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Straight from the Fridge


Last Build Date: Wed, 16 Sep 2015 20:09:50 +0000


50,000 Brutalists Can't Be Wrong

Thu, 12 Jun 2008 09:15:00 +0000


Straight From The Fridge Fanzine (2004-2008) would like to thank all readers and contributors for their support;
50,000 hits - no frills, only flick knives.

Repent, Repent, Repent

Fri, 23 May 2008 14:45:00 +0000

listening to Chet Baker sing ‘almost blue’
(there’s a girl here and she’s almost you…)
sadness, I let it go
up, up into the terrible, vast,
Californian sky
the scarred undersides of one hundred spoons
cottons double boiled
could not get the taste of you
from out of my mouth

outside of my window the street kids line up
for watery soup and day old bread
inside the air is thick with impending death

now, years later
when I listen to Chet’s fractured,
near-death voice, I am transported
across the country,
across the years
to room 119
where it is always stifling
mid morning murder
money is always scarce
and my life is still pregnant
with terrifying
glorious possibilities

Tony O'Neill


Fri, 23 May 2008 14:44:00 +0000

I used to be fascinated by dead animals.

As a child I liked nothing better than stumbling across a prone sheep on a fell-side, its torso bloated with gas and its pecked eyes somewhere high in the sky in the beak of a bird; or finding a flattened rabbit on the road side with its entrails stretched out behind it like a vapour trail.

These creatures didn’t disgust me. Quite the opposite in fact - they intrigued me the way their insides were laid bare, like the secrets of life had been unlocked and made public. Intestines, organs, blood; all were part of a puzzle that had been reversed, dismantled, demystified.

If they remained intact – a rarity - it was always the eyes that affected me the most, for the eyes are the window into a living being; and the moment in which they had died seemed to be captured in that bleak black stare, whether it was the sheep that had fallen down a crag in the night, the baby bird cast out from the nest or the hedgehog that had met its death beneath the crush of a Dunlop tyre at dawn.

Those eyes stared down through time and in each was the flash of a headlight, the panic of uncertainty, a look of surprise, the horror of nature’s violence, the disappointment at the unfairness of it all.

In those dead animals all the secrets of the world seemed to exist and the mystery of life unravelled.

The message of death as the last word in democracy - the immoveable full-stop - was conveyed and it said in a voice unequivocally loud and clear: no-one can beat me.

Ben Myers

Dog Mental Creative Breeze

Fri, 23 May 2008 14:33:00 +0000


by the Romantic Calling.
by a Reason to be alone.

I try to live up to it

by scribbling GASH
about my BALLS

hanging 30 years low in domestic warmth.

an Excuse to be ALONE
and something to do when I’m there.

the paper in this pad is for drawing.
this Unipen is for architects.
I brandish it like I am DERANGED,
a Saucepan Man in the Tower of Song,
writing about his BALLS
baggy in bargain pants,

classic as tragedy is.
lushed, struggling,
a tolerated accident;
Functioning Mush.

we are classic Functioning Mush
building towers in the compost.

all dreaming . . .
I chase the MUSE,
any MUSE at all
like my functioning BALLS.

these are no Stateside badlands
I run in;
this is British shotgun marsh.
heavy with the damp muse of melancholy and weak women.
where BALLS walk tall on streets,
Urban and Deserted.

trying to be seduced His bones try an Artist's Dream

because He must
RECORD All Things.
because He must
KEEP All Things.
because All Things

there seems precious else for Him to do
and maybe,
if He READS enough
maybe He will UNDERSTAND . . .maybe
fear will leave and clarity dawn with the wincing birds.
the dawn of the Functioning Mush.

my BALLS are Romantic,
like misty flowers
on an old battlefield
or weakly clenched
like an old fist
out on some memory beach.

I try to live up to it
to lay bare the foggy hours in contraband crystals.
but its horrible TIME
that peels onions here.

Ford Dagenham

The Clerk

Fri, 23 May 2008 14:27:00 +0000

today was madi woke up with a sore throatall morning swallowingtesting my throatstill soreswallow swallowsoreswallowswallowi went to the ladies prison in ashford to see this clientswayleside its calledthey keep rose west thereno one is allowed to talk to heryou get in trouble if you doshe waddles around eating chocolate and you're not allowed to even make eye-contact with her if you're newshe's the fat child-killing madonnav.i.p bitches!anyway this client was totally bananasdangerousan alcoholicwho had an argument with her boyfriend over a bottle of ciderso she took a bread knife to himsliced him upthat's the basic factsshe says it was self-defenceit's the solicitors job to try and make that look feasibleit was revenge is what it wasno one should have treated me the way he did she saysthe law says that if she wanted to get away from the beatings from this guy she should have ran awaynot gone into the kitchen when he'd passed out drunk in his chairnot pulled out a knife to scratch him withas she saysscratch him?i'm looking at the photos taken at the scenedeep wounds in his arms, his hands and facethis is the end of a long line of abuse from menall her life ruinedshe hates themshe has an extensive previous for all sortsand i read it to hershe doesn't like authorityshe has assaulted two no three policemeni like that about her i thinkwe are face to face across the tableand she repeats every single thing you say even the mistakesso if you say'you will see your solicitor i mean your barrister at court on tuesday'she will say'you will see your solicitor i mean your barrister at court on tuesday?'her voice risingshes enjoying somethingits not a traditional horror-movie evil that she possesses its more likelike this anger inside that flashesyou have to blink and refocus sometimes because looking into her face is like staring into blacknessa stare and a smilea holeshe is the feeling of vertigo in the roomshe is inducing the panici got so scared that i almost said to her-listen i'm really really scaredbut i couldn'tbecause it's not professionaland also i was scared that if i did that then something really terrible would happeni held it downif i'd said that and she'd laughed i dont know what would have happenedi felt trappedso i say to herdo you remember that night-i don't remember anythingthe night you took a knife to him-i did it in self defence, i was scared for my lifewhy didn't you run away?-cos i love himit's not normal to stab someone you love- he was going to kill me-you weren't thereno i wasn't therei stare at her bodyit's not nicethey dress in mottled tracksuits insiderotten pyjamasshe was pregnant at the timeshe had twins in her belly it says herei asked her what happened to themthey are burying them tomorrow she saysthey died in my wombi had to deliver them deadshe says it as if to say it's all your fault and in a way it is i thinki'm very sorry i sayi'm very sorry she saysi read her the police statements from that evening she was arrestedthis police officer says that when they turned up you were naked-when they turned up i was naked?she's smilingits funnyshe's on side nowand the walls were covered in blood?-the walls were covered in blood? ha ha ha ha hao godis that true? i askand our eyes meetwe are communicating something i don't want to communicatewe both laugh and laugheverything reverberatesher eyes and mouth and teeth and something really horrible flashes across the tableand i realised that given the chance she would kill mei didn't think that she had a knifeit wasn't about the possiblilty of the situationbut it was enough that she would do itthat given half a chance she would stab the shit out of mei nearly left that tiny holding cellthe ugly walls and shitty tablenot that i could leave without summoning a screwbanging on the windowi held it togethershe went back to repeating everything i was saying and turning it into a questionas if i was relaying to her information she had never heardshe made me write [...]

