Sunday, 9 November 2014

Counting Crows - Manchester Apollo [7/11/14]

I knew from over a year ago during a Pixies gig how an obscure, middle-of-nowhere location the O2 Apollo is from the rest of Manchester. I knew it was about a fifteen minute walk from our hotel in Picadilly, but we walked either too far or not far enough, and so hailed a cab for the rest of the £4.50 journey.

Inside was filled to the doorways with Counting Crows fans already, more so as a queue for the bar than the merch stand, obvious in the lack of Counting Crows t-shirts around. But that didn't matter. There were plenty from our view in the hot, sweaty stalls, where at least one girl fainted and was carried away by a couple of St. John's Ambulance members.

The lights went out. Then Adam Duritz's voice sang Lean On Me into the darkened crowd. What a cool way to begin and how much did his voice match closely to Bill Withers' was beyond me. The gig got going and I think I'm safe to say was as much a classic 90s perfomance as new, bringing fresh sounds of one-too-many songs from the new album, Somewhere Under Wonderland, which one fan yelled he didn't want to hear, to which Adam on the stage brushed off nonchalantly, with a kind of retort he lost halfway through, making it still ironically funny, and carried on with the new material, as if he cared what that guy thought. John Appleseed's Lament, from the new album was a surprise gem halfway through the set.

Mr Jones and St. Robinson in His Cadillac Dream were favourites of the night and my personal favourite, Colourblind, set to a moody black and blue back-lit stage was memorable of the evening. They finished with Hanginaround which got everyone excited, a clever trick for three encores: Palisades Park, Rain King, and Holiday in Spain. The gig itself was attractive to long-time Counting Crows fans and to new ones hearing songs from the new album played, obviously a tour to promote the new material, but an instantly classic and memorable concert it is certain.

Setlist for Counting Crows at the Manchester Apollo 7th November 2014:
  1. Round Here
  2. Scarecrow
  3. St. Robinson in His Cadillac Dream
  4. Mr. Jones
  5. Colorblind
  6. Start Again
    (Teenage Fanclub cover)
  7. Omaha
  8. Possibility Days
  9. Come Around
  10. John Appleseed's Lament
  11. Miami
  12. God of Ocean Tides
  13. Goodnight L.A.
  14. Big Yellow Taxi
    (Joni Mitchell cover)
  15. Blues Run the Game
    (Jackson C. Frank cover)
  16. Earthquake Driver
  17. A Long December
  18. Hanging Tree
  19. Hanginaround
  20. Encore:
  21. Palisades Park
  22. Rain King
  23. Holiday In Spain 
      Michael Holloway

Sunday, 2 November 2014

A Return at the End of 2014

It's been a long time coming, writing on this blog, I don't know where I've been to be honest. It seems difficult to live your life and then write about it, but then there's the life of the writer anyway. I last posted in January last year. What have I done since? Not that I can remember 2013, but I think the key points would be:

Got my first car
Met my girlfriend
Decided to become a teacher
Didn't get on the teaching course
Finished my novel

Gave up driving (expensive)
Got a placement at a school
Got quite a few rejections for my novel

It's just things like this that makes me wonder what it means to write a book. I mean everyone has good and bad experiences and so have I, especially this year, and still it is hard to write. My novel, Magpie, which I spent two years writing has come to an end and surely there must be more I can do to make it better. But surely there must be something else I can write. I get ideas and yet I can't for the life of me write more than a lazy sentence, get angry and quit.

I might try self-publishing. I never really wanted to do that. I don't know why, I just wanted to do it the old-fashioned way and get an actual book. But I've read about success stories of people self-publishing and then getting an agent soon after and being published the old-fashioned way anyway. If I do this I'm not publishing Magpie. I'll publish one of my two short novels or the novel I wrote as part of my dissertaion on my MA. It's just being tentative and not diving in, in case I ruin it.

I have another website:

I made this to look like a proper writer. More professional. I even have a twitter account now: Twitter.

I also met Irvine Welsh earlier this year:

Saturday, 26 January 2013

I Saw A Cat - The Yellow Table

This was something I wrote last night while I was trying to write a piece of flash fiction up to 1000 words to be read out on the 5th for In the Red. It's a first draft and took about an hour to write.

I Saw a Cat

I saw a cat. It was black. It crawled across the garden like a thief. It looked at me and said nothing so I shooed it away saying 'Shoo,' a number of times and waving my hand, but the cat just sat down and looked at me as if it wanted to talk. My brother came outside. He said, 'What are you doing out here in the cold?'
I said, 'I was trying to get rid of that cat.'
'Is it ours?'
'No, I've never seen this cat before.'
'What's it doing here?'
'What do you mean, Walking?'
'It was just walking past.'
'Well it's not walking now.'
'It stopped when I told it to go.'
'Maybe it didn't understand you.'
'I told it to shoo.'
'You told it to Shoo?'
'Yes. Like this. Shoo, cat.' I waved my hand again. It wouldn't go away. It sat still in the dampness, garden ornament-still, now and again the wind would make its whiskers quiver. The silver coins in its eyes stared at me.
'What does it want?' my brother said.
'I don't know.'
My brother sat down on the step. He couldn't stand up for too long, his lungs were old and he began to smoke a cigarette and the shick sound of the lighter made the cat move. Only slightly. I then saw it lit up for a second in the short-lived blaze the lighter gave off. In it, the cat looked tired and confused. My brother made noises with his tongue at the cat as if it were a baby and the cat seemed to enjoy it because it seemed to relax and it stopped being so statue-like and licked its paw once and sat less rigidly.
'I think it likes me,' my brother said.
'It doesn't.'
'How do you know.'
'I just know.'
'But how do you know? You can't just know.'
'I do.'
'It's looking at me, see? Might as well be smiling.'
'Cats don't smile.'
'This one does.'
It was getting dark. It began to rain. My brother stood up from the step and we bother stood inside the doorway. There was a crack on the doorstep which meant it creaked whenever you stepped on it. My brother's foot was on the step. I could hear it creak with his very slight movements. The sound was something like his bones dying up and creaking with age. My brother wasn't even old. He seemed to love the cat. He couldn't take his eyes off it. Then I noticed the cat couldn't take its eyes off my brother. The cat looked old. Its black fur now grey in the moonlight. The shadows gave him a kind of frown, a weird cat sadness pulled over his sagging whiskers.
'I think its dying,' my brother said.
'How can you tell?'
'I just know.'
'You can't just know,' I said.
'But I can,' he said. 'And I do. Look at it. Poor little thing. I bet it's too stupid to even know what comes next.'
'What comes next?' I said.
'I don't know,' he said.
The cat leant its head downwards and I heard the sound of my brother's emphysemic gasp. We were both fascinated, stood still, all stiff and disjointed as if we were prey about to be killed. The cat pulled something from beneath it. A dead bird. It hung upside-down in the cats mouth, the wings spread out like a blooming flower. The silver coins in the cat's eyes now look like cataracts. It came towards us and we edged back slightly. It dropped the bird at the doorstep and then stared at us with a look that said either I understand everything or I understand nothing.
The cat walked away. I saw it leap awkwardly onto a fence and sat there. It looked back at us and seemed very tired. It jumped down into another garden, into the night.
My brother said, 'Why did it leave that bird?'
'I don't know,' I said.
'Why don't you know?'
'I just don't know.'
'Was it a present?'
'I don't know. Maybe it just couldn't carry it any more.'
My brother stepped into the garden. The step creaked under him. He picked up the bird. He stared at it for a long time. I thought he was going to say something but he didn't. My brother was young like me, but in the moonlight he looked old. He didn't move. Then he looked at me, holding the bird.

© Michael Holloway

My tutor from when I did my Masters, Alicia Stubbersfield, launched her new book of poetry on Wednesday. It was in this small cafe called 81 Renshaw Street, which was also the address. I wondered if it had a bar there. My friend and I walked up but couldn't find it and we were getting closer to China Town and the buildings on Renshaw Street were getting older and older. A drunken man was thrown out of a (empty) restaurant and punched and lamp post and shouted 'Fuck off' as he passed us and I tried not to laugh because he was a big man. 

We finally found 81 Renshaw Street. We walked in. We saw some people we knew from uni. They were serving tea and coffee and I didn't want anything. Then someone told us to go through to the back, that's where everyone is. There's free wine. My friend left the queue for tea and coffee and we went to the back. We got wine. Met our tutor and we sat at some empty chairs at the front. There were a few published authors at our table. My friend and I knew who they were and were kind of unimpressed. We laughed. He made me laugh. I got drunk of the wine quick. I said the guy playing the keyboard looked like Daniel Johnston, the musician. My friend asked me if he this many people (quite a lot) would come to my book launch. I said yes, a lot more. He said no one would come to my book launch except him, and even then he probably wouldn't come. I asked who'd go to his and he said no one except for Daniel Johnston. I laughed.

Alicia's reading was very good. Then there was a reading by poet Sam Willets. During the break we bought the book and tried to see if we could get some free wine. The bar tender said these were the last two cups of complementary wine. I took one and before I could take the other, one of the published authors took it. I bought a beer. My friend bought a beer. I shared the wine with my friend. We saw our other friend from our MA. We talked and laughed. We joked about the thank you page of the book and I asked my friend would he put thank you Michael in his book and he said no and we laughed. He mentioned Bukowski's first book said 'For No One' on the thank you page. I said I'd write For Michael in mine. My friend laughed. I'd write For Michael, thanks for writing this. We laughed.

My tutor signed the book for me. There was another reading. Afterwards, we went to the Pilgrim and my friend bought me a beer because I'd run out of money. We talked an laughed and then went home. I was thinking that I missed talking and drinking and laughing after class when it was the three of us. But one had moved to London. We laughed all the way down Bold Street. I wasn't hungover in work for once.

You can buy Alicia Stubbersfield's book here Pindrop Press

Sunday, 16 December 2012

#11 (My Ugly Ones)

A lonely Guinness sat in his hand,
whoever he was,
whether he was young or old,
always young in his mind
as if years never existed to him.
The distant ships of thought
edged a tear at remembering
those friends, those times.
Surely mortality did not exist,
he supposed.

Thursday, 8 November 2012

My Ugly Ones

I went to see Pulitzer prize winner Philip Schultz at the Crosby Civic Hall for the Sefton Celebrates Writing Festival (part of the Writing on the Wall Festival). Also there was Liverpool poet Paul Farley. The poetry was very good, and I'm meaning to buy one of Schultz's books of poetry, only that while I was there I picked up his book My Dyslexia which is a memoir not poetry. But he signed it for me anyway. The only problem, sat with my friend, was the weird presenter, who kept reading her own poems in between speakers. And at the question/answer part, she pretty much forced people to ask a question. It was kind of rude and off-putting, making people uncomfortable and nervous. I didn't know who she was.

Other than getting Schultz to sign the book, what I liked about that night was drinking beer with my friend before the event began and we got food and took it with us, but we couldn't eat in inside the building so we sat on a wall in the cold and dark, and because I knew the area since I'd grown up there and my friend hadn't been there before, I said this was my idea of a night out, as we shivered in the wall eating burgers and he laughed and laughed. It was weird for me, though, since my primary school was across the road and the building was also the library I used as a kid. I'd not been round there in years. Those were the streets and places that are vivid childhood memories to me, other than my home. There are streets I live near that I knew when I was younger. Sometimes I find myself on them and it's this weird deja vu. There is one street I've never gone back to. That was the street I lived until I was about six, and moved away in 1991. That would be too surreal to visit again.

Anyway, every time I hear a poet speak I get in the mood to write poetry. Strangely, two days later I actually write it. I read some of William Carlos Williams because a friend in work told me to read him and I'd never read his work, and read some of his poems, which I really like. Read some Ezra Pound. Some Arthur Rimbaud. And then I was reminded by a poem by Rimbaud which has the lines:

 "Knock together your kneecaps,
My ugly ones."

It's from his poem My Little Lovers. I read Rimbaud back in uni in 2007/08. That's the one I remember. Already on my mind was a book of poetry that needed a constant theme or something like that, which I why I've struggled with my poetry as a collection because they digress from different ideas. I decided to make a collection of poetry called My Ugly Ones and base it around people I know or don't know. I wrote six short poems today. Here is one of them:

Why does Rimbaud imagine an orgy of fog?
I have never been to Paris.
Does that make me less of a poet?
I make myself a niche miracle,
I thought of myself an angel smoking pot,
night un-frightened, melting into a bed.
Unimagined electrified sunlight,
bursting old haggard face and eyes with light.
And this light, yellow and white,
like golden water, I bathed my hands
and feet, and I lay there, un-mirrored,
perhaps a calender marking my death.

