Thursday, December 14, 2006


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scoring on the Goldhawk road
casual, loitering in an old leather jacket
absorbing the warmth of the sun
reptile-like through translucent skin
watching the people pass me by
laughing and loose, the first warm day of spring
waiting for TJ’s patient – loping – junky walk
to emerge from the crowd like an optical illusion
hidden in plain view all along

the methadone clinic was a breeze today
no piss tests to outsmart
no arguments with the staff
no queue at the chemists
no sour look from the old whore behind the counter
even the garage music that blasts from passing Ford Cortinas
sounds somehow RIGHT today

this morning we fucked, slow and stoned
before she left for Conduit Street to work
TJ picked up the first time I called
and the trains did not conspire to crucify me

I look up to the powder blue London sky
feel the heat upon my face
and all of the bullshit
that came before this perfect, insulated,
heartbreaking and immortal moment
melts away
like the January snow
Tony O'Neill


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I imagine lying tangled up in the sheets with you. Hot sticky limbs intertwined, my right shin casually strewn across your right shin, me on my tummy, you on your back, my right hand snuggled around your right bicep. I drop my left hand off the edge of the bed and into my bag. Seeing with my fingers I grasp and discard first my diary, then my concealer and my lipstick until finally I grip onto my eyeliner.

Laughing, I kneel over you on the bed and taking your right hand in my left, I write ARM on your forearm. We laugh together and I write CHEEK under your right cheekbone that was highlighted with your smile. You turn your head to your left on the pillow and I write STERNOCLEIDOMASTOID along the muscle which runs from the sternum at the base of your throat up to the right-angled curve of your jawbone, and you thrill at the discovery of a new name.Bending forwards I place a light kiss in the dip between your clavicle and the top of your shoulder at the bottom of your throat, and I feel your pulse beat urgently against my lips. I write CLAVICLE along the bone, drawing a line under the kiss.

Our laughter is harder now and your tummy is shaking with the exertion. I jump to the other side of you on the bed, taking the covers with me caught round my foot. I drop to my knees again, and holding your vibrating tummy under the flat of my left palm I write ILIAC CREST along the glorious curve of your hip bone that I love to feel nestling in the crook of my hand.

Moving down now, writing swiftly I name THIGH, KNEE, SHIN, ANKLE, FOOT, METATARSAL, BIG TOE. Then I come back up and kiss the tip of your nose. My eyes dart hungrily about your face looking at the pattern of your delicious freckles. Your eyes delve deep into mine and I look at the creases in their corners as you smile up at me. I kiss your left dimple and you close your eyes. I write EYE on your right eyelid and run my hand through your hair.

SHOULDER, WAIST... I'm moving around your body again. My hand slips round and under you and I continue my naming and my loving. You turn onto your front, and I kiss every vertebra from the base of your neck down to the base of your spine. Then I write SPINAL COLUMN along the sinuous length of you.
My hand sweeps over your rounded buttocks and, both giggling madly, I cheekily write BUM on your right cheek. I burrow further in and write INNER THIGH, kissing you just above the mole inside your right thigh. BACK OF KNEE makes you scream with the ticklish sensitivity of it. CALF, ACHILLES TENDON, HEEL, BALL OF FOOT and we're done. You flip onto your back again and pull me onto you, our bodies squashing together and smearing your bodynames onto mine.In the morning when you're gone I imagine how I will be left with more than the odd stray hair and the memory. I will have your imprint on my sheets and smudges of random backwards letters over my body, like bruises.

Lisa Payne


Darryl Wildblood is an Edinburgh based film maker. Consumertariart is a short film of his poetry and images.


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The 4 of us
crowd the screen.
Amazed at the quality
the picture sharpness,
transfixed as he
KY'd the exposed 12 inches,
stuffed it up her arse
and thrust away
as her whimpers
jemmied clenched teeth.
when satisfied,
he withdrew,
wiped it clean
of blood and shit,
whispered "She might
make Christmas"-
sent a junior doctor
scurrying to the waiting room......

Christopher Major

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Her Hair Was Braided When I Met Her

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Sweet Julie,
I wish
your diaz eyes
no husband
no children
(tho' I wouldn’t take them away from you)

wish your
sweet mouth
was alone

worked with me
like I
you were going to

you were
just a lonely
in your
nice clothes

(I want to hold your soul)

cos then
I’d fall
for you
and your
trouser’d hips
and your
tops for work

sweet Julie
I know
that’s not
real name

when I
first met you
you had braids in your hair
your NHS
showing your

you showed
me around
this place
and I
wanted to
work there
because I
thought I
would be
working with
you, Julie

but you
chose a woman!
(not you, but Sue)
and when
she didn’t
you called
(not you, but Sue)

and I wanted
to work
with you,
but you’re
at the
other site

fuck it
lets have
an affair anyway
a big
blonde affair
that will tear up your family

let's do it
in the Haywain
in the Watermill
in your Golf

we can share starters
at the
Festival Leisure Park
we could
get a room
drive there
in your flash
Golf we did it in

room service menu
in my hands
while you shower
me off you

I’ll touch
your toy knickers
on the floor
with my toe

I’ll mix
drinks from
the minibar
looking in
your diaz eyes

fried chicken
in baskets

on a meat high

mixing drinks
from the minibar
watching cable

Ford Dagenham

I'm Not Going Back There Again, Me

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I’m not going back there again, me. No way. You should’ve seen her last night: off her face; a complete fucking wash-up. She said to me that she wanted a real man. A man who could put the booze away until the cows came home. A man who could match her, drink for drink, blow for blow: a strong man; a man who could put up with her. A man who didn’t bruise too easily.

I’m not going back there again, me. No fucking way JosĂ©. She’s mental. She attacked me with an empty bottle of Claymore last night – just because I wouldn’t drink it with her. She finished the whole bottle. She said to me that only real men drink Claymore; that Irish whiskey is for poltroons. Before I could explain she went for me; she didn’t give me a chance. The bottle hit me between the fucking eyes with a thud – luckily for me it didn’t shatter. Then she demanded I fuck her. I didn’t, of course. I got the hell out of there. Sharpish.

I’m not going back there again, me. Not on your Nelly. I’d rather be right here writing this, sitting at my desk in my lousy office with the other drones, trying to get away with doing as little work as possible, waiting for lunchtime, that dreary respite. I’d rather be in the miserable meeting with my line manager at 11 o’clock I’ve been summoned to. Anything. Invoicing, filing, data-entry, even photo-copying: the simple day-to-day activities of a dogsbody. I don’t even mind everyone staring at the purple bruise on my forehead, between my tired eyes. I don’t care what they think about me; I never have. They can fucking stare all they want. It gives them something to focus on. It helps to pass time. It helps to make the working day crawl along that little bit quicker. It’d be funny if it wasn’t all so meaningless. Really.

I’m not going back there again, me. Not if you fucking paid me. She’d only be drunk again. She’d only want to start another fight; demand I grope her cunt or something. Probably chew me up and spit me out. She’d say to me I’m worthless, useless, rotten and boring. She’d laugh in my face, ridicule me and belittle me; filch the money from my pockets. She’d pour warm beer over me, spit on me, call me a twit and poke me in the ribs – just for fun. She’d hurt me until the bruises covered my body like ruined petals and then she’d point me to her door yet again. I’d leave her fulfilled. She’d banish me until I came back knocking the very next day, safe in the knowledge that I am weak, maddened by her; that I don’t know what else to do. Then she’d just let me back in for more like nothing had happened. Happy.

I’m not going back there again, me.

Lee Rourke

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Venison Sausages

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I was trying to get some writing done when my friend Mike turned up with his arm in a sling after falling through the roof of a burnt out warehouse in Hackney while high on MDMA and dressed as a goblin or something for Halloween. Landed on his face but he was alright; two days in hospital.
He arrived bearing venison sausages and an unidentifiable fruit. I told him about a book I'm writing about celebrities who get infected with a disease called Celebricide that drives them mad like rabid dogs until their cocks falls off and their insides turn to black blood and stuff and then we drove through South London’s gridlocked rush hour traffic. Mike got so excited about the thought of all those dead celebrities - Kilmer, Lo, Kutcher - he jumped out at the traffic lights to go and see his girlfriend and I went to see a connection to score some strong weed because it was Friday night and I sure as shit wasn’t intending on embracing the evening straight and while he was there he played me a demo by some shitty rock band, which people tend to do a lot these days.
I got back in the car and drove through three miles of nose-to-tail traffic for singing along to House Of Pain on the radio acting like I'm some badass white rapper too, even though I rap like Stephen Hawking. By the time I got home it was dark and Mike had left his sausages on my bed, which made me laugh because I'm a vegetarian and I know how far he had carried them today with his one good arm and how just much he was looking forward to eating them. Actually, it made feel a little sad, thinking of him and his girlfriend without their sausages for the night. I put them in the freezer for him. He can get them another time.
That’s the beauty of technology.

