Out of body? – out of your mind.

•October 17, 2008 • 9 Comments

I think I am having a heart attack. Cardiac arrest, at best, is an awful inconvenience. That old pump beating erratically in my breast. Then all is black. What rotten luck! Until…

“Now my chest is still I suppose, because from where I hover, I spy it : ‘neath my vest, in repose. ” I think. Hmm, not bad that, reminds me of Milton. Hang on? The old Brainbox… working?

I am obscenely serene : I realise that this is due to oxygen starvation of my prefrontal cortex or some such… but it’s still a splendid wheeze.

While the doctors administer their ministrations below, I know that the flow of my old crude has increased enough for my eyes to see.

“Still feels like floating though.” I think. Am I thinking?

“I say!” I say.

It appears Yours Truly is moving down a tunnel, and at a fair old clip at that. I suppose all that adrenaline they’re pumping into your humble narrator has widened his pupils a couple of notches; the quack [ Dr R. Kimble, who is cousin to the Earl of Rochester you know! ] is probably shining his little light into my spheres to boot.

So as I say, here I am, hurtling down this absurd tube when I catch sight of this chap. He looks a peculiar bird, all radiant robes and whathaveyou; queer sort of look on his face.

“What-ho!” say I.

“Good afternoon Sir.” comes the rather staid reply.

“Just what the devil is all this about?” I inquire, somewhat nonplussed by the fellow’s attitude.

“It seems, Sir, that you are experiencing not an inconsiderable trauma to your person.”

“That’s all very well my good man, but I have a luncheon appointment to keep!”

“I believe it was the aforementioned luncheon, Sir, that precipitated your current predicament.”

“Really? What… so I’m dead you mean?” said I, thinking on my feet as it were. “Turned my toes up? But then who, by Odin’s beard, are you?”

“I’m your subconscious Sir … or rather, I am an aspect of the hallucinatory incident that you are undergoing.”

“Good show! ” I said stoically, ” but why the outrageous togs?”

“I believe Sir, that it is simply a ‘marker’, if I you will allow the term, that you have absorbed from the popular culture.”

“Well I never! You mean to say that all this is cooked up by my very own noggin?”

“In a manner of speaking Sir. Your “noggin”, especially the hippocampus, is indeed quite severely deprived of the oxygen that it needs to operate in a satisfactory fashion. I should warn you Sir, that this may also result in a sort of ‘life review’ as abnormal electrical activity in your temporal lobe gives rise to feelings of the immaterial presence of people from your past or, veritably, simulacrums such as myself.”

And wouldn’t you know it, I fancied that I could spy a couple of relatives knocking around in the background, giving me disparaging looks. Uncle Bert was the worst – he always did display a particular animus towards the old self. Ever since I mistakenly winged his dog Hubert whilst hunting pheasant. The mutt itself bore no malice, always accepting a game of ‘throw and retrieve’ with grace and humility, even enthusiasm … and with just the three pins.

“But… dash it all!” said I. ” How long is this nonsense going to go on? I’m expected for dinner at eight. I feel positively chipper.”
“I am of the opinion that it greatly depends upon the success of the resuscitation procedures implemented Sir. Your relatively jovial demeanour appears to be due to the failure of prefrontal function.”
“And this bally floating sensation?”
“Abnormal sensory information from muscle spindles Sir.”
“Hmm, I see. Well. That’s that then.”
“Indeed Sir.”
“Anything else?”
“Nothing pertinent Sir.”
“Well, crivens, if this is a Near Death Experience, what happened to the poor saps before we’d developed this resuscitation malarkey?”
“It was much the same Sir, just without the Near or the Experience.”

As I came round, my bed adrift in the crowd of folk there gathered, like a fresh fallen snow drift, I allowed myself a chuckle as I shifted ‘mongst the covers. I gave no thanks above nor below, but to that old quack Kimble who had cracked my sternum with his knuckle.

“Dashed good show old man!” I bleated.

“Please relax Sir, you’ve had an awful shock.” said old Dr K.

“Nonsense Kimble, you’re hysterical. Jenkins?” I croaked. “Ready my evening wear! I have a dinner date with Ms Kensington-Smythe at eight.”


Free Speech

•October 3, 2008 • 2 Comments

Christopher Hitchens’ masterful speech on freedom of expression.

A Matter of Life and Death and The Shipping Forecast.

•September 25, 2008 • 5 Comments

I am tucked in bed, shrunken and cashew against the cold as the rain pounds at the window : the scrawny beating of a sea-hag’s salty fist, demanding entrance. The only illumination is the weak green glow of the radio dial pooling on the floor. From it issues a voice. A beautiful voice, sonorous and somnolent ; she calms me.

“Forties Cromarty Forth:
Southwesterly 3 or 4, increasing 5 or 6 later. Slight or moderate. mainly fair. Moderate or good.”

She tells of magical places between lands and between worlds ; their names sometimes familiar … half-recalled, half-imagined.

“North Fitzroy Sole Lundy Fastnet Irish Sea:
Easterly or southeasterly 3 or 4, increasing 5 at times. Slight or moderate. Fair. Moderate or good.”

