• Vol. 05
  • Chapter 03
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He's aware that it will not be as easy as this: to transform like a superhero with a twist and a puff of smoke, but he wishes to try. Medicine will do its work: hormones marching towards homecoming; talking therapies and SSRIs too, support groups for kids his age, support groups for his parents; each making their mark over a four year terrain (or however long it takes). His body is in learned hands, slowly coming up to speed with the truth in his mind. He has lived through pain to reach this stage of third party recognition - agonies staggered in scale - with only more to come. There is love within his family and strength to sustain him, but now his pathway has been defined, accepted and recorded on medical files, surely there's a time for magic: a sweet release from all that sits on his shoulders. The pleasure and fantasy of a swirl and a flash. He cannot explain to others the desire to be momentarily unafraid. If he spoke they would misunderstand his actions for impatience; he wants his face to roughen behind the smoke, his voice to lose its hated tremulousness. A shaved head would not be unwelcome, but he defines his acceleration in less physical terms: for him, being complete is to walk through the cloud and find that all is as it should be: he his himself. A long walk, but he believes.



And this is how we will recognise each other, acknowledging our bodies by the blued topology of desire.

Blue is the colour of the taste and touch of your skin; that soft haze of the once-unknown falling away from the body, released from every pore, melting into the air. All that we dream turning to flesh, the form materialising from the plane of imagination—Botticelli’s teal waves.

How to visualise the unseen: create a somatic image of words coloured with emotion and different shades of thought—sentences that become limbs, torsos of cerulean, iris, and viridian; finally, the deep Klein blue of lust.

Venus, fire: regenerative ultramarine, arms and legs fully formed. A head able to see for the first time the tint that makes it whole. Licking gas-blue flames; tongues writing on skin.

My eyes take in people on the street knowing that when it is time I will not know you by your features but those gestures of blue instead; a cloud of instinct that blows towards, then envelopes me. Its shifting hues a reflection of the palette of words, a visual recording of how the shapes we claim transform within a space of wanting.

Anthropometries: all blues lead to this moment—the emerging form becomes a measure, an imprint of each other’s desire, bodies like Klein’s living paintbrushes colouring each other into existence. After, a new kind of silence; the stillness of blue hours.



Two minutes before his promotional meeting at the International Equity Derivative Structuring office, Avalok held in a fart. There was no time for the Men’s Room and the pressure to keep it in was causing him anxiety. It often appeared when he least desired it: in bed with a lover, stuck in a lift, at a crowed city bar waiting for a beer. Inside his fear of farting was his upper caste tight-skinned, light-skinned mother’s voice. Don’t you do that. That’s very bad! It’s disgusting. Now, as Avalok waited for his report to print, he felt his nails digging into his thighs. Stop it now. It’s purile! We’re a good family. Don’t you make a fool of of us.

Before she died, Ma had been the queen of the Dawalbhagta household. She was the lightest skinned in the family and could pass for white with her hair and clothes styled. In that town in the south of England where they had moved when he was six, Ma was always putting on airs. Praised for her ‘exotic eyes’ and newly cut English accent, Avalok's Ma learnt to walk straight-backed and glorious into spaces he could not. A free leg of lamb at the butcher’s, an invitation to the church fete, a wink from the market stall man. His father, admiring of and disconcerted by his wife’s easy assimilation, called her 'My Royal Blue Peacock.'

Avalok had a Harvard MBA, a first-rate Royal Bank of Scotland job, and Tina the good-looking accountant on speed dial, but he often felt the shame of not being like Ma. Now as he made his way into the all-white board meeting, he couldn’t stop her voice. Don’t you embarrass me. He was seven with a bad stomach, pulling at his mother’s cardigan as she discussed plant varieties with Mrs. Kendall. He had made such a bad noise that Ma twisted his arm and dragged him to the nearest toilets to slap him. Sorry Mrs. Kendall. So sorry for that. Sorry Mrs. Kendall. Then, How dare you do that in front of Mrs. Kendall? Don’t ever do that to me again. Chi! You dirty nasty boy. Read more >



I'm many things to different people;
armed with my canister of blue smoke
and high pressure valve, I fill the air.

You can't see me – I surround you.
You can't touch me or work out
where I am – threat and promise.

I enjoy the unsettled beat of your heart,
your startled presence:
A perfect audience to my magic.



On long grey January days I like to cast my mind back to the winter afternoons of my childhood, more than sixty years ago in Edinburgh. One of my fondest memories is of sitting by the kitchen range next to Mum waiting for ‘Listen with Mother’ presenter Daphne Oxenford to say: ‘Are you sitting comfortably? Then I’ll begin.’ This was my favourite time of day because I had Mum to myself for fifteen precious minutes. When I see her now, in my mind’s eye, she is dressed as she was then; a grey skirt, white blouse, navy cardigan and at her neck a silver brooch with a stone at its centre which, I later learned, was a topaz. As we listened to the wireless together, the stone was caught by firelight and seemed to fill with swirling blue smoke. Its effect on me was mesmerising.

After witnessing this for the first time I asked my grandmother, who lived with us, how the smoke got into the stone. She smiled and looked mysterious, ‘The fairy folk trapped it there by magic and it can only be seen by those with a loving heart.’

‘Why is the smoke blue Grandma?’

‘Because blue is the colour of Scotland’s flag and it’s a lucky hue.’

Time passed; I grew to adulthood and on winter afternoons, often visited my mother. While we drank tea in the kitchen I would watch as the stone in her brooch was touched by firelight and became again a cloud of blue smoke. I knew that Grandma’s folk tales were mostly of her own invention but the transformation of the stone still intrigued me.

On the day of my mother’s funeral I took the brooch from the drawer by her bed and looked at it for the last time. The firelight caught the facets of the stone but the magic of the blue smoke had departed for ever.


The Tunnel

Curved concrete compressed air pockets,
leaves blew in from a neglected park
and I ran for my life. And for theirs.
I clutched one on my left hip, one on my right.
Love never stronger than this moment,
blanking arthritis, gout and atheism.
I had to move and I did. My grandchildren,
chased by toxic mists that burst behind us.
My daughter's last wish as earth melted down,
'Mother, take them to the old world,
set them free.' And I found a way back
to forests and uncontaminated streams
as my heart broke boundaries into faith
that they would be redeemed, live on.


Smoke and Magic

I remember the children's party.
There was a magician.
I had never seen a magician before.
I'd heard they could pull a rabbit from a hat.
Or saw a woman in half
and put her back
together again
This magician had a hat.
But it stayed empty.
He did tricks with cards
like my uncle Percy,
but not as good.
Then he waved a stick called a wand
and a puff of blue smoke came out,
like magic.
And hidden in the smoke were flowers,
real flowers
showing through a gap in the smoke.
Since then
I have discovered
that there is usually a gap in the smoke
where the light shines through,
like magic.


Marshmallow blue

Smoke and mirrors
A snow job on my face
Fake news and frilly tidbits
I lap it up like Blue Moon
Smurf-like marshmallow blue
Front loops the same fruit-blend flavor
If wishes were horses, life would be a much better place
If frogs had wheels, they wouldn't bump their butts


The Clouds and the Clearing

Sometimes, it is a pink cloud of gentle empathy.
At other times, a billowing plume
of red smoke leaves a trail on the street
where our longing, our irritation, our passion,
or our heated discussions once took up space.
With every step, we leave behind
clouds of presence,
energy fields of color,
and emotions that hang in the air.
If potent enough, the potion clings to buildings,
leaving an invisible film of discarded thoughts.

What if we cough up cobalt blue,
when walking the same road
where blame was tossed, like a badminton game?
What if we inhale so much green envy smoke
that the air itself becomes too polluted to breathe?
What if we absorb what other people exhale?

The soft pink and the strident blue—
the bold red and the preoccupied green
all exist on the spectrum of aired emotions.
We cannot always see what the spirit feels,
but the body knows if it has walked through mire or a breeze.
It is a wonder that we are not covered
from head to toe in this paint that does not breathe.
If not for the trees, lakes, leaves, and grass
acting as living filters,
we would be walking through thick molasses space.
Read more >


Wrong Turning

The sky landed, settled in a tunnel
an active burgeoning cloud like blue-stained
steam announcing its alien presence.
A train of thought is late in arriving
yet confusion isn’t negative, yet.
But is it growing in deadly earnest
or brightening anticipation of life
from elsewhere offering scientific
advances? Is it old enough to be
safe in this violent world, to discuss
a future, make decisions, determine
trustworthy negotiators from die-
hard bigots, compulsory billionaires
with digital capital? Poor baby.


First Draft

And when s/he/it began the undoing of their work
s/he/it did not unpick it stick by stick
s/he/it did not send earth on a never ending trajectory
into the belly of an open mouthed black hole

the method was more like this: a small fist
punching through cloud that had taken six days to whip
from oceans, a cumulus that had spread to quench
the thirst of trees and soil and grass, that had fed

amoeba, fish, and their descendants – not a drop
escaping beyond the reality of earth’s remit –
just one almighty fist punching through heaven
knows what, exploding every thing he'd made.


The Divorce Of Heaven And Hell

The excess of roads leads to the wisdom of palaces.
The wrath of tigers are wiser than the instruction of horses.

Multi-gendered I hang wet washing
on the horse nebula. Iron 3D to 2D.

I have domestics with myself.
Air turns blue and galaxy neighbours
hear my gusty rant and rain rave

Bang on thin wall between
dimensions. Our star children

weep beneath my screams. Remind
myself never to drink and argue again.

Tell my other half it needs to pull
its weight. I can't be aware of all

that happens or needs doing.
Neighbours are different sides to me.

Our star children turn from
wild blue things to yellow average kids
to red in the face before their fire dies.

I must stop falling out with myself,
as it is always me who deals with the fallout.

I multi-task a weather of constellations. I cope.
I'm multi-versed. Too many different sides.


The Scent of Waves

She inhales tendrils of smoke
and shrugs off her cloak of grief,
leaving it on the forest floor to shiver
under the weight of damp leaves.
The vapor dissolves into her taste buds,
filling her head with the scent of waves,
whisking her into a mouth of fog.
She reaches into the mist, grasping at
the fingers of her dead brother’s hand.
He was forty-eight when he died, but now
they are children again, searching for
treasure under a canopy of gold.
They race across piping sand,
falling into gales of laughter that echo
in the booming arms of the sea.
His whisper washes over her eyelashes,
pleading with her to hurry up.
She follows him into the water,
her pulse swallowed up by the ocean.


Blue Sky Thinking

Sky is an abstract noun.
Let’s take everything down:

the rain, the planes, the turbulence too.
Gather the grey, the white, the blue,

Bring them to the underpass,
where the graffiti perspires piss

and the estate kids hang out,
tired of swings and roundabouts,

looking for a harder kick.
Listen to their realpolitik

where childhood is a smoke bomb,
a veneer of ocean calm

held up before the rage of living.
Memories are unforgiving

and although with time, smoke will clear
nothing is ever forgotten here.

See their anger; raise up your sky
and show them where they’re free to fly.


Brilliant Explosion

How I coveted those powder paints
of traffic-light red, yellow and green,
so bold I couldn’t keep my uniform clean.

I soaked a brush and conjured colour
on a sheet of unblemished white
that erupted in a rainbow.

But oh,
that brilliant cyan:
electric and full of promise.

I slipped a pot into my jacket;
secretly caressed it until home time
and held it tightly all the way to the school gate,

out of sight of my best mate.
But she spotted my bulging pocket,
tugged my fingers, pried them open;

the paint pot flew,
hit an overhanging branch
and exploded in a genie puff of blue.


Valley of the Dolls

Blue-hazed streets scatter themselves beneath sneaker-feet
Flashing lights swirl, strobe the alley
The valley of the dolls smoked out
Toked out, joints now disjointed

About time, say the grey and the white
Firing up to tar and feather their own lungs
Drowning their sorrows, knowing tomorrow
Is just another day, one less in their remaining calendar

Disgusting how they carry on, say the cobalt-rinsed brigade
To the indigo line of helmets forgetting
History was merely repeating itself
Generation aping generation, although now with an app

At least they’re getting a bit of fresh air
Grinned an old hack, visiting his childhood haunts
Back before black took over
And raven doctors could claim him

Live and let live, forgive the cliché
Pray you never forget what it was
To be young once and to make mistakes
In a turquoise daze, under a blue sky


mea culpa for carving “scheiße” into christ’s chest when it shound have been the father, not the son

to be told we dream in black and white, that we are dead when we are sleeping, wandering through the discharge of all the day's events in riding the waves all the way down the trough to the truest core of the self, to know it isn't true, that the outlier is right here as we jump through time and space, that we are the endless tunnel where the graffiti trails off, that we are the wet ground, the overcast day, the hand reaching out of the plume of smoke as well the one we're reaching out for, that we find a way to represent all who we never got a chance to say goodbye to, all who wronged us, shamed us, blamed us for what we could not help but follow through with...to be told these are the nothings we occupy our thoughts with when the world is in flux of being delivered to the knife of the great satan and all his politicos, all his multinational conglomerates, all his bluster and glamor and the terrifying ways he leads where, even more terrifyingly, everyone follows…to be told untruths we know to be true, things we have seen, things we have done, hearts we've tried mending after breaking, reaching out for those who never want to be touched by us again...yes, these have been the choices we've made, and it's all led us right here, which seems nowhere at all, but only seems as such because we've been alive too long, we know the smoke will clear, that we will be faced with one who pretends to be us, but who really is an analogue for the ones we've had to leave behind...only in one sense of reflecting is that us when, for all the others, each is asking why we have gone, where we have gone off to, why we don't return…and who are we to answer them, what would be the point in talking when, supposedly, we are deaf in sleep which means they must also be deaf...soon enough, the smoke will clear and there will be no one there, they will have vanished into the tunnel to sketch more graffiti, they will have climbed the slopes leading up and out of this place,
Read more >


Portrait of the Artist as a Noble Gas

Allow me to disrobe
myself, unclothe myself
here before you, to show
you my self for what it
really is … just this—
a puff of smoke balled up
inside some solid thing,
a bit of gas backed up
inside some bloke's blocked ass,
usually leaking
slowly, filling the room
with a rotten egg smell
until contact with you,
a lit match, a question
asked through the open mouth
of a gun's gaped barrel—
you the spark, I the gas
that explodes the bullet
from its tunnel, into
the light of day: up, up
and away.


Novus Ordo Secolrum

The peacock exploded on New Year's Day.
It was like Hiroshima, like Nagasaki:
Exhilarating, cold—like a perfect crime
planned without passion.

It was Pride going before the fallout,
ignorant of the consequences—
talons shuffling on asphalt through withered leaves.

I looked up and saw you coming in the cloud,
your tiny pointed head peeking out,
the blue incandescence shrouding the rest of you.

We expected all the colors of the rainbow.
We expected diversity.
We expected to justify the ways of Man to God.
But it wasn't salvation we got—
Turns out we didn't know what we were praying for.

What we got was Oneness,
obliterating everything we dreamed of,
making us all unrecognizable—
mutated, twisted, grotesque beasts
toting Geiger counters into the Apocalypse.


A Cloud of Unknowing

Cumulus clouds are the spiritual
cousins of elephants which at the beginning
of time were white and had wings to fly
could change their shape at will
and had the power to bring rain

Eighty elephants weigh
as much as water droplets in a cumulus
which, accumulated, form a cumulonimbus.
Forty thousand thunderstorms
occur around the world each day.

The critical conditions are a ready supply
of moist hot air, tropospheric winds around
the cumulonimbus need to increase
with height to encourage it to slant forwards
and the atmosphere needs to be unstable


Creamy Model

If I say Herb Alpert & the Tijuana Brass, you say…creamy model? Well, if you were a red-blooded, all-American male teen growing up in the mid-sixties like my brother you do. Skip played one album over and over, and he and friends spent hours ogling the LP cover of the 1965 Herb Alpert & the Tijuana Brass’ “Whipped Cream & Other Delights”. The iconic album cover art featured a color photo of an ostensibly naked woman swathed in whipping cream with a teensy weensy portion of her breast exposed. The creamy model, holding a single red stem rose in her left hand, sat looking straight at you seductively and was playfully licking Chantilly cream from the index finger of her right hand. The first time I saw it, I didn’t understand what all the fuss was about. It was a food themed album after all. Back in the mid-sixties, the LP creamy model cover was not only considered very risqué, but also a feast for the eyes of impressionable teen boys, like my brother and his friends. Truth be told, when Skip wasn’t around, I would sneak into his bedroom to borrow the album. I played my favorite tracks over and over – ‘Tangerine,’ ’A Taste of Honey,’ ‘Love Potion No. 9,’ and ‘Whipped Cream.’ While it was bittersweet that my parents were selling the Greenwich house we grew up in, Skip and I understood the time had come for them to downsize. Over the weekend, in preparation for the upcoming garage sale, I moved shoeboxes, clothes, and garment bags with a few vintage pieces – Dad’s old tux and Mom’s fur coat out the bedroom closets in our house. And that’s when I discovered stacks of old Playboys and the vinyl records in the back of my brother’s closet. I moved the treasure trove of vintage collectibles and left Herb Alpert & the Tijuana Brass’ “Whipped Cream & Other Delights” iconic album out for Skip to enjoy, chasing his creamy model teen memories in a thick cloud of blue smoke.

Pleurosis neurosis

I go in rehearsing helpfulness. What
can we do to solve this problem together? NO
slams across the table
like a big, red india-rubber ball.

When I blow my nose, when I wipe the windowsill
the gum in the corners of my eyes,
and, no doubt, the insides of my nephew’s lungs
– blue, all blue.

It gets terribly cold sitting here in the meeting.
If only we had a way of seeing this stuff.

A dozen rubber balls bounce
and bounce
and bounce.



I’m almost there
dragging my feet
pushing myself to the limit
almost running out of breath
breathless and panting

I’m almost there
I can see the finish line
my heart beating still
pulling myself with all my strength
and still not losing the grin

I’m almost there
pushing my boundaries
and testing my limits
saying a prayer under my breath
and I’m still kicking

I’m almost there
I have surpassed all the pain and hunger
nothing can break my resolve anymore
Nobody can put a stop to it
when I’m on a roll

I am almost there
as I can see the hint of the light
still twinkling and still fading at times
Hoping to make it
and hoping to reach on time

Read more >


Recently I noticed I started to disappear. Don’t get me wrong, if you meet me walking down the street you will still see me, but I know, I am sure, I absolutely believe I am starting to disappear.

At first it felt like chills. Occasional, mild, non-threatening or in any way special chills. I started feeling the cold more than I used to, and I started to take it with me whenever I went. I’d take it into my bed, and the covers wouldn’t abolish it, I’d enter and leave the office with it. I’d have dinner, and the chills would follow me as I lifted up the spoon.

As time went, I stopped crying during talent shows, completely ceased to smile at dogs on the street and let dust pile up on the nice dresses. I could watch the news in full and not get angry at anyone. The buskers in the train did not touch my blood pressure. At times I could feel the space that opened up inside of me, vast and empty. Creepily, icy, cold, blue air started to fill my hollow inside corridors, moving ever so slowly, advancing to every vacant part.

With the passing days I felt lighter, moved faster and became more invisible. I’m telling you! The lady from the bakery stopped smiling at me, and never made eye contact again. My colleagues just passed by me in the common areas. I went in and out of stores without being pestered by shop attendants.

I’ve made peace with the blue air. The more and more space that opens up inside of me, the more of me vanishes behind the cold, icy breath. I imagine, I dream, as I feel everything freezing little by little, the surprise summer breeze that will finally let me melt.


Artist’s statement

We are setting off our rebel pyrotechnics,
In an arched, graffitied alleyway where foot
And fist are all that the blue clouds reveal
Even as clearly God is raising the stakes.

Perhaps ours is just a smoke grenade
Triggered temptingly to test His sense of fun,
But then in some holy mind a choice is made
To fix the shoulder harder to the gun
And suddenly the future fogs a darker shade.


It’s all Blue

White walls never made me human and walnuts cracked alien beings
So I sniffed the resilience of dorky dust that located itself softly on my yellow desk
there I saw and met the porcelain face of the moon, with holes and inundating faces of cracks
I ate my red breakfast and burned my face with crackers to solemn the leftovers of delusions.
Hush, hush...Say no more.
Psychopaths and Rapists always cling these ceilings
like a green tornado, eating my arms and borrowing my used nail-cutters
Thumping the cliffs of forlorn ankles, I eat my penumbra hoax of crocodile waters
Often, I swim into the pool of bastard mockery of you.

I swim and swim
like floating oxygen, choking your pharynx
and like a whistle of the old vintage pressure cooker,
I disappear. An atom. A molecule.

