As a Gull Skims


as a gull skims

the lake’s silver reflection

will you linger


This poem was written in response to Carpe Diem #1171 wounded heart, another great prompt from Chèvrefeuille at Carpe Diem Haiku Kai. All of the poems in the link-up can be read here. And, to finish, here’s the Velvet Underground –

Aches and Mirrors – bookscover2cover


Another story of mine has been posted at bookscover2cover. This one is called Aches and Mirrors and can be read by clicking on the link. I’m fairly blank about the genesis of this story. I remember that I wanted to write an out-and-out sci-fi story, which the blog was lacking at that point. It’s also possible that it was a not very veiled attack on that Facebook style look-at-me-doing-something-of-no-discernible-value-or-interest solipsism. 

Regardless, here are the Velvet Underground & Nico, to finish –

Lies the Actress Told


lies the actress told

escape the black and white

of years


This poem was written in response to Carpe Diem Special #134, Fuyuko Tomita’s “actors we all are, she said “, another great prompt hosted by Chèvrefeuille at Carpe Diem Haiku Kai. All of the poems in the link-up can be read here. And, to finish, here’s The Velvet Underground –

Giant Steps

Giants fill the firmament.  Good or bad, they go unseen.

1970s rain falls on a 1950s apartment house – a gawky kid watches the rain fall.  Still in high school and devoted to the Velvet Underground, he walks past the Stop & Shop.  A radio’s on, music streams from an open window, and he hears snatches of songs mixed with the falling rain – it sounds better like that and he hardly notices how wet his clothes are getting or how his sensible haircut’s plastered to his head at awkward angles.

Gawkiness suits him, he says.  He doesn’t mind.

It’s cold outside, walking about with no real aim – Massachusetts always gets cold at this time of year but he’s in love with Massachusetts, all that old world he grew up in – it’s his parents’ world, really, but he still loves his parents and wants to keep his place in that old world of theirs.  It’s a reassuring place to go back to, now and then – but whether he can or not is maybe another matter.

Traffic on Route 9 sounds bleak and nearly dying.

But the modern world’s not so bad.  Suburban trees provide some shelter from the shower – huge drops of rain roll off the leaves and splash down, making him shiver when they fall inside his collar.  It’s not pleasant but at the same time it’s a little bit pleasant.  He looks up at the soaked branches, notices the moonlight streaming through.  It’s late – how long’s he been wandering – can’t say?

Moonlight hits the puddles and he splashes through it.

The moonlight looks ancient and modern at the same time – it helps him feel less lonely late at night, picturing all the ghosts from the old world who went splashing through that same sidewalk moonlight, once.  Though ghosts don’t stop and chat or hold you, much.  So, when a girl in an avocado coat hurries by, trying to keep her hair dry by holding her purse above her head, a decision’s got to be made – try to pick up girls and get called an asshole?  Or stay alone, eat health food back at home?

Ok, decisions aren’t his forte.

The girl in the avocado coat disappears round the corner while he watches her go.  Each breath he takes mists in the rain for a second and turns to nothing, like most of the decisions he makes – he shrugs, doesn’t get it.  You know, sometimes it’s like twenty-eight misguided souls struggling to get control inside that sensible head of his – but one day it’ll get easier, right?  Right.  And if you can’t find any friends, well, you can always try to form a group – another rock’n’roll band?  Or some cult that gathers round you?

Giants fill the firmament, good or bad.


This piece of flash fiction was written in response to the Fairytale Prompt #34 at Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie, in which all the stories relate to giants. I don’t normally do a lot of explaining after a story, cos it is what it is, but in this case I’m inclined to make a bit of an exception. Presented with a fantastical prompt, and having written lots of fantasy characters since I started blogging, I felt like writing about mundanity; then I didn’t fancy writing about my own mundanity cos, y’know, that’s too mundane; so, since I’ve been listening to The Modern Lovers debut album a lot recently, I thought I’d write about the character in those songs. And that’s the reason for this little explanation, since the story paraphrases snatches of the lyrics throughout, and credit where credit’s due. It’s a great album, by the way: the (nearly lost) link between the Velvet Underground, Iggy & the Stooges and the Ramones, Talking Heads, etc. So, here’s a song.

Feline Alchemy – greatest hypothetical movie soundtrack ever pt.2

I refer you back to pt.1 of the Feline Alchemy soundtrack for the rationale of this post; also, for unmissable links to more pop music of splendour.  Now, here is the equally gorgeous pt. 2 –

Chapter 5 – Pixies, Caribou

“This human form where I was born I now repent.”

Pixies were the most bizarre, non-conformist, thrilling mix of practically every element that US rock music felt the need to overlook/dismiss/neglect/ban from the airwaves. In their prime the singer once described Pixies as “ruined cool.” He was right. US rock music was unsurprisingly wrong. Black Francis’ singing here veers typically between the raucous, petulant and angelic. Of course, nowadays when angels fall they end up flogging the consumerist wet dream for Apple. But let’s remember them this way.


Chapter 6 – Siouxsie & the Banshees, Peek-a-boo

“Furtive eyes peep out of holes.”

Rulebook for creating a classic single – Step 1: take an old recording from your studio vaults. Step 2: play aforesaid old recording backwards. Step 3: add accordion and a strident vocal that sounds like an ambulance crashing. Step 4: Rip up the rulebook. Easy. When I have a child I shall name her (or him) Siouxsie Sue. And everyone else should do the same.


Chapter 7 – Velvet Underground, Venus in Furs

“Ermine furs adorn the imperious.”

It’s 1967 – ok, let’s mix Leopold von Sacher-Masoch with rock’n’roll. Erm… what?! Enter the Velvet Underground. Lou Reed changes the game indelibly, inventing the indie/alternative outlook from scratch in the process. John Cale sprinkles avant-garde weirdness into the brew whenever it needs an extra kick. On this song Cale scrapes complaints out of an electric viola like sinews being stretched on the rack, appropriately enough.


Chapter 8 – The Jam, Ghosts

“Lift up your lonely heart and walk right on through.”

Notable among the debris that UK punk junked and scattered liberally about the music scene was a certain elegance and sophistication in terms of outlook and presentation. Those ideas were suspect and passé. Paul Weller was the exception that made an ass of the rule. Not only did the lyrics have the precision of Ray Davies but the Rickenbacker had to look exactly right. That isn’t vacuousness; it’s attention to detail, the watchword of 60s mods. It meant that The Jam were the key bridge between the brightest English 60s bands, punk, and later The Smiths. Surely, compliments don’t come much higher?