Issue 31: Paul A. Green



a full length poem

tangles like multicore cables

(homeric simile)

or capillary of blood red wine

another drifting umbilical

over the land mass of Pangea

scanned in Palaeolithic times

by a hypothetical god machine

in high security orbit.


There’s a story to be excavated here: like a rusty UXB with twisted fins, corroded nose cone. An unexploded time capsule.The shrapnel of memory that leaves you bleeding for more.


I'm dragging my ego out for you

took long enough/this hose of melting ice

I'm writing letters in praise of radio

its perfumed fog of voices

its tin of music to open and close

membranes to admit

frequencies of a goddess


I was a happy spasm before D day, a work of conceptual sex art, naked morning glory in Newton Abbot where my mother was terrified of slipping in the blackout. I was conceived to defy paranoia and bad food, against death threats to London and the Home Counties, it’s all encrypted in my father's neat letters.


I’m a contactee of Thoth ,

scribe-god of museums and libraries

protector of knowledge-hostesses,

sisters of Seshat who patrol the secrets

but gnosis is lost

mobs yell for book barbecues

cyber texts stream across corneas

but we, ‘trapped in inverted commas’, know nothing

can’t even understudy ourselves

so come in Thoth!

teach us true measurement

water the desert we’ve developed

teach us scribing and your art of the mouth,

make a spelling against Apophis.

just give us a sign and the signified


I was born near Brooklands, oval of hot summer deaths where English Racing Automobiles piloted by hyphenated aristocrats were close to going over the edge, burning rubber and castor oil. On this day: Operation Solstice - Panzers of SS Nordland Division advanced on Arnswalde against the 61st Red Army. 465 tons of bombs fell on Dresden. Firestorms were ignited. Meanwhile I was expelled in my mother's agony, ugly and small and screaming for air.


up in a blue misty dream

I hang on a minute of silence

rain became gunfire of lost causes

the sea was busy

a triangle of sand awaited my sprinkles of blood

I was as self-indulgent as a tankard of sweet glue

my ticker tape screwed up

I went sick sick slow

the sleaze of my sleeping sickness

on a motor way fit for the chariot of the gods

elementals creep beyond the searchlights

stench of old diesel

wrecked convoy abandoned

I’ve got the wrong key for the highway

I’m flat as the earth

at the centrefold of my life

a plaza of waiting

overturned benches


This is a prospectus of twilight landscaping, an overview of saturated remains. He was marching up and down the hill with his satchel, lorries of rotating cement passing on a daily basis. He prayed for his success in arithmetic and crossing the road. Surely he could countdown to lift off, rising over oaks and ferns on a cylinder of black powder. Now the organism is teetering down the wet pavements. ‘He’s lost in his own little world,’ they said, laughing over their handbags, the baggage of their grindstones. The little world was a quantum bubble afloat in the galaxies, soaring between spectral green globes of the giant high gravity planets, the epicyclic motions of twinned star systems, the huge vacuum in which the space person is lost for ever, adrift in void, blood on visor of the helmet. That was a little world.


years break up into tiny bullets of light

my inner man is talking

exposed pulsing animal heart.

I was once in a high security node

my grandmother’s house

cream and pale green plasterwork

low lit by tasselled Venetian lampshade

operatic highlights soared over the embroidery

I felt the pressure cooking in all that safety

 a protective curvature of love.


I enjoyed living in my microcosm. Animal stories, winding a tinplate train, making a spaceship from corrugated cardboard, adventures of Dan Dare in the flame belt of Venus. (Dan was held captive under perspex hemispheres by order of the Mekon.) The usual set pieces of childhood. The dream trains kept running through me. Later I met the resistance of Jesus. The sound of that name, the way it oozed in the mouths of my teachers, worried me. Exploration of the body was blocked because I was a soul, an ovoid of light. The hot wires of adolescence burned through anxious flesh.


flaming pylons ramping up teenage rotten metal

spumed in the bed linen of abstraction

to be sprayed with tear droplets


I’m growing allotments of skulls

an ivy-clad bureaucracy is being implanted

live and direct to my solar plexus


shagging agendas during occupation of old shops

are a dusty afternoon of false memories

under the dictation of grinding demons


‘He left a long glowing worm through time. It was his trailer. History tourists followed him closely via hidden lines of machine code. He left silver slime, not gold slime, but that was the trace element he was in, all that was left of him, his modulations and his amplitude, his unique signal. You can see him on retro-tech screens, in the control rooms where they were watching out for him. There he goes there he goes there he goes, racing through the roar of 1956 in a red Maserati, a virgin fretting through Cuban doomsdays in 1962, all gobbled up and punking with a sore throat in 1977. You’ll map him, mop him out of your iron war rooms or other unsafe spaces, his trajectory is too dangerous.’

looking for a freak show

to keep him alive and clever

he/me is backed by plunging guitars

their overflow of any level control

keeps the night strong and black

this district is built up around me in a lethal pile

I kept my hairy nose down this pit of an old road

how the music of a dead Chicago plasterer

routes me to a hot spot

for fifty years and counting


You should not be looking at his long wavering timeline, all tangled and loopy like the threads of carnival, his confused ball of incarnation. He was driven, overdriven by his spoken word count when time boxes were tipped off. He was an unsafe butt hanging over the cliffs of eternity. How about that? So he laid down a cable on the seabed of the under-mind, for he was an extended thought form. His thought counted down like a dream rocket. He was an overstretched serpent, leaking oil.


