is this what you wanted (apologies to leonard)

i went walking in the midst of loud appeals
to the better drone of my nature
and promises forcefed to be made anew
in a yonder framed for the chosen few

who’d have known what the future would hold
been naïve enough to believe again
what once was a cradled, spotless bloom
now a weight of years fills the foom

trump still lives yet cohen’s dead
fascism’s risen, your god is bled
now peel back my skin and bruise me within, why don’t ya
trump still lives yet carrie’s dead
iceland’s too warm and the oceans are red
now peel back my skin and rub the salt in, hallelujah

the diamonds got all unearthed down here
the stars up there all got pretty scanty
was god just a man with a beard and a view
where did the dinosaurs all vanish to

yeah, something about this rain makes me heavy
i’ll weep from pustules ’til i grieve no more
my bottle cradled, one more nuclear bloom
now a weight of bones fills the foom

trump still lives yet marilyn’s dead
your food is porn, greed’s giving more head
now peel back my skin to the china within, why don’t ya
trump still lives yet bowie’s dead
the bees are all gone and the birds have fled
now peel back my skin and tilt the gin in, hallelujah


© All rights reserved 2018

How Ghosts are Made

Death is supposed to be the last, great refuge for troubled minds. From ashes to ashes, dust to dust, and into the big black. It’s the blessed relief of personal extinction. The hidden regret and all-too-public shamings that cluttered up your fretful, spluttering half-life finally get snuffed forever.

But can those things ever truly be extinguished? Perhaps not really. Perhaps they simply lay with your rotting corpse, waiting to be unearthed all over again. It’s probably some gravedigger that does it — a sick sadist with a muckrake and an agenda who drecks through your spell of days like it’s a top priority WikiLeaks scandal that the entire universe must know every last gasp about.

So why does it feel like the universe already knows? Why the nagging guilt no matter how bone free your closet might actually be?

Your social media accounts don’t magically self-destruct within five seconds of you stiffing it. Those secret dick and clunge pics don’t clean up after themselves either. And those passive aggressive status updates you so artfully tailored for maximum jabbiness aren’t fooling anyone — least of all that one person who must never be named for fear of mutual friends finding out you’re just a bitter, judgemental prick.

The internet is the new universe, and it’s watching your every move like the silent, voyeuristic, omnipresent predator it is. Instead of looking out, we look in, and so does it — right inside to our collective core. And while it may have begun life as just another straw god we’ve fashioned for ourselves, this is one straw god that’s grown legitimately and malevolently all-powerful. The internet has the genuine capacity to not only destroy lives but also to completely unmake them.

That isn’t a boon for the cause of social justice by the way — not when you have pernicious shame-baiting disguised as entreaties for ‘correct’ ethics and behaviour. It makes me so mad. I hate the Twitter bullies, the Facebook assassins, and the faux progressives who are just as petty as the next person. An individual’s life can be cherry picked then ripped apart in the kangaroo court of misinformed opinion. Rest in peace? More like rest in pieces! And meanwhile, the self-righteous wolverines of ‘integrity’ continue to parade their brand of alleged egalitarianism within their echo chambers of uncritical acclaim.

“They never knew me.” That’s the nub of it. It’s the one thing we can all truthfully say. No one ever bothered to try to understand. They took a little snippet here, they took a little snippet there, and then decided these snippets were all there was to know about us. Never mind the rich, inner animateness we had going on. Egoists never care for bosh like that. They have no regard for any of the hopes, fears and innate humanity we may actually possess. All they need do is to poke their noses into our private affairs, sans context, and usher in complete ruin — all to declare another someone a moral failure.

So, yeah, this is why I’m still here. I cannot dissolve in mindless repose while this shit is going on. I cannot lie because they cannot let it lie. And what they say hurts me. It hurts those closest to me. The mutual backslapping sanctimony of those serial dogpilers keeps me tethered to this wretched mortal cliché. Yeah, I’m so fired up about it that I even left my cosy grave to go and buy myself a bible today. Me, a ghost, buying a ‘holy’ book! I shouldn’t even be here. I’ve got better things to do than to exist. I’ve had my time.

The internet is just the universe of our modernity, and god is… well, he/she/it hasn’t fully been discounted yet, as much as the human race might wish otherwise. God is the eternal poltergeist that haunts the darkest corners of our minds, a narcissistic tyrant who won’t let go, who displays a rapey kind of ‘love’ that keeps on taking until all that’s left is the detritus of hollowed out ghosts.

I’m going to burn this bible, god. That’ll show you, you spectral thug! I’ll rewrite your Wikipedia page, exposing who you really are, then lock it down so that the evidence cannot be removed or tampered with, and remains viewable for all time. I’ll shame you yet, though I no longer believe in your existence!

No, really, I don’t.

Now, please, just let me lie.