A Drunk Man by Free Derry Corner

Fri, 23 May 2008 14:23:00 +0000


Leave behind
the clambering spires, broad traitor river
full of eels and bicycles
some black surrealist arabesque.
The mountains - a flat naïve painting,
the skies - a kinetoscope in motion.

Leave behind the burn and the dream
of the drink in the blood,
the common madness,
the building sites we hid within,
the bridge under which we sang,
the lake at the madhouse,
the train tracks.

Leave behind the ghost trajectories
of lost relationships,
memories of when we were
the corner boys and the attic drinkers
drunk on rooftops beneath hanging comets
and the same mad stars,
where fortified with firewater,
we played at revolutionaries
in the clothes of our fathers,
fenian musketeers.
The nights we were invincible.

And I’ve carved my fuckin’ heart and soul
into the white of that gable wall
that roars to the world in stone
we are/
we were/
we could have been free.

Darran Anderson

Pearl's Cafe

Fri, 23 May 2008 14:18:00 +0000

I was in between jobs, living in a council flat that had no central heating. Above me dwelt a small-time drug dealer, known locally as Tony Balony. Pearl’s café was just around the corner and it was warm and cosy and Pearl was dead. The café hadn’t been re-decorated in decades. It was done up like a little Parisian bistro, dark and cosy, red and white checked table cloths, stucco walls, wooden beams, candles in wine bottles, etc. The only nod to modernity was an asteroids gaming machine, hidden away in one corner, and in comparative terms an antique itself. Pearl’s daughter, Ava ran the mystery café single-handed. She was in her mid fifties and still a looker, but back in the day she’d been a heartbreaker, just like Pearl. I don’t think the café made any money, but a dead husband’s life insurance took care of that side of things. Ava had it easy. The café didn’t open on Mondays, Thursdays or Sundays, and usually I was the only customer. Well, it was cold inside my flat.There were photos of Billy Fury all over the walls. Billy Fury was Ava’s teenage idol and often his fifties brand of rock and roll could be heard on the sound system, Halfway to Paradise, Maybe Tomorrow, Collette, Last Night was Made For love, Jealousy. Ava thought I was a genius. I’d sit in my corner of the bistro writing, or pretending to write, but really just daydreaming. Ava would stand behind me and try to read what I’d written, but I always covered the writing with my hand. This made Ava laugh. Then she’d tussle my wavy hair and say,‘You’re ganna make it Joe boy, one day, just mark my words!’I marked the words and secretly hoped it was true.Once, when drunk, I wrote a poem on one of Pearl’s Café’s red napkins entitled, ‘I Would Have Given You All of My Heart.’ When Ava discovered the act of vandalism, she let out a little shriek. It was beautiful she said. Then she had the napkin framed and hung it on the wall underneath a poster of Billy Fury in his 1950’s heyday.Tony Balony rarely came to Pearl’s, but one day he did. He burst in like this,‘I can’t fucking believe it!’ He cried.I was playing Asteroids, but was so shocked by Tony Balony’s sudden appearance I let all the meteors bust my spaceship into fragments.Ava stopped pretending to look busy, ‘What’s up Tone?’Tony slumped into a chair and gave us the low down. His dog had been run over and killed. Hit and run. His dog was a handsome Rhodesian ridgeback called Harold. Tony Balony was in bits and it brought a lump to my throat.Tony stayed in Pearl’s café all that night, drinking cans of Stella and weeping. He loved that dog and vowed to get revenge on the culprit. Ava comforted Tony by making love to him in the kitchen. I can’t prove this, as I drank too many wife beaters and passed out underneath one of the tables. But I reckoned they did because Tony was a ladies man.Anyway, neither of us was lucky with our pets. At that time I had a cat called Stupid, who couldn’t walk or jump properly. She had a problem balancing and kept falling off things and breaking her legs. After the fourth break the vet gave me the low down. Another fall, he warned, and she would have to be put down. I didn’t like the sound of that and afterwards only let Stupid out on a lead, where I could keep an eye her. Still, despite all her problems Stupid was a magic cat because she could speak. No one else thought she could speak, but I knew she could. I’d ask her a question and she would meow in reply. The mews sounded like words.The days went by like strange dreams. I frequented Pearl’s café whenever it was open with Stupid in tow, talking all the way. I was working on a novel, it was a tragic love story, and the bistro helped the writing. Did I tell you that Ava smoked like a chimney? Three packs a day, consulate. Her skin was wrinkled and she coughed a great deal, ‘There’ll be the death [...]

