The Merfoxiad V: Cerulean Seas of Caprice

The sand shakes and crumbles under my feet
As I draw near with drawn sword and blade between
My teeth, red raw with tired eyes and bleeding lips
Aching and shuddering with muscles drawn tight over hips
Legs like lead weights, heaving and hauling this limp, lithe
Frame slowly towards it’s final destination and the end
Of us all

Born down in the deep, dark brine with bellyful of
Baleful hate, an incisive, calculated, cold killing machine
Swam through cerulean seas of caprice
With icy blood coughing and seeping through it’s
Long dead veins
Surging forth towards Brighton sands
With two paws and razor claws intent on bringing death

And he says I’m all we have left
What a state of affairs when there is no
Fair fight to be had
I know I won’t walk away from this
The beast snarls and stares
As I approach, dare to approach
Dare to dream, to believe that
Of all the things in this world

This skinny little girl with a huge heavy sword
Could end this, could stop the dreams
The cold wet nights where I awake with a scream
Every second is eternity now
Every inch a mile
This fragile heart pumping louder than a bomb blast
Each tremulous beat thudding against thin sternum
Cracking and shaking my skeleton
The bone beneath thin flesh
Razor sharp, wrapped in knotted sinew strings

Dark sky light far too bright
Blinded and burning retinas and irises
Aching from the beauty of incandescent sun
Masked behind clouds and storm and squall
But grinding into these weary eyes

Ten metres more
It skulks by the shore
Sharp narrow eyes watching me
Waiting, salivating, dripping from the muzzle
The broadsword tightly clenched in firm, chapped hands
I charge, headfirst, headstrong and wholly resolute
Seeking the end, an end of all of this
An end of dreams that wake me at night
An end to visions that haunt my days
An end to pain, to fear, to all that I held dear
To anything I ever loved
Though for the life of me
I can’t remember what in my life ever meant as much
To me as my own sweet life

The blade connects with thick flesh, the white of the throat
The claws in my chest
Ribs crunch and crack
The hottest, sweetest thing I’ve ever felt
And the last
With every ounce of strength, every drop of blood
Every pound of muscle, every straining sinew
With the force of will and something else, something darker
Deeper, from within the core of myself
I thrust, push, force the great broadsword up
Through the neck
Gouging the throat
As razors cut and saw through my gut
Coughing up blood over white cotton
But still coughing, still standing, still breathing
Eye to eye with the beast from beneath

I never saved anything for the journey back
I always knew that none of this
Limp, frail form was ever built to last
Tied far too tight for far too long
Taut skin over gleaming sharp bones
A precise, surgical living weapon
Only the blood can pay for the blood
Only my life can take away his

As my sword hews through the jaw
Hacking deep into the brain of the beast
I hear nothing
Dead silence and pure
Crystalline, ice white light

I free one hand from the hilt
And grab tight the beast’s bloodied red ear
With one final ragged breath
I hold the jaws to my bared teeth and whisper
Screaming as loud as I ever could;

The sea god will see gods are destined to their deaths

The Merfoxiad Prelude: Foreword, Four Words, Creator

Mutilation, the blood rushing from every vein
They’re toying with nature
Twisting, tweaking, abominating
Water fills its lungs as it chokes into life
A flash of soaked fur and sharp claws

This should never be, but that never stopped them before
And we can only run when it reaches shore
Mangled, twisted, rotten fur, spliced and convulsing
The scales, the gills, wrapped around and diffusing the mammalian blood

The birth, the creation, of a species intent on destruction
Pushed the limits of genetics and death is your reward
Unholy macabre and solely devastating
This laboratory will become our tomb
An underwater killing field, the glass will break
The beast is loose and escape is merely formality preceding our demise
Death from above, the sides, below the surface of this aquatic hell

It was mathematically Impossible they said
This brings me no comfort now
Unrelenting, it stalks the deep, this harpoon
Is my only friend in the world
It breaches

Death in the beginning, predicted, elected, sorted and
Settled, she is all that can stop him now
I lead the beast to the deep
Thank god the sea god can
Hold it at bay as it bays
Barks and calls

Science and omniscience
Neither can save or prevent
Plug, stall the prophecy
But her
One girl

The Merfoxiad II: Delicate, Desiccated Descrator

A sea god
Will be god
Once we have buried
All the rest

Nurse, did you see a nurse in here?
No miss, I’m the first to see you today
How are you feeling
That’s good, we think you’re fine and
Good to go

Go where, she asked but no answer returned
Fine, how fine is fine when you have dreams like these
See things like this
Hear words like those

The young girl rose up on her elbows and slumped against the
Backboard, bored and laying back, she stared at the ceiling
Patterns swirled, shimmered, slowly she saw scales and fur
The doctor’s head around the door; we’ll get you ready to go in an hour

I’m fine
But what if I’m not
They’re only dreams
But what if they’re not
But what if they’re not
Seraca grabbed her clothes from the side,
Threw off her gown and hurried, scurried, charged out

Through the doors, into the cold garden
She sat beside a smoker on a bench
The old man coughed and smiled
Enjoy the fresh air while you’re young sweetie

Seraca smiled softly and pulled her hoodie over her head
You’re only young once and all your troubles only grow with age
He persisted, she resisted, held, bit, clamped down on her tongue
Me, I got cancer, ain’t that a kicker
So I started smoking out of the worry and the stress
Heck, I know it kills me but sometimes a man needs something
A little release, an outlet, something to ease the days

You look worried, concerned, upset he said
Try to relax, your exams won’t be all that bad
Smiling politely she arose and left the bench
Hey sweetie, you remind me of my daughter
Take this; he threw a necklace her way
I don’t need it, think of it as luck
Seraca bowed and the blood ran to her head

Staggering sauntering, with more haste and less speed
Than she would’ve liked had she been well
No shrink, no doctor can know or help
The library, warm, calm and quiet with resources
Breathe in the books and cuddle up in a corner

A reference, for reference, her deference to Japanese
Folklore had Seraca poring over texts once again
Kitsune, come to me, raise your sword
Protectors, guardians and far from sea beasts

The vision, a leviathian of red fur and shimmering scales
Bore little to do with the Japanese tales
Frustrated, humiliated, indebted and immolated
The young girl threw the lore to one side, laid back in the chair

Hazily, grimly, dimly, darkly it flickered, fluttered
Flashed before her eyes, the necklace, the pendant
Then nothing. Nothing more.

She awoke again, wet sweat to the neck and gasping for breath
A couple walked past, glanced in concern, then staggered along, hand in hand
Apathy, not antipathy, though it mattered not to Seraca
An ounce, a grain, a drip, drop of their interest could change nothing

The girl reached for her neck, her fingertips traced down the chain to the amulet
Blindly worn and gently caressed, her eyes took it in truly for the very first time
An engraving, a carving, a marking on bronze
Was it a jaw, a claw or just a mind playing tricks

And a number, beneath the jaws and claws
A human number, or just a mind playing tricks

The Merfoxiad I: Birth in the Brine

Oh, sweet Marianas
Cradle of the deep
The challenge is deep
Dark, down within your abyss
The void stutters and trembles

Marriage in the dark
Marry the death to despair to the prophecy
And how naive are we
To think a god only lives when he is held to be true

Oh sweet Poseidon, biding your time til
The trident, the bident, the mighty fork
Can crawl out from this trench and
Take canine form

As the tale of the tail tells
On one fateful night
Numbered June 14th 2008
But who could tell in the gloom
None to witness, none to watch

Poseidon create, through waves and plates
A great eruption, an incinerating flame
Four thousand feet below good

A flash of red, a shimmer of scales
Perfect form, intelligently designed
And evolved beyond
All comprehension of function and form

The fox floats through the foam
Cackling, crackling, snarling
The beast
Roars and reaches out a paw
To his lord

The god of the sea
Pets and strokes the beast
Checks the jaws, the paws
The claws before its release

And hell in sea and trench will take vulpine form
Twisted far beyond our sight
And set forth again to rule the earth

Those words, a mantra
Repeated themselves and pounded into
Her aching brain
Seraca awoke, a cold sweat
Coating her neck

Lie down, lay back
On your back
The ceiling, cream emulsion with
Those little patterns

Perhaps that swirl is a lion
That twist, a horse
Is that there a cloud
A fish, a fox a sword

And again we’re back to it
This recurring dream
The girl glances at him
Please doctor, what does it mean

Anxiety, he says, pressure at school
She laughs and sighs,
Rolls on her side;
It’s followed me for years
A babe, a child, a teen and now

Seraca steps, glides, floats outside
A waif, a sylph, petite yet hard
Rugged, enduring, a grace and elegance
Of a fencer not a dancer

She steps, stops, stock still
It hits, a splash of blue
She falls to her knees
A crowd rushes to lift
The young girl
Yet all she sees is a cerulean sea
A bolt of red, flash of scales and fur
A birth in the brine, a roar and howl
A call from beyond

The muscle pounds, pauses, stops
Flutters, flickers
The cold steel against her chest
Paddles bring her choking back to life

Young, far too young to fall so soon
Fate has other plans for Seraca

And every night she sleeps
She dreams of scales and fur

The Merfoxiad IV: Scales and Fur

Carving a path through the waves
The power of a thousand unholy days
The tale of a tail and claws
They will all fall before scales and fur

A hero, I am no hero but I’ve never been one to fall before I’m through
I rise up to any challenge and I always stand my ground

Oh now, I see the prophecy has been fulfilled
It’s coming signals the end of days
Seraca, please heed my call and find me with my back against the

Wall, it’s coming, it’s pulsing, it’s racing through the seas,
Beset by caprice and filled with lascivious haemophiliac rage

And now, I hear it. A call, a primal call from beyond this human plane
A rise to power need not be so dramatic, a call to arms can be as mediocre
As necessity, in a world without any heroes, in a land without any hope
Perhaps it’s right that someone as ordinary as me
Shall be the one who sets us free,
So now I ride, I drive, I charge through the land, to meet the demon hand to hand
To face the one they call the greatest foe, the omega and the end

Oh Seraca, you’ll meet those scales and fur with glory in your hand
And a knife between your teeth
As that beast, that whore, that agent of killing and pain
Dares to step forth upon dry land
It comes, it crawls chest first, onto the beach
The breach, it’s born, its blood will reach
Forth, now into the sand as you attack with sword
In your hand, oh, it comes, it crawls into the night

Ive never been the one to fall, i’ve never been one to shirk a challenge
I stop my car, and park right by the cliff and take the hunting knife from out of the sheath
I march, I lurch, I shudder towards the beach, my heart heavy and thudding like

The beat of a drum
Drum, drum, the crash of a gun
The sound, it rips through my ears
My skin, feels tight as though
My veins fit to burst right through
And blood will cover my skin
In a thick layer of red
A warpaint, a uniform
Allied with the dead
The demon, the beast is sat in the sand
Licking its paws, cleaning its hands
It’s cold, red eyes are fixed on the girl
The challenger with baggy shirt and curls

A battle, to decide and determine the future of the earth
The sand beneath their feet will tremble as the night closes in
Vivacious and headstrong the girl will face the machine
A perfect design of scales and fur, set forth to kill
Will it ever face defeat, demise, death by the sword
It has lived and perhaps the ending would fit as
The old saying goes, but sayings are sayings and nobody knows
What destiny and fate have shaped, in their wicked way
Concocted and planned, the world, to a man
Must know, must care, but it matters not
As on the beach, she is

September Update

So, a quick summary of the latest developments

Swannui and Cygnus is still cheap on Kindle, like really cheap. 77p in the UK. You can buy it in Beccles Library, Beccles Books and Studio 21a.

The Power Of Fiction is a post about the reactions to the first part of my novel, Seraca.

Seraca Part 2, this is the second part to the novel. I’m not sure i’ll post much more of the novel, or at least not in a linear sequence.

And All That’s Staged Is The World is one of my favourite recent poems. It’s not featured in Swannui and Cygnus and represents a second phase in my writing.

Oh and I bought a 1988 Porsche 944 Lux FH, which I’ll probably write about very soon.

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”

The Power Of Fiction

I’m not a particularly prolific blogger, I only write when I am inspired to. Sometimes inspiration strikes twice in one day, sometimes my blog lies dormant for weeks at a time. I’ve managed to splutter out about 70 posts now though and the reaction to 1 post in particular has surprised me.

Seraca Part 1

This extract is taken from the first draft of the first chapter of my unfinished novel, Seraca. It is (or is planned to be) an emotional chronicle of several young adult’s experience of childhood trauma. There are four characters; Jeff, Peter, Jade and Sarah. The extract featured on this blog details an argument between Jade and Peter, seen from Peter’s eyes. It is often alluded to that Peter is prodigiously talented.

I am not Peter. Seriously, of all the reactions to all my posts, the comments and questions I get about Seraca baffle me. Peter is a minefield of complexity, a talented writer with more baggage than Jordan’s make up team. If I am Peter and if I believed I was a genius (and trust me, reading back one of my blogs is enough to bring me softly back to reality), then why would I write about it so explicitly? Nobody is that vain or that brave. It would be akin to painting a bulls-eye on the back of your best suit jacket and walking through a Mancunian’s stag do paintball whilst singing “You’ll Never Walk Alone” and wiping your bare arse with a photo of Sir Alex.
I am not a genius, I am often quite stupid. Many people who know that I have a degree will look at me and speak slowly with a bemused expression as they try to explain something supposedly simplistic for the seventh time. Peter may be a genius. That is why it is such a challenge to write sections of the novel from his perspective.
The second thing that people ask me about Seraca baffles me even further: “is it a true story? Or based on a true story? Is Jade *insert an ex girlfriend’s name*? Is Jade *uses own name*?”
Seraca is a true story to the extent that the movie franchise Fast and Furious is a true story. I have been dumped by women and some people with considerably more income than me drop £15k on tuning Toyota Supras. Seraca is not a memoir or a true story, it is fiction. It is writing for effect. It is creativity, it is original thought, it is a spark of consciousness, it is the splash of sentience that separates (most of) us from the bonobo chimp.

J.K Rowling wasn’t a magical 13 year old boy and E.L James (probably) hasn’t been bent over quite as many times as her protagonist.