Dark place malleable human clay

his perfect form oh so treasured

more beautiful than marble David

a Renaissance masterpiece maybe

no match for perishable substance

is the one the callous artist has mislead

the one of unadorned flesh and blood

she keeps him atop fortress bastille

bound, no loin cloth invulnerability

the rhapsodist on a wooden cross

a sculptress, she moulds, remoulds

he, her work of art that is but exhibit

upon her whim she colours his skin

tattoo’s and sliver ringed piercings

shaven head verifies Delilah’s grade

solitary confinement acquiescence

the vanquished poet lost for words

howls for him her maniacal hosanna

of penitent privation now unmasked

she chronicles his every progression

on this journey from mortal to beast

come the time she finally bores of him

upon his sinew she will no doubt feast

This, in essence, is a vague synopsis of a work of dark fiction I am penning presently. The skeleton of my tale is complete. Now I must add well-chosen words to make it whole…hoping it becomes a book before the year is out.


soft pawn

Swapped her cheap crucifix for a soupçon of stardust

Now both saint and sinner don’t know who to trust

Yet under a raw red light a price is agreed

By he who is wanting and she who’s in need

Her address you can find by charting the stars

Reading ragged postcards, asking in bars

Perpetual the loser, always second best

She thinks as a lost sheep unaware that she’s blessed

The city cries for outcasts as day turns to night

Street lamps to the punter, moths to the light

Grabbing their chances, riding their luck

Some end up in gutters, some make a fast buck

Some offer salvation, they make cups of sweet tea

Brass bands and war cries they suspect is the key

The helpless gifted mercy, yet no rich reward

There’s no place in Eden, if you’re just one of the horde

A new day’s sun rises, fresh shadows are born

Sleepy ladies of the night now suffer the scorn

Of those of the first blush who prefer not to smell

The cheap scent that lingers beyond heartbreak hotel

The knights and the bishops, the queens and the kings

All looking for soft pawn, cannon fodder, playthings

Those knights and those bishops, those queens and those kings

Will hand over the coinage providing there’s no strings



Tucked under her left arm a cornucopia empty of both fruit and dreams wishes

held fast in her right hand an inverted, in truth forevermore mutilated parasol

the commotion of the unrestrained tempest above spells the roughest of nights

the charmed forest’s new arrivals would do well to be mindful and remember

the weather on this hillside domain shifts as abrupt as the plunge of a new born acorn


Eirênê had supposed that spring had already sprung, so glorious a cut grass sunset

she had thought wrongly discovering as she did to her cost winter’s death rattle still

rattled, in the circumstances she succumbed to abort her tranquil twilight saunter

the allure of flawless retreat, to seek sanctuary at the temple of an aged best friend

a time exhausted, yet wise old nameless oak tree, her mentor and long time confidant


It is within his hollowed trunk she takes shelter from the storm, he minds not a jot

she jokes with the old boy, “Time may have dented your good looks, your bark may

have seen better days – and yes I know it’s the woodpeckers not an age thing – but

still there is that watchful, roving eye of yours, old scallywag that you are” adding cheekily

“Tell me then, what’s new, you know, the happenings of night owls and clandestine lovers?”

that this patriarch to the school of fresh saplings chose to keep schtum par for the course

‘no names, no pack drill’ always his rule of thumb, “Just how old are you?” her oft times question

not that he would ever say, his age an indeterminate thing, although the travellers assert

he witnessed ‘born again’ Eve’s first kiss, the conception of Arthur, the birth of the last unicorn

whatever, safe inside the refectory of living timber she awaits his growth rings profound whispers


“Centre universe small child eyes fixate upon a world of drones, clones and catastrophe

where death throw Gods’ hang on for dear life and the deluded devotees still make war

blind to benevolence, deaf to charity’s pleas, yet true to grooming fables as candid biography

it is now that the waters of a thus far lazy secular stratum propagation need breaking in a frenzy

and a commonwealth be born, and for the first time within conscious thinking, truth at last thrives

spreads far and wide, beyond where philanthropic wish trumps ‘return to sender’ me, me, me prayers

only then will ‘good things flourish continually’ and the ‘minds of mortal men need you no more”


“Then my existence is a mere contradiction, and you never existed?” 