I know I am still surviving somewhere in the lost woods
or like a mayhem in the darkness of your crooked voice
    Somewhere amidst those telephonic calls, in the colours of
    agony and remembrance
    somewhere in the chants of the holy 'Geeta'.
    A vexation. A loop of hope. I am still a colour if you must know
slowly and softly I shall whisper my name in this dirt of your vixen eyes too.

For you must know I am growing and itching each day the back of my head producing a new colour now.
Read more >


Because Memories

Because memories aren’t memories unless they spin
in a haze of blue, firmament and ocean overturned

into an infinite mist, congealing into an occasional
cloud. I’m beginning to separate the shades, the unsaid,

cobalt at the edge, the untouched, pale as covered skin,
the unawakened, dark and restless in the middle, waiting

for words, for warmth, for touch; the unforgotten,
whirling in random patterns, blurry, wet, between the

truth and the want, the azure of unloved seas, of unkissed
sky, the virgin cerulean of hesitant dreams, daring to

reveal, only to disappear. You didn’t teach me the colour
of a fallen promise, of an abandoned love, of a shadow in

the unsunk depths, of the hue of the past when it floats
sapphire, an imploding moon inside unopened eyes.


Symbolical Blue

Blue is color of eternal Light
That will make you Bright
Symbolically instruct in day Light
Morning Sun light, after black Night

Blue is the color representing Culture
Surrounded in the world of Nature
Painted on the sky like Sculpture
Can one not get shelter in the Nature?


Subconscious (rub)

I rub & I rub until –
I’m embalmed.
In an oxygen cloud.
With bright blue dust
eating into my lungs.
Like a hot kiss.
A head rush, a release.
The B O O M of the

The theatre of form
is w a n d e r i n g.
A lost goddess
on the pavement.
Flattening leaves
under dusty heels.
We only combust
if we’re lucky.

& I’m lucky.

Desire can break you.



The aching pull of naughtiness:
Snapped flower heads, pierced milk bottle caps, doorbells pushed.
Pilfered sweets and cosmetics, kisses stolen while your best friend was in the ladies.
Homework ignored, acceptable translation conjured under the teacher's eyes: hard, suspicious.
So easy to get away with it.

A few spliffs, assignments piling up: all-nighters in the library, an OK pass.
Awareness of opportunities let slip.
Creative editing of the CV, new friends who can't betray your history.
The job is undemanding, but you're making contacts.
Foreign travel? Yes, please.

A different culture: wheels are greased … gifts become grander.
Back 'home', muttering about corporate accountability:
Fend off the hints – prevent that word 'corruption' being voiced.

The call in the night: a smokescreen is being arranged; leave – now!



The blue will become red
And the red will be rust
The warrior will become the artist
And the artist will bleed on the canvas
The tiny spark will be an all consuming fire
And the fire will be all we know
Maybe, just maybe
All this will remain the horrors on a paper
And that paper will be lost
Humanity will not perish
As it will soon realise the cost.


Blue for you

Blue for you.
Black and blue for you.
Blue for you.
Black, grey and blue for you.

Green and blue.
Black, green and blue for you.
Green and blue.
Shapes behind the blinds with you.

Blind to you.
Deaf, dumb and blind to you.
Dumb to do.
Dumb to do the things I did for you.

Mind to do.
Mind to do that thing to you.
Mind to try to.
Mind to try to do a thing or two to you.

Blue for you.
Minding that I'm black and blue for you.
Dumb to do,
the thing I finally went and did to you.


Blue Clouds

The color is blue
blue lights
take us into beauty
a color I adore
just turned into a cloud
on earth
yearning to touch that space
of peace that ripples on the sea
above the sparkling ocean
jets fast smoke
poke into our hearts of twilight's skies
tree leaves try to stay alive
into the open air.


The Fog

Like fire in the wind
It spread fast
Like a mist in the cold
It covered everything it touched

It was cool and yet suffocating
It was there and yet it wasn't.
It was before my eyes
Or was it just in my head?

Like a chameleon, it changed colours
At times grey and then was white
But right now all I could see was Blue.

The Blue clogged my throat
Tears pricked the back of my eyes
It became hard to breathe
Was I going to die?

Light couldn't penetrate it.
Air couldn't sneak in.
Keeping my eyes open was becoming a task.

And then it came to me
Like Thor's hammer;
That sword of Light –
A laser – that could slash the fog

With swift movements of my wrist
I slayed the blue
Till all that was left was bits and pieces
On the ground

Read more >

Party Trick

Then he boasted that he could cry blue –
yes, weep cornflower or grape or bubblegum.

As easy as one chalks a snooker cue,
he could squeeze out drops of delphinium

from both irises without perspiring,
provided there was a safe, open space

far from naked flames or faulty wiring.
I admit it: the promise of the taste

of devil’s dye or backscattered bluebells
piqued my interest. In a disused underpass

he adopted the stance and his eyes welled
with fine powder, like chalk or bonfire ash.

And yes, it was blue, whatever it was,
like periwinkle, bruises or the sheen

of blackbird wings. At first it was a gauze
of lazuli, a subtle aquamarine

shimmering that bloomed into a mushroom
cloud of Manhattan Project indanthrene,

and kept growing, until even the moon
turned blue, and blue was all that I could see.



Better smoke be white
and sky be blue. Colours, like
people, need fixtures true.

Blue of the ocean,
white of the waves: a primal
emotion this heart craves.

Blue is the tune the
guitar-man plays to the green of
my nights and blue of my days.

Days strewn like leaves for
a breeze await. The crow calls
from the frontier gate.

Autumnal leaves strewn,
the earth is gold and rust. Nice
camouflage for the forever dust.


The Rarity of Blue

The guide picked up the travellers at midnight. Together they drove for hours through sleeping villages, through the moonlit plain, along twisting mountain paths; climbing in altitude until the route became so narrow they abandoned the truck and its driver.

The aroma of disturbed soil accompanied the trio as they marched onwards, the two travellers eagerly scanning their surroundings hoping for a glimpse of the promised rarity.

As dawn broke the mountains and valleys slowly came to life; the rising sun brushing colour across the land one section at a time, the sweep of sunlight rushing towards them. The guide, having grown accustomed to the view, grew impatient, hurrying them along.

Remaining a few steps ahead of the sun, the travellers kept glancing back, checking on its progress, in awe of the sights appearing below. Yet it was nothing to the excitement they felt on first seeing the distant dots of blue sprinkled across the clearing.

As the trio slowed, the sun finally caught up. Rays of light glanced their shoulders, radiating out across the grass, the small specks of blue expanding as petals responded to light and warmth. The travellers gasped at the rare flower’s beauty — at the brilliance of its blue.

One traveller pulled out a small bag and stepped closer, preparing to take a sample, ignoring the guide’s warning — a warning already too late. The flowers were rearing up releasing a fragrant blue mist into the air, their petals thrown back like manes, vivid yellow stamens flaring, expanding into horrific forms.

The guide stood his ground. He knew what was coming. The blue cloud intensified, enveloping the traveller, forcing his companion to reach out in an effort to save him, finding herself engulfed too. Read more >


Blue Day

I remember the day Daddy died. It was a blue day.
The fog outside that clung to the houses and trees was deep blue. I adjusted my swimming goggles as I pressed my face against the cold windowpane to look at the road below. The pane was frosted so I drew a smiley on it. Daddy was late. I knew this because Mommy had been trying to reach him on his cell phone for a long time. She was now pacing the room, I could hear the tap of her heels, a brisk staccato. Her voice had taken a sharp tone too. “Take off those stupid things and get off the chair. Go finish your homework.” I kept my nose pressed against the cold pane watching the building in front of me slowly disappear in blue fog. Her phone rang then. Her voice sounded agitated. I turned around when I heard something crash. Her phone lay shattered on the floor. Her face was blue like her dress and hair. The room was blue and the phone was blue. She was squatting on the floor gathering the pieces. “Mommy?”
For a moment she stilled and looked up at me. Blue tears ran down her cheeks.


The Gender Revelation

Sssh Baby. Don’t worry. Mummy is here. I have my hand on my belly, feel you turn in darkness. You are glory in water. A Marina Trench. A fathomless mystery. They will be here soon. His mum and dad, brothers. My parents, sister and uncle. A couple of friends. The neighbours are coming. Everyone stuck together with cake and tea. Lips bent into smiles. We’ll all stand on the cold pavement by Daddy’s new car. He will get in. Turn the engine on. Hear it roar. Why are engines like lions? Daddy likes engines. He says: Cars are sexy. One hundred miles per hour. Baby, I prefer submarines. Watching day-time documentaries about deep sea. Going to places no one goes. Marine snow. Abundant life.

In the car, Daddy will put his foot on the accelerator. The man in the shop explained: The coloured powder will shoot out from the exhaust pipe. Your baby’s gender will be revealed to the crowd. A blue dust cloud for a boy. A pink dust cloud for a girl. Everyone will be happy. Clap. Hug. Shake hands.

In the shop, I whispered to your Daddy: But why do we need to know gender? He said to me: It is like the sex. But Baby, I know sex is submarines. And you are a fish, from the great depths. Silvery. Swimming free.


Blue Smoke

Those four nights I sat for Stacey, she wouldn’t even let me glimpse the canvas. Stacey was nervous about what people thought of her art. And I was kind enough not to exacerbate that. I sat four long evenings, naked and not moving, on her instruction, only to find at the great unveiling, that I’d been contorted into a large blue puff of smoke with a tiny grey stone at the centre. It didn’t even look like an organism, unless this was supposed to be my spirit or personality or something.
‘You never said you did abstracts. I could have loaned you a photograph.’
‘No, you needed to be present at the painting. Otherwise, it wouldn’t have come out like you.’
‘Looks fuck all like me,’ I said. ‘It couldn’t look less like me, if you kicked a hole in it and set it on fire.’
‘No, it’s definitely you,’ she insisted. ‘I could only paint you like that.’
‘Then it’s not me,’ I said. ‘It’s me and you, or at least me through you.’
Stacey smiled, perhaps because what I’d said sounded vaguely deep, and deep was a rarity for me.
‘And you’re a very unflattering lens,’ I said, trying to wilt her smile. Instead she ran her hand through my hair.
Perhaps I should have used red, or purple. You could be purple smoke.’
I couldn’t tell if she was taking the piss or being serious.

A week later, her studio burnt down. I didn’t do it, and was glad my remark hadn’t made me a suspect. Stacey did suggest, though, that I had the gift of prophecy, but since I’d seen her painting, no opinion of hers could flatter. They were pointless and, however impressive, would disappear leaving no trace, like a cloud of blue smoke.
Embarrassment struck before I had that thought completed.


