In the Shards of Night

A Heart Surgeon

In a dalliance of two houses of learning
most unlike the human palette of suburbias,
hives of shades & underclasses on the breadline,

she stabbed him in the leg – literally;
she stabbed him in the heart – metaphorically.

Now she aspires to act in the theatre,
cutting into more sick people’s hearts…


More from the News Archive


A soup can has exploded on a bus.

The tin filled with malodorous liquid burst open on the top deck of a stationary bus at B—- station at 12:34 today. There have been no casualtues so far.

The liquid appears to be thick and viscous and has chunk floating in it. It is believed to be harmless, albeit nauseating.

The 1—- bus from  M—- to R—- was motionless at the bus stop when an attempt to access the contents of the container ended in the contents escaping with a pop. It splattered all over the young lady holding the can and the window shield of the bus.

The lady has been offered a packet of tissues by a co-commuter.

Our reporter is on site and more may follow.

From the News Archive


A man man is singing in G—- while being restrained by the police.

A gentleman, apparently of no fixed abode, is being pinned down on the pavement by five law enforcement officers wearing forensic blue gloves.

The gentleman, being thus immobilised and handcuffed, is singing the following lines in a catchy melody: “Fuckin’ pig/fuckin’ pig/fucking pig/fuckin’ pig!”

The situation is developing.

Occasional Transpositions

Writers ought, perhaps, to leave the protective cosiness of their homes and socialise every now and again, see other people so as to have more to draw on than their solipsistic selves; they may want to see a touch more of the tangible world beyond their doorsteps and escape the bubble of the hyperbolised world constructed by the media.

An event far down south drew me all the way from far up north the other day, one of the scarce outings I have done this year and the first one out of the pseudo-middle-class bubble I have found myself ensconced in. Having come too early to loiter in a pub without the intent to put down any brain cells with a sugar-laden beverage, I took a stroll around Deptford and explored with a lay sociologist’s eye the setting of Kate Tempest’s brilliantly disheartening novel, The Bricks that Built the Houses. I may have resided in places more or less grim, but as yet I have not lived in a place where the local high street has five betting shops huddling together next to their handy cousin, the pawnbroker’s.

It may be trite for a person who feels out of place everywhere to note how incongruous I felt in that street and how alienating the feeling was; but that was the effect of the place on me: a place left behind by the mainstream, local traders’ personal businesses in place of coffee factories; graffiti, tags, garbage, the otherness of the place’s commercial composition, the seedy, the beautiful and the beautifully seedy  were all inevitably interpreted in terms of deprivation. It engendered in me a sentiment of pretence and dissembled dissonance, perceived, churning and solidified in my oeasophagus, trachea, self-consciousness.

In my search for security, I recently dismissed the notion of displacement and moved into another borough in the north of the city. The move involved dealing with agencies bent on stripping and ripping off until the tenant has realised they have just signed a contract in blood and bony hand, their accounts have sunk into figures of an identically sanguine hue and their wrists have been tied tight behind their spineless back by an property investor living in a prosperous Far Far Away. The decision drove me into a flat in a dead-end road so secluded and soundless it cannot be overheard over the peace of the graveyard across the alley darker than the estate agent’s goodwill, a road whose rate of burglary stands at 80% higher than the average and whose disquieting quiet allows for no rest. It is a working-class dwelling at a middle-class price with two people in it trying to feel the security they’re renting while being too aware of its dearth. People of Deptford, at least, do not seek the illusion of stability, the faux-respectability and branded seal of approval in a life-style far beyond its worth. They live the reality with all its dreams, the realised, the unrealised and the abyssally bleak.

Autumnal Burnt Oak, 6am

I walked the length of the road from up at the junction to the station down the hill where the road caves in before rising again. The morning was inebriated with winter-crisp street lights refracting in a thin fog hovering between the two baleful rows of rundown terrace houses, & the shuttered store-fronts & rubbish strewn on the pavement & tarmac evoked a curfew in a B-list zombie flick. All were fled; the dross, debris, detritus – the evidence of a hasty flight – sat cold in a dewy coat, & the road was dead except for the languid motion of the apparently living. The dawn workforce was not plodding to work but rather prowling the pavements, straying, occasionally, off onto the litter-spotted ground beyond the kerb as if foraging for scraps like dawn-clad foxes sniffing the spoor of leaky refuse bags. Disorientated & displaced, I trailed a silent couple that broke its way through the haze of stagnant particles, following a purpose. […] This Burnt Oak was a postcard of the rare charm of the baited working-class posing against weary, dilapidated urbanity.

I mean that very sincerely.

Remember the good old days when you could grab a woman by her pussy? Ah remember when Ah came back from Vietnam; Ah grabbed the first pussy Ah saw by the fluff, and told it, Ah know you’re burning’ for that mah father thing like a napalm carpet!

Then Ah sat down my gran’son some time back and said, Son, we need to have a tawk. Like a grown-men tawk between a granpa and a gran’son.

Have ya, Son, Ah said, ever grabbed a pussy yet? Ah remember when Ah grabbed mah first pussy. But, Son, ya gotta use these con-domms, right? Otherwise ya’ll get yaself into tremendous trouble when ya grab a pussy bare, without one of these con-domms. Things start poppin’ out then, understand? There’s no end to it once it starts. Ya gotta be careful, Son, ’cause ya ain’t ever seen nothin’ like it in your life yet. It’s tremendously nasty then, so ya gotta be careful. 

But, Son, make sure it says yes once you grab it by the pussy. Because, Son, if it says yes, it’s OK. If it says no… Well, that’s when you’re sure it really, really means yes; it really wants it, then. But it never hurts to ask, Son. After all, Son, we ain’t no Mexicans, are we…

A Wretched Old Dear

You’ve got to understand. She’s very accident-prone. I wouldn’t wanna be her, facing a mishap every day. Like, this time, she was looking for her kid. It was nowhere to be found. Then she was hanging the laundry to dry and this washed little body rolls out of a wet towel, pale like the morning. A freak of an accident.


No, I mean – and that was some years back – she was doing the spring clean-up or something. And, you know, shifting this and that, she caught her kid between the kitchen table and a radiator.

What, the same kid?

No! This was little Tom. Dead. Insane.


Then again, she was ironing when the landline rang. She skipped off to pick it up, and her kid stayed behind. It tripped on a cord or something and the searing hot iron knocked it out. It blacked out, the iron flat on its chest, burning a hole through its tummy. It breathed its last with the steaming-hot iron burning through it.

Prone to accident, true say.

No, no, no… Listen. This time, her kid–

What, another one?


Jesus. She’s like a rabbit.

Yeah. Listen, this time, her kid, Jimmy, that is, was capering in the bedroom wardrobe. You know what they say, Don’t hang around the hangers, or something. Anyways, she looked for him everywhere. Like, literally everywhere. Well, all she found was this luckless corpse; a plastic hanger – snapped in halves – sticking out of his eye. And then, her kid – the one before this one – was pottering about while she was making some salad or other – you know, cucumbers, radishes and all that. Anyways, the knife slipped out of her hand and the kid happened to be there; caught it in its nape – a clean cut. Dead on the spot like a pisce.



Sounds like coming out of that vagina is a kiss of death.

That’s what I’m saying. She’s been through such a lot, a pitiful lot.