Tag Archive: creative writing


So, Bram E. Gieben is this rather talented writer and performance poet I know who does a whole bunch of cool shit all over Glasgow including running this awesome spoken word night that spans both here and the capitol.

Below is a very well produced video performance of a poem I’ve seen him do a whole bunch of times. It’s pretty fucking good. Seriously, not only is it a sound and provocative piece of writing but the effort and cinematography that has gone into this video raises it above the noise of every day self-promotion. Stick it in your nervous system and let it fester.


::::surface tension:::: [ poem ]

sticky like pollen
the ineffable skin traps
the dust
of our passing
beneath its surface.

Part i
part ii


My conscience tells me
I need a job.
My eyes scan down
Past the general,
Past the sales,
All the way down
To the Professional Help
Wanted section of
The Daily Classifieds.

I pull my hair up in a tidy,
Organized little coif,
Submitted to the back of my tender head,
And slipping on hose,
And a higher heel,
I click along
Down the sidewalk
In my fitted dress.

The ad tells me to go
Past the tall buildings,
Past the metropolitan plex,
Past the library, too?
Oh well! The address screams,
“It’s worth it!”

Finally I come to a neglected exterior,
But peering inside, I see potential,
And just under the white wash paint I see
The name, Inventions of Great Archimedes
Written in ancient greek.
Pipes and gears, concentric circles,
Sit strewn inside, beyond the pane.
A desk to the back with gaskets and clamps,
Instantly I am intrigued.

The numbers on the door tell me
This is the place
I m looking for.
I open with caution
And step into a genius lair.

Ancient Texts! A bookcase full!
Pythagoras and Dionysus the Elder!
Archimedes with his ancient screw!
Diagrams drawn by the great Hephaestus!
How to make a catapult, and Icarus’ wings!

A rustle from the back and a voice,
“Can I be of service, please?”
The person follows out the words:
It’s the strange, good looking man!
Seeing me there, he plies a dry smile.
Ironic eyes begin to turn
The mischievous clutch to set the gears.
I get a little hint of where they’re going.

I try to say, “I’m here to see
About the assistant job position,”
But my breath is gone,
And no air at all passes over my vocal chords.

You spin me around and peer into my upswept do,
And find the keystone bobby pin—
The only one holding up the entire arch,
And all of my self control.
You pull it out clean
And lean around to wave it bravely before my eyes,
Accusing me with it there.
“Is this the way you treat your hair?”
As it falls down loose and free,

You run your right hand thru it
While you pull me close with the left one,
Putting your lips to my ear you whisper,
“Would you rather take the two legs,
Or the hypotenuse?”

::::The Bible Cut-ups:::: [ iteration the 2nd ]

The Bible Cut-ups homepage is here.

The sorrowful king, he shall not understand.
Is poor yet not barren, sent language unto the sea
sure that his strife be wise, his tears reigneth;
the men mocketh;
“Behold! The broken spirit! The words married in dust, every day overwhelmed, it shall run abomination among the land!”
Bitterness shall not snare things. Remove he and rage, feasting of earth and vision.
Slay the adversary, fell the trees
the bound feet turned to devour the locust.
“Trust no meat,” putteth the thief.
No transgression is against time.
they told me

Violence and pleasure gives the folly of lovers strange and creeping words of the wild soul.
Lips drink the bruised heart because the horrible godthing rose to eat the people
feast for years upon every house, his hosts? The fathers
kill thine own children for they weepest upon the waters, have dismayed the morning, brough heads of discord in the house.
Let that word be dissembled by the elders.
Thy day numbered. Consider the dry sea and wilt.

Meat shall reign;
the mighty shall pass wind with the fat man and commit holy fire to the field.
Knowledge shall have destruction mingled with joy.
Strip the rebel heart of blood, it angers god, his head burnth away and that corrupted beauty in parts.
They shalt sit but talked not fine sacrifice
the rest turn over and wept unto the cherished idols.
Little came upon them, the pieces mingled with that lie.
Behold! ‘I’ is beaten, forsake ‘I’!
Lay down and the wind shall depart thee.

In her soulfire gave battle; spread wickedness to the innocent city.
Her voice turned lovers into smitten meat, pierced the towns.
Seek the eyes of children to spoil.
The woman came. Cut her heart for thee.
Transgressions borne among the father and daughter;
his last days shall be delivered by her.

