Wednesday, 30 September 2009


It’s this series of dreams I’ve been having where myself, and all of my friends, have children who, rather than being the product of two people, are versions of our younger selves.

One of my friends has a website, the banner to which depicts her bare shoulders and innocent face, while beside her sits her child in quiet malevolence, with those same eyes, turned dark with intention.

The dreams are accompanied by a sense of loss and entrapment; the feeling that I can no longer attain what I had always hoped.

He was my best friend. We were sitting at the top of the stairs with his father, discussing the revelation of my fatherhood. His father left me with a glass of whiskey.

I’ll leave you two to it. And he disappeared down, to somewhere darker and deeper.

How are you feeling?

How do you think?

It’s not over yet.

It will be.

You want a beer?

He pulls one out of a box, dripping and cold.

Yeah, but I haven’t finished this. I hold up the glass.

Hurry up then.

I wince and gulp and force it down.

The mother is someone I don’t know, or half remember. She is veiled in superstition and we share contempt, left to brew.

She said to my own mother, at the park while they prepared food and in front of my sister: I knew that he would be the father of my child because he is a demon.

Tuesday, 29 September 2009

Fifty Odd Words No.39

On the bus, I'm sitting next to a friend. I'm not focusing on much except sitting. The voices about me sound muffled; I have forgotten that I can hear other people.

Across the aisle, and one row in front, a guy crosses himself and kisses the prints of his index and middle fingers, together, as though they are one.

Wednesday, 23 September 2009

Fifty Odd Words No.38

From his bed she stole his jumper; wrapped her hands in wool and about the top of her thighs. Her legs stretched out naked and waiting, for the pale touch of light.

She sucked deep on a midnight light, and played the smoke like it were a guitar. Against the stifled room, she coughed and crimson touched her palm.

Wednesday, 16 September 2009

Fifty Odd Words No. 37

A guilty smile, you put on eyes that say ‘I’m sorry.’ Heavy lashes and sashayed hips, feet that dance on sand; gets stuck between your toes.

A breath on your ear.

Don’t forget your name.

Was it an accident?

Waves tug ankles.

A shake of the head.

You glance away.

Monday, 14 September 2009

Snake Eyes

Don’t sit on this side if you have a problem with polluted skies.

The sun splits into sharp rays over the blotted out spires of industry.

How could I? He pulls away his sunglasses.



She pours herself a cup, adds three sugars.

You used to take cream.

I used to do a lot of things.

Like smile.

Never around you.

He pulls out a pack of cigarettes from his jacket and offers her one. She waves it away.

You have changed.

He lights up, snorting streams of heavy smoke across the table. He is a sleeping dragon.

Can we get on with this?

He inhales again and holds his breath. His eyes reflect vermillion as they catch the dying sun.

A car on overload pulls up behind her. The top is down. Some muscle bound guy with wind swept hair, sun-blonde, is driving.

You’re acting like there’s a rush.

That’s my ride.

Fine. He sneers.

The papers?

Here. He throws them onto the table. The sugar pot rattles and tips over. White grains spill out.

Don’t make this hard.

That wasn’t my intention.

She opens up the file and flips to the last page.

You need a pen?
No. She has one in her hands already.

Her hand scratches out the final line to their story. She slaps the file shut.

He stares away to his right at the late evening haze. The tarmac boils off the horizon.

It’s going to be a hot night, he says.

I’m going now.

He looks her in the eyes. She covers them with glasses and for a moment he glimpses the mirror image of himself.


She runs to the car and doesn’t look back. Her new man kisses her on the cheek and waits a moment longer than he should before pulling away. His smile is laced with arrogance. The car screams away like a bullet, throwing up a plume of orange dust.

Off in the distance, those towers belch black blood.

I hate goodbyes, he mutters.

Sunday, 13 September 2009

F.O.W No. 36 and a half

Warren Ellis has infected me with some kind of horrid man flu via the internet.

So why does cough syrup taste like crap?

I can hear boss music from FFVII bleeding through the walls and I like it.

My Uncle came to visit and he reminded my brother about the time he went to see him in Oxford. They were in a pub with said brother's friends and my Uncle had his dog collar on (he's a priest).

He turned to one of the friends and said: "If you down that pint in one go, I'll give you a fiver."

He promptly downed the pint and grinned, holding his hand out.

"Never trust a priest."

I started writing my fifty words and then gave up.

"The door rattled to the base of its bones. The wood cracked, and splintered. I sheltered beneath quivering hands held up, begging for transubstiated bread. They bled and I wept.
Eloi, Eloi, lema sumthinorother."

Friday, 11 September 2009


I have this idea for a comic. It centres around the crew of a small space station sometime later this century. It'll be a meditation on isolation and how, away from the typical constraints of society, people deal with death. I've written the dialogue for the first two pages: they start off in darkness. I've started formulating the series of events and conversations between the two main characters. There'll be flashbacks of Earth, one of which I've made rough notes of in prose form.

