Thursday, 29 November 2007

Aren’t you going to read my palm?

From moonrise to moonset
The fallen leaves follow me both inside
And I forget where I
First thought I ought to like
Perhaps it was September
I do remember
The last time I heard
words slip off your
And I liked them,

I threaded those
tiny bells
on bright
green string,
you stole them from your
big brother's Christmas tree.
You said,
"They give the
Illusion of ringing",
and I laughed
far too loudly.
So now I've got this
that's green,
a green bracelet,
with plastic silent
I'm feeling
self conscious,
I pretend I'm a cat,
and you've given me a collar
that warns people
I'm hunting.

Wednesday, 28 November 2007

Boundary Street, Kowloon

HERO is sitting on the front steps of the hotel. He is obviously a western tourist. The four lane-street is crammed with market stalls, and left-hand drive three-wheeled motorcycle trucks skit past. The streets' names are signposted in both English and Chinese symbols. On the market stalls are well-organised selections of second-hand electronic goods, badly-packaged DVDs and mis-spelt T-shirts of Hollywood films. SMALL CHINESE BOY wanders up and sits down beside HERO, he is about ten years old.

BOY: American?
HERO: No, English.
Boy: From England?
Hero: Yes, England.
Boy: Can I speak with you?
Hero: Of course.
Boy: Sorry?
Hero: If you would like to. You can talk to me.
Boy: I have a question for you.
Hero: Okay.
Boy: I have a question for you, my teacher says in England you have a Queen.
Hero: Yes, she’s called Elizabeth.
Boy: And she tells people what to do?
Hero: No, never.
Boy: She is not allowed to?
Hero: No, she is allowed to, she’s the Queen.
Boy: But she does not?
Hero: No.
Boy: Why?
Hero: Because no-one would do what she says.
Boy: The law says they do not have to?
Hero: No, the law says they do have to.
Boy: Would they not be punished?
Hero: Probably not.
Boy: But they broke the law, the law says they should be punished. No?
Hero: No-one would punish them.
Boy: The police?
Hero: No.
Boy: Do you smoke?
Hero: Yes.
Boy: Good.
Hero: Do you?
Boy: No.
Hero: Good.
Boy: Good?
Hero: It is good that you do not smoke.
Boy: Why?
Hero: Because it is not good for your health.
Boy: My teacher has a joke. He says, “Who is the president of China?”
Hero: Who is your teacher?
Boy: No, who is the President of China.
Hero: Where is your teacher from?
Boy: Canadian. He says, “Who is the President of China?”
Hero: Who is the President of China?
Boy: Hu!
Hero: Who?
Boy: The President’s name is “Hu!” President Hu! Aitch-Yoo. (Laughs)
Hero: (Laughs, Pause) Your English is very good.
Boy: You have a president in England.
Hero: He is called the Prime Minister in England.
Boy: He is called Prime Minister?
Hero: Well, yes, no, he is called Tony Blair.
Boy: He is called Tony Blair.
Hero: Well actually, it must be Gordon Brown now.
Boy: Gordon Brown now. You have elections.
Hero: No, it just changed.
Boy: Is that normal?
Hero: No.
Boy: Normally you have elections?
Hero: Normally, yes.
Boy: Elizabeth tells the President what to do?
Hero: Who?
Boy: Your Queen, is she changed as well?
Hero: Oh. No. No, she doesn’t tell anyone what to do.
Boy: What does she do?
Hero: She, advises.
Boy: The president listens to her?
Hero: Not really.
Boy: Then why?
Hero: She is like a grandmother. Maybe they will feel guilty, and not do the things they might have done.
Boy: Do they feel guilty?
Hero: I don’t know.
Boy: Do you think they feel guilty?
Hero: Probably not.
Boy: When I was born Hong Kong was England.
Hero: Britain, you mean Britain.
Boy: ‘United Kingdom’.
Hero: Yes. ‘United Kingdom’
Boy: They are changing the names of the roads.
Hero: Do you think that is good?
Boy: Maybe not. Can I have some money?
Hero: No.
Boy: Cigarettes?
Hero: Sure. (Hands him a pack of Marlboro)
Boy: Thank you. (Runs off.)

HERO stands up, shoulders his bag, and walks down the street.