So utterly done with the coast. Return to the city taken with the ending.

Know mercy. Took command. Sent spies down the valley.
Her fire hath died under the trees.

Oil thy bare flesh. Carnal noise and lewd wickedness in the blood.
Sin often. Is the pure high.
Behold, they made knowledge sweet, hadst words chosen provoke strange offering
pass like weeping angels upon thyself.
Stone the people.
No promise without captivity.
Drink of the honey flesh ’cause this kingdoms made of dead foundation;
sacrifices all of us without greatness.
Thine precept took away the world,
thou image write off under possible holy works.
Words spoken of heart, filled with time, thee dwelleth in silk with mine whoredom.
Must build before sons had taken place.
Burn forever, my sore lord, thy lips delight me.
Utterly marvelous I cometh;
desire is but the righteous.
Forget this nation,
help me fall right
in me, unto me,
this land shall perish.
This art of fire exalted.
Not mercy toward that enemy, I have eyes for him.
I see the lord in me. Down the mouth.

Part ii is here.


My ticket tells me
To keep on going—
Past first class,
Past the wings,
To sit by the strange man
On the plane.

Strange because,
He is strangely good looking.
Strange because,
His soulful eyes
Hang full
Like Ganymede and Callisto,
As they orbit
The old worn book
In his hands.

He raises them only
They follow me
Sliding clumsily in
To the window seat
There beside him,
Then back to the ancient text.

Addicted to archaic things, myself,
I cut my eyes over
To see what tune
Those delicate little ink blots
Are dancing to on that yellowed page.

I am surely not disappointed,
For the feast upon which
My gaze alights,
Is the particular story
Of the last day
That Socrates ever lived.

My lean gets a little
And maybe my breath
Gets a little
But the strange,
Good looking man’s eyes
Get a little retrograde
In their motion,
And ellipse a little my way.
“You like the Dialogues?”
He asks.

In flagrante delicto,
My eyes are caught,
Their only defense to go
Io, and Europa, and get to orbiting
Just like his.
I nod my head.

We both go back
To the story—
Right to the part
Where Socrates says,
“Out of sleeping,
Waking is generated.”

“I like this part,”
He whispers.
Io and Europa dilate a bit,
And I nod my head again.

“What then is generated
From this life?”
The wise man under the
Sentence queries.
“Death,” Cebes calmly answers.
The strange good looking man
Suddenly quotes out loud:
“And what from death?”
He closes the book and
Looks at me full on.

I know the story quite by heart,
But I’m not sure if I can speak.
The strange, good looking man
Is staring deeply into me.
Those eyes are orbiting me
For the moment,
And I am thoroughly paralyzed.

“For someone who likes “Dialogue…”
He starts to say, then stops.
The Song of Socrates
Has charmed him
Like a magnificent
Hooded cobra,
And his swaying,
Fanning, courtship dance
Has mesmerized my Soul.

He kisses me
Full on the lips,
The taste of his wisdom
Precarious on my tongue.

Endangered love;
Endangered knowledge;
Speculative peace;
And thrills concrete!
I succumb,
Losing all consciousness,
And wake with
His right index finger
Just inside my mouth.

“Mmmm,” he says,
Waking beside me,
“In other words,
I like your dress.”

Jennifer Lives Here

strip the flesh [ #biblecutup ]

strip the flesh to the soul and kill the strange words
they have mingled in discord because they bring fine knowledge
creeping upon lips ravished with pleasure.
Handmaiden of thy void, feast of the blood!
Avenge the leprous godthing and burnth the corrupted day,
bring destruction upon the heart and eat the years.

Be glad the flock will not slumber – I ground them for the wind.

::::the bible cut-ups:::: [ poetry ]

The project homepage can be found here.

The bible cut-ups is an on going series of short poems which uses completely deconstructed books of the bible as its source material. Having never read the bible but having pretty definitive opinions of christianity and christians I must say I am enjoying the project immensely. It can be followed live at #biblecutup as I find new hidden truths in that most holy of holies; The King James bible. Feel free to play along at home!

For a thorough overview of the methodology of the cut-up as well as it’s history click here.

