A taste for riddles that have no answers

At the end

Upside down

The sky sharp as a knife

Dogs let loose on their own recognizance

Prowl the gutters

Rifling sodden wrappers

Break open their skulls

Could be teeth and bone

Could be the rubble of sepulchred Rome

You tell me

As she lies there neither living nor dead

Fabric knotted around thighs and ankles

Winding sheet widdershins

With the warm silver of forceps

Flashing in the dark

You pluck the hairs from her body

From her head

White limbs rigid

Laved in spit

As if a semblance of innocence could engender resurrection

Faceless one

Your hands filthy as history

Splintering boards the grave colour of earth

Gored routed runnelled and worm-eaten

Here the building consumed by cyanic lichen and arsenic moss

A lair for delinquent perversities and slipped blades

Hides the mask

The dark emerges the secret

The permutations of that face

Livid in the umber a puzzle

Bruise mottle

Torn rags

Lipstick a bright discarded jewel

Keys in the red dirt

Over the concrete culvert

Sigils, misgivings, remnants of misadventure

Evidence, detritus where the river ends

Stink of fear

Here was the trail of blood

Left, fled

When my heel split open

When I stepped on an axe

Running away

Right, red

Circling up on toes like a dancer

Wince and hobble

Over the splintered boards

The peppertree filling the air

With a tangerine spice

Pomegranates spilt where they fell

Flies worrying the mingling stains

The creek awash with yellowing leaves

That fall but do not turn the wheel

The mill house wearing moss

Like a comfort

Of years that could waking be cast aside

The nacreous vehicle lumbering sloth-like away

From this cold glade

Past crumbling ochre chimneys

Detritus an alien expanse

A wound opposing the sky

The orphan weeds

The cavernous terraces

Crawling with the black and yellow of poisoners

Smoke and dust taint the blue balm

Into the unyielding horizon

One wheel circling

The moment when

In the dank water

So lost in slimes and sharp reeds

The dragonflies drone as the mud leeks into your ears

Uprooting the leech from this pale limb

Leaves it neither pure nor soiled

A smear of blood is ambivalent

As vast as is the night

Unaffected by your sarcasm

This space is the opposite of infinite

Here, now

The faceless and the masked and the naked still cry

The building lumbers circling


Kouji Tajima




Something a little strange for Halloween, with a picture adapted from a piece by Kouji Tajima.

The Untold Tale Of Tom and Zellandine

While the beauty slumbers

Comatose but rasping

With ursine bravado

Aphrodite calls on our prince to pluck

Her precious fruit from the slit of love

To wake the maiden (and silence her plaint)

Innocent that he is

Our Trojan searches high and low

For an alcove, crevice

Or even vitré armoire

Deciphering neither ripe fruit

Nor ready container

He cries to the goddess

Who outraged by virginal tears

Inflames his passion

The doubloons drop


Taking his awl in hand

He plucks and plucks the promised pear

Threads the gimlet

Breaks the caul

Until the damsel rouses

All sticky from sleep she cries

What is this palaver?

Oh Sleeping Beauty, I am Tom

Tom Thomb the Piper’s Son

The Goddess has bid me wake you thus

To break the curse and win the prize

From whence you rest

All slumb’rous as a cadaver

From eternal sleep’s great death

With la mort by comparison

Quite little

Well my lad you’ve tried the bacon

Before you’ve bought the pig

You’ve played the pipe

And played the fiddle

And played a song more tune than riddle

Hey diddle do

Hey diddle diddle

While we wait the nuptial cake

By such swordplay you’ll be king

My black cat is lamenting

And requires more of such attentions

A little stroke a little milk

Will give the purr to the pretty thing

While my father is a piper and my mother is a beast

You’ll find I’m just a common lad

Travelled from the east

Just a ‘prentice shoemaker

Neither prince nor pauper

And while that ermine looks best pleased

I’ll be howling down the streets

But if you harken

To that clipper clopper

A prince with shining hair

And gleaming teeth

And a horse probably named Philip

Is coming hither

I can see him from this tower

Through the wind-er

Instead of using the garden path

He is cutting his way mightily

Through thorns

I’m sure if you turn again to slumber

He will prick you from your sleep

With a little kiss

For the none the wiser

Do not wear horns

You avail yourself of the window

I will unprick my thumb

And rest this sweet cherry on my lips

To fulfil the Goddess’s wish

And slumber some

I hope he’s not too long

I’m kind of peckish

If you ever need a boot

I am skilled with finest vair

Or just a wooden clog

You will find me at the fair

I can spin a slip of glass

That will unbreak itself

And after all the wedded bliss

All the feasting done

Dear Zellandine upon her shelf

Collected shoes of every kind

Blessed by the Goddess every one

Made by our apprentice

Fate’s accomplice Tom




Mirrors & Slivers

The Starspikes are so tall as to cause one to imagine that, from space, they must appear as a beard of icicles depending like an old man’s goatee from the round face of the Earth. But, of course, they are not so tall. Still, the mirrored, three sided spikes ascend so high that, on clear days ball lightning gathers around their tips, curious sparkling entities that discharge to earth in a violent flash that runs the length of the spike.
And when the big storms that scour the surface of the Earth rush over, the tips of the spikes score iridescent streaks in the soft underbelly of the cloud. On these stormy days the mirrored sides of the spikes boil with the storm’s reflected swirling darkness.
When lightning strikes amongst the forest of spikes its momentary illumination is re-reflected and multiplied so that hours later, in the stillness after the passing of the storm, before the Aurora Tempestuosus envelopes the evening with its spectral shimmerings, the lightning can still be seen, dancing amongst the spikes.
Rigelspike is launching today. It is more than the lightning of storms past, trapped within that gold-tinted sliver, that today draws our eyes toward it.
The mirrors of this city (for it is now merely that; there is no longer any escape velocity to defy the Earth’s thickening gravity) seemingly ascend further into the sky with each passing week. Of course, this too is illusion. Maybe it is only our own increasing burden that makes the spikes seem, on a calm autumn day like today, so much more towering.
Though fractured on the surfaces of the Starspikes, each reflecting back the sky coloured by its own hues, creating a jagged and multiple horizon, the blue space and cloud mottle reduced and captured there is ordered too.
It’s curious, each workday I ascend those structures and descend their outer surfaces, yet from here, on the edge of the ruined metropolis where we Grounders live, they seem so alien, so unfamiliar. I’m not really suited to my employ as a window washer; I think too much about falling. That doesn’t scare me, though. I see the gulls and the pigeons still defying gravity, wheel in the strange high places between Starspikes, they traverse those empty geometries so easily, I sometimes imagine that I would too.
Up there the air hums, the noise of traffic below is little more than background static, and when the wind that precedes a storm soughs in, its currents pull at you and you feel the Starspike sway.
I watch myself in those enormous lying mirrors, and watch my self’s image blur with soapy water when I sponge, and materialize with such disturbing clarity when I squeegy.
At certain conjunctions of space and light I glimpse my tertiary, my quaternary, and higher orders of selves transformed and reflected back so that occasionally I wonder if in fact that distant person deep within the glass is not some other yellow coveralled and capped window washer who merely delights in mimicry of me.
No it is not the prospect of falling to the ground, that toy landscape, that scares me, but falling into myself in that infinite space…that fear grips me and sends my imagination reeling so I must stare and stare into myself, into glimpses of those deeper selves, to ride out that vertiginous fear.
Up there the clouds drift by so close I could easily be seduced by their materiality to step out, but only into the glass. I prefer not to wear a harness when I’m out in the cradle, though Silverman, my supervisor, insists I must, guild rules and insurance clauses. Nor am I supposed to work alone but Silverman has, in his twenty years of cleaning and remirroring the spikes, developed an assortment of voyeuristic liaisons which he relishes in describing to me. So, as soon as he has seen me buckled into my harness and left such a perverse meeting, I unbuckle and hang precariously over the cradle rail, laughing and crying out in sheer defiance. Such are the petty amusements we perform in defiance of gravity, to assert our freedom.
On chill mornings I often drive the cradle directly where the sun blazes in the glass, and revel there in ecstatic luminance, suspended in my harness. Such enlightenment, when I blink open my watering eyes and glimpse my reflected self within that blazing orb, Icarus triumphant in heliolatry, is beyond understanding.
Once, while driving the cradle horizontally across a spike for just such an exultant self-apotheosis the sun exploded outwards and a chair fell in a rain of glittering shards. A man quickly followed and I noticed his smile. The hole left in that infinity was a jagged edged blackness.
On certain shrouded days, when my primary reflection is little more than a ghost, I can see the adumbrate figures behind the glass. So empty, the orderly toings and froings of these shades, trapped by mirrors and screens and glass in the line of sight hierarchy that makes a spike a functional organism, broken only when they notice me noticing them and they pull faces and perform curious motionings to see how well I see them. Of course, I act oblivious to their gestures and they find themselves, observed by their hierarchical superior, acting the fool. These are the only times, it seems, they pause, as I, to reflect.
But today no doubt many of them are reflecting. The Pinnacle of Rigelspike has commanded an attempt to launch. The last such attempt occurred seventeen years ago, when I was three. My family deserted Proximaspike and became Grounders only that morning.
To my three year old eyes it was a beautiful thing to see; that sliver reflecting the yellow dawn lift itself up above the other spikes so that it blazed golden in the sun, and then explode in a downpour of prismatic daggers.
Of course, gravity has grown so much heavier since then.
So we Grounders in our bright coloured coveralls and caps watch from the edge of the deserted metropolis, and a young family, deserting Rigelspike, their meagre possessions packed in an electric car, crosses the cement field toward us. Beyond the black and yellow striped checkpoint without looking back.
They arrive at our small celebration.
“Hi. I’m Daniel Windows,” I say. “Welcome back to Earth.”
“Why are you crying, Daniel Windows?” Their child asks me.
“These mirrors are a curious sad wounding of time, and of space. For everything that is beautiful and futile, and everything that is tragic and purposeful. For these mirrors, aspiring to the night. Don’t you see, my eyes are laughing also.”
And we watch Rigelspike rise trembling into the blue. And there is as much laughter, as tears in their eyes, but only wonder in the eyes of their child.




