Swing From Ceiling Beams

Swinging from the ceiling beams with a wicked grin and marvellous malevolent thoughts. Wonder what will transpire when we expire and eternity opens out before us like a dark shawl, a cape hung from the shoulders of the grimmest foreboding made man. If man is man-made then what do we say to that which lies beyond the ceiling, in the skies, empty and erudite, so many poems written to elucidate the interest and put diction to passion for the omniscient. Yet nobody is there, nobody who matters. The same could be said for this room, full of bodies but empty all the same. We are all searching for a meaning in the meaningless, a perfect distraction from mediocrity and existential crises which preoccupy the preoccupied and pedantic. We can all procrastinate when the answer to the question is as redundant as the task at hand. Falling into fishbowls from such great heights doesn’t offer purpose to a porpoise or any other mammal. Let alone a man who shouldn’t be left alone with the sort of wicked thoughts that trip, traipse and trickle through this tiny little brain. In most instances it’s all well and good that we only use a percentage of the capacity of this cranial cavity. Slowly shitting on the same sidewalks we sat on as children, watching excrement escape and leave little trails on the soiled street. Perhaps you felt that, the little pang of sorrow and a little sigh sallied forth from dry lips. Strap up and tie off, squirt in the ennui and empty it all out. Finally drawing a little line under a decade of inaction yet unable to accept that it was all for nothing and no one cares who shot first just who shouted loudest.

Ray and Terry

“Eh, move your fat fucking arse mate!” yelled Ray at the prostrate form in front of us. I sighed and began pacing up and down the court, bouncing the shuttle cock against my racket. My paws clenched tightly around the pine as my tongue ran across my jowly lips. I regained composure and glanced back at Ray, who was still raging, still screaming in his strong northern accent at the mass of brownie-grey fat that was sprawled across the centre court. The empty bottle by its trunk betrayed the beast’s condition. I was about ready to give up and go home, “Leave it Ray” I bellowed at the distant, blurry form of my companion, now lost in the great canvass of leathery flesh, thudding his small paws against the great hide. The elephant was not awakened, rudely or otherwise, by Ray’s fit of rage and so was evidently quite sedated. One wondered quite how the intoxicated creature had found its way through the considerably smaller doors that led to the indoor courts. It didn’t do to dwell on the logic, it made my brain hurt. I marched over to Ray, who was now pounding so vigorously at the elephant that sweat soaked his fur and ran down his back, leaving a large bedraggled patch just above his arse. “He’s being a reet bastard, loike” he exclaimed through wheezing breaths. I convinced him to yield, forced him to stop, despite many protestations. The question of how to spend the rest of the day now reared into contention. As we sat in the changing rooms, removing our head and wrist sweat bands, Ray was clearly dejected and frustrated “I was reet oop fer that game, Terry lad, naw what the fuck we gonna do?” I heard the low murmur of misery in his voice and noted the glassy appearance of his round, black eyes. I sat in a slump down beside him on the bench. I put a comforting paw on his shoulder, then slowly withdrew it as i recalled his overriding irrational homophobia. I sat there in silence, struggling to think of an activity, something to do on a rainy Tuesday afternoon. “Ive got it!” I exclaimed with glee, “lets go to the Sealife centre!” Ray met this with a sigh “I fucking hate living in Scarborough”.

A Poem By My Late Maternal Grandmother

This was written in 1976 by Margaret Clarke, my grandmother


Escape in dreams devoid of care,
Blue cloudless skies,
Horizons bare,
Cast not a doubt a role to play,
Warm gentle breeze,
All fears to flay.

Tread softly the dream of yesteryear,
That empty sky
Who’s shining glare of yellow down,
A golden hue to bathe,
Caress with fragrant dew,
Refreshed to wake,
Reality meet,
Abandon now the dreamland sweet,
Abandon now,
Till next we meet.

I Am Shazzamo

Lyrics to I Am Shazzamo by The Fall Of Science

There’s nothing left to say
Except the obvious, the empty
The erudite one lies and squirms

We’re searching, we’re hoping
For something to save us
There’s still nothing left

As the truth has been revealed
And the tables have been turned
This distance brings me falling to my knees again

When elegy becomes memory
Shazzamo, they’ll never know

We’re becoming sentient
Soulless machines; breathing, bleeding
Knee deep in apathy

As the truth has been revealed
And the tables have been turned
This distance brings me falling to my knees again

If it makes you smile, I would say these words to you
And if it makes you smile, I would end this life tonight

Hey emptiness, this is our salute
To every breath, to every tear
You made it real;
The beauty of loving you

You don’t have to suffer,
You don’t have to see this to the end


Lyrics to Ethereal by The Fall Of Science

So hold tight baby
And you’ve never been so quiet
Yours was the loudest voice at her funeral
You’ve never been this quiet

I’ve tried so many times
And failed to make you see
But I’ll be here, emptying my lungs
Until I cease to breathe

You can’t be true to me
And you’re looking at me trying
To show me sorrow
And I can’t breathe
And I cannot breathe

When every word you uttered
Stands to be a fragile lie
Then the people left behind
Will finally bare their teeth

For this life we lead through
Disbelief I will crown you the pointless fool

I guess something had to shake you to the core
Something had to squeeze a tear
From those turquoise eyes

No you can’t be true to me
And you’re looking at me trying
To show me sorrow
And I can’t breathe
And I cannot breathe