Below is a cut-up of my cut-ups so far. Promises to be an ever evolving glorious mess. I’ll probably end up using it as a basis of a short story at some point, or at least a surreal epic poem.

skin thee now. I arise blackish yet not down. Am I myself? Prolong this judement, Touch that and speak of lies.
My father; made of scorpions. Will I counsel him? up your word, roughly. Men offered all but heard not.
My righteous lips forget him utterly.

the breath grew in everyday light.
its seed creepeth all evening –
Sore eyes toward the marvelous; that art of desire shall fall unto me.
I cometh in thy mouth.
Mercy me.

die, strange children
they hast rebellious love.

::::TOURISTS::Wilma Hollander:::: [ flash fiction ]

‘Have you seen the way they treat the dogs here?’ The woman – definitely a tourist – sounds really upset. ‘I can’t believe it! Someone should do something about it. Don’t they have Animal Welfare here?’

She’s sitting a few tables away from me in the taverna where I sometimes come to chat with the owner. The people around her – from their casual clothing I gather they are tourists as well – are nodding vehemently. Yes, yes, they’ve noticed it too! And what about all those stray dogs in the mountains? Quite a nuisance when you want to have a nice, quiet walk through nature.

‘It’s a shame,’ the woman goes on. ‘This morning when I was jogging through the olive grove I passed several houses with chain dogs! Everybody knows it’s not human to keep dogs on chains!’

She’s right of course. It is a shame. It’s not human to keep dogs on chains. And about those stray dogs… Well, I better not tell her about the poison that the municipality itself provides every Spring in order to get the villages ‘clean’ for the tourists. Half starved and neglected animals are not what people want to see when they spend their holiday money on our nice authentic Greek peninsula’s beaches. But in a country where people are dying because there is no money for National Health Care anymore, the welfare and wellbeing of animals is not the most important thing on the Government’s agenda. Destroying stray dogs in the night is the cheapest way. Of course nobody shall admit this cruel thing is being done. But we all know. It’s not something most of the villagers are proud of, but it happens. That’s the way it goes here.

I suppose I could tell this woman about all the nice people who are feeding the cats and dogs of the village. I suppose I could tell her about the doggy bags people take home after their meal in a tavern to give to the animals on the streets. And I could also tell her about the chain dogs we set loose in the first years we lived here, although we’ve stopped to do that. They were back on their chain within the hour, because they didn’t know what to do with their freedom.

Or maybe… maybe I should tell her about my neighbours. The three boys who came from Albania to work in this country several years ago. They live in a one room shed on a sand road that’s totally impassable after a rain shower. Three beds have been put in a space of barely ten square metres. The toilet is outside, and they take a daily bath, in the sea. When nobody is looking, of course, because they are really nice and very decent guys. They do all the work nobody else want to do, for wages nobody else want to work for. I suppose I also could point out to her the many other sheds and half collapsed houses where now more and more families are living under circumstances I wouldn’t even allow my dog to live in, but I don’t. I know it’s no use. I just wonder, like I do every summer, why I never hear tourists talking about that. They must be blind.

Or maybe… maybe it’s easier to care only about animals.


::::epiglottal:::: [ photography ] [ poem ]

this is a moment of germination;
you might not of seen it before but it’s always been happening
maybe you know it by another name. It isn’t essential
doesn’t ensure continued breath
sometimes makes your fingers bleed and your tongue itch
can never quite catch up with those rapid eye movements
which tend to evaporate anyway – like when you crack open
a disposable lighter
because the contents is only a liquid under pressure.

So hard and fast
when you scratch it breaks the skin. Even when you see
blood you can’t stop.
Because it’s only then that you realise that it is
really happening
isn’t a trick of the light
or something you saw on tv.
That’s when things get really exciting
and even if you don’t know what it means
the important thing is that you keep going
until every single sinew
unravels against your crimson touch.

[ You can do cool stuff like this with CSS. Super-impose text over images. Had to scale down the image to make this work though. Click the pic to see it fullsize. ]

::::15:3:C:::: [ fragment ]

The din of machinery would become too much –
drown him in clatter and white noise leaving no real option but to dive,

In that far away of the deep inside there was a grotto
his own subterranean picture show
playing strange loops and news reels
of the yet to come.

When he managed to go under
the vibrations of valves and belts would
puncture his skin and travel
from nerve to nerve
until he could no longer feel himself.

::::14:3:C:::: [ fragment ]

His eyelids were creaking in honour of bruised musculature – meat tearing itself apart to be rebuilt stronger around a scaffolding of ache.
She had insisted that the worst was over with – that first big solar hurdle – but he knew better.
Knew the process of reconstruction would leave its mark, take its toll.
There was nothing to be done but to stumble forward and keep his nerve.
To wait for the growing pains to subside.

