22 October 2017



be a pal will you?

pour me some air

before I pass out

I’m cool, I’m cool

I just need to focus

this indoor archaeology

has me all worn out

but what have I discovered

in my nocturnal digging?

that I’m an abstract

just waiting to happen

a suspect package

with a stolen identity

I’m that fly in the ointment

in the corner of your eye

the stranger in your woodpile

with whiskey on his breath

I’m the driller killer

bit between his teeth

that’s the tip of the iceberg

there’s much more underneath

my skin crawled off home

in the early hours

because it was so disgusted

and I’m more naked now

than the day I was born

I’m glad it was you here

and not some monkey

I don’t need this shit

spreading around

we’re alright though

you and me aren’t we?

now that you know

what I hid in the ground


18 October 2017

Milk & Honey


3 am again

same old

same old

pavlovian routine

the incessant splatter

of bloody raindrops

on my window panes

the drip, drip, drip

of memories predisposed

to the anachronism

of my wicked, but splendid


if they could only feel me now

what would they say?

they think I’m teflon

and that nothing sticks to me

the facade is faultless

but the interior corrupt

I’m faded and jaded

since those days

of infidelity and loss

my nights are fainter

and spent figuring

memorial alphabets

into novel expressions

that pierce my ears

to fill my head

with poisoned splinters

a little milk and honey

is all I’m asking

a little milk and honey

to nourish and sustain me

through the bitter hours

before the coming dawn


4 October 2017

The Seventh Sacrament


Somebody put soul food

in my midday fodder,

spiked me with holy water,

and pulled my knickers down.

Those bare arse cheeks

were of little consequence;

provided that the heavy hit,

distilled from heavy shit,

concealed my embarrassment;

along with a litany of grievous sins

hitherto unrecorded.


The testament euphoric

melted my studied indifference

with billion dollar words;

laying on a smooth line in piety,

nauseatingly hypocritical

under any circumstances,

but doubly so in mine.


I never seen it coming,

but brother I was stoned

and guilty of those pleasures

far too long deferred

on receipt of holy orders.

Those creature comforts keep

most men in stolid sleep

and sleeping is a sin

akin to blissful ignorance.


So don’t never tell no one

what has passed between,

cause no-one needs to know,

and you know what I mean.

The fruit of all my labours,

the seeds that I have sown,

could go excommunicado

with bitter denunciations

and the casting of first stones.



29 September 2017

Mr Clean


Toots was more than a little apprehensive at having been summoned to Johnny MacLean’s place, but when Psycho Peter arrived with the invitation Toots dared not refuse. Mr Clean had a finger in every pie on the estate and rumour had it he was responsible for the lion’s share of the drugs that were consumed there. You don’t snub men like Mr Clean.

“You’ll be wondering why I sent for you.”

“Sorta, yeah.”

“I hear you’re doing a wee bit – skag I mean.”

“Jist a couple o’ grams here and there. If I’m intrudin’ oan yer patch, Mr MacLean, I didnae realise...”



“Call me Johnny.”

“Well, if I’m poachin’ oan your turf Johnny...”

“How much are you shifting?”

“Jist a couple o’ grams here and there.”

“Aye, you said, tenner bags?”

“Aye, tenner bags.”

“I have your best interests at heart Toots, you understand? So dummy up nice and wrap your ears around this sweet deal. I’ll lay the kit on you for seven per oz and you sell it for whatever you like; it’s going for about forty – fifty quid a gram on the street, there’s a monkey in your pocket right off. Step on it ‘til your heart's content and sell it to whom you please. Just no kids; the filth go spare if you sell to kids. Otherwise do what you like, as long as it’s not traced back to me; you must never reveal your source – understand? If I ever hear you’ve mentioned my name I’ll have Psycho Peter here break your legs. I’m not talking figuratively – I will have him break your legs. Remember that you work for me – no other cunt. If I catch you selling someone else's gear it’s Peter paying you a visit, understand?”