That Sometimes Time

Fri, 23 May 2008 14:14:00 +0000

it’s in the morning
with a vodka diazepam cocktail
and the little birds
holding so much colour
purposively moving
from broken fence to wire
that things are
unconditionally clear.

Brian McGettrick

Hey Baby

Fri, 23 May 2008 14:10:00 +0000

It’s happening more and more these days, Baby, that thing I told you about, and I don’t know what to do anymore. I get in my car and I drive, and sometimes I barely know where I am or how I got there because I am so deep and thwarted in my head, just thinking. Sometimes I drive at night on the interstate and go into weird dirty truckstops where I don’t know anybody, where nobody knows nobody, and I sip black coffee and stare at the filthy greasy magazines spangled with fingerprints from God knows what pervert or lunatic or outright felon. I sit there and try not to catch eyes with the creepy truckers scarfing burgers or just sitting there smoking. I just don’t know what to do anymore, Baby, but sometimes I do this and it helps a little, but not really.Visit me, Baby. I think you are the only one on this earth who knows me now, and sometimes I think you know me better than I even know myself. But there is so much space between us, all those dinky stupid towns full of hateful little people, so much distance to swallow before we can sit down and talk like we used to talk every night in the old yellow kitchen, playing backgammon and drinking tea. Those were happier times, weren’t they, Baby? Now those days are lost.Let me tell you something awful. I keep having this dream about worms in my head. It’s such a horrible thing to think about, to contemplate I mean, especially first thing in the morning, that I wonder if I am not losing my mind a little. I have this dream, this nightmare, over and over, where my brain is a ball of squirming grey worms. What can it possibly mean, Baby? Am I losing my mind?If this lasts much longer, this goddamn bus ride, I will scream in my chair. (I am writing you from the bus because I had a little accident with the car.) It’s not so much being on the bus that I mind. I can manage all right on a bus, even one chock full of creeps and crazies like this one, but there is a man who keeps TURNING AROUND! He has hard yellowy eyes like a snake. I mustn’t look at him.Ah, Baby! What a world we inhabit!I wonder if you remember something. The last time I saw you, after you met Izzy and everything changed and you went away, you told me something I will never forget if I live to be a hundred. Do you remember what that was? You were wearing your blue dress with the little hearts on the hem, and your hair was cut short and we were drinking mint tea in the back kitchen, and I was crying about something, probably about your going away because what else would I be crying about, and you took my hand, as gentle as the morning, and you said – Wherever you are, Petal, I am there too, and wherever I am, you are there with me, always and forever.Are you here with me now, Baby, on this bus? Are you sitting here beside me? How I wish that were true.What can I tell you that you don’t already know? I have done terrible things, things I would rather not speak about, and of course I am ashamed. I have done things in order to forget who I am – and to hurt people, to punish them. I cannot tell you what, though. Not like this, with this man who keeps turning around. Like he knows what I am thinking. I mustn’t look at him, reading me with his snake eyes. Maybe he isn’t even really there. Maybe he is just a nightmare clown, or a worm in my head. Last week I watched a circus magician change a fat man from the audience into a watermelon, slice him into wedges – and then we ate him! God, I wish I knew how to do that. I’d turn this creep into a chocolate bunny and bite his fat head off. Or maybe into an egg which I could chuck out the window and smash on the road.What do you think, Baby? Is this it? Is this all there is? Life?I’ve decided I will tell you everything. I will give you the truth of what I am doing here, riding on this bus. There is something growing inside me, Baby. Somethin[...]

Orange is Methadone

Fri, 23 May 2008 14:06:00 +0000

Orange a fiery ball of sun against the purple mash of a threatening sky
Orange the inside of flames consuming wood and flesh and lives
Orange the color of a Corvette sports car that my girlfriend crashed
Orange the smell of rotten fruit and dead bodies we hoped might come back
Rhymes are for kids who compare kisses with an angel's breath
Orange is the fire that warm blue leathered cold hands or mix ashes with death

Orange is gold glinting in the sun, it’s weight is more than a night of fun
Orange is the Hollywood flash from a gun – a gun for play, doesn’t kill no one
Orange is the defoliant coquettishly called “Agent Orange”
Killed leaf and tree and human being, from a sky where death should never be born

Orange is a savior – wafer thin, 40 Milligrams, so I’m not sick no more
Orange is ten dollars if you know where to score
A methadone tablet, might keep me off the street
Orange is a junkie’s sweet, Christmas treat
Orange tablet, then all the urges are slight
Won’t go out on a tare tonight
Won’t maybe lie and won’t maybe steal
Orange is the color that keeps a dope fiend from being fiend real.

The tablet is harmony on a street where harmony is absurd
It’s got me calmed down – just this paper and these rhyming words.
Oh I’m not a poet, at least maybe not yet
But tonight I ain’t dangerous, without my spike, I’m toying with this pen.

Brian Murphy

Lovebytes #6

Fri, 23 May 2008 14:03:00 +0000

I did, didn’t I? I forgot until just now, until reading about Persephone and the pomegranate, but I gave you the pomegranate juice. Standing there in that room, sea salty, feet on the piles of clothes that wrapped up your body when I couldn’t. Seagulls swooped and cackled outside of the window. You slept. You slept with the urgency of youth that demanded it from you. I slept less. I slept just enough so I could wake rested and look at you, sleeping, for hours, and I loved you then with a silent instinct. When I could look no more, I slipped from your bed and dressed quickly and haphazardly; I stole your keys from on the bedside table and went down the three flights of stairs that led to the outside world. I let myself out of the front door, took a left up the hill, then a right to the corner shop. The wind was behind me, urging me on.