::::C:3:C:::: [ fragment ]

He decided not to have his days measured in nicotine – to have every spare minute reduced to smoke.
In this way he recreated himself out of the spare parts of a more resolute man.
It was only pretend – Everything was pretend when you got down to it; The kind of make:believe that covers its tracks so completely that the subterfuge is forgotten.
It was a convenient trick of the mind – one of the founding principles of western civilization,
the invisible stitching with which things were put together.

My Black Cat Bones :::::::::::::: Alizon Kiel

He’s come for my black cat bones
He’s come without knowing me
He’ll boil me at midnight
I’ll shake beneath the water
I’ll redden his hands

He’s come for my black cat bones
Midnight light will fall
All for his luck, all for his love, all for to barricade a dark door from dark magic from dark nights of white fog obscuring
He’ll rise as his fall

He’s come for my black cat bones
A dance we’ll dance forever, we’ll change hands
There’ll be a little shop with a well behind and a voice to fall within

There’ll be a little shop with a long glass counter and a velvet purse, the smell of Florida water obscuring
All for a price, be paid for me
Be paid as for chicken bones painted black

Samuel O’Neil has a life most people would commit horrendous crimes to achieve. He is an international playboy, acclaimed businessman, and esteemed academic … it seems he can do no wrong. Yet on the eve of what should be the zenith of his career, something doesn’t feel right. Certain somebody is messing with him he turns all his attention to finding out who and why.

But as he begins to unravel the mystery, he realizes he is in danger of also unraveling himself.

Ye Gods! It has finally happened. After many many years of writing and honing, toiling away in obscurity and waiting for the great artistic myth of being discovered to be thrust upon me, it actually has been! Through a series of accidents involving chatting to complete strangers online my work is now available for purchase!

Through the good grace of one J.M. Synder, and her lovely small press J.M.S Books my short story “The Vertigo is available for digital download. Shit, it’s even on amazon and a bunch of other places! ( US link / UK link )

Right now I am working in a prawn factory. From 5pm till 2am I arrange prawns on a conveyor belt to be mooshed and deshelled, or i pick through prawn meat removing bits of shell that have escaped the process. It is, if i’m honest, back breaking and somewhat disgusting work. It does (or will) though pay the bills. It’s not good for my mental state though, oh no, not good at all. Some of the people I work with are… well, they’re assholes. Worse still, they’re stupid assholes. Also, I’m not exactly awesome at the job. In fact, I suck at most of the jobs I’ve ever had.

The only thing I even begin to approach not sucking at is writing. The only thing that actually stops me from going on a murderous killing spree which inevitably ends with me taking my own life is the knowledge that, some day, I will make a living from writing. Self delusion is a powerful thing.

But maybe it doesn’t have to be self-delusion. Maybe I can make a living from writing. Hell, maybe you can even help me achieve this dream!

Please, have an excerpt:

Last night, all he’d felt was a lonely vertigo. A vertigo he’d been compelled to throw himself into. Samuel did not like this feeling, this giddy desire for oblivion, had never felt it before in his life. This morning it felt like all he’d ever known.

He rose from the large, luxurious bed and padded across the faux-marble floor to the dumbwaiter that served the privacy of whoever could afford the $1,000-a-night price-tag. Sensing his proximity and its current load, the hatch slid silently open to reveal a silver cart which held a breakfast of coffee and croissants, both kept at optimum temperature by the dumbwaiter’s heating element. The morning’s Times lay beside the meal, sealed in a milky material shot through with veins of what looked like copper, designed to keep it cool. Samuel rolled the cart out of its enclosure.

Sitting in the lounge area of the open-plan penthouse, Samuel poured himself a coffee and, taking a bite from one of the croissants, turned his attention to the newspaper. Unwrapping it from its hermetic cocoon, he was struck by the anachronism of the ritual. He could get more up-to-date and varied information from feeds online, but he enjoyed his morning ceremony far too much to be bothered by its antiquity. In fact, the idea that his actions had been repeated by hundreds of thousands of people all throughout the 19th and 20th Centuries gave him a sense of peace, of being connected to something larger than himself. He imagined the feeling was similar to believing in God and, at the moment, it was a feeling he so desperately needed.