“How long’s the lay on for Johnny?”

“I suggest you pay me off as quick as you can. I’ll give you a fortnight to return my dough; that sound equitable?”


“Is that fair?”

“Aye Johnny, sweet as.”

“One more thing – you don’t touch the product, ever. I don’t deal with junkies – they are customers, not agents, and you’re my agent from now on, understand?”

“Aye Johnny – I understand.”

“You can recruit your own people. You’ll need runners selling those dime bags of yours – let them do the dirty work while you protect my investment ok? There’s no point in you running around the estate with tenner deals in your pockets. Select a few minions to undertake that task. Understand?”

“I understand.”

“Good boy, on you go. Peter will be around tomorrow with your first ounce. We’ll see how it goes from there.”

“Cheers Johnny – I mean thank you.”

“Don’t thank me yet son, you never know how these things will work out.”


Ivan wondered why Toots was being so secretive on the phone. He had a proposition he said, it was all very hush hush. When he arrived an excitable Toots laid out his plan in detail.

“I’ll lay you on grams at seventy and you divvy them up intae tenner bags - there’s a pony clear on every gram right there. You can cut it how you like – sell tae who ye like, but nae kids – the polis go bansai if ye sell tae weans. Two hings though – ye must never divulge yer source, that’s me, and ye must never touch the gear. Junkies are punters, no agents and your ma agent noo, understand?”

“Aye, I understand.”

Fresh links were being forged in Mr Clean’s empire every day. He did not know the majority of his ‘agents’ – nor did he care to. He never touched the merchandise – he never saw it, and in the normal course of events he never saw his agents either. He saw the proceeds, however, and the money was all he cared about. Everything else was dispensable. His old friend Buddha had once told him that success or failure is a result of our own actions – our karma – but that you can’t judge karma looking forwards, only back. Johnny didn’t like to look back, but he foresaw a future where he ran this dirty old city like a king on a crystal throne. What did Buddha say again?

“Karma only exists in space and time according to the laws of causation. Your real self is not a local Johnny; remember that you are only passing through, so tread lightly.”

Karma, what a laugh – you make your own karma. Buddha was a wise man and he knew every scam in the book, he wrote the fucking book, but he didn’t half get some daft ideas. Fucking right I’m only passing through and I’m leaving no prints behind, thought Johnny. They call me Mr Clean because there are no flies on me. I never get my hands dirty, I’m practically untouchable. I have the brains between my ears and all the brawn I need at my disposal. Aye, Mr Clean is destined for greater things than this and his karma is all good.


28 September 2017

The Fruit Of This Season


Words of blood and iron

Raised an army of imbeciles

Steeped in hatred and distain

Followers of the flag

Nostalgic for indecency

And eager for the fight

Times have passed them by

But they’re certain of the right


Hatred’s back on the agenda

It’s best out in the open

Let’s take a good look

At the fruit of this season

They’re burning books

In the land of freedom

Where intolerance is lauded

And love is treason


27 September 2017

Poor Cow


In the languorous haze

Of the afternoon sun

I stared at her breasts

Heaving as she drew

Each labouring breath

Beneath me

As I drove home my seed

Amidst the tall grass

And I hated her then

I loathed her

As I wanted her

The flies surrounded

Her corpulent flesh

And I saw her dead

In her rictus gaping

And the fecund

Detritus of her lust

And I knew it was over

Before it had ever begun


The Blood In My Eyes


I brought the bad news

judiciously carved

into reasonable chunks

that were easy to swallow

but hard to digest

there was the momentum

of some terrible gravity

behind my every word

each was weighed

and then dispensed

on tablets of stone

saying; if you cast the first

then I shall cast the last

it was a diabolical pact

but I just couldn’t see

for the blood in my eyes

had so blinded me




Fear is the prime motivator,

Fear is the organ of our reflex,

Fear makes the world go round,

Binds our colony of fragile exiles,

Legions of patient coffin fillers,

Worm fodder for potter’s field,

Golgotha’s funerary whores,

Suspicious of all that is other,

Macabre in tonal fascinations,

Nauseated by the difference of flesh,

Hungry for the blood of innocents,

Fearful of the shock of discovery,

And the blinding light of reason,

The meek shall play the long game,

Await instructions from above,

Everything is permitted,

Nothing is forbidden,

Unless it is forbidden,

If you are not with us,

Then you are against us,

You must choose sides,

There are no alternatives,

There is only one rule,

Obey all the rules.


