notes on drinking

I look for meaning elsewhere, because I have a deep chasm in my breast. They say, we are defined by what we do. And so, I am a thief. My trade is information. Resentment is poisoning your own well, and hoping your enemy dies. My body of glass is shattered every day as I wander through this or that calle or campo. A spy from Genoa in Venice, the lowest being in this amphibian swamp. I hide in plain sight, petrified inside. My mind fills the gaps in the shadows, and I see shapes. Winter in Venice is an event of silence. Waters lapping, eyes wondering, second-guessing. Dull eyes, glazed eyes, glassy eyes, looks of sorrow, looks of pity, faint sun rays smitten by smoky clouds, solitude as soiled coin. Long walks, black friendly eyes, short burning distances, judging me and you.

I have a safe space, where death or else does not exist. This is a city, an empire, an empty castle surrounded by walls of water. It gives the illusion of freedom, just to snatch it away from you. When you are at the edge of it, you can see the illusion falling apart. I have so many secrets inside of me and I forget so much. I am paranoid that I should forget the details of critical information, or that my corrupt mind should re-write the code of what has happened. Every morning I take stock of how much I have forgotten, and try to retrace what my breaking-through fantasy has been at work creating out of ghost stories.

Just woke up, the voices in the calle down below shout up to my window, the cold air bites my jaw. I feel myself sinking in the depths of the nest. Staring at the ceiling, I follow the steps of the old woman upstairs. Her footsteps helped me to keep sane when I first moved to the dead quiet of this nightmarish city.

Everything is simultaneously true. The faithful chanting in the temple that’s in the way of religion; the dark night of the soul, the mindless songs of butterflies, flicking way, worms in space, and all the backdrops to heavy drinking.

I used to have a sixth sense, a dreamer’s ability to connect to the body of the spirit, but now I have lost my spiritual senses, and the bottleneck has moved up from my heart to my brain, and the blood pumping has made me carrion-walking, material in a world of forgotten spirit, and yet, and still

haunted by ghosts. I can so see the light of spirits, but I am numbed out from their conversations, and only the light of the sun can reawaken me briefly to a world full of music and earth-shattering dreams. That was the real world. This is a shadow world, a grey-blue pantomime, brimming in silence and relentlessly judging.

The tarot cards assemble before my eyes, as the evening turns in. The seasons alternate, but there is a downward trajectory that I cannot escape. I have information for you. The empress is haunting me, sceptre above the pine trees: at dawn I faint see the destiny of my mosaic-broken soul. It has been taken, it has been stolen. Stolen from a thief, a spy in a foreign city, stealing secrets as to trade with corrupt men. A cosmic joke, the thief has been burgled.

As such, I drink to drown out the past, to melt the present, to stave off the future. The walls outside my window on three sides block out the light of day, and only the sunset comes to visit after another day that’s here and gone. The long winter of the soul, starving for attention, for approval. Seeking approval, seeking energy to steal from strangers, seeking contact, seeking mystery, seeking for seeking’s sake. The days slide in and out without me noticing, one constant night, only the light footsteps of my upstairs neighbour to set the tempo. Towards what, I forget what. I have forgotten my purpose here in this timeless city.

The distant memory of Genoa, of other stained alleys, of other cloud-murk skies, and of deep seas. The shallow seas guzzling up this lagoon are similar to the shallow depths of my spirit, invisible and unable to connect, a half sunk sandoleto, waiting for your judgement, sideways in the mud, under a leafless fig tree, toward the cemetery, where there is rest.

the room I am renting

the room I am renting

is being redeveloped into student housing. Look at’em line up. Freshers.

It looks like, from here, that the whole ramshackle building has been torn apart.

Everything I have ever owned has been compacted into a block.


It turns out that all the houses I have ever lived in

Are being joined into a fancy new development, a modern complex.

Cozy scandinavian interiors and all.

Including the big haunted house from my teens, in which I lived again in my mid twenties, after uni.

Those long nights alone in the dark, creeping through the never ending corridors.

But now, please… let me access the room I was renting. It turns out that very room was part of the haunted house.

On certain nights, up until quite recently…

I could still feel the touch of her cold hand. The light was on, and I was not frightened.

Just a touch of the old chill.

It turns out that the room I am renting is now part of a fun scary ride, a theme park.

Only for children, just like back then.

This is the way in: vampires only, please.

After you, sir.

No need to be afraid. It’s just a fun ride.

sketches on gambling

if a half-grown tadpole

and a fully-formed ghoul

went gambling, what would they say, what would they do?


I’m half dead already, and I’ve just come out of metamorphosis.

