This is like an online notebook, this stuff is not finished or often even started properly.

The Great Distemper

here be men with heads like lightbulbs
greek tragedy in the cul de sacs
screaming on your mum's doorstep that you are more than the sum of your sins
pretty faces blushed in blood
you pick the glass out of the washing machine filter
every two weeks
the question on everyone's lips
'whose the daddy?'
chips are flying
chips of bricks
chips of shoulder bone
the great distemper.

Japan Draft


He was staring at the high score on the screen when the intense feeling that he was himself struck him in the back of neck and made him cough and splutter bile onto the flashing screen.  He wiped the screen with his sleeve and read the three letters in front of him, 'J.H.W', they were familiar somehow, like the face of a relative you've not seen for a long time or the gait of an old school friend.  It was of course his own initials, his own name.  His eyeballs itched with the realisation that he'd almost not recognised it.

The arcade clanged with the sound of electric bells, out-of-tune siren melodies and the crescendo of falling pachinko balls dropping into to sweaty, ill fortune crossed, expectant palms.  He took out a cigarette and coughed up chunks again when he was done smoking, maybe he was dying? Maybe that's why his name seemed unfamiliar, because he's already moving away from the trappings of the living, names belong to living people.

The Japanese smokers watched him, the Japanese dislike coughing, that's why they wear those masks and refuse to believe smoking is bad for you.

He retreated to a chain noodle place and ate thick noodles with raw egg and dashi, the tables had that special chain restaurant sinister blankness, as did the flute and guitar music that played over the speakers.  A moveable identity that's what a chain restaurant is, a transferable installable personality - a mask or sketch or costume of an identity.  Looking around the room he felt confronted by a new thought, new to him at least, it wasn't a fully formed thought, but it had something to do with the racist idea that all asians look the same and also something to do with the chain restaurant and it's false-face and also something to do with his own sense of disconnect and that blow he'd felt to the back of his neck in the arcade.  That ferocious thought - YOU ARE YOU.

He'd come to Japan to get away from that life he'd slipped into, when he thought of it now slipping wasn't really the right word - it wasn't that sudden it was more that he'd been walking on a subtle slope, a barely noticeable incline for the past few years and only noticed it suddenly - that he was in a ditch.  That routine and constant ache, when does it happen that you lose yourself in the crowd?  That thing you think you can never lose - that you are you - how does it end up looking so small, like you're viewing it from some great height.  Maybe lose isn't the right word.  You don't exactly lose it, it's just that you are only your perspective and your perspective is only a set of values, a filter and values are very easily eroded by time and a hungry wallet.

He needed a drink and a distraction. It was now early afternoon and things were beginning to open up.  He pushed past school kids in uniforms and an men in masks carrying prizes from the pachinko parlours to the shops where they could be exchanged for cash, keeping up the illusion that it's just a game, no one is playing for keeps.

What was it really he was running from then? The next day and the possibility that it will bring with it further onslaught on his very his-ness?  The weight of expectation, self betrayal? sometimes he felt like he was standing on one of those flat escalators they have in airports - a conveyor belt for human commodities.  He wandered into a pachinko parlour and took a seat.  With this new cloud of unformed thoughts fogging his mind the pachinko balls suddenly took on a new and terrifying possibility - they appeared to him as his very cells cascading through the internal organs of that oscillating mechanism.  They were HIM departmentalised, shattered - he'd never worried about it before but now he did - what quantity of himself had he already lost? how much of him was now dust on other peoples clothes, grime on windowsills?

He reassured himself it was the dust and debt and the routine he was running from, they were the enemies attacking his individuality, surely taken out of context a person can be whatever they want.  Who doubted him? his own chattering teeth and nerves, those traitors, betrayed by his own physicality- his own flesh, a mutiny.  Attacked from within and out! The economy - that heavy pressure virus was in league with the forces of tomorrow and yesterday, the past and the future, to be kept at arms length - not to be pulled between - the only true self can only exist in once place - now.