Ben Myers

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Days On The Old Estate

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The other day I passed the council estate
Where I grew up
And I had to take a look
To see if they were still there, I wasn’t sure if it was a good idea, but I couldn’t resist
So I walked to the old garages, and to one particular garage door, wondering, no hoping
Something might remain
And there they were
A few small letters written in Tippex
JR 4 CB ‘84’
Fucking hell, I thought
Still there
After all these years
Twenty-three years
Over two decades
And seeing those letters forced the memories to come flooding back
A veritable deluge
Of days spent on the old estate
Dynamic days, halcyon days, glory days
The wonder years
The years of my youth
Spent in an East London that was now gone forever
Swept away in one generation
And I felt incredibly sad as I looked at those letters
Remembering that CB stood for Corrine Burgess
My first girlfriend at age twelve, she a year younger at eleven
And I didn’t even know how to kiss properly
Because when my older friend Ricky told me to give her a Frenchie
I didn’t even know what he meant
A Frenchie, I mean think about it?
It sounds a really old fashioned thing to say now, but then again, who the fuck uses Tippex these days?
So we just kissed, English style, lips to lips, no tongues
And I remembered how I played strip poker with Corrine,
While we babysat her younger sister
And I got her to take her top off
And how she cried and I got scared that she might tell her mum, but I wasn’t scared about her telling her dad because she didn’t have one
And I remembered how we used to play Ouija board at Corrine’s house
And how the glass would suddenly fly off the board and scare us all
Only finding out later that Ricky had been moving it around all along
And I remembered my first cigarette, a John Player Special
Does anyone smoke them anymore?
But most of all I remembered the Christmas parties
Each year the party would be held in a different house
There were only thirty houses on the old estate
A tiny close-knit community
And everyone would come, all the kids, grans, granddads, singletons
Everyone in their best clothes
Me circa 1983: Mullet, rat’s tail, yellow Lyle and Scott jumper, pink Lacoste polo shirt, sky blue Farahs, and white leather deck shoes
And the adults would all get drunk
While the kids would congregate in the bedrooms and talk shit,
And at least one or two of the older kids would get drunk on thunderbird or special brew, and talk even more shit.
And the kid whose house the party was being held in would show everyone their Christmas presents
And I remember one year Simon Broom was given a Sinclair ZX81, the first computer I’d ever seen
And amongst the adults, there would always be at least one fight
And the next day everyone would talk about it
Who got done, who didn’t get done, and what the repercussions would be,
Like who was ganna get done as a result of the unfortunate altercation
Oh, it was great days back on the old estate
A very privileged upbringing
And as I stood there, two decades later, a grown man
Touching those faded Tippexed letters on the garage door
While, in the background, three Muslim women
Looked on wonderingly
I wondered what Corrine Burgess was doing now
Or where she lived
Because in the intervening years
I had lost contact with nearly everyone from back then
And as this realisation began to sink in
I also realised it was a mistake to come back to the old estate
Because of all the forever changes
And it was then that
A teardrop
Rolled down my cheek
Like a cannonball

Joseph Ridgwell

Out Damned Spot

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i say
such was that day as i decided to hold back the ejaculate please
don't stop no
not yet
and so it stayed fierce and like each sperm was snarling and showing its
growl growl in the clench
as i thrust deeper
not coming
not going to come no
as the sun was out over kilburn and the dogs were barking in the gardens below
as i thrust keeping the wolf from the door and hands and fingers in mouth
i will not stop
don't stop
and kept it going for a good old time for a man of my age
and then
o it was reaching some kind of crescendo
with the waves crashing in my ears and the hands and more fingers gripping and
digging into me
noises of animal as i whipped it out finally i
remember seeing the mouth open and the eyes close
tongue over a mouth of nice teeth maybe only one
as i pullled it out and aimed for the tits all proud like the lion who will be looking over
his shoulder at the younger lions in no time at all
but who still has all his hair and is still a good lion
for now
and the cock was in the hand and aimed as i said and
gutteral noises as i had
held back for some time and
then here is the trick
as i had held back for some more
and more
and miraculously more
a scream of pain as i whip it out
for the blast and shudder but
there is o no
whats this but blood in the ejaculate
fresh blood
like from a cut
very red vivid red
and lumps of cum and falling between my fingers
i stand on the bed
and then in the middle of the room my knees all weak
her eyes round
like tangerines and shocked and im staring and very quickly its
lady macbeth or the hunch back of notre dame maybe
not funny this
as i am wounded and o shit
o shit
what's this ?
what is this?
look blood
there's blood
blood and she says
it's ok it's ok
she looks scared
let's go to the clinic she says
i thought it was ok i say


Monday, December 04, 2006

Let's Get Drunk And Dance To Slayer

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the familiar thud of the double kick drum
throbs through the sewers
of old London town
up through the drains
out in the street
an electrical charge
that starts at the feet
Slayer’s in town dude
fucking Slayer
and tonight the angry sky
will be raining blood
oh yes
we are hear for
and blood
and mayhem
and to watch the
hit the swirling circle
guest tickets, baby
up on the balcony
and down below
in the smoke built
spotlight Hades
flanked by his banging brothers
bent double
Tom Araya is gurgling
Are you read for WAR?
I said, are you ready for…”
and Lombardo is Wagner
writing rhythms of hate
with blast beats
for the protons and neutrons
bashing bare skin and skulls
before them;
the inner animal unleashed
inside the
four thousand nine hundred and twenty-one
of us
let loose in this blackened zoo
the proscenium arch
heads charred by
sixteen strings set to stun
in the bronze-sprayed
deafening dome
that lets us watch the stars
as the fetid floor slips
away and away
into the bowels
and the slop
and the sweat
and the ash
of a Monday morning
- later we’ll smoke weed and
read the Sagas and
fuck to the sound
of the wind
but for now
we find
Valhalla on a
cold Sunday night

Ben Myers

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Robin About 8

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My beard stutters rev rev rev revolution into the wandering shapes of day
Day Shapes are all I see…
…except you, robin
Mocking me from the sundial
Where all is shit except expensive turf that must cushion my face

I am aged twenty four to thirty five
And I have not been bad
But this glimpse of rushing light worries my blinkers on the floor
I must seek high ground to dig in…
…dig in and glimpse of experience some more

I am not a bad man, robin red by the pond
I have a hobby, am humble, don’t crave just money
But still I weep on the sunny corners…
…in the corner quiet of shop and the dusk of the city
Filling out forms from anger as lost as those that left me

My negativity is an unravelling knot of diamonds
That used to be waking nights of shift-change sirens
And the Guns of Dreams I own…
…dream on; are impotent and made wrong
And I had to go to the shop, robin, in the last of the sun

And the checkout child who loved Elvis onto his T-shirt
Has more going for him tonight…
…tonight when I touch books to calm me
Away from the Rage monday gave me
As a surprise to shake me and taunt me

There is darkness under the blinds now, desk light in the corner
As I struggle like those small flies climbing the walls till dawn
You’ve gone sleepwise now robin…
…sleepways and warm
While my bare feet lay broken in a draught that remembers the sun

But robin, you still taunt me with your peace…
…I remember now your bright breast macho on the rocks
And I am not into hitting the wall anymore, robin
So I act productively, hopelessly, my pen in the boxes
I am aged twenty four to thirty five robin,
and I have not been bad…
Ford Dagenham

