My short fiction has been nominated for the White Review Prize, published in the anthology Liberating the Canon as well as journals including Aspidistra. My short story Worm Wood Old Oak was published by Sampson Low in 2017. / Fiction seems separated from poetry by lengthiness or its lack, and that's almost all, though perhaps irrelevant if my conception of it remains about using language for something beyond declaration or other kinds of literal information.
Liberating the Canon is an edited anthology capturing the contemporary emergence of radically innovative and nonconforming forms of literature in the UK and US. Historically, sociopolitical marginalisation and avant-garde aesthetics have not come together in UK literature, counterintuitively divorcing outsider experience and formal innovation.
https://www.dostoyevskywannabe.com/experiments/liberating_the_canon Edited by Isabel Waidner, Liberating the Canon includes contributors working at the intersections of prose, poetry, art, performance, indie publishing and various subcultural contexts: Mojisola Adebayo, Jess Arndt (US), Jay Bernard, Richard Brammer, Victoria Brown, SJ Fowler, Juliet Jacques, Sara Jaffe (US), Roz Kaveney, R. Zamora Linmark (US), Mira Mattar, Seabright D.Mortimer, Nat Raha, Nisha Ramayya, Rosie Snajdr, Timothy Thornton, Isabel Waidner, Joanna Walsh and Eley Williams.
Dimensions: 5 x 8 inches
Cat No: DW-391
Worm Wood in Old Oak (Sampson Low)
A piece of beautiful ephemera, a limited edition pamphlet by Sampson Low, founded in 1793, which was made to mark the moment of the Worm Wood residency specifically, and tells the ambiguous and quixotic tale of a property developer. My first work of fiction published for some years, it is available to buy here for £2.60
From Worm Wood Old Oak ...
"All development is a matter of structure. It is a word that might be used in learning to live the well lived life. You might find the word selfbefore the word development. You might hear the words Take a moment to think about the words I am saying. The developer is active in ordering, aiming to make some sequences of events more likely, at the expense of other events. Happy, joy filled living will increase, the statistics will show this, concrete facts, and less resonant of existences will fall away. Maybe one day, it will be extinguished? If that would happen anywhere, it would be in old oak. In old oak the business of anticipation is thriving. It will be a few years yet before the stubborn presence of things resistant to such resonance uncovers the limit, if there is one, to the ordering intentions of development, but that’s fine. Nothing happens overnight. This is a long term deal. We’re thinking in centuries, aren’t we? Those, shall we say revelations, might not reveal the feebleness of such organisation for a few years after project completion. Then those outlandish outliers will become merely a crevice in the old oak, through which chaos will be, reluctantly and depressingly, sighted, from some eighth floor glass balcony. Too late then, isn’t it?"
I was nominated for the White Review prize for experimental short fiction in 2014 http://www.thewhitereview.org/fiction/mueum/
Since I have worked at the mueum I have published, and I have written 486 pems. I have seen people drawing freehand maps of accuracy been talked to like they are pieces of dogshit. I have seen shutters shuttered like windows in the face of so many wokers that all blinds have drawn into a darkness like an eclipse. I have witnessed rosetta stone backpacks, launchboxes of the great wave. I have seen prayer rug mousemats. I have been a witness of Commerce. I have been bystander to a five pound coffee. M is Muster, the passing od. You can get a sudden attack of nausea by staying too long in an art gallery as well. It must be some kind of illness – museumitis – unknown to medical science. Or could it be the air of death surrounding all things man-made, whether beautiful or ugly? (Gustav Heyrink) I have lists of people who were colleagues. The rise of the Temporary work in our century, and I have one avowed to those who are trapped in the hotbed of sexual discrimination and harassment because if they complain, to those inculcated with the ones making the advances, they can lose their work immediately, and without reason. Sweeps of the young like pograms, I remember them and make an effort to stay in touch. To have Grigor in shadow of men, a lunaticuntil moonlit then, a dwarf of melody, a celestial harmony, some tiny child model perfection below, a debut in the untertow. For