I reckon there’s a limited number of ‘natural’ poems (themes) in a person. Those recursive explorations that occur, so you think you might be writing the same poem over and again (Jack Torrance style). Well, this seems to be one of them.

I’d watched a Western film starring Tommy Lee Jones and it set me off down a familiar path (in hindsight). Yeah, well, I love Westerns. I’ve written many poems inspired by Westerns, and an ongoing prose work (The Lick of It). It’s something that resonates with me, me with it.

Anyway, here you go.


I would go West. I’d go West even now I am not a young man.
I would go West, I would. Only, what West there was is long lost.
I still look West. But there is nothing that is westerly,
there is nothing Western left to head to.

The days of being able to runaway, to run off to someplace
that doesn’t, not quite, exist are ended. Every page,
every last darned page, of this world is written on.
It can seem we are birthed ink-stained into it.

Still, wagon trains form. The West remains a much-promised land.
Always there will be wagon masters stringing folk along.
A journey is a journey though it has nowhere for it to end.
(The true West is empty, nothing awaits there but its emptiness.)

(Right now, the world is an hotel with no vacancies.)
Shouldn’t I just, goddamnit, head West regardless?
Maybe I ought to pray so that I have a prayer to be answered.
If I just ran and kept on, I’d be certain to run into something.

I would go West. Yes, I would, for the clarity of its blankness,
for its untold story. But that story has been told.
It was not a tale any different to any other.
Drink was poured into a fresh glass until it was overfilled.

And I would be left as I am. There would be me. And there would be
love, the plurality of love (my love, your love and their love).
And there would be the overwhelming stuff of life crowded about.
And I would imagine there was a West I might retreat into.


Stumbling towards something:



One of the ‘Unstruck’.

The Unstruck:
unstruck by anything
resembling lightning:
by the kneading
knocking-back of flesh.
Unstruck dumb
by the volume
of all the regardlessness.

No, not untouched.
All islands will be shaped by the waters about them.
But unstruck: no experience of cleaving,
of drowning flash floods of openness and emptiness, of totality.
One unbroken-upon. Only a knowledge of cat licks
and fingertips, the slight and the tenderest of things.

The lucky, the Blessed Unstruck:
the ignorance of them,
it stings as sweat does caught in the eyes.

One of the not struck-and-struck-and-struck-again.
You cannot become unstruck, you just are unstruck.
It’s another ‘otherness’.




Soviet Workers


First, a catch up. The lack of posts on Great Bloody Wave is due to me ‘polishing’ a number of poems that’ve appeared in draft forms on the site for… for elsewhere. GBW isn’t a place for so-called finished work, it’s (like I always say) a playground. I will let you know what occurs with the shined poems.

But for now, here’s a newbie. It’s drawn from the other excuse for not posting, full-time employment. And that.


All the bodies on this train, in this carriage,
Are dead. What a fucking slaughterhouse.
Cadavers, everyone of them slashed and spouting,
Slumped on the durable upholstery of their meagre seats.
Stinking. Chunk blowflies of this stink humming.
Hey, people, don’t you know you have been killed?
So why not shut the fuck up?
But all the dead want is to evacuate their bowels.
And go on and on and on and on shitting.
The glorious freshness of blood (its gloss, its electric fragrance,
Its oomph) is being wasted here. These spigot wounds.
These wounds blaring with all the grunt of an outside tap.
These custard-over-suet-pudding wounds.
Those wounds as stupefying as a fist entering deep and slow
Up into an arsehole. So many wounds wasted. Hey, people,
Blood is the glamour of being murdered, so why not vogue.
Sam Peckinpah, he’d come in his pants over this torrential massacre.
Géricault would piss on The Raft of the Medusa to paint this horror
(of humanity) instead of that anaemia. Quentin Tarantino,
He would cut off his cock & balls to capture an iota of this on film.
And, yeah, Goya, he would want a tasty piece of it.
It’s such a gushing, over-saturated magnificence that’s why.
It’s Profondo Rosso. Giallo. It’s dead people. Dead.
People. Machine-gunned, pitchforked, machete’d.
Quartered. Spatchcocked. Scored like pork rind for crackling.
Thumbs into eyeballs, pop. Flayed, square inch by square inch.
This is the glory of an occupation, this spread,
This buffet of a working day’s leftovers laid on.
Tuck in, you earned it. But they shit on it.
A diarrhoea of News International, of Farrage and kneejerks
And bubblegum thinking, of highly-polished fear
And flag-waving ignorance, of nodding,
Of looking away at the crucial moment,
Of needing and wanting and sacrifice
And of being done, of being at a loss.
All the bodies on this train, in this carriage, including me,
Are dead. Fuck, surely nobody wants to be dead?





In a pristine world I’d delete the previous incarnation of this post. This was never an immaculate accommodation. Really, I ought to quit on the poem. Is it even a poem? But, I was never that guy. I would rather be continually defeated than give up.

Like, when we were kids, somewhere in the region of ten year olds, we’d play this version of King of the Castle on the slide down the park. One gang would attempt to hold the summit against all-comers. It was pure violence. It was an important contest. Once, Stephen C*** instigated this new method of defence, he pissed on the attackers. Most dived for cover, but not me. I climbed the ladder of the slide, clang rung by clanking rung, with a lively weight of urine hitting my head until I was king. I was the soggy, stinking King of the Castle. I proved nothing, but my perverse resolve.

Here is another attempt at The Stool Pigeon. It’s a thin and flawed poem, but.


Hiya. I’m Norman Cook. My pseudonym is Fatboy Slim.
I’m one of them superstar DJ fellas,
it’s likely you have grooved to some tune I produced.
Yeah, I was in The Housemartins in the Nineteen Eighties
(we had a number one with Caravan of Love, yay).
Just now, I am the feature spread in this colour supplement.
That’s me, photographed there, posed on the stairs
of my home on Hove’s mega-expensive Western Esplanade.
They love me in Brighton, they fucking love me.

I’m looking up, out of this shining page into the face
of a nobody, a nonentity. Who are ya? Whom are ya?
He’s hungover-tousled and dewy. And he’s taking a shit.
I am hearing every reverberation caused by his sphincter
and each thump-splash. Has this to be the price of fame?
I guess so. He has torn me from the magazine rudely,
ripped me out and wiped his arse with my visage.
I am sinking in effluence. Mate, show a little respect,
purchase a roll of Andrex. Matey, I’m big-time famous,
I’m a talent. I am a someone. And all I wanted was
to make the everyday folk aware of the strain,
the burden that celebrity puts on me and my family.



Don’t recall when I wrote this. Or why. It must’ve been one of those times at the keyboard when I want to write but there’s nothing purposeful occurring between my head and my fingers. I know the article referred to was something I experienced, maybe I just wrote down an experience. I’ve nothing against Fatboy Slim, I used to listen to his Big Beat. Anyway, I doubt I wasted too much time on this, it is what it is.


I am a broadsheet article. I am Norman Cook, I’m Fatboy Slim
and you have likely danced to something by me.
I am photographed, there, on the stairs of my Brighton home.
I am looking out, looking up at this hangover-tousled fella,
who is taking a godalmighty shit. I’m hearing every reverberation
caused by his sphincter and each thump-splash. Well, I guess,
that is the price of fame. And I am torn in half,
ripped from this feature on me, and I’m used to wipe
clean this nonentity’s arse (because the dull fuck
has forgot to purchase Andrex). Why is it I have to pay
for his dismal failings? Mate, I am a Chart-Topping DJ.
All I wanted was to make folk aware of the strain
celebrity has had on me and my family.




Here’s a revisitation, a poem from back in the day (reworked). The Above Bar in Above Bar is in Southampton where I used to live (years ago). It’s reportage, things stripped out from a trip into town (yeah, of course, it’s played out into something).


There’s a bloke who won’t buy shoes for a girl (this weighty
not fat girl) of, what, ten or eleven. ‘Oi!’ the bloke hawks,
you best get your bitch arse back here now!’. But the girl, she deftly,
deathly, deafly turns about and walks. And the bloke,
he’s all rabid greyhound coursing after his daughter
(assuming she’s kin or something) and he’s got her
savage in the jaw of both hands and he’s tearing her
back through the air, shambolic with bad blood and shit.
I want to, I ought to punch this bloke in the mush. Yet,
I don’t (because you don’t, do you? I forget why).
A woman’s telling two women how she once nursed a bird
with a broken wing and when it was mended it returned
every year (well, it used to, she adds). The woman’s English
is rounded by a Nigerian accent, her laugh’s a Hammond organ.
I want to (should I?) kiss her loudly full on the lips (but you can’t,
can you). One of two lads says he needs a poo. ‘Shit, mate!
is the response of the other. ‘Naw, I’m for real, I’m totally turtling’.
A girl with evident Special Needs is telling her mum ‘mom,
I don’t mind, I really don’t mind, I don’t
’. It’s clear her mum minds.