the warmed-over seas

ignore my polemics

our squirrel cage exertions fail

we’re in the crumple zone

no snips of protein going to save you

I got the world in a skull

got a rotten Hand of Glory

grave music sails past me


I watch the cassette spooling round, my voice poking its nose through the iron mush, going all ferric. Why am I still revolving around the sun, why are we hanging on to this rocky vehicle, the boat of stone on wine-dark cosmic crests of detritus? I’m a rotating hole. No jokes please.


information cross the inter-nation state

multiply faces in granulation of hate

babes on the tube all covered in lube dilated

vex my sex with their botheration inflated


You try to drill down but they keep retuning the patois, to stay top road men, power breakers on  dogshit turfs of parklife. Us old grey men are confused by wars of attrition, all those blades and bloods keep downloading, you keep trying to drill down. Dreams are a rehearsal for the death trance in which we can write with absolute ease and certainty. We know where we’re going.


a summer house with its thatched dome

old wooden podium with pillars

at the end of a corridor

tunnel of floral archways

our path went straight

through long grass and a whir of insects

we tracked through foxgloves/roses/lilies,

a route under spider webbings and the broad oak.

the birds flying like smoke


life as a cadenza of bird noise

a code of splattered notes


an old dream of a summer lane

goddess up against a white wall

grinning even as she fades

the scene trickles away like laughter.


I was a traveller through inner space, trading my relics. I could enter dreams by the back flap, just a film of parchment, and offer the sleepy consumers a relic of myself, blessed by my provenance. Here is a small strip of iron oxide from 1974. Or I could shoot some memory bubble down a carved wooden pipe, so my past can burst in your veins.


long bands of cloud

the light is yellow and soft

so tramp gently past dredgers and hulls

the nets/network of rust that has caught up with us

caught us up, caught us out with memories

you were squealing in the whirl of the funfair,

fleeing the rough boys

time melts to a silver pendant

quiet laughter


Here we go into the mush of the future, while water levels affect property levels. I’m really going to town. I walked in. I walked straight into it, and I walked straight out. The suburb was unchanged, only the standard bird stains and food wrappers. A few people were holding on behind their masks to preset their anonymity. They didn’t want to be pushed into the septic tank of Capital just to lie dormant while water levels affect property levels. My property ladder is woven from old snakes. So deceptive, the sunlight on yellow rendering of a cute semi, but it’s going to outlive me.


posthumanism is the new black

the handle you get on a lid of cryogenic steam puff

punks love nude aliens and Kenneth Goldsmith

was/has a handler in the CIA

who fumbles his post-lit jockstrapping with Bama Prez

they be floating in their suits of light

while Kenny scatters ash cookies of Roland Barthes

in memoriam the auteur

that political inconvenience.


I look forward. I'll be wiped off screens soon. My medium is a mess. I’m your ghost and commentator. I can only predict in monochrome. That's what future history does. It's a playback, it is a pundit’s dream time. I can only look forward, neither to the right nor to the left. Just looking, thank you.


the wind is carrying on

big leaves on the photinias

nodding like animal heads

birds follow their flight paths in a bluish sky

I’m enclosed by brickwork

an old man is bumping upstairs

but that’s only a theory

I’d rather be an old man

singing in the garden.


I look forward, into the floods of bodies, the rolling hills of bodies, hot bodies, all their smells, that flesh pressing the wires, riding the waves and the wave forms, bodies eager for blood and water, bodies dragging bodies across the flat burnt earth-ways, through storms of metal pellets, and they’re looking forward, forward, no backwater left.


I had a whole gallery of this on doom watch

spaceways where coils of hair floated through moonlight

I enchanted it through my bloody teeth


I was the world’s biggest pronoun

a febrile simcard on a pebbled beach

quite plasmatic with lust


I look forward. Light fading over the bungalows, bark of a randy fox in the night, the aftertaste of lager, smell of espresso or nettles, calm young women talking on the radio. I look backwards to a glimpse of black stockings, it’s the look that counts. Look up to that last light, a touch of light.

Paul A. Green’s work includes The Gestaltbunker – Selected Poems (Shearsman Books 2012), and the novels The Qliphoth (Libros Libertad 2007) and Beneath the Pleasure Zones I and II (Mandrake 2014, 2016). His plays for radio and stage are collected in Babalon and Other Plays (Scarlet Imprint 2015). Short fiction has appeared in Canadian Fiction Magazine, New Worlds, Small Worlds, Unthology 2 (Unthank Books), Deep Ends and numerous online magazines. Prose poems recently in The Fortnightly Review and The Violet Hour. More at his website.

Copyright © 2023 by Paul A. Green, all rights reserved. This text may be used and shared in accordance with the fair-use provisions of Copyright law. Archiving, redistribution, or republication of this text on other terms, in any medium, requires the notification of the journal and consent of the author