Tenement Tao

The cleverest things in the world are the toughest to speak of concisely. Our marriage had hit a rut and the only way for it not to die, to not slip through grass to a ravine, was to talk. It wasn’t about always telling the truth, sometimes I lies so she would follow, and sometimes I’d not talk, and she’d sing. Caught inside one another, watching each other smile. Electrack Street, Garbage City was behind us for Sublime, a small village were people emitted pink love hearts as they passed. I recall unpacking one box and wondering at what point we’d thrown out the stereo. The Flaming Lips, under a thick sheet of dust. Well, that couldn’t go in Jonas’ nursery.

Marry-Jane and I listened: every bawl, every wail, every boo-oo-aa. We were glad we’d traded Electrack Street for him; every moment, though, he was so tiny, like a little sausage cartoon clone of me, every moment was not not precious. There was noise, and noise and ringing scorching headache. When sleepy, he was a doorway to a world of New Age delivery, of de-cluttered living. We basked in him like he was the Tahiti sun, our perfectly put together boy. He walked and said, “Air”.

He stopped screaming and the night reminded me of my own parents. At the dock, after hours waiting for the boat to come in with Dad getting a sleep behind the wheel and Mum making us juice from the caravan behind. The other children, between the still cars, and the lorries. It was something deep black and spiritual, a promise of pioneering as harboured boats chimed in the wind. It was going to be okay.

There was no acid then, no wrong vinegar. Sure, he got into trouble, but nothing too off. Just like any other boy, except I got the feeling he was improving the curve. He had a paper round which he took some pride in. That Christmas his mum and I gave money for choice. That was the moment when we let One Direction into our home with their wonderful song-writing skills, their catchy tunes and refreshing perspectives teaching the three of us the way of the world.

Exactly a year later, Jonas burned tied to the basement table, while Mary-Jane and I wrapped wheels through LA streets, boiling petrol towards our new lives in Alaska.

Bloody Templates


I can see in the dark. It’s not deadly. There’s layers, and things we bring. Memories, grins, carrots and hummus, shades of sun, different colours. (I have a lot of white) Some memories are very strong, I’ve lived here for years. No music plays now, but I remember Blake Leyh’s closing credits to The Wire which sound like the marina car park, the Flaming Lips Yoshimi rock opera of holiness. When the electric increases it’s range I’ll feel comforted, but sometimes I like the risk. Crossing to the far end without knocking anything over is my own private talent show. Somewhere in those late hours I’ll let a mess grow. I’m going to step away from the screen now. I can see what’s at the other end, although it’s dark.

Flee Street

Do you wanna publish? Do you wanna publish? Let’s go. It’s periodicals. Drive the barons of the papers out of business. And you’ve got a team of writers ploughing through human rights periodicals. We’re communicating. Periodicals, easy cheap. Permanent type is so 18th century dear. Not 1,000 per vendor – five in every shop. Committee hyperfiction. And we’re in the exhibition about exhibitions now exhibiting our own exhibition journals and A4e bomb planes bastardise the flesh of forty year old language teachers who were once little children.

And that teachers a terrorist, and you’re a terrorist: Monica, Colin, Tracey, Hugh, Ha ha ha. Ha ha ha the headline. Christopher in Serial Naplaming Shock, Ha Ha Ha, and now we can all sleep, because it’s 11 a.m.

Aren’t they ready to learn? Rosaleen? Can’t we teach these painters of crap? Learn. It’s fun. Next person. Shh. Learn. Ha ha ha Headline.

But My Finger

There, the most floatiest macaroon lemur Todd rode midday. Cantaloupe no surprise raffles canyon feathers back back and give security. Wax scaffold fun ordered Molly Coddles’ barber flying, now I’m on line. Boaters’ Margarette was the cake – commercial yet co-operate, social animal.
“I know you meant Battenburg”, said Paul.
“It’s time you woke up and learned the truth”, spoke the megaphone, but my finger pointed up to improvised paradox dream laid manifesto to save the macaroon lemur.

Doodles Writer in September

Faith sketches, they might have been called. A long-backed rhomboise mounting a flap-bad owl spectra ship. The other had a butterfly’s look but also French Toast marked by black ink outlines repeated. The antennae might have been twigs, or cherries, and were accompanied by a commercial witch’s broomstick. Flow lines.


The laptop lay open, each segment of it over eight A0 poster prints in the shop window. Sitting at the bus stop opposite it each evening, Dawn remembered the detail. The code around the browser window burned into her retina like a favourite boy or a school time social formula. As Dawn walked the houses of the street, through windows laptops became mouths, banking websites the oysters within. She would wait until the postman’s van was in the area, and this was how the police arrested Kevin Tracey.

