Wednesday, February 8, 2012


Producing the book - cover finalised...

"...and common sense tells us that our existence is but a brief crack of light between two eternities of darkness."

Thursday, January 26, 2012

After One Year

High Fidelity

this is the prophecy

i claim for us, a

certain hollowness

decades from this now, an

uncertain hollowness

arriving unbidden

at a certain hour

the oblivious, entrail-bound,

iron chain dragging certain

moments through forever

this infinite and substantial death

tear-streaked meiosis

the very last atom of our love

eternally rending itself from itself


in this dream, i am your husband

in this dream i am on

a long sea voyage back to you

circe, this svelte, brown, dark-haired

woman, sad and wild,

exiled, even now, amidst friends –

the laughing drunken

doe-eyed nereids – for one sin,

her miscegenistic sorcery

nights in dark thrall, bestial heat,

stigmatic sperm enchanted

from the depths of shadow

tan island afloat

in the centre of the pandays’

bel air park pool, she emerges

in her narrow nymph’s hips’

soft pendulum a hint

of the magic of yours, her lips,

feline eyes, primal glint

her intoxicated, questing tongue


within the savage territory of my body

there exists a place

unassailably yours

veins that throb only

to the cadence of your voice

ant-free, sleeping spaces dreaming you

sparkless synapses

that blaze remembering your

lips upon my skin


a memory that i now make forever

that day at the museum

the pastel-toned photograph of

the conjoined house of frida & diego

the intertwined fingers

of ruel and dominique

a love yearning its own legend

its own ampersand


each night is an ethereal scab

over the ragged wound torn by dawn

and though the years – exfoliating – yield

in the wizened, withered core of some far tomorrow,

a green, germinating comatose dream

in that dream, i will be your husband

in that dream, i will

be on a long river voyage,

a long river voyage,

you eternally in my arms

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

My Other Blog

I have a new blog by the way, for socio-political commentary...

Behind the Words - Killing the Kitten

The basic problem facing fledgling short fiction writers that I encounter is a fundamental one, that of finding the material and shaping it into the final thing. Most jump into a piece because they encounter a particular narrative, directly or indirectly, and want to retell it. Others have some dream or vision that they want to put down on a page and hence give some meaning to.

What I've come to is that while these approaches may not be wrong in the strictest sense, what you first need to do is to consciously access the basic thesis at the centre of this narrative or that dream. Once you latch on to that, this grand statement that is the cause d'être of a particular piece, you have now the option of choosing experience or imagination or - as is likelier - a particular combination of both as the raw material from which you're going to shape, mould, sculpt, carve that story. Then you can set to work constructing the story proper... character, setting, plot, style, perspective. As Nabokov put it in one story,

"We, Writers, alter the themes of Life to suit us in our drive towards some conventional harmony, some kind of artistic conciseness. We spice our savorless plagiarisms with our own devices. We think that Life's performance is too sweeping, too uneven, that her genius is too untidy. To indulge our readers, we cut out of Life's untrammeled novels our neat little tales for the use of school children."

As ironic as the above delivery may be, this essentially is what the short fiction writer does. Finding exactly where to start cutting, and how much is the trouble. For example, the inspiration for the story Killing the Kitten came from four 'narratives'. The first is recounted in part in the story, the titular act, the killing of the kitten, something I actually did. The second is a conversation I had with a former girlfriend in my late teens, an angst-ridden bit of dialogue concerning the possible consequence of one of our youthful amorous indiscretions. The third came from a short story I read, a year later, at the Cropper Foundation Workshop in Trinidad, Hemingway's Hills Like White Elephants. The fourth is the novel by John Irving, The Ciderhouse Rules, which I read a year or so after the workshop - as has been a habit of mine, working a reference to a thematic source text within dialogue, I referenced that novel within the story itself.

Inspired initially by real life as it was, my thesis was a variation on that of Hemingway's piece, and after considering the options, not many at the time, I decided that his use of dialogue, modified by framing exposition, with minimal description was the most apt mode of telling the story, letting the serious of the story come out in the realistic tenseness of the dialogue, the compromises, the parrying, the assaults, the deflections; I did however end the story with a lyrical flourish since Hemingway's abrupt, non-commital cut wasn't applicable to what I wanted to communicate.