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Gunman Lyrics

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Dear John,
Last Sunday me and Sal went down to a festival; I’ve never been there – lived in London all my life but never been to Brick Lane, big old scruffy streets, market stalls everywhere. There were thousands of people; all the curry places had tables outside, Indian shops with models wearing saris and bangles in the window. We were proper laughing at the waiters trying to drag us in to eat. Halfway hammered, sky shining blue, we sniffed out a boozer with a stage in the front yard, music playing loud.
Fucking excellent’ I thought; we grabbed some beers, got a couple of keys up our snozzers, started dancing and laughing at all the dickheads with stupid haircuts.
That place, the worst clothes – like Bananarama or Toyah or some 80’s shit? What a state. I was pretty fucking legless; a band came on the stage, guy in a red jacket, jumped up, bouncing about, shouting. I was thinking, ‘I know that geezer, where have I seen him before?’…
Some people just have those faces. He shouted, the band were brilliant, loud, mental, he pulled down the balloons - big gold playground ones, 200 of them, crazy bastard. He jumped, flew into the audience, landed on me, rolling about on the floor! Grabbed his cock, got it out, rubbed his crotch in my face, and Sal, she just stood DYING with laughter. The balloons flew off to the sun, melting in the glares. I never laughed as much in my whole life. I thought I was gonna piss, I swear John..
There was a reggae sound system inside, heavy, it reminded me of when we went to the blues clubs in ’89; the room was dark, they played all that stuff we used to love, slow jams and dancehall. I was shaking my big fat ass, loved it, stuck my head in a bass bin; bought some pills off an Italian bloke for old time’s sake. Proper sorted us out. We did some shots; the lights and bass were so intense, my brain flipped out. It was so long since I heard those tunes. I was wasted, throwing up; but I was smiling. The joy was a million times stronger than anything I had ever felt, just a pure drug rush. In the middle of the dance floor I saw you.
I thought ‘Fuck am I tripping or what?’, but you were there and my heart was beating double quick;
This is it, he’s back, we’re out on the town, we are love, we are beauty; together we are one.’
I blinked, then I realised that you weren’t there after all; just some bloke with a shaved head. I thought of you sat on your own in a barred cell, and cried. The world stopped for one second, in snapshot slow motion. I burned inside; the pills ripped at the side of my skull. The longing returned.
I swear I’m going fuck you so hard when I see you, it’ll be an explosion. I’ll kiss you and rub your back, take the pain away from everything that’s hurt you inside. I’m going to marry you, be with you forever, John. Just counting down the days now,

I love you.


Adelle Stripe

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Requiem For A Dangling Man

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Heaven kicked him out. He wouldn’t wear a necktie. In the boarding-house, he was high and dry. Well-supplied with books and dirty looks: he’ll die or get rich tryin’…

…and the song-and-dance-man with the tattooed hands keeps dedicating records to the dangling man…

Here, beauty is a stale concept. As stale as the secondhand air we’re all breathing in. As stale as the stench in the toilets. The stink of the landlord’s hand after he’s removed the lid of the cistern, wrapped an old Somerfield carrier bag around his fist and pumped away the fucking shit himself. I order us two more pints and another pack of pork scratchings for Carl. It’s all I can do to not be sick. Five pounds ten. My loss. The scuffed urn stands proud amongst the spilt beer and soggy beer-mats on a nearby table. It’s already half full of cigarette butts. It’s glinting cheekily under the faulty disco lights. I feel sick again. What exactly am I doing here? These are the sort of people who prefer Carling to Stella. The sort of people who offer to buy single cigarettes off strangers. The sort of people who would happily drink a can of lager that they found on a train. I picture my revolutionary sweetheart in her back-garden- cross-legged in her bikini – smoking cigars – and grin. A man with disturbing facial hair scowls at me. I pass Carl the drinks and head towards the toilets. Jesus.

…and the song-and-dance-man with the tattooed hands keeps dedicating records to the dangling man…

They say small towns burn a little slower. I wish they fucking would. Starting with this one. There’s a cowpunk with a conscience standing stockstill in the toilets and he can’t stop talking nonsense ‘cause he thinks I’m gonna spoil it… He’s shuddering with vigour and bile, dissing the soul-children, murmuring conspiracy theories under his breath. I’ve heard it all before though. Pretty much every time I’ve ever been in this pub. Did I know he’d been in prison? Mmm, yeah, I’d had an inkling. Later on they’ll all be swinging from the rafters with skinny tattooed arms, drowning out the laughter … The India Arms, yeah, that’s the one. Do you know it? Have you been there? More-than-likely I’ll be deservedly burnt along with my books. That’s southern hospitality for you…

…and the song-and-dance-man with the tattooed hands keeps dedicating records to the dangling man…

I walk out and nod to Jase the Ace who’s holding court in the corner. King of Somerfield, legend in his own lunch hour. He grins back at me with yellowed teeth as one of his teenaged admirers proffers him another Marlboro Light. Another girl tries to brush the dandruff off the shoulders of his bodywarmer without him noticing. Nearby, Carl growls and glares at me, all-the-while fingering the cut-up credit card in his pocket. 8 cans for a fiver. The straw that broke the camel’s back. Cunt. I rejoin Carl at the bar. He’s started eyeing up the local talent. Nice. Cigarettes tucked behind their ears, blackened teeth, flakes of cheese and onion crisp stuck to their thick, smudged lipstick. It’s enough to bring a tear to your eye. Shame most of the blokes in here have already got small black teardrops tattooed under their eyes. One girl gazes at me through two black eyes. I stare back at her pathetic, pretty rhinestone soul uncomprehendingly. She blows me a kiss through the smoke and dust. I shudder. Yeah – I think - I’d fuck her. If I was dead.

…and the song-and-dance-man with the tattooed hands keeps dedicating records to the dangling man…

The room throbs and pulses like the stinking underbelly of disco. He prowls the stage like an electric soul bandit; a cut-price Elvis fuelled by less burgers and more speed. I know for a fact that the boot of his Ford Cortina is full of firearms and dodgy video recorders. He takes a slug from his bottle of Pils and glances around the room at his adoring public. “This one’s for a dear friend of mine. A lot of you knew him. His name was Tommy. He was a fucking diamond.” He places his beer bottle back on the windowsill. The psychopath as saint, or something like that. “This one’s for you, Tom. I hope they’ve got good tunes wherever you are now, you old cunt.” He takes one more look at the roomful of burning souls before sinking to his knees and bellowing the opening lines to another rockabilly favourite. “Join in if you know this one…” I look at Carl. Carl shrugs. All the colored girls go: do de do, do do de do… Carl looks at me. I shrug. His gaunt disciples shuffle around the ‘dancefloor’, cigarettes drooping from their mouths, empty pint glasses in hand, murmuring to themselves. I order two more pints and two double whiskies.

…and the song-and-dance-man with the tattooed hands keeps dedicating records to the dangling man…

Her obese Bacardi bruiser of a friend grabs my arse and tells me that Stacey’s wetter than Rod Hull’s roof. I pretend not to hear her and nod in time to the music. Some guy spills my pint and laughs in my face. Borstal tattoos, cheap training shoes, supermarket booze. I don’t push the issue. The woman next to me starts to complain to the barman: “Barman! Barman, there’s a string in my Bloody Mary…” I push through the crowd, not too steady on my feet. “Nathan, where the fuck are you going? Nathan?”

…and the song-and-dance-man with the tattooed hands keeps dedicating records to the dangling man…

I drag her outside for some fresh air. I’m fucked. Some of the old-timers are leaning up against the back-wall, drinking bleach, like faded angels. They don’t even look up at us. Thank fuck. Just for once I don’t want to have to look into their eyes and see the charred autumnal grace of their souls. It’s cold out tonight. I left my jacket inside. I feel sick still. She pushes me up against the greasy brick wall and gropes for my cock. Another victory for my dead heart. Over her shoulder I can see the karaoke shaman relaxing in his car: more than likely getting high on his own supply. Next to him in the front-seat sits an unconvincing transvestite. I can see that from here. Big hair and small clothes. Big hands. Big dick probably. Sex ‘n’ drugs ‘n’ HIV… I don’t know whether he knows or cares. I certainly don’t. Right now I don’t care about anything. Right now we don’t care about anything. Right now I live in the flicker. We live in the flicker. All of us.

