rtkxh

“It’s the figure off The Old Grey Whistle Test”, says John. The agate seal is the size of a broad bean, from 5000 BC. Thirteen drilled dots is all it takes to conjure up a dancing figure. In the seal’s cast, I notice four additional tiny holes around his head, like swarming bees. TOGWT seems…

Read more

Things may not always be what they seem. Symbols need to be in their cultural context to be understood. What may seem like a Nazi symbol in Europe can represent well-being in Asia. What my European mind may see as a threatening raven mask may turn out to be a symbol of nature and wisdom…

Read more

Mum made Canute when I was ten, saga obsessed and insistent on historical rigour. I knew horned helmets were a myth, just like the real Canute’s arrogance: he was showing sycophantic courtiers that he didn’t have the power to turn back the waves. So he may not have been as cute as my Canute but…

Read more

Married life, Burghers in the Kingdom of Candy, A reimagined Arnolfini Portrait. Window shutters, chattels and Dutch symbols of standing. Billing doves, hands on hearts, hand on skirt. Hand on thigh. Sable for him, miniver for her, A contract witnessed in a convex mirror. Carved in relief, garlanded on an eggshell, Dedimunda Deviyo, winged cherubs…

Read more

Eyes wide I perch Watching you watching me Forever still. Chipped into limestone life Some 5000 years ago Feathered only by fingers They’d light cones of incense Resting me in serene shadow Scent pluming from hollow eyes And the holes behind my ears. More recently They puzzled together The shards in an old shoebox Rebirthing…

Read more

The days are dark here. The nights are darker still. Empty. I keep a watchful eye. A talisman, a protector from the unseen, the unknown. My master sleeps. He sighs and shifts slightly. Then silence. Silence. Except for the ice. A living, breathing thing. It sighs and shifts slightly. Then silence. I keep a watchful…

Read more

I watch coolly, made of jade, horns twisted behind my head. See-through, I catch the light, see my descendants millennia ahead re-routed by railways, pipelines, towns – their steps lost from Russian steppes, nostrils no longer filtering dust on their migratory journey. In Kazakhstan, herds trapped by a vast wire fence starve to death. There…

Read more

“I no longer care for you,” he said. “It is done. It is over, for I have another. Another, somehow, better lover, to have and to hold.” And as he spoke, she smiled. Her old life unspooling, uncoiling, unravelling, she unflinchingly replied: “I don’t give a flying fuck. For I have this. Another, other, somehow,…

Read more

I am far from Nottingham, Here on the veldt, hunting the Boer. Harry stole my baccy tin, Grabbed the photo, tore it. I punched his face bloody, Then in the market found a substitute. She’s black as coal, but never mind – They’ve posed her right, Arms raised, tits lifted. Don’t like the look in…

Read more

Have you met the new couple yet? No, what are they like? They seem nice. Seem? Well, you need to get to know them properly, don’t you, before you make any snap judgements. Right… I spoke to him once. Oh… He’d parked his Range Rover blocking our drive, and when I asked him to move…

Read more

Lidless, lashless, unblinking, For five millennia it’s been Brimming with grace – in Arabic, ‘baraka’. Worn on how many cords round how many necks? Protecting the bearer, not just from the evils outside – The assassin’s blade, the poisoned cup, the onrush of the tiger – But from the flaws within, the flaws Of the…

Read more

They gouged out my eyes. I do not bleed. Cruel sneer. Soy de Guerrero. Cracked, battling through time. Hombre de conocimiento, God on Earth, Hechicero. The Gringos got me next… Throckmorton Fine Art, Nueva York. Soaring, constellations, a black and green cosmos. I am cool, smooth to mortal touch. Blood, smoke, power. Unctions, wisdom, offerings…

Read more

South Oliver talks of the river. These objects the pebbles from a shifting tide. Treasures polished illuminated displayed. The expanse of time. North People talk of lost ones. Their objects the panels from a blazing tower. Belongings burnt grimed destroyed. The expense of life. How should we reckon value? How should we weigh the value…

Read more

Like Joni, I watch the sweet splices of pure silver melodies that thread me to the world. I swirl grids of esoteric mystery under thick inky ecliptic apples with a salt and pepper surface. Twenty-eight orbs; infinite colours. Illuminated, independent of I, the light shifts and sifts long lingering shadows. I wait under warm skies…

Read more

The Storyteller said ‘You’ll be drawn to the ones who talk to you’ I was summoned by The Phalli – the smallest spoke to me ‘My son, I may be tiny, but I have wings as well as testicles’ I thought of my Dad – he made planes – and he made me Thank you,…

Read more

I carry what is left of this story on a sea-tumbled back. Although do not expect too much. Every knot is a lacuna, every cut a dereliction. And I left my most precious secrets scattered along the shore, hidden among the seashells. Still others snagged on brambles as the world around me crumbled. We are…

Read more

In the almond grove on the road to Aleppo Fatima the shepherd’s daughter Takes from beneath her skirts the iron hare. She waits as the butchers cut through the grove Pours the black powder Adds a fist of stones A hand grips her shoulder She stands to strike the flint Says her mother’s name Commands…

Read more

In the dark this renders Ice uncanny. Scoops your chest Between worlds, The aquiline. These ghosts that dance Under green eyes. At first I thought it was a plague mask – Not that they were much good. Better to escape, Through a gap in the light, Than to heal what is irreparable. Through this beak,…

Read more

Pierce the skin, With your teeth, Feel the crunch; The splinter. Leave soft puncture-marks. Sweet burst: ‘Nectar tongue-hit’ Satisfaction. Crack, break, bend; Splinter, Rip marrow from The bone centre. Let the fat drip, dribble, Grease your lips, Let it bubble and swell. With each taste of sweet death, Through the paths of Delicious heaven, You…

Read more