The Script

[customer name]
how may I
[make you go away]?

We apologise for the delay in receiving
[fucking whatever]
but we are currently experiencing
technical difficulties
high call volumes
rolling brownouts
kidney stones
and laser sharp cluster migraines
but please hold on the line
your call is very important
to someone

I am so very sorry to hear that
[customer name]
I completely understand your
[human emotion]

The product you have ordered was
out of stock
out of luck
discontinued by supplier
discontinued by vendor
mangled in transit
manhandled by customs agents
dumped from the back of a stolen truck
punted from the deck of a stricken ship
and then buried at sea-
would you like a tracking number?

Are you still there
[customer name]?
Are you feeling
[human emotion]?

Guest Post – Woodsy

I’d like to introduce everyone to Woodsy, an urban poet of wonderful talent and a true friend. I highly recommend taking some time out from this world to explore Woodsy’s poetic place. The most excellent piece below he supplied in reply to my request for a ‘poem to attach to a space probe’. More on this project and more guests to come…

That one last silence in my clouds  

All those twists and turns and tangles –
wrong turns
and stumbles –
looking for a road,
a river…
a trip not taken
to a place all roads now seem to lead:  

to a car with no engine,
waiting for midnight
and starlight
and petrol
and me –  

watching clouds,
skimming the windscreen
of a long-lost world…  

wanting to touch something different but real…
distant but close…  

trying to wear a face that doesn’t fit –
weave it
and weep it
and breathe the thing free  

because this heavy,
floating silence
is deeper than any I have known before –  

billowy pillows for a ghost.  

Year after year,
I find my way back here,
to an open bedside in the sky,
hoping the Universe will help me get up,
wash my tears and
share my pain
and bleed my spirit clean.  

There is,
she told me,
no-one on earth more loved than you.  

If only you knew, son…
if only you knew…
how precious it is to be soft like you are…
and to touch
with your presence
the way that you do.  

When I heard these words,
the sobs would come,
the stars would drop
and clouds would shiver like a lifeless weight,
frozen inside my sky…  

caught in the fragile stillness of her gaze.  

One day,
I told myself,
this weight will lift
and I will float free
to join my friends in the sky:  

vast and billowy,
swift like a shoal of cotton-bud sky fish
or shiny like moon-lit angels,
these clouds
were my ticket to new shores,
to the miracles
that dripped unseen behind every fresh-painted sunset.  

I would whisper my heartache to them
as the tide rolled out,
and they would smile back,
whispering soft promises
to the rhythm of the surf
drifting off into the night…
and taking the sunsets with them.  

And one day indeed,
a new cloud did come,
swooping into my heart
with a brand new set of wings…
like a night-painted manta ray,
swimming me home across the stars
and changing my perspective

It rolled
and tumbled
out of endless, haunting eyes,
and wept
from thinly-sketched faces at the bus stop,
and hung
like a whipped thing
through the strumming
of a subway guitar.  

Sometimes I believe what I feel in its weave.  

Sometimes, the billow will shatter –
distant shores
will burn and break
and free the those half-sobbed echoes from my throat.  

these high things are more than enough –
these clouds that stop to say hello…
carrying the tears of a lonely Universe
to their deepest,
purest home
beneath the world’s wonky RADAR.  

I’m just a dead weight…
standing in a shabby little,
wordless little place
that feels like it’s never gonna let me go –  

but sometimes,
I can catch people’s breath with my stories
and fill a room with the silence of clouds.  


The Oblique Path

This is how a sage is formed
this is how a saint is born
as you slumber in your cocoon of suffering
walled in by your own spittle and shite
twitching twisting thrashing
catching your own tail and devouring
the world’s collective knowledge
it stirs
that fierce, dark intelligence
it lurks
that savage, holy brilliance
caged in body and yet free to roam the ether
pierced by angelic spears and transfixed
with visions past, present and yet to be.

I hear your eyes turning toward me
I feel your ears tuning into my signal
I see your hands as they reach upward
holding your heart as your only offering
(small sacrifices for our imperfect artifices)
I perceive your thoughts and your apprehension
but release your fear
and rejoice my friend
this trail of agony is your path to ascension.


I am the deep-sea scroller
I see the world unfolding
from the smallest room
and now I see your doom.

Every answer begs a question
don’t let the truth distract you
every loser finds his brethren
don’t let the facts defeat you.

I am the dilettante lurker
I see the world reloading
while a cigarette burns
and now it hears my words.

Every answer begs a question
don’t let the rules define you
every loser finds his brethren
don’t let the game deceive you.

I’ve witnessed birthing trends
I’ve unpicked orphan threads
nothing’s new in this old world
nothing’s born that can’t be sold.