…and the song-and-dance-man with the tattooed hands keeps dedicating records to the dangling man…

Tom Leins


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Got to tell you about this feeling that’s running through my head right now… I feel like I’m flying. Floating – I’m a see through helium balloon, the string cut from beneath me, and it’s taking me up, up towards the night. I keep pinching myself, opening my eyes, I can feel the tears tingling on my cheeks. My tongue feels soft and velvety. The lights keep appearing when I close my lids. The light rolls around me like a million optic fibres swaying from the heavens. There’s a bleach taste in my mouth. I know I’m back in my familiar place.
I am high again.
Tonight – I just wanted it to last forever. I woke up under a Christmas tree, in a living room with the dawn warming my sweating skin. Bombed out on ecstasy, wrecked my brain after a New Year to end all New Years. Music playing loud from the decks, playing Ghost Town over and over. I’m rolling about and there’s people shouting, laughing, drinking vodka. A man turns himself into an upside down crab, walking on his hands and feet across the inspiral carpet.
Don’t know how I got here. But I’m feeling out of place, feeling sick, just want to open my eyes and be sat in an Oak tree orchard. I need this to stop. The drugs. I can’t take it anymore; I don’t know who I am. I’ve lost myself.
This guy comes over to me, blue eyes / black eyebrows, takes my hand, and pulls me into the kitchen, makes me a Sea Breeze. It hits my stomach and I retch. I throw up in the sink, fill it with pints of vomit, blood stained and acidic – no food for 4 days. He cooks up a saucepan with water and a carrier bag of mushrooms in it, a little sugar to sweeten the taste. He cracks a joke, lights me a fag. I come round a bit. Then drink the tea; the black nipples turning grey as they swill around in the sieve.
A girl takes hold of me, wraps me in a fur coat, pulls me down to the park, and I have to piss. There are people around, but I don’t care, I climb onto the back of a pick up truck, filled with tools and sheets, pull down my trousers, wet myself by accident. I piss in the wrong place. All over my hands. Don’t know where I am. Lost. Again.
Can’t stop laughing, the ground shifts from under me. Is this what the Shamans feel like?
We end up on the grass, this girl with pale green eyes and red hair, she looks after me. But she won’t stop talking. She is my new best friend. I know for sure. Nobody else would bother to pick me up off the floor covered in piss.
I sit in the Buddha position, a lotus, try and centre myself, but she keeps on talking, at herself, at me. I just want the noise to stop. The grass carpet is rolling up and down, dipping in the winds that blow through my hair.
Take my pissy trousers off, casting them aside, just sit there in my knickers and vest, trying to be sick again, shoving my fist down my throat. We smoke some more. I lay out, close my eyes, and float up into the skies. Relief from the chaos, I am locked in my own world. Taken away from the red bricks – I am free. To fly up from this mess, into the light. Warm light that calls to me.

Megan Hall

Friday, November 03, 2006

Wallowing Johnny Of Wine

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'Where the hell is science!'
extra in Deep Impact

Hey you!
Drinnkking wine from the bottle now-
put on some bad TV and a new t shirt.
Give up your wallowing for one minute, Johnny,
'cos the old lady is
putting scissors to her throat.
Blood on her pyjama top.
Now she wants to go home.
Now they found her-
spoiled her plan.
Now she says she wants to go home!

Does she know her mind is twilight?
Is this her lazy decision?
Wants to die she says, scissors to her paper throat.
Is this sanity shining through her grey days?

Lay down the Fist of Light Johnny,
LEDs punching into the corners.
Clip on the Knightrider-Cateye blinking red.
Go sup Johnny,
one time now,
sup the bargain wine Johnny.
Last years Bin 45-
necking it with dry lips
and selfish pondering wonders-
Is Johnny ill if he doesn't drink?

Leave it!
Leave the voices be.
The voices plugging the dream wares you cannot buy;
the voices you know, helpless.
Johnny; there’s News!
News from the System;
an old lady is crying
invisible goodbye tears.
Its death she lays down for now.
Calling with scissors, with eyes and hands.
Calling with immobility.
And Johnny!
You lay drinkning on an unmade bed.

Stop changing your socks!
Your two-tone socks of secret sport.
Stop changing your socks-
just for a stripey buzz.
A logo hit on your soft underside.
Labels on the back of his thigh-
like a 1977 Han Solo doll.
And yes, Johnny, your socks are new.
Creamy and fresh.
Yes it’s a treat,
a dawn,
on your feet,
you’re a dawn against the yellow tide.
Pelted political slick, with the brown rain.
The brown rain falling.

And those lights.
The fists of bright rage.
Anger lined up in dark LEDs.
A bar on your fists in the Corringham night streets.
You used to be a person, Johnny!
You used to be a person.
Johnny nods for four seconds but he’s pondering on a white van.
Forget that van Johnny!
What of the old lady, ancient origami frayed?

But the van,
the van, spoke to Johnny.
It said A.A.H. Pharmaceuticals.
Aaah! Pharmaceuticals, Johnny sighs!
He read…
oh Johnny!
he read in his shrunken paper
of Valium for sale.
50 for 30!
And he’s budgeting it in.
Says they are blue.
But Johnny; he seen them vanilla.
Says there's dangers.
There dangers Johnny!
May be morphine!

You wish!
Don't you Johnny.
You wish you had one now.
With your wine and your English spliff.
Braving your face for tomorrow.
Braving your face for the weekend.

he come begging.
he come giving.
As Johnny must in a merlot aura.
'Where the hell is science' he cries.

Be calm!
Calm Johnny!
Be immobile.
Maybe you'll be amazing by accident.
Maybe Valium is where the worlds end.
That pill that really touched you, Johnny.
Johnny sits, bemused.
Its all correspondingly shabby he says to me with child's eyes.

He declares moments Truly Spectacular.
His screen saver in his inner eye
rolling moments Truly Spectacular.
Johnny - movie!
Only sad dreams still perched in drunken stasis.

Smashed in a room.
Ha Ha,
Crying in a room.
Now high in a room.
You bought the wrong smoke, Johnny.
The wrong smoke from Londons exciting racks.
Lost. Aren't you Johnny?
Buying your boots alone,
holding on in a crap shop.
Your dreams Johnny!
Of two hip flasks and stolen cups under the fire works.
Your dreams Johnny!
You shopped, didn't you, for an afro-comb?
Dreams Johnny!
You conjured in a lucid prescence.
Your dreams, Johnny, eat themselves, Johnny, not you!

Neck it!
Johnny swings the bottle.
Hold tight your bat in the night alone.
Holding your own on the psychedelic toiletstep.
Doesn't know his CGI
from his computer reality.
Or this future
from his twentieth century.
Maybe, Johnny,
Maybe you'll be amazing by accident.
Ford Dagenham

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Hooligan Foodchain

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Fourth division. Strictly small-time. Number twelve bus to Castle Circus, £1.20, quick pint in The Pig with Joe, up to the ground. Traipse up the hill through the meaningless rag-trade sprawl. Lousy housing for lousy people. Rainy day, shoes squelching like someone else’s blood-filled lungs. Later. Buy a sandwich from Somerfield. 55p. Out of date. Sit on the wall outside. Get a wet arse. Dead streets. A broken maze of of kinky, Kinksy dead-end streets. Read them their last rites. Suburban perversions kept behind drawn curtains this afternoon. Armed robbery and daylight yobbery outside. Plenty of fresh air. Dye-pack powder-blue stains the pavement outside the Post Office. Endless CCTV reruns, glum black and white loops. Never did catch him, though. Probably in the bath scrubbing at his blue hands with sand-paper and wire-wool right now. Cheeky fucker. Into the nearest pub, we two dervishes. Standing on the toes of giants.

Let’s all have a disco/Let’s all have a disco/La La La La/La La La La…

Pub goes quiet. Someone else’s youth group. Horrible hierarchy. Strictly fourth division. Rotten English, disused voices, unfed jaws. Two pints and two doubles. Foundation of malevolence. Match on telly early doors. FA Cup. Massive screen. Load of bollocks. No one cares. Can’t see the telly. What’s the score? Guy jerking and twitching next to me. Birmingham 6 Guilford 4. Fucking travesty of a result. More beer, more drugs. Cheap, tinny techno. Everyone doing speed in the bogs. Glance around at the maimed survivors. Murderous dexterity. Time for one more? Yeah, fuck it.

