Thursday, 26 May 2016


White drugs flow through the aisles of the isle, the veins of my frame like greasy gin drowns Air Strip One.
not sad.
emotionally and functionally malleable

For every problem there is a chemical compound and a brand name.
Procured via prescription or easily accessible pharmaceutical websites or over the counter with scant, legally required warning. Or via a phone number given from a friend of a friend of a friend, exchanged for clumps of pitched-in notes and used to chase the dying embers of a laugh you made some hours ago that reminded you what it was like to be a child. A scant refusal to bury ourselves or be limited to our circumstantial or biological lot.
A lie we tell ourselves.

We are in control.

We are really in control.

Thursday, 19 May 2016

We Couldn’t Run Further than the Shadows that Fell

The left of my reflection is my right.
The right of my reflection is my left.
Everything is backwards.

Words are screamed down generations. Arguments outlive corporeal presences, like miserable traditions. The wraiths of  unfocused anger, never resolved, left to take momentary host and battle with similarly bodiless broyges’. Left like old shoes when we die. Just as wanted, but not as easily disposed of.

The words aren’t mine.
I’ve heard them before. From my mother to my father. From my father to my mother.
They seem as inevitable and inherited as the colour of my eyes.
I hear them split across relationships and genders and hundreds of years.
Where did they start?
I feel them spit out of my mouth.
My mother’s words. Her father’s words. All of our grandparent’s words.
They are heavy and jagged and ill-chosen and couldn’t be chosen better. Nothing this shape should fly so well. But they do. And every one of them lands where it was supposed to.
I know because I can see. I can feel.
Left side is my right.
I can see where they land. I can see it on me. I know because they land on me. They are meant for me. They are reflected from me. All these years later.
They taste sweet. Across my lips. The burn of the tepid thick liquid in my throat. In my gut. The prickle in my ears.  I feel like I am right again and the words, they feel good coming out. Hitting wincing skin. She plays the role. I play mine. We are children. We are our parents. We continue. This will continue.
Long after we are dead.

Words shorn of meaning, retaining only their interpretation.  

I’m sorry.

I’m sorry.

You don’t even know the words, do you?

I’m sorry.

I’m sorry.

You just know how good it feels.

I’m sorry.

How good it feels to know you are right.

Tuesday, 15 March 2016


Walking through the last remnants of the Aylesbury, listening to Health and Efficiency. The tape loops sound like the concrete is singing. I collect my prescription.
I wait outside Boots as the clock crawls towards nine. The men waiting for their methadone are genial and unsober. The loudest lets me go first. I am a visitor to his morning regular. A tourist. 

I slip back into the world of commuters. Civilians avoiding eye contact, reading listicles like ‘top five Londoners you wish you didn’t have to speak to’. This list includes ‘the bus nut’, complete with illustration. A cartoon of the men I was waiting with, or the people seen shuffling around Camberwell, out from the Maudsley. Some wandering, broken-eyed, some shouting, some sheltering in Rock Steady Eddie’s. All of them human beings. 

I realise the brutal self interest of the 1980s had children, and they embedded themselves at the heart of our culture. Sometimes there is no compassion, only regurgitated punchlines. 

We used to make jokes about ‘skits’ when I was in in school. Wild-eyed men shouting on buses. Nervous hilarity. But I grew up. 

This city produces mental illness like it produces lying estate agents. 

I have pneumonia again.

Something died in me last time. 

Sometimes I wish more had.