I’m just here for the weed, and my mind is a fog.


I want this.

I haven’t had enough.


Mine is the luxury of desire.

Mine is the joy of tearing apart half-formed limbs.


My mother was a frog once, and my father a ghoul.

Where are they now?

sketches on hubris

he believed he could do anything, be anything


“The wind is broken, temporarily held together by circumstance.”



in his youth, his friend had brought him blessings from the holy man

as a young man he had been mocked for his cocksure attitude. he had wanted to be a soldier. they mocked him for his bent spine.

these days he runs a drug trade in the Eastern Mediterranean.

sailing across the ocean, he feels the wind on his face. he feels invincible.

inwardly, he repeats the drama that had his former best friend killed only a few months back.



“How dare you question my authority?

Friend, you’ve questioned my trade. You have talked about getting high. But you have not sampled my product, even if I have offered it to you multiple times.

You have flirted with the girl that desires me. She’s mine.

Worse still, you have flirted with my young associate’s girl.

My senior partner, he is the real deal. He is tough, he’s got cancer. I didn’t know how I would cope if he died.

You used to be my friend. Now you say you are depressed.

Drink, I say! It is on the house.”


in the distance, a single Turkish ship glides over the still bulk of horizontal blue. Death by water, a ghost had predicted all those years ago. It never happened. Besieged Ardea, now besieged Candia. We’d slip past the blockade.


“Alp was a traitor, and so was Beppo. A voice in my ear whispers: ‘Everything you desire.’ I just have to desire something, wish it, visualize it, and then reach out and grasp it because the Gods will grant me all my wishes. It is my due.

My daemon talks to me, he watches me. He is me, when I am not looking.

All I need is to wish for something to happen, and it does.

Now I wish to die, I feel guilty with sorrow and awe. I have too much. Everyone’s watching. No act should be without purpose. I have been arrogant, haughty, accumulated such wealth. All at the expense of addicts. Create a need, and profit from the addiction. There are many who are addicted to sex and love. They can never have enough.

There is no greater pain than the absence of purpose. Or absence of faith. And then there’s hard-boiled eggs.

The body craves sensations, the sea is overwhelmingly quiet and the sun is staring. A faint breeze is dying on my cheek. The night of the soul will be long. For the soul has appetites. Intelligence, they say, has principles. But the night is long, and I jot down the words in pain. I am tormented.

I climbed at the back of the inn, and I turned the key. The pantry was damp and still. I looked at the feature of the door for a moment. The door had the shape of opportunity, like the love for the old country.

I wanted so badly to harness the piecemeal broken unity of my broken garden retreat. The more I retreated in myself, the more I wanted to murder him. Treason is a squall and a wreckage. In all my derelict, powerful humbleness I reached out for the poison vial in the dark and I emptied its contents in his glass.

I was invincible, and broken. I have learnt nothing.

Demon drugs were altering my sense of purpose, but that is no excuse. One should never tobacco oneself with one’s wares. Capital sin number one. ”


Demons clash within Lorenzo, fighting for supremacy afore a storm

fight for his soul, hardened, destroyed, shipwrecked, out at sea, with no help from pain.

Lorenzo is haunted. He was a bully, he wanted to be a soldier. He is impulsive, and not very bright. But to endure is part of justice.


“The clouds are gathering, I am going to hit a tempest.

Test: I need to separate what is real, and what is imagined.

My mind projects sharks down there. There is no such thing, obviously.

Those dark clouds look real enough.

My fear is the most real thing I know.

‘inebriate of sin I am,

debauchee of oceans,

reeling through endless pain.

I shiver at the rain’s molten blues’

I shall never renounce my dreams, my drams, my ego.

I shall but drink the more!

This sail boat is surrounded by a dream. You cannot kill me with your storm, you false God!”


in heavy seas, he falls overboard hanging on at ends of a rope, his boat is rocked by the angry seas.

poison lingers for decades. Lorenzo is drenched to the core, the storm envelops his soul, a habituation of stress, a habituation of pain.

Dulling the senses, there is only expectation of more sorrow, of subjugation to those instincts of dominance and abuse.

‘Create a need, exploit the addiction’

In his mind, random thoughts of survival and anger mix with ideas and dull memories. Are religious feelings a distraction?

Ghosting the noise and the barbaric waves, he braves back onboard. No-one is looking. No-one is waiting to hand him prizes. Only a voice inside, leading him on.

Fiddling while Rome burns #3

The forth day
of the new year: what better day
to journey East, flower-bound?

The Piraeus Lion radiant as Baldr,
believing itself to be invulnerable.

