the modern



i. The Paper Baby

ii. Outside a Cigarette Walking

iii. SHARK

iv. Train Toilet

The Paper Baby:

	A Paper Baby was born in a town not far from here. In 1643, Abiezer Coppe 
was ranting. Having served time in prison and had his pamphlets burned, A.
Coppe looked for communion. Finding naught but a near-standing tree, he
did loose himself into it, finding a suitable pocket that resembled a
"nether eye". Unbeknownst to Coppe, who walked away satiated, a fine
sliver of wood had become lodged in his manhood. Only microns thick, Coppe
never knew to seek it out. He was, after all, a ranter, not a seeker.
Coppe went on to cop with a fair maiden, with whom he settled, burying his
new wife's gentleness with outpourings of apocalyptic prophecy. Needing no
tree no more, Coppe fathered a number of children, one of whom (his son,
Lodowick) carried the sliver into the next generation. Generations passed in this fashion, each carrier unaware of the migration
that occurred from penis to testicles. Eventually, this sliver (let's call
it "Pog") fused to the sperm-generating portion of one of Coppe's long
distant relations. This man, Mercedes Not-So-Young, went about his life
like many others, soliciting easy sex when it passed his nose. One such
encounter produced a baby. This baby, as you may have guessed by this
point, was not an ordinary baby. This baby was a Paper Baby. Like the
semi-mythic Sun-Dog's that chased the western skies in the Middle Ages,
confusing star-gazers and laymen alike, a Paper Baby carries with it the
illusion of an other: a living ghost, born to live but one or two days. The baby was born on the 3rd of June. Transparent, a tiny heart showed
through on its sleeve. Mercedes and Newgate named him (for it was a
boy-child) 'Hammer' in the hopes of solidifying him and keeping him whole
and new and warm. Paper Babies do not last, however. By June 7th, Hammer
was gone; an origami homage to the human form. Before he left, he told his
Mother and Father the tale of his birth, the narrative having grown like
rings in his wooden consciousness with each passing generation. He spoke
with Coppe's voice, play-acting the carnal act, down to details of the
smell of resin that would not leave his crotch for days after. As dawn
broke on the 7th, his reed-like voice rasping from telling this most
ingrained family history, his toes started to fold. Looking deep into
Mercedes' eyes, Hammer started to chuckle, the folding being akin to
tickling a Flesh Baby. Within minutes, a small boat sat on the table,
rocking gently in the breeze slipping in from the back door Newgate had
left open in the midsummer heat.

Outside a Cigarette Walking [excerpt / ongoing]:


If everything is an object, manipulation represents the height of power
and becomes a matter or course; the more callous, brutal and aggressive
such manipulation is, the closer it comes to fulfilling its mission.
(Vitezslav Gardavsky)
Love is a hiding place for falsehood. I (have to) love you. I (should)
love you (by now). I (and many others) love(d) you. I (used to) love you.
I love you. I love me. I love them. I love you.
I love light, and the walking of. I love the narrator about to introduce
himself, and the crossed focus of his glassine eyes. I love the cancer
that gambols like a spring lamb through his blood. I love him for his
unwise warmth and tired allusions. I love him for his dexterity. I love
him for the food stuck in his teeth and under his fingernails. He writes
in red ink:
all the lights popped and jumped into the fragments of a frozen leather
i am in need of flossing my piano. it will suffer less should it be clean
and in love. i love to smoke. i love HIM but do not get all jiggly when
one of them walks past. any more. any more?
he has been selling fake cigarettes in indone-easy-a and to-go. he has
been taking on their governments for fun and giggles and a spoon or two of
filthy bleak coins. he likes to fuck them with a lawyer's cock and wait
around to see what else leaks out.
G. D. P.
i couldn't keep up with the surgeon general when he started replacing milk
with cigarettes. i am a two-pack a day man, not five. five alive. smoke.
smike. smuke. smake. smeke.
this is always a piece of control. it comes down to bodies in a pit
somewhere or somewhen. train tracks leading through big big pretty iron
railings. smoking makes me free. i looked it up. online.
three mouths on one face started saying the same thing sometimes and
everyone got confused. i love the faces that say what they think. i love
the faces that lie unconditionally. i cry when i listen to them coz my
little old dad was a martyr for the cause. i forget which one. he died
with a finger up his nose. like a good citizen should. i love you.
there were just too too many of us all. walking and talking and setting
fires and dragging each other along behind cars and spitting into each
others winds. the ground kept getting hotter and we all took our shoes off
for a while, until it got too hot to bear and we had to start putting
shoes back on, but only gingerly.
a foundation sinks off the coast of east angular and some 3000 memories
start purpling and pinking in and out of the French (Spanish?) doors.
I first met i in London. Some of this story takes place in his house. Some
of it happens in the street. Some of it happens in his head. Some of it is
in love with another part of it.
Aye, I am i. Aye, i am I.
i watched the point of a lit cigarette wander through the night
unchaperoned. more than once. i can't stand the rain against the window of
my face. i have sensitive ayes. from all the smoke and expectorants.
Coff coff coff.
there is no green screen, only the feet and hands and mouths of other
people moving in and out of what sounds like alien poetry and looks like
nightdark physical melodies.


