Thursday, 30 June 2011

Killing Time - Friday Flash

Clockwatching for elevenses. The second hand and I have been fellow travellers along the orbital face for some considerable time already this morning. For all its steady lick, the spindly red needle seems to be taking an age to haul the thicker armature of the minute hand around to the witching hour, tea minus five. A burden that keeps slipping off its back and it has to go all the way round to pick it back up again. Watched kettles never boil and all that.

So on the run-in, I am down to a snail’s pace. The swiftness of a tortoise. Atlases both, with the weight of their own world upon their broad shoulders. The Native American myth - Iroquois is it-? Yes here we are (‘verification needed’) - of the giant turtle that catches the mother-angel inadvertently somersaulting from heaven, who then proceeds to sow the whole world on the creature’s back. Hosannas all round now, for the weird and wonderful parabolas of the Information Superhighway, which saves me from going totally round the bend.

For here’s me stuck in my office, sowing nothing, coaxing naught into life, other than the beady eye of a blinking cursor. Management’s vulturous iris, scanning me for inactivity. Holding my fibre optic nerve, now my mouse tumbles that circling vultures on the thermal gyre are called a kettle. I’ve milked that excuse for leaving my workstation once already this morning. Double creamed by returning to wash my mug at the sink.

Next I unearth the truffle, that the collective noun is a ‘venue’ of vultures. If only I had one such to be at for an appointed time. Whisking me out of here, so that I might further dawdle in meandering my way to the destination. Oh for a bannered headline limned into the diary template. But I am not consequential enough to merit a coloured tag all to myself. Bereft of any meeting for my line manager to sign off on my behalf. For their name to give me body.

However, though unappointed, I do in fact have someplace where I can go alright. But nothing so lofty as to deem it a venue. A bolthole just about captures the nub of it. The only question, is it yet time? The answer is posted up high on the wall above the facsimile machine. It just hasn’t transmitted itself satisfactorily to me as yet. It appears to have prolapsed.

Who’s to say that the wall clock is accurate? My desktop icon insistently begs to differ by a full four minutes. No matter how often I reset the confounded thing, back it jumps to its own silicon mediated timekeeping. Could always page the speaking clock- does that even still exist in this digital age?- but all our calls are monitored, so how incriminating might that look? I would be court-martialled and make no mistake. Padded shoulders lopped off with a letter opener. Probably my boss’s faux-jewel, imitation curved dagger brought back from an ersatz Turkish bazaar, as part of an authentic ‘taste of the Orient’ excursion. Not that I sport padded shoulders of course. I’m not one for power dressing capaciously enough to light up the national grid. Unlike some I could mention around here.

Wouldn’t surprise me if the higher-ups employed someone just to sit and stare at the server, auditing what websites we visit. I bet all our virtual preferences, are laid bare in our actual personnel files. Still, I’ve nothing to hide on that score. News, current events, isn’t that what we represent here anyway? I’m just checking up on the real life movements of some of our stilted inmates. Sorry, exhibits. Shame it forms no part of the remit of the Waxwork Museum's bought ledger team.

Don’t suppose there’s much in the way of clockwatching from any of my team-mates. (From my crossword fiend days on the London Underground, ‘team’ and ‘mate’ are anagrams of one another, but there again so are ‘tame’ and ‘meat’). Too busy adorning their eager-beaver time sheets. Constructing their baroque dams to prevent the walls of commerce from falling in. If any of them are chancing to peek at the internet, it’s probably to scout for bargain holidays in order to use up their allowance. Only as a point of principle mind. An entitlement is an entitlement after all. Something you perceive you’re owed. Certainly it’s not because travel broadens their minds. Ergo cheap, quickly tarnished letter openers. They’ll likely spend their whole time abroad, scavenging for gobbets of gossip on our more significant movers and shakers, bolted down on their plinths beneath us in the galleries. Reading the English papers from abroad to sustain them. Clodhopping carbon footprints just to stand culturally still in place.