It’s Time

Stephen, frail and sick in hospice, stared at the puffy blue swirling cloud. It had a peaceful presence and it took away his fear of death.

With tubes hooked up to his arms and unable to speak because of his organs shutting down, he struggled within, hearing his wife’s cries. All that remained of him was a broken-down body.

The cloud slowly moved toward Stephen. He closed his eyes and the beat of his heart stopped.


requires no training

smoke grenades for tiny hands
and tiny shoes and tunnels

my sister nearly blew my nuts off with a BB once
she was angry and we were young

a smoke grenade can't hurt no one
easy to use just ask my son

he lit this one in the tunnel just out of Worcester
where the tweakers tag at night

and in the day the middle school kids set off
these dealers' toys there

and practice how to touch each other
blind and simulating trauma

I can barely make out his hand in the
free play and the broad smoke

when he wants to block out the sun
he pulls the pin and gets her done


The Odyssey

The foaming figure lingering out of the blue and dry patches,
Rolling and rolling on the path of the journey,
The hues and colours mingling to form the foam
And the leaves blowing away.
The soul is a form of foam that
Journeys from the darkest plains
To the foamy oceans,
From the crowded earth
To the shiny heavens,
From the shimmery blues
To the lofty suns:
Everything mingles in the form of foam
Taking the variants at a time;
And blowing away in no seconds.
Life is an odyssey through the forms of foam
And the bodies blowing leaves,
The foam keeps on changing form and the body flows afloat—
in the continuing Odyssey.



Honeyed words.

Didn't you know I saw right through it?
Didn't it exhaust you to do it?

You're gorgeous.
I need you.
I love you.

Your words hung in the air.
I'm surprised you didn't choke.
Above you,
Birds wilted in your hair.
You were just blowing smoke.


Sildenafil Citrate

The riots started slowly, in a feathery peacock puff of blue. Impossible to snatch one second from sixty or pin the little teal point on a Google map. It billowed into significance gradually. It wasn’t the fact of her anger that startled everyone so much as the color of it. Sweet cornflower blue. No sour lemon or spicy red or peppermint pink for her.

Twenty years of marriage. They’d gone from erotic massage and daily sex to having entire conversations while one of them was on the toilet. Companionate, the self-help books called it. Normal, proclaimed the therapist. Disappointing, conceded her friends. Then along came the little blue pill, and for a fleeting summer they’d made an electric blue dawn out of their cerulean twilight. But as his sun again breached the horizon, it fired another oven, begat another Icarus, and cast his wife of two decades into indigo shadow.

Twenty years of pain. Her uterus drowning all her other organs. Endometriosis, said the doctors. Experts named it without knowing or understanding, let alone curing. An aching flood submerging that flimsy umbrella of a name. While the little blue pills were celebrating their china anniversary.

Her fury wafted up from the hard-packed earth beneath her heavy boots till it filled the abandoned tunnel under their shared life, seeped through the leafless fall forest, and mushroomed into the air over their suburb. First it was his entire supply of little blue pills, boiled down on the new stove he’d given her for Christmas and aerosolized in one of her empty Aquanet cans. Next it was a neighbor who saw the smoke and wanted to light her own fire. Then it was a friend, her hairdresser, the pharmacist’s wife, until the city's entire supply went up in sapphire smoke. Little midnight clouds of discontent, disruption, depression.
Read more >


The Escape Route

The dream was jumbled, a recollection in
shards, unintelligible. Her face opaque,
the rising smoke, the fiery quarrel, a mish-
mosh of images culminating into late autumn,
rotting wood, fallen leaves all around.

No flames, but thick with smoke, a floating
plume of clown hair, lingering like a puffy
dandelion weed, white at the edges with blue
highlights. The aftermath twisting and turning
into itself, casting light in all directions.

At first I was drawn closer in, to reach, to
assist my lover, my friend, my enemy, breath
of my breath, with whom I exist without
separation. There was no clock, but I could
mark the swirl of time bearing down.

She stands at the mouth of a tunnel. Behind her
symbols painted onto concrete walls, loud Japanese
graffiti in bold white. You can’t see it or hear it, but
her eyes and neck muscles are popping. She is
gesticulating madly, screaming obscenities.

Five fingers of her right hand are still visible,
clutching the contraption from which all the
perfumed smoke emanates, blue and thick
as cotton candy or loosely held as if she were
holding a bouquet of hydrangea.

Read more >

Love the shadow

Invasions of light are usually corrosive to what lives in the shadows. It is easy to love the dark, the coldness with the smell of torrid vegetation. Peace and danger amalgamated in the mouth of the inviolable black horizon. Swimming forever in an ocean woven of gloom, protected only by the irregular flapping of birds dressed like the night. Without hurtful illuminations the meaning can be spilled; you can embrace languid hopes and caress the symptoms of a rainy and exquisite love. In the shadow we are all dark stars.


Tangible Erasure

Blue smoke blooms in the tunnel
like a flower one can taste, smell, and touch.

It grows in the world where trees grow
out of textbooks on once-solid floors.

Dead rivers run past banks of bathers
who enter the water to avoid Hell.

Abandoned bags and razors bob in the ocean,
resisting the acid bath it’s become.

Tangible erasure, this smoke is our lotus flower,
rising from oak leaves and birch logs

but not mud.



When one is blessed with a plethora of plumage ... with a large, ahem, well-endowed, farrago of feathers, one awften finds oneself the subject of ridicule and resentment, even of the evilest of evil eyes. Especially if one’s head appears to be in the clouds.

One is regularly advised to keep one’s head (well, one’s calami and plumule, not to mention one’s pinions, pennae and pompons) down. But one is not so easily persuaded. One is, in fact, awften tempted to take the opposite tack. When one is in possession of such, ahem, enlarged endowments, one must show orf one’s enhancements.

Some say one has a tendency to titivate. Some that one has an abundance of hot air. Some that self-important swaggering turns the air around one blue.

To them one says this: titivation titivates, hot air heats, and blue is a very acceptable colour. Or, to speak plainly: one can float, fly, flutter and glide. One can sail, swoop, soar, fart, dart, dash, scud, skim and skirt. One can whizz, whish, puff and whoosh.

One knows one’s interlocutors cannot. Only one’s sky is blue.


Oh, how I would like to disappear

Is that what it’s like to be, Gurdjieff?
What remains of your teachings?

An old warehouse...

For you, blue was not yet male, I suppose.
But where was your mother, when your father was looking at the stars?

I hope the smoke is refreshing
like dry ice
at a nightclub.


Yves Klein has exploded again

It’s an occupational hazard of course –
he sees a sea, he sees the sky,
he sees a woman and all
the theorising, the talk,
the grand projects, the grander passions,
it all gets too much and, wait for it:

POP! –

and then it’s all alpha and omega
until it rains or the sun comes out
so the performance can start again.
Once it happened when he was on
safari and I swear he turned a zebra
into a pierrot hat. Ah you are such
a clown we said and he replied
No I am sublime.


A Bucket of Blue Steam

With sidelong wit the teachers would send out
first years in their too-big uniforms to
ask for useless things, the invisible
matter which would raise exaggerated
snorts of laughter from a class full of boys.

Among the favourites were the ‘glass hammers’,
leaving shattered looks in the fever noise
of ridicule and mild abuse, because
everyone knew that there’s no use in a
tool which cannot hack the infliction of
sustained impact to drive a point deep down.

Or the ‘long stand’, the expectant boy who
anticipated some apparatus worthy
of the name, but then just waited before
the truth sank in that he was standing long,
and then frustrated he would leave to whoops
and jibes, and an unsafe group derision.

But the ‘bucket of blue steam’ seemed to all
intents and purposes the likeliest
and most feasible thing to be sent for,
and nervous, edging the hems of trousers
with their hands, boys would innocently fall
for this old trick just the once and then
they became part of the group of cynical,
who’d laugh at youthful gullibility.


The Colour of the Night

I had been sitting on the balcony of my fourth-floor apartment all afternoon awaiting the setting of the sun, which finally arrived not before I had dozed off several times due to the heat of the day.

My balcony overlooks The Square – anybody who lives in this country knows what I mean when I talk about The Square. Its infamy is unrivalled and my meagre apartment is situated on the edge of this field of concrete, four storeys up, balcony hanging like a private theatre loge.

Of course, I have never been to the theatre but one reads about these things.

I do not work because there is no work.

I might also add that my apartment comprises of only two rooms. My living area has a bed which folds up into the wall and a small kitchen area in the corner next to the balcony door. My bathroom is a cupboard. I hope this dispels any doubts you may have about my financial status in this world.

I became more alert after sunset. I drowned my hunger with a filthy cup of coffee from the filthy kitchen worktop. I returned outside and stood on my balcony leaning over the railings. I had an inkling tonight was going to be the night.

I saw evidence of the first smoke grenade at twenty minutes past six.

Within minutes, a hundred souls had gathered in The Square, two hundred, three. Billowing plumes of brightly coloured smoke burst into life from different corners. Five hundred, a thousand, swarming from side streets armed with projectiles and the voice of revolution.

It was time to join my brothers.

Read more >

Blue Worlds

Within me are blue worlds shifting
Grating against the fault lines
Of a flippant modern attitude
Exposed in selfies and memes
While the heart thumps sadly at home
Longing to be noticed

I long to heal a parcel of this brokenness
I drift within a humming yellow cloud
Of extravagant unwanted information
My poet heart sewn onto my shirt collar
Available for use but easily bruised
Careless words trigger amethyst memories
I dissolve before a movie screen
Awake on a bridge above a childhood creek
An old song becomes my grandfather
In a stranger’s face I meet an old lover
Somewhere between the nose and eyelashes
I notice that you need someone
I take your hand
And relief overwhelms your face



It was as if the sky had exploded at our feet
In a bizarre puff of blue smoky haze
Filling our lungs
Causing our chests to cave
Burning eyes—
Is this what the new year is supposed to feel like?
The taste of ash on our tongues
A bitter, blandness—
Is this what the new year is supposed to taste like?
Stepping one foot out of the fog—
Is this the new year?



Drifting lazily
on quiet air, a
cumulus cloud of
periwinkle blue.

signs line concrete walls,
soldiers at attention,
awaiting orders.

Torment disturbs the
ephemeral mist
as a pale peach flash
punches through.

Once golden, thick veined,
now curled and crisp –
Autumn, scattered loosely
on wet tarmacadam.