Time is teaching it drawn-out lessons,
soon to take one last bow before the
crowd caught in Loke’s fishing net.

Venetians, washed-up con-artists
botching the art of murder and
rehearsing forgetfulness, way
overboard if seeking validation.

The forth wall prays and weeps:
the perils of ‘true’ friendship,
of golden hypocrisy, of sweet hubris.

Everything is only for a day,


Fiddling while Rome burns #2

moon in a cloud murk


Venice, September 1998


whirling scorpions
in bursting half-lights

An endless pit
advancing in darkness

A bleak-twist ageing
beyond a sudden murk

Sneering and lecherous
Pregnant with doubts
and with morose love

Brimming with cynical pietas
Steeped in Christian hypocrisy


a satellite moon


it gazes and scorns this

in the gasping purple night

it scorns the endless prattle
of every unknown sad fuck

Ruthlessly tickling off
much like a bomb

it picks off the false
from every anguish

and casts it in its great chasm
an intimate Doric vertigo
of human sorrows

In a roundabout bend
the torn bulk
of heavenly light
is suddenly freed
and roars out

It waits it waits it waits

and then it starts

And stares sideways to examine

in its light

the chemistry of our being

the origin of our species

fixing its sunken eyes

to pierce us through

beating upon stultified brows

some Moth-Indigo Truth

the insignificance

of specks of our nothingness

shouting back, we hear howls
of age-old rugged souls

that suddenly shiver
and call out in pain

those frigid
buried people of yesterday

some half-mysterious night

who though living dead
actively stare at each other
in candid glassy torpor

looking for signs in us of
recognition of the rot

the rot of the perennial
philosophy deliriously melting

of polymorphous poems dithering

the nurture of commercial baseness

of dull dreams driven to dust
by a jingoistic Nature

jigging and mocking the intellect

beating it off the wall
with sticky cloudy claws

hence the fixed stars clash
with the unhappy planet
in celebration of a
most cruel April
and of the frontiers of
every ex-animate pleasure

Now agape
in wounded proud absinth
an amorphous Galathean
peers at the light-stone

from a lowly bed
from a humble Stygian

And in turn, the moon is
most vexed and unrepentant

it beams bitter tears
it asserts its irreplaceable
arrogance, its untamed

stuck in blue

the rest

the sidereal cytoplasm
is beyond
its sphere of numinous magnetism


Sketches on Treason #2

Scene: La Canea, a seaport in Crete

Time: Somewhere in the 1600s

Character: Lorenzo, some years on.

Basking in the noontide sun, I count off the false worshippers. There is a silent war between those who mean business, and those who cloy with much, pine for more, and account for nothing. I am a trader by ancestry, and we Venetians earned the right to opium solely by our wits and enterprise. There are those who mean harm to me and my shop, and to those I say – wait for my blade, because I will not be hindered. Or at least that’s what I say to myself on a day such as this, when the sun is high and everything is supposedly fine with the world.

After the shock of the storm and the shipwreck, I have changed. I am afraid. I didn’t use to be a religious man, but with age comes idiocy. It is the curse of my service to God and country that I should forever be transiently here and there. Death is close, and so are great treasures, hence we forget death, lest our troubled minds care.

At night, I stay up along with thieves and poets watching the moon rise and fall. La Canea is almost like home, but not quite. If I look across the harbour squinting with one sore-feeling eye, I can almost imagine that I am home. Those noble Venetian Gothic windows betray the mind, and the soul grows ill.

There is a big thief that robbed high heaven. His name is Time. Hail, Muse, daughter of Memory! With you as resident thief in charge, I forget everything. Every thing is only for a day. I forget the whole plot, everyday.

Every day all starts anew: every false day. That which remembers, and that which is remembered, are both beginning and ending with forgetfulness. Or so my true friend Marcus Aurelius tells me. I am a slave to my vessel. Much like my wares. My home is where my wares are, and so: I am home. I should not waste the remainder of my life in thoughts about what others might do or think. I am a man of action.

I so loathed to dwell in my native land, hence I parted with the sad prison, and came to silently wonder at the dim thickness of Greeks, and what their traitor eye encloses. If it were for them, we’d be betrayed for half a penny to the benefit of the Turks. And, I… mark my words… I am supposed to give myself up to Clotho, and allow her to spin my thread in whatever way she pleases. I think not.

I might yet die a pirate in this sorry excuse of a backyard, stuck in a past well beyond our means of survival. But now, after a good meal my comrades, my friends come to converse with me on this fine day, about the weather, the trade, the empire, and our little lives.

I curse the day we were born, friends.