So we're leaving.
No more rowing to Boffin drunk.
No more 60-strong Mass of a Sunday.
Leaving en masse having gone round in wet circles
all of a Saturday night trying to find a disappearing shark
in the bitch Atlantic.
Old John had lost his two sons on the same day two years
before. We all knew John and John-Joe and Pa-Jo and a few
saw them leave that time they went to feed the sea their bones.
The surf rose up to meet them. Only Pa-Jo's body was ever found.
So we're leaving.
I've packed Shark dirt onto the edges of my head,
square that it is. This dirt and I will fuse and my tears at
leaving will travel a few miles around my circumference
before the sea takes them too.
Come leaving with me, land.
Come leaving with me, sea.
Let's leave and leave and leave and leave.
So we're leaving.
And John Sr. is still at his door - the one of us all to stay behind
needing, as he does, to shepherd the restless spirits of his two
dead boys.
I feel the dirt fuse with my skin - my border - and step into the boat.
I turn back to see John Sr. fall back, dead, into the shore. *** download this piece as a

Train Toilet:

The trains were deserted, so the technical mishap had a much smaller
audience than it otherwise would have had.
Paul had rushed a reduced sandwich from the only shop still open in the
concourse of Euston station. Smoked salmon and creme fraiche on
flaccid-looking wholewheat gluten-free bread. Not his first choice
normally, but "normal" had become an even more crushingly relative term in
the space of the last two weeks.
He had made his way onto the train, all the time feeling a rumble in his
lower gut. It was a feeling as old as the disc of time. He began his
voyage by sanitising his seat and table with what he had been able to
muster from the price-gouged corner shop near what had been, until very
recently, his flat. Rented, obviously.
Seat dusted and hands pseudo-sanitised by a concoction he had found a
recipe for online, Paul darted from carriage to carriage looking for a
throne on which to relieve the gut pressure building inside him in
parallel to the pandemic panic that had taken up a comfy residence in his
face as a perpetual eyebrow headache.
All options looked unsavoury: one toilet was so blasted that to walk near
it seemed like a hazard; another was out of order and a third was
non-existent, its space having been filled with a bike rack. The ghost
town on wheels crept out of the station, trying not to arouse the
suspicion of the other trains, who lay in stacks in the yards to the left
and right. Our train averted its headlamps, fiddling with its pollen
filters in a futile attempt to keep out the toxins that had made the globe
look over its star-laden shoulder.
With time running out, Paul tore down the 'CAUTION' tape across the door
of toilet 2. Rushing to deal with belt and undergarments, he felt the
all-too-familiar sphincter twinge. His buttocks kissed the seat just in
time to catch the first jet escaping him.
Paul relaxed.
Half of one moment later, a mechanical whirring announced the start of a
process by which the door of the toilet recedes into a pocket in the
semi-circular wall.
Paul panicked, yet his hole kept on singing a dropping song.
He watched in horror as the slow reveal happened in front of him.
Suddenly, he was transported to the set of a mid-80s TV game show: he was
the washer-dryer combo revolving into the view of an expectant and varied
audience. This prize, however, would be met with nothing more than
revulsion and pity by whichever poor soul happened to win.
Relief washed over Paul like a bidet plumbed with gin and tonic, as he
remembered that there were only another couple of souls travelling on his
ghost-train. He was thankful for the pandemic. Imagine if there had been a
row of sweaty, hate-filled commuters crammed into the aisle in front of
his throne? He would have never been able to live down the shameful,
reproachful stares of these strangers. No matter that none of it was his
fault. Except, maybe, his choice of sandwich.
Love for the pandemic surged through Paul.
He could feel the hot rain starting to dry up down south, and his heart
swelled once more. He looked around the pod for toilet paper. It had all
been stolen. The thought of washing his bum in the sink of a train toilet
with the door open to the world posed no threat to him now. He was
concerned about the sterility of the situation, but needs must. He
crab-walked to the sink, remaining in a squat position in order to save
his trousers the embarrassment of befoulment.
He concentrated wholly on the task at hand, loving the pandemic for its
Karmic hall-pass.
His clean revelry was dirtily interrupted by the shouts of an errand
child, who had thrust a smartphone up to eye-level as soon as stumbling
upon the open toilet door.
'Irrefutable video evidence'.
'Intentional indecent exposure'.
'Innocent child traumatised'.
The headlines spurted through Paul's moist head one by one by one, the
sound of the wheels over the tracks punctuating the hot type like
clattering spacebars.
The child screamed a knowing scream.
"COME LOOK UPON THIS HORROR!" the scream called.
"I HAVE FOUND THE MOUTH OF HELL!" the scream lamented.
Black velvet curtains closed across Paul's vision. He was shaken back to
his senses by an irate father.
'Two meters', whimpered Paul.