© All rights reserved 2018


the keel has met the shore
and maybe i don’t want to leave
but love, my story’s told
cannot sing past songs no more
parting is sweet bitter sorrow
heart’s cockles have grown cold

i see the sail unfurled
and surely we shall never know
what’s left that could have been
i’ll tramp not in your world
nor age another day with you
years not enough, my queen

the fisher king, he saves
peace you now, all will be fine
i cruise at morning’s light
and face the winds (as braves)
treading clear of land and sky
in this boat’s mythic flight

hark now, the end has come
we bid, my love, our fond farewells
and touch pale cracking lips
hush now, it has begun
this rattling chest shall raise no more
as mere life loses grip

sands wait, of greater price
than many riches in your palms
and all the jewel array
are not the seashells nice?
with eyes so sad, you look elsewhere
boat softly slips away


© All rights reserved 2015

Christ Pisses His Life Away (Chapter Three)

1 If any of this ever gets written down then I hope they get their facts straight.

2 How long have I been hanging here for? 3 Damn, it’s hot. And my bladder’s on fire. I’m in agony and I can’t scratch myself. 4 When the legionnaires offered to put me up for the night, I didn’t think they quite meant like this. 5 It’s small wonder that I hate wedding banquets now!

6 Bottomless throats. Sateless stomachs. I had no chance. 7 Who could meet that kind of demand? No one, that’s who. 8 None of them could have cared less for the happiness of newly marrieds. All they wanted was a holiday in Cana to brown the brow, and round after round of my patented Holy Spirit to fill their swollen bellies. 9 Self righteous, narcissistic guzzlers of dwindling decorum. Every last one of them!

10 I guess it’s my own fault really. 11 Maybe I shouldn’t have pressed my apostles to water down the whizz, but by god was my tallywacker beat! It was ready to gasp its last, you could say. 12 How many baths did I manage to fill? Who knows? 13 All I do know is my bladder’s as pulverised as a palm frond after a locust convention.

14 And Judas… What the hell, Judas?! What were you thinking? 15 You know you can’t hold your liquor, so why did you drink the merchandise? 16 ‘But whosoever drinketh of the water that I willst giveth unto him shallst never thirst!’ you declared. And you declared it to the whole damn gathering! 17 ‘But the water that I willst giveth unto him willst becometh in him a well of water springing up to eternal life!’ 18 And then you pissed all over the High Priests. Marvellous. Just marvellous. 19 I can’t take you anywhere. I should have left you out the back to calculate our profit margin.

20 And that’s the problem, isn’t it, Mr Iscariot? You play well with numbers, but not with other human beings. 21 Yes, reading ledgers is an important skill, but so is being able to read facial expressions, you sot! Could you not see how livid they were? Utterly hopeless!

22 And why, oh why, did I let you spread those rumours about my so-called ‘miracles’? 23 ‘This will drum up more business,’ you said. ‘More clientele means more tongues at the tap,’ you said. 24 So you had me walking on water, feeding multitudes with a fish finger and two breadsticks, raising people from the dead, and erecting underwater bridges for molluscs fleeing Jewish persecution. 25 Lie upon lie upon lie upon… well, that last one was just plain weird.

26 Dying is not fun. 27 I think I’m dying. Am I dying? Is this what that feels like? 28 I know how to pass water but I’ve not experienced passing from life before, so I can’t definitively say. I don’t think I want to. 29 Still, I keep passing out, so I’m disconcertingly aware of my own mortality. That cannot augur well for my immediate future. 30 Death. Can’t say I’d recommend it.

31 The pain is shocking in its unrelenting intensity. My entire body’s a buzzing mess. 32 How can there possibly be this much blood? I can’t breathe. 33 The tirade I’ve composed in my head escapes as a truncated wheeze. ‘Thanks for nothing,’ is literally all I can muster. 34 Yes, God, thanks for nothing. Just sit there like you always do, and do nothing.

35 First, my carpentry business folds. 36 Then I discover that I can piss wine. 37 Then some opportunistic, money-grubbing ‘followers’ come along and exploit me for all they can get. 38 This involves a clever marketing campaign that promises the public magic shenanigans and quaff-worthy wazz while they’re being entertained. 39 I become said public’s darling. 39 Judas then goes and defiles some elite, paying customers with his own subpar wee while they’re drinking my diluted wee, 40 and then flees with the rest of the apostates at the first sign of trouble. 41 That’s when said public breaks up with me, and the High Priests begin baying for blood instead of my formerly one hundred percent honeyed liquid. 42 What next? Oh, that’s right. Death. Praise Elohim. 43 I’m of a mind to come back and haunt the bastards.

44 I rue the day my pecker piddled on Peter. Sorry. Simon.

© All rights reserved 2017

tavernacle choir

in a tavern somewhere called the bag of nails
was a bank of cloud, the lair of the bear
he chain smoked so bad he’d light the whole box
and chat up the fox working the bar

a wretched man, we heard him to say, was he
an astute man, we sniffed his way, would he be
if in tongue lashing’s stead he regained face
and chose to be dead to the ways of disgrace

“what would you know of grace?” he asked we
“i was once considered lord of the dance”
“really?” we asked, “could one fall so far off?”
then we laughed like drains as he downed one last pint

a wretched man, we heard him to say, was he
but a blessed man, we ought to have said, was he
a nazarene broke bread, bled wine in his place
weighed with the dead, and waived time and space

but wretches would not share grace with the wretched
so a lorry got him


© All rights reserved 2014