… a place for the other scribblings.

Short fiction, and maybe even some poetry that doesn’t fit into my other collections.

Occasionally illustrated.

So, if it’s not part of my Cthulhiad horror series: http://thecthulhiad.wordpress.com/

or, my Hesirion fantasy series, set on The Margin: http://hesirion.wordpress.com/

or even part of my Rabbit Heart game design http://rabbitheartgame.wordpress.com/ , Frozen Tears western script http://frozentearsfilm.wordpress.com/ or my Toxic Shopping graphically enhanced novel (not yet online but it will be at some point)… then it will be in here.

For the rest of what I do, you can see my illustration and other creative stuff at:

http://www.coroflot.com/hesir – PORTFOLIO
http://apopheniainc.wordpress.com/ – BLOG
http://www.youtube.com/user/TheHesir – FILM
http://www.myspace.com/trudysrubymonkey – MUSIC
http://hesir.deviantart.com – EVERYTHING ELSE
or catch my more immediate ramblings on http://twitter.com/hesir
Published in: on July 20, 2010 at 5:55 pm  Leave a Comment  

I Come From The Sea


Poetry from the Creative Writing Workshop at The Brodrick Gallery/Shirley Goodsell exhibition with Sue Wilsea & Jackie Goodman.


I come from the sea

Literally and figuratively,

Historically and metaphorically

I come from the sea

A long line of settlers

dragging boats ashore

Brushing salt-foam from our breeks

Looking up at strange cliffs

wondering about the soil and hope

we might find there.


I come from the sea

Rounded and smoothed

Like pebbles

Some long ground to sand

Pressed flat by “me dad an’ me”

Beachcombing for firewood

Hunting out more interesting treasure too

In the flotsam and jetsom

Of the powder-black grain

At the tide’s furthest throw.



From original notes made at a Creative Writing workshop, ran at The Brodrick Gallery, HSAD, 24/11/16

Excercise 1 – “I come from…”

There is probably more to come on this theme… something to work on a little more.

Published in: on November 26, 2016 at 2:17 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Those Burly Timbers

Those burly timbers,

Pushed and shoved by time and tide

Fall into each other, jostling and fighting

As if in slow-motion or freeze-frame

A scrap outside a nightclub in town

a newly-wed pressed outside a tavern in oils

some lean in to ogle and shout encouragement

others step back, aghast

to give those wooden ruffians room.


– after The Pier & Ferry from Sammy’s Point by Shirley Goodsell


From original notes made at a Creative Writing workshop, ran at The Brodrick Gallery, HSAD, 24/11/16

Excercise 3 – “Describe one of the paintings as if it had come to life” – Painting 25, “The Pier & Ferry from Sammy’s Point” by Shirley Goodsell



Published in: on November 26, 2016 at 2:08 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Awld Dockerty

As a youngster, old Dougherty frightened me.

I clung to my dad’s jacket and looked down at my feet for fear that his one visible eye would catch me in its baleful grip, that he would know my fear and use it against me.

His Polyphemian, sun-cracked and cragged visage was but one of his alien features.

His words were a riddle.

Long drawn out drawls, sing-song vowels that eschewd the bookending of familiar consonants instead, sliding and dancing beyond the grasp of my mind’s ear.

My father would listen, nod sagely and answer,

his own voice now transformed, uprooted, afflicted.

His farm-boy accent suddenly more pronounced, his gramps speaking through him from the grave.

New-old-words tumbling out to join the chaos of Dockerty’s babble.

Words that would linger beyond the journey to and from grandma’s house.

Words and phrases that would pepper his speech all weekend

as at Dougherty’s gate he shifted-shape and became

“Skin’da go-et”, with “boo-its” to “louse owt” of,

“coo-its” to “shee-at darn” with, “weskits” to wear,

And “watter” to “wesh” with, and much more besides.

Many I wouldn’t fathom for years.

Years after that illogical lodging were Dougherty lay down his head was long gone.

Replaced by a respectably angled home of bricks and mortar.

Instead of that exciting, terrifying and joyous one of curved steel, painted wood and rivets

A train carriage

as if dropped from the sky.

Trackless and solitary, like its master.



From original notes made at a Creative Writing workshop, ran at The Brodrick Gallery, HSAD, 24/11/16

Exercise 4 version 1 – “A childhood memory of a person or character”.

Published in: on November 26, 2016 at 2:00 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Sunday Flapjacks


A barrow, home-made from old doors, steel pipe and pram wheels,

not shop-bought from some industrial estate warehouse.