I loaded up my Sunday morning shopping basket with the tell-tale signs of good sex on the Saturday night. There was milk, eggs, mushrooms, tomatoes, a Sunday newspaper, crusty white bread, real butter and fresh fruit juice; pomegranate juice. I knew the spell I wanted to cast, the spell that you would return to me or me to you, forever. I checked my watch, a little after 12pm, so I added a bottle of over-priced rosé wine which made the shopkeeper smile. As you were sleeping, I loitered outside the shop and smoked a cigarette before I walked back down the hill, facing off the wind.

It had been my friend at Christmas couple of months earlier who had alerted me to the pomegranate. She’d bought me a present of a maroon velvet top, a pair of maroon socks spangled with silver threads, and to complete the trio she’d bought me a pomegranate. Research on the internet as to what to do with the pomegranate had led me to discover the story of Persephone. I wanted to feed it to you, my lover. I knew that you would be the one to leave me and I would do anything to prolong our connection.

Now, in the land of ice and snow, I wonder. I feel you strongly, although we were never here together. My first night I dream of you; my second night I hear your voice. Tonight, whilst reading a bedtime story to myself, it talks of Persephone and the pomegranate and I suddenly remember the careless, casual spell I cast. I wish those seeds had never taken root. I thought that it would bind you to me in the love of those early, heady, passionate days; but instead I am haunted by a lost, dead love that never leaves me.
Be careful of the spells that bind.

Lisa Payne

Touch Sensitive

Fri, 23 May 2008 13:59:00 +0000

Meg said she can’t remember the last time I touched her but I can, I know exactly, it’s right here on the photograph – 10:03:2008 01:47. It was just this morning, about six hours ago. 01:47 hours, give or take a minute or two to allow for taking the picture. See, living proof; I had to’ve touched her to make her look like that. Meg’s brain never remembers me touching her but I think her skin does. The skin is made of the same embryonic tissue as the brain apparently, which implies an intelligence doesn’t it, an ability to remember. My skin remembers everything, from decades ago: the hot fat, the first degree burns, the pain that lived in the left side of my body for years.Meg’s brain doesn’t remember me touching her because of the drink. She’s an alcoholic, though Meg won’t admit it. She says she just likes gin, the taste of it, the way it puts her to bed every night and tucks her in. Nothing is soft enough until she has a drink. Meg drinks to take the edge off life, the corners. Still wakes up black and blue with a hangover every morning. I don’t mind her drinking. I definitely don’t discourage it. In fact I quite like it. She’s one of those quiet drunks, you know, someone who goes into themselves the more they drink. Actually, I need her to drink. I need her gin dreams, those holes in her sleep she falls into, just as much as she does. I need them because that’s when I feel closest to her. Basically Meg is a problem that solves herself in the morning when the booze wears off.Meg believes that we can’t live without touch, it’s a basic human need like air or food or water. I’m not sure about that. Lying in the burns unit, seven years old with half my skin burnt off, I thought I’d die if anyone touched me. I kind of know what she means though, about the need to touch. When I look at my hands, I can see touches inside them, memories of how her body felt and fantasies of how it will feel the next time. But they stay in my hands untouched until Meg drowns her last drink and passes out on the bed again. Only then will I let myself steal her skin.I like it best when I’m on the edge of touching of her, that moment beside the bed looking down at the clotted skin on her bottom and thighs, the silence of her pale hair on the pillow. In that moment I can feel every molecule of gas in the air around my hands. And that’s when I understand just how big the need to touch can be, how much room this need takes up inside us. At first it was enough, just stroking her skin, seeing it change colour when I pressed it. My hands were like thieves looting her body while she was out. But then it started to irritate me how lifeless she looked just lying there, pressing her shadow into the mattress. So I started posing her, putting her in different shapes. I even bought a bigger bed so I’d have more room to move her about. It wasn’t so I could sleep further away from her; Meg was wrong about that. She looked amazing, so amazing I started taking photographs of her, whole albums full. Meg never lets me take her picture normally. She hates photographs, won’t have them in the flat. She says they’re only ever about lies and death but I love my pictures of Meg; they keep me going till the next time I can touch her.She seems somehow bigger in her sleep when I pose her. It’s like there’s more of her. Usually Meg sleeps curled up, almost disappearing into herself. Like now; she’s on the other side of the bed, this adult foetus with its back to me. Her cold shoulder is freezing the bed into a sheet of ice. She’s fast asleep. I envy her that, I envy her oblivion. I asked her once, where do you go when you sleep and she said, to the gone place. I can’t remember the last time I slept. Sleep just falls through[...]