Let’s all have a disco/Let’s all have a disco/La La La La/La La La La…

Eleven quid with an out-of-date NUS card. Sorted. Queue up with the pensioners. Padded down by the steward. Nothing to hide, except a special kind of madness. Buy a pasty, plenty of ketchup. Get right down near the away end. Hoodlum priests lead the charge. Give it the big, fat fuck-off. Communal smash ‘n’ grab. Youth squad going wild. Plenty of Burberry. Some real, some not. Want to prove themselves. Growing up on the terraces. Singing, chanting, not arsed. Fourth division. Waste of fucking money. Stained and disgraced journeymen. Grinding out a bore-draw. Jumpers for goal-posts. Three-and-in. Half-time, bursting for a piss. Hassle off some guy in the bogs. Look away. Don’t want any trouble. Seen him around. Big fella. Shaved head. Brute energy. Stone Island all the way. Mid-thuglife crisis. Saw him throw a man through the Chinky window last season. Dusted him down and bought him a pint after. Aggressive compassion. Nice to see… Half-time scores. Don’t care as long as Exeter are losing.

Let’s all have a disco/Let’s all have a disco/La La La La/La La La La…

Second-half. Nil-nil still. Bored shitless. Gasping for a drink. Fat pint of fizzy orange chemicals. Anything’ll do. Not fussy. Not arsed. Fourth division. Smashed minds and broken bodies. Roll on quarter-to-five. Cadge a fag off some guy with a maniac tremble. Nil-nil. Awful match. Southern culture on the skids. Floodlights split the sky. Rain lashing down. Absolutely soaked. The queasy meat-hook cabaret continues. Ten minutes to go. Ten minutes too many. Some of them start to filter out. Ready for a dust-up. Knowing Torquay viscerally. Fuck it, let’s go.

Let’s all have a disco/Let’s all have a disco/La La La La/La La La La…

Running with the wipe-out gang. Following the fat tracks. Bricks and bottles flying. Fourth division. We’ll hammer them. No contest. Feel like a fat, little sweat-bag. These streets are blank pages. Know them like the back of my hand. Unlit brick plastered in floating street literature. Blank pages, or something like that. I hear the screams before I see the machete. Fuck. Embittered air. Gloomily soulful protest. The sour sweat of too many people backed into too few corners. Fevered dialogue/severed dialogue. Cornered by suedeheads. Identikit photofit cut-and-paste blend. Edge backwards towards the greasy piss wall. First punch misses. Second breaks my jaw. Third one loosens the spastic glue around my brain. Down and out. Kicked to a shambles.

Let’s all have a disco/Let’s all have a disco/La La La La/La La La La…

Wake-up and smell the concrete. The sound of two souls coughing. Why? In a greasy spoon with the Butcher Extraordinaire. After dark. Closed for business. He’s talking and laughing, but I can’t hear a thing. Stone Island label flapping needlessly. I feel drugged, but not in a good way. Takes off his jumper. Unsightly TEDS KILL PUNKS tattoo across his arm. He sneers. Lot of meat on those bones, boy. I blink uncomprehendingly. A nearly-pretty estate girl brings over some condiments and cutlery. She smokes heavily even though she’s got serious respiratory problems. Her smock-apron splattered in the fat of the land. She smiles an almost-beautiful smile. Fourth division. Whatever that means. The butcher says something, but I don’t catch it. The girl grins. I try to smile, but end up wincing. A little salt and pepper, plenty of ketchup. The cannibalistic pavement menace feeds me my own ear.

Tom Leins

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

I Have No Wit

I Have No Wit
[Elevatory Study #3]
"Truly my life is void. And brief. And tedious."
Joel Dever

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Methodist Centre

The night I came round
to your two bedroom semi
for part baked
sausage rolls
and two crates of stella

I figured that
blood trickled
like smelting tar
deep inside
the pores of your skin

You took me upstairs
got out the black box
tried on a pvc halter
crotchless hot pants
showed me your third nipple
“he likes me kinky”
you uttered as
the policewoman’s costume
came out from the wardrobe

that night I
heard him beat you
cracking your head
against the stone fireplace

trapped under the duvet
I hid from him and you
until you found
nestled in my arms

naked but for a
red lace g-string
and three dinner plate bruises
running across your chest
you cried to me
“please don’t ever tell”

when we were 7
breaking into
your dad’s top drawer?
ripping open a durex packet
pushing it over the end of the tap
until it held
a bath’s full of
water and foam
we screamed with laughter
until we got caught

The time when you
starred in my student
porn movie
stalked by a
werewolf in the closet?

The night I made you
wet the bed
dressed as count Dracula
in a black bed sheet
covering my head
in the YMCA?

I even forgave you
for Mark O****
letting him push
his cock between your tits
thinking I’d never find out

you never became Katie Price
but left for a Barrett estate
in Welwyn Garden City
to marry that cunt
working in uniform
for the Metropolitan Police.

Megan Hall

Swimming And Religion

One of my earliest memories is of swimming
With my old man and my sisters
In the public pool
On a Saturday morning
We loved that
Especially because the pool was brand new
So everything was new
Even the car park
But the best thing of all was
The sunlight on the water
The building had amazing glass windows that stretched from floor to ceiling
And on a bright day the sunlight came flooding in
And half the pool would be illuminated in sunshine
And we kids would always rush to that side because
It made you feel like you were on holiday
So we looked forward to those swimming Saturdays
And we always hoped the sun would shine
So we could swim in the dappled water, so clear, so pure,
So unlike the council estate,
Where we lived
Then one Saturday we went to the pool
And the sun was shining
But there was no sunlight on the water
And the light was artificial and gloomy
I looked around at the windows
All of the windows had been blacked out
And there was no sun
So I said to my old man
What happened
And my old man unable to conceal his anger said
Some swimmers don't like people looking through the windows
And I said why
And he said, it’s something to do with religion
And I said, what
And he told me to stop asking questions
So I did and carried on with my swim
But I missed the sunlight on water
Joseph Ridgwell