I should note here that David Forster Wallace tackles the same thesis - granted with a decidedly American political slant or sensibility - in a brilliant short story Good People, but choses instead his inimitable rambling but also lyrical stream of conscious, freight train style; why this was necessary in this case, as opposed to the minimalism I adopted in homage to or imitation of, or whatever, Hemingway.

I think the major innovation I brought to the story, the thesis, was my use of perspective. I felt with the Hemingway story that the lens was too far away, and even had I read the Wallace story - published in theNew Yorker some four years after Ariadne - the lens would have been too close. I needed something that was midway, that offered a perspective between the intimacy of the first person and the objective distance of the third. When I was young, about nine or ten, I had a brief but intense flirtation with those chose your own adventure books and when I started writing the story, it came to me that I could actually use the second person/reflective first person mechanism that they used to pull the reader into their narrative, to essentially inhabit the main character.

All that was left therefore was to create a fairly detailed backstory for the characters. I chose to make the couple Hindu for several reasons, foremost of which was that as a perceivably non-Hindu writer, I wanted to underscore that my thesis within the story was a universal one, in defiance of and challenge to both the presumption by dark-skinned, kinky haired persons that as a dark-skinned, kinky-haired person I was automatically writing for other dark-skinned kinky haired persons to the exclusion of everyone else, as well as the rising Hindutva sentiment that was at its peak at that time that saw this space as somehow, for all practical purposes, an extension of BJP's India.

For me, finding your thesis, seeing the essential message that you want to carve out of experience and imagination, is a crucial step in getting the story off of the ground. It may not be the skeleton of the piece, and hence finding it doesn't necessarily mean you're just going to have to apply the meat of your tale to it in order to get to complete your fiction - but, that said, your thesis is the soul of your story and your conscious perception of it defines how you end up going about putting everything else together.

Finally, it should be noted that nowhere above do I explicitly or even implicitly state what that thesis is. If you have the time and have read this far, the story is below and you can make your inferences from that.

Killing the Kitten

You sit on the bench, waiting. You run the fingers of a hand through your hair. In the damp air, it is springy and slick.

People pass by. All walking towards North Road, most bound for Regent. Lanky basketball players, T-squared boys from the Technical Institute, fat female clerks with that dour look that graces the faces of all public service clerical staff, petite girls in plaid skirts, white shirts and Nikes, the one muttering madman, some University Students with the slow, self-assured drag that only aspiring lawyers and Rotaract/Rotary members can achieve, thick-thighed, high-gut women in large t-shirts and tights. Some of the bolder women stare at you.

"Hey, Ravi," a voice says and you turn around. You try not to notice that she has deliberately worn her hair loose, or the lip gloss that you can't decide whether you like or dislike intensely. The shirt is white, long-sleeved and loose; the jeans are tight. You have waited too many seconds to reply. She sits and turns away briefly to avoid you seeing her smile.

"We know each other too long for you to give me the silent treatment," she says.

"Sorry," you stumble, "I was just kinda lost in thought just now. How everybody…Auntie Sukhie, Naresh, you father them?"

"Everybody ok. So…Mr. Bholanauth. What have I done to…ah…for you honour me with your request to speak to your honourable and hardly-seen-these-days person?" She waves her hands, juts her chin, in a mock grandiloquence.

"I miss you," you say, and this stuns her.

"Please," she says quietly, a slight quake in her voice, "…remember? No more words like that."

"I miss you, Bharti…" You try to touch her hand but she pulls it away.

"Talk bout something else or I gone, ok, Ravi? When last you see Nirmala."

"Which one?" you ask, stubbornly.

"You know more than one now? I'm talking about the one I know. Wha used to go to Bygevalt. Which other Nirmala you know?"

"They get a girl does English with me. Creighton course."

"Well I won't know that Nirmala, dear. I could only ask about the one I know about, from Bygevalt."

"I ain see Nirmala for a long long while, girl I think Sunil seh last time he see she was pun GTV…the Bhajan show they does get on early in the morning, round four, five o'clock time."

"Sunil don't work?"

"Yes. He on probation at Scotiabank."

"Then what he doing up at four, five o'clock in the morn…"

"Preparing for work," you offer, cueing her.