Sunday, 28 October 2012

Experimental Writing

She is the police of my thoughts.

She is wrapped around me like a penicillin snake.

My elastic arms and legs stretch out
to her and then she is over me
Eyes like stones, frog-coloured at hers.

She strangles me like snakes.

I'm reptilian in the air.

My wind-pipe closed up
I float up high and touch
her with my sky.

She is the moon
I am the floor.

Because beautiful eyes can't see straight
It looks past me.

In thoughts of her like woman-wrote thoughts.

My head heats up, all right temperature
of the sun.

My watch melts into me,
The touch of my belly,
Because I left you alone,
For that I am sorry.

Too many faces in the wall
White-shadowed. Embryonic memories
build her.

Two-thousand movements
an eternity later.

She connects to me
like a common Shiva.


Hold still while I describe you.

Come into my arms,

I am sleeves.

Hold still while I disappear.

My devils are dry this evening.

Perhaps I will go out. Drink.
More motions. Get pissed-off.
Find a small fortune of miseries.

The cold of orange darkness. Evening.
Coffee. Because the sky is blue.
I mean black, right now.


When I wrote these things I was listening to The Beatles' Abbey Road, especially Because which was a cool song to listen to like that. I read some poetry by Ted Berrigan for some reason here:

I watched some videos on YouTube as well. I watched this video on the brain being either a separate entity from the body or you are the brain or you are everything of your body. The longest living cell, I think, are the skin cells, which live for some time even when the rest of the body has died. It's on this channel called Vsauce,

Also, this video which explained how difficult the idea of diciding by 0 is. Because if you do 1 divided by 0 = infinity, then 2 divided by 0 must = infinity, therefore 1 is equal to 2. Pretty strange. this is on a channel called Numberphile,

A Night at 12:47am

I lie on my bed, sideways, my foot on a bookcase
which cracks under the pressure of me.
The room gives the only light.
The water isn't running, they turned it off to fix the pipes
overnight. I wondered who'd want a job fixing water-pipes
overnight? I wondered what they did with the water
while it was turned off. I wondered if I was still paying for it.

I sat and listened to the hum of my life. The silence of life
is a hum. Like electricity. Either some modern principle
or some electrical synapse of my inner-vortex within my brain.

I listened to the house and heard it settle. Cracked its bones.
Lapped its mouth. Slept.
I listened to another sound as if someone was coming up the stairs.
Stood waiting outside my door. I knew there was no one there.
It was 12:47am. I heard the pull of a curtain.
There was no fear in me with this light.

I thought maybe I could communicate with the dead.
Ask it if it's worth dying. Or worth living.
The ghost didn't respond.
Instead I was reminded of you. This was not fear.
I can't pretend to hate you any more.

Thursday, 25 October 2012

PIYE and Novel Extract

My writing is now available in America. Issue's #1 and #2 of PIYE (Party in you Eyesocket) are available in Sherwood Forest Zine Library in Austin, Texas.

My friend, Ionie Ince, is the creator and editor of PIYE and she let me edit some of the short stories of issue #2. It's available for £4 from where we are currently accepting submissions for issue #3. It's a new anthology for short prose mainly in black comedy, science fiction, fantasy, thriller genres.

It's available from News From Nowhere on Bold Street, Liverpool as well.

An extract from my newest novel:

"'I've got older, you haven't aged a bit,' Sally said.

'I'm ageing. Just slower, I guess.'

'But you look exactly the same. Have you found the fountain of eternal youth?'


'How's life.'

'Boring. How's yours?'

'Okay. I'm so happy I'm an actress. Are you proud of me?'


'I've just turned thirty.'

'I know. I remember your birthday. Would have sent you a card but to be honest I didn't think we'd see each other again.'

'Would you like some more coffee?'


Sally ordered more coffee. There was a silence for a moment. Then she said, 'I've been thinking about you, Catherine. That's why I called. And now I see you, I'm glad I did.' She sipped her coffee. She tore a paper sachet of sugar and slowly tipped it in. She stirred it with a wooden stirrer. She did this very methodically as if so practised in the art of coffee drinking. She sipped it again and gave a vague, sub-conscious smile. 'How old are you now?' she said.

'I'm forty-four,' Catherine said, somewhat embarrassed.

'But you look twenty-four. Why is that?'

'I don't know.'

'I wanted to ask you if you had a secret to your looks. Your skin. Your eyes. What is it you do?'

'I don't do anything.'

'Oh.' Sally sipped the coffee again and left a red lip-print on the cup.

'Sometimes,' Catherine said, 'I think I'm not going to die. Why is that?'

'I don't know.'

'I was almost killed in a car accident coming down here.'

'Oh my God.'

'But I didn't die. Would think I was crazy if I said I don't think I would have died.'

'I don't know.'

'For years I've never gone a day without thinking of David Milton. Ever since he died I've always wondered why that had to happen to him. And I know why. He was fixing the TV. The TV I'd told him to fix. Why didn't I fix it.'

'He was an engineer. He knew that kind of stuff.'

'I think I'm being punished.'

'Don't be stupid. There's no reason you would be punished.'

'I think I'm being punished for David's death and now I'm going to live forever.'

'Are you serious?'

Catherine sipped her coffee. It tasted good. They ordered some more. The rain stopped and the sun shone and reflected off the raindrops on the window. The light lit them both up.

'Where are you staying?' Sally asked.

'Some hotel.'

'Stay with me. I have a spare room. You should see my house anyway.'


They got up to leave. Some people took a photograph of Sally as they walked out."

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Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Poems from the Beach - And Short Story

Morning on the Beach

It's uneven where I stand, the beach, mostly.
The world sways whenever I think.
And that thought, next to me, unravelled
and twisted, quivers the world in the river.

Five or six swans cross my path.
Each, white-feathered and tired-looking,
Breakfast table-ignorant, quacking,
Dropping into the water. There is no other sound.

Only they are not swans, they are geese,
And one watches me as I pass, not saying a word.
Its feathers whiter in morning light, its holiness
Diminished with a look of mutual awareness.

If I were a swan or a goose I, too, would
Stand and stare at me. Because what else
Is there to do? The sunlight grows.
This morning magpies its jewel sunshine.

I turn to the right, the roar of wind and earth,
There is a sense of absolutely everything beyond me.
I turn my head to the left,
There is silence but the waves.