He offers no reply, utters not another word


Ziegfeld Follies Showgirls from the 1920s by Alfred Cheney Johnston (4)

In old Algiers is where you will find her, a diminished recluse with not much to say

She lives where the boorish found silence, not once thinking back to the events of that day

That day when a world changed for ever, the day when sensibility severed her from her past

Untied all the knots of entanglement, and a style of living she could never hope to outlast

She wrote a doting epitaph for a dead lover, in hieroglyphics no one could read

Planted Keats own lily aside his tombstone, never thought to water it, it thus went to seed

In green grief she sought out a new captive, one she could keep as her own and enslave

Promised him he would feast on her hunger, one-day pride of place with her in her grave

She shared with him her darkest secrets, on the day he succumbed to her rage

Facing the trauma of tomorrows addictions, she locked him secure in love’s dreary cage

Upon the mountain top of sacred dilemmas, where the poets come take wine and bread

Dancing naked by the light of a full moon, she played up to the bewitched gallery instead

Of rousing her under lock and key new lover, one quite forgotten, she was otherwise elsewhere

Feeding on the essence of Casanova’s imposters, and the thrill of any brand new affair

Through the forest of time and undetected, a huntsman came seeking out freshest prey

So hollow the soul of the counterfeit mistress, no hard currency to bribe him away

He banqueted on her depthless beauty, and depthless beauty was all she had left

Her fly by night lovers flew away in an instant, the hunter had made his foreseeable theft

One day long ago I met the oldest lady, her ravaged face powdered, begging one last reprise

Yet backward of fallen leaves on the outside, I saw moonlight’s moth behind frozen brown eyes



The year is 1551. Perched upon a stool at Le Pen & Ink Bar in the small village of Salon-de-Provence in Southern France is Nostradamus.  He is in his ‘cups’ as some might say. Others, less kind folk say the old boy is as pissed as rat.  Out of preference he has been knocking back copious glasses of lager with cognac chasers all afternoon for it is only when ‘in drink’ that he can get in the zone and knock out a few predictions.  His presence in the bar irks both the landlord and those few mates he has left.  Tempers often fray when Nostradamus is spouting off!

Pierre: “Oh for Christ’s sake he’s going to kick off again, you can always tell. He’s such a pleasant bloke until he’s had a few then its predictions, predictions bloody predictions”

Jean-Paul: “Wouldn’t be so bad if he gave us useful predictions like who’s going to win the 2.30 at Deauville or maybe when the black plague is coming our way.  But oh no, it’s all stuff I personally couldn’t give a toss about. What was that he was on about yesterday Frank?”

Frank: “What that load of old bollocks.  It was all about some geezer called Napoleon who’s going to rule all of France someday long after everyone here’s snuffed it.  Who gives a toss?”

Landlord: “It’s the graffiti in the bogs I could do without.  My carbolic bill is going through the roof.  Every time the tosser posts another prediction above the urinal he doesn’t give a thought for us poor sods who have to clean up.  He says this prediction malarkey only works for him in the lavvy! If he wasn’t such a good spender I’d bar him. Here look I took a pic of what the twat wrote on me IPhone 6”

Jean-Paul: “Stuff me, ‘PAU, NAY, LORON will be more of fire than of the blood, To swim in praise, the great one to flee to the confluence. He will refuse entry to the Piuses, The depraved ones and the Durance will keep them imprisoned.’ How do you get Napoleon out of that?” 

Landlord: “Fuck knows. All I know is it took me two hours to wash it off”

Pierre: “Hang on boys, he’s stirred. I get the feeling he’s going in to one…the zone is about his very person”

Jean-Paul: “Oy, Nostro can’t tell me if I’m going to get me leg across with little Fifi the milkmaid on Friday night can you?”

Nostro: “I neither know nor care what you and that little tart are getting up to. Anyway I’m going for a piss”

Landlord: “Bollocks that’s my evening ruined. Reckon I’ll be cleaning up again” (Gaelic shrug)


Frank: “Here chaps I need a pee meself. I’ll take a look in the ‘gents’ and check out his latest post – there’s bound to be one. Lend us your IPhone landlord – we should get another quick quatrain out of this little visitation I’d say!”