Quayle's Ten Per Cent

Fri, 23 May 2008 12:15:00 +0000

Fucking Gordon Brown! The ten per cent cut has hit, and the temps are swapping rants about it as we hand in our timesheets.‘Can’t believe it,’ one guy moans. He’s about six foot, leather jacket, not attractive. ‘It’s like you’re penalised for getting up in the morning.’ ‘It would help if the agency didn’t take a third of our salaries as commission.’ I say this loudly enough for the consultant behind the desk to hear me. She’s a fat whore with a Daypower ID slung around a pastel shirt. ‘I should have gone into –‘‘Well, Becks, if you’re not satisfied, you know where the door is,’ she tells me. ‘Don’t you ever interrupt me.’ I fix her with an aggressive gaze and hold it until her eyes drop to the timesheet pile. I then swish grandly through the exit.Dining at the Tiger Lounge, I reflect that the agency holds all the cards. I never thought I’d go back to temping, but the latest restructuring swept my job away.Walking down to Oxford Road, I consider the pulling prospects. What I tend to do, in these days of the credit crunch, is to chat up solvent-looking men in bars, give them a false name and rob them blind. You set your mobile alarm for eight and then just take their wallets. I figure it’s a reasonable price for giving these dullards an evening of fun.The arches of New Wakefield Street cover a clutch of mosher pubs (I suppose one calls them ‘emo pubs,’ now) that spill out onto rows of smoky picnic tables in the shade. My temp colleagues are at the Space roof garden, specifically constructed to get around the smoking ban. I buy a round: essential if you’re a lady, because it shows the guys that you can drink and are not to be fucked with. We drink a bitter toast to the Chancellor of the Exchequer and bitch about work until the sun goes down.This is essentially a student/scenester bar and I feel self-conscious in my tailored skirt and office boots. You have to dress like this at work, even as a temp – again, it’s an assertion of strength – but I’m out of place here. My legs are drawing male stares and I’m not yet drunk enough to enjoy them.The temp girls are reasonably intelligent and can take a drink. The guys have been sizing me up for the whole six weeks of our assignment (Alex, in particular, seems to think he’s god’s gift) but they’re all clueless, bitter tossers living in houseshares and wondering why they’re not Pete Doherty; no use to me, either fiscal or sexual. Sean says, ‘You know the Daypower people are having a do tonight?’‘Where is it?’ Sean is about twenty-three, reads Orwell during lunch. ‘Up in Tribeca,’ he says, faltering a bit now I’ve put him on the spot. ‘Engagement party or something. I just thought, wouldn’t that be the funniest thing, crashing a Daypower work’s party.’ ‘I think it’s got potential.’ The boy struggles to hide his delight at my compliment. ‘I’ve never met a recruitment consultant off duty.’ ‘I never met an attractive one,’ Julie says, ‘which is weird, cause most career women are really sexy, like you, Becka Quayle.’ Appreciative laughter from the men. ‘You flatter an old bird,’ I tell her. ‘But let’s do it!’*In Tribeca it’s the others who feel out of place as it’s a smart casual bar. Indeed, Alex is turned away for wearing Converse. This is a good development; he’s an irritating, lecherous drunk, and I relish his stricken look as I sail past him. Sean hands me my glass of white and he can’t meet my eye. Is this night as prospectless as I had thought? Mind, shy kids like Sean can be a bit intense and you never know what they’re hiding. I want to do him a favour but I don’t want to get murdered for it.Jules grabs me. ‘There they are![...]

Fly Dream of a Casino Soul

Fri, 23 May 2008 12:11:00 +0000

yeah i was there cleethorpes winter gardens spring bank holiday nineteen seventy five there was me dave wake colla ossie dek all that lot while the squares were at tiffanys ballroom supping tetley bitter from chunky pint mugs formation dancing to tiger feet we were flying on chalkies backdropping frontdropping spinning and flipping to changing of the guard by queenie buckingham and the big ben chimes right on brother august same year when the squares were sitting in their bedrooms toking red leb appreciating tarkus through padded leather headphones we were at stoke torch for the allnighter sweat soaked beer towels intravenous sulph pulling stunts to your love comes on [like a bengal tiger] by elbert and the vines keep on keepin on i had the original on tall story bought it off longsight lennie for thirty quid he was a face back then that was seventy five imagine what it would be worth now i sold it so i could make the wigan weekender easter seventy six when the squares were sewing lufc patches onto their wrangler jackets and humming the theme to van der valk i was smashed on barbs tumbling off the balcony onto the dancefloor half way through scoob mcgoos second set you gotta come down if you wanna get high i perked up on powder shagged this bird from stafford round the bins out back the sweet sound of burke hare and the rabbit catchers ringing down the alley baby's slippin away kat was her name on the train ride home i got knifed by rastas good memories great times keep the faith .

Steve Ely

The Old Wardrobe

Fri, 23 May 2008 12:07:00 +0000

dragging the old wardrobe
up the field to burn
it disintegrates into dust
my heart heavy

I saw you change from my father
to blue veined porcelain
I heard your death rattle
and saw you spasm

I pile on some old chairs
tea chest and bureau
pile it all high
with tears in my eyes

then you relaxed
and after they’d gone
I kissed your forehead
and held your hand

the pyre looks like one of our dens
at nan's house
we’d make a hell of a mess
whilst they lay-in

I told you that I loved you
and thought of how you held me
in that photograph
41 years ago

I pour on the petrol
and toss a couple of matches
phooto of it explodes just enough
for my son to say wow

the fire takes quickly
licking around
baring the old frame
I stare into the flames

I thanked you for everything
not just for what you’d done
mostly what you hadn’t
just for being there

I kept checking, as you cooled
and when they came for you
mum asked for your wedding ring
and I got it for her

they say
“you only know what you’ve got once it’s gone”
I’d only just started realising what I had
I know now I haven’t

the fire dies
I just feel really rocked
like all my foundations
have crumbled to dust

I kick around in the ash
and I don’t care
if this is the last thing
I ever write.

Geraint Hughes

O Villain, Villain, Smiling, Damned Villain!