"Uhn-uhn, not Sunil. An-y-bod-y but Sunil. Remember? Sunil used to come to school ten past nine every morning. Oh God, Sir Bristol woulda ketch heart-attack if Sunil din spend one more year at Campbellville…."

"Bharti," you stop her, "we didn't come here to talk about Sunil. Both of we know duh, awright?"

"Then talk then"

You wonder where to begin. Before you came, there were a million things that you wished to say to her, accusations you would have confronted her with. You wonder which one you should begin with.

"I remember this time up Mahaica," you begin "I went walking by myself on the road past Boyo shop and I here this sound, 'miaow miaow' -"

"A kitten."

"Yes, a kitten and I look inside some bush by the roadside and I find but three or four dead kitten, like tom-cat kill them and one still alive but barely moving and I pick he up and carry it to the bridge near Boyo shop and throw he in the trench"

"Ooh," she says, "that's cruel, Ravi"

"Anyway, I think it woulda just sink like that, but the current din kinda strong and you know that thing float like in slow motion like if it swimming until it float for couple minutes straight the legs moving. The other day at Sanskrit class, I ask guruji, the one from India, whether what I did was wrong, you know, adharmic, but he didn't hear me properly and went off on some rant about how Indian people will rise up and overthrow the oppressors or something like that. You think I shoulda kill it?"

"I think you shoulda given it a chance to live," she says "You just calling bad Karma for yourself."

You pause, because what you are about to bring up is going to hurt. But you go ahead anyway.

"I was reading this book - they made a movie out of it the other day, with Michael Caine - The Ciderhouse Rules and I was reading about the whole procedures for "throwing away a belly" like Auntie Sukhie would say and I read that one of the required procedures was shaving…down there."

"Whaz you point, Ravi?"

"All the time we been together, I never see you shave there except that one time, you know after you went away suddenly fuh spend that weekend with your family at Parika"

"So, I probably changed my mind one time…"

"And I been thinking since, you know, my problem, you know, shooting blanks…"

She gets up and turns her face and starts crying. You try to hold her but she shrugs you off and people are beginning to watch. You leave her there, your heart in your throat and head towards the seawall.

And there are nights along Camp Street, yes there are nights along Camp Street, when the wind from the ocean blows a heart-breaking cold, so cold that it, the very air, sometimes seems as if it's been encased in a layer of thin ice, thin, fragile, crystalline ice, and you walk, afraid of your passage, afraid that one wrong step and the whole world might shatter, and there is nothing more to be said, there are no more words left to say, and you walk, and you hope and wish and pray for rain.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Note.  A good friend and fellow editorial consultant working at the Vatican Publishing House informed me earlier today that an e-mailed paper from Guyana has had the Holy See in uproar for the past week.  He said that he has never seen Vatican City in such turmoil since the passing of Pope John Paul.  He believes that the contents of the e-mail should be made known to the world and has enlisted my aid in doing so since I belong to the alleged country of origin of said e-mail.   I have been told by my friend that the Pope believes that it contains a message crucial to the events of Guyana at this time and that it should be decoded as quickly as possible.  Though I post it here, I cannot vouch for its authenticity. 
Ruel Albert Johnson

Three Versions of Jagdeo
By Bishop Juan Edghill

"And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, and we beheld his glory...full of grace and truth."
John 1.14 

Justifiably, we can easily imagine him – were he conceived perhaps during the Crusades –marching triumphantly into Jerusalem, the bodies of the heathen followers of the rabid and morally corrupt murderer Muhammad piled high, their blasphemous infidel tongues silenced forever under the sweet retribution of his bloody and glistening blade of infinite justice – had that occurred, modern political science would no doubt have been spared the tropes of “Islamic Fundamentalism” and “Jihadist Terrorism”.

Ulysses – were the one whose name I proclaim been born in the time of the Ancient Greeks – would have had his legend eclipsed by a mightier one, an odyssey more epic, through a thousands Scyllas and Charybdises, the conquest of a thousand Cyclopes, even without the fixed star of a Penelope for comfort and guidance. 

Abelard – had the subject of my sermon entered this mortal coil in the latter part of the 11th century – would have abandoned his ill-fated pursuit of Héloïse and turned his devotion and affection towards the very personal and intimate love, discipleship and spiritual succour to which this humble author finds himself committed.