Tuesday, 27 November 2007

Ain’t Nothing Like the Real Thing

“I do it by feel, really. I bumble around, it’s inconsistent. Inconsistency, things resonating chaotically, organically – free! That’s the only way; that’s the way I feel it.”

“Yeah, but if you don’t tie it right, the parachute’s just gonna fly away.”

The dogsbody flipped and told us all to buy gloves for him; he got a lot of gloves that Christmas. He flipped back and the turkey got a stuffing. Blood, guts, everything hung on the barbed wire like the sun dying. Crystals formed on the flesh and winter ate eyes. We all hung ribbons on the tree too. We hung the gloves from the ribbons. The parachute’s just gonna fly away.

Friday, 23 November 2007

Chapter 12

We go back here to 2003, possibly early 2004, for the latest installment in the Gander Archive box set project. It is the last known piece of Baiting of the Marshfish to have been written. It is included for the poignancy that accompanies that knowledge, and the knowledge that said work seldom rose above this standard.

Chapter 12

“Stephen,” said George, the next day, “We’ve been fucking about these past few months, have we not?”

“We have?”

“That’s correct, Stephen, we have. I can see now that you’re fit for the job. And so we begin.”

“What?” Stephen didn’t understand.

“And so we begin.

“What?” George had not clarified.

“AND SO WE BEGIN! What the fuck’s the matter with you?”

“What do we begin precisely?”

“Have I taught you nothing? Never, ever, under any circumstances answer a question with a question when questioned by me, for I am Salamander George.”


George was of portentous mind that morning. He had business on it.

“And so we begin.”

“What precisely do we begin?”

“The Baiting of the Marshfish.”

“Ah. Yes. That”

“So I shall send you off immediately.”


“No. Not immediately. But soon, my lamb, soon.”

Thursday, 22 November 2007

The Sparkler Boy

The Sparkler Boy

You're the sparkler,
did you know?
You're personal,

glittering, starlight, boy!
I've been carrying your
Lips in a cupped puddle
filling my steady palm.
If some one makes me spill you
then I just might cry.
Your teeth taste like cords
and I watch the dolly
strum you
and that dolly, boy,
will strum you till your dry, but
you're swilling
yourself in a tin bucket,
in protest, because
you think
you've been diluted.
But I've tasted more cordials
than you know it, boy!
And I swear, you're too
You got a punch,
a kick, and a walloped
right down my gullet,
trust me, you are mean
and potent.

Sunday, 18 November 2007


(This is an older poem that I was going to put in Allison.)

The Bus at the Stop of a Tokyo moonlight
& solemnly shop from your top to the floor
with A crisp crumpled moan muffles out as she draws on
the last of the fags that she steals when she stole.

And if she should sleep like a pearl in an Oyster
And if she should keep all the coins on the ground
The glint in Her eyes ought to be like October
The Coffee she stares at; the civilest sound

But how can she colour the dull words of home-time,
Remember the blind spot, the ball-point ideas.
Redundant and under her thrift-risking, thunders
A cinderous sunder of nothing sincere.

So diverted traffics shine shards from their head lamps
that bound across ebony strides of her hair
Declared with the vandals the Tape-loops have strangled.
the Cross-hatching matching chewed pen lid affairs

And now She can see what she wanted to hear
as The breeze beats her breath to the will of the wind.
And shelving her smiles for Dawn’s clock-worked exposure
Allowed now, arrested, she slips through the seems.

Saturday, 17 November 2007

Shri, Lakshmi or Chanchala,

(One who is fickle and does not stay at one place.)

A Daughter of the Sea, a Sister of the Moon,
a Cousin of Aphrodite, a Consort of Vishnu;
with a smile and my pierced ears, my beads,
my beads, my battle axe, my maze of fine cuts.
A quiver of a single arrow: and the arrow is loos'd,
A quiver of thunderbolts: and the bolts are hurl’d.
Lotos-eater, daughter of Aquitane,
cudgel-scalpel, lance of a saint,
sword of a martyr, shield of luck,
conch-flesh, from egg to fork, tsar bell, sour wine-cup,
eight-bladed trident, in a noose of fallow hope.
Without me you have not this,
without you I have nothing.