This is an untitled poem.  I wrote both when I started jogging in the morning on the beach where I live. This one I used the leftover images from the previous one.

For me, when I run, I'm vacantly religious.
I don't have to think and I don't have to
live like I do when I'm slow.
Mediocre sand-colours swarm a bleak screen
Up to a point, blown like dust. A dog coughs.

When I run, I'm important elsewhere,
A mighty King of Nowhere, surrounded
By horizon, left soft overnight.
And the rocks, water-marked, breath-held
Like dead fish, present a familial presence

Somewhere. Back home, maybe.
When I run, the earth screams at me.
I love living when I don't have to think,
But I think I don't live when I love.
There is no sand so holy without me.

Back home, somewhere maybe, I am
Slow. A pregnant rat, its belly engorged
And stretched, pink and balloon-like.
She sees me and runs away,
She, too, is vacant. I see it

In her religious eyes. I see it in
Everyone I meet. Like a daydream.
I walk, most of the time, slow,
A lot less religious than I was,
And I think, perhaps, no less holy than sand.

I'm on Write Out Loud, a website that encourages performance poetry. Here's my profile:

Here is my short story The Young Man and the Old Man which appeared on the wall of FACT (Foundation for Art and Creative Technology) which is an art house cinema in Liverpool. It was on display there earlier this year.

The actual story is here:

The Young Man and The Old Man

He got on the train and said goodbye to her. Held her in his arms as she clung to his chest, reluctant to let go. She stood and waved from the platform.

He sat down. There was an old man sitting in the seat opposite and facing him. He had white receding hair which flopped over the rest of his scalp. A huge nose. Skin rough and thick like the soles of his feet. A woman with a crying baby got off the next stop and the train went silent.

'What are you?' the old man said.


'Six foot?'

'I don't know,' the young man said. 'Yeah, something like that. Around five-nine.'

'Like me when I was your age. Tall lad. Nice girl you got. You look like me when I was your age.'

'Is that right?'

'Just think,' the old man said, 'you'll end up looking like this.' He pointed at his thick-skinned face, tobacco-coloured and wrinkled.

'I doubt it.'

'I know you do.'


'When I was your age I didn't listen.'


'When I was your age – '

'Okay,' the young man said. 'Okay. I get it.'

The train went silent once again, but for the rickety-rick of the wheels and the air whooshing in through an open window, from which a burning smell could be smelled from the factories.

'If I were you,' the old man said, 'I'd forget about myself. Just focus on her. On what you got right now. You don't matter.'


'Women are rare. Love is hard to come by.'


'You're not listening.'

'Hey,' the young man said, 'I don't know you. Why should I listen?'

'I'm just giving you some advice.'

'I don't need any.'

As the train picked up speed, the window created a pocket of air that roared like a fire, but then there was a fire outside. It was a person, burning alive as black smoke flew off her. And then they passed her by.

No one else saw her except the young man. The old man carried on giving him advice. But still the young man didn't listen. When the young man got off the train at his stop he was the only one to get off. He didn't smell any burning. Neither did anyone else.

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

This Remembering Thing

How, like an old man, the world seems
now I'm twenty-six. The raw quickness
of the stove atmosphere now cold and absent.

I once saw a small bird when I was small
land on a fence and look at me.
Its feathers like a summer dress on the wood.

I once broke my knee when I ran with my brothers
and fell. Sometimes I floated easily to a
made-up heaven because I had a good imagination.

I hated growing up like I hated going to school.
Now this old, bruised sky, weary and laid-back
like a large bird in the garden who doesn't care,

who doesn't sense danger but instead
treats it with disdain. Sometimes I sit
on my bed and listen. The sounds lessen

when I'm alone. I become this remembering thing.
When I was eleven years old my Nan died.
But then my sister was born, the world like a tepid bath.

Cold Coffee

Cold coffee while I write. I wear my glasses but they don't really help me focus. I wonder if I really need them or I need something else. I was reading Murakami's Wind-Up Bird Chronicle. I'd been told to read it ages ago. I bought it in News From Nowhere while I was looking for PIYE #2 which I'm in and I help edit. I had to walk back to work in the rain. It was the first time in work I showed some people my writing. I guess they liked it. It was the short story called Man Smoking on a Wall, it's about a man who is sat on a wall, smoking a cigarette and talks to this other guy who seems curious about him. The smoking man then goes on about loneliness and feeling worthless. I was having these ideas of weird self-immolation fascinations and I read about the Buddhist monk who burned himself alive. The smoking man describes a man smoking on a wall who burns himself alive with a cigarette. Then the story ends. I like my short story style which I think I've adapted since I first read Hemingway in 2007. I've been told nothing happens in what I write, but I write scenes and they're like those real-life scenes, like talking to someone, where nothing happens but you and someone else talking. You can get so much out of those words than the actual actions.

Unfortunately I've become too good at ending suddenly, so it makes it difficult to write my novels. The chapters seem cut-up into vague scenes.

Here is an extract from my new novel, which is untitled:

"Two people sitting on wooden chairs holding hands. Outside fireworks, silent behind the window. Red, green. Flash-bangs without the bang, light up the room for one second every few seconds, revealing their hands drooped in a concave arch between the chairs, glowing, one part hairy and thick the other thin and girlish. The two sit fixedly in front of the television which lights them up just as the flashing of the fireworks outside. It flashes, blasting away the blueish dark now and again, and on the TV are the familiar viewing of the outside world. Red, green. The flash-bangs. War-like world on TV. The fireworks above Big Ben the new dome everyone talks about, in the papers, like some alien craft. Must be some alien things going on, the second millennium ends and what happens? War, death. They think something alien is afoot. They struggle to believe the world won't end now. But the world will end now. It will end for many people in many different ways and that strange, alien assumption they press on and on about is something like a bad dream. But some don't believe the bad dream has happened; some don't believe the bad dream will happen.

The TV, a fat Panasonic which had never been serviced once due to its flawlessness, showing the last of the fireworks, a red and green dissipating into the black of TV space, suddenly gives out and dies, revealing the black of TV space to them once again, now without the fireworks, only like ghosts, the reds and greens reflected from the outside and look almost sickeningly sweet as they bang in some false one-second sunlight.
'The television has gone off,' she said. 'What do we do now?' They parted hands. Their hands flopping to either side of the chairs, dangle like tree vines. Their fingers hooked in the same position as if remembering the previous embrace.

'What do we do now? We can watch from the window, I suppose,' he said. He went to the window to watch the fireworks light up the sky, the dark clouds lit up looked like scars. 'Catherine,' he said. 'Come to the window. It's just as good as the TV.'

'No, I don't want to look out the window. It doesn't interest me like the TV does. Can't you fix it? Can't you do something about it?'

'I'm not fixing the television on new years eve,' he said.

'But David,' she said, 'it's a minute after midnight. So it's not new year's eve any more, it's new year's day.'

'Oh, it's January now, isn't it. It's 2000.'

'That's right.'

'Has the world ended?'

'It has for me if you won't fix the television.'

Catherine sat and watched the blank screen, stubbornly glancing at the reflections on the black glass, wondering if this meant the end of her life or someone else’s. She was 35 years old and was losing the ability to stay happy at times, as if the world had sucked the life out of her before ending, and she hated being 35, not that she was older, the oldest she had ever been in her life, but that it was so confusing. She hadn't been this confused since she turned 15, an adolescent with the smells and looks of the earth that both disgusted and delighted her, but at thirty-five she had been through that and was a woman and the confusion just made her mind want to shut down and not work out any of the world any more, to just sit and watch the television. Only if it was on, mind. And it wasn't.

'Fix it,' she said. 'Fix it now.'

David, a tall man with thin hair and who always wore this tweed jacket indoors and outdoors, stood facing the window, ignoring her. Outside he saw three people stood at their gate across the road with what looked like small glasses of brandy in their hands, casually falling into mere movements of jest. One of them was Kate “L.A.” Wallace – the L.A. Meaning Los Angeles because she was an American, though she wasn't a Californian, she was from Chicago, David supposed Kate had been Hollywoodised in the eyes of the British, that all Americans were movie stars, and the fact that he thought of the word “movie” instead of “film” made him that slightly more Hollywoodised than he would have liked to think. The reason he looked at LA, stood in the dark, lit orange by a lamppost and an orange dot of a cigarette in the mouth of the man next to her, in a small dress, exposing each long bare leg, each curve of her, was that he was in love with her. He was unfortunately in love with an American. He was surely to be even more Hollywoodised if he did anything about it. So he didn't. Besides, he had Catherine. A 35 year old with the constant look of someone without a hope in the world.

'Why don't you listen to me?' she sulked. She had her hand pressed to her face, leaning into it and stuck out her lip.

David turned around. 'Sorry,' he said. 'What is it you want?'

'I want you to fix the television.'

'Why do you want me to fix it right now?'

'Because I don't have anything else. Now please fix the damn TV!'

David got on his hands and knees and in the early hours of the new millennium he fixed the broken television. It took him three hours, crossing over wires and checking the slight connections inside the box and opening up the screen to the television organs the colour of red and green spilled over the floor, the same colour as the fireworks, and the brown wires, the live wires, he separated with thumb and finger as if they were delicate worms filled with some humming danger of death, despite the neutral and earth wires being just as dangerous. He cut a wire with a pair of pliers and tried to cross thread the copper wire inside to a chock-block which he hooked up to a tester machine he had with his tools. The machine beeped and said the connection was good. If he was in work he would write a serial number and the date (1st January) and stick it to the appliance to say it had passed an electrical safety test. It seemed the TV's electrical connection was fine so he hooked it back up to the mains, precisely like a puzzle, and made sure each wire was colour coordinated correctly, and it seemed they were, so when he had hold of one wire with one hand and another wire with the other, he didn't expect that when he plugged it back into the mains that he would have over 250 volts shoot through his body at the speed of light, throwing him back half as fast, allowing him, for the present time, to visualise his 34 years on this planet, 34 years of the 20th century which had come to an end just like that, a fitting end, on his knees, fixing a TV."

Now and again I invoke David Foster Wallace but I try not to. Most writers will mimic what they read. It's almost impossible not to. I'm curious how I am as a writer and I suppose I'll only find that out once people read my writing, though I should neglect my laziness in place of some proactive publications and at least try to find an agent (I was turned down by Curtis Brown which seems to have put me off).

I have three complete novels written. One is a final draft. Though I've come to hate it, which I won't explain since it annoys me when I try to explain my hatred of the things I write and people don't get it, though I think it's something to do with having to read the same sentences over and over, reading what's not good so as to fix it, and now, in my head, it's a terrible piece of work. I suppose that's why I've been writing more and more, trying to finish another new book after another.

I recently read this poem out at The Pilgrim pub:

A Night at 2am

Your presence reminds me
How thin the air can be.

When I get drunk
Leaves grow out of me,
Branch at my arms,
My legs rooted to a chair.

Old Buddhas of temporary streets
Are looking at the time: 2:15am

This place is snoring.
Silent as ladybirds.

My eyes are moving,
I can feel them. 2:20am.

You change the taste of the air,
How dare you choose who you care about.

It was for In The Red Magazine which had been published in that magazine last year. It wasn't the best of reading I've done. I suppose I was put off by having not read out for six months and was just beginning to come down with the shingles virus which put me out of actions for two weeks. It was the most painful illness I've ever had. My whole body hurt. Terrible nerve pain. I was told I could have written something about it, but I never really use material like that straight away. I'll probably use it for some other piece of writing later on. I made a new collection of poems. I have 18 good, edited poems. Not much since they were taken from piles of about 100. I'd publish a collection of poetry but to be honest I'd rather publish fiction first.

I read that the poet Gillian Clarke wrote a poem for display in John Lewis Cardiff. It was penned in honour of the department store. It made me think, really, since I work in a John Lewis, why a poet would bother to write about such a place. I don't mind my job, but I wouldn't write a poem about the place. John Lewis run this weekly magazine for internal news and things and I was asked why I don't go in it, apparently I'd make an interesting story. I told them no. I just wouldn't want to compromise my image by aligning it with the store, or with any store, and I don't know why. I was told I'm too modest and I'm making it harder on myself to make it as a writer if I don't promote myself. I guess I'm more camera-shy than anything. I'd rather go unnoticed than celebrated.

You Will Forget Me

We lie in bed as individuals
And rise from the dead each morning.

Each time you will forget yourself
And then you will forget me.

Your days consist of obituary-searching and the BBC.
You come to a climax of work shifts.

There is a sense of love somewhere
In the myriad of faces.

You drink tea in the afternoon. Eat nothing.
Your secrecy blinds me.

Guided only by a thought, you walk to the train.
Now you eat like a starved cat.