Her words are sub rosa and profound, their meaning recondite yet inclusive and I know that I am not alone. What other adventurers in the night hear her honours and edicts? What brave privateers lost on a cruel Coleridge sea are listening eagerly at their crackling wireless, sliding and rolling in the pitch dark yaw? It is a common brotherhood ; we share respectful audience with this wondrous oracle.

“High southern norway 1038 expected Dogger 1037 by 0700 tomorrow. Developing atlantic low expected 400 miles west of Bailey 991 by same”

On nights like this, when the wind is an interminable mournful wail and the dark, pluvial thrashing scratches bloody-nailed at my walls, she offers me comfort and warmth and consolation. She is a nepenthean June to my Niven and I need just listen to her tales of Dogger and German Bight, Shannon and Dover Wight to be lifted from the Doldrums, her warm breath in my sails.

Sometimes a-dropping from the sky
I heard the sky-lark sing ;
Sometimes all little birds that are,
How they seemed to fill the sea and air
With their sweet jargoning !”                –  S.T.Coleridge

The Final Girl

•September 16, 2008 • 4 Comments

I am The Final Girl, I am The Last. I am burdened with the expectations of ages past.

A child of Fear and Innocence, my future etched in the cold glass of war.

Many times have I been here before: the improbable unlockable door, the roaring, pouring rain and the slip on the floor. The grasp for a knife from an unopening drawer.

Must I confirm that I conform to the tasks I perform?

The Final Girl, The Terminal:

Within swirling eternal mists a pensive spinal curl of smoke, I cast glances around corners, through walls; I solemnly follow the Siren calls to pyral cairns.

I am The Absolute:

An End Mother, I hold the lamenting weight of lovers gone and the tragedy of the others on my soul crushed heavy and small ; my heart a darkening vinyl pearl.

I am The Final Girl, The Coda, and I bring vengeance and limit and consequence and fury…

I am Conclusion and I will deliver cessation.


•September 13, 2008 • Leave a Comment


These guys? Amateurs. Hired numbnuts who should be fixing pipes or installing cable. I’ve been working this shit since before their daddies left their mommas. The dog’s the only cat with any sense. Maybe he’s ex bomb squad or something, but he gives me the look. Right in the eye. He knows I’m packin’; he smells it. But he stays clammed. Maybe he’s as sick of these assholes as I am. I give him the nod, one old timer to another.

I came back to Chile in ’62, a low grade G-man, pumping CIA funds into the ‘right’ areas. I was ideal. Born in Santiago, my parents had emigrated to the States when I was 14. I’d mooched around Chicago for a while running interference for the families. An ‘incident’ meant I’d had to clear out so, joined the military 3 years later. I was a sharp-shooter, and a crease-smoother. They spotted me early and bounced me from dept to dept till I found myself working black ops. For a while I was Millhouse’s dirty hands in Central America. Never could wash that stink outta my paws.

Back in Chile they stuck me in the mob that helped take out Allende. One rail of Langley’s ‘Two Track’ policy. The track that they hoped to de-rail and provoke a  coup. Twisted metal on a suicide ride. I didn’t know what I was doing at the time; I was intoxicated. I was fighting the ‘good fight’, while living the good life.

These last forty years I’ve realised how much Kissinger had been using me to fuck myself over along with everybody else. So now I’m back, with a few scores to settle and maybe scratch myself a little honour before I kick this fuckin’ pile.

Honour. Dirty little word. Does it exist? Perhaps, but only among the poor. Sometimes it’s all they have to live on. The rich ate their share long ago, as a starter. Now they’re busy with the main course, always looking for the dessert. Dignity is a memory. A half-remembered belch that provokes laughter.


Yeah, that doggie was a smooth player. I’d met his kind before. You have an eye to eye and you both know: a language purer than words, an understanding clearer than a handshake; a truth shared. He sucked it up and carried on with the job. A professional.

Like I used to be.


[fotos taken in Santiago de Chile]

A Crescent Moon.

•August 25, 2008 • 11 Comments

A new mole has appeared on my arm, a fresh passenger. It is in the shape of half-moon, a crescent of melanin painted with a fine brush by an aged hand. A lunar lunar mejor dicho, quizas?

What dermal dance of molecules precipitated this arrival? What new regime in those distant cellular worlds? A melanocytic kingdom, newly formed and hopeful ; young nobles filled with romantic optimism? Or cruel robber barons staining the land with their dysplastic deceit?

I’ll take the former…the approach of a new moon ; a new cycle begins. Una oportunidad nueva y valiente.

So welcome young companion. But be warned, comport yourself well, I’ll tolerate no malignance here.


•August 23, 2008 • 5 Comments

I remember you, do you remember me?

Sometimes I think of the drinks we shared down by Riverside Drive.

Sometimes I think of the drive we took by the river with the drinks.

Sometimes I think of the drink, a river of drink, and I’ve drunk too much to drive.

Memory is fallible.

Black is classic.