Telling a joke that fails, or explaining a joke that still fails.
Writing a joke that fails. 
Continuing to write the same joke in different formats. 

And he stared. He looked and couldn’t turn away. In the distance no music played. It seemed that nothing existed beyond. It was just him.

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it’s strange that i can call you now an old friend

refer to you as such, like furniture or a farting cat

a fixture that i’ve drawn around myself with age

something safe like a book with each page stained Read the rest of this entry »

It is 4.45am on March 12th. A flock of Canada geese is passing over my house, on the wing before long before dawn, but I am already awake, sat in the warm, still darkness of the kitchen with my hands wrapped round a mug of black coffee. The first time I ever heard Canada geese was when I was a boy in Scotland, somewhere up around Inverbeg. We used to go on family holidays there, driving up from Glasgow in an Austin Allegro to sit in a caravan by a rain-lashed lake for a weekend. If the sun did come out – moving slowly out of the shadows of thunderheads, wan and opaque, like a recovering invalid, with no heat to it – clouds of black fly would follow and we’d have to stay in the caravan anyway. I remember lying in the army surplus sleeping bag that belonged to my Uncle Ian, curled up inside the warm hibernal darkness, the seam folded over my head like a cocoon, reading the Beano by the spotlight of a weak torch. I remember hearing the geese calling overhead.

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Elizabeth had not expected to end her life in the toasty embrace of old friends and family. The night leading up to her death was just like any other, and she sat alone, warming her toes by the fireplace with a half-finished patchwork quilt draped over her lap. It formed a multi-textured mountain landscape, dipping into the valley between her legs.

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I dunno says the boy at the back of the class

with the flat black hair and the flat black glasses

ignoring the raised hands infront of him.

If you’re going to be like that then why bother with living at all?

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Early morning,

the grey sky doesn’t glitter.

I sit here and

think about all the men I have sat here with,

including the one beside me.

You were my favourite.

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AVRIL is behind the till, looking dazed. Natasha is the other end of the shop, purposefully mixing up the immaculately arranged drinks fridge. The glass doors open and MARK enters, smiling, and walks confidently straight to till. He’s a little older than AVRIL, wearing dark jacket and glasses, and he winks at her as he approaches. Read the rest of this entry »


Petrol station building, with large front window allowing us glimpses inside. There’s no noise, until three blue cars pass by consecutively, and bring with them a brief hum of tarmac under tyre. Inside the building is empty, apart from a middle-aged woman, AVRIL, busying herself. She’s too far away to be distinct. Read the rest of this entry »

Rafts of debris floated on the grey expanse: tiles, beams, the occasional armchair, all woven together like matted hair pulled from the plughole of a bath. Sharp stakes of splintered wood rose, dripping, from the water and dipped down again with the contours of the waves. Two figures in Tsunami Aid jackets waded carefully across them with the same undulation. Read the rest of this entry »