I was at the court of Eleanor, a Meninas,
I saw Jumbo crushed by a train in Ontario,
his ashes are kept in a 14-ounce Jar of
Pyotr-Pan Crunchy Peanut Butter.
They paid 10,000 dollars,
they paid to see me, my kin,
he entertained the troops, you can meet him
in Normandie. Always identical
and of the same sex. Really? They open their eyes?
They return home? When the heart is one,
what of kidneys? When the blood is bloodier than blood,
being not my blood but the blood of all of us?
Without me you have not this,
without you I have nothing.

And all at once they sang, and all at once
someone said "will we not strive? Resting,
Resting weary limbs at last on some incinerator gas-bed?
Not a God, but not a parasite? Surely,
surely, slumber is more sweet than useless toil?”
My sisters, you cannot stay inviolate,
we may make it past adolescence,
but the names for ourselves will ever change.
We are worshipped for life, but of life
we have little. I must die in my garden,
so you may make your own:
without me you have not this.

Tuesday, 13 November 2007

The Fire Prance

Step by Step: The Fire Prance
(A dance for swabhands, arrangement: circular)

1. Light a large fire on shore, when the flames have died down rake the embers into a large circular formation.
2. Share a flagon with the swab next to ya and wipe away the dribble with the back of yer sleeve.
3. Now, pace around the fire making rhythmic hauling noises. Thrust a cutlass to the click-cracking of the embers.
4. Now all point at the first man in the circle (he is easy to spot as he is at the front of the circle).
5. The first man must walk directly across the glowing embers towards the back of the circle. During this the remaining swabs should use palm or banana leaves to scoop up some of the embers and hoist them into the air, hollering in celebration, ‘We’re not at sea, we have no need to break our backs!’ (for example) while the hot embers rain upon them.
6. Every swab who has walked across the fire no longer partakes in the hoisting of the embers. Now they should think about how much they miss the waves and spray of the seas.
7. Repeat for each swab in the circle.

Sunday, 11 November 2007

Story, Plot

Before; then the stone age, then the bronze age, then the iron age, then the ancients, then the greeks, then the romans, then the dark ages, then the middle ages, then the renaissance, then discovery, then machinery, then now.

- An insect man sits with his many eyes looking through rituals of decomposition. Through slits of carven writing, through thumb-nubbed tool handles and the faded devices of dynasties.
- The insect Man is a factory, a pick-axe handle, a razor of flint, a plank, an ankh, a camera shutter, a tail-fin. Insect man don’t know no love don’t know no hurt; knows blood and guts and fucks though, squeezed into words and sediment, and long rows of figures under headings in a thousand hands.
- Insect Man doesn’t know taste. His room is a cave of threads, his bed is of reeds, the uppers of his shoes are london, soled athens, a tongue of rome, it’s straps are flayed donatello and stippled with arcadia.
- Then Insect Man is made of emulsion, his carapace is celluloid glazed with moving pictures and a dark cave wall. His mouth is empty, his teeth are stretched out on a rope many nights long.
- Insect Man never woke up to it, he has stared for all your lives with his milky insect eyes that don’t know, that don’t know and he is tired, and he was tired, and he tires of tiring when he is born again. Was tired in the first Fire, the first Gun Shot, the first Sling Shot to The Moon and Back, to the first Dull Edge, the first Sharp One too.
- An insect man sits with his many eyes, and he cannot see, he hasn‘t got the right, he ain’t got the hang, no manual, no remit, no certificate, no proof of ownership. They’re not his eyes.


sifting through the creaks of wet wood
the creases of my face
in my safe hands.
an aspirin in the face of sundries
plundered and blood-sullied
to the warehouses of exotic lands.

the chorus of the foams fill my lungs:
‘and is this Henry Leech?’, they say
this spray-ridden mutiny
dutifully wrapped in a black mizzen mast’s
the last of the Trail’s four captains
casketed and seeped in kelp and gilt,
the keep of the seas
with shale and silt
to credit our valued dog.

Friday, 2 November 2007

Good Night (or A Pirate with A Broken Sword)

Defunct and quite
Just Sunked,
From almost two years of sunkissed never happeneds.
It took me that time
To try
And hide
My eyes.
To need
To stop
Now that I’m defunct and no longer needed
Superseded by something you didn’t need you said and
Read such reddened eyes I read.
I believed you (just like I always do).

How can I feel embarrassed?

And no you need no explanation.
I needn’t use their mild sedation unless my smile begins to smudge
I have no qualms;
I’m bound and gagged
Around the facts,
Another man will love you just as much as me.