Hurried footsteps
disturb and disperse.
A snapshot in time,
Quickly forgotten.


In a tunnel not unlike Gotham

Sucker-ninja...the practice of a prankster
Gaseous siphon fluxes haze azure


Marvel cloud sucked into a restless fist
Vapour of cobalt contracting into a singularity.
Affirmative: tide of inhalation amidst metropolis mindgames...
confirmed entertainment.


Once great — yes, upon a time.
Inward rush of violet violence.
Reversing suspension of fake poison
The atmosphere of a heroic city slum...cleansed.



Primary colour

Lying on ground too hard to notice,
softened by the autumn fall

Entwined behind eyes softly shut
scribing on shared skin,
lost in the transience of now.

Wanting more I reach for the touch
of tomorrow but spiral into a mood
of melancholy

whipped by the wraith of filial duty,
held by the chains of Oxford blue.

Blue that is a colour that cannot be
made by mixing two colours together.



Unwanted frown –
passing cloud over the blue

Discarded cloak –
I never wished for a crown

Here an opening that says:
'See, go!'

In this world
there are more throbbing veins
than cars rushing by

And her bionic hand
will not go for the nuclear

So let us not cry
over the spilt milk

Let's not resent
the hunger of the seagull

(Now on through a tunnel
and the silence parted
by the writing

on the wall)



Blue smoke. False
like telling my dogs our walk
will end up in Canada
beside a crystal lake
when we’ll really pass
broken glass,
and overflowing
garbage cans.
Our out of the blue
heading into winter’s
east wind and loving
those leaf skitters
stuck in chain link.
The big articulated fan
of Arctic north flaps
frigid over us,
a terrier with a blue
coat that matches mine
and a survivor dog with fur
who sniffs the gray ash
of someone keeping warm
burning pick-up sticks.
I’m the only one who sees
the magician’s blue smoke
for what it is: artifice.


Prussian blue suicide

unintended chemistry
explodes into
near accidental antidote
metallic blip
the poisoning was sublime
and yet I could not
allow your slim form
to heave its last
in an airless chamber
clutching cloud balloons
ascendance is achieved
as cyanide gas
seeps into autumnal
all that remains
are white shodden feet
tap dancing in time
to the concrete shiver.



Is it the flare in a unicorns' eyes
        or a blue giant eating candy-floss skies
        or the Pacific in fiery disguise
        or bluebell perfume exhaling surprise?

        Mankind has a chance to guess and to dream
        this image creates a personal theme.
        The artist we hold in awestruck esteem
        and send our conjectures on the blue steam.

       I feel the pain of an animal birth
       Is there a small zebra joining this Earth?


of blue

- shards of blue - caressing my throat - implications of inhalation - deconstruct the sky - with a fist - or leg - or breath - included - to show movement - physical rift - denature - the leaves - inhale unexpected - pages - scissors - fibered blue - counsel fractures - in static blue - a rupture - eruption - to establish speed - of midnight - fuelled - blue clasped - inconsolable blue - tunnel vision - fractured visual - circular - to scrub harder - or step - or teach - blue led - mistaken - blue rift - voice - corrupt my ribs - of blue -


Rhapsody in Blue

Fingers grip tight seeking light –
hope wielded like a saber –
so tight blue boiling blood
vaporizes, forms Wedgewood clouds
which obscure the HH stenciled
on the wall. Hungry hearts
imprinted on the underpass
stake a claim
to the moment
when dreams went up
in a puff of smoke.
Yet dance rhapsodic,
one foot still grounded
amidst the litter of fallen leaves.


A Soft Embrace

Suddenly I was enveloped,
completely surrounded.
The cloud came from nowhere,
literally fell from the sky.
It was warm and soft inside
somehow comforting.
I was not afraid.
A soft embrace
Completely hidden,
I froze motionless and confused,
wondering what to do next.
Would the cloud melt away and disperse
Or would it cling to me and I would be
unable to break free?
Time stood still in my
blue haze of cotton wool softness.
I was blind,
but so peaceful inside
snug and secure.
Protected from the cruel world.
I wanted to stay.
But I knew it wouldn't last.
The blue cloud would disperse,
It would melt away.
The soft billowy cotton wool haven
would leave me.
Read more >


Magical Forces

The blue mist filled the air leaving nothing but my clenched fist and the bare traces of my feet exposed.
“It worked, Maggie!”
“That’s great Cyn. Now you can add blue smoke to your list of accomplishments.”
Maggie, my supposedly best friend wasn’t impressed, but I was. After two weeks of trying and failing, I’d finally managed to do something other than make it rain.
“Well, I’m happy,” I said, opening my fist.
The blue mist evaporated. Maggie stood glaring at me, one hand on her hips the other picking bits of dirt out from under her nails.
“If all you can manage is a bit of blue smoke, you’re not going to be much use are you?”
“What’s that supposed to mean?”
“You know quite well,” she huffed. “Your looks won’t save you, Cyn.”
“That’s not fair, Mags. You know I’m trying. It’s not as easy for me.”
“Never is,” she muttered turning away.
“What’s gotten into you? You’d swear I’d done something to offend you.”
“You have.”
Maggie stomped off, leaving me standing in the empty tunnel. I had no idea what was eating her and to be honest, I didn’t care. She knew how important this was to me. To finally be able to conjure up something that might help when the time came and all she could do was scoff at it. Sure, I wasn’t a natural like her. I couldn’t obliterate objects with a squint of my eyes, but I was trying.
Wiping my hands on my pants, I trailed after her. There’s only one place she’d go in a mood like that – the cove.
Maggie had a thing about water. It seemed to calm her, soothe her emotions. That’s exactly where I found her, sitting watching the ocean.
Read more >



When I'm waiting,
driving through smoke for our meeting,
you want to leave, to sail away.
When I'm waiting,
driving through smoke,
your denial is in the skies.
Just confess your pain.

I saw your hollow heart,
I heard sweet music.
A broken soul with power.
You're in my head.
We're not saints yet;
we don't have halos
but I'll shine a blue light on you.
Our emergency.
Why are you tricking me?
Tell me. Tell me.
There was nothing there.
The sun will rise.
This day is ours.
They know that you are not theirs.
Do the stars have a message?
A militant love. Mercy will come.
You can't say your thoughts tonight.

My angel walks into an empty room.
At night, lonely, a good girl.
Did you see a mechanical tower turning?
Near me. Near you. The blinding betrayal.



The day after the bomb fell we reached the underpass in a hail of searcher-stones. They bounced off every surface lighting the quick to a lurid ultraviolet. Our camouflage of closely-woven yellow moss dripped purple slime onto the deadened earth, puddling at our feet and making our steps uncertain and slippery.

Searcher-vipers rose from deep chasms in the earth, noisily slurping the slime into their long, metallic silver bodies. Whenever there was slime around, they would leave us alone; sated, they would sleep for many days.

Wet leaves shivered like shoals of fish in the trees above our heads, sifting the oncoming green twilight and making it dance and tremble in the light breeze.

We knew we had reached the underpass when we saw the thickening carpet of leaves – last winter’s sheddings – expand beneath our feet: a mosaic of vermilion, burnt umber, yellow ochre, sienna and Tyrian purple. They softened our steps and covered the slime as well as any carpet.

The high arched walls of the underpass were brightened by graffiti: tags, skulls, monstrous creatures, cartoonish faces and geometric designs. The air was thick with the fug of fires others had made and left, the packed-earth floor covered in their discarded clothes and cooking utensils.

In the deep pockets of our moss coats we fingered silky-smooth ambaric pebbles, which would help us light our own fires once darkness fell. We should be safe here from Quisitors: the underpass’s thick red brick walls should have absorbed the signals transmitted by our ear-implants.

A comforting earthy smell, like compost, musty leaves or old burgundy wine rose up and claimed us. We settled by the side of a wall covered in graffiti flowers, the colours too garish to be natural. Read more >


Blue Haze

We began to lose him
soon after he started microdosing LSD,
convinced that research evidence
from the Berkley Foundation proved
it was safe to use in minute doses.

Within weeks he reported heightened
awareness and talked wide-eyed
about seeing into the soul of Hendrix;
up all night wandering through
newly-opened doors of perception.

By day he disappeared inside clouds
that changed colour according to his mood;
creative-orange, passion-red, but often,
like today, sad-blue – about never managing
to achieve his idol’s purple haze.



I hate the building
its pale blue arteries
by brick
fuckers took my son
dismantled him
his future
his possibilities
turned to dust
kicked him out
into the wide
blue yonder
in a million
I'm still
to put him
which is like
from a pile
of dust


Magic Moments

Creep up,
Sometimes they arrive concealed in a puff of blue smoke,
And it is hard to see behind the curtain of illusion.
Occasionally, the illumination these defining prestidigitation ‘happenings’ bring,
Light up our lives with lasting delight;
Love may arrive announced,
The promotion you never thought you’d achieve lands in your ‘in-tray’,
That book you’ve wanted for years,
manifests itself on the shelves of a charity shop,
The person, who never wins a competition wins a jackpot,
A baby is born hale and hearty,
A stranger offers you their seat on the bus,
A cheerful smile greets you on a grey day,
A friend listens to you without criticism or making unasked for suggestions,
These memorable moments involve no sleight of hand,
They come unbidden and transform pedestrian, ordinary lives into pure gold,
Without a magician’s tricks or alchemist’s assistance.



When it's all hazy and you can't see any further,
You start becoming a part of it as you move forward,
And soon before you realize, it encapsulates you.
And when it starts to fade away you are no longer the person you knew.
Whether you like it or not, you have accepted the new you before you know it!


To Have and to Hold

It was always the hands that got him. He shuddered to think, of course, where these hands had been, but that was part of the job. Putting his hands where he shouldn’t. Inside people, outside people. It was bloody grim. He snuffed at his own word choice, chest heave-heave-heaving in its turquoise blue. As his colleagues had told him, it wasn’t really his colour. At least with poking around inside dead people, cutting and examining and squelching, style wasn’t allowed to be an issue. Graham – what a name for a pathologist, Graham, bland and boring like the bodies – was thankful for that. His subjects didn’t mind, and his colleagues didn’t care. The hand thing was a bit of a problem, admittedly. The sheet on each corpse had to be whipped off like a plaster, the whirling of a magician’s cape, because Heaven forbid Graham catch a hand poking out from the side. With each body fully exposed, he had to acknowledge the intricacy, the scars, the moles, the drunken tattoos of old lovers and even older friends. But catch a glimpse of a pale hand trailing through the curiously stagnant air, and Graham was off. Not screaming, or even fainting, but retreating into himself. Shutting the blinds, au revoir, goodnight. And if that happened, that was bidding a fond farewell to at least two hours of work, the fancy biscuits in the tin and the comfortable chair in the break room. It wasn’t that his colleagues disliked Graham – he was remarkably dextrous, easy-going, and could be a riot at the Christmas party – but there was something a little odd about this hand thing. Not a fetish, or a phobia, just a slight problem which was never actually addressed.