Him Upstairs

Sometimes God would just turn up uninvited. Usually at the most inopportune time. I’d just be getting settled in front of the tele with a microwave lasagne, or be wandering half naked round the flat, when I’d hear him tramping down the stairs.
I’d chuck some clothes on and try make the place look half respectable - closing the kitchen door so that he wouldn’t be able to see the pile of untended washing up - and wait for him to knock. In the beginning, I used to try and hide, pretend I was out. But there was no point. He’d just keep banging at the door until I couldn’t take it anymore. I’d have to open up and pretend I’d been asleep.
“Asleep?” he’d say, shaking his head gravely. “In the middle of the afternoon?”
Either that or, if he did give up and trudge back up to his own place, I’d have to spend the rest of the day shuffling around like a mouse, pretending I wasn’t there. It just wasn’t worth the hassle.
I wouldn’t have minded so much if there had been any point to his visits, if he’d wanted to borrow a cup of sugar or something. But he was just a lonely old man.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m not completely heartless and I’ve known loneliness as well as anyone. And I didn’t mind keeping the old codger company from time to time. But it was just getting to be a bit much. It got to the point where he’d come down everyday. I’d get home from work and as soon as I turned the key in the front door he’d be waiting on the stairs.
“Alright?” I’d nod half-heartedly. “On your way out?”
He’d purse his lips together and shrug. “No. Not really,” he’d mutter a little sadly. There would then follow a protracted, awkward silence – a standoff really - while I waited for him to leave and he waited for me to ask. He always won.
“Cup o’ tea then?” I’d say.
“Oooh, that’d be lovely, son” he’d reply. He always called me ‘son’.
Things would invariably then progress in much the same way. He’d follow me inside and I’d put the kettle on, making small talk as I offered the plain chocolate digestives. But small talk never lasted long. There was always something for him to moan about. Pick a subject, any subject, and he’d launch into what was wrong with it.
For example: “It’s all about money. That’s what people worship nowadays. No one gives a damn about anything else. It’s just money, money, money...”
Or this: “Bloody fags an’ queers everywhere. ‘Alternative lifestyle?’ My arse. A fag’s a fag, simple as that.”
There’s more: “’Course, it all started going wrong when women started going out to work. Oh I know your not allowed to say it, but women weren’t made for work. Women were made to raise the kids. It’s no wonder they’ve all gone off the rails.”
On and on and on: abortion, equality, immigration... It was like talking to someone who’d fallen into a coma in the fifties and had only just woken up. Even if I tried to steer the conversation onto less contentious subjects, he’d always find something to moan about.
“D’ya see the game last night?” I’d ask.
“Football? Don’t get me started on football. One of man’s better inventions admittedly, but even that’s gone to the dogs. Oh yes, a lot of very talented players - very gifted players. But do they acknowledge what they’ve been given? Do they hell. No appreciation that’s the trouble.”
See what I mean? It was hopeless. And there was no arguing with him. What he said was carved in stone.
He was like some bitter old man who couldn’t accept the fact that the world had moved on, never missing a chance to bask in past glories whilst pissing on someone else’s fire.
“So you’re a writer then? I wrote a book once.”
“Yes, I think you may have mentioned it.”
“Big seller too, translated into almost every language.”
Which of course wouldn’t have mattered had he been a little more reasonable about that tower in Babel. But I let it slide.
“’Course, nowadays everyone assumes it was ghost-written. Like I couldn’t possibly have written it myself. As if I’m just some Z-list celebrity with a book deal rather than the creator of... everything!”
But the worst was when he started talking about his kids. About how they’d deserted him. How they didn’t care about him anymore. “An’ after everything I’ve done for them,” he’d say. “It’s as if I don’t exist.” Always the same thing. “All they do is bicker amongst themselves. An’ then they blame me for everything! It’s as if they’re descended from monkeys.”
Blah, blah, blah....
He would veer between indignation and melancholy. There were several times when he was close to tears. “Maybe it is all my fault?” he’d say. “But what can I do? I tried. I really did try my best for them kids.”
“Of course you did,” I’d say. “And I’m sure deep down they know that.” Well, what else can you say to someone in that state?
“’Course, they got the other fella now ain’t they? Bloody devil.” Oh he hated that other fella. But then the two of them had had their share of run-ins over the years. But the more he talked, the cooler the other guy sounded. “Of course they love ’im. Let’s ‘em do whatever they want. Turns a blind eye to everything: drinking; smoking; sex; drugs...”
And he’s got all the best tunes. But again, I let it slide.
“No discipline y’see,” he’d go on while I tried to stop my eyes from glazing over. “Let’s ’em get away with murder. Encourages them half the time ” And then we’d sit in this awful silence while he brooded on it. “Sometimes,” he’d say, “I just want to wash my bloody hands of ’em.”
More silence. And I’d be left to rack my brains for a way to get him to leave. Only he hadn’t finished yet. “Of course, it’s different when the chips are down.” he’d say. “Who do they come running to then? That’s right, their old dad.”
In spite of everything, it was hard not to feel a pang of sympathy for him at this point.
“They come back and it’s all, ‘I’m so sorry. Please forgive me.’ And of course I forgive them. I’m their dad, right? I welcome ’em back with open arms. And they say, ‘If you just give me this’ or ‘If you could just do that, eveything’ll be ok.’ But they expect me to make things right for them jus’ like that. In an instant. And if I don’t... well then there’s hell to pay. They start swearing an’ taking my name in vain, shakin’ their fist and yelling: ‘I knew you couldn’t help. I don’t believe in you anyway!’”
He would allow himself a rueful chuckle. “And do you know what I say to that?”
“Tell me.”
“I say: ‘Well then, what are you talking to me for?’”

Dan Broadbent

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Blue Lips

The horse house bubbled with activity and smells
examples of the newest off-cuts hung from its darkening walls;
it was the heat that made the abattoir air a cycle of flies
and blocked the drain pool with coagulated blood

over time it was abandoned and only the flies remained
to multiply like blackened abacus beads given life
and nearby nauseous vultures screeched nervously like violinists
too afraid to enter the black maggot doorway

the stench – the stench was amazing, confounding, overpowering
for it was not the stench of rotten flesh or decay but the
musk of me hanging here on the hook, the humidity making
my fractured bones ache and my taut skin too supple to consider.

Ben Myers


Initially they were funny.
Stories of you answering
the door wearing nothing
but last nights glob filled durex;
or the infamous phone vid-
settled on the toilet spewing
into ankle dropped boxer shorts.
Finding you, jacket singed,
leaning on the 2 bar fire,
bed-sit sweltering, drum-tight,
til a window's opened to
the psssttt of your next can.
Yeah, initially they were funny.
Fat Ernie
fucking you the night
your fiancé left,
sharing crabs with a whiskey quart,
and me asking "Why?"
as you curled a questionmark
on the same fetid bed
now propped in the yard,
surface a burnt charred
Rorschach Mark,
interpreted locally as:
an illness,
a weakness,
a drunken twat..............................

Christopher Major

The Shooting

Bobby pulled out his large barrelled shooter with a flick of his wrist, "Ok you boisterous bitch," he snarled, "listen up and listen up good, cause ole Bobby is gonna shoot you in the face if its the last thing his rotten soul does before it chokes."

The woman was lying there, naked, with her legs apart and juice between her legs. Her hands were over her mouth, covering up her two bit fear, "Don't, dont shoot me Mr, I'll do anything, anything Mr.."

Bobby smiled as those words lingered. He thought about pushing the tip of his shooter back into her cunt before he pulled back out to shoot her in the face. He let this swirl around his crop but it didn't rouse him whatsoever. Nope, not one bit. All he needed to do was shoot her in the face and that was that. It was simple, as simple as the act of shitting in a can.

"You got nothing lady, nothing that could make me shoot this thing anywhere else but that pretty little face of yours."

And boy what a pretty little face this woman owned. She had curves in all the right places and lips that looked like they could suck a skeleton right out of a prick. Bobby felt his shooter twinge between his large hands. The woman uncovered her mouth. She sat up some thrusting her breasts towards Bobby. They were large, firm and rounded, hanging there as wonderfully as the Gardens of Babylon. Bobby felt about tending those delicate rose buds, of diving into the bush and planting his seed. Of ravaging this patch whose perfume drifted around them. The lady fluttered her large eyes at Bobby with absolute want. She did it submissively, with a yearning so momentously potent that it could've stopped the sea from rolling in if it wanted to. Wild thoughts leaped through Bobby's mind. His hands began shaking, twitching. Bobby's eyes clamped shut, his body tightened as the tip of his shooter shook and without being able to control it the piece went off in his hands. Bobby released an almighty groan of pleasure as his being shuddered. He exhaled deeply, joyfully, magnificently, and looked down. His shooter was still rock hard in his hands and the womans face was covered in spunk.

"Oh Mr..." she gasped, "you shot me, you shot me real good!"

Matthew Coleman

In Memoriam (He Was A Childhood Friend Of Mine)

Where do I start with the story of Paul Day or Paul Bowyer as I once knew him?
Let’s go back to ninety-eighty two, the year the football world cup was held in Spain, and a council estate in East London
And a hot summer’s day
I met PB by the giant rubbish bins
At the bottom of our block of flats
Paul was smiling a big white toothed smile and on his cheek were many dotted marks made by the speaker of a radio
Where he’d stayed up listening to music all night and I laughed because he looked weird
But when he told me the story, about how he had stayed up all night, fighting sleep, to catch some pirate dj’s graveyard shift I was glad, because at ten years of age it is good to know your hero is a rebel
A rebel undefeated, undefeated by life and the system
A system that has the awesome ability to destroy anything and everything in its path
But that was a good long way, way away

And we walked along in the bright light of a dusty summer’s day, heat waves shimmering in the distance, tarmac melting on the dusty roads
Of the council estate where the gardeners had turned the earth in the flower beds creating plenty of dirt bombs for us to use later on
To throw with all our might
At each other
Or at car windows, or the wall of a house, just for a laugh
And then to run, run, run into the horizon, and run into the day, into the streets, towards the night,
And if you had seen us then, you would have admired such vitality, such great hunger, such innocent intelligence, such lust for life,
Thinking what a waste, what a waste, what a beautiful waste, what a lovely beautiful waste

And Paul talked about the world cup and how he wanted the England team’s world cup single, how he would do anything for that single
Knowing full well that I possessed that single,
Only the very first record I ever bought,
‘This Time We’ll Get it Right.’
But although it was the first record I ever brought, it was rubbish, just like the English football team was rubbish,
And then the surprise, when Paul asks, the facial dots from the radio speaker rapidly disappearing, to reveal his flawless brown skin, chiselled like a young god, an Adonis, ‘D’ya wanna swap that England record geez?’
Me sensing a trap, but eager anyway, ‘What for?’
And then a small miracle;
‘My Specials EP.’
‘My Specials EP? The one with Too Much Too Young, Longshot Kick De Bucket, Liquidator, Skinhead Moonstomp, Guns of Naverone on it, no don’t lie, don’t lie, but I kept my cool and with bated breath,
“I dunno, they’re shit ain’t they?”
Paul, maintaining his cool like me, but even more so coz two years older, “fucked if I know, but fucked if I’m ganna ask ya again.”
Me trembling, knowing I want that record more than anything, more than an Atari games consul or a Mongoose BMX, always had done, and the England record was proper shit, ‘Alright den,’ I said.
‘Sweet,’ said Paul all nonchalant, like he wasn’t bothered, and I don’t think he was coz the last I saw of him he was wheeling away like a ballerina, like an ace, like a diamond.
Oh yeah I forget to tell ya that PB was only the best footballer of his generation, even better than me, and let me tell you I was good, but PB was better, a bonafide talent, a dusky genius of the streets, the streets of East London, where I lived in the flowering of my dynamic youth………………………….


