On Characters



No matter how good a story is it won’t get any traction if the characters just don’t work. It’s a tad disappointing when a really good setting, environment and story are ruined by substandard characters. It could be all manner of sins from their treatment by the author or lack thereof or the believability of their actions or their wooden delivery etc. the end result is the same. One of my favourite authors has two recurring flaws with regard to his characters. His books are material I read whenever I just want to have fun, have the urge to jump onto a horse, sword raised and gallop towards the sun. They are brainless, good rollicking fun but often Continue reading



I’d seen her around. One night it might be at the horse and four and another it would be down at Rick’s. She’d always walk in alone, dressed to kill but no patsy in sight. Prim and proper I’ll tell you but it’s always the nice girls that are the worst trouble. I was nurturing a hankering for her but I couldn’t quite bring myself to do anything about it. I was quite sure the likes of her would chew me up and spit me out quicker than you could lose a dime with the girls down in Precinct 12. I wouldn’t have minded though, she looked like it would be worth it. She hadn’t been long in town; she still spoke with that slow drawl of someone from cowboy country. I’d heard her tell a nosy barman that she was here searching for something, not quite sure what but she’d know when she found it. She told the self-same barman that her mam had been from that land of sombreros and shaking earth and had found herself an old hick who’d tied her down and broke her in, when he’d asked where she was from. Her tone made it abundantly clear that she herself would take some breaking. I could see it, there was a fire that smouldered in her eyes that said you burn once for playing, a second time if you crossed her and third time was the charm. Either way, you always burned. Ay, little slip of a dime but she was trouble. As all dames are. Maybe I’ll slink on by someday and introduce myself but for now I think I’ll nurse my drink and my sanity a little longer.

Kerouac is not Dead

I keep looking for the experiences of Bukowski, Kerouac and Thompson. Stories of the struggling writer, living in abject poverty in some seedy room in some rundown apartment block with only a typewriter, a bed and a crazy friend who introduces me to a host of crazy people  and through them I would lurch from one alcohol and drug induced debacle to another. Or something akin to that visual that every gritty writer will tell you about their experiences. Such romanticism of writers and the search for ‘life experience’ to fuel my own tomes. But I forget, we are the experiences we live and do I really want to tell those kinds of stories? Perhaps these are the stories I have come across or simply chose to remember because out of this world and yet so familiar, crazy, stupid, scary and fun and I really want to be thrilled  and freaked out in turn. But that’s not going to be. It couldn’t, whilst allowing myself to remain true to who I am. Or perhaps that’s the point? Nonetheless, I still have a story or two to tell-  about the time I slept underneath my bed for 4 days and ran around the place as if I was Jason Bourne. Or the time I slept in a park and the ridiculous and stupid rationalizations that made me do it. Or the time drunk I decided to be an upstanding citizen and delivered coffee to the cops on duty down the road at 5 am after a night out.

I once wrote a piece called Californicating on the Upper East Side and in it I mused about the supposed lack of drama in my life and what it meant for my literary future. I know I had it wrong then but what I did have right is that we write our lived experience. It might not be expressed in the manner in which it occurred or even it not but rather how we perceived it or came to terms with it-  our own personalized realities. I wonder what Lewis Carroll was projecting when he wrote Alice and Wonderland. So as much as want to have a story like Bukowski/King/Palanhuik/ Kerouac that will be the next On the Road or Fight Club, I can’t write those stories. I shouldn’t. All I can hope for is to write a story that expresses who I am in  a manner that stays with my readers and moves them to be just like me – 18/04/13

The Beast With Two Backs: 2

A hill he topped

the valley afore him his gaze he set

it wondered over untamed forest

jungle thick, unbreached

unexplored those far southern reaches.

It skimmed past hard fields

furrowed by the farmer’s till

softened by the spring rain

a breeze, gentle, blew

heather, daisies, mud and moss

his nostrils savoured.

It is upon two twin cities

twin towers centred

that his gaze rested.

On twin mounds they lay

above tilled plains

twin beacons that beckoned


moth to flame, he made haste.