And I have started to develop the characters into what I hope will feel like real people. It will be a slow burner, and it will be in black and white, and there will be no thought bubbles or captions. It will just be.

Here's a prelim sketch I did in paint (unfinished). I thought that, for one of the covers, it would work. Showing three of the astronauts waiting before launch. She looks right at you, with that serious look on her face. The main character shies away, looking up at nothing, but maybe the bright lights above him. And the third, his eyes are shut and his expression shows only serenity.
As research, I've been sifting through NASA images and sketching those I find particularly striking. It helps that I have some knowledge on the subject already.

As a side note, STS-128 is preparing for de-orbit around 2am tomorrow morning, or if the weather is poor, at 4am. This has been Discovery's last ever mission to the ISS.

Thursday, 10 September 2009

Fifty Odd Words No. 36

Look at her man, bitch has awesome tattoos.


There: with the Mexican Sleeves.

A dragon rides up one side, a flaming angel, ready for vengeance, up the other.


She motions forward, hair slicked down with sweat.

Oh man, you think she heard?

She’s a somnambulist; her pendulum hips swing me into a dark, dirty sleep.

Tuesday, 8 September 2009

Fifty Odd Words No. 35


I’m on the bus, returning from work. My body judders with each clash against the pole that I’m forced to clutch to. The engine whines against the hill slope as the sun crests over a line of tall ferns. The sky is a fading blue and the horizon a stubborn orange. I know it will fade to black.

Sunday, 6 September 2009

Fifty Odd Words No. 34

I’m having trouble focusing on real objects.

Are you tired?


You need new glasses?


Can I get you something?


I don’t know how I’m supposed to help you.

I didn’t ask for help.

So you want nothing.

It doesn’t matter.

Why won’t you tell me?

Because you wouldn’t understand.

Saturday, 5 September 2009


I just wrote this in the last five minutes. It's a little rough.

Her name was Mary and she lived in a postcard. Her brother carried her from place to place. He took her to Hawaii and he took her to Paris, before they spent one year in Timbuktu.

Her smile was cut from sunshine; her eyes reflected ocean off the Cote d’Azure.

He liked to remind her of their childhood, when on Sundays they’d go to church and they’d sing in the choir and their mother would wave from the farthest pew.

Her brother was a good man, he’d show her off to anyone who asked.

Six sailors fell in love with her and seven priests prayed for her until the day she died at eighty two.

It was the last day of summer in Warsaw, when the rain came in torrents and he dropped her in a puddle coated with an iridescent sheen.

Her hair turned to ink and her smile faded in a blink and that man cried because his sister was gone for good.

Brain Freeze

She draws on a tall fast food cup of cola, from halfway down and she doesn’t stop until she reaches the bottom, when she pushes the straw in further so that it scratches against the cheap plastic lid. Then she starts again, and her cheeks suck in as the final gurgle and burp of liquid rushes up the straw.

She pauses when she’s done, frowns, and holds her head. She winces at me in agony.

“Brain freeze.”

Friday, 4 September 2009

Things that make me believe I am losing my mind

#1 I hear voices at night and they keep me up.

#2 The phones rings for no more than a second, and I don't recognise the number.

#3 That's it, actually. As I once I heard: once is a fluke, twice is a coincidence, thrice is a trend.

So I think I'm fine.

Wednesday, 2 September 2009

Another dream

This time I alight a boat - in the full summer heat. The water reflects a jetty made from lacquered timber and all the people populating the waterfront: families and pets, babies in strollers and mothers in summer hats.

This boat feels small, and I am the only passenger. I can't see the driver, he (or she?) is piloting from down below. We set off, plunging into the lapping waves. The bow dips under the water and I feel unsteady; I am a nodding ornament on a car dashboard, rocking about with feet firmly planted.

I have a satchel, tied around my body from shoulder to thigh. The books are heavy and I realise - a moment too late - that my half read copy of 'The End of The Affair' is insecure and it falls out, dropping like a stone. Blue cover hitting blue water.

I try to perform a rescue, but I am too inadequate, unable to reach beyond this unreal body.

As I arrive over to the other side, maybe ten metres away at most, I mention to my friend, in panicked tones, the woe of my loss. He has nothing to say.

I watch the book floating, undamaged and unreachable, bobbing in the reflected light of the water. Light brighter than a bare lightbulb, and as white as blindness.

I realise that I used my Oyster card as a bookmark, and that I will have to get a new one. All I can think of is lost money.

Tuesday, 1 September 2009

Fifty Odd Words No. 33

Sheets billowing in the wind, on a hilltop: an idyllic view of the downs rolling away to the south. Grass grows between my toes. The wind catches my skin through a thin shirt. Exhilarating.

White cotton rises up and wraps around me, blocking out sky. It is my clean sheet, my fresh start.