I could always just chance it. And what if I’m caught in the act, could I in all conscience defend my corner? For instance, attribute it on the lack of synchronicity within office chronometry (see, not such a tight ship as they like to imagine). Or maybe point the finger at parallax. That, from where I’m sitting, to my eyes it certainly appeared to be eleven. Hmm, the colonnade sharpness of Roman numerals rather than curvy Arabic ones probably rebuffs that ploy. Or even pin it on the irregular spin of the earth on its axis (verification needed). It is only a meantime we proceed from after all.

My gluteus-oh-so-maximus, decompresses the air bag of my bottom back into my seat. Meantime. A time of miserly intent. Time swiped back from the credit card of life. At usurious interest. Hold all my calls. Not that I ever receive any I might honestly welcome. Only wearying demands for someone else’s money, which just happens to pass through my hands. I am dirtied by the lucre and smeared by those soliciting me for it. We were only following purchase orders... Time for a serpentine cleansing. I run my eye over the path of least supervision through the office and mobilise my facial musculature to blazon ‘unabashed’. Then dash it all, if the padding of my chair doesn’t go and clarion a great sough, when released from the burden of cupping my volume. And my mouse goes for a burton too, its cable all snarled around one of the chair’s armatured wheels. The best laid plans of mice and... Oh well, in for a penny, in for a pound.

The clock didn't chime, but my Boss' voice did...

Thursday, 23 June 2011

Sink Or Skin? - Friday Flash

The skin and bone skinflint wasn't too skint to buy some skinflicks and some skunk to skin up, some heroin to skin pop and enough drink for a skinful. Skinny-dipping in a sinful sink-hole.

Persistent sinking of some of his sink-fund currency into the sinkhole of his sunken and shrunken rectitude, his addictions now had him hooked line and sinker, but he was too far sunk to possess a sinking feeling nor sink through the floor.

Four skinheads in their skintight Sta-Pressed and inked skin art, who only ever went skin deep in their prejudices, perennially looking to skin you alive with their oxblood boots and skin peelers. But he was able to duck into a skin bar and escape these snickering skinflaps by the skin of his teeth, leaving him with a skinny lip, skin abrasions and flesh nicks. Some skinny malinky skank was flashing her skinflowers at him and he felt his own skinflute tooting. He felt a rising urge to sink his sausage, but when he went to his skin-hugging pocket, only to find his sunken treasure hoard had sunk without trace.

Sink the Bismarck sunk.

Wednesday, 22 June 2011

Support Bands

The bands who have to play warm up. While the audience are filing into the auditorium. Playing their hearts out while people buy their drinks at the bar. Or their overpriced T-shirt with the transfer that'll come off in the first machine wash. Let's salute some I saw in my gig-going days. Some surprising, some superior to the main act, each being dutifully watched by me as I sought to get my place as close to the stage for the main act as possible and defend it to the last...

1) U2 Around the time of their debut LP "Boy" I saw them supporting punkers Stiff Little Fingers. (You could say there's been a seismic shift in the bands' relative fortunes from that day). I quite liked the "Boy" album and the single "11 o Clock Tick Tock" but went off them with all subsequent releases. Even then their fans had extrapolated a religio-spiritual image for the band, for as we were entering the venue, there was a collection for the crew of a lifeboat disaster and as I punk-rockerly stormed past the bucket without contributing, I was regaled with "I hope you don't get caught out at sea with your pants down". Not a very Christian attitude I thought to myself...

2) The Smiths Again early in their career, they were supporting then Rough Trade label mates The Fall. I always thought it likely that Mark E Smith just fancied having a band sharing his soubriquet to further exalt his status. I knew the Smithws were being talked about in reverential tones as the next big thing, but when Morrisey swanned on stage and hit us at the front of the stage with his gladioli and set off my hay fever, he lost any possible patronage on my part. I've never liked The Smiths, even if that made me a social pariah at university, where all the young men in long coats mourning Ian Curtis of Joy Division's death, switched their doomy love to Morrisey and thus were able to avoid a wardrobe readjustment. Atchooo!