there is a thinness
this wearing/worn thinness
that is not thin like a stalk of wild grass

(a stem of Meadow fescue wipes itself, oblique,
over the back of my hand as I pass,
and this startling, incisive lick of wetness
seems all that I am, for a second—
I am a sharpness of dew—an acuteness—
there is no thinness to it, no—
there’s only this cutting obesity)

but there is a thinness
such an apparent thinness
but it’s not thin like the green-milk reach of the bindweed

(those worming curls of new growth reaching out
from the chain-link fence, screwing upwards,
taking hold—a net of slow, slow elvers—
weedy tendons, ligatures of weft, garrottes—
so joyful is the bindweed’s strangulation
of everything within its reach
that, from the woodier stems, white flowers trumpet
and bunting its eked-out onslaught—
there is no thinness to its fibrous ambition,
the bindweed is a fat-suit about the chain-link)

there is

this wearing, worn out, weary thinness
that cannot be relied on
to ever again hold things together

but what is this thinness like?

it’s like
words conjoined without some glue of thought
it’s like
there has to exist some great, unadventurous distance
in between the very nearest things
it’s like
repetition is the truth, repetition is the truth
repetition is the truth, repetition is the truth
it’s like everything must be NEW
it’s like emotions are reliable
it’s like
we believe in nothing and in nothing we believe
it’s like

it’s like a thinness

it’s like there’s a thinness

a gnat’s cock, a cigarette paper, a smidgeon
keeping an immensity at bay.


Another Perry excursion. He is an effigy—sometimes, one to be burnt. He is a caricature. He abides in a black comedy, a life lived askant. I write of Perry as he writes of himself, blowing smoke in everyone’s eyes. There is reportage, yet it is fiction. Perry is no Everyman, he is painfully someone (who exists without the labour of breath or the glory of it). If anything, he is something.

On the Subject of Melancholy

O, such an unhappy man.

A talc-sweet, spittle-bubbling baby
is cot inside, all incoherent limbs
and suckling eyes; a thing
of balsa wood afloat on the seas of what is.

Sir John Everett Millais’ Bubbles,
as wan and fretful a child,
is there, within, knowing his bubble
will be burst, that it cannot be kept.

There’s Gainsborough’s Blue Boy too
(as wet and assured, this watery slickness),
he’s standing, languishing, defiant with ennui,
dressed as some over-flamboyance of an adult.

There’s a Rebel Without a Cause,
A Tim Roth as Trevor in Made in Britain,
A Benjamin Braddock from The Graduate,
and a Johnny Darko corralled within.

O, such a very unhappy man:
so full of it: made up by it,
by this Grand Guignol of nought-ness,
something&nothingness, of slump.

Furled like a dog turd, he rafts on a futon
(an increasing flatness he rollers over
he can feel its ribs, the slats of the base),
he relishes the bloody business of going nowhere.

The window frames the close-by treetops,
shuddering, muttering with leaves,
and he wants to make-believe
he’s The Wildman of the Woods,

to emulate one Anthony Aloysius Hancock,
who forsakes tawdry society for self-reliance
on Hampstead Heath, who fails,
who cannot overcome himself.

O, once a happy-go-lucky fellow,
who would curl up into himself
like a diurnal plant at dusk
to listen to the lad himself (but,

things just seemed to go too wrong too many times).

The beeches puff, swell like iron drops
through milk, against the cloud:
he cultures an image of mould spotting
the protein gel in a Petri dish:

the pilose greyness of the fungal hyphae
spreading, merging, Venn diagrammatic:
those down-like spores breaking loose,
falling away, becoming drizzle.

O, such a miserable fucker.

Closing shop, his eyes shut (each a bearded muscle),
he speaks to a God he doesn’t believe in,
to the psychiatrist he doesn’t have,
to those who will never care to hear, and he states

what is the sense of being awake when asleep we can dream.

O, unhappy man, how you so revel in your unhappy self! You twat.


Cover Image, '55999 and other stories': Alan Perry (Castaway Press, 1979)

Cover Image, ‘55999 and other stories': Alan Perry (Castaway Press, 1979)


There is a parallel me, kind of. Until I was sixteen, I was Markus John Lloyd-Perry (that’s what’s on my birth certificate). I made the decision to be known as Markus Lloyd (there was a hot coal inside of me that I wanted to hold out like it was a torch, which is a teenage means of dealing with hurt). But, there is always this Markus Perry me: it brightly shadows me.

