Thursday 5 February 2015

What crouches on you, meditating on your doom? 
Is it fate, the hatred of your enemies, is it the demon 
from your memories? 
What crouches on you, staring into the emptiness?
Is it conscience with black wings, is it the voice
that tells you of your failure?
What crouches on you, silent, becalmed?
It is only time, only the universe
only entropy ushering you along
where you were headed from the start.

Tuesday 18 November 2014

23 Lovecraftian Stories

  1. The DIY Lovecraftian Story
I like making slotted angles, but they don’t align quite the way they’re supposed to. Now I need to choose between a non-Euclidian plane and a regular hand plane.
  1. The Fill-In-The-Blanks Lovecraftian Story
Par s of m are miss ng. I haven t los  them. They’ e just dimens onal y anomal us. Th s  s wha hap ens wh n you mes  w th transdim nsion l creat res.
  1. The Erotic Lovecraftian Story
A shoggoth blossomed and was penetrated by tentacles. Now you know why the beast had a thousand young.
  1. The Missing Lovecraftian Story

  1. The Androgynous Lovecraftian Story
There was once a little girl and her name was Howard Philips.
  1. The Foodie’s Lovecraftian Story
In Dunwich, Soilent Green is fish. Want a side-order of ice cream with that?
  1. The Dead-End Job Lovecraftian Story
‘My name is Howie. I’m delighted to be selling you your tickets to this vapid cinematic production. I fear it will include the sounds of Negroid minstrelsy and was produced by an individual of Semitic ancestry. Even the popcorn is Native American.’
  1. The Missing Lovecraftian Story (For Real This Time)
The missing Lovecraftian was never found. But he kept copious notes right up until the moment he went missing, so we have a pretty good idea of what happened to him. Or we would, if he had the words to describe it.
  1. The Racially Integrated Lovecraftian Story
In Red Hook, a number of people from different cultures got together and decided to make a new religion cobbled together from bits and pieces of all their faiths. They were beats before the beats, hippies before the hippies, New Agers before the New Agers. And they threw the best parties ever.
  1. The Evolutionarily Accurate Lovecraftian Story
I realised to my horror that chimpanzees and humans last had common ancestors four to six million years ago, so my grandmother probably could not have been one of them.
  1. The Theological Lovecraftian Story
To what extent did Wilbur and his brother partake of the diabolical nature of their father? Was Wilbur two parts human and one part demon? Was Lavinia a vessel or was she diabolical too? We should hold a council and decide.
  1. The Cyberpunk Lovecraftian Story
When you jack into Cthulhuspace, you’ll never make it back sane.
  1. The Hard-Bitten Lovecraftian Story
Never mind the tentacles. That thing had teeth like pneumatic drills. Call me the perforated dick. I blame it all on the client, but what a dame.
  1. The Romantic Lovecraftian Story
I wandered the hills around Dunwich in a frock coat, my hair billowing in the winds, one with the elements, my emotions in turmoil, my tentacles awry. Would anyone ever understand the things that lurked in the depths of my soul?
  1. The Other Kind Of Romantic Lovecraftian Story
‘Oh, Asenath!’
‘Oh Edward!’
‘Who’s your daddy, Asenath?’
‘I am!’
  1. The Surreal Lovecraftian Story
I took up rooms in a house. It was a nice new house and all the lines met at right angles.
  1. Another Missing Lovecraftian Story
No, wait, it was actually written by August Derleth.
  1. The Forgotten Lovecraftian Story
Also known as Sweet Ermengarde. Best left forgotten.
  1. The Splatterpunk Lovecraftian Story
The shoggoth buried its tentacles in his eyes, pulling them out of their sockets in a welter of gore and brain-stuff while elsewhere it clawed at his belly, letting loose the gases and acids and half-digested food within.
  1. The Kim Harrison Lovecraftian Story
‘Have we been tentacled again?’ ‘Pop culture reference.’ ‘Sequel hook.’
  1. The Richard Laymon Lovecraftian Story
Things really started getting wild when the shoggoths found their way to the sorority house.
  1. The 1990s Paperback Horror Anthology Lovecraftian Story
Man, a lot of rock stars are dead. I’m going to quote some of their lyrics. Hey, groupies. Oh, Yog-Sothoth!
  1. The Last Lovecraftian Story
Even as I scribble these words crawling chaos is consuming the last few remnants of the physical univer

Sunday 21 September 2014

Ten Indian Metal Songs

This is a sort of taster of some of the better things to come out of the Indian metal scene.

1. First, a lesser known song from the pioneers of Indian metal, Millennium. The first Indian metal band to have a video on MTV and torchbearers for the whole Indian scene as well as the still-thriving Bangalore underground. There are more famous songs like Only Be One and Peace Just In Heaven, so for people who've only heard those big hits, here's something else, one of the most hard-hitting tracks from their self-titled album. I apologise for the sound quality.

2. Another Bangalore band, Dying Embrace brought the extreme metal ethos into the scene. Rude, crude and unafraid, they took it further than anyone else I'd heard at the time dared to. Extremity in Indian metal begins with this doom death band. Again, the sound quality is not the best, although there are better recordings by them on youtube.