not much. How young fashion students? Seen too robed; roof of the Nile, ark of the covenant, baby hercule as asp, a thesp, a guided tour of softcore smeared all over faces to make the time pass, for it is boring work.. In the endless dead hours of a dead work the sevens go to the tens, the fives to sevens, and you find yourself chasing them physically to express to them against yourself a desire to not only be bored but to be with them, when you are aloud to be so. And more shame for that because for the ones in charge, the honest, are the ones who will sack the girls if they don’t at least smile back. But am I was I a refuge or just blind that I was another of those unwelcome men when some person is trying to just pay their rent anymore? A witness of my record, 3 in a day. But which of those 3 is a life tired, to temper hard to soft, mean to kind? But always open pursed to me? Friends, there are shadows in any case. Even if the morass of the faceless are not looking into that case for an objett they’ve never heard of and will never remember. One cannot hide beneath head’s hair. I awoke from my nightmares with an erection, penetrated the sleeping Claire, went limp, and fell asleep again. (Peter Handke)
The cheap shadows are real, as is the need for contraception. Who are the bitten rivals of hinterland museums? I cup my ears. I know from what you’re hiding. Work. But new twins to my being so bored here and you being singled and newly arrived from Thessaloniki & Tallinn, Milann & Bucharest, Wroclaw & Vilnius. Never to forget, thick & not thick, all it is the same. One telling me on in the end she knows, eves as heavy lips bristled, the way of the bubble, popping like a joint, under the crux of an omoplata. An ippon seoinage that nearly broke her neck, in a disabled toilet in the children’s centre. That’s the third on sight, the third in a day. Playing the plaster bead game on my lunch with a ballpoint pen and the girl from Brisbane. Lingering like silver fish, caught short, more like a wet patch in a bathroom, held tight like a tortoise. Like a tank of tit. Then a swift bip back on to the galleries and racist people can change, while her kills babies for the Orb and I’m scratching my trouser crotch patch before the Hadrian in seventy. Or Anna O, in the number zero. A fishmouth when she’s having blindness, every woman dies alone. I try to look away, pretend I’m done. Or the Christ who ponders the desert. The salt of the salt mouth, the visior who knows so much he stops to tell me within a polite conversation. Will my maid be plucked in heaven? or virtuous? I’d prefer to clean myself, if the help aren’t slots for time is short for the Machine on the crow’s nest. I look upon the lip to see the gardener himself is soon too much. Ash me instead, I’d not be ratfed; I’ll be leaving here within a year. Or Jessica who cannot hide what lies beneath, who is a sweat sticky lotus licked by until someone else pregnates her. A mueum baby in the way, conceived on the grounds. Portents for the child? The young fox hides its tail, poor thing a baby on Temp pay. It protects a secret shaped like a cashew nut. 12 bars, the rhythm method fails again. But I am in pulling out, so it wasn’t mine.
Are those fated to pass on through the mueum, even if it breaks their hearts and has them so poor they have to return to their parents? those who broken the chance for their children to not be poor, worse off though than those forced to remain the Mountaineer? For us, I see flowers, in dead space, where bananas grow. Thirty five late nights, clouds fall, sickness longs. I swap freedoms for moneys…either way, soon I return to morning, sober where a mere fud cannot reach me, but realising this surrounded by Things, I might just get the sense that I might as well be here unreached than anywhere else before the morning does. Had known I not I was that dead already would’ve I mourned mine loss of life. A healthy bird heart. Each first to teach first after Oxford, then stutter and choke on a hot food north of breakfast. Let them rescue or let them abandon. Cherry trees plucked clean up in ninety four by the Owls of spring, by the Primae Noctis, by a cry of birth, a challenge to change a lightbulb. The detective one misery lets go like fingers uncurling from a branch. The dream in room Four; a crippled woe’d beggard approaches gastric, palsy overload & new nearly saint wisdomed. He asks for you. Or you soon, for now me. Dogfights, breathing heavy with all that muzzle is to remain in life for soon enough anyhow… you will become ‘suspended.’
Eyes fixed on going home hard, & out of the building, there was no more building. No homes & little in the way of kindnesses. Just huddled together for warmth. Hardwords & poverty, thick varicosal veins says one & wonder why, in the long of the blue flower there is no mention it will soon be gone. The pantheon of western diseases abound – fatigue, arrhythmia, angina … cancer. Antichrist in gallery weave, black spider, two clowns docking, drinking blood. A desire to charge one’s phone before the Rosetta stone & a root cause, watching stephen king’s ‘it.’ Numbers, himmed, then barred then hammered through the shitbox of an Essex lattice. The false attachment to the body – a radio that rots waves. A really, really bad diet, for the suspects usual invading we will be revenged up the left shoulder by pickpockets in their millions. When a man enters his thirtieth year, people don’t stop calling him young. (Ingeborg Bachmann) Well of this I’ll ask, of a theory of time, what living wage exists, finer, when not following a crime? Slow at wanting fast, fast at wanting slow. Dribbling into the subjective perception of each minute.
I apologise for trying, back to story; U is undergrowth. It is the library, where most of the body is on course: Undertheground. The girls was in the reading room. Standing guard over chinese objetts sold temporarily to the mueum by a communst government for a high high price. Which was rarely reported, while the idiots have bought tickets to pay to see these dead grey guards (not me) for the first time they’ve been allowed out of the country. Meanwhile I know where above I am standing on and that you can never see again perhaps and I have never seen. Over the desks of the reading room, far below the dome, there lies a covering floor on which the warriors stand, deadling. Below my trudging feet, as people walk for what they’ve paid for, in an institution of historical something there is a paying communst space where once actually Karl Marx wrote the capital. Actually not that funny, or why would I not have said it before? He came here for thirty years, struggling. It’s a dead temple. But I know about it, I have spent an estimated at least two hundred, maybe up to five hundred hours in that dome. I know Bertrand Russell, George B. Shaw, Samuel Beckett, Ezra Pound, Gertrude Strain, MR James, Orwell, Kipling, Stoker, Wilde, Huxley, George & Thomas Eliot, Frost, Galsworthy, Hardy, Graham Greene and Lenin, and Trotsky used. But did any of them have sex there? Any of them checking fire exits, finding themselves amidst the desks, underneath the stilted over propped up cover of those desks to hold above it an exhibition for paying public? Taking a girl down there and lift her up onto one of those desks and pull her underwear down her legs onto the floor and where they were do something they never could do? Because it would’ve been remembered. I remember, and I have been there, and that is the right of one who has worked amidst the wuthering gasp of the horrid conserved who are simply needling some being to watch them taking it in so they can go back to their unbridled fear and philistinism. And gutlessness. Because what is worth doing in the now reading room is best now seen by an audience but wiped out with a wet tissue before the next break comes along. And that’s not to give the impression it wasn’t mindful, or caring, or that it wasn’t also in passing and that the place of it had no significance for her but for the fact that the exit in case of an actual fire remained potentially blocked and deathtrap. But it is a claim I must build a stream around, that there has been private corners of energy spaces that have become anew, and I did make that decision to easily ask her to go down there with me, and put that together, as it was happening, because I had realised, is it a dream work? To walk about the reading room for many hours in one’s middle twenties? Perhaps at first, then of course this is no trace of those names I mentioned, there is only their books at all. Because the books they were reading are long gone, in the brutish libarry, and no longer with the material there, just the knowledge they were there. Which is, let me tell you for it is true, I know through hundreds of hours of labour at it, utterly meaningless. It doesn’t matter that they were there, but that they shared what they did share. So I continue a tradition in its fullest vein, that I wiped semen off the floor of the reading room with my sole of the shoe. That it could have been Gissing’s desk, or Matthew Arnold. I hope of course, it was one of the other names I mentioned before, which I knew had been off the top of my head as I wrote this and didn’t have to look it up. Our soon ways grew apart and I met someone else who was a third in the mueum, but that was it, just three in the mueum and never again anywhere in the mueum like the reading room itself, amidst the desks.
Beneath the gaudy white empty court there are many levels into the basement. The medalled of rourke’s draft once did my job. It was once, for over a century, entirely ex-military in fad. There is a shooting range beneath the court (!) appropriately Deep levels down, and there was a tube station too. There was a suicide in the court once. A man jumped and deliberately went head first. He took a few days to die, which I can’t imagine was the case. But it happened before I worked at the mueum. They did shut the mueum that day, but not on the bus bombings. Just before me too. Illuminating. I didn’t have anything to do with that enthusiasm. 7-7. 11 para. 5 letters, 4001 words.
