The Map of Antarctica

Fictions for Unseen Spaces

Big Money

He rolled his eyes,

seaside fruit machines,

at the thought of big money.


I wake. Recently my dreams are more tangible than my days. My thoughts are more physical than my body. Everything has disappeared. I hold out my hand beneath the tap in the bathroom but the water passes through my fingers. Nothing collects. Nothing gathers and everything is left in disarray, without association. I look around my bedroom and see a boat, a kettle, a deer. I struggle but find no connection between the three. The deer looks back at me. Tilts its head as if trying to understand something. I go downstairs and make toast. The sink is full of fish. Mackerel with stripey backs. Their eyes gape hollowly at the ceiling. I spread the butter thickly and bite down. The clock says ten past eight. I pull on my coat and the lion roars on the stairs. Opening the front door I see it is snowing. I step outside, shake off the night. I do not notice the spider’s thread attached to the back of my neck keeping me connected to the house.

A Long Way From America

I feel a long way from America

and America is what I was learning.

Through books and film and music and people

I straddled the Atlantic

imagining the galleries

and the libraries.

But the waves were strong,

and much like Salvador Alvarenga,

the man who got lost on a boat for 14 months,

I sometimes felt I had no nation.

The stars

I could be sure of.

But countries are like that.

Strong and invisible,

Rooted deep into our psyche.

I could never mistake

that it was the streets of England

that my visions of America were contained within,

that down the road and near the water

was the screen that has long projected Hollywood,

that in the houses, next to the worn furniture

are the books that transmitted New York

past the eyes, to the brain

where I again will build

a place that someday I won’t have to remember.

I will just be able to look and see.

Until then I will shave

and turn up for work

at the university that lights up lecture theatres at night

for talks on the slave trade.

Legacies are in place

but let them not get overblown,

our people will soon see eye to eye

and speak of common things.

Published @ Firefly Magazine

Today I got a piece of Flash Fiction ‘Stranger at a House Fire’ published at Firefly Magazine:

The magazine looks great and it’s their first issue so go take a look!

J x

The Search

I look in the shops. I look in the cinema cafe. I look in the art gallery. I look in my local supermarket, behind the front row of tinned soups. I search everywhere. I research, spend time in the local library, in the bookshops of the city. I walk around the park three times convinced that something will come to me. Every single space that the city has, I interrogate. The train stations, the waterfront, the subway. What do I find other than occupied space where people impress their days on the malleable.

Ode to thinking in my local cafe

You were the man who sat and thought for hours, not spending more than it cost for a single cup of black coffee. You were waiting and it was Sunday, just like every weekend. They opened and closed the awnings like they didn’t know what they were doing. They didn’t care how they looked. They were working. You were alone and you sat in the corner where you could see the community of poets. The first time you came here you were new to the city. You read Bukowski and thought that he probably spent years rooted to the spot. All you wanted was a local cafe. Now that you have it you know you are safe. After a few hours in its grasp you have to try your hardest to remember the outside world, full of machineries, full of movement, full of people. There is nothing you need out there.

Paul Auster Interview


there’s too much


It’s everywhere.

On my hands,

on my side,

on my mind.

I’m drowning in the stuff.

Sometimes a miasma of rain,

others thick like oil,

It never ceases to pass

and leave me that little bit

older than before.

The Workman

I laid bricks

ontop of one another,

but failed to build a thing

other than a wall

to bang my head against,

I sat in call centres

and listened to the phones ring,

like birdsong

or a concerto,

I poured coffee

into paper cups

and handed them out to the commuters

for free,

I sat in offices

and pushed paper,

punched at keyboards,

not caring what

gobbledegook came out,

I stood in bookshops

and watched

as customers stole paperbacks,

dropping half the sci-fi section into a laundry bag,

I directed traffic

the wrong way

down one way streets,

I walked dogs

until they were exhausted,

panting and begging

for their blankets,

I projected films at angles

so that they missed

the screen,

I flipped burgers

til they were black

pieces of charcoal,

served them up

on paper plates,

And after a hard days toil,

I like nothing more than to relax with a pint,

served up by my local barman

who does a great job.



is a poem

about how brief

twilight is.

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