Fri, 23 May 2008 12:01:00 +0000

My friend Max got himself a bad name over that business with the pig and nearly got run out of town. It was a tragic set of circumstances, a very sad affair; at least that’s what somebody said.The trouble had started during the summer, when Max became convinced that he was being haunted by his father’s ghost. It had appeared to him on a moonlit parapet, screaming blue murder and rattling some chains, only to fade with the morning mist like a dream. I think that’s how the story goes; Max made a song and dance about it at the time. Afterwards his behaviour had grown increasingly strange. The most unpleasant sign of this was the pig’s head that he began carrying around with him. It was one of the most repulsive things that I’ve ever seen: it had marbles for eyes and skin painted gold, a red ribbon tied in a bow through the snout. Max took the wretched thing with him everywhere that he went. Apparently his father’s ghost had taken up residence within. He said that it talked to him, long into the night, ranting and raving, crazed, bent on revenge.Inevitably, things went from bad to worse; the pig, it seemed, did not feel the need for discretion in these exchanges. And Max, of course, could not help but reply.At first he only talked to the pig when he thought no one else was around, surreptitious asides and tight-lipped remarks, but after a while he gave up any reserve. In the street, on the bus, it was a horrible sight; passers-by couldn’t move far enough away.The whole disgraceful episode lasted for just over a month. By coincidence, I’d bumped into Max on the day that he first got the pig’s head. At the time he’d stuffed it into a little plastic bag which was too small for the pig’s head; you could see the snout all squashed up inside the plastic, the ears poking out from the top. It had been raining that day, too, and the rain had run down the pig’s ears into the head, rinsing out the dried blood from the skull. The blood had then leaked out the bottom of the bag, leaving a trail zigzagging back down the road.It was the first time I’d seen Max for some weeks. He didn’t mention the pig’s head. Frankly, he didn’t look well. “Going on a date, Max?’ I asked, and pointed at the bag.He didn’t answer. I don’t think he understood. He just stared at me, twitching, with pigs’ blood dripping on his shoes. It looked to me like he was trying to ignore something; I’m pretty sure that it was the pig. I could hear him muttering to himself as he walked away. After that, I’d see him around every so often, but mostly I tried to keep out of his way.The next time I spoke to him he’d grown a beard. “I’ve grown a beard,” he said.The pig’s head was tucked under his arm. It wasn’t looking too good; the paint had begun to peel. ‘I’ve grown a beard,” he said again.“Yes,” I replied. “It goes with the pig.”“Yes,” he said.There was a pause. He stared intently at my neck. I noticed that he was only wearing the one shoe.“How was the date?” I asked him.There was another pause.“Yes,” he said, clearly struggling not to scream.I left him to it.The next day I found him down by the canal, beating the pig’s head against a wall. He was soaking wet and covered in mud, screaming loudly, half-deranged.“Jesus, Max,” I said. “Give it a rest. People will think you’re insane.”“Garrgghhh!!!!” he cried, tugging at his hair. “You should hear the dirty things that he says.”He waved the battered lump of pig in my direction; it was a very sorry sight. One of the marble eyes popped out and rolled down a drain. The snout was now crooked and black.“That’s your dad, Max,[...]

Stolen Advice

Fri, 23 May 2008 11:55:00 +0000

I’m taking advice on what to wash my sin down with
from a man whose lost his best friend to a personal war,
running through fields to search for a certain freedom
that’s been lost inside of me,
I dread to think of every promise I broke
while laying in the middle of the road,
as I dial your number I silently prey to myself
that you’ll forgive me for resuming the fight,
plus one let down
and carry me home to your bedside.

Hand me a battered guitar,
strip me of my clothes,
a steel coat of armor
to reveal every secret carved right into my skin,
I’ll shake as my mystery is robbed
from the outside of me,but the eyes of daggers
they stab at my insides,
I’ll convey my awkwardness in a smile
that will easily,
sweep the shocked tears from your eyes.

Chloe Dyer

Reasons to Swim Inside the Sky

Fri, 23 May 2008 11:50:00 +0000

The canals of upper Clapton are mustard smelling trenches of blink-and-you-miss-it spasm splatters of colour amidst tar dark pathways. Bushes bristle with broken bottle leaves, mottle cast in a sullen, diesel pallor. Warrens snake under daisy field enclosures, as rabbits jump up into patchworks of butterfly pastures in green shield stamp grasslands. Silence only broken by the magnetic hum of telegraph wires slung from giant cranes, barbing and scratching the clouds in criss-cross lines: steely map gradients for a slate grey sky. A mugger's paradise – yellow raven's eyes peep through black balaclava pillbox heads, bronchial and hoarse against the damp thin wool – lone men lurking in barbwire crevices, torsos immersed in the marshy reed vines, aqualungs of bile and blood coursing from their veins. Punctuating a walk along the bank are police notices with fish and chip paper headlines – uptight black letters stuck like calcified felt on crude yellow metal boards – milestone millstones chronicling acts of predatory violence. Barges rest up along the River Lea decorated in Nepalese colours – mud reds, indigo and ochre. A local pub by a redbrick council estate spills people out into the early summer evening. Misplaced pudding-faced walkers, urban and ashen skinned, clutch their pints and look out to wide savannahs of wire sharp grass that grow beyond the swamp reeds of a still distant marshland. Chewing the crisp packet fat over memories of long distanced walks: exaggerated escapes from concrete chokey and unlikely fishing exploits and tips swapped and passed on: 'put Perrier in this canal and you could oxygenate the dead.' Fish rise like aquiline Christs from sunken tramways set beneath the fine silt bed. As if on cue, a salmon with a display of temper cruises by, belly up, rung free from its cellophane tomb wrap (courtesy of the local Tesco Superstore) – a smile of slash gut, a grinning fish coyote, its scaly skin shimmering silver and purples amongst the petrol whirl-wash of slow moving water. You're as likely to see a discarded shopping trolley or a deserted desert boot as any living being float upon this surface; but there are lovers here. Lone couples circle in the fringes, promenading the mud banks. Held close on one side by the claustrophobic, crumbling outskirts of the city and on the other by fields of secret kisses calling, blush tinged in the spreading sunset – the promised melt of soft lips joined. They walk in twos like swooning Bobbies on the beat; their fingers interweaved behind their backs. Dusk is their time to take the air, now momentarily sweet, before the sun floats down to disappear and the evening draws in and closes out the light. Swans form couples too, but one swims alone. Tony, named after a long necked former defender of these parts, Tony Adams. He moves with a ferocious, glandular reputation to live up to. Encased in a brick-hard armour of snow pelt, he hisses like a tomcat if you get too close. Down river on the bank, the famous Dalston Heron poses on his stilt-like old man's legs. He is as still as night and cranes his telescopic neck, his calm shape shifting in the shadows, his presence benign and balanced, somehow comforting. A group of red-faces nestled together on picnic tables jab their frosty tongues and shout out the odds. And from there comes a small boy, escaping his drunken mother's shackles, emerging between heavy adult legs and rubbing at his eyes. He moves towards the heron, which stands quietly by a wall, its feathers blurring in the breeze. The boy reaches out with his hands and the heron lays his long, red bil[...]