Monsieur A

When he was an old man, he wrote

Wanted, ladies companion for an old
gentleman must be short-sighted not
wear specs must powder and paint
Lost, a certain ladys temper in the
corridor of Les Bosquets
on Saturday night five francs reward if
found which is hardly possible.
Lost, a bonnet which need not be
returned as there are several bees in it.
Enges Meringues are the best you have
only to eat one and you feel as sick as if
you had eaten six. Try them! Cream
fresh once a week
shell fresh once a month.

Only 15 sous






The pavement scars my drunken face in gravel and

her cursing bitumen eyes the houses of her face

more derelict than distraught in their abandon

to an unrelenting season of heat cooled

only slightly by the calming storm

wetted and bedraggled by the rain runnelled gutters

and the debris it casts a dirty city’s jetsam about

my damning atolll whose birds are all dead

of some falling sickness as heavy as gravity and as inexorable.

Such is my defiance that I rise only a little above this earth,

an escape velocity to the first power of c, required,

is beyond me.

The wings of her simple joys, the cathedral of her face,

flies me so high above the accusing fingers of her spires.

Soft with the cumulus, a mist in nimbus,

From here the pavement reviling the footprints

of its billion erosions

is static as a map.



I’ll be moving my earlier poems and pieces from my first iWeb based website to WordPress and retiring the old site. I quite enjoyed the format, a random arrangement of links and surprises, rather than the linear WordPress design, however the program is no longer supported, and various parts are starting to break and crumble.