26 September 2017

Where do dreams hide?

big bttfy

Cherry blossom hiccups float heaven bound where caterpillars graduate into butterflies that pollinate magic dingoes outback of the Taco Bell; which rings every time an angel forgets his wings and falls to earth soft as a snowflake. In the hollow darkened hush strange spectral hobos panhandle for dreams in the cool electric machinery of night. They sell sea shells in the pink of dawn when our heads are as open as pillar boxes stuffed with letters addressed to nowhere.

While the birdies drink in the sky, our fleeting thoughts dance around the impossible like rubber balls and bounce off into the improbable distance. We waken with the silk of spiders in our eyes and half remembered melodies in our ears. Our crystalline fancies melt before our innermost eyes and vaporise before we can recognise their shapes. Another world beckons, other voices call our names, back to a place no-one can ever speak of; at least while they are sane. What is that phantom memory that hangs before us – invisible – intangible in the almost here and now, but in the way back when? Why do birds salute the dawn? Where do dreams hide in the day time?


22 September 2017



That’s me there – face to face with the back of the crowd and fetching awkward angles between my toes. It’s always seemed that symmetry eluded me and I was dissolving fractions in a decimal world. A feline soul in a canine cosmos; I told a big stripey lie that painted me a permanent crimson and soaked my banner with piss. That was thirty years or so ago and there’s been plenty of action under the bridge since then, it sometimes feels real late, but that’ll be the times. I developed humour as a mechanism to lubricate those rapidly diminishing hours. Burdens borne with a smile sometimes feel like blessings in disguise.

Those hooks and punchlines are mine to own, but they aren’t all jokes, half of them are true. I hawk them anyway because there is little else to say – people expect lies in these days of photoshopped selfies and fictitious biographies, so I get away with the odd deprecating truth – so long as I sugar coat them. No one accepts the sour any more – their palettes are acclimatised to saccharine and the soft candy floss of mediocrity.

I stood in a long line to receive short shrift and a parcel of unwelcome platitudes. I’m not complaining mind you; I got to where I am by the circuitous route, but I got here just the same. I’m quite comfy in my hollow and if things are now slower than they once were it’s only because I was speeding in the first place. I was always all post haste and frantic stratagems. I was hungry – the way only poor boys are hungry and I’m still hungry – the way only old men are hungry.


16 September 2017

Soulless Episode III


She robbed me with apparently no sense of irony. She was enraged and barely coherent. I had been rumbled again. She went through my pockets looking for anything she might have missed. She found a couple of condoms in my jacket. She held them up and laughed.

“Just in case Johnny? Or do you always go prepared?”

She tossed them at me with a gesture that suggested both amusement and contempt. She loved a grand gesture did Jane and she had the dramatic flair tae pull them off. She was a bonny lassie, but she would insist oan talking.

“Yer easy tae get along wi Johnny. Yer a good laugh and yer no bad in the sack, but yer lacking something.”

Here we go, I thought, the commitment lecture – it had to come one day. It always does. Still, I couldn’t help gazing at her near naked body and thinking that a man could lose himself in a woman like that, so why can’t I?

“Yer a coward Johnny. Yer afraid of commitment and yer afraid of love because yer afraid of rejection. Ye take nae risks ‘cause yer a cowardly fucker.”