In Loving Kindness: 20 Years and a Day

Fri, 23 May 2008 11:31:00 +0000

(image) sundays were vicious
liquor stores were closed
mornings melted into
noon sweat with no wake-up
the air hurt on Sundays it
whipped me inside my shirt collar
carved a skinny size S
in the back of my neck

today is sunday
20 years and a day later
the air’s cut from velvet
speaks as soft as a friend

in loving kindness
a clean day unfolds

wooden spoon stirs cinnamon
into raisin apple oatmeal
poured into china
royal blue fish yellow flowers
sit by the window near
bamboo plants and rose
quartz healing hearts

coriander cools a hot bath
new striped towels for me
i am the guest in my house
Coltrane thanks the universe
would the sun rise the same way
without his supreme love

it’s sunday
a walking meditation
coffee is hot and
nothing hurts
i’m a 3 o’clock kid
without training wheels
i fly through dark streets
looking for spaldeens
on rooftops
if i keep looking up
everything stays clean

Puma Perl

Oh! This Screaming Hoard

Fri, 23 May 2008 11:24:00 +0000

It goes like this. The black room fills to the brim with warm air. And there is mom, squeezed to the edge of the mattress with her slim mouth slightly open and always anticipating, some infant tantrum. Mom never got over the postmortem stall that having a child engenders in a woman’s sleep patterns. She was and is, perpetually awake. Not a scream tonight though. Tonight you wake up and the balmy room is bursting with crimson light that melts to the sheets already warm and musky from Dad’s sweat.She leaps from her back to her ass, and you are already there in her thin arms. Her mouth is moving and the red light is all over her face. It is all you can see. Then Dad on his feet from the bed to the window. Then we’re out to the kitchen, the hall, the driveway.2.The source of the blaze as I came to find, had to do with the man next door. A gnarly old asshole-I’ve rarely heard him referred to as anything else-named Ron. He was too slovenly to be brutish and too boring to be any sort of personality. He did, however, poses his own talents as even I at my age had become aware.There are those with a true sympathy for aged things and their past. And for them, the tears and slog that are carried in the smell of old things-especially of the deviant sort - give an unmistakable air of beauty.Then there are the walking sleaze who eat and sleep and play in pools of the world’s most stinking waste. Never mind sentimentality. A true cache for them and a fire hazard for the rest.That Ron belonged to the latter is something I say without the slightest apprehension. He was a tireless collector of anything and everything worthless and depraved in humanity. He stuffed it in all corners from the top of his three story bungalow, through to the kitchen and into that moist green basement…back up the stairs, and through to the long back lot.And oh what treasures! From the top there was war memorabilia of all sorts, old grenades and helmets and swords next to boxes of filthy comics, junk mail, and bottles of booze. Damp old records, weapons both functional and not, video tapes, radar detectors, radios, and surveillance devices that could only have been found in the back of some radio shack brochure.Splashed throughout the stink was an array of pornography which his son and daughter and I took in like the dirty little sponges that we were, to say nothing of the daytime sexual acts that he forced upon his little wife despite any passerby with ears.The house held the stench of a mouthful of rotting teeth. A giant cavity in the belly of the West Side.But the real wonderland was in the back lot. See it strewn with dozens of battered cars, tire irons, engines, lawnmowers, all wading through the Cleveland air for no thing in the world save for children dancing over the lawnmower engines, or making combat with broken bits of steal, and whipping each other with old timing belts and rubber hoses. Just rust and iron and rust and steel and big pools of oil oil oil. We road our training wheels through rainbow pools of it and raced to the tops of El Caminos and old semi cabs. The whole lot withered and flaked and would certainly have outlasted us all were it not for the Ron’s plan to torch the bastard.For him, there must have glimmered the hope that burning up this trash heap could afford him enough in an insurance settlement to fund years more of this bloated masturbation, securing a dismal enough caricature for his children to either detest or mimic and no betweens.So he torched my wonderland. And sent, my mother, my father, and myself in[...]


Fri, 23 May 2008 11:17:00 +0000

Christine was aBeautiful little punk girl.She had an apartmentDown by Lake Osborne.A sugar daddyThat took care of her bills.He would pay herLate night visitations.I guess it got her by.Christine was stunningly beautiful,And photogenic.No one ever told her that.I was the first.They only wanted to keep her down.Didn't want her to reach her potential.Christine she loved being photographed,Feeling like a model.She would call me,ell me she made us a picnic lunch.We would walk down to Lake Osborne.I would take her picture,Put her on the cover of my zines.She was so happy.It was the only time I saw her happy.We would sit down by the lakeEating peanut butter and jelly.I grew to love Christine.We hung out all of the time.But I knew deep inside,She wasn't the kind of girl I wanted to love.I wrote my first real serious PoemAt the clubSadly watching her move on the dance floorWith blank vacant eyes.Finally I had to do it.I told her how I felt.I gave her the only copy of the Poem that existed.I told her she deserved much betterThan this life that she lived.She read the Poem and cried,Told me she loved me too.But love complicates her life.She had to move to New Orleans,She was leaving tomorrow.She had to do it alone.She said she would cherish the Poem,And promised to write.Two years I never heard from her.It was a shock to see her one night down on Clematis.But Christine was different,Something had changed.She had a baby with her.A baby just under two years old.She told me she regretted leaving me.I told her she never gave a fuck.She proceeded to pull the PoemAnd my old zines out of her bag.I was starting to seeThe world did not revolve around me and my ego.She said she was going home tomorrow,She needed a place to crash tonight.So we drove to Denny's so she could eat.She explained she got knocked up by some skinhead.She was so ashamed she just had to leave.Her father gave her the moneyTo relocate to New OrleansAnd start fresh again.She said she always loved me.Always thought about what could have been.Christine and I shared one night.Nothing even happened.We just laid there and held each other.Her baby was climbing all over us.I didn't care about anything I just held her.That was as close to Christine as I would ever get.The next morningI took her and her babyBack to Denny's for breakfast.Then to the bus stationWhere I held her for the last time.Michael Grover [...]