He dropped more balls into the machine and wrapped his fingers around a cigarette.  He played and let the cacophany of human and inhuman sounds, staccato synth crashes and losing men howling like wounded dogs, wash over him.  He glanced to his right and caught site of an old man playing  further down the row, the old man's arm moved mechanically and his long grey whiskers ran themselves over the machine, feelers searching for some heartbeat or vibration, some kind of kind of omen to predict victory. They reminded him of nerves.  The old mans fingers hold two cigarettes, one lit one waiting to be lit.  His eyes are creamy miso soup colour, blinded or at least obstructed by cataracts.  He thought the blind man was lucky, he can't see himself, he never has to look and the mirror and wonder, who have I become? when did I change?

At the other end of the row another man is also watching the old man.  This man doesn't know his name but he keeps that fact to himself because if someone finds out they might tell him who he is and he doesn't want that.  He doesn't remember anything further back than the morning before yesterday when he came into being on a crowded commuter train. 

He watched the old man and he was also thinking how lucky he was to be blind, that he doesn't have to see his face, that's he's never confronted by his own image.  He sipped at his canned highball and lit and cigarette, with his other hand he deposited balls into the machine, caring little for the outcome.  He didn't know why he'd come here to this pachinko parlour.  He'd been quite happy riding the train and looking with pleasure at that blank canvas that was his brain.  He knew it was empty and it had once been full but rather than finding that thought worrying it filled him with relief.  Like looking at a room after you'd given it a thorough clean.  For twenty-four hours he'd ridden the train and admired that empty space inside his head, another thing it reminded him of was the first page of a school book at the start of a new year - blank white like undisturbed snow waiting to be enjoyed and sculpted, waiting for memories to be made.

It was a pleasure in itself.  Then came that realisation that sent waves of pleasure rushing up and down his spine - what would he name himself?  Before he even got down to putting things in that empty room - although he must be careful not to over clutter it or allow it to become messy - he must pick a name for himself.  Or must he? He could remain nameless, like one of those mysterious villains in the mangas.  He saw the kanji for nameless in his mind it looked appealing, but then something pricked, the thought of mangas provoked something he didn't like, a momentary spike of recognition, it tasted bitter on his tongue.  He decided to stop thinking of a name and go back to admiring that empty room and it's incomparably blank walls.

After those twenty-four hours of joy on the train he'd taken a big risk but was relieved when he found that he had no idea where he was.  He could summon no map to memory, nothing seemed familiar, he was totally lost.  He walked for hours down small back streets, paper lanterns and hand drawn signs, he crossed over expansive shopping streets that paraded their existence before him like a challenge - you will know us! but he knew nothing and no-one.  The names of the shops rolled off his tongue virgin, fresh and unsaid as he turned them over in silence.  His pleasure grew with every step.  He stopped to by some cigarettes, luckily his pockets were stuffed with thousand yen notes.  As he left the seven eleven he stopped to look for a lighter.  Just then further down the street he saw a middle aged woman looking directly at him, unmistakably she was staring at him. Then something monstrous began, with horrifying clarity recognition sparked in her eyes and a smile - a contortion of his lips and cheeks that made his stomach turn spread across her face.

He panicked and dropped his cigarette, she was getting nearer now, at a snails pace, but in increments - DEATH - for that's how she appeared to him, was getting closer.  He turned and fled, back up the narrow alley he'd come from.  He kept running until he was lost again.  That's how he'd ended up here sat at the pachinko machine, hiding.  He'd walked to the machine like an automaton, with definite unthinking steps.  Now he looked at the old man again and thought that, yes, to be blind that must be the ultimate freedom - not to know your own visage, a totally blank room.  Perhaps he should gouge out his eyes, but then he'd have to go to the hospital and they'd find out his name, he'd be trapped again, better not.

At the other end of the row the European man was still worrying that his sense of self was escaping him, like that blow he'd felt earlier rather than an awakening was in fact an alarm.  It seemed to him that everything conspired against individuality and perspective.  As long as he sat still however he could still feel that ache on his neck, some kind of bruise, a reassuring mark.


Flab Of The City Part Two

Flab of the City.