I was smiling now. I didn’t mean to and it could only wind her up, but the whole scene had a familiar pattern to it. I had recognised the symptoms and I knew it was coming, but like a fool I had to turn up for the final scene. I was almost glad I did though, she was magnificent in her rage. She was a very beautiful woman of strong character. If I were ever to fall in love it would be with a someone like her. I wish I could tell her these things, but tae what purpose? I just lay there on the bed smiling like a muppet.

“You’re pointless Johnny. You’re a record wi nae groove, a fuckin’ bike wi nae wheels. You have a’ the charm and grace in the world Johnny, but ye huv nae soul.”

I groaned in psychic pain. Not that old chestnut. There’s no such thing as a soul. Even Buddha had tae admit that, sort of. The soul is a concept – an abstract – a fuckin’ falsehood. Why do they always pull that soul shite on me? If she meant I had no conscience – that I could bear. It wiznae true, but I could bear it. This soul malarkey though just got oan ma tits. I had soul – even Buddha said I had soul – whatever that means.

“There’s nae need for this Janie, we’re friends after all.”

“I dinnae want tae be one o’ your ‘friends’ Johnny. I’m no some wee whore fi the scheme who’ll let you pick her up or let her doon as ye fuckin’ well please. I deserve mair than that!”

“What’s the money for Jane?”

“I’ve been yer whore and now I want paid!”

“Did I make ye feel that?”

“Aye Johnny – ye did.”

There was so much anger and anguish in her face that it silenced me dead. She loved me. She really did love me, and in that moment, I knew I loved her. It was too late though. Too much had already been said and too much had already been done. How could she ever trust me again? How could I? She would be better off without me, who needs a man with no fuckin’ soul anyway?


14 September 2017

East Of Leven


I could dae this of my own accord you know. I dinnae need the spike, the earmuffs and the diamond collar. I do awright oan ma ane. I kin write awright if ah kin just get some sleep! Men of a certain age, especially those of the manic-depressive persuasion, often find it difficult tae sleep. Loads of pent up emotion an’ barely supressed anger keeps them awake at night. You’ll find that many men of a certain age carry luggage heavy wi pent up emotion an’ barely supressed anger; it’s the lack of fuckin’ sleep that does it.

I’m in an awfy fix. I’m in Scoonie, East of Leven; Scotland’s ane Anus Mundie. I came here tae get away from it all. Fuckin’ well succeeded tae – I’m miles away from anything. This place was designated as pointless back in 1962 and filed under forgotten; not to be revived in the foreseeable future. Some part of me has died here. There is some portion of Scoonie, East of Leven, that shall forever remain Buddha in an unmarked grave.

Brought Johnny. Fat lotta use he is. All he talks about are burds; burds he’s shagged and burds he wants tae shag. He’s goat it bad that yin. He was gifted wi a beautiful intellect which resides in the glans of his penis. I love the guy tae death, but one day that cock o’ his will lead him into mair than temptation. I told him tae be meagre wi his wants, but on that score he’s the greediest bastard a’ ever met.

We’re no exactly oan holiday here. This is no gentleman’s junket. We’re on the lam. No fi the law or that, but fi our friends. Our pals want a pound of our flesh. Some depressing tale involving supposed MDMA tablets and an alleged horse tranquiliser. A very ugly story, but all too common in today’s marketplace. We were merely intermediaries in this carfuffle, but since the primary agents had absconded wi the loot, we were held by many tae be responsible. Stupid bastards. To a man they are all stupid bastards and the stupid like to weigh in mob handed. The mob that’s after us is comprises of some unsavoury characters who’d just as soon knife you as kick ye in the head when yer down. We’re running from a lynching – there’s nothing the stupid love more than a good lynching.

They’ll never find us in Scoonie though. The sun cannae find us in Scoonie. Which is a huge problem. I brought my stash, of course, but what use is it? How the fuck does an honest dealer make a living during the winter in a caravan site in some Godforsaken corner of Scotland naebody has ever heard of? Give Johnny his due he’s been out in Leven every day hustling the few remaining angles, but maybe he’s just hunting fur burds. It’s been three weeks since he got laid last and he’s getting kinda antsy. That testosterone banks up and swamps the mind ye know. Many are the wondrous feats of stupidity perpetrated by horny men.

