I

Thus have I heard.
Heroes came.
Chocolate men
shiny cocktail sausage men
The Cold Men.

They said aspire
they said inspire
they said perspire
they said acquire.
They said choir flyer amplifier higher.
They said

nothing.

They said lists of verbs.

They ate potatoes on
Thursday, they ate spuds
on Friday. At the weekend they got mashed.
Monday they ate apples.

II

The Lubricator 1

If 8″ vibrators are a little too large and bullets, eggs or buttplugs a little too discreet try The Lubricator.

Partway between a finger and a gel cock The Lubricator will ream you in any hole you like.

And as the name suggests this versatile toy dispenses lubricant through its patented ‘real pores’ system. Cums with 3 capsules of lubricant.

Throw in adjustable girth, variable speed, and both textured and smooth ‘skins’ and The Lubricator will leave you breathless.

The Lubricator 2

Now he’s all tofu and shit but he used to be like doners and curry and that. The first year in Uni he ate a chapstick.

There was the Christmas they drove to the Lake District and got food poisoning from the turkey because they didn’t cook it properly. The cottage was a wreck after, but you’ve got to have fun at that age. The caretaker’d sort it.

III

Like dead men in barrows they throw their arms around you and draw your heat.

They build Lego towers and knock them down.

The write histories of World War II in their bedrooms
on A5 lined paper
in an afternoon
based on a couple of books they have.

From the four corners they
come. The
Cold Men. The
League of Heroes.

First The Lubricator
shiny and smiley but
serious.

Then Fireman. Hollow
eyes and hollow
guts. Everything
he touches flames and burns and
gives no heat.
Leaves crystalline ash.

They meet in pizza
restaurants. They meet in
city centres.
They have been known
to listen to music. But not
when anyone was watching.

Dead Clown remembers.
He knows how life was.
Dead Clown eats brains
and remembers their thoughts.

Sort of.

And last The Secret.
Even his reflection looks
away.

They shop at real shops and have charmingly
inept podcasts. They
once played Jenga in pubs, and saw
awful indie bands before
they were famous
– the bands that is, not The Cold Men. I mean The Cold Men weren’t famous then either, but they saw the awful indie bands before the awful indie bands became awful stadium filling bands for people who don’t really like music much.

IV Fireman

Fire followed where his feet fell.
Grass burned snow burned
soil burned stone burned. But
no heat no heat.

Fireman enjoys
whimsical car adverts.
He collects
taxi business cards.
He sometimes suffers from
insomnia. It’s been
known to make him cry.

His grandmother
in Cumbria
grows pampas grass
in front of her bungalow.
When it flowers she sprays
them red. Still
growing where
they are.

The girl moaned a little in her sleep. Fireman went downstairs to fry eggs and watch the news. When he’d finished eating he fried two eggs and made a cup of tea for the girl.

There was blood on her mouth. Blood and saliva sticking her face to the pillow so she had to peel them apart. She didn’t say anything. Didn’t look at him.

She left. She didn’t touch the eggs and tea. Didn’t throw them or smash them. Fireman watched her walk down the street hugging herself from the cold.

When he made the bed he found three of her teeth. He added them to the jar. 58.

V

Thus have I heard.
The Cold Men piss
behind wheelie bins
by Tesco Morrisons Sainsbury’s
Aldi.

Thus have I heard.
The Cold Men
have photos of sentimental value
in freezer bags
old school reports.

They make apps
games matching three
apps to manage your budget
wallpapers of
women actors
local news aggregators
buggy video editors
at peculiar prices.

VI Dead Clown

Part 3: Self-image

1. Which best describes your face?
a) Eggplant.
b) Spiderplant.
c) Cheeseplant.
d) Slashed with a broken bottle.

2. Which best describes your personality?
a) Wooden.
b) Kakapo.
c) Velux.
d) Lime.

3. In a crisis you,
a) Piss your pants.
b) Piss on someone else’s pants.
c) Bacon rind.
d) Mallard pederasty.

4. When things are going very well you feel,
a) Hologram.
b) Holograph.
c) Holiday.
d) Bags of dogshit hung in hawthorn trees.

5. Disappointment is to June as vertigo is to…
a) Obviously.
b) Organic Japanese green tea.
c) Hickman line.
d) He has a drawing of a dreamcatcher on his letterhead.

VII

Children set light to dry grass on derelict plots, by footpaths, in parks.

Fires were started in the ground floors of abandoned buildings.

An unfinished office block sat skeletal at a junction.

Drain grates roadsigns and metal cladding off new buildings were stolen for scrap.

Buddleia hid sites still waiting development.

Men in apocryphal suits waited around outside squats.

Factional disputes carried out on Facebook.

VIII The Secret

He is buried under slate. He is buried under plastic.
He is buried under wheelbarrows. He is buried under a metric tonne of dead butterflies.
He is buried under obsolete technology. He is buried under black pudding.
He is buried under granite. He is buried under owls.
He is buried under Keele Services. He is buried under Amy Winehouse.
He is buried under burning tyre dumps. He is buried under fulfilment centres.
He is buried under solid orange. He is buried under gazebos.

On holiday
aged 16
the sea spoke to him.
Through a hole in rocks
a mighty voice came
carried on spray
and roaring, said,
Listen you are stone
Listen you are my child
Listen you must sometimes break
Listen there is no beginning or end
Listen we are island and society
Listen and trust my beating
The boom and the hiss
The boom and the hiss.
The boom
and the hiss.
And then was silent.

IX

Thus have I heard.
The Cold Men
were called
by divers wonders.

Thus have I heard.
A field of poppies
flowered at midwinter
through frost.

A comet crossed the sky
and a thousand
cranes stopped working, and
were unable to start again.

Thirty schoolchildren
went blind one Saturday
and one by one
regained sight in the month (1).

Thus have I heard.
A boyband singing
for an oil-rich prince
danced themselves to death.

Thus have I heard.
The London Eye
was wrapped in St Elmo’s fire
for fourteen days and nights.

It rained Fuzzy Felt
in parts of Cheshire
drifting at the edge
of fields.

A newsreader sweated
blood and shivered
until someone thought
to cut the broadcast.

Thus have I heard.
All these signs
called The Cold Men
to come.

Thus have I heard.
They were welcomed
then, a League
of Heroes.

(1) Other similar spontaneous incidents of mass blindness were later confirmed around the country. In the largest such incident an entire village of over three thousand people lost their sight for over a fortnight.

Advertisements