Graham didn’t ask for help, because he knew that he’d never be understood. A statement from his teenaged years – no, go away, you’ll never understand how I think or what I’m feeling – but true, nevertheless. It was the humanness of hands, the knowledge that everywhere we go, we touch the same places as strangers. Train seats. Door handles. Dodgy taps in toilets, inevitably unbearably hot or unbearably cold. Read more >



This cloud of such unnatural blue
exploding out of some small point
just ahead – comes so fast
it fills the tunnel, pushes
up against the roof,
eats all the air,
drives us back
away from its thick
expanding billows

as we turn to run
and stumble
knowing we won’t
make it out in time
won’t reach clean air
before we take
at least one
poisonous blue breath –
that just may be enough
to end us.


The whole shebang

sighs sing
infinitely in vain

words twist
into mere hindrances

screams rise
up in mangled breaths

yelps plead
for help that never comes

your tragic being goes under
trial for hysteria and blues

constant consternation
over things that have been
and are yet to be

no present or pill
will pull you through

you fall
with no anchor

shazam! you are gone
the whole shebang sent away–
the neatest magic trick
sans smoke, sans bang
sans magic.



Four hunched figures broached the gloom
of the myopic fog,
flinching from its necromantic embrace –
the only spirits summoned
manifesting as one doubled over:
retching resonating
through each tiny droplet
until drowned by the pitiless laughter
of friends.

Two muffled reports hung in the air
darker than the night,
the icy gossamer
refused to divulge their source,
flaunting its osmotic uncertainty.

Figures stumbled past
as they progressed,
the nebulous tide erased their memory
and doused the streetlights.



Oh sibling land, whose harsh caress
tousles my hair and speeds my heart –
whose hills and gales I love no less
than Lowland through which the wee burns dart.

Long-shed blood still pumps through the land,
lubricating buried claymores,
seeping resentment which has spanned
centuries of unsettled scores.

Yet now, though Sassanach abound,
highlands need choke on no more bones –
for Twickenham and Old Firm grounds impound
the feudal screams and moans…

And strangling blue of Campbell kilt
steal breath from no more children wilt.


Rabbit in Headlights

And just like that, it was as if everything she ever knew was gone in a puff of blue smoke.

They stood in the tunnel where they had met every Saturday since they were teenagers, she with her braces and hoop earrings, and he with his band t-shirts and surly scowl.

She had seen it coming. Should have seen it coming. It had been hurtling towards her like some out of control steam train, heading down the tunnel, headlights ablaze, horn beeping for her to get out of the way, to run, to scream, to move, to do something other than merely watch it approach, passive and calm.

Rabbit in headlights. Pretty good analogy.

The funny thing was, when it came, it was smoke. Ethereal. Transient. Easily blown away on the wind. The colour was unexpected yes, but that was the only thing which was. She stood her ground in the oncoming cloud, only to find that it barely touched her. It wasn’t the screeching of brakes, the smash of tons of metal colliding with bones and flesh, the agony of being dragged half a mile down the track before her body finally gave it up and died. There was no blood. No pain. No noise. Just smoke.

From the middle she could see his hand, extended as though in supplication, or perhaps he was asking for help? Begging her to take his hand and drag him forward, out of the tunnel and the smoke and into the bright sunlight on the other side.

But she couldn’t. Or wouldn't. She hadn't decided which yet.

She was a spectator, watching the smoke billow from the mouth of the tunnel like a nicotine addict releasing their fix from their lungs. Like when they had learned to smoke, he teaching her, in this very tunnel. Read more >


Fear of the Unknown

Through the dust
Came a rugged form
Twisting and contorting its body
Into unheard of shapes.

I stood by with my
Heart racing and my hands
Trying to wring themselves
Free of tremors.
God wouldn't greet
Me this way,
I thought—
Surely, this thing is of the Devil.

That is where my mind
Ran off to...
It was in a hurry and
Before I could get my feet
To work, my mind was spinning
Circles all around us.
So, I said to my body,
"It's now or never."
And now came before
I could lean into the wind.

The figure moaned,
Groaned, and shouted
Gurgly expletives, bothered
By a persistent moon
Lighting up the sky. Read more >


The Butterfly at the end of the Avalanche

The butterfly at the end of the avalanche
wonders if it is safe to land
Or keep riding the (tail) wind.

Such is the danger of possibility.

The fallen leaves scream welcome
To the blue winter whirlwind
And the butterfly wonders, if it is the pioneer
Of the new age or merely,
Another vichy, a front
Behind which is written disaster
In an invisible ink au naturel.

Eye witnesses none, but for the leaves,
The photographer turned tail
No sooner the picture was taken.
They heard about it a mile away, but no one could tell
The colour the wind was written, the language it spoke…

The butterfly has no time to wonder, stand and stare,
To think would invite peril.
It was merely caught in history and rode on,
Its wings whirring at the speed of dusk,
No morning glories lie in its path.

Tunnel vision was all, and everyone saved what they could,
Looked at their bank accounts one last time,
Just so their progeny wouldn’t call them
Read more >


Time just stops without you in it

Dust is covering everything that I know to be true. It is like powder covering my face and my eyes glisten through it. You can see me clearly as though it doesn’t matter what happens. You are able to reach me. It is always you. The impossible feat of things it’s never too much for you. You take it in your stride and walk around like the ground carries you into the water. I’m also wading through trying to keep afloat just to be next to you. Then something happened and you stop seeing me the way you used to. I can’t seem to put my finger on what changed but I will never forget that moment. I felt it strongly and I could hardly breathe. I tried to stop it from happening but I knew the truth, we kept holding on for a few more moments but you were gone. I could feel it in my bones. The water was up to my ankles and now it’s to me knees. In the next breath it will cover me whole. And now I’m gone and you are still walking seamlessly in the breeze. Life has always been good for you. I try and keep believing you will return to me and I find a leaf and keep it in my pocket the one I use least often as a sign I will wait the longest time for you to come back to me. These days my eyes are tired and sad from all the waiting. I’m always waiting and you always have the upper hand. Waiting is a painful thing, because time just stops without you in it. Come back to me and tell me your secrets like we used to do when we were five. I wish we could sit on the swings with our hair around our shoulders. I look for the leaf and realised I dropped it somewhere along the road, I frantically search for it but know I’ve lost you now


Diesel Rabbit

Worst car I ever bought,
a diesel Rabbit that spouted
a smoky blue cloud
which was legal, mind you,
diesel fumes not a ticket offense
(thank you, trucking lobby)
but obnoxious to the world
so cops would tail me,
cite me for driving 26 in a 25 zone,
cite me for failure to signal a right turn,
stop me for long hair
and a FUCK REAGAN bumper sticker
(which I challenged and won).
It was cheap to operate
but finally I junked it
as no one would buy it
but sometimes I miss the Eighties,
the greed decade,
Reagan and Kissinger killing peasants
by proxy in Nicaragua,
the whole ugly passage of
glam-rock, Trivial Pursuit,
while we were raising our babies
in sensuous poverty,
a car that went zero to sixty in fifteen minutes
when lucky,
growing strong kids, happy kids, smart kids,
the scent of blue smoke
on a cold morning.


Abstract Dream

Where am I?
Walking into the deep blue
of this abstract dream.
There is no gravity
all is light and indigo
all is profound.
Step after step
I am leaving traces of my being
where am I going?
I am following
the blue clusters of creativity
listening to the magic sound of my heart.
Step after step
I leave imprints of my passage
traces moving the air in
a dance called life.



Venom is obvious if blue would be like this.
Exertions take place to desolate the blue.
Faces with masks which was rare beforehand
now very ubiquitous.
Blue has spooked everyone.
Pale faces seem desperately helpless.

Everyone would protect him/herself
but there is no one who can shield others too.
Birds are also suffocating in the blue
for them sky and earth both are identical.
Blue is the pivot around which everyone is to breathe.
The result might be to have all human faces changed into blue.
Blue is being discussed in every edifice
but there is no stratagem to deceive the enemy, Blue.


World of Whirls

A hand is raised
Is it for help or
to drag into that rage?
Struggling to veil the face
but that little shoe is
trying to tell a tale.

Trying hard to find a clue
in this dusky dew.
From where he has come
and why the mood blue?

Venomous might be the hood
as gassy is the tunnel,
Oh! But not a worry, he is
right at the end of the funnel.

Mild rustle of dusty wind
welcoming golden and green
may bring a shiny beam.
Needs just a little stand
to anonymous spraying hand!



It turns out that I have drawn the very sky
down and wear it like a bodybag made
of gas, my corpse for now holding the shape
of a life but not the animation. There is no
stench. Nor is there a sense of decomposition,
for who remembers that I was here at all;
never mind what I was like before this?
The world must go on and I must not

see it, hear it, touch it, taste it, smell it.
What other senses am I missing now
that I never missed before? I breathe
my bodybag in deeply and expel it shallower
until all breathing ceases, except it doesn't –
Only mine. Only now. Only nothing.


The Detour

The bronchus of air
Filled up with blue dreams,
The air held a breath

It's alveoli were full of itself
But the colour showed
Before the show began

And before it became words
It melted to a sigh
Of spattered impulse

It broke out like cauliflower–
Broad leaves spewing clouds
The making of a mighty vegetable

It bloomed like burning plastic
But before the air could gather itself
The gases teemed in

It waned into habit again,
Before it could be breath, death
and barnacle


The Downtrodden

What the fuck is this? Here I am minding my own business, and all of a sudden I've got an engulfing and utterly arbitrary blue cloud obscuring my vision and making my lungs hurt. If it wasn't enough that my tree decided to desert me and my kin to the ground to quickly turn into a morbid brown, this. If it wasn't enough that the ground, of which roughly half of my body is touching, this. If it wasn't enough that the cruelties of physics elect to haphazardly ship me from section of cold ground to section of cold ground in something these strange humans call 'wind', this! I mean, I'm in a god damn tunnel for Christ's sake; the irony makes me laugh as it simultaneously makes me cry.