“You know trying to find a trick on the street is too much like hard work. You want to open an oaffice.”

“Why an office?”

“If you had an oaffice the tricks would come tae you.”


“Tae buy your services of course”

“And what are my services?”

“You’ll be relieving them of their cash.”

“Just like that?”

“Just a little mind you, no enough tae send naebody tae the polis.”

“Ye’ll have tae be specific Bood – what would I be selling?”

“Dreams Johnny Boy – dreams.”

“Fan fuckin tastic Buddha – wid you get tae the point?”

“A raffle – a lottery, anything that cost you nowt to organise and the punter only a few coppers tae play. We can use the laptop tae design the necessary and print them off in the site office.”

“Won’t they be suspicious at the office?”

“We’ll wait till they’ve gone hame – I have the key right here.”

“That’s a screwdriver.”

“It’s a key in the right hands.”

“So we are going to run a fake lottery no one will ever win. Won’t people be pissed when they find out?”

“They never will. Millions of people dae the lottery every day and not one of them realises that they were ripped off. I’ve done the maths Johnny and statistically speaking yer odds of winnin’ are about the same if ye buy a ticket or not. No-one seriously expects tae win the lottery anyway. They dae it just in case; people are playing ‘cause it fuels the old pipedreams for a wee while. They get to imagine what they would spend it on if they did win; an entirely vicarious thrill costing a mere pound. Of course our lottery will cost a fiver ‘cause you get five lines wi every ticket. It’s a special international lottery which gives out billions in prizes every day and it’s all tax free because they are based in The Cayman Islands.”

“Looking at it that way people are pretty stupid., eh?”

“The stupid ones are, but the rest are just greedy. Never make the mistake of thinking yer trick is stupid Johnny, never underestimate anybody. If you find a trick who is genuinely stupid – walk away. Have nae dealings wi the stupid whatsoever.”

“Surely they are the easiest tricks?”

“Too easy, but unpredictable. You ever know how the stupid will react to being made a cunt of Johnny. The prisons are full of stupid fuckers who killed for nae apparent reason. Nothing is more dangerous than brute ignorance and conscientious stupidity. Have no dealings whatsoever with the stupid Johnny. If you huv a stupid friend – boot him intae touch. If ye huv stupid customers – get rid of them before they get ye busted; I guarantee ye that they tell every cunt they meet everything they know about you. No drug, not even booze, causes some much strife. If we're looking for the source of our fuckin’ woes, we shouldnae be testin’ folk for drugs, we should be testin’ them for stupidity. There’s nae fuckin’ rehab fur the stupid – they’re always fuckin’ stupid and that’s a fact. What was it Oscar Wilde said? ‘There is no sin but stupidity’ I reckon he was spot on; stupidity is the route of all evil.”

“We can all be stupid at times Buddha – people make mistakes.”

“I agree, but that’s no whit am talking about. I’m talking about the terminally stupid – the ones who cannae learn fi their mistakes; because they were right to make them and would do it again tomorrow for the same inane, stupid reasons they did it today. I’m serious Johnny – you let the stupid into your life and chaos ensues. That’s enough philosophy fur one day – fire up the laptop an’ let’s get tae work.”


I wish Johnny had listened to me. Perhaps I should have placed more emphasis on the stupid, but Johnny found he was willing tae indulge stupidity if it came wi a pretty face. That peccadillo was to cost him dearly one day, but that’s another story and I’m no the man tae tell it. Creativity being the cessation of stupidity our lottery scheme worked out well. We only sold two hundred or so tickets, but that raised over five grand and meant we were able to pay off our ‘creditors’ and still have some change for beer. All’s well that ends well they say – except this is no the end, but the beginning.