On the bed the woman began to stir, possibly roused by the aroma of food that had begun to diffuse through the room. He paused in his routine and tried to recall her name. He could not. Pangs of sadness flooded his system, but he quickly dispelled them as he pulled the paper free of its wrapper, unfolded it with a flick of the wrist, and took in the lead headline.

“Your life is not your own.”

The vertigo enveloped him, filled every part of him. His head spun, sank, swimming in treacle he felt himself plummet. Images and moments he’d never seen or experienced tripped and stuttered through his mind’s eye like an over-cranked newsreel.

He dug his nails hard into the plush leather of the sofa and fell back into it. He craved warmth, comfort, the sanctuary of his mother’s womb. He felt himself regressing through his life, through every stage, every person he’d ever been. His thoughts began to collect in pools, silently vocalising a question that had been struggling to break free from the murk of his unconscious since yesterday.

It was never really a question he’d ever asked himself, always being so secure in its answer that it didn’t even warrant a second thought. The question was this:

“Who am I?”

You want more, don’t you? I can see it in your eyes… Unless i’m mistaking that glint for absolute boredom. Go on, buy it anyway. It’s only $2.99 – for those in the UK that’s not even £2. As we used to say at another job I sucked at that wouldn’t even buy you a coffee at starbucks. 50% of all net profits goes to yours truly. If you buy it at amazon they’ll take some of that money and put it into their giant evil money hole but I cannot compete with the convenience of it being sent straight to your kindle, so I forgive you. If i sell enough copies maybe I can buy that artificial heart I so desperately need (family history of heart disease, don’t you know).

I wish i could spend more time on this post, I really do, but those prawns won’t arrange themselves on that conveyor belt. 😉

POST SCRIPT: The myth of being discovered will actually destroy your soul. My advice to you is to submit as often as possible in as many ways as possible. I had my own reasons for waiting this long to get published and only some of them have to do with self-esteem issues. 🙂

once upon a never more [flash fiction]

Kat drops another blankie. suddenly, it’s just like the first time. This could be forever. Curtains closed to the sunlight, just those dusty echoes caught in the skybeams. Onceuponatimes that never were, not no more. Peeling herself from the armchair she rises. It stings, leather against skin. Everyone has gone home, staggered in morning dew along the broken pavingslabs. All apart from garbriel. He’s curled up against the floorboards, wrapped in dolphin blue. She wishes she could lick him, bring him into her world, where every second is virgin white. He says he has too much to remember. That’s why he dreams, swallowing down mouthfuls of light between gasps of want.

She would take him by the hand, if she could remember. Lead him not into temptation, but beyond. She could only wish for a garden, show him how everything burns. He’s not really interested, but she sees something in his eyes. Something that wants more than that which once was.

Walking about the debris of the night, every step vacuum fresh, she leaves the room, steps out into the unknown. Before her stairs that weave on corners. She wonders about those that weave, wrapping each moment upon itself in a pattern that reaches the great beyond. It’s all so clear.

This is the kitchen. She knows not what she does, only that it smells of delight. She runs her sticky hands along the sides, between the dirty pots and pans. Each sensation and texture a revelation. Residues of eternal truths. They mean more than most will ever know.

She falls upon the window pane, grooves of skin disrupting a delicate film of perspiration. Kat is gasping that forever sigh. Beyond the filth that has grown on the outside of the glass like sympathetic fungus, down past the accidental balcony, in the alleyway where the darkened cinders of a stolen car soak up the dawn, the figure of a man, dripping crimson, has curled himself up into a corner – hiding as if from the slowly creeping light.

Kat wants more. Will not be content with residues, contained by fungus. Wants to let the outside in.

The door is a rubix cube, can only be solved by touch, esoteric knowledge. She feels her way along the cold, hard edges of the lock, releases the catch and feels herself rushing through the cracks as the door creaks open, mingling with the chill of the air. Barefoot she navigates the rust downwards.

Kneeling before the man, his shallow breath like a tide lapping gently at her toes, she feels him all over, touching the red and licking it from her fingers. The flavour of time itself. Somewhere in the distance she hears a voice creaking, spluttering, slowly unravelling. Becoming nothing.


setting up camp
between the table legs.
An awning
of fake wood grain
under which to hide
from the infernal gaze.

Cat Hepburn

scriptwriter | spoken word artist | educator


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