3. Myndsnare was India's first and still finest tech death band, that's all there is to it. Yet another Bangalore band, they started out with a fearsome mission to take metal to new realms of precision and complexity. Along the way, they developed the songwriting chops their earliest material lacked. Here is a good example of their style:

4. Threinody stood head and shoulders above the late-90s, early-00s thrash scene in Bangalore with their tight, catchy compositions, musical prowess and hard hitting lyrics. Back after a long hiatus, they could have been titans of what passes for the local scene if they'd stuck it out, but will hopefully make up for lost time.

5. Finally, a Mumbai band! I make no apologies for my parochialism - but YMMV. In any case, this band's King Diamond-inspired horror-tale songs and the mix of thrashy aggression and classic metal in their music, along with a healthy helping of lead guitar glory, make them one of my favourite live and studio acts.

6. Another Mumbai band, Solar Deity has released three EPs of some of the finest black metal from India. They sound truly dark and massive, with a moody, melancholy edge, but without slipping into the lachrymose realms of out and out DSBM.

7. Mumbai's Dormant Inferno play intensely melodic and haunting death-tinged doom. A formidable, all-enveloping experience live, they are currently working on a new batch of recordings. In the meantime here's one of their best songs from their old EP.

8. This isn't the kind of metal I usually fancy but Amogh Symphony's absolutely insane level of technical prowess and compositional maturity make them impossible to ignore.

9. If stoner and doom metal are here to stay in India, Bevar Sea are probably responsible. Here's one of their best songs.

10. And finally, here's some battle-themed death metal in the tradition of Bolt Thrower:

Friday 12 September 2014

    brief images seen
                in dark places
        penile fish in calm water
                an albino fawn sleeping
brief words flicker
                in a darkened mind
 sad, na├»ve words
                must not forget
 salt coats the trail of
                these brief things
 these fleet things that would not slow
                or swing low
                      or let me ride
a dark room with windows open wide
                to dark sunlight a darkened
open wide to receive
                these fleet things
                             a decaying bear’s hide
                                a teeming sky
open wide to remember
                until memory flees

leaving a salted trail

Monday 8 September 2014

the bit about life is wrong

I should build a still
Like the one in Hawkeye’s swamp
My daily round of death
And life. Hard to forget the
Death easy to
Undervalue the life. Life’s
Only a novelty, like a freeze frame
Snapshot, drop of milk turning
Into a tiara
A gimmick. Gim-crack. Gew-gaw.

I should build a still
Distill oblivion for my convenience
But just one drink goes to my head
Coursing sensations of empty
Bonhomie, flint-spark love and
Joy, then ten minutes later morose and heavy-
-headed, peering into darkness in lit
Rooms until I drink another and another
And only flashes of oblivion
Like glimpses of darkness at noon
And never the night sky at last

I should build a still
Safe place somewhere high in a tree
Or deep underneath a city
I should write my will
But I have nothing to leave
And anyway I leave it all to you

I should build a still
Living beast, a magnificent monster, be
A postmodern Prometheus,
Steal the gods’ secret
Recipe, brew up a new race
Giants. Immortal. Benign.
I should.
I really should.

Sunday 7 September 2014

a poem about my father's death

A room at the end.
Tubes, machines. Mechanical sounds.
My father’s wife sings a religious song.
Faith, tears.
I found tears too.
Faith is over. A stranger from the first.
A room at the end.
Not large. Well lit.
His hair still dark. Dyed?
Still thick. Features?
Used to be handsome. Maybe still is.
Dwarfed by the bed, by all the appliances.
A room at the end.
I look at the room he lived in while
he was dying.
Wheelchair. Respirator.
Vodka bottle.
Books: westerns, history, crime, travel.
A smart brown blazer hanging by the bed.
A room at the end.
I shower in the attached bathroom.
Change into dhoti, don the sacred thread.
Gooseflesh. Shivering. First time.
Conduct the last rites.
Hypnotic. Befuddling.
Fire and water and milk and leaves.
A room at the end.
He slides along the ramp.
Into the chamber.
I go away for lunch.
Come back and am given an earthen pot.
Ashes. Bones. More rituals.
I have no connection to this.
This is not my father. This is not my ritual.
A room at the end.
I dream him into it.
A quiet place. Maybe some Debussy.
Modigliani nudes. Degas.
An easel on which waits a landscape in progress.
A bottle of vodka.
Books. I suppose that would do for him.
A room at the end.
There is always a room. And the end. We are not intrepid. Or immortal.
No mountainsides, battlefields, ocean deeps, daring sports gone wrong.
We are not intrepid in that way. In this
we are alike.

This is 
not my tribute.

Wednesday 27 August 2014

scrutiny and long acquaintance

death has more details
to take in
more to say
more to remember
for me life is a series of banal
a film school dropout’s montage
of cookie-cutter
characterisation and context
for me life is like wallpaper
i disagree with and
will lose the argument
death is so much more
compelling. consider:
none who ever lived resisted its
compulsion ignored its
or evaded its coming
i have seen enough of death to
it is never just death
it is never just a number
never just another
death is always fraught
always rife with detail
always unique
death stands out
even in a pack
even in a massacre or epidemic
and the only ones to whom death
can be held at a remove
can be anaesthetised
and dismissed
are neither dead nor alive
but far worse