At home there is no one. I am not there.
Between your eyelashes; silence.

Friday, 18 May 2012

Poem About A Nurse

There was a girl who was blue,
she had blue tits, blue arse,
blue stomach, blue shoulders.
She had brown hair and white skin.
She was a nurse.
She had a needle. She took my blood.
I asked her how old she was.
She said 25. the same age as me
at the time. And I had nothing
and she had a job as a nurse and
the power to take blood from my body
and I had no power to take anything
from her body.
But still, she was blue.

Saturday, 3 December 2011

Sunday, 27 November 2011

Untitled Poem and Lee Evans

Together at last, a circle of inconspicuous trust
Leaves me here at the very foot of want.
On the bed the pillows are fat.
A mounting wave of quiet.

Here the torments are less so.
Incongruent as the eye-mote,
What is this improper carbon copy of my thoughts?
Even without a word, we lie together alone,

The blackness doesn't touch us in lamplight,
That night burns its bishops alive,
It lights us now – scantily clad,
Half-drunk on nothing,

Lying half-still,
Half-touching – perhaps one of us will never speak.

I wrote this recently after reading my favourite book of poems again, Sylvia Plath's The Colossus. I read it when I was studying my undergrad in around 2007/08. It's about being with no one but my thoughts.

I met Lee Evans in Liverpool, doing a book signing.

Thursday, 24 November 2011

poem 22/11

Which children echoing their thoughts?
I thought it was over.
Each one, as myself, a little younger,
Pretends to be an aeroplane.
Do you like to wear Spiderman shoes?
He asks. Whatever you tell it, you protect it.
Now I am the sort of person who forgets.
Rest easy, little glow on the shore.
Slowly in the evening, same place as before,
My shadow shrinks. The sand is gold spray-paint.
I breathe to rid myself of headaches.
Who are the children who once was me?

Tuesday, 22 November 2011


Some Thoughts on My Novels & Poems

Untitled Poem (from 21/11/11)

I have given it all married to my own mistakes,
Shaped to a tantamount of bruises to your early years
as a baby.

I am now pressed to a wind of desires,
Forever compelled to change every pregnant thought.

On this day I discovered myself for the hundredth time –
I am one hundred people whose few gestures tends to motion
the air.

I am a beehive of sleep, kept awake, buzzing with life,
It forms a solitary leader to fix its problems.

The king of death mutters in my ear about me.
At the window, a fog of howling moonlight.

It's possible to think that everything in literature is tantamount to perfect art, like I prescribe myself almost daily on the production of something, to strive to make it faultless and absolute. It's very difficult. To quote a friend last wednesday: "Writing is a pain in the ass." And it is. But only because the pressure of where we are (my friends and I) that were are Master of Arts graduates who ahould be better than the new load of students progressing thru the uni doors and yet miles behind a million faces of great literature, of which names echo around me that form such works that I have not even read.

One being Don DeLillio's Underworld. I have the book and I won't read it until I've finished Murakami's 1Q84, but even these two books I have mentioned are evidence that I'm seeing to great - living - writers, whose style I can't quite understand to be better than what I put on the paper. And so the learning goes on. So I go thru a number of instances of dictating another author's work and call it my own. Then I decide mine is my style, a completely new work of originality and of so consequence to anything else.

So the point being that I wouldn't not know how good I am until I'm out there is plain sight to be either lauded or chastised, and that's scary to think. I spent over a year on my first novel. I loved it at times and other times I loathed it. I finished it a few months ago and put it away. I began an attempt at my second novel being around 1000 pages like Underworld or Infinite Jest, but I stopped. I realised I was pushing myself to hard and it didn't work that way. Bukowski once said you can't force great writing, you just have to let it come out - to paraphrase.

I began novel three. A short novel. Stylistically like Burrough's Junky and similar to Camus' The Outsider. But the same dark comedy resided from my first novel that my peers had liked about my writing. So I suppose it takes another piece of writing to reveal style. My third novel is, at the moment, just over 15,000 words. The Outsider is around 35,000 and is up to 125 pages more or less. So that's a good sized novel or novella. I finished my first novel at near 50,000 words. I think I'll have it published in the next few months. Maybe I could commercialise myself and become a walking TV ad for my own existence.

It took three novel attempts to understand my writing. I read over my first novel yesterday I thought maybe it's not so bad. It just needs one more edit. The 1000 page second novel, my very own Infinite Jest (which I did finish, all nine months later as if I carried that massive book like a baby) I will have to spend some time on. I think Wallace only spent 5 years on that. Didn't Joyce spent 15 on Ulysses? Patience is a virtue but I don't have that kind of patience. I rush ahead and when I don't like it I move on to something else. My wiser self tells me to stop this. Joyce wrote three novels. Wallace wrote three novels. Kafka wrote three novels. So far, so have I, I'd like to join that club, but it's far too exclusive.

My cat under a tree. A cat appears a number of times in my first novel.

I've begun writing poetry again. I went to a reading in Blackburne House last wednesday. I read out a poem called Spanish Fly:

Spanish Fly

It's god bursts forth
Shouting and screaming at the television,

It's only female child loved religiously
Draws a picture addressed to itself,

It's high-and-mighty, selfish personality
Loves itself more than it loves you,

It's only love lasts hours
Destroyed only by an atomic bomb,

It's sideways hallucinogenic dreams of darkness
Once ended up on the outskirts of Kent,

It's only woman who knows nothing about literature
Finds herself victimised from the books she's read,

It's extraordinary delight in the past still and always will
Remain in the deep recesses of it's skull,

It's loud-mouth friend sometimes goes through a number of quiet bursts,
Which it finds disturbing to say the least,

It smashes a glass against the wall
Offering only the words: “No bueno,”

It then seems to hate it's friends
It's un chien andalou eyes roll back into it's head

Stands in a daguerreotype
Juxtaposed against it's parents,

It's parents smile blandly, petting a dog,
The dog is only a memory,

It once knew, at the age of 10, a young girl,
Who appeared in it's back garden, stepping over broken furniture,

It sighs momentarily then melts into the off-screen of reality
Positioning itself to be ready or not ready to talk to people,

It's devil bursts out and drinks and drinks
Whilst laughter of certain gods, who are drunk,

Watch flies kamikaze into the window
On the most un-memorable of afternoons,

It's body and spirit rises through the shit and aether
The glorious stays glorious as it withers out.

