Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Co-edited with Katy Darby



See you at The Performance Space, Willesden Library Centre, 7:30 pm December 8th for the launch. Katy Darby will announce who will walk away with the priceless mug for 2016. Authors are flying in from far and wide. Actors will read a few short excerpts. Fun will be had.

Update: First prize went to Love and Hair by Olga Zilberbourg, a Russian writer based in San Francisco. Willesden Herald: New Short Stories 9 is now available from Amazon.co.ukAmazon.com & other online booksellers. For report, videos and more, please visit New Short Stories.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Valentine

He's buried there in Whitefriar Street
and they are buried too,
the disappeared,
all the matronly types I fell for
whose looks had something of yours.
I never knew!

There are different tears
from different wellsprings,
ones that only know themselves
why they flow
silent as Marian statues
where the sackcloth urchins
behold miracles in blue and white,
silent as a widower
who dips his fingers in the font
and waits
by the Stations of the Cross.
I drink holy water
from a tin cup on a string,
and try to re-hydrate
the ashes and dust
of sainted ballerinas
and all those harbour girls.

Sleep, and let me sleep with you -
just you and me and the ghost makes three -
with St Valentine in Whitefriar Street.
--
A version of this was published in Staxtes.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Thief

Upstairs in this place. I'm going to take a string of pearls away with me. It's mine anyway, so that's okay. But then it's much longer than I thought. Twice round the neck is not enough. And apart from pearls in a row, I find it also has those chunky, fashionable glass and acrylic shapes. I'm worried now that it might not be mine, after all. I take it off and put it in my coat pocket where it barely fits. Down a flight of stairs and J.... is working on the landing floorboards, by an open door to a grand, empty room. Without ceasing to work, he makes his usual self-possessed and good-humored banter about me leaving. Normally I would stay a while and go into the room, but I'm too worried that he will notice the pocket of my coat bulging with the huge necklace, which I try to keep turned away from him. Even though it was mine, I feel like I am stealing it from the house.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Noise

In a hotel room. The small picture is doing something terrible, something it doesn't want anyone else to know. What it was is about to vanish from my mind, so I put it on the corner of the bed, and try to capture it by filming with my phonecam. But it resists by creating a deafening sound and starting to burn, the more I try to get an angle to record it, the more intense the burning. It burns like magnesium, only crimson. There's someone at the door. I answer, though all will be lost. A person is there and there are many other people looking out of their doors or near their doors in the corridor. "Your music is very loud."

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Flannelette

I am in a friend's place, chatting with her husband. He asks, "Are you close, intimate, you two?" I say, "A bit." Just then she appears in a full length flannelette nightie on her way to bed. She's indifferent to our conversation but looks like she might be thinking it's a bit late. I add, "Not really."

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Run

Running here there and everywhere, very lost in New York. Nearly midnight in a big industrial yard where they're closing up. Run up the hill and call to the guy closing up, can you help me, I need to get a cab. A strange hotel with miniscule rooms. Two girls next door seem cheerful. From my room I go back down to the lobby through a tube that is quite claustrophobic, surprised not to be more anxious but I fit through. Then in Dublin running for the 19 or is it the 19A? in Parnell Square. The bus is a hybrid of a bus downstairs and a floor of a building upstairs. I am on board, I made it.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

From the night thoughts notebook

I can't stop thinking the stupid way I think.

Where someone was when he heard something

Walking down a small street, a busy street, with -. It's moving to think this is where some historic figure was when he heard something. She clings to me. A very loving feeling. We stand together that way, looking down the street as others go by. Then turn to go back still embracing. This is not who I thought would love me. Another passes & smiles to see how we are now so close. It's the same one.

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Repeated inability

Military figures, like statues, need care taken.
A very impressive classical building, huge, with everything of the finest quality and the highest possible ceilings etc. Go to lead friends there. Meanwhile a vast ceremonial parade going there.
Take friends there but it's a different, no less impressive, building next door. It is busy. Amid office desks there are Irish military officers, all tall, straight, slim - so impressive - showing Ireland in a good light.
But I haven't found the statues that need care yet. And I realise I've forgotten my jacket. I have to go back for it, and so lose contact with my friends.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Story in Liars' League


Lin Sagovsky brings the characters in my story to vivid life in the Liars’ League “Justice & Mercy” event at The Phoenix, Cavendish Square in London’s West End (8 March 2016).

Wednesday, March 02, 2016

Hellenic

Embracing on the doorstep as she returns. A white uniform? Hellenic beauty.
"You smell like laundry, like clean clothes being taken in from the line."
The pressure on me of her body. I feel my body respond, I think this will work. We have to find a room where I can stay all day.
But danger. The balding head of a sinister man above a door. He's in. "Is that your landlord?"
"No, much worse." Child kidnapped, media all over.
Taking washing from a complex line arrangement like an airer. A hubbub. The child has been found.

Monday, February 29, 2016

Jailbreak

"Jailbreak" has been chosen as one of the stories on the theme Justice & Mercy for the Liars' League wing-ding at 7:30 pm Tuesday March 8th, downstairs at The Phoenix, 37 Cavendish Square, London W1G 0PP. It's a new story in the Adventures of Carmencita series. I'm well chuffed and looking forward to all the performances on the night.

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Infinity pool

Palace Hotel rooftop, Sliema, Malta
Don't jump out that far side.

Monday, February 22, 2016

From the night thoughts notebook

Given that there is something and something cannot come from nothing, there can have been no beginning.

Given that there is something and something cannot turn into nothing, there can be no end.

There has to be either something or nothing.

There cannot be nothing because there would be nowhere for there to be nothing.

There cannot be nothing because there is something and something cannot become nothing.

You cannot say there was a god who created something from nothing, because if there was a god then there was something. A god would be something. There was never nothing.

Something cannot become nothing but something can become something else.

We are part of the ever-changing something that always was and ever shall be.

This is the something that there is.

There is no nothing.

Friday, February 19, 2016

Crash

If crash investigators reach the scene of my life
It will immediately be apparent that my ailerons were fine.
Flapping, however, could not have saved me, for
If it could it surely would have. And equally nor
Were my engines on fire, though I might have been bombed.
They may find my soul's black box, reassemble me in a hangar,
And put my life down, eventually, to human error.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Bitter melon

Bitter Melon
I hope you don't know what bile tastes like, but if you ever drank far too much alcohol then you probably do. If so, you know what bitter melon tastes like: bitter by name and bitter by nature. Some people's wives like bitter melon, in fact love it, in stir fry and casserole-type dishes but they are invariably insane.