And then the world fades away. And I’m trying to get that emotion back, lets try to get that emotion back, I’ll tell you its hard, because I’m trying to describe how we grew up, which is hard. Thieving was the only way. And you may mock and criticise and look down your noses, but we were forced to do it,
Because like Lennon said, they hate you if you’re clever and they despise a fool
But we were no fools, no mugs, just on the ball, sharp as a knife, quicker than quicksilver, raging like an unstoppable hurricane
So we stole a lot of stuff, but only from large department stores, Taxing we called it
And every week went up West on taxing missions
When we should have been in school
Learning the words of books
Or sunning ourselves on a dirty riverbank in June
And then we got caught
And that first arrest was the start of the long decline


I’ve a story to tell about my childhood friend and his name is Paul Day, Paul Bowyer to you and me
It’s decidedly not a feel good story, but you will hear it anyway, even if what you’re hearing is not very comforting
Call it a tale for our times
And despite the odds I’m ganna tell it, I’m ganna tell it till my lungs burst


And the short day came when me and Paul Bowyer went out separate ways
Leaving behind the glory days forever
Days spent on the old estate
And I travelled the whole world trying to escape from the nightmare
A nightmare created for us by the establishment of our green and pleasant land
But PB was never going to be able to escape, he was not like me, or lucky like me
Arrested time and time again by the police
Burglary, followed by armed robbery, followed by prison, and then in and out of prison like a criminal yo-yo.
And probably when I was in New Zealand, wandering the streets of Auckland searching for the meaning for life, PB went on a dirty protest
A dirty protest, and now at 31, a grass and really a non-conformist, a real bona fide non-conformist, someone that would have made Theroux jump for joy in his own Walden
But the dirty protest was to be PB’s last hurrah
For PB, the greatest footballer of his generation hung himself, with whatever prisoners hang themselves by, it might have been torn sheets, or razor blades, but really these things are unimportant, because he is dead,
Crushed like a cigarette butt in the gutter
One so tall and good looking and full of life
And I salute him, oh yes I salute him, I salute a true non-conformist,
And I’m still alive, but sometimes I wish I’d been brave enough to join him
Amongst those angels in the sky, with their heads held so high, above those who oppressed them, and they know who they are,
Jeffers said, ‘Be angry at the sun,’ and I am angry at the sun and
Those who condemned PB so easily,
And they know who they are,
The weak, the greedy, the selfish,
The one’s who couldn’t give a shit
That one’s who sleep easy at night
But one day we will have our dance
And then we will sing our songs, and everyone will sing our songs,
The songs of the underground, the songs of the innocent, the songs of the brave!

Joseph Ridgwell

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

The Last Sitting

Draped in white sheets
sucking the rim
of a tinted glass
drips of Chateau Lafite 55
sticking to the edge
of your purse coral lips

Gazing into the lens
of a rough Brooklyn snapper
you looked inside
the camera’s glass
through the back
into his eye
where you stayed
forever lodged

Crashed out on angel dust
the half light pushing
beams off the floors
you pulled a metre
of dress up pearls
across your neck
into your mouth
as glitter and rhinestones
fell out from your hair

The lines ran diagonal
from the edge of the lashes
skin weathered
taut and dry
from endless dawns
and sleepless nights

This was the last time
you would lay out on the bed
with a drink,
a smile,
a glint from your eye.

That night you went home
to your satin silk spread
sank the tablets into slumber
with Champagne over water
never to wake
- death in style -
an orange cross
scrubbed across your chest.
Adelle Stripe

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Piss Town

going back
through institutional corridors
and overgrown secret paths
which cut across the backs of the hospital
like surgery scars on desolate hills
up the winding stone staircase
to an industrial ground-zero
of abandoned refrigerators
and dripping chimneys spewing
thick, grey chemical smoke
to the blackened wall
where I wrote the inscription
“Joy Division” in silver paint
sometime around 1992

when I close my eyes
the images play out
against the lids
a travelogue of childhood flashes:
piss town.

from a secluded path where
an acne scarred girl charged one cigarette
for a hand-job and a glimpse of tit
to the crumbling, faux-Victorian pub
were I was served my first beer
and the old, beaten up whores
of Clayton Street, lurking in the shadows
of the lumber yards and the gas works
waiting for trade to stumble drunkenly
from the twinkling lights of the pubs and clubs

the frozen image of a sad-eyed young girl
staring out window of a terraced house
and then stolen away in a flutter of net curtains
and a girl I once knew, half dead now,
crushed with poverty and port wine
two incubator babies and her insides
dumped into hospital bins before she turned thirty:
piss town.

I served my time
in dusty world war two bedrooms
you wrote your name in childlike letters
on a box of forgotten papers
in a stifling attic

I severed my ties
bled from my hands, my mouth,
my pen
all of the others still locked behind
a sturdy steel door of drunken recollection
preserved in amber
hand frozen over a glass of bitter
forever wired on pink amphetamines
brutalized by the intervening years
some killed by work, some by knives,
or women,
and some by the steady
passage of time:

piss town

on the news
the US secretary of state
waving from the town hall steps
with the local MP (who lives in Whitehall)
both smiling stiffly beneath
the Sunday skies
how fitting – Basra, Gaza
and now here…

while in The Swan those driven insane
by the brutal drudgery of it all
drink cider and whiskey to forget
to speed up time’s monotonous progression
desperate to skip ahead
to the final act
a misty churchyard
a handful of mourners
it was a lovely service
just lovely:

piss town

but sometimes, alone
underneath the crumbling architecture
of Queen Park hospital
looking down from my spot on the wall
at the empty bottles of Zeppelin and White Lightening
discarded bras and dosser’s blankets
I’d close my eyes and listen
to the Imam’s call to prayer
floating up from Audley Range
a welcome interloper from some inaccessible continent
the feel of the light, July wind
on my face, and I concede
there is something special here
hidden away from prying eyes

something private, odd,
neither from the council estates of Higher Croft
nor the abandoned terraces of Shakeshaft Street
something that appears at dusk
during stolen moments of peace like this
before it is inevitably carried away
from me again:

piss town

Tony O'Neill

The Jewish Wedding

it can be worse being lonely in some places than in others
the music and flowers
the love floating up to the ceiling in balloons
people being hoisted up on chairs
the alcohol kicks in
the taste of whiskey on your tongue
the union of two souls conjoined forever
this is the joy
the petals on the floor
the singing
there are only a few things in life that mean anything
birth marriage children death
these rituals we play them out
i was sitting near the dancefloor trying not to look sad
super aware of the expression on my face
in my eyes
and not one word from her
not one word from her for so long and then
like the sound of birds wings
as they take off
in a moment
its all gone

i wanted to be dancing so i got up and span around and around
spinning til i felt giddy and sick
a stranger grabbed my arm
another linked his arm around my neck and we continued to turn around and around in the music until i felt hot and flushed and i cried and then my friend from time saw me and in that moment we understood each other again as we once had as children
it was hot
and then the music swelled and the bodies got in the way
i was pushed aside
i started clapping
someone spoke to me
i asked her her name and she told me her name and i carried on clapping
i didnt want to clap anymore
or talk to her
she had a nice smile
nice eyes
see you later i said good bye
squeezed her on the elbow as
i went and sat down
back in my seat
i wont speak to her again
memories filtered through
i had to block them out
these feelings are spasms that rise in me
i know they do me no good and it is all ruined
sitting in the chair
more clapping
drinking wine now
before i know it its time to go home
i sit in the back seat of a black car and am driven down a foreign motorway
staring mesmorised at the street lamps flashing above me
flashing past
leaving it behind
knowing it will pass
and for a moment i am an astronaut
a horrible smile and going
going with it
hoping i will never have to return.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Soap And Water

God -
only you
can help me

hours deep
into a coke

inches deep
in a woman

age because
she’s the one

4am sun
rise murderous to

shot eyes,
we must not

rise or
we may die

flaccid cock
in her mouth

she wears
dentures, fake tit

and heart
in young dirty

needs washing
with soap and
Ben Myers

Northern Outsider

The Northern Outsider

[The Vagabond]

"Once it was all over, I [The Sofa] was thrown out with all of my possessions [The Fridge]."
Joel Dever


I knew before anybody told me. I was kicking a tennis ball around the backyard and I knew.