Nativity, however, is as precise a science as it is an area of theological enquiry. Comprehensible and accountable only unto themselves, History and Divinity reserved his temporal provenance for a small, rural village on the lush, green coast of a small South American nation, Guyana, some 48 years prior to the penning of this piece.  Future historians and theologians will no doubt record the precise date as the true genesis of the glorious age of the world to come.

Two Versions of Jagdeo

“[10] And there was much murmuring among the people concerning him: for some said, He is a good man: others said, Nay; but he deceiveth the people... [43] So there was a division among the people because of him.”
                                                                                          John 7 

Even at the time of the writing of this essay – nay, this epistle, this sermon, this testimony, this revelation – Bharat Jagdeo is preparing to leave office as President of the Cooperative Republic of Guyana.

Didorus Sycophus posits, as is repeated and expanded upon by Niccolò di Bernardo dei Machiavelli in Il Principe, that no great leader is without his critics and his detractors; and Swift observed that the surest sign of the appearance of a great genius is that “the dunces are all in confederacy against him”. 

Graciously, I shall not detail, only list, the calumnious arrows of dissent that have been volleyed against the burnished brass image of Bharat Jagdeo: the association with and employment of liars, drunks, turncoats, thieves, whores, whoremongers, rapists, homosexuals, murderers and pederasts; a propensity for misdirection and deceit; maltreatment of a ‘wife’ that he was not even legally married to; the coddling of murderous drug-dealers; nepotism and the selling off of state assets to friends; corruption; excessive pride and surrounding himself with sycophants; the practice of a policy of ideological racism; the suppression of free speech.

However, no matter the adversity faced by them, great men have always let their deeds rise above the false infamy thrown – like so much miasmic fecal matter – by their bitterest enemies. 

In objective worldly terms, his 12-year tenure in political office was both relatively and universally transformative.  While I would not prejudice the content of the seminal monograph I am currently writing as relates to the central thesis of this essay, I can comfortably relate just two of the lesser achievements of His Excellency that the objective reader may judge, ex pide Herculem, the greatness of his works, the inestimable bounty of his labour.

Let us consider his One Laptop Per Family Initiative.  In an age when access to technology is as crucial as access to grain or fish was back in the Biblical times, not only has the President, in essence, given the man the fish, he has taught him to fish as well.  Of course, much ado has been made about that it is a company of the Orient, Haier, which was awarded the contract to supply these laptops – these veritable loaves and fishes, this manna of modern life – to the multitude.  Yet it is but a sign of the President’s willingness to reach across borders, even to the heathen and godless Chinese so that they may see reconciliation and kindness in action.

Laudable as that initiative is, its splendour but pales to the luminescence of his Low Carbon Development Strategy.  In an age when the world is falling apart at the seams, when we are faced with the apocalyptic phenomenology of climate change, the President has sacrificed a great part of the patrimony of his state and estate – the blood of his rivers, the flesh of his land – so that the world should not perish but have everlasting life.  Yet we have still two versions of Jagdeo, apparently at variance with each other – the corrupt and the copacetic.

Dem hemlige Frälsaren 

Inherent within these two versions of Bharat Jagdeo we can find a transcendent third – out of thesis and antithesis is born synthesis, a unification greater than the sum of its ostentatiously disparate parts.  For those who speak of his open association with liars, drunks, thieves, turncoats, whores, whoremongers, rapists, homosexuals, murderers, pederasts, smugglers of exotic creatures [not unlike the dove-sellers in the temple], scribes, tax-collectors, and drug dealers, I can recount a man who sat near a temple and was brought a woman accused of adultery to be stoned – his response to those who brought her was simply, “Let he who is without sin cast the first stone.”  I can recount that man also showing kindness to and breaking bread with those even of his disciples – his spiritual cabinet as it were – who would betray him, even on to the final meal before he was brutally murdered.  I can recount that same man sharing the fate of crucifixion with two robbers and condemning them not.  The Divine identity and purpose is clear, even if the earthly manifestations seem at first incidental – we live in age beset by apparently mindless calamity, wars and rumours of wars, famine, a time prophesied in the Bible as the end times, heralding a great Redeemer; now there emerges from an unlikely place a man who is named as Hero of the Environment, a Champion of the Earth.