Every answer begs a question
don’t let that fool dismay you
every loser finds his brethren
don’t let the lost derail you.

Antisocial Media

For when I’ve read everything
for when every page is familiar
for when every story is predictable
for when every sentence
completes itself
I have found the place to retreat
to this house’s best and only seat
where I am and I shall remain
and compose myself to peace.


Trigger warning: graphic violence. If you’re not up for that today, give this one a miss, I won’t be offended in any way. This story is true, in that I met this man at a party more than ten years ago, and these were his words (minus some identifying details). I often think about him and the burden he no doubt still bears. I mean, it still makes me cry over a decade later, and I wasn’t even there. But seriously, this is some horrible content, and once it’s in your head, it’s hard to get out. I suggest that after reading you should go hug a loved one, play with a puppy, or drop a load of ecstasy. Heck, do all of them, in any order you like. Whatever it takes. Just be safe and take care of yourself.

Continue reading “Boys”

On Repeat

You will return
although your path may wander
you will rise
although your heart may falter
you will grow
although your world is smaller
you will survive
although your thoughts are stolen
you will rebel
although your cause is forgotten
you will decide
although your mind is troubled
you will endure
although your soul is wounded
you will shine
although your light is shrouded
you will return.


Among the restful scrub
where instinct has now lead me
where all my life has guided me
to make my final bed
to seek my lasting rest
I know nothing of reflection
I know nothing of desire
only my tenebrous recollection
preserves me from despair.

Curling into this familiar earth
comforting myself in torpidity
a hush has fallen
the wild is calling
hunting grounds so far away
and a lifetime left long behind
weary from my relict existence
becoming myth in my own time
I surrender.

Dysfunctionally now extinct
an endling yet not unique
there is no solace in my solitude
there is only a dreadful peace
and as I commence
this caliginous descent
I wonder
am I to become your trophy
or am I sandwich meat?

Shonky Gronk

You can’t do it, can you?

I opened the box and the box was empty

Excuses excuses, you can’t do it.

I opened the box
I was surprised by the design inside
a brown paper palace
a cardboard castle
a four corner fortress
and so I folded.

Nice try but you must do better than that.

I opened the box
I found faces that were never worn
discarded without a second thought
faces brand new and still wrapped
faces silently pleading to wear me
expressions running down the street.

Yes, and what else?

I opened the box and the world was inverted.

Do me a favour.

I opened the box and the gift was eternity.

Last chance, shoot your shot or get lost.

I opened the box…


I opened the box and everything fled
I opened the box and nothing was said
I opened the box and I couldn’t believe
I opened the box and the box was me.

Salmon Salad

Oh no
not this song
not another one
longing for something long gone
not another one
searching in every broken bottle
seeking something remote
something unknowable
a small silence
in between our compliance
we are done
we are dusted
we are toast
and our calamity is sliced fine
so indolent in our condolences
we are intolerable
we are insoluble
we are a bitter bite to swallow.


The only thing between me and two thousand and three
is our flimsy paper memory
film negative relief and an inverse interpretation of colour
our tiny window
to crawl through
into the comfortable past old patterns familiar neural paths
like slipping into a deep warmed bath, or so I’m told
but what would I know?

The only thing between me and you is an undeveloped reel
you are my banana-skin pratfall you are my Achilles’ heel
and the only thing we held in common was our shared despair
we saw the world for what it was and there was nothing else.

You have been framed
four edges to your page
four corners to your cage
no point no purpose
no results to display.

The Sparkle Debacle

A penny for your thoughts
or a pound for your flesh
you’re wired up like an electric sponge
grey matter tumbling in a colour wash

the machine will chew you up
the machine will spit you out
the machine will turn you round
the machine will wear you down

Every night I’m strung along
lures attached to catchy songs
I take the cake and I swallow the bait
hooks concealed in my Mcvalue Meal

the machine will tally your score
the machine will divine your fall
the machine will hear your voice
the machine will see your faults

I’ve got a licence to swill
oh, they gave you one too?
can your poor head manage another shot?
live and let live whether you like it or not

the machine will clean you up
the machine will wring you out
the machine will churn you over
the machine will scare you sober.

The Forest in the Spare Room

She lead me by my hand
into the spare room
to share an intimate view
to watch the gathering dew
crystalline collections
confounded recollections
of a forest which flourished
under fluorescent tubes.

Haze hung lazy and thick
among the flowering boughs
she hushed her own words
as we coughed and laughed
exploring that shrouded grove
below a blinding artificial sun
inhaling the effervescence
of the forest’s very essence.

At last we tired and returned
awakened to our concrete world
surrounded by rude banality
submerged by stifling reality
with her smile and secret eyes
codes subtle and clandestine
words chosen or left unspoken
her forest beneath electric light.

