,
He’s always been one for a laugh.

He’s got plastic bags full of verses, mutterings and curses,
He’d been a wisecracking, spiteful, bright spark…

Question: How many junkies does it take to change a lightbulb?
Answer, None, they’re happy just to sit in the dark.

JCC Nico

Lightnin’ Strikes

If the good lord had wanted
Me to always be happy
He wouldn’t have given me a heart that could break,
‘Neath the cabbage-sky-green,
Where the black swifts scream
Across the lake;
Picking off flies
From the darkening sky,
Whilst the lake turns the colour of coal;
And the swifts fly so soft
They barely touch the air at all:
They’re just a soft exhalation from my soul.

And the stone of a nectarine,
Orange-neon in the grass,
Brings the gnats swarming blood thick.
Over there’s a girl I used to know,
She laid me down so low
With the tricks she played with her hips,
They made me flip.
And they say that to feel
The lighting strike for real,
You have to be at the heart of the storm,
And her walk was so soft
She barely touched the earth at all:
She’s just a soft exhalation from my soul.


A43 Road-kill:

Driving through death, miles of macabre crimes. Blistering red pepperonis and the angry black knives jutting from tacky tarmacadam; a Rorschach inkblot drawn by a madman. Death begets death as the carrion eaters gather, all hungry hormones, instinct and saliva. Crows hop on lampposts. Foxes lurk in verges – driven to stupid distraction by deeper urges. Fresh meat every morning lines the motorway in every direction. The flurried feathers of pheasants, when, in slow ascension, are sucked out of the air by the turbulence of traffic. The big scared eye and dull thud of a rabbit.

And when everything wholesome has been scavenged for prey, leaving only a hastily arranged array of fur and feathers like a comedian’s toupee, there’s a chemical breakdown and the atomic structure explodes at a molecular level. The corpse becomes one with the road.

And all these things that die, what’s the fucking point? Where do they go, who do they haunt? I want to birth them again in my arse, then rear them as embryos in jars. I’ll suckle and nurture them. I’ll bring them up as my own. I’ll feed them, read to them, heed them; I’ll let them share my home. I will tutor them in the ways of righteousness. I will guru them in zen and the pure. I will teach them about bombs and machine guns, about anarchy, espionage, and that love is the law. My angels of justice. My fauna marauders. My cosmic assassins. My karmic thugees. Loitering on a grassy knoll or in a conspiracy in the trees. Foxes with firearms, hedgehogs with hand-grenades, crows with high-calibre sniping rifles and badgers with blades.

I shall have sanity and serenity, there will be respect in my territory. There will be casualties and there will be death, but you can rest assured it’ll all be for the best. All that’s left to be decided in my final solution, is, who’s to be first up against the wall come the day of the revolution? We have all your numbers – all your personalised, italicised, barcodes – and we have toads on the road primed to explode: Kamikaze amphibians chock full of Semtex to give you a blow-out you’ll never expect. Another tragic wreck.

And, just let me add, if that doesn’t already take the biscuit, that only rabies will stop us and we know you daren’t risk it. And to show we mean business, me and the critters, if we go down we’re taking the puddy cats with us.


It is said
That in the moonlight
Blood looks like ink.
I sign my name inside your thigh,
Then smear it to pink.

I’ll draw all my dreams stretched across your skin,
I’ll mark you with signs, make your flesh sing.
I’ll colour, with shadows, the hollows of your body,
I will paint you with blood, leave you sticky as toffee.

It is said
That in the moonlight
Blood tastes like wine.
I drink deep
So that I might drown in your eyes.

I’ll carve ciphers, prayers to broken stone,
Lips that would kiss trace the salt across your tongue.
The moon leaves me blessed, puts angels in my heart,
Placating the gods with my woman in the dark.

(apologies to Eliot)

Still Life 1; Banana skins and Grolsch

Banana Skins and Grolsch:
My life has become as smooth and step-tight as a Viennese Waltz; unhinged and disjointed sounding yet regular. I can keep the beat if I concentrate but I’d rather not bother.

Potassium and alcohol:
My life shattered into by-products and risk protocol. Everything in moderation except smiling because smiling’s always good. I can combine all the ingredients chemically if I concentrate; shaken with some gentle exercise and stirred with anxiety, I’ll cocktailly concoct something with a head on it that’ll let me live for ever n ever.

Accidents waiting to happen, and Holland!
My life is tarred by associations that would keep a Jungian in Dreamland. Disturbed by herbs, voices sprach proverbs. Jot jittery down and hope for a pattern. All I’ve become is statistics emerging tremulously from the chaos of data. I’m a nervous narrative nudging my noise through the chatter.

To matter in the matter.


Piano Key

Some keys open doors to mysteries
Or troves of treasure
Or loosen the chains binding heroes
Or undo boxes full of pleasure.

But nothing is more essential,
Nothing more glorious,
Nothing promises more hope and joy,
Than the opening of this lock,
That frees the music.

Hit and run

Kissy sweet weekend goodbyes,
Dreamily stepping out at midnight,
To drive 200 miles in rested car; sleepy olive green, parked cool in the orbs of orange-lit pools and puddles. Now with crumpled panels, buckled, gouged, red slashes slice from tyre to tyre, gashed, rusting.
I stand with my bags and my guitar drooping.
I am rising steam through the sharp drizzle.

Psych sketch #7

It’s midnight and still no moment of glory. It’s not insomnia, it’s fighting the slow drift of entropy. That’s the part of me I hate: each futile gesture that I make seems to be just the clawing fingers of fate; a poem, a half-rhyme, some concept or punch line, some conceit, vision or decision – something that seemed like mine against the pull of time.

My world-renowned ability to tip-toe (almost in slo-mo) is in doubt. All my relationships are as ambivalent as seesaws. I’ve lost my poise, I’ve lost the appearance of poise; I’ve just about forgotten what poise even looks like. Am I labouring the point? It’s the anxiety to say something clever, to avoid all the non-laughing matters.