Frank: “Cop a look at this boys!  He’s only gone and posted another swift double-bubble on the quatrain front on the bog wall this one reads; 

‘Trompeor by name will come forth and stir new lands masses

Solicit hatred of denominations perceived false, vilify the gentle

His castle walls will be seen from kingdom come as barbarous blockade

Mercilessness and warmongering will prevail; a new inquisition in the wake


The great Senate will ordain the triumph

For one who afterwards will be vanquished, driven out:

At the sound of the trumpet of his adherents there will be

Put up for sale their possessions, enemies expelled


What do you make of that then?”


Pierre: “Fucked if I know…Nostro, just what the bloody hell does this old tosh mean?”

Nostro: “Even the bloody village idiot could work that one out matey boy.  Obvious isn’t it.  Don’t look so quizzical fool. Quite simply it means that a right obnoxious, evil twat called Trump will gain power and seek to destroy a great nation in a faraway land not discovered yet until one day he gets his comeuppance…touch of ‘Beware the Ides of March’ as history repeats itself”

Jean-Paul: “And?”

Frank: “So what, when’s all this going to happen then?”

Nostro: “Late 2020 or thereabouts I reckon”

Landlord: “What’s the point of telling us that then? That’s nigh on 500 years in the future”

Nostro: “Fuck me – can’t you see, our children, our children’s children, onwards and upwards need to know these things”

Landlord: “What crap. Anyway, what substance do you use when you’re penning your bloody quatrains on the bog wall?  It’s a bastard to get off?”

Nostro: “Don’t know; don’t care – the missus gets it for me down Poundland.  I’m pissing off home now – but don’t any of you ever, ever tell me I didn’t tell you so. Right!” 

Pierre: “Don’t know why he didn’t just stay doing that apothecary stuff – his St John’s Wort helped get me out of a bad place after the suckling pig got taken by wolves. Now we’re stuck with these piss poor predictions.  If I hear another sodding quatrain, I’ll open a vein…still he’s gone now – my round; what we all drinking?”






To the all-powerful corrupt an ‘eye for an eye’

the superlative and most potent allegory to reign aside

‘Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law’

Divine the despot whose durability is fashioned thus

no guardian angels for the molested huddled masses

their horror horoscope of chains constraint abiding

be it at the hands of the mad holy or the wholly mad

absolute malevolence endures in a climate of dread


He was akin to a Lancelot, she his perhaps Guinevere

yet no Arthur of reluctant compassion to be found

in this land of sand dunes, dust storms and oasis’

shanghaied hands and robbed of sight cruel penalty

for falling in love, for the theft of a ‘spoken for’ heart

that he lives still, his oppressor’s deviant addendum


She had cauterized his wounds with St. Hubert’s Key

a cruciate relic from the last crusade put to good use

time on her side, she nursed, tended and protected

for as long as he remained within high fevers dreamland

she puzzled over nightmares that might mar his slumber


‘Blind and blind drunk a less than fortuitous discovery

unwittingly he steps over the waterfall at world’s edge

no fit state to attempt evasive action, he goes with the flow

the roar of salt water on stone below deafens his senses

costs him his equilibrium, he tumbles and nose-dives

topples, plunges until after several dazed days and nights

quite sober now, berths upon a marriage bed of rose petals

where his lover awaits, sat crossed legged, soothing his brow’


Bruised eyelids groan open, yet nothing without to perceive

tries to pinch himself into reality with left behind fingers

stark facts of a new existence strike home, masked tears

he remembers the torture that left him mutilated now, then

her sweet song, soft touch, words of comfort, her kiss of longing

wet sponge upon bare chest, the passionate pledge of timeless love


“What good a man who can neither see nor touch, bathe nor dress, serve nor receive?”

she caresses his wretched quad of disfigurations, his flawless lover’s lips

as if one and the same beauteous thing, says, “Fuck them all”



black white

A lullaby for the exposed stowaways, the very least the First Mate could do

In the safety of his quarterdeck cabin, away from the attentions of the rest of the crew

Outward bound from Havana, on a paddle steamer under auxiliary sail

Keeps an even keel in a big sea, keeps a straight line in the face of a gale

Black tea, bully beef and oat biscuits, from the galley were all he could filch

She stuffs it down as if there’s no tomorrow, nods, says, ‘It has to be better than zilch’

The babe at her breast falls asleep now, Brahms soft cradle song works once again

By candlelight and eerie shadows, to the restless creak of the hull under strain

He asks the girl for her story, what took her from her plantation to here

Yet a reticence quite overwhelms her, she just responds, ‘I had to disappear’

Port of Rotterdam bound and a new old life, ‘You won’t tell The Master you’ve hidden us away?’