Why the fuck is it blue, anyway? I always thought the only thing that ever looked good in that bright a blue was the sky, and my opinion categorically remains unaltered.

I look over to the leaf next to me. His name is Steve. Steve looks fucking petrified. You know that moment when you need to shit and you are acutely aware that there isn't a toilet within the four gusts of wind you need to carry you there in time? Yeah. That look. I ask Steve what's up. He says he sees a hand. A white glove, coming out of the blue.

It's Michael Jackson, putting on a rehearsal. I fucking get it. Michael Jackson, picking on the little guy. Again.

It isn't a Moonwalk when you're underneath the shoe.


Hue and cry

‘There are more colours than you think,’ she said,
To the stubborn unbeliever, umber overcoat
always on, and sure, quite sure.
‘Look here, at this blast of tinct, erupting
from a corner of the world, a fist in it;
a new creature emerging, tiny. Punching
a rose fist and cadmium sleeve.
What hue or temper will they be?
Same as the cloud in which they were submerged:
cerulean blue mood, cyan or phthalo, say?’
Umber looked, but did he see
or gauge an as yet unlimmed world?
She wasn’t giving up, this girl in carmine shoes:
‘The world is pretty and more various,
in time or aspect than you can yet imagine.
Watch, now: silent. Feel the chroma now,
rushing forward from this puff, this cloud.’
What did he see?
Pretty, he allowed, but inconvenient,
with things to do, skating on his life
and errands shouting, forms to turn,
accomplishments to crow.
‘Oh Umber,’ said Carmine, this silently,
in her heart, ‘your sureness: your downfall;
the inchoate, uncertain: joy –
play, metaphysical, and love.
That’s all. And all.’
She’d willed it. Too bad. He wouldn't see
this little birth on a grey street: too much to do. Read more >



The heart of the lightsaber the crystal is
Imbued with a force through cogitation
Without this attunement obscure we are
Disposable shafts of superheated plasma
Promptly assembled to look like a president
Pink cock jizzing out a set of pipe dreams
Every mental state borne aloft by nothing
Finer than a thought thinking itself valid
Projects the densest cloud of self-delusion
Which too shall pass with a little attention
But not today the first of another year
Today I am working very hard at keeping
These thoughts smouldering smouldering
Like an old-fashioned smoke machine
Fed on some feathersticks of desires
A few dandelion clocks of self-deception
And a fat spark or two of displeasure
Flayed from a blade struck against black
Rods of ferrocerium igniting four decades
Worth of toxic sap and softwood tinder.

Note: The title/first line of this poem is a quote from Yoda.


I dream of corporeal.
Inside, I am contained. Between walls.
My bounds are given.
Outside, I seep away. Lost up to the sky.
I stoop in bus shelters to contain my limitlessness.
People try to touch.
I am not here, I hiss. They do not hear me.
You have got me all wrong.
I scream for how I know I am,
But all they see is this limiting form,
And hear the wisps of my voice
Curling out each and every way,
Diluted by this strange world.
I am not corporeal.


The Smoke of darkness

I stand beneath, down by the logs, where the smoke and fog surround me and stretch beyond limits to greet the sky. It is a beautiful sight as I am engulfed in blue and white. I realize, the mask of survival is shivering and withering off gently. The Winter outside of me is cold. The road is filled with leaves and snow. Here I stay, impeaching the goodness that made Death the emperor of life. I see the cruel mace, marching towards me. I shall be long gone before the people approach me. I see everything burning to extinction. I know that this is the minute of sparkling darkness. The living darkness is gone. It is bright again. My soul flies virile through the grandeur of the smoke I see; my pen and the last words of inspiration are fading into the ash.



I am the seed of Fear,
she said,
darkly germinated by
the unknown,

I grow.

I will smear and stain,
bleeding blue as I weep,
heaving deep silent bellows
which bulge with the weight of emerging ghosts,
and billow and roll with explosions of regret.

I inflate.

My voluptuous curves undulate,
surge as they summon and shape
chill wisps of thought into a swelling mass
to blind you,
muffle you,
smother you,
condense you,
cocoon you in a throbbing curlicue –
my inky signature, muted in mist.
I will eclipse you.

I dilate.

Read more >


Lost behind a smoke screen of desire
There is love but no fire.
I try my best to complete my side
Of the bargain I made as your bride.
But I choke on the lies I’ve told
And in my heart I hold
A secret of my own downfall
Break down the barrier once and for all.


The Blue

I have seen the blue
Gracing the expanse of a rain washed sky,
I have coveted the blue
Billowing in waves before my eyes,
I have been the blue
Bruises adorning every limb,
I have felt the blue
Of broken hearts and shattered dreams,
I have touched the blue,
The blue has touched me,
Finding a home in my very core.


Blake Hall Station Incident

Cobalt-blue explosion,
Underground incident,
Smoke-filled tunnel.
Train-less, disused –
Overground, normality –
Multi-coloured leaves;
Emerging, appearing...
Random pink hand.

Emergency services –
X-ray sharp relief –
Peering through murk,
Evidence seeking,
Re-searching scene;
Investigation unit
Emerging from...
Noxious fumes,
Choking, airless –
Epping-Ongar & Central line.


Blake Hall underground station
Passenger numbers dwindled to 17
Daily on average;
The station closed in 1981.



When a very heavy star comes to the end of its life, it collapses under its own gravity, tearing a hole in space-time and reaching a place called a singularity – a place that is infinitely dense and infinitely small. She feels she is at this point in her life, with many frustrations, a vapour stick and a lot of blue smoke.



First came the smoke. Then the fire. Or, should I say ire? I had left the chicken in the oven about ten minutes too late. Too focused on Facebook and comparing myself to BT – my Frenemy. Living my real life now in Stuttgart, I get strange looks when I use the word. “You know, when it’s a friend but really, you are competition and sometimes, this ‘friend’ is like an enemy?” Europeans stare at me like: why the hell would you be a friend with someone like that? And I think: well, it’s because … because… if you come from a kind of society where networking is something you do and not a technical term, then you gotta have these frenemies, eh? Well, it’s like …. like…work colleagues maybe? The nemeses at work whom you might be super-friendly with, even go out with but, you’ll get thrown under the bus when it comes time to cosy up to the new boss, right?

Alone with my burnt dinner, I feel ridiculous. Why would I be friends with BT? I scroll through my FB “Friends” list and cut off all his connections. Fuck, yeah, why should I continue this so far away?

Amid the frantic de-friending, memories waft and swirl. It happens here too. They call it “mobbing” – a kind of bullying at work that happened to someone I know. The Germans in his unit didn’t want an auslander, an interloper. He got piled with work, criticized for not doing it on time, shunned at lunch. Everything about high school comes blowing back in adult situations.

I’m now fanning the oven trying to get rid of the smoke. Opened all the windows in the apartment. I’m sure I can save it. Maybe I’ll start some soup stock, strip the chicken and re-make dinner.

Read more >


My insides are out,
my teeth are chipped
these intestines are empty and they're devouring me
I'm enveloped by tangled veins overdosed on caffeine,
Strangling. Suffocating.
I desire to smoke now,
for I crave its toxic softness to free my lungs from the cage
I desire the solemnity of the sky.
How long have I been waiting to lay there,
for my flesh to fill the gaps in the stars
for my soul to seal the craters of the moon?
I desire that chunk of somber cloud—
that coffin hovering in the sky
for I crave a rest now



Gourav 1: What is it?
Gourav 2: I can see a hand, spraying blue colour on himself. But why?
Gourav 1: Maybe he wants to show he’s blue. Look at his legs. Seems like he's approaching. But why only blue and nothing else or his original colour?
Gourav 2: Maybe the one he is approaching wants to see him blue or he thinks he, as blue, is better. But yes, one thing's for sure, blue isn’t his original colour.
Gourav 1: Yes! He has coloured himself. But why?
Gourav 2: Don’t you?
Gourav 1: ...


The Vaporization of Glassy Glenda Glow Lips

Today the cosmetics industry mourns the loss of Glassy Glenda Glow Lips. Her kaleidoscopic palette of primary pigments has painted the glossy pages of domestic and international fashion magazines for years. Italian designer Grigio Ganzo attempted to take his life when he heard the news, and rests under surveillance at the Clinique Grangettes in Geneva. Beau Pitman, Glenda’s ex, fled the set of his latest blockbuster, purportedly financed by Glassy Glenda Glow Lips herself, The Blue Heron Returns, and refuses to comment.

In an interview last year, after their divorce, Pitman remarked that Glenda had become obsessed with ultramarine. In their bedroom, she had a floor-to-ceiling aquarium installed and stocked with all manner of blue fish and corral. He didn’t mind the blue Mercedes or the Cerulean custom-painted Lamborghini Reventón, nor did he remark on the blue-toned wall hangings and azure ceilings throughout the pavilion. The Oxford blue suits Glenda insisted he wear offset the twinkle of his own Paul Newman eyes. However, when he prepared to bathe and found a Blue Siamese Fighting Fish swimming up the channel between his thighs, he had had enough of blue and Glenda, too.

Even now, Glenda Glow Lips’ fans congregate outside the gates of the fashion model’s property, Blue Heaven Pavilion. In search of that perfect hue of sapphire for her stunning Anime eyelids, she eschewed teal, steel, ice, ocean deep and midnight blue. Powder and baby blue made her yawn, royal blue’s promises left her cold, iridescent heart of iris was just too Elizabeth Taylor and periwinkle made her sneeze. Ever in search of bolder and brighter blues, and richer tints, Glenda Glow Lips agreed to undergo a cutting-edge experiment—a complete chemical immersion in a cloud of explosive cobalt blue pigment. Read more >


Tones of Blue

It's my father's eyes
despite his Irish Catholicism,
mother's were warm brown hugs of earth.

It was never our tricolour
of Glasgow Celtic, prayers and mass,
it was their Union Jack and Glasgow Rangers.

It wasn't our primary, that was purple, it was
our secondary; v-necks, ties and bullies,
fenians never, protestants forever.


It was the Himalayan poppies that brought cheer
to our first country garden and the soundtrack
for your infidelity and our separation.

Of course it's the sky, but why?
Sometimes it's the sea, but not the Clyde,
it's grey like smoke.


What They Feed On

Consumption of greed lingers in the bellies of ferocious monsters,
and I am confronted with this internal rage that wants to pour its acid onto the skin that these beasts grow in.

I am dumbfounded,
struck by the skeletal hands who wish to strangle the life out of me.

My bed asks for my body.
My food asks for my mouth.