The Wayfarer’s Prayer

Two hundred and fifty kilometres
time flies when you’re having none
burger grease on the steering wheel
skirting the edge of waking vacancy
stay in your lane
be on your way
the hypnosis of blank midnight roads
singing sweetly of peace and warmth
slow orange glow spreading over you
fog lights burning like lonely campfires
stay in your lane
be on your way
as navigation leans toward negation
dead ends hide around every bend
when the suddenly thundering semi
rattles you back to shaken vigilance
stay in your lane
be on your way
and bring yourself back home again.

Starfish Prime with a Slice of Lime

From nineteen-eighty-five to twenty-fucking-twenty
he drowned many sorrows painting a single memory
he focused double-vision to etch with earnest precision
he spurned the world only to preserve her existence
he listened to her voicemail and he couldn’t delete her
he read the old letters and said he never felt better
he heard a door slam down the hollow brick hall
he peeked through curtains and he lay on the floor
he rocked and he rolled and he wailed and he flailed
he ate his own word salad with bittersweet dressing
he held a staring contest with his own mirror image
and he won.

Thirty five still alive despite his lack of course or remorse
he downed every glass placed within reach and more
he regretted every decision made by internal schism
he pulled it together and he built an edifice to contrition
he piled it higher until his confusion covered the sun
he wrote about her until his hands were cramping numb
he ripped the page as he tried to convey a profound depth
he overplayed his hand and he understated his intent
he overstayed his welcome and he assimilated his regret
he listened for secret messages and he crafted his lament
he deciphered her words and he found a hidden string
he considered himself mundane and despised anything
he had created.

From nineteen-eighty-five to twenty-fucking-twenty
he knows almost nothing and yet he considers it plenty
he may do a dance for the rain and yet rave at the hail
he might ask to be raised only to flinch from the nails
he may search for miracles yet be met with damnation
he might aim for significance yet be content with salvation
he may resolve to survive, to rise, to praise, and to write
he might resign to expire, to sink, to curse, and to ignite
he may be nothing more and he may be something less
he might become someone somewhere and be no-one else
he may arrive before his time and leave before he is done
he might embark past his prime and amount to a zero-sum
or maybe
he will do none of the above.

November Golf

You are the product of your unique situation
that long succession of genetic regression
you are the product of a by-gone generation
who not only brought you to this place
but created everything
which now surrounds you
which now compounds you
which now compels you
which now becomes you
and yet of course they left you bereft of choice
replaced your voice with sore-throat white-noise
you are the product of nature and nurture
you are the product of naivety and neglect
you are the product
you are the product
you are the product
you are the factory, the package, the robot
you are the creature of die-hard habit
you are the continuation of a familiar pattern
you are inevitable
you are inescapable
but do you hear me?
do you read me?
do you see me?

There is nowhere else except yourself
and wherever you go
you will still be there.

You don’t hate the prayer, you hate the pain
your inveterate desire to desecrate
your momentum and your
passing momentary clarity
your inertia and your affected gravity
the path less traveled and the stories untold
now is not the time
to speculate on futures unsold
now is not the time
to cling onto your bundled regrets
now is not the time
to shake up your unmade mind
now is not the time
to turn over a new flat screen
now is not the time
to wonder who you could have been
you are inevitable
you are inescapable
but do you hear me?
do you read me?
do you see me?

There is nowhere else except yourself
and wherever you go
you will still be there.

Mubble Fubbles

after the words
at half-past dark
my second thoughts
later than at-last
further than so-far
my sorrowful wallow
cancelling tomorrow
my calendar of clarity
spare-change charity
my dubious timing
weakly unwinding
our corkscrew dive
blue tumbling skies
yet after all
it feels so small
nothing matters
morning staggers
dragging me along
with a familiar song
the only one I like
the only one I know

Clucky Bastard

I wake up in the dense darkness between early and late
to turn the lever to pull it together and count my chickens
weeks before you’re due to hatch.

I wake up in the blank blackness on the cusp of day
to observe the steady glow of your loving Iron Mother
resting my hand above her heat-lamp.

I wake up in the close coldness and the crisp quietude
to shine a light into all the corners of your little world
observing tiny miracles in holy solitude.

I wake up in the solid silence before another day
to listen for your calls through warm eggshell walls
singing reply in rough whispered song.

I wake up again
although I’ve hardly slept
your voices now too strong
your worlds now too small
I watch as you gradually emerge
while you chip away at your walls
I watch as you break on through
and you stumble onto this earth
then with trembling care
I gather you near
a handful of life so newly arrived
while somewhere a rooster crows.