E is empty. Another shift begins. For which we should be grateful. What is the tune of non-being? It is the song of your friends saying nasty things behind your back in the workplace. What you do not know does not exist & so. The piano of nothing tinkles. A big puddle in the gallery for here it is always raining. Monster trucks for better pay. She seven changes, from shades of green to yellow, blue, purple, pink & finally back to its original green. It is as though the water freezes evenly. But this is in simple language. Sit ready for yourself, get paid for that perhaps, in a chair, in an all but empty room. Give up smoking, & alcohol. Do not touch drops, for this is after fashion, & if you cannot sit alone with yourself… do another. The silent instructions – readiness, the single driptime to feel one’s health from the innards & give thanks for menial labour, the teacher with a voice of emptiness. And pursue the third right into the disabled toilet, and run your face with taint from her upwashed. I don’t even need to get my end away anymore. Just not washing face anymore. Not the worst I’ve done, breaking wind in children’s faces, telling them so, and forward rolls in the viking gallery, where my judo comes in handy. The goward, the triumph – Hermeph, phone me. I know hajj was the greatest day of your life but there is new pilgrimage today. The destination is a Volvo parked outside your Clapham apartment. Praise be, I can smell you from my car, Judith, fish & urine, the smell of burning cornfields, baseball, rebellion. The sound of a bike chain, locking as disease falls, as children are torn from their parents, as mercy looms, you devote your life to blogging. The girls I’ve flogged who are not clever. The apostasy of the christian tradition of being afraid of women’s genitals. But I’m not. Look at this fate, what boredom has taught me, this is a human recourse, there are pits to dig, a Russian dance of Travelodge boredom. A list of there will be suicides; a sadness no one addresses. Mental health is our new canteen but salut to the artist / worker, he is the soil in which hope is grown, wait for a minute… violins, a march, its 1984, the urn is strong. I smell petrol, & finally after so many thousand false starts this abandoned bag turns out to be explosive.
But there are cabinets in the Egyptian department like those of the petry libarry, but ten feet tall at least, that are wheeled open with black levers! They are filed rows of dead human bodies, their moisture religiously departed. That room smells not of rot but of something far worse, and you know when it’s been opened. There are two wings to the public of the Egyptians, remember the one or two cases to the half-the-world men? I don’t mind that, because of course this is the Empire mueum, which I won’t revise, or apologise for because it actually wasn’t All bad. & the mueum is deid. I care when it did. But it’s been dying for as long as I’ve worked there, and at least from the turn of this century. There are so many symptoms of this slow cancerous colouring that it seems to act as a cataract to the few thinking beings who enter the mueum. But the fact underlying is all about exponential population expansion. For most things wrong really, it is not sustainable. Is that the Word? One can’t take any position of nostalgia, as it’s been historically, and still is, hijacked, but it was, as a simple statement, better when there were less people. Now the mueum gets between fifteen to seventeen thousands visiors a-day. Through the slim, stone 18th century doors come fiteen to seveteen thousand human beings every single day. It is, I am saying it is, in order to not begin with an impotent criticism of the sheer stupidity of the vast majority of these people, just an issue of odds, of likelihood, that the majority have the most shallow understanding of what and why they are visiting the mueum. That many perceive everything before them through a lens is not a sign of culture, but of acceptance, of consequence for allowing the stupid into the limpid halls of the producing, who know they are dwarves before the incomprehensible temporal weight and majesty of the objetts of the mueum. They would have never been present in the past, at all, not allowed in. I am not advocating this, but it is a fact which when stated speaks of the ineviable noe, and in the numbers with which they exist, then to be given permission to entire.