I was trying to decide whether to buy the Swedish bread with holes in it (they reminded me of a rash) when I heard the sound.  It sounded like a bone cracking but I felt no pain and none of my bones appeared to be broken, however I was sure the sound had come from somewhere within my own body.  I couldn’t be sure where exactly - in fact the more I thought about it that was strange in itself, normally my body has a very good sense of it’s own geography, but this cracking sound seemed to come from some undiscovered organ or space, unmistakably internal but not yet mapped.  I bought the bread and paid for my shopping on my visa card and left.

Outside I suddenly felt very faint.  My mind was filled with the most intense confusion, a storm of dislodged thoughts.  I had to sit down on a bench between two red faced tramps.  They passed a can of super strength lager between them and I stared into my bag of shopping and it seemed to me like a infinite pit, bored straight through the middle of the earth itself and out the other side, I felt like I was watching the cosmos and everything in it drip through the bag and pass out the other side into nothingness, an absence, an abscess. 

After a moment of staring into the shopping bag I suddenly realised that I was real.  That I was an adult and that I was terrified of myself and the future and of the creeping terror of the the day to day.   I interrupted the flow of the can between the two tramps and snatched the can draining it’s contents and crumpling it one movement.  Just then a child slipped in a puddle, the fear of death flashed across the mothers face, but the child was fine.  I took some coins out of my pocket and pressed them into the palm of one of the tramps.  

Then I got up on with my life and but the episodes continued regularly, like internal earthquakes, moments of severe reality unfiltered, raw, yet I never deduced a proper reaction to them and in many ways these episodes, these attacks, dictated the flow of my life.  I died never understanding the inside of my own head and never having found that mysterious organ, from which that devil crack originated, I died surrounded by my grandchildren, to all extents and purposes, a happy man.     

Shopping Lists / Manifestos

Ideology and survival.  Pragmatism and idealism.  Crumpled in pockets.  Tightly gripped in the hands of a body broken under the wheels of a commuter train or the cogs of a system.  A list of aspirations.  Rubbed thin in nervous anticipation.  Heralded by the anxious rustling of money or the pitter patter of bullets on old walls.  Governments are toppled by the weather not by bullet-points.  Your future is not your future however much you stock up.  A whole century squeezed between two aspirational concepts, stuck in a crevice, gasping for breath, choking on mucus, a manifesto - a shopping list.  Cultures and nations anointed special by the friction of conveyor belts, lauded in tinned goods and cushioned in receipts.  People frogmarched to landfills by assertive ink stains on pieces of paper, justified by repetition.  A consumer, a revolutionary, a manifesto, a shopping list.    

Tresen Libretto

The inside of a thigh, smudged 
Like the black stone in mecca 
Everyone cops a feel
And the world swoons
Chinese whispers spelled out in fag ash and spilled beer
The minor turnings of the earth
Turned over by turncoats
Turn me over and turn me out
Good turn-out tonight 
All the clapping tongues and aching balls
Itching wallets
Scratch an itch, pat a back
Bruise a lip
We’re all one 
Your limbs are my limbs
Your sprains are my heart aches
Sharing shards, nose spikes
Once again, three shots more
Another tale or was it tail?
Time will tell
Tell me the time?
Vorbei mate 
And we all go tumbling to get up
Stumbling down the stairs and into public transport
Our pockets frothing
Personalities fermented
Another night at another bar
The minor turnings of the earth
Turn me on
Turn me off
Turn me down

Gum On Your Soul (SIC) Part Two

The Chewing Gum Kid said it,
it's a like a bit of gum on the soul of your shoe
getting dirtier the further your walk
then the sole comes off altogether
not once but twice
it bookends the week in tableaus of drunken walks down cobblestones streets
the 2nd time
at Abstand
I saw the sole in the hand of the lead singer of a swedish hardcore band
he waves it like a dismembered hand in a bad joke
need a hand mate?
from where I was leaning, struggling to stand
the gum looked black
black and withered flattened by the pressure of all the days spent under the foot.

there it is

and then you find your tooth again
nestling where you left it in the curb
brassed in blood - still
bodge it back in
chewing gum gum
'you're just scared of yourself'
fuck the gurner's right
he's sweating the truth out of his orgasm face
there it is coming around the corner
a comfort blanket, a noose
you see you life in terms of loading screens
completion bars
another round,
veins ready to burst
vain and ready
ready in vain.