Whenever I see bodies
severed and wounded and bleeding and enslaved bodies
Whenever, I see, bodies.
There is an interruption. There is a complete lack,
a total lack of identification, an utter lack, there.
(sunburnt, bearded, marching bodies… beautiful early summer…)
Neither officially remembered nor truly forgotten
But hanging off
_____________off of providence
___________________________off of providential history
like a flapping thing, that hits
and hits and hits and hits
without metre or syncopation or syncoanything.
No riffin’ or signifyin’ here,
No off the beat beatniking in some off-the-beaten-track
Fado bar in Lisbon or New York.
No fragments shored against my ruins.
No ruins, even; ruin, ruining, ruined, ruiner, rooooeeeee –
but no ruins.

Anyway, listen. Put down your pen and take off that idiotic hat.
Just listen. Here it comes –
groaning sodden hull, stiff rope unfurling,
chained ankles rattling in the hold
– a thousand centuries of death.

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Christmas, Blank Verse

D’you remember the Thursday before last Christmas
when we kidnapped that circus clown in Levenshulme.
In the hotel room, like demented cleaners,
we scrubbed his makeup off under the shower.
With rough sponges we scoured and scraped and then
stripped him down to his belly and pants.
Look at his ribs, you said, and laughed, and stuck
your finger in, and with your eyes shut tight
you pull back a nub, and wheeze foreignly:
Nobody Expects The Hispanic Inquisition!
You are a magnificent bully, I think.

Of course this may or may not have happened.
And yet I really do remember the look
of confusion and abandon on your
face, flecked with thick white makeup from
old Scaramouch down there, breathing heavily.
And you know I can’t help but think that
everything gets worse as you get older.

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‘Light The Windows In These Places Let Through’

Go to for info/downloads, and to access all of our music.

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No. 84

He got onto the bus home, alone. His head turned
tightly towards the window, he let the outside
whiz past his gaze.
He sat as if hypnotised. He saw
the Southern Cemetery pass,
huge and grey,
going on and on and on
into the distance and to the side.
Shadowy figures seen
walking amid, crouching over,
vague outlines of stones. Meaningless and dizzying
sensation, damp and sentient. Three-story
redbrick houses and conifers of the
affluent neighbourhoods. Squares of vivid
yellows and blues signal
real estate manoeuvres: lettings, sales
and foreclosures. Dark green creep
between the houses as a reward,
and suddenly,
faulty neon and grimy primary-coloured
gazebos of Rusholme. Bad credit ratings,
gold watches, closing restaurants.
Historical divisions
here as an unbroken surface
moving rapidly across the eye.
Suggesting a moral pallet, a series of
private and discrete spaces. A ruse
and a grift, nothing more. Seductive
but try to ignore it.

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Tuesday, Wednesday

After the coffin had slipped
behind the curtain,
He stood listening to a bald-headed friend of an uncle.
‘The coffin is really a contaminant,’ he said, ‘and that’s
before you get to the issue
of the radioisotopes.
On account of your father’s
radiation therapy. You don’t want to
put that shit
back into the ground.’
‘And there’s a finite amount of space.’
The man smiled warmly and turned his hand over
as if to reveal a gift, although
it was empty. ‘Your father wouldn’t have wanted that.’
‘No.’ To his surprise,
he found himself in agreement, even though
he knew it was bollocks,
and he smiled.
The man winked.
The smile looked more like a frown,
the wink more of a weird facial tic.
‘… those Islamist buggers are dead against it…’
The war, he remembered.

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Feng Shui, or, Somebody Else’s Face On Your Body

The most peculiar aspect was the way in which the DMARD drugs changed her face. She looked in the mirror three months after the initial prescription and it had completely transformed into someone else’s. Christ almighty, she said. She stepped backwards and said the same thing again. The whole right side of her face had come way out to the side. Her eye bags were bulbous and bunched up around her nose. Her mouth and chin protruded, as if another face was growing underneath, rising inexorably to the surface, ballooning around the edges of her jaw line. She was smooth and waxy and strange. Her whole head, this was.

The doctor had prescribed azathioprine. He also prescribed rest and physical activity. She meant to ask what the hell that was supposed to mean, but the words got stuck in her throat. The doctor said for her
‘I know that sounds more like a general prescription for life.’
so she didn’t have to. The doctor communicated a sense of overwhelming self-confidence.

She walked away from the mirror and puzzled, as in consciously reflected, on what she was going to do. She rubbed her chin and her fingers sunk in exploratively beneath her jaw.

There was lots there to explore. The baby next door called through the wall: ‘Ewwwwwwwww.’ Grim comic timing.

After the doctor’s, she was on the bus and sat with her eyes closed, feeling completely done in. There was no getting around it, or above it, or putting it in perspective. It was like one of those dreams where you never touch down. She went to the off-license and bought a bottle of vodka. At home, a horrible acrid drunkenness crept up on her at nine, and her pain went away, but came back even harder in the morning.

Much later, she walked quickly into her lounge, and surveyed it with the eye of a film director working on instinct. The sofa was in the wrong place, for starters. With effort, she pushed it away from the wall, one corner at a time. The carpet made unhappy noises, and was being ruined. The sofa kept going until it hit the coffee table. She took the pane of glass out of the table and balanced it up alongside the wall on the opposite side of the room. Left with the frame, she managed to lift it over the back of the sofa so it was next to the near wall as you entered the room.

Earlier, she had spoken to her mother on the phone, and had been telephoned by a few family members. On the television the poet laureate Andrew Motion had written a poem and was reading it out to the only living survivor of the first world war. He didn’t dare look at him, and the survivor didn’t look as if he knew what was going on. Her work rang and told her to take at least the week off, and to let them know how everything was going. They made it sound like she had a touch of the flu. The boss was coming over to her house, he said. “Don’t,” she said. “Only if you’re sure,” they said.

In the lounge, she wasn’t happy with the new positions of the table and sofa, but for now she was just creating space. It was a start; she was still scouting for a location. She dropped to her knees and pulled out various objects from a shelving unit. All the objects had originally been put there because they looked good. She chucked them over the sofa, and they clunked as they hit the frame of the table. When the unit was empty she lifted it at the corners. It looked heavy and thick, but was really easy to move. She moved it over to the window. It was incredibly light.

Later that evening in the pub her friends staged an exuberant but completely genuine display of empathy. The table was spotted with drips of moisture and creaked, pushed by fidgeting feet. Their eyes were pinky marbles in sticky pools. It was exactly as you imagined. She played a quiz machine with her friend and just felt fucking awful answering the questions. They were beyond meaningless.

Back in the lounge, and the unit was next to the sofa, in the middle of the room. She went into the bedroom and got out a small pickaxe, which she had never used before. She didn’t remember what its original function was. She didn’t know what it was doing in her house. But in a very purposeful manner she walked into the lounge and surveyed her work like the director again. The whole room was being rearranged and her face was hanging desperately off her bones. She moved silently to the wall, which was covered with pink wallpaper, and laid her back against it. She looked at the sofa, the unit, and the carcass of the coffee table. She closed her eyes and swung the pickaxe gently up in front of her. She let her arm drop and it connected with the wall. She did this again and again, until a small hole had been born into the wall. She moved across the room in this fashion, gently and gradually demolishing the far wall, the individual points and holes eventually merging, and the pink paper giving way to grey plaster. It all hanged menacingly off at an angle. It was a room in which something could begin, or end, or take place.

When she reached the part of the wall where the glass pane of the coffee table stood, she swung the pickaxe and waited for the sound of smashing.

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Sit Com

To cut a long story short, I was on a flight from the U.S. to the U.K. when a man died right there in the cabin, on the seat behind me. The crew moved him to an empty row at the back of the plane near the engines. Where the noise was. They put a blanket over him. This was with four hours of the flight still to go. He was obviously very dead, and everyone on the plane knew about it. Everyone kept facing forward.

We had to stay around when we landed, while they did checks and reports. People were anxious and complaining. But it didn’t take too long. The crew did a good job. We were already off the plane and into the terminal when they took his body away.

Then I saw on the internet a couple of days later that this man who had died on the plane was an actor in a TV sitcom. I’d never even seen this man before, and I didn’t recognise his picture in the paper. So, naturally, I completely forgot about him; the second time in the same week. I just did my usual stuff, I was pretty busy actually.

Then after a week it came to the holidays and I decided to download his sitcom from the internet. I was bored, and it was raining, and all these bugs were coming into the house, and the smell of the house made me remember the man for some reason. I put the shows on, and a part of me felt bad because maybe I was denying his widowed wife and fatherless kids some royalties. But I must have felt ok because I didn’t stop to think, not really. You see, all the bugs were coming into my house because of the rain, with the smell of the rain, and I felt awful.