It is a surge of differing brown cloth, still wet towels, where eyes have peered through, tears in the force of the meet just eaten. How dare you they. Assume that this relationship is that of a patron, or worse, a consumer, and I am somehow invested in your experience, down to the roots of financial exchange, but that is not the case. I am not here in your presence to serves you, nor aid, I am here to offer, at my own behest, assistance in the pursuit of perspective. I can direct you toward things which are so that you will know what you ire amidst. Or you can assume I owe you, and then, how dare you. This, surved, is a house. I live and reside here, and you are a visior, at best, who has entered for free, under the grace of many who are like me, who reside here, and you remain here at our Information, at our quiet work, and you will enjoy here at our presentation of that time past of people at work on things for you, but not for you. And to me of signage / toilet? This is in a home which builds, and owes you nothing but of the end of most of these, and not courtesy, lest it be paid into my. Let me sweep them by who record on flat tablet what they are not actually looking at and will never do so.
The excess of mueum is it’s impossible. Were this some grossly funded bloated grey rooms and in each a single objett, the cyrus cylinder, the beginning of all laws, the flood tablet, the novel first in stone, the ram in the thicket, the better before us, the dead bodies that are they actually? and they are they were men and women and now they are rasped husks, the horus, the legs up the breasts harpies, the gainte black stone beetle the size of a man curling to protect himself from blows, the gates of beards of bulls of men of born, the stones of sold where sheep were shitting, the revisions without chains, or clasps, or even weapons really, maybe a samurai sword, maybe a case in the chinese gallery worth beyond measure. The Jade book. The Jade Terrapin. The ring and sword of Tipu sultan. It’s fortunate, the feejee mermaid, that the historiciity of english people is swallowed up in the popylation boom because if they knew what we had done they would swell so large to broke the seems of any building, let alone the mueum. But these are side by side by the thousands, how can they possibility take it in? How can these objetts be real, when their numbers are amassed as though they were visiors themselves, that the behind glass were expanding with the results of medicine that is decried still by people who can believe in a god when in the mueum you can trace and touch where the other ones ended up. The dicks are hacked off because of victorian, and because, like fingers, they are vulnerable when moved. The is in room four, in the centre. I have never heard of that objett, you must have dreamt it. The coiled serpent was given by Moctezuma to Cortes, to a king, and then a Pope, and bought by a private dealer. But the wall has a beam alarm, and if children pass their hands through the beam the alarm sounds, instead. The James Cook expedition brought back with it. Do you know Calvary? Do you of Claudius Rich? Know of the work of Carl Linnaeus. There are two cases to the Mongols, one to Timur the Lame. Do you know where they went? M is moar, the trumpets or sounding. I have done it for you, literary sifted through thousands upon of people to affirm the levitating feeling of exciting love that floats above us above us with just a few, and is only possible despite the appearance of emptiness from mass. Perhaps I have discovered actually it is possible only in the mass.
The first of the mueum is the hidden door of the Enlightenment gallery and was from Lusitania, and the mongols were there, and the biggest genetic study revealed the one single DNA strain prevalent in thousands was chingiz himself, and while maybe apocraphyl, she had definitely rounded eyes. It was her, not having read the books on mongols that I’ve read who pointed out that they easily reached the baltic beaches, and her hair was vikingly, and her eyes were mongol, which is pretty inspirational in a dark cupboard on the twenty minute break of a late night shift in the Enlightenment gallery. The door opens with a House key, and the horridor goes nowhere, a remnant of some past development, some lab off into the East roads, maybe once underground when they had to evacuate the objetts out of the mueum in a hurry because of the bombs. Just feet from our flooring the roug columns of the Enlightenment still bear the shrapnel of those bombs that tore through the roof of the places of listmakers for this is a placement of lists. The era organisation, of record into time, that needed by its first and only end anorder. The beginning of order, the age of needing to record things, in order to give an account of things, as they might have been, which changes how they are. They would have special turns, funny shows. Come and unwrap a mummy was actually one. They could pay and peel off the rotten sand bandages of a prole of the time, nothing important like someone. When they discovered Troy, or the Assyrian gates, and that was a sensation. How did they move such large objetts? Do I look like an engineer? I wear a radio. Lists of those to be departed, lists of those to be refused, entry, or exit. Lists of those whose cultures confuse them when it comes to the red cord dangling in the disabled toilet. It is an alarm and not a flush. In summation, 5 letters, to those playing who pour through the other singing alarming fire exists as though they were ways out. There are only two ways out, as ever. The mouth and the backdoor.