Nines 003- Eric


I’d known all along that there were things that Eric had left unsaid, business being what it was I understood but then again he was meant  to be a civilian so business wasn’t meant to a factor. He’d introduced himself a while back, at some backwater pub I’d been drinking off my cotton mouth from the previous night, he looked like a nice fellow, who liked the drink as much as I did but without the cynicism that drove me to it. He’d said he was an analyst for bitco, the bank that jumped on the crypto-currency bandwagon way back in the new millennium when they still used paper money and was the big chief about here parts with their pudgy bejewelled fingers in about every pot. I’d let him sit with me and buy me a drink or two and we’d swapped a story or two. For a desk jockey he seemed to get around but there was an air about him, there was something a little off about his jovial nature, a little put on, a shroud to hide the steel beneath. You had to look closely and know what you were looking for; the occasional quick scan of the room, back always to the wall, the hard glint in his eye that would pop up when something unexpected would happen although it was quick to disappear, but what sealed it was the tension. Eric was a tightly coiled spring, you could feel the power and grace hidden in that deceptively lanky frame. I picked that up when I’d bumped into him in a drunken stumble one night through Woodstock. I’d caught him unawares but even then I barely caught him.  He’d looked at me with surprise and then tried sheepishly to cover up his rather quick reflexes for a guy who was meant to be two sheets to the wind and barely on two feet. He’d kept his distance since and I sobered up mighty quickly after that my mind whirring trying to figure out what his angle was and what really was his story. Over time I’d let the incident pass and put it down to old habits lulled perhaps by the slightly spiky hair, the rumpled shirt and coat as if he’d slept at the desk, the lax tie and quick laugh at anything remotely funny and the not so funny. An easy guy to please but sitting here on this dank couch, with the green dragon working through my system I watched him work over the Russian it gave me a little bit of the chills. I thought I knew but watching him now I knew I knew nothing at all. There was a game afoot, not even the game I’d been playing and I’d been brought along to either play the patsy or the dove or the dame or god forbid all of them. I needed to figure out before he hit pay dirt and this went the way of Nero.

Part 1: The Beast With Two Backs

It was the visions that sent him forth;

haunted by dreams that left him in cold sweat

in the light of day it was but clear

to end the hauntings he must set out;

to find that which he sought

a creature he had not yet met

but which he saw nightly till dawn

he had to find

the beast with two backs.


They told him it was for nought

for the beast was legend and myth, roaming in lands forgotten and unknown

but he was resolute

he must search, to the end of his days if he must

for his life now held no meaning

beyond this one quest

for only having found it could a man he become

this was his Dokimasia Krypteia


The oracle he consulted

blurred images, whispered promises and thundered warnings

behind curtains and fragrant mysts

he would find the beast when he was good and ready

to beware its shifting forms and

watch for the blood moon

to be clear of purpose and hard of conviction

for the road was long and treacherous

deception and intrigue in a game he knew not

a pawn on the board of the game of life itself


Forewarned is forearmed

heavy of heart and mind he wandered from the mountain;

they had waited for him

his mother with fear

his father with pride

a brother he had lost to the Krypteia

but this was his son, the best of him.

Adorned in his father’s armor

and strengthened by a mother’s blessing

he set forth

to find that which he sought

The Beast With Two Backs


He put his trust in Apollo

for he knew not what he must do with the beast

to capture, to tame, to kill, or simply lay sight

A prayer to Hermes

for he knew not where the journey was to end

the paths to tread;

the road less traveled or to forge new path’s altogether

Zeus for his wisdom,  but more for his guile

perhaps not his suit but his imagination which was unbound

and the fervent hope that he would not suffer Hera’s wrath.





all things to be said

There is nothing new underneath the sun,
all things to be said have been told,
there is magic in the telling
much left to be retold
If I only were so bold.

There is magic in the telling,
in the finding of lost things
in making anew
a little shine and lustre, and it sings
flows, rhythm in telling
music, wonder in hearing.

There is nothing new underneath the sun,
all things to be said have been told,
there is magic in the telling
much left to be retold
and there lies the magic, and the wonder of it all