And his sitcom turned out to be quite good. He played a man called Pete. He has a couple of dogs, and that was just about it. That was his character, that he didn’t have a thing; pure sitcom. He was just Pete and he had some dogs, and he endured.

One episode his fridge breaks, and he has to eat all of the food because it was going off. Does this sound familiar? It felt familiar to me. He has to eat all the food, and some of it is obviously bad, and he’s ciphering off all these jars of things and condiments and meat on to his dogs, because he can’t get through it. The episode ends with Pete in the vets with his sick dogs, and the vet gives Pete a quick look over. The vet’s the straight man and Pete is the stooge, and its obviously ridiculous that a human would be examined by a vet. But the thing is, it really isn’t a very funny scene. In fact Pete and his dogs are seriously ill. And there’s not a punchline; the episode simply ends. I play it back to double-check that it isn’t funny, and it isn’t funny, even less so. It fades out with Pete doubled up, in pain, with his dogs running around him. And the audience is silent.

I watch the vet episode a few times and start feeling strange and depressed; that this man died behind me and I got his sitcom for free. I start feeling bad for his family. The fact he’s so ill in the sitcom, this one episode, I can tell you definitely contributes to it. I resolve to give this man’s family something so I buy every series of this show on DVD, and there are three of them. The smallest noblest gesture in the history of the world, but so what.

I watch them as soon as I get them and enjoy them all. I suppose Pete is the clown character, funny and sad, tall, stupid accent. Another episode he’s going to give a phone, a landline phone as a wedding present to this couple, but it’s actually his own phone. So he wraps it and takes it to the wedding but when he gets there the wedding’s off, its been off for days but his phone’s been wrapped up so no one can contact him to tell him. The reason the wedding’s cancelled is the main joke of the episode, and the scene in which Pete turns up at the wedding doesn’t really work. The audience is muted, they want to see what happens with the other characters. The situation with Pete is too silly, it hasn’t been set up properly. In fact I find it depressing. For a short second I well up and whimper, and a bubble of snot comes out of my nose. For a short second it’s just awful. He’s a tragic figure, I decide in that moment.

But of course the next episode he’s back to his usual self, which is the point of sitcoms, and if anything this makes me feel even worse, to see this person in a basically endless cycle, functioning whether he wants to or not. The opening credits shows him on a park bench with his dogs. No matter what goes on in the show, he’s always on that bench. But in real life he’s dead and decaying in the ground somewhere, so the irony is glaring, and I find it hard to take. I spend a whole weekend alone watching this show, and I’ve seen them all a couple of times by now. I’ve seen him do these clownish things more than once, sometimes even five times. And he died a couple of feet away from me, and I barely noticed. I put my headphones on in fact. And now all this imaginary stuff seems much more real.

One episode he’s about to be deported, but it never happens. The government agent tells him he is merely deportable. This brings the house down with the studio audience. But Pete just repeats: ‘deportable.’ Maybe he wants to be deported.

Another episode he meets a woman who is basically a female version of himself. This is the last episode of series three, the last ever episode. She’s blonde and Scandinavian and has dogs that look just like Pete’s. Again, it’s a pretty lame premise but there’s a good joke with the dogs at one stage, a good visual joke. Maybe this woman is going to be a permanent character in the next series, but we’ll never know. She doesn’t even split up with Pete. Although I suppose they don’t strictly get together either. I look on IMDB and find out her name is Siobhan something. An Irish girl playing a Swede.

So I spend my holiday feeling bad about their relationship that didn’t come to anything. About the deportation that never happened. And then I think about the aeroplane again, and feel totally useless. This is the point of sitcoms, I tell myself.

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As my dad’s crooked hand is pointing out, we have two newly recorded songs up for free DOWNLOAD.

One is called Staffa & Fingal. The other is called The Old People.

You might already know them, but they sound much better now. And they are both correctly spelt this time.

We hope you enjoy them very much.  If you do, why not pass on our website address to a loved one?

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Internecine EP


Look, we have a new EP up for download called Internecine.

It relates to our recent album The Third Person in various ways. Think of it as its little brother or sister, perhaps.

Click HERE to own it.


productivity, productivity.

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New Album

thethirdpersonHere’s our new album. Enjoy!
Download HERE
Info/stream HERE

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