But they,
they ask for me to be weak, to be sullen,
to be cut open and dissected into shapes of rippling destruction.

How dare they destroy the land I walk on,
the soil of the Earth I was birthed from.

This tiresome energy drains into the water I bathe myself in,
and yet, when I dry myself and build myself anew, I am displayed unloved.

They stuff their mouths with privilege,
that slowly suffocates them.

They are building their own coffins,
but only the poor will fill this space.

They are feeding on a type of food
that has become the treasure we are all trying to reach.

I am drenched in this sadness,
that used to be a solace at first.

Read more >


Just when I think all is well with you and your kin
The sharp tongue lashes out once again
Jolting my stomach, my mind
What has one done to make you so cruel, so unkind?
Your hate is so visceral
Peace is the only goal
The smoke has cleared
Why can't you see this?



like indigo smoke over dead leaves
like blue kumkum dispersed by the breezes at Holi
like the last notes of Bessie Smith’s After You’ve Gone

you vanished

like the cobalt blue of an ancient Madonna
like the pristine waters after the Exxon Valdez
like the New York sky on 9/11

you vanished


Cloud or Candy Floss

Born out of copper sulphate
mixed with other solutions
I'm a young scientist's
wonderful creation

When you hear the sound
and see me standing
in front of you
you may be sacred
You may think it's lethal
if you touch me
if you breathe me
but if you dare
to walk through me
I'll take you to
my adventurous sci-fi like world

My country is called
Blue Cloud or Gentle Candy Floss
In my land
flowers and greenery
float in the air
The sky rests down
like blue grass

As you'll travel in the boats
you'll learn to fight against
giant one-eyed monsters
Read more >



The mist in the winter is canopy of snowfall,
Snowflakes scintillate the pathway,
Walking in the snow feels like a needle in a haystack,
With uncertainty of the path – where it will lead you – one must enjoy the view.
Such beautiful time comes once a year.
Surroundings gleam and new perspectives lead towards a new path,
Traveling to a new path feels like a new brush sweeping you clean.
It’s a vacillation of mind whether to accept a new perspective on life or to delve into the past,
That is painting your world blue in the midst of the winter.



Gawain had grown up knowing he’d have to face the dragon one day. Every family in the kingdom had to sacrifice one daughter to its dreadful appetite, and every second son must attempt to kill it.

None had succeeded so far, but Gawain was more than ready to try. His sister Avril, the sweetest playmate a little brother would wish for, had been taken last spring. His parents put on brave faces in this country where most families bore a similar grief, but Gawain had heard his mother weeping at night and his soul burned for revenge.

His father, a first son, had watched his own brother die, burnt to a crisp by the dragon’s breath, and he coached Gawain relentlessly for his approaching battle.

‘Keep moving, son, don’t stand still for a second. Dart in under its head and cut its evil throat,’ was his advice, but Gawain knew this method hadn’t saved anyone yet – he and his friend Edwin had something very different in mind.

From their earliest schooldays they had scoured the forest, and last winter they had discovered a back entrance to the dragon’s den. Their plan was simple, daring and deadly dangerous, but they were marked for death anyway – what did they have to lose?

When Edwin’s day arrived, the crowd gathered to watch the battle from a safe distance. Gawain’s parents stood with Edwin’s to show solidarity, but Gawain was nowhere to be seen, and his father cringed with embarrassment as the crowd muttered, ‘The boy’s scared – it’s his turn next.’

Read more >

Smoke Gets In Your Eyes

I coughed and spluttered, peering through the blue smoke all around me. It laid a shadowy filter over my surroundings, making it difficult to see where I was. Gradually, it started to dissipate, allowing me to take stock. The ground was hard and grey, with scattered leaves that told me it must be autumn. There was a curving roof over my head, decorated with graffiti. A tunnel. I shivered, looking out of the opening before me and beyond. My eyes still stung and the brightness of the scene in contrast to the tunnel dazzled me for a moment. I heard the sound of children laughing, and the creak of rusty metal. A playground. A dog barked nearby and the chill wind rustled through trees. A park. Was this where I was meant to be? The Wizard’s instructions had been vague. There was danger, a life at stake, only moments to cast the spell to bring me here. A sharp retort cracked to my left. A gunshot? I drew my wand and started running.


Into the Blue


The sound jolts my mind from the multitude of swirling thoughts within. I open my eyes to a background of blue. The smoke surprises me. Is it lethal? Am I going to die?
And yet, there is something kind about it. Soothing even.
I hear people screaming. Several run in my periphery but my eyes are entranced by the ever-growing flower of blue before me.
I grab onto the bench for support. My legs beg me to rise and investigate, but my hammering heart tells me to hold still, sit a moment longer and enjoy the blue.
The yelling fades. I don't know if everyone has run away and left me alone – not that I could complain – or if the smoke has some deafening effect, not complaining about that either.
The bursting blue transfixes me and yet it calls to me. I'm moving! My legs walk of their own accord. They haven't asked my brain for permission. Is that normal?
The blue is growing bigger or is it because I'm the one moving closer?
I stand at the mere edge of the alluring color. It is opaque. I see nothing beside or beyond it.
My hand, too, moves without asking my mind about its next step. It touches the blue smoke and for a moment nothing happens.
Then it engulfs me!
I don't scream or cry. I close my eyes and breathe, bracing myself for the possible end.
Something soft touches my cheek. I open my eyes. It is an old man with eyes as blue as the breathtaking flower of smoke. Time stands still. Then he smiles.
"You are brave," he says.
Read more >


where blue begins

Mongui, Colombia, 5 Jan 2018: The national anthem plays on the radio every night at 6pm, and a small man in waterproof trousers and matching cornflower blue hat and jumper is standing at the reception desk at the hotel. He waits. The receptionist is nowhere to be seen. Or found. He’s the picture of blue impatience. And the national anthem plays on. No one listens. A woman wearing heavy hiking boots stealths quietly through the front door; she sets her walking stick against the wall and sits in a chair nearest the window. She is trying to login to the hotel’s free Wi-fi. Without success. She looks lost. There’s no mobile signal up here. The altitude is over 3,200 metres. Wi-fi is the only connection with the small world below us. And the national anthem plays on. The man in blue, hits the brass bell again with his hand. No one listens. Sorry, don’t know, I say to the woman when she asks for the Wi-fi password. The small man glares at the woman, his jaw grinds, mincing his words but he holds them behind tight lips. Tomorrow morning he’ll walk into the hills, cross above the treeline, through the clouds and up where blue begins. But right now, it’s 6pm. The national anthem plays on the radio — but no one listens.


Now you see me,
now you don't. I disappear
in a flash and a dazzle.

I never intended to. This
just happens when you
put me on stage.

One day, I will reemerge,
tortoise-like, from this puff
of noise. Obfuscation is the word
du jour.

For now, I'll rest in this wondrous
cloud of reason. Justify this to
myself. See you later.



A wave-
Arises half-
Inconsistent as hollowness.

Sudden thump!
A shrilling scream -
Swiftly - steadily -
Sunken to the lowest.

At snail pace-
Emerging mermaids-
Dancing each to each-
Spilling golden melody.

At distance-

An eternal wave-
Emerging to be suppressed -
Dissolving into nothingness.

A blue wind -
Mocking to the shore -
Patches of foam smeared on the face of sea.

And eternal wave -
Lingering back-and-forth
Banished in oblivious silence.


Magic Moments

Creep up,
Sometimes they arrive concealed in a puff of blue smoke,
And it is hard to see behind the curtain of illusion.
Occasionally, the illumination these defining prestidigitation ‘happenings’ bring,
Light up our lives with lasting delight;
Love may arrive announced,
The promotion you never thought you’d achieve lands in your ‘in-tray’,
That book you’ve wanted for years,
manifests itself on the shelves of a charity shop,
The person, who never wins a competition wins a jackpot,
A baby is born hale and hearty,
A stranger offers you their seat on the bus,
A cheerful smile greets you on a grey day,
A friend listens to you without criticism or making unasked for suggestions,
These memorable moments involve no sleight of hand,
They come unbidden to transforming pedestrian, ordinary existence into pure gold,
without a magician’s tricks or alchemist’s assistance.


I Dream of Genies

You won't get me to expand on this.
You’re only concerned with explosions,

and centrifugal motion, with BIGGER,
that implosions and quieter centripetal forces
are left behind.
If I had those fabled three wishes

then, sure, I’d wish for three more per wish,
but as soon as the last of the nine wishes is spent

I’d be straight back in the lamp;

a rat up a drainpipe
throwing out promises of this
and that, left and right, then front
and centre.

I’ll give you not what you need
but what you want,
and there’s the rub.


A Hundred Year Project

(Extract of translation of the alien document found at the installation)

To: The Commander in Chief
Project: Planet Earth

After research, and several mind probes, the scientists concluded that the installation be blue because it inspired serenity thus lulling the population into a false sense of security. As the colour reflected the sky and the oceans, the sub conscious emotional attachment cannot be over stated.

Under cover of darkness and with a laser screen, the installation was placed in a public highway, visible to high number of foot traffic over the course of the month. Various artefacts were sited, chosen to complement the emotional response, such as the barley twist cornucopia you will notice from the image attached. (During interrogations, this piece was also identified as the flame of liberty. I believe it refers to a monument significant to North America). A dressing of autumn leaves added to the attractant symbolism.

The conclusion is that the Earth inhabitants won’t take action, and when they do it will be too late sufficient gas will be forced into the air.

The time lapse image shows the release of the blue gas on day one. The gas activates and expands once it reaches twenty miles above sea level. The native life span is short, so the Earth population changes every 100 years. On our return the population will be non-existent, and the planet ours.

Sir, the document continues and is attached. We have 100 years to identify the gas and neutralise it. The referred artefacts are at the research facility, and subject to testing. At present we have no way of knowing how the gas effects our population, or how many are affected. Early reports indicate increased deaths in certain global areas.

Submitted for immediate action.


If it sticks

‘If it sticks’ she says as if it were snow a floating flake which may or may not deign to mingle and make a
Wrapped in itchy blue
Ten toes curled
And pink and a
Button nose with
The talc from the factory
Still in the creases the
Michelin man
Bubbles and the
Bluest eyes you
Could imagine.

At two weeks to say
‘If it sticks’
Her brats already
Been there done that bought the
Car seat
Pump and
Fairy door.

Staffroom table
‘You’ll be next’ she belched
As if it was some contagion
Scratching under a swollen udder
I volleyed back a retort
About the angel
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