And—it was (Uncle) Alan (Perry) who established the notion of a literary alter-ego (a word-selfie) that I could utilise in extricating myself from myself (navel-gazing, confessional, too fully idiosyncratic shit). Alan writes stories about Perkins, who is autobiographical (as in a biography of a self) (collected in Days of the Comet – Moonstone Press 2007). I’ve a mode of self/else named Perry.

Perry occurs most often in first drafts, a means of negotiating the first person I’d use but I want to avoid using. Later, Perry falls away and a poem/thought will rely on the self/character of its voice (that is so often assumed to be that of the author—are all the personae in a play the playwright?). The voice of a poem is really that of the reader (it’s a puppet-voice, I guess).

Anyway, here’s a poem that purports to be one of Perry’s. And, of course, it is one of Perry’s poems.


On the Subject of Nodding Off

Nighttime seems to resound
with a tidal chivvying
of pebbles and shingle:
only, it’s just the crepitus
of the dual carriageway,
so close and perpetual.

The night is a conch you hold to your ear.
And, though it’s a form of silence you hear
(lifeblood coursing, the indelible pulse
of everything at once), it’s good radio
worth listening to.

It’s like falling to sleep to Lou Reed’s
Metal Machine Music.
Or, it’s like an infants school teacher
telling a story with a voice as lull
as a respirator.

It’s never the same during the day:
though days are as tidal
and they slap at the shore
with far greater brutality
(a bone-crunching butchery
of stuff going on).

In daytime, most sounds are disentangled,
made distinct, they rear up at you,
white horses that spume GBH of the lugholes.
It’s all Shostakovich.

Days, sleep is a dirt track
potholed with the sudden application
of air brakes, tortuous with kids
(overexcited or traumatised by life),
overrun by dogs slavering distress.

Daytimes, sleep is an edifice of windows,
a glasshouse, and stones are thrown
(half bricks of street greetings, oi, oi!;
breeze blocks of drive-by subwoofer;
slingshots of police helicopter;
loads more, putting out the windows).

Yet, in the day, before you think to take sanctuary in a kip,
all you will have heard is what’s been spoken at you,
the soliloquy of tv, the pings and beeps of servile electronics,
people saying things you’re meant to want to know:
all the rest, the synchronous, the oceanic noise of it,
is filtered out. Days, you’re left alone, a solitary being.
Nights, you are reclaimed by the whole, by the sum of being.



So, there’s a shortcut to a folder named ‘Poetry for Site’ on my desktop (digital one). There’s a folder in my Documents named ‘POETRY’ – I like to SHOUT top level categories. Inside POETRY is a subfolder named ‘Archive’, which is a digi-version of a paper archive that fills the chest we use for a tv stand. The archive on my computer contains poetry going back to 2006 – some (once) thought finished poems and incomplete drafts and redrafts and scraps. Like I raid notebooks, I raid this folder when desperate or nostalgic or curious (about that former self they captured).

So, the other night I was compelled (by lack) to root about in ‘Archive’ and I decided it was time to revisit the bulk of leftovers it contains. See, I was thinking I ought to write something akin to a manifesto or excuse or something about why poetry? – like, why do I write poetry? (And I intend to write that thing, eventually-soon.) But, then, I thought going back to this dead-pool of work and wrestling the before into after might present me with some actual proper understanding of what poetry is (to me)(by extension, what poetry is).

So, here’s No. 1 of this thing I’m doing now. [BTW this wasn’t a difficult transaction, I saw me now (filled with this premise I’m blathering on about) quite obviously in the original].

is for
is for
is for

A Blue Crayon

A scrawl being scrawled opposite the bathroom door on the landing wall (behind this scrawl: wallpaper; finishing, brown and scratch coat plaster; brick; and cavity, only broken by wall ties)(no spray foam insulation, it’s only nineteen sixty nine, it hasn’t caught on)(a cold-sweat of air drawls through the void that quilts the house (a down of emptiness between inner and outer walls), a cavity of draft-weeds of dust and fibres snagged and held)(pavilions of cobweb)(electricity mains cable; mains gas; mains water)(harvest incursions by field mice, the hard, sharp pencil lead dot-dash of rodent feet, the bucktoothed jaw-jaw of them on stuff) the skin of English Bond that holds in what is home (in nineteen sixty nine to a three year child (who’s voice has become wax and says the bulk expanse of this, this chill surface against the motion and trace of this colouring fist is IT, the whole ABC of things

and the child goes on to scribble life, a life,
living ABC, a blue crayon for a mind.