Chief O’ Hara was the recipient of the usual notes of gibberish. He nor D.I. Jaunty were not interested in any of that palaver. The criminal was smart, the criminal was stupid. He was not taking the laptops, merely transferring funds from them. The break-ins were all about 2-4pm: Royal Mail round time, Tracey’s arrest.

We can tell he’s not a cyber-hacker, however he wants us to believe he’s not smart. If he was he’d be out with everyone else during this time at the local Assco supermarket. Those are the hours when staff do the food and drink mark down, the reduced-to-clear. The criminal is smart see. John Clunes always signed his name to these letters and after a while O’Hara and Jaunty stopped sending him cautions. For in every investigation, the aul street cleaner was right.

It was with reluctance that O’Hara investigated, and it was with an icy reception that Clunes treated the conversation. Interest was peaked when Clunes revealed they were all Hyperion Bank robberies. They were spreading three miles over, but all on the bus route from the 24. It was at the 24 pick-up point in the city were Hyperion advertised. Dawn lived at the meeting point of four quiet back streets were the first robbery was committed.
‘Underclass’, as according to the man in the yellow jacket.
“This one was a prior suspect in a visa card scam from the plush shop tills. The money trail went cold and she was never prosecuted.”
She left to study a joint Masters in graphic design and psychology and came home to the recession: Vietnam for academics. Clunes found her on Google. The strand of red hair from one of the keyboards was long, and caught in the free newspapers she delivered around the area. The pay was £10 a week. Enough for the benefit office to double her workload, enough to fund two round bus fares, no wonder it was a secret.

“She couldn’t repay her student loan, what chances are there of repaying anything the court has to damn her with?” asked John, out in the yard, as Kevin Tracey walked off into the distance. Like Jaunty, he was but a few years from retirement, though his features were harder, a weighty face of jagged rock, stubble like sandpaper, a skin bitten by the elements. His hands were in his pockets by his tools: a brush, a picker, a shovel around the sides of the bin on the barrow he pushed. His eyes looked at the two officers and he raised his white ipod phones to his lugs and wheeled on past them.


The Code is This (Expanded)

I’ve gotten my back in knots of fucking sadness trying to find something inspiring to write today, so I’m getting out the expanded version of an old favourite. You can read the ‘first part’ at https://andy-luke.com/2013/07/18/the-code-is-this/

“Aeroplanes aren’t yellow granny. That’s an old tree, and I love old, old trees.”

There is breeze.

As I sit and write this to you, another kid plays among the small birds on land. A goose is staring at me. He has been staring through the railings with another who only has one eye fixed on me. Standing like monarchs. I turn my gaze to  a fuzzy little duckling, a yellow child.  Suddenly, the kid gets too near it and the geese turn their heads from him and hiss. The kid cries and runs off and away, happier and his mother feeds them all from a bag of bread. Several of the shit-heads find their way out and it only takes one four claps to send them all away, but later they return to the mother with the bread bag: the monarch geese, the mallards and  self-respecting lapwings.

The birds trust me now: the little grey and white flecked lapwings looks like a pigeons  with manners and self-respect. There is another bag of bread. She has gone to. That was GEC08 just disappearing over the bird island.

This is all on your phone as you walk and walk to who knows where. It started with happy solitude at the bank were a fish-like bird dived and you followed the trail. Into green green paths through trees, cool serene airing until you were wrapped in them and their oxygens got inside you and your knots are snapped. This is the time you escaped to England, this is the time you escaped to Wales, this is Northern Ireland, this is patriotism. This is a song and a flag and worth getting the skin out for your chums. This is the best thing about religion and people looking at one another, and strangers. The code is this.

The Pub That Richard Forgot

“I think Andrew dreamt it”, said Stephen. Ten times we’d talked it to the dead end and my claws screamed at the blanked memories. Sure it was dark, it was a pub, its light darkened by lodge brown venetian blins. The tables and the bar were a deep hue. It was Richard took me there: another pint with Adam, here’s to sloshed Lee. Someone’s away for agess: with a girl, a cigarette machine that spun off into a mini-series? Or the bar? The only other area lit.

Richard looks at me and I wonder do these memories even provide these lights. It’s been washed off the map in a flash flood of lager.