The Feline Oak

There is only void and darkness, the rumbling inevitability of time and the yellow glint of feline eyes. That is all that is certain. Said his father as he turned away and his shoulders grew branches with leafy hands. The field scene was upon him, opening up and welcoming him in. He ran in, charged in, as he always did. There she stood, as she always did, in the middle of the field, beneath the old oak. Her delicate face breaking into a broad grin as he approached. Then fading, first the smile, then the girl, then the meadow. The yellow glint of feline eyes, he heard once more.
Michael awoke. Covered in that familiar cloying, clammy sweat. He began to sit up but the fever made itself known, the room spun, as though his mind could find no calibration with his head. Nothing was where his eyes perceived it to be. Not that there was much in his room to lose track of, the farthest wall being perhaps four feet from him and the room long enough to hold his battered bed. The small desk, with it’s chipped and scarred top, was just about large enough to fit a sheet of paper on and held an inkwell. The small wooden chair nestled beneath it completed the itinerary of furnishings. The mess of scrolls and ragged shirts on the floor by the door completed the decoration. Michael tugged at the sheet by the window and the sun, already low in the sky, flopped into the tiny room.

Seraca II

I left the cafe, lightly buzzing from the extraneous coffee, and began to wander down the highstreet. It was a wednesday afternoon and the cobbles were hot with the footsteps of hundreds of shoppers, browsers, window shoppers, malingering youths and pensioners. The pensioners weren’t contributing to the “hot footsteps”, they bleated and mumbled, wandering and meandering in front of all others, seemingly intent on impressing onto the youngsters just how meaningless and aimless their trip to the shops was. They were counting down the days til death and were at pains to demonstrate the paucity of their existence. I pushed roughly past one such pensioner, a woman whose cracked and withered body seemed to imply that she was devolving into some variety of goblin-like creature and that the transformation was near to complete. After passing the butchers it occurred to me that I was not in a rush to be anywhere, and had in fact nowhere to go. It was only then that I realised that the flat I shared with Jade up until about twenty minutes earlier was no longer my home and that I had only to return there to collect the cliched black bin bags of clothing that were sure to litter the front lawn. Having very few clothing items of value and even fewer reasons to see Jade again that day I decided that my first port of call was to be Jeff’s house. I turned left by the newsagents and down the narrow passage, past a group of chavs who attempted to intimidate me by pulling their t-shirts up over their faces and shouting racial slurs which were more bafflingly inaccurate than offensive.
Five uneventful minutes later I arrived at Jeff’s abode, rang the faux Victorian bell and waited on the step, taking in the rich oaky scent of the door and admiring the small cabbage patch covering the garden in lieu of a flower bed. After an appropriate amount of time the door swung open and the haggard shell of Jeff stood before me. He’d put on weight, not dangerously, but enough to notice, a bit around the chin, a ripple on his belly, visible under the pastel blue shirt and inoffensive brown jacket. His hair line had moved back, again, not significantly, but enough that I noticed. He seemed to be looking to compensate for this through his lush spouting of facial hair, thick and soft, a “real” beard as Jade’s mother would no doubt have said. One not normally worn by a man of 30 years, not a fashion statement but not a mess, it framed his face and covered his acne marks and the scar he’d taken from the glass fight in his student days. He look tired. He didn’t disguise his surprise at seeing me.
“Peter, what the fuck, Peter?”
His eyes narrowed and he laughed loudly before grabbing me by the shoulder and effectively dragging me inside. I followed the brutish scholar into his study (first door on the right, cabbage patch view), it was simple and utilitarian in design, it felt cold and clinical, much like a therapist’s office. A desk sat in the far right corner, piled high with books yet none were open and the stack was precise and clean. The whole of one wall was a built in bookcase with all manner of dusty, leather bound, frayed tomes of varying importance, reputation and obscurity. The only other item in the room was a mahogany and leather sofa, on which we both sat. He turned in to face me and began as though he were continuing a recent conversation.
“Well, where the fuck was my invite then?”
“To what?” I replied. There were many events over the past two years (had it been that long?) that i’d neglected to invite Jeff to, more out of apathy than vindiction.
“To what? To what? The launch, the bloody book launch! The biggest occasion of your life, the biggest party of my life, and you didn’t invite me? I mean, sod the book, Sir David Frost was there, wasn’t he?”
“And Robert Winstone” I muttered, though perhaps not wisely.
“You prick, I bet you had hundreds of tickets, and I know you, I bet it was just you and Jade, and she only went because she opened the envelope and you only went because she made you!”
“Damn the book Jeff, the book was a bomb. They tore it to shreds, it was that bloody Newsnight Review, once any one of those urbanite, wealthy, pretentious arses watched it being bled on tv they wouldn’t touch it. That Craig Thomas in The Guardian sai…
I was cut off.
“…that ‘for a work so steeped in it’s apparent convictions, Seraca not only lacks any real substance but also patronises and condescends it’s readership. It preaches to a choir, one which is thankfully choking and dying in the pews’. He splashed four stars on the Twilight book yes, but he’s also a bloody good historical scholar. His paper on The Winter’s Tale lit up a whole new discussion on Shakespeare’s body of work. He’s bloody good Peter, maybe he got it right about Seraca, maybe he didn’t, but he definitely read the bloody thing and that’s to be applauded. 982 pages man!..
“986, without foreword”