All I remember of that day is the silence. And I don’t just mean quiet. I mean dead silence. No murmur of cars passing the house; no spring breeze through the cherry trees in the garden. Even the house-martins nesting in the eaves seemed to mime their twittering. It’s as if someone has turned the volume on my memory to mute. Or perhaps the whole day had been padded with bubble-wrap and sealed inside a box marked “fragile”.

And then the phone rang, shattering it. And I knew.

But it wasn’t any psychic phenomenon. It was the way my brother answered that phone. Not what he said, but what he didn’t say. What he didn’t say was, “How is he? Did it go ok? When’s he coming home?” There was none of that, just more piercing silence. That’s how I knew.

And I just carried on. Carried on kicking that battered tenniser around the yard. Only harder now. I remember focusing on a spot on the coal shed door and trying, with every bit of strength my eleven-year-old legs could muster, to put a hole through that door with the ball.

Eventually my brother came out to talk to me. But I swear I can’t remember a word he said. I can picture him knelt next to me, staring at the flagstones as he spoke. But it’s like a frame from an old home movie: his lips are moving but there’s no sound coming out. I guess he was trying to prepare me, to prepare me for the possibility, without actually saying, “Dad’s dead.”

We waited. God knows how long we waited, but by the time mum got back from the hospital I didn’t feel anything. She told us, making it official: he wasn’t coming home. But I couldn’t respond. In the end I had to force myself to cry just to break the silence.

And later that evening we sat numbly in front of the tele. I don’t recall which American sit-com was on and I certainly don’t remember the joke. But I do remember laughing. I remember laughing out loud. And I’ve never felt so guilty.

Dan Broadbent

Friday, September 29, 2006

The Straighteners

The couple were sitting on a bench in a dark corner of the elaborate civic gardens. They hadn’t known each other long. They had been on a few dates where sexual contact had been limited to a few awkward kisses.

It was a warm summer night; the air hanging heavy after a long hot, cloudless weekend. The sky was fading to a hazy half-light. It was a dream-like light, where shadows contorted and secrets seemed to hide themselves just beyond the line of peripheral vision. Secrets like the tryst between the young man and the young woman, co-workers already involved in separate loveless relationships.

It was an affair furtively played out in the open spaces of the chaotic city in the summer. For some reason, it could only happen in the summer, a time for reinvention and freedom and snatched hours wandering together hand-in-hand, long meandering walks and innocent clinches in city squares and avenues and parks, where the seeds of their intimacy were sown in shadows. It was a freedom that felt impossible in the long dark autumn and winter.
The gang entered the park at the far corner. There were five of them.
Walking with a collective swaggering menace, each harboured their own undeveloped individual philosophies, all variants based on ignorance and prejudice, but suited to their own limited life experiences.
The unspoken and undisputed leader was Gus. By virtue of his dominant personality, physical presence and limitless aggressive streak, it could only ever be this way.

Gus wore work jeans, a tight muscle vest and sported a well-groomed trucker’s moustache that he smoothed down with his fingers when deep in thought. His hair was cropped and he had a tattoo of a large erect cock on his bicep, an arc of spunk spattering up his should and across his back. Gus was a sadist and borderline sociopath, a feared figure in the hardcore resistance underworld. His crew had made their presence felt in the city with random acts of extreme prejudice.
His followers were similarly attired, a modern piratical crew of urban soldiers reared on conflict, violence and rough gay sex.

Together they were a fearsome crew whose late-night activities had already been reported in the papers. There was a hopelessness and desperation to them - but then it is always the desperate who are always the most kamikaze-minded.

The young couple were bathing in the silence, her head on his shoulder, his arm around her, one strand of her long dark hair idly wrapped around his forefinger, when the gang appeared before them silently.

Gus spoke first.
“Well, what have we here? A couple of fucking perverts.”

The crew formed a crescent around the bench.
“A pair of filthy fucking nonces…”

The young man wondered whether maybe this was some sort of joke. Like maybe there was a camera crew hiding somewhere. He fleetingly, guiltily, considered the irony of being discovered cheating because of television.

But there was no camera crew, no mischievous presenter waiting in the wings - just Gus and his militant, muscle Mary’s, the five of them captured in repose, in silhouette, before him and his lover.
He went to speak but in a flash Gus stepped forward and back-handed him. Hard.
The other offered noises of encouragement – little whoops of growing sexual excitement. Gus felt his big prick stirring into action in his tight jeans; the familiar stirrings of violence. It was like the semen in his balls were galvinising themselves, ready for action, for release.
The man took in a sharp intake of breath and the girl gasped in disbelief at this unexpected intrusion and the casual accuracy of the slap.

One of the crew grabbed her by the hair and pulled her head back.
“Shut it bitch-cunt. I fucking ‘ate straight people….”
“Yeah,” said Bepe, a small, wily half-Mexican character with one milky-eye – the result of a fight in a Detention Centre some years ago. “If God had wanted straight people he would have created Adam and Eve, not Adam & Steve. It’s you nonces that are littering the place with your mewling children, your pathetic weddings and your self-righteousness.”

The girl’s fingers walked their way to the man’s hand and held it tightly.
“Urh!” grunted the fag who had spoken before – a big, vacant lug who made good money as a rent-a-gimp on the scene. “Look at them - they’re fucking disgusting. I bet they don’t even arse fuck.”
“Well, what do they do exactly?” said Bepe.

His question went unanswered.

The man went to stand, but was backhanded again. He fell back into seat, wondering how far they were away from salvation, whether anyone could hear them away from the hustle and bustle of the promenade.
“Please,” said the girl, for the first time. “We’re not doing anything wrong – we’re just – “
“Nothing wrong?” said Gus with a laugh, his mouth twisting into a snarl.

The way his eyes suddenly changed scared the young man. He had read the stories of the random attacks on heterosexual couples. Now he remembered. He had heard about the extreme violence and sexual degradation. He had read the editorials muttering about the possibility of sexual revolution, but had paid little attention. Now he knew he was soon to be a minority. Perhaps he already was. Perhaps things had happened quickly without him even realizing it. Either way, it all suddenly felt very real. Fear filled his stomach and his bowels burned. His anus involuntarily flexed.

“You should be strung up,” said Gus, reaching into his back pocket.
“What are you going to do?” said the man, wincing as his heard his own voice. It was high-pitched, whiny. It elicited no sympathy.
“We’re the 4th Avenue Straighteners, motherfucker,” hissed the one who hadn’t spoken. His voice was a sinister lisp, snake-like and equally as weighted with venom.
“Haven’t you heard?” said Gus sarcastically. “There’s a revolution going on’. It’s time to wash the scum from the streets. It’s time for your conversion…”

He pulled a small bottle out of his pocket.
He unscrewed the lid and took a big hit as the boys moved in.
“You should be thankful you haven’t go Guido’s 14th Avenue crew,” said Gus, his cheeks flushing scarlet, his eyes widening. His voice sounded deep and flat, as if it had come from some dark place for away inside of him, from his blackened centre.
“Those boys don’t even lube up.”

Then the shadows moved in and the night narrowed down to a dark greasy passage to the centre of the earth.

Ben Myers