Salvation cometh whence and where we least expect it: while it can be reasoned that, possessed of an omnipotence and omniscience inscrutable to human comprehension, the Great I Am could have chosen any more obvious figure in the history of our times to embody his Second Coming, the prophesied Comforter, the final advent of His Word made flesh – He could have chosen Barack Obama, for example; He could have chosen Bono – He, whose ways and motives remain eternally strange to men, has chosen Bharat Jadgdeo.  Dem hemlige Frälsaren – the Secret Saviour for this age – is thus hereby revealed to the world.

Already I can hear the Pharisaic clamours of “heretic” resounding around the hollow spaces the spiritually bereft churches of today – echoes of the murmurings that filled the temples of Jerusalem 2000 years ago.  I hereby assure those who murmur and those who are more inclined to the Truth, that that divination – as the one experienced by the prophet Isaiah – was preceded by revelation, and has been buttressed by subsequent proofs.  For who gives himself up to looking for proofs of something he does not believe in or the predication of which he does not care about?  A summary of the event of the divination and of some of the ecumenical evidences which support it, are as follows.

Summa Dialectica Divinus

 He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not.  He came unto his own, and his own received him not.”
                                                                                                            John 1.10-11

Surely, it is said that “But of that day and that hour, no man knoweth, not even the angels of heaven, neither the Son but the Father only.”  This has been taken by many eschatologists, scholars of the Parousia in particular, to mean that the knowledge of Christ’s return is unknowable and that his advent is instantaneous, citing select verses from Matthew 24, and 1 Thessalonians 4.  This literal interpretation of these verses is but poor hermeneutic analysis, and runs counter to the Messianic precedent of the organic development of the body of Christ as well as the propensity of God on High to conceal the Truth of his Word in the inadequate verbiage of gospel.  Even opponents of Christianity know enough of this phenomenon, the Divine eschewing of literalism, to imitate or deride it.  I can recall to the attention of the learned, the infamous Coda of the heresiarch, Satornibus Adamus, the central cosmology of which was based on the numerological and Symbolist significance of the number 42.  I can also draw attention to the more puerile example of the obscure French writer, R. Albert Jean-fils whose essay, La Trahison Des Clerics brutally skewered Cardinal Mazzarin – architect of the critical clerical endorsement for the reign of Louis XIV – not simply by a tongue-in-cheek satirical ‘addendum’ (purportedly written by Mazzarin himself) of the Cardinal’s theological masterpiece, Le Monarchie de Droit Divin, but also by weaving an accusatory expletive into the essay via an acrostic, coded simply by the italicization and bolding of the first letter in each substantive paragraph.  (R. Albert Jean-fils did not, as was just, long survive this blasphemy.)

K’ung Fu-Tzu – that wise but pagan Oriental from the country of Haier – once stated that “If I hear the Way of Truth in the morning, I am content to die in the evening.’  I hereby present to you the Way and the Truth and the Life not simply as it was revealed to me, but also – in summary – those independent proofs of his existence which Jehovah has made manifest in the life of His Second Son, Bharat Jagdeo.  I will simply say that the first revelation came to me one afternoon as I was speaking with the President at State House – he was commending and rewarding me for my fairness and tolerance in the execution of my duties as Chairman of the Ethnic Relations Commission.  I had just secured His Excellency’s generous personal donation to my carrying out the Lord’s work, when a shaft of golden light descended from what I believed to be the window; when I got up to close the windows I saw that all were closed already and that the shaft of light emanated from what seemed to be the wall itself although there was no hole in it.  I looked back at His Excellency and he seemed all on fire and I heard a mighty voice from on high say, ‘Behold, Your Worship, my Spirit made Flesh and in Whom I am Well Pleased.  I charge you, Juan, to proclaim His glory in all the public spaces of the World, even unto Providence, for the Stadium there pleaseth me as a venue for His praises to be sung, even unto the multitude.’   I recall only picking up my briefcase containing the President’s monthly gift of charity, and leaving with a greater sense of Enlightenment than I’ve ever felt before.  The sage, George of Burgos writes of the mixed fortunes of those who have been privileged to witness directly the glory of God – “Saul who was blinded on the road to Damascus; the rabbi Simon ben Azai, who saw Paradise and died; the famous soothsayer John of Viterbo, who went mad when he was able to see the Trinity; the Midrashim, abominating the impious who pronounce the Shem Hamephorash, the secret name of God; Nils Runeberg who wandered through the streets of Malmö, praying and who died soon after of the rupture of an aneurysm”.  I escaped my revelation sighted, sane, and sound of body, and set myself the task of seeking the proofs of this euangelion, some of which I share now with you:

Unity is the name of the village in which Bharat Jagdeo was born.  This is not a simple fact, nor an accident of origin.  The thread of oneness is one that runs through the President’s life, including his current status as a single man – one unbroken by his supposed marriage to Varshnie Jagdeo since it was sanctioned neither by the Church nor by the Laws of Guyana – as well as the fact he as emerged as the greatest leader of a country whose motto is “One People, One Nation, One Destiny.”

Numerical symbolism is also crucial in supporting my divination of the Divine Nature of Bharat Jagdeo.  In no aspect of his worldly genesis is proof of Bharat Jagdeo’s divinity more apparent than in the date of his birth.  The symbolism of his being born on the 23 of the first month is rooted not only in the hierarchical numeracy associated with the Trinity (1-2-3), but also in the sequentialism of the New Genesis 1,2,3.  And numerologists and mystics throughout the ages have long written and observed the place of 23 in significant global events. (viii)

Temporal strife, and this is my final proof for now, is often the soil and loins from which divinity springs,humanitas the womb and loam of impeccabilitas.  That Bharat Jagdeo was born in 1964, the year that marked the beginning of the Satanic regime under which Guyana was held for 28 years (vix) is significant that his 28th year brought freedom to this land – his ascension then to the position of greatness from that point onwards was as if foretold in scripture.  And today, today, I – a simple man, a postman and priest – am charged with bringing you the news that while we may be losing a President, we are gaining a Redeemer, a Saviour… for he is Lord, he is Lord, he is Lord.

Benedictus qui venit in nomine Domini.
Hosanna in excelsis.

Juan Edghill, Episcoparus*


It should be stated that in light of the preceding epoch-defining Christological revelation, a special Vatican committee has been convened to initiate the mechanism necessary for the instant and precedent setting non-posthumous canonization of the author, as a first step towards his eventual automatic elevation to the Papacy, subsequent of course to the terrestrial departure of Pope Benedict the Sixteenth.   On his ascension, His Worship – the Bishop formerly known as Juan Edghill – shall thereafter be officially referred to as Pope Juan the Turd.  We strongly and enthusiastically believe that, judging from the Bishop's record of achievement, this is an honorific he richly deserves even now.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Knockin on Heaven’s Door…

“Half my life is in books' written pages,
Lived and learned from fools and from sages
You know it’s true –
All the things come back to you…”

So, this is it. The rundown. The race to some other artificial fucking finish line but truth be told this is really the real one, the homestretch before the foretold rapture or calamity that 2012 is supposed to be.

I’ll be thirty-one years old in one month and one week, and so I guess it’s still safe to say that there’re more stories inside me, more than the simple twenty or so that I’ve put out.

Around my bare new apartment are the perfect props for a scene such as this, for the character I’ve become: rum, the obligatory bottle of Coke, books, a pen, the camera, the computer, no other furniture but my workstation and the chair in which I’m sitting, half a dozen coffee cups but no coffee and no stove to make it on as yet.

They support this premise that at times seems more fictive than documentary, that there is this writer and he is involved in something deep and meaningful, not simply something more added to the world but something which holds up a mirror to the world’s face and by that reflection causes the world to change.

I’m listening to my ‘Contemplative Playlist’, an eclectic bunch of shit that features anything from Enya to Alicia Keys but the only music that’s touching my soul right is classic rock – Meatloaf, Aerosmith, The Eagles, and Lynyrd “Free Motherfuckin’ Bird” Skynyrd.

And I swear to you, as I am typing this, Meatloaf is plaintively crooning “Some days it don’t come easy/Some days it don’t come hard/Some days it don’t come at all and these are the days that never end”. Those latter days, those days when nothing comes at all, I’ve had a few years of those, three to be exact, ever since I wrenched those words that comprised my premature last book out of myself.