Bent over and fathomed in a backyard and shed.

Shaped between scraped knuckles and the scratching of his bryll-creamed head.

A contraption, fixed and towed by some magical pivot

(me dad’s own invention)

from the back of his bike.

Me, sat inside amongst the salt-licked drift-wood and other useful bits

found there, in the soft sand and shingle.

Trundling back, sometimes running alongside

through quiet Sunday morning streets and snickets

thinking of eggs for breakfast, whipped up in a cup

fried, then salted and pressed between bread.

The French have a word for it.

But it’s a word I never heard him say in his life.



An omelette with nothing in it, no milk to fill it out, just three or four eggs, whisked up in a cup with a fork, poured into the frying pan until golden and crisp at the edges, both sides, flipped like a pancake, then slid out, straight into two slices of bread… and salted and eaten whilststood on the doorstep watching seagulls swooping around looking for the bacon rind we’d throw out after more extravagant weekend breakfasts. My father called them flapjacks, as far as I can fathom, he was the only one, named after something he saw cooked up on Grizzly Adams, a show we would regularly sit and watch together after those outings to the beach.

From original notes made at a Creative Writing workshop, ran at The Brodrick Gallery, HSAD, 24/11/16

Exercise 2 – “ a childhood activity remembered”

Published in: on November 26, 2016 at 1:58 pm  Leave a Comment  
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150 High Street

Slunk back in shadow
just as the punters like it,
a stealthy bit of doorway,
Heel-worn kerb, tin box of butts.
Music, trickles onto cobbled stone,
an aural flash of leg, to entice.
A regular cut-purse on the staith,
while them that knows conspire within;
low words over crosswords.

Inside’s a womb,
the colour of a Caffrey ad’ man’s dream,
the burr of age, warm like a pocket, in favourite coat.
transient ale buffs stand aback regular crew,
wishing their names were known too.
Above, prints, block-black on rust
for shows long off the boards pull the eye around
‘cross dust cloaked bottles emptied of cheer,
yet stowed above in decorative ‘membrance.

Vinyl crackles for a one armed minstrel
(none of your digital tricksiness here),
Joanna stays tight-lipped, shunning wandering fingers
besides, there’s Old Rosie for your “all that ails”,
How’d y’like them apples?
then blinking, it’s back out onto shining cobbles
and the wan, Humber-sapped evening light
like coming up from the bowels of a ship,
just not the one the Black Boy knew.

Just something thrown together for a forum challenge
earlier this month.
The Challenge? "Twenty lines in under twenty minutes".
Tidied up a bit here, twenty lines have become
twenty-four, still needs work probably.

Published in: on July 21, 2010 at 10:09 am  Leave a Comment  
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The Norn’s Cave

As a child I recall the overlapping smells
trapped within old Mrs. B’s salon,
rollers wrapped in remnants of colour-rinsed hair,
an apothecary-like collection of chemicals and unguents,
perfumes, potions, tinctures and lotions –
The combination of which was heightened,
sharpened, made more piquant by the acidity
of that bright, mirror-thrown boutique light.

To my wide, hedge-pig-pinned-in-headlights-eyes
the women within were terribly old,
jagged-boned, bark-skinned, ancient and dreadful.
They terrified me with their loose clacking teeth,
with their harridan’s cackling.
Witch-like fingers thrust into spat-upon hankies
ever insistent upon scrubbing raw,
flensing away any trespassing blemish or stain
from my grubby-urchin cheeks and chin.

I grew to dread these mother-led pilgrimages
into this incandescent, over-lit den of aged women.
Something at the heart of a burgeoning pre-adolescence
cried out!
This coven was no fit place for a man.
(despite being just a boy).
I should be skulking among tree roots,
down in the mire
in the scum-coated lagoon
jarring newts, boxing grass snakes and toads.
Filthy and invisible
safe in the shadow of hawthorn and bramble.

Mrs. B went mad they said,
I saw her in the street while too young to fathom
Those looks of delighted disgust,
aghast expressions of my elders and betters
that had held court in that Circe-ian circle
summoning social obituaries over their porcelain cauldrons
as she rocked on her haunches,
on the pavement,

And so on certain days I would watch my mother,
her head bent forward as if at prayer,
head and hair anointed, baptized; unkempt
(as I was never to see it elsewhere).
as she talked up storms in teacups
with the curler-crowned crones.
Suffering the pungencies of that Norn’s cave in silence.
as the witches spun lies and gossip
on threads long and thick enough to hang themselves.
All the while shielding my eyes
from the glaring light and wishing
for the nick and cut
of the hawthorn trees.