3) Sonic Youth They were already established as 80's New York's finest purveyors of art noise and I'd seen them headline a previous UK tour. But in a depressed alternative scene after post-punk faded away into synthesizers and foppish New Romanticism, those pimply brothers from Glasgow The Jesus And Mary Chain had whipped up a storm and were on the front pages of the music press week after week. A fuzzbox applied to classic American surf/bubblegum rock and roll didn't offer a whole hell of a lot that was new under the sun, but the fact that their headline sets lasted no more than 15 minutes and thereby frequently prompted a riot among the audience had conferred instant notoriety on them. But as always happens when you play with fire, the band get worn down by the violence and infamy and had taken a break from playing live. This gig was their first London one after that break and Sonic Youth were scandalously below them on the bill. The Youth played a knee-trembling 20 minute set and left the stage with the feedback squall still shrieking at the end of "Expressway to Yr Skull" for a full three minutes. They blew away the Chain and showed them what a wall of guitar noise really was. Part way into the Chain's opener, I found myself wishing that their set would last its normal 15 minutes. They eked it out to 25 and I felt cheated that the Youth had been forced to cut short theduration of their normal set.

4) Serious Drinking/ Millions Of Dead Cops. The Dead Kennedys, West Coast hardcore punk at its theatrical finest, were touring the UK. Newly signed labelmates Millions of Dead Cops and two UK punk bands made for a strong bill. After a plodding set from The Subhumans, MDC took to the stage. I'd already got familiar with their debut LP, but their set still just blew me away. With songs like "John Wayne Was A Nazi" and "Corporate Deathburger", well you kind of get the picture. Punk rock played at 100mph, with no let up or pause for breath. It was intense. Serious Drinking then took to the stage. A comedy punky-SKA with songs like "Love On the Terraces" and "Bobby Moore was Innocent" they were the ideal kick back antidote to MDC. Perfect for serving up the live phenomenon that were the Dead Kennedys. A truly top night's beer-and spittle-soaked entertainment. Hey don't knock it until you've tried it!

5) World Domination Enterprises/ Loop. These two groups had an honourable deal whereby they took turns to headline, with the other going on first. I was never much of a Loop fan, but they were far more popular than the ghetto World Dom. The version I saw was with Loop as the headliners, but they couldn't compete with the dub-heavy reverberations of World Dom, a three piece who made one hell of a quaking racket. The band sort of expired when their drummer became a Jehovah's Witness. Pity.

6) Swans Again The Fall had afforded a soon to be vital band an early outing as their support act. I just remember spending their entire set with my finers in my ears pressed up against the speakers because they were so loud. But when John Peel played "Clay Man" on the radio, my whole body started twitching involuntarily to the rhythm as its muscle memory kicked and and overpowered me. That's how powerful their short set had been. I was a convert and I hadn't even realised it.

7) Birthday Party. Bit of a cheat this one as they were a double headline with The Fall. The two most important underground bands of 1984 or whenever it was. The Hammersmith Palais toilets were full of people shooting up. The auditorium full of Mark E Smith clones complaining at all the Nick Cave look-alikes, and Nick Cave clones complaining about the Mark E Smith wannabees. Was I possibly the only person in there to see both bands? When the Birthday Party finished the opening set, those around me at the lip of the stage all ceded their berths to be replaced by Fall fans, I've never experienced that before. They were both great by the way.

8) A.C.Temple. Remember them? I barely do and that's despite the fact they seemed to crop up on virtually every bill I turned up to. Never making it past the first act. They weren't realy that good. I never bought any of their records (unlike say Swans or World Dom, bought on the strength of seeing them live and not knowing who they were). I salute their dogged tenacity. There were other bands always turning up on bills, like The Moodists (named by ace comic Stewart Lee as one of his favourite bands) and an early incarnation of The Shamen before they turned poppy sloppy with "E's Are Good". They were terrible as a plod rock band.

So there you have it. 7 support bands of decidedly varying calibre. Let's hear it for the warm up guys!

Monday, 20 June 2011

Class War on The Number 19 Bus

I hate Monday lunchtimes.

I do the family shopping on my day off on Fridays, so that when Monday rolls around, we've run out of bread devoured over the weekend. Thus I can't make my sandwiches for lunch as I do for the rest of the working week.

So on Mondays I have to use my lunch hour to bus it over to Islington and buy a lunch.

Islington for those who don't know it, is a very mixed inner-city borough of London. Tony Blair bought a house there before moving into the Prime Minister's residence at Number 10 Downing Street. There are plenty of grand houses, but also lots of social housing and high-rise estates.

Yesterday I got on the bus and had to squeeze my way past 3 push-chairs which were the size of 2CVs. I've brought up twins, with both a double buggy and when that broke, two singles. The buggy (ies) were always folded up every time we mounted the bus, no matter how involved that became trying to ensure two kids were safely on board. So I do get a tad irritated when I see push-chairs that either haven't been, or simply can't be folded up. Irritation I keep to myself. There seemed to be about 5 mothers on the bus with their kids, evidently middle-class to hear them talk. I assumed a play group had just finished for the morning.

As we crawled towards another bus stop, I was transfixed by a woman waiting there. She removed her lit cigarette and bent down to stub it out on the pavement, presumably so as to relight it later. She did it so protractedly I thought she was going to miss the bus. Something about her laborious manner struck me as slightly compulsive behaviour and I fancied that she was an addict of some sort. Maybe she was simply addicted to cigarettes, rather than anything harder. She wore a set of pearls, though of what quality I couldn't tell, but she didn't give the impression of being ravaged by a destructive habit. It was just that curious desperation to preserve the cigarette that set my spidey senses tingling.

I turned my gaze elsewhere when she got on the bus, since I missed what must have happened next. She must have asked the mothers to move the buggies which were blocking two empty seats, so that she could sit down. For when my gaze returned, she was involved in a 'discussion' with two of the mothers. The usual 'you don't have children you don't understand' type of thing was trotted out by way of justification, when there was no way they could have known whether she'd ever been a mother or not. 'Do you expect us to walk the 5 miles to the child minder?' was a verbatim line I heard offered up as argument.

Suddenly one of the mother's male partners launched into her space and gesticulated wildly at her, raising his voice. She replied in turn, though she made no motions with her hands back at him. He called her a disgrace, challenged her to call the police if she felt threatened. When he returned to his berth, she carried on with the two mothers within her range. He sprang up again as she darted off at the next bus stop which happened also to be my own.

So there you have it. No one emerges from this set-to with any credit really. Middle class mums who did blockade the seats on a bus however unwittingly. A man who used his physical presence to bully and intimidate, albeit in the defence of his partner whom he saw as being challenged. And the cigarette woman who I just intuited before she got on the bus, was full of bristling contrariness. I don't know how she asked the buggies to be removed, of if she moved them herself. In themselves, neither would have been that provocative a gesture. But presumably once sat down, she made a throwaway comment that prompted a rebuttal from one of the mums. But that it blew up, that she was at the centre of a confrontation, really didn't strike me as surprising, due to one casual detail I noticed about her.

She could have bitten her tongue like I did. Equally she is entitled to air her opinion, but then you have to ask yourself what outcome you expect by doing so.

I just found the whole thing predictable and dispiriting. It right put me off my lunch.

I have to organise my Sundays to somehow get some fresh bread in.

Thursday, 16 June 2011

10 Things I've Never Owned

I'm not talking about having never owned a yacht or a pet eagle, more the everyday household items that make life a little more convenient or pleasurable. Even here I'm not talking about the ubiquitous posters of the female tennis player scratching her posterior (or its dialectical opposite, comrade Che & Charlie poster boys). Rather things that most households possess.

By never, I really mean that at no point in my life have I owned one, even though for limited periods I might have access to somebody else's. I am writing this looking back from middlish age...

1) An umbrella. Even living in rainy England, I have never owned one. Even before the commonplace of hoodies or baseball caps to keep your hair dry, I shirked the spidery strutted wind trap. Didn't like gumming up my hands having to hold things (never having been driver {though I have owned a car, so it's not in the list}, I didn't have the option of popping it in the boot or on the back seat). My wife has the asset of a voluminous handbag for fold up brollies, but even then she is always leaving them somewhere. They just aren't natural.

2) A tumble dryer. My wife and I have gone through countless laundry racks because water is a corrosive par excellence. It rots the wooden ones and rusts the metal ones, with the inevitable result that the racks collapse. Our home is too small to house a tumble dryer. It's things like this, my inability to drive, my one phