“Had much in the way of wild sex recently?” Gary asked after a silence that had lasted so long governments had fallen. We were sat under an ash tree on a birdshit-splashed bench on the South Bank, Gary and me and Lady Godiva; we’d been there a while, long enough to get hungry and thirsty and cold. But we had each other. World peace was still a twinkle in a madman’s eye, poverty had become its own ideology and was beating capitalism hands down. Enough wine was produced in one year in Europe and Australia to keep the whole world anaesthetised for six months. And war was imminent, always, somewhere, and more importantly the Royal Family had flu. Time had become irrelevant. This was the way the world was, this was the way life was. Coyness was something we could no longer afford. Lady Godiva licked her crotch and growled at a passing cat. “Were there any free doughnuts going at the Point today?” “No, not today, Gary.” Crime was fast becoming a tempting alternative.

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This woman sits by Argus on a bus. Handbag full of rocks, hair full of crawling things. Mascara all thick and gaudy, horror flick fashion. Argus wanting to look, but not wanting to look, and not wanting to look as if looking, staring, ogling with choking-man orbits is all that his young and acid-blown brain wants to do. Harridan – as Argus bills this woman in his constantly ongoing inward mind flick –¬†Harridan coughs and racks and spits up into a rag that’s a suicidal artist’s grim and odorous paintbox. Harridan folds this rag into its millionth aligning and stuffs it into a dark patch of amorphous mouldy raincoat. A brown stringy slick of gob from Harridan’s lungs grabs at Argus’s shirt, his Villa shirt, his Shirt of Shirts, and soaks in all slimy, sucking bright colour into a dark touch that’s clammy on his skin. Harridan, not knowing of this taint, blabs on in chaotic monotony at hand rails and chair backs and glass. Argus, his Shirt of Shirts now shitty in his mind and on his torso, sits fuming, taut, caught, angry-hot and horror-struck. Hours to go. Hours by Harridan. Hours on this bus.

This brand of anguish always falls on Argus on a bus.

Exercise 1: A Yellow Alphabet

September 2, 2008

After begging Carmen
“Don’t ever forget!”
going home
I jogged.

Killing long moments,
no other pastime
quite right,
sitting trembling
under velvet-dark windows
examining yesterday’s zeal.

Ozone… yes, excrement
winding viciously
up towards sunlight
robbing quiet pastures
of nothing meaningful
long-term.
Kites, jonquils, incense.
How God forged Eden.

Darling Carmen
berated all, and
beckoned coarsely
danced
essayed
fabricated.

Gladly, humbly,
I killed longing,
meaning never of
perfect
quixotic
restless she to utter.

Vain words – xanthic,
yielding zero.