Original version written sometime around February 2008
in 25 minutes during a writers workshop, based on three
given words. Witch, Boutique and Darkness, the last word
having to be the last word of the piece. I dropped the line
with darkness in it during one of the revisions... you can
see the original scribbled 25 minute version here:
Published in: on July 21, 2010 at 9:47 am  Leave a Comment  
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The White-thorned Mere

Spectres of smack addicts sit on the dole wall, watching
as coins wrung from giros, cashed by their killers now fall
rattling into the bellies of flashing eyed bandits of beach town,
the scurvy of boredom sated by citrus that reels round and round.

Sand, sucked out to sea, reveals brown Scottish clay,
thrown down by glaciers in ancient days.
Mudcastles crumble like the dreams of their makers,
dragged out to sea by in coming breakers, with a sound

like serpents battling beneath the waves.

Written around the end of October 2005.
Actually about the small town where I grew up.
Withernsea, a small seaside town on the East Yorkshire
coast that has drifted past its sell by date. The intention
was for it to be longer I think but to be honest, sometimes,
enough is enough.
Withernsea is old Norse for White Thorn and Mere,
there used to be one there, before the sea broke in
and stole it away...
Published in: on July 20, 2010 at 6:45 pm  Comments (1)  
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Salamander Jack

a fragment

There’s danger in this. Shit, there’s danger in everything now, but this is taking time. Time we made and can’t afford to lose. Y’see standing still’s a luxury these days.

But here I am. Standing still. Still as the tall rock beneath my feet. And I’m splayed like an image I recall from gods know when, arms outstretched, spit coated hands reaching out to catch a movement. Eyes open but unseeing, rolled back. Trying to feel something stir the drying liquid there.

An’ I’m drifting, thinking back to somewhere, somewhere from when I was just a kid. Layin’ there on the grass. Green, green grass, looking up at clouds and clutching the earth beneath me. Holding on ‘cos I’d been laid so long as to start to feel the earth moving and rolling beneath me. For a moment I wonder to myself if that’s what this is, this flicker of movement, this brushing against my skin. Nothing but the endless rolling of the world.

But then it’s there, it’s twitching in my hair and eyelashes, nothing much, but definitely something other.

Wind, I can feel the wind.

How long’s it been? How long since any of us remember the wind on our faces? Months? A year? Years maybe.

We got newborns named Breeze and Gale. Their namings a summoning, a public prayer for something other than this stillness. Names meaningless to some of the other young, their memories not long enough, or too filled with just surviving. Seven-year-olds with eyes like old soldiers. So many words that meant something are just names now.

And then we’re moving again. But now we got moving air too. And we’re walking to greet it, feeling it on our faces, feeling something other than just the perpetual heat of the endless days. Some of the women even begin to smile at each other.

Back in the early days some folks tried to make light of it all, saying it was a blessing, that we’d been saved. A few amongst the many, ready to start a corrupted world anew.
“We’re alive!” they said.
“We’re free,” they cried.
“No more taxes” they joked, “No more self-righteous politicians”.

But they were there alright, just hidden in their tin forts beneath the ground, while we wandered ragged into the wild places. It was then we began to see how things had really changed.

From the mouths of the mad and other wanderers we began to hear the tales. Tales of the “something gone awry”. Science merged with something other. Crazy stories. Stories of angelic visions, twisted and caught, wrought into the hearts of those final fires. That and the destruction from these more-than-bombs, the explosions that became a rolling wave of chaos, changing things that shouldn’t be changed. Leaving alive witnesses to things that shouldn’t be seen.

Sometimes I’d wonder if we hadn’t all just died and wound up in Hell. It would sure explain the looks in the eyes of the children born here.

We head New South away from the high ground. We move all the time. Avoiding the bleached skeleton remains of the few towns and cities not torn out of the earth completely. For “There be monsters”.  It’s there they hide, our predators, waiting for us in the edges of the towns and in the higher ground. We skirt their horizons. But still we are taken. And still we die.

Hybrids of animals and the bombs. We name them like new Adams in a garden of dust and death, name them to try and control our fear of them. Hammerangs, Gildyglips, Stonemartins and Lipkins, animals that just shouldn’t be.

Just days ago we fought a Razorwight; I was lucky this time, I lost only two fingers off of my left hand. Two men and a boy of nine die quick, arms taken, guts opened to the sky. A woman caught in its first rush died as we moved off again. We left her for the spiders.

The fucking spiders. Childhood drugs opened a door. Let out a fear in me of the smallest of them. A fear I hated in myself but had been with me for years. An irrational fear made rational by the dust of the bombs. They hide in the ground, waiting, then pouncing with a scattering of dust and spit. They tear the youngest from the women’s backs and are gone before most of us turn around. Sometimes they come in packs, dogging our ragtag caravan. Like hyenas. Just bigger.

But there’s always worse. People. The people are always much worse.

They’re our real predators now, the Still-Soldiers. So we run from them. From their rape, their guns and their superiors with their steel-table-topped labs and endless experiments, but still they come. They plug their ears with wax and radio electronics as they drag us inside their stockades. They plug their ears so they can’t hear our screams, the pleading of the women and children. They talk about us as less than. Never saying He or She, just It. Then they cut into us. To see what they’ve done to the air, to see what they’ve done to us by letting us breathe it.

Some of us have been there and got away. Mostly men who’d been in other wars, once-soldiers. There’s lucky and unlucky in that brotherhood.

I sometimes wonder what they know, cooped up in their hide-aways. If they’re still just guessing like us. As frightened by it all as us.

Y’see, something wrong happened. They didn’t expect this. Not the war. Shit, we’d been expecting the war for years. No, I mean what came after.

Like us they’d read the books, seen the TV specials. We all thought we knew how it would be. Perpetual night. Cold. Ash like snow, filling the streets and mouths of the immediate and therefore lucky dead. We weren’t prepared for this.

Unending day, the world skewed, the compass changed, trapped under a white-yellow blanket of heat.

I think about it sometimes as I walk. We talk about it.
“There must be night somewhere.” We say.

But we don’t know.

Then, with as long as it’s taken, all the walking and the fighting and the dying, it’s done. Or it is the day we see the cloud. A great rolling fog spreading out across the horizon. And we stop and stare. Not knowing what to do. Some of the younger ones ask me.

“Salamander Jack,” they say, “What is it?”
And I lie and say I don’t know.

But I do know. And some of the older folk look at me and they know too. We can smell it on the moving air. Salt. Salt and death.

The sea. A boiling, dying sea. Bloated by the heat of the world and come to meet us. Come to where it shouldn’t be. Its life; its creatures, dead or dying. Its boats, our boats, broken on its hammering across the hard land until we’re caught in a vice of poisoned salt sea and Still-Soldiers.

Able to walk no further. Too tired, scared and sure of what’s out there to walk back.

And that’s it. All that running and fighting, for what? All that scrabbling in the dust for spoonfuls of water. All that fucking and squeezing pups out like animals, not for love, but just for plain stubborn, angry survival. All over. Done. The end. Done.

I knew a guy once, another once-soldier like me, just quieter, and smarter, real smart; always had his head in some damned book or other. One day he tells me a story about how one of the greatest lies we people told ourselves hinged on us always having hope. How we’d taken an old, old tale and wrung out the bad from it like water from a rag, so as to tell ourselves a different story, one we could live with. And I memorised the words he said, so hard did they strike me.

When we’d sit down in the quiet times and the old ones and the women would tell their stories of how it was, and how maybe we can get to some place and make things better than it is, I always got to remembering the tale he told me.

That how a long time ago at the very beginning of things, curiosity came-a-calling of this woman Pandora, and how it got the better of her. How she unstopped a jar left in her husband Epimetheus’ keeping. A jar she been told to leave alone for fear it would anger the gods as had given it. How all the ills to ever befall mankind were spilled out of that jar, freed up into the world, every last one in an endless buzzing stinging cloud. Released upon us pitiful folk across the wide earth to ravage us as never before. Old age, pain, hunger, thirst and every kind of ache and sickness. And he said how when she realised what she’d done she looked in the jar to see that only one thing had remained behind.

In the tale we recall most he said, “That which remained was hope…”

…But it wasn’t Hope.

Because that’s were we’d lied to ourselves see? What was left behind in that jar was something more terrible than all the ills and plagues loosed combined.

“…False Hope.” He’d said.

“…and with that,” he said to me “she damned us forever… damned us to believe that things could always get better.”

“Salamander Jack” – was originally written around June 2005
as part of a short fantasy fiction competition on Deviant
Art which it won, the original posting can be found here:
I wrote the notes for this one Saturday as I wandered around
Colchester... then typed them up the following afternoon...
I'd been reading China Meivilles (then) new novel "Iron
Council" and that's obviously been a big influence on this...
I kind of imagined the voice of Iggy Pop in the title role,
and the character just formed from there.

Published in: on July 20, 2010 at 6:17 pm  Comments (1)  
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