stuff i write

Tag: Social anxiety

Metal fatigue

Hit a bummer in the summer, and I’m down with my town. Hit a brick wall and then felt the winding down. Steam explosions of high-pressure emotions, crippling the chassis at the point of corrosion. The familiarity of fatigue, the weary indolence is over; I’ve hit the crackdown and cracked up, and the fractures go down to the bone.

Had some days in a daze. Saw same old friends just to prove how much I’ve aged. Even my jumped-up working-class-ness was up for discussion on this occasion. That, and the rest of my life and recent changes. Plus, I played a gig, that always encourages failure. Why do I do it? Well, you have to throw the dice in order to lose, and I need options in case I have to choose. We air our secrets with our voices not our thoughts. To be evil you have to actually do something for which you need to be caught. My standing there, singing, is my bell ringing – ‘oh come to me, come to me with your dry lips and kiss the spittle rattle, and you shall be moist’. Oh my people, hear my voice!

When I do hit a low, I like to see how far down there I can go; I like to laugh at the bottomless pit for the echo.

So, I sang, I took some MDMA with good friends, and suffered the indignity of friendly ridicule. Put myself up there, wobbling on a bar stool above the abyss. I was brave. I went out into a world full of Jesus People, children, and people I went to school with. I had discussions about fantasies and kidney dialysis, cannabis, going to bars, urinals, vinyl and cars.

I am unscathed.

I think I’ve got more anxiety than depression. Either/ Or but with the same medication. ‘Don’t Get Down, Get Edgy’, that’s my motto, for what it’s worth. If you’re going to frown make it a tetchy one. Get them first.

Give it a rest

Sometimes it’d be nice to leave my brain at home, tucked up warmly reading a book about psychiatry, and go out for the evening trusting my cock to make all the decisions.


Trickery is what’s done this to me. Fast hands and imperceptible gestures I’ve missed as I’ve gurned and chuntered, spat and hissed, whilst staring into the middle distance and wondered. When I refocus everyone goes quiet, checking your phones. You think you’re so fucking smart. But I know.

You’ll all step back when I need you. I know how it goes. Everyone hides in the shadows, lurking at a distance, or dissolves through a wall with barely a fizz of resistance and a whisper about it being none of your business; not wanting your shoes muddy, or your hands bloody – yeah thanks for nothing, buddy.

Don’t give me that.

Take it back.

It don’t matter what I do, we’re talking about you. Slippery trickery and mendacity, accusations of hypocrisy backed up with lashings of misguided fake quackery. Yeah, just get back to me when you’ve got a clue, and we‘ll see what we can do.

A Shred of Evidence

I looked at humanity: All of you.

(Yes, that ineffable feeling of paranoia you recently experienced was me browsing your hard drive, illuminating your hidden caches, unscrubbing your system files, and unshredding your registry.

Checking your code for corruption).

There are degrees but no one is truly innocent.

20 minutes after my birth I’d have happily, and without regret, crushed the universe to get at my mother’s milk.

And I’m worth it. We all are. We’re all born with our mouths open, demanding our birth-right.


I try to tip toe round situations
With my nervous teeth in a minefield;
Surprises come in clusters,
It’s staying whole that matters.
The world is chockfull of people with no inhibitions –
Nutters, cutters, tutters getting in under my shield.

I shuttle between situations
Like a water boatman beetle in a dingy dingy,
Between islands of serrated granite,
White with gannet guano;
Foreboding fingers and fists
Signal sigils frantically
From the Atlantic.
I scour the treacherous rock for an occasional cove of kindness,
Or a cave of blindness,
To escape the crashing waves of crazy.

But, on some days, I spin myself a situation
And lure people in
With my siren suave sophisticated poise.
It doesn’t work on everyone.
Of course.

Some kind of lighthouse saves some,
Diffusing the situation pre-detonation;
But you’d think it would work on someone!

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

Home furnishing

Tiptoeing into their lugubrious lounge.

A sofa with a fitted cover, printed with a huge picture of a splayed cow carcass, opened, ribs, internal organs, meat, skin, chopped at the head.

The flayed head is a foot stool.

‘Blimey’, I remarked, squeamishly.

‘Yes, it makes you think doesn’t it! It’s hemp. We’re vegans.
Do you wear leather?’

‘I have a codpiece’.

Maybe he thought I was being serious
or he wasn’t really listening
lost in curtain uncertainty:
A view vs. A veil.
I availed myself of the magnificent bathroom,
Nervous of splashes, fearful of CCTV.

Curse #17

Reserved, behind barbed wire and glass shards sharper than fire, I’m observed and it feels absurd; my non-verbal signals are speaking in tongues, words I’ve never heard.

Preserved: Jarred; can’t get far past my musculature. Only boots, a suit, and a car; tight-fitting, huggy and snug, restrictive/constrictive as old friends and lovers are.

Resurrected.  Amperes and volts, lightning bolt jolts; I am an industrial revolution, women are spinning my cotton, urchins are unclogging my colon. I am putrid pollution. A harlot will dance ‘The Virago’ on the grave where I’m interred, and it’ll be deserved.

I’m smouldering with damp paradoxes like sodden matchboxes. Pickled in paraffino on the pyre I’ll be resurrected.

Now, gimme m’ Zippo and let me do what I do.