I don't get too nervous anymore, but I always get so self-conscious that I'm read ing what I think is good but believe it's not good enough. I hear other people read out. Their words tell things. Mine are, as they always have been, convoluted and weird. I always tried to calm down my writing. Bukowski helps with that.

I put together a long poem. I'm imagining The Waste Land and Howl. It new pieces stuck to old. I don't know if it's yet finished.

Nothing: November 16th 2011

What nothing floating over black cities, crying out for mother and father,
That nothing perhaps roots out of trees, where arm-branches and leaves
Of bodies in various shower shapes, that perhaps is nothing and forever
Wanting nothing, and is nothing, and loves nothing?
You only guess a number of times of people huddled in a downstairs café
Reading poetry until it's time to leave with a friend who cares nothing for these.
A night washes the vertigo inside and perhaps dies a little. There is a voice
I love you I love you I love you
Like almost a nightmare and fear is unfair and sadness lasting
Only hours until forgotten.

What unreal people I don't believe in kills its memory with a sting
Of death. It loves it's sister's night. It loves its sudden cold frost
Burning a winter's hand with white cloth.

We sit in a place on Hope Street afterwards and talk about books.
Then, like a collapse of time, streetlights shining oldly, a girl's cold
Words of friendship. Where she used to sit now cold and in the shape of her,
In London spirit distanced with laughter.

I walked home thinking of someone else, perhaps it is nothing?
Perhaps it is something? What is that sound? Cold flower dies quietly.
Frozen petal muted lands down near black iron-wrought gate,
Through which I walked twenty-or-so years,
Each time mesmerised by totally unordinary life until now remembering
As unordinary and beautiful and sadly missed like an old dog –
Pulls open gate as if the gate of night itself,
I was more and more tired and heavy, slowly like mercury,
Blood-coloured moon and cloud over dangerous apocalyptic weather,
Born from angelic navels glowing artificially,
Exaggerated from words spent years unsaid,
Loved for no reason and unachievable,
Beauty and wonder unearthed from beneath thousand year-old floorboards.

Not in the slightest long eternity invites us over are you still cold
Now in this weather?
And I am far from nothing, I am far from old –
I am one thing, you're another to be told.

Where you sleep – the bed you lay, the bed you sleep –
And that was us, or I, muttering at the wall
Standing 6ft. tall – one over you –
And I said show me an ounce
Of sanity in my eyes
And I'll show you the eyes of God.

Black Cabs

Black cabs grabbed with thick fists in the dead of night,
Sat with women of wonderful mystery,
Stood at the doorways of your unachievable love,
Turning around and around, broken down crying wild
Intoxicated on whiskey and ecstasy from glass bottles
Pressed to the lips of Jehovah;

Nymphs in light of earthly streetlight shining orange flame skeletons
Sent sparks of light into their veins
And set their backs alight until they orgasmed in putrid fantasy
Of false hallucinations of this world and the next;

Forever each night beings of the night
Crucified their fathers in mass executions
On every street corner under the streetlight of your soul;
Who now become as holy as Almighty God in his underwear
Praying for forgiveness and more forgiveness and more –
In my head released holy angel into swampy mists of mystic night
A religious glow through heartless crowds of death,
moves and moves forever without a beat,
And moves until its feet begin to bleed
And moves until its skin is sore with the cold distance of love,
And moves while wishing for peace –
Motionless and absent from human skin
Forever moving and moving and moving

Modern Life

The lives of my friends destroyed jaded mental bare naked and born
By circles of touch, solidified to human beings becoming themselves
Gilded and cross-stitched.

Morning each morning is lonely and cold
Rise early and eat and leave for work.
I saw each nuclear personality erupt beyond thinking red eyes
And botched lips. The ghost of lips the old ghost knows.
I hold the girls and think of their touch;
Come back to me each one of you.

The mortality of mothers is terrifying.

I've seen two dead bodies in my life so far –
Three including my cousin's nailed-down coffin –
Four including my father's coffin on my back
Heaving it thru long miles of graveyard –
I saw volatile people breaking bottles, windows, shoving car alarms,
Stony faces hooded violence and hate
Unnatural rebel the heartless conscience
Nasty screaming hateful bastards butcher knives
No beds for these, No beds for these;

I began my work at the end of June
When the stink had gone – my relative shark of time –
My fantasies for each dull cardboard year –
Go now and look for money,
Old politician bastards on their pedestals or thrones
Throw down bits of bread for us to eat.
Living in warm layered bodies burning anciently
Destroyed by the human forms another
Academic war-lords bang on the drum
My friends vanished and re-appeared as someone else,
Death and love becoming themselves
A slow & bashful taste becoming mindless
Musicians searching for a future,
Mindful washcloth; showers scalding,
Blisters bathed and nursed in white plastic rooms
Unnatural foliage, unreal people, crawling and dragging our bodies
Over long miles of hallow ground,
Hiding ourselves selling ourselves hinting
At nothing that exists between concrete,

Soaking floors glistening too much in sunlight
Sweat washed with rain over face,
The smell of half of my life
No money standing
Smoking calling the girls, frightened rabbits at every
Slammed door at dawn bearded sunlight,
Does not even echo,
Poetry to die for in purgatory
Illuminated nightmares
Keel over without eating for hours on end,
Ribs showing muscles still there soft
Atrophied shrivelled tongues being put
In the most natural of places
In Hell with everyone else.

The Death of God: 19\10

I killed God with a knife.
I never prayed at all like I never did,
And now it's dead.
Father of soil now much longer a night can live.
I have always been scared like a fish
Caught onto a swastika hook.

A look of Yad-Vashem from either side you shadow a morning,
World cold, empty and normal, to buy things.
Fear hidden behind smiles frowns and shopping bags.

Grey movements bare claw branches dazzling light over Lion & Unicorn
Radiates power thru window globes of light – orbed like eye-lens –
An earth-explosion howls and speaks to me
The world flashes swells and bursts and reveals
Wet footprints bulge in “O” shapes
Thick shadows like sharp black tongues
Fish-hooked barbed wire anti-clockwise snail-greasy tracks
Trodden one foot on life,
Ave Maria frozen in the gutter
The window steams and outside a man falls to his death.
World dead and bright, garden tarpaulin pulled over – held down
By plank of wood – clean clean invisible air freezing cold
The glowing hysterical road – Dies irae –
Screaming incessantly as two people melt into the ground
Dancing the sky reddens softly

Broken the full moon drools sits and smiles on night
And morning the church is boarded up –
Spires shooting up like vines or weeds,
Chimneys on flat hills with the fullest of blue sky
And dead pastel green soil and sick icy road.
Then vanished from the air; marked wastes cold dark
The damp smell:
The ruined

Living thru the eyes of others
And I’ll refuse to pray
So I can no longer be damned

The air is whispering but the clock is talking,
Heartbreak I can’t change my violence,
Playing with the machine of creation:

See this bottle?
It’s not a bottle,
It’s a machine.

