I swear to god a candle just tried to hypnotize you


you lit six of them.

one of them always tries to hypnotize you.

always the scented one.


its flame low, a pin-prick of fading fire.

I’m over-egging its worth. antifire, more like embers

if embers aren’t fire.


all night you tried to stay up and write an anti-fiction.

he gets up. he eats. he goes out.

he eats. he sees no one. he gets drunk. he sleeps.



there are buildings in Rome where you can

go to get hypnotized.

not in catacombs.

the houses of Etruscans. they can trace

their bloodlines back to before Rome. before stories.

before novel ideas. they eat chestnuts and don’t smoke.

they get up. they eat. they go out.

they eat. they see no one. they get drunk on Etruscan wine. they sleep.

they hypnotize travellers with candles.


none of this is true. you only lit five candles.

you didn’t make the flight. you didn’t

get over your fear of flights or chestnuts or Rome.

you stayed at home. you got up.

you ate. you saw no one. you got drunk on Dutch lager. you slept

intermittently, waking up every now and again

with this itching thought that you should be doing something

like writing a novel, that you should have been doing that for years.

you hypnotized yourself with what if and could have been. you slept.

you got up.

you get the picture.


Listing Today


Thoughts of failed novels – 3

Thoughts of the hope I have for novels -1

Thoughts of failed collections. Such as collections of football stickers, Viking figures, Penguin Classics and poetry – 5

Red hair – 4

That I was paid with cigarettes as a means to avoid housing benefit. That I was a junky – 0

Pictures of a road without blue bells. BLUE BELLS. Space – 0

A pub becoming a pharmacy becoming where they found his body – 1

Reeds – 1

Thoughts of unsent emails to literary agents – 4

Thoughts of hasty emails sent to literary agents about hastily written novels – 42 (at least)

A child echoing my chidlhood – 1

This dog is tame, is your dog tame? – 1

Crying because of trains – 1

The sun’s polar reversal and what this means for light -1

That I never trusted the sun. That I’ve always admitted this – 1

America and all its jokes – 1

America and a dream I had in 1995 (at least) about playing football in Central Park – 2

America and Charles Bukowski and wanting to admit to someone you think he’s shit but no one is listening and then you remember you used to like Henry Miller -1

How sports stars lie. Especially Uruguayans (especially racist Uruguayans) – 1

Wondering if I’ll ever go back to the town where I was born. Make it back – 6

It’s not high – 1

Last week I lied about my ancestry. It’s not the first time – 1

I don’t care about Germany. I don’t want to believe a myth that only Germans can have a quiet drink. I drink quietly. I’m drinking quietly now. My grandfather was German – 2

Making lists of the novels I should never have written – 1

Making lists of the poems I should never have written – 6

Lyrics from 1990’s music such as ‘a melody always finds me whenever the thought reminds me…’ or ‘give me one last wish before I walk out of this…’-1

I’m not in Brooklyn. I’m not – 9

Thinking about editing a novel I never wanted to write – 1

Thinking about how easily my novel has been consistently dismissed – 7

Realising my novel isn’t a novel – 1

Realising I have too many Oxford shirts and I’ve never been to Oxford – 1

Sleeping in the afternoon. Making notes about fantasises – 1

Another child (not mine) -1

Another candle going out – 3

Unresponsive televisions – 1

The sound of unresponsive televisions trying to respond (sort of a wheezing death) – 1

On being an anti-statistic – 1

Worrying about the NHS – a lot

Not worrying enough about Syria etc. – 19

Worrying too much about the sun – 19

Worrying too much about emails from literary agents – 1

Playing football with Germans who were really Turkish and Irish Americans circa 1996 – 1

Smoking like a criminal. Not in number. In the sucking – 1

The worst year of my life – 2007

Sunburn (severe) – 1

The acoustics of valleys – 1

Killshots and honesty – 72

The sun as it sets over an estuary. Realising it’s not an estuary, it’s just a wide section of river at low tide – 1

Birds such as choughs and jays – 24

A swarm of bees over a field in Cheshire – 1

The inadequacy of existence. ‘Doesn’t she make you want to live?’ Pause. ‘Can you hear me? Doesn’t she? She does, doesn’t she? She does, does she?’ – 2

Alone – 33

I only have one tenor or tenner


don’t perceive me

don’t make me Julio Iglesias

don’t make me Enrique either

I mean he runs the pub

and trains

I mean she has vermillion hair

and has looked at me twice

like how girls looked at me circa 2001

when did this all become a joke

if I was in a borough

one of the boroughs

not one of ours

I’d need a moustache

I need a punch line

don’t they know what a bird is

I mean bird in its dialectal form

don’t they know I carried a rucksack full

of stones across two counties

there must have been boroughs

there must have been moustaches

and cans of Hawaiian beer

blue cans


ps this guy walks into a bar

Julio Iglesias pours him a pint

(true story)