These days however, the words may not be coming easy but the things which start them are, the ideas, the epiphanies which tap into a particular vein, veins which spout both blood and ore, the gilded gush of words that I know I can look back upon on any day in the eternity that exists from the moment they find their way on to the page and still see them as worthy of sharing.

But this is the thing – what’s the fucking point? I keep thinking about the inimitable Borges, and his particularly excruciating imprisonment, being trapped inextricably within Borges, and I begin to see some of that imprisonment myself. I personally know about six people, possibly seven, who I can put into a room and be able to listen to – from them – a cogent discussion of my work, my tiny oeuvre. There may be about ten times that fucking number who’ve actually read my work in the first place, and ten times that number who know I’m a writer and who might have read this blog, or an article or two, but when it comes to the literary work are woefully unaware.

Sometimes indeed it feels like the songs says, that I’m frozen here on the ladder of my life, that no fucking thing will give, that the veil may be thin but it’s elastic and the most each probing scribble of the pen can do is stretch it to a certain impenetrable tension.

This may be my personal mythologizing of myself, this identification not only with the metaphysical aesthetes whom I admire and emulate – Borges and Nabokov – but also those motherfuckers who lived and wrote in blood: Hemingway, Greene, London, Roth, Mailer.

I think that writing should be should come from life, a deep engagement with it, its vices and glories. After ten years at this, pour exemple, I believe that, to paraphrase Nietzsche, intoxication is a prerequisite for great art, the ticket and the train to this transcendental experience and while the shamans of the past had their peyote or whatnot, I have my little bottles of D’Aguiar’s Xtra Mature Rum (Premium Blend), the aptly colloquialised ‘grenade’ because halfway into one of those fuckers on a good night, Aerosmith blasting ‘Dream On’ in my ear, and the page explodes, beautifully, rapturously.

Yeah, and I love women. Not in the pejorative sense used of those misogynistic skuntholes who make a sport of the amount of vaginas they’ve entered which is usually just a compensatory mechanism for cock or esteem issues or to erase the memory and implication of that juvenile mutual masturbation with the buddy friend incident/phase or more ominously that hazy nightmare when Uncle or Daddy got really creative with the tickling… nah, I love women in the Hank Moody sense of the term, in that I want to inhale them, wrap myself in them, taste them on the tip of my tongue, like some panty fetishist let loose in a girl's dorm five minutes after the Rapture.

Misogyny, machismo, men’s clubs, anything that involves the elevation of status exclusively or primarily based on the possession of a cock is really, by implication, gay; and if you’re a man and subscribe to any of that shit, you might as well book yourself as a model for the pending global Mapplethorpe revival that the rising popularity of faux-hawks and Kanye West glasses, and Kanye West, seems augury of.

There is one great benefit to being a man, and that is – and I mean no disrespect to my friends of the fudge-packing persuasion – to interact, to converse, to connect with, to make sweet slow love to, to create life in conjunction with these heavenly fucking creatures that we happen to find ourselves stranded with on this remote island in this great ocean that is the universe.

And I love my son. For the past four years, I’ve been working on this story, the theme of which is fatherhood and I suppose the fulcrum on which the piece rests (and you there, in the back of the class, I hope you’re taking notes) is the paragraph which reads.

“Fatherhood is this strange gift, an ecstasy comingled with something subtly darker, this inextricable grief existing at the very core of it, the spectre of the sadness of Laocoön, a nebulous, miasmal fear seeping ever outward in some blind, unconscious quest to poison and corrupt the heart.”

Bleak I know but it is also sublime, this thing that comes over me in his presence, this quiet awe that I cannot recall ever encountering in literature, and I realise now that in all the books I’ve read, poetry or prose, there is nothing there about the quotidian bliss and dread of fatherhood – this thing so powerful that it can only really be communicated in extremes, the melodrama of movies like The Champ.

Tonight again, I’m going to get back to the writing. These days, like I said, the ideas are flowing – in the past week, I’ve sketched the outline for a movie script, a sci-fi story, and a short fiction retelling of a Greek legend. The jury may still be out on the great motherfucking why of it all, the vexing question of use or legacy, but when that moment comes you sing it, you sing the shit out of that song that comes through you, because without it, everything else, the women, fatherhood, manhood will not be done the justice they deserve.

Dream on, dream on, dream on…