Not a Particularly Proud Moment

Fri, 23 May 2008 11:10:00 +0000

I have done a lot of things I have been very ashamed of in my life like shit myself while passed out drunk, turned away from whorehouses; have my wallet stolen by salacious girls but this may very well top them all.I am not a particularly friendly person I like to drink any free moment regardless of consequences and I generally prefer drinking alone. The last of my old friends once told me, “your like an old man you sit alone in the corner and drink gin and never say a word to anyone.” This is what happened on one of those evenings.I am drinking destructively trying to empty out the Bombay Sapphire bottle that sits behind a bar on a little glass shelf taunting me all lit up and whore light. I’ll get you, you little minx. I believe I drank most of it but things got hazy. I do remember a women coming over and talking to me and she asked me who I was here with.“I was supposed to meet my Dad but I guess he never showed up.”I looked down and dashed the straw around through my drink. “Well should you call him make sure everything is alright?”“No, its sort of weird I have not seen my father since I was eight years old. The other day I was walking in the city and there he was and he begged me to talk for him for just a moment and I relented. He told me how bad he has felt abandoning me for all these years and that he did not know how to get in contact with me and he wanted to hire a detective to find out where I was but that he was not sure that I would speak to him and maybe now after all these years he thought maybe it would be best if he left me alone for my own sake but he always wondered.”The woman was taking back. She really looked misty eyed and she put her hand on my shoulder and said she was so sorry. She bought a round and asked if I wanted company and I said in my best pathetic voice, “yeah that would be nice.” I must admit that was a great story and I actually thought that up before to use at an airport bar, which I did, but I will have to give you a rain check for that story. She sits down and we start talking and her voice is a little weird like strained as if she smoked but I have heard that before in my own family so I let it go. We are draining drinks and she refused to let me pay for anything this is the first time this has ever happened to me so I was excited. When the tab came she paid it and excused herself and went to the ladies room. Jesus I am going out every night with this story I thought. The women said I was obviously to drunk to drive and that I could come crash at her house besides she said she had more alcohol. We walked to her house in the gay district of Philadelphia and she poured us a couple of slow gin fizzes. We hung out and talked about shit no one ever remembers and then there was that awkward pause and we kissed. A girl who is willing to pay my bar tab and know make out with me I was contemplating marriage. Things got hot and heavy and the next thing I knew she was unzippering my zipper and going down on me. I had a lot to drink so I could barely get aroused she was down their for quite awhile. Finally after some movement we decided to move into the bedroom. We’re fooling around and I lower my hand it feels weird down there but it was dark and I figured maybe she hadn’t shaved honestly I was not highly experienced in these situations. I grew up with Irish catholic girls who had stay at home mothers. The unspoken word was a girlfriend would sleep with you after you put in like a year. I could not hang [...]


Fri, 23 May 2008 11:02:00 +0000

This is how it goes. It’s a party and I love that song I sneeze and you say “Bless you.” (“And did you know that a sneeze Is the closest thing to an orgasm?”) So we pull faces for half an hourAnd tell the usual proud flash lies Everybody notices(“Oh look at them, getting along…”) We drench ourselves in wine At first my hands and I We read you thoroughly before We brush ideas across your mind Across your trousers I try to look coy like spring and Summarize significance In those sumptuous books and notes I know you’ve tasted too (“Well, haven’t we got a lot in common?”) Soon come rainbow discoveries You’ve got a pretty pebble of a girlfriend And I’ve got a pretty grim lack of respect As we fuck on a photocopier It captures our elated position Every five furious seconds In blurry black and white And we decorate the walls of the hall With these sheets of intimacy A great erotic mosaic We made art (“I like you” You whisper “I like you”) Afterwards we attempt to attain Some fleeting comfortable position Squashed Onto a reeking single mattress A bed of our own making In the dreams of the night Everything makes sense Reason marries us together That tick in your brain Matches mine Clockwork But when we wake up It all reverts back to confused bloated Simmering ugly stench reality (“Are you ok?” “No, I think need to go home now.”) Me too, me too stranger Oh well Next time I’ll hold in my sneezeHannah Murphy[...]

Angel Heart

Fri, 23 May 2008 10:57:00 +0000

I spent three of the best
years of my life
fucked up
with insanity...
doing time in seclusion rooms,
hospital hallways
and smokers courtyards
spitting, and
pissing on putrid food
which nursing staff brought me
through hospital room trapdoors
while at night I
hallucinated the nightmares
of the dripping blood
I witnessed rushing over me
while I showered...

Alex Fatouros

Sixty-Three Years Ago Today

Thu, 22 May 2008 16:31:00 +0000


my father
was born
on a dirt floor
in hitt missouri,

son of
hired help
on a chicken farm.

joseph william hyde,
'buck' as he's known
to everyone
in the pool-hall.

joseph william hyde,
drinking crown royal
in a crumbling
home in iowa he
never wanted
with a burned out
pill freak
for a wife,

on the couch
black and white reruns
of cops
to mark the occasion.

i say probably
because i don't know,
part of me cares to
if you can follow that.

joseph william hyde,
fifty years
behind the world

five hundred miles away
from that dirt floor
in his hometown
which no longer

we've never
talked about it
never will,
but someday
i'll be out there,
waist deep in
prairie grass,

his ashes
in my fist.

Justin Hyde