“I’m not imagining it!” I plead. “It’s up the Crescent or Botanic…Yeah, I was talking to Dawn and she knew where I meant. The Courtyard or The Vineyard or something.”
Richard integrates the new data, searching, acquiring…”Hmm, I wonder.” In my opinion, he’s getting nowhere.
“Look!” I claim the pen.
“On the outside, it’s a small building..” I scrawl a rectangle for a cottage and the trees on each side. Then a wall in front. The gap for the path is very small, only one to two persons can get through at a time.
“I can’t say I recall”, says he who has clearly been there four times. “It’s not Garfields is it?”, and in writing I think he knows now were I mean. Garfield’s was a public toilet.
“I think he means a place inside his head. If we were miniaturised and piloted a capsule in there we’d find it.”
“Right! I say we got up to Botanic now!” I have raised my voice. “I can get us there”
“I don’t know that we’d have time.”
All the way across the Corn Market cascade, with the people that zip and shuffle and line shop fronts, the kettled cattle. The cars of Chichester Street, Royal Avenue, traffic lights in front of crossings. There are Cafe Neros and Starbucks in this city. Its a grid, no diagonal cuts: grid, grid, grid between us and the bus station that is only halfway to Botanic’s maybe place.

“We’ll do it another day” we agree and Stephen remains with the book, Richard is out the door, and I’m looking at you.

Red Eyes

“Be!” sounded the cry of The Shadow Men, stood in grid formation.

“All that you can be!” They raised their rifles over their shoulders and waved them in the air.

“In the arm-eee!”

It was a decidedly undisciplined show of loyalty, perhaps more proscribed to children at a water park. There were cheers, and a few shots went off. The Man in The Mask turned his head around, as if addressing The Steel Hyena. There were hundreds of men below him, but enough realised the next few seconds of their bosses whims were crucial and they made a show of marching to the craft. Each ship took a fourteen man crew, weighing towards the forward guns. It was not really strange to their leaders or his soldiers were in the shape of his heads. Yes, forty or fifty foot square heads. Inside eyeholes pilots sat, framed by blast shutters mimicking eyelids were the occasion called for it. This at least had a function. The nose was fairly superfluous. The grinning incisors were particularly ornate and served to intimidate their enemies.

Off the coast of Bermuda, U.S. Captain John Crenshaw engaged the red skull in his F-15 fighter jet. He and the co-pilot Mac called the crew up to see. The men laughed so hard that they slipped upon the controls and the plane ended up in the sea.

“Another successful mission for Count Cameron and the Agents of F.R.E.A.K.” the speakers boomed. The crowds eyes lit up red and they exploded into self-congratulatory cheering.

The Code Is This

Hot brick shit-head hemmed tight smash and murder familiar with a live feed. Game children scream it. I have no cash, love, and plastic man on those walls. The code is this: 30 minutes walk, tops, in shade to work, or by the water (relaxation and other writing). Google Maps for me means Victoria Park, where Linda took me for recommends.

More directions on an alternate route. I tell her when we get there, “I haven’t been here since I was their size.”

Slowly, slabs inside canal, it’s mass, a special dirt through rails on this green path. It’s a fragment dream or memory on this day. A canal, stinking, maybe it goes back to the road. My first familiar is a club (a bowling club) but later new houses. On the other side, the empty canal shows up more  concrete slabs: illuminated grey topology rising to the railings and the old factories on the other side.

There’s an old grey bridge on the road like a tank.

By me, a thick forest hole I might have hid in. Did my grandfather take me here, my mother? There’s something…it’s like we lived around here.  This feeling lasts another five minutes and it’s all green and sun and it’s quiet. Everywhere it’s quiet, but for three harmless bugs that move like hornets. I remember, and not much has changed, besides the aeroplanes. They fly low over-head when they do. I saw the under-belly and the rotors and the whirls like primal wind-mills.

At the end of the path is love. As if several miles of walking among trees which walk shadows around the lake of the same length. Swans looking respectful, ducks and forty bobbing white little grey ones (pigeons), Larger birds line a branch which sticks it’s feet up over the cool ripples. Away there, It’s an island. There are five six of these, as big as my street.

A strong river over the bridge could take vehicles, but says none on this point. A memorial grey black tells it’s reach. The trees are thick and heavy, fifty, sixty foot. Oh, it’s love. The curl around the lake and out to a gap were a red concrete building, post-modern cabin sits by perfectly mowed grass. I’m noticing on the bridge there is a bench space and I sit and watch. There are small groups – mothers and kids, no screams. By me, a child plays around a tree.

“Aeroplanes aren’t yellow granny. That’s an old tree, and I love old, old trees.”

There is breeze.