He draws on his clay pipe, thinking out loud, ‘I’ll do my level best to keep him at bay

Try best you can to keep the child quiet, and just leave whatever else up to me’

She takes his words of comfort at face value, rests her fate in the hands of a cruel sea

Sea serpents, two weeks and a full moon later, at harbour side she seeks out a new hiding place

Now disguised as an Ordinary Seaman, her babe tucked up safe and sound in her travelling suitcase

On the bank of the Nieuwe Maas river, the First Mate kisses his charges farewell

A respectful peck on the cheek for the fine lady, a tearful smacker upon the brow of her little girl

A hurriedly arranged a coach-and-four awaits her, she a blue blood white princess so brave

And at last sanctuary for her girl child, fathered by her lost lover, a callously murdered black slave


Head cold extravaganza of bland incompetence

lost for new words, lost for something understood

I read somewhere, someplace, all that there is

is forged by the seven seas frenzied deep blue orgy


For the odd one out a pity? perhaps so, maybe not

such twisted indulgence often delivers fringe benefits

yet here, here at water’s edge I see clearly now

how profligate the swollen belly sculptress tide

she, lucky girl, answers only to a wide-eyed moon

all too easy to foretell, a docile consort, no match

for this capricious one who would caress whatever

took her fancy, and make it new, or perhaps destroy


My meandering interpretations struggle for breath

die, overlooked, such spiteful evaporation at birth

as of now my fever returns, hellfire’s own cauldron, then

glacial epoch trembling, I need to be encased within

need her divine contours, jewellery and silhouettes

want her shape-shifting nakedness, interlaced invention

woven, healing tight, an hallucination of sticky promises

want her, she, the one who like the riptide is ever changing

ever untamed, fickle, answering only to this spacey black moon



Facing a firing squad of stoned veterans, blindfolded, a last cigarette

Laughs in the face of the captain, treasures memories of his sweetest brunette

Was it espionage, treason or murder? he cares not, he has few regrets

She served him up his last supper, in his cell, on her back, settling love’s debts

She now treads the boards out of the limelight, dreams of one day the silver screen

No spotlight, no leading lady, just bit parts for any old scene

Wears a crucifix merely for fashion, keeps safe his swan-song uniformed figurine

An unmade bed in a bare light bulb garret, a ruin where they shared the exquisite obscene

In her scrapbook she pastes in his photo’s, Barcelona, Cadiz and Seville

Most of the shots out of focus, some that compel time to take rest and standstill

Pours herself a chipped glass cheapest Rioja, yet there remains a withering desire to distil

Comes to a conclusion of heroic grandeur, head back, she swallows a cyanide pill




Sweet violin backdrop, ‘The Lark Ascending’

a dreamer’s hot air balloon climbs dizzy heights

chasing the life-blood biggest star of all

picnic hamper seafood; ice bucket bubbly

woolly jumper, cashmere scarf just in case

woven wicker cradle pied-a-terre

her forever silver ringed fingers

no mistake tweak of the blast valve

up, ever upward she reaches for the heavens

vintage extending telescope at hand, toy town

effigy Flying Scotsman, all puff and shrill whistles

sculptured thatched cottage hamlets, turmeric dyed cornfields

and there, down there under the pop up weeping willow

riverside, upon polka dot blanket her lover patiently waits


She is jarred back to stark reality

Vaughan Williams breathes no more

Miss Monotone of the Pre-Recorded Ether intrudes

“Sorry to have kept you waiting, all our lines are still busy

Please hang up and call back later or go to our website at…”

she curses a lost twenty minutes on a premium number

hisses, ‘Bollocks’

spitting feathers, gives up

heads off, late of course

to the hustle, bustle and sweaty

rush hour London Underground