Will you marry it?
One of chief princes settles his violence
Red sky softens.

And I am less of a man
Now that I have no human body –
Now that I'm dead
Now that I've killed you and you are dead,
Now that the vulgar familiars
Of your family break away, and is dead
Like sea foam, is dead,
And I am a giant stomping the ground
Like a spoilt brat, or like a
Man annoyed that he's still not dead.


What brings together the bud of your existence?
An unending dog at every great white guru fleet;
It is only in your heaven your haze of not one woman
Who bore our excess of nostalgia of the doorman –
It is a distinct Ki, Swahili, in different dimensions;

My mind swells like a balloon blown up by a trumpet,
Above sand dunes lying down to the landscape;
I am brought here to destroy you.
I am in the 1980's off-camera, settling the authentic aroma of being
On camera. And this is you: begging to the preacher

Such a strange and desperate creature.

Lying down for hours in a slow rhythmic beating
A good solemn witchcraft by ourselves – while I'm sleeping.
Off to bed still like the woman before me,
Describing her features touching her smooth wintered face
Hard/cold nothing could touch this place.

The heavy not-so-glorious clouds my horizons,
Wet grass shampoo-smell, the glorious monument to our bodies is to drink,
The small microscopic antennae of the masses –
The mesmerising backsteps of anxious children
Sing into a lightbulb the light comes from my mouth,
Fades away a leaf floats in a black puddle,

Man is not like woman, where life may never end
In pools of clear bright and marble-like creatures similar to frogs,
And our depressed relatives look like dogs.
I lust to destroy you.

A great partition of days separate like oil in rainwater
Puddles in roadside gutter on way to school.
Great Atlantis vantage point from insipid cup of tea, sweet-weak.
This weak white morning froze ignorance in its grave;
Poor destruction already done suicidal version of creation,
I don't care about economy or astronomy or the death of a nation;
I just wanna know what brings you to me in your warning adept motion

Culmination the human form, Dog of Dharma,
In a shining world, where your actions are your best intentions,
But I feel the prize is perfection,
Perfect participation in the eyes of growing old.
Best lives will see a glimpse of everything:
Miniscule lives the alcohol raining
Ages of dining with dangerous gaming
Working for hours forever complaining
Always embracing the lives of Yogic liberation.

One who lies there all day, driving his headache to sleep,
Seeking the grey bathtub-water sky soaking
The patchwork wooden tiled floorboards
Of dawn of time dust asleep just waking up like an Indian God.

If I humped my physical gait to the highest light-surpassed
Mountain I would let the hard-nothing hard-summer
Half-light and unreal diamond my un-immortal mists of life;

This tarmac crossroad-black sky mixed light so
Frighteningly different, electric as my body –
Purple pink black – the sky changes,
And we are all in the sky, mourning the lost sexual angels.


Perception leaps over our vision, inhuman as dogs, tongues out
Lapping up water-colours in state-of-mind love-houses.
Sundries and pretend to smoke, stubbing long, sensuous vampire fingers
Into ashtray, killing themselves in pointless suicides
Across countries and your dreams slowly arriving in mid-air
Heads throb in delight, dryness echoes, sweat like seawater
Evaporated on lose lone-beach rock, cowering at war-art and Bibles
Great grey tones leave us in dark clubs where saxophones play with Sachmo look-alikes.
Mists of eyes and bus-fog, we cave in by mere sights of love,
Holding on to our arms, the great masturbator sees us all,
Taking us all to the river; dancing souls in gaps of bruised smoke inside,
Cups down drinks like nothing. Lapping up like dogs.
Fearful of piercing ourselves on each other, we find no one so bad
As the ones in the mirror; left and slow within hummingbird flight,
It's feathers malted, two great strands of feather-hair; soft and thin.
These flattened in two-toned, new-era fashion.
The Great Eggfly copies the normal butterfly.
In all of such lonesome, nakedness inside clothing,
Where the only skin-touch, we touch breaking day at night,
Behind your closed doors, our apologies are not heard by such strangers
Who touch their eyes, for I can't even hold my mind for three weeks.

Please look me, please notice me, please know that I existed.
See me find myself in some infinite glory,
Watch me peel through the aether and find me.
Call me by my first name and smile.
Drink tea.
A cold air at 7:16pm, central-heated, the almost-darkness causes
Things to pause, the lack of faces in windows, a solar-light lights up
As I watch the cat under a garden chair, on a wet ground, by himself.

The great mystic night winged at its own breast.
Lips to the forceful microscopic sun and the bud between my fingers,
Slowly chokes, slowly flicks away ash into rain as grey as ash itself,
Grey as sick skin, intoxicated on pills and drinks,
The whirring sirens lull me into a timeless sleep.

The evening wind has no pulse. A great fire of anger burns London
Swinging pelvic thrusts into a world for a Dionysus vat of wine
To soak ourselves. I call the cat over. Smoke climbs out of me.
It climbs. It climbs like people climb out of a life they cannot live;
A rhetorical avenue of deceitful 21st century absent and meaningless individuals.

I could call out “I love you” – But she would not know.
Until infinitely gone into the next city and the next.
And I don't love anyone –
Not a soul in the world –
Taken away in a Faustian moonlight,
Looking for what girls I may love, to not love.
Maybe I'll go to Ireland, or Iceland, or India, or anywhere that begins with I.
And I get dizzy next to pale-white Buddah, smiling, hand on knee.
Ash in a plant pot.

Your hands are throbbing, hot, you ache to die or love,
Someone reaches out to you in the shape of helios,
Fingertips touch, you feel the heat pulsate like skin over the jugular,
And you wake up and see I am buried
With my baby in my leather jacket, jeans, boots,
Underneath the soil, too afraid to live, too afraid to die.

People snake and turn their backs into crooked Chinese symbols –
Their American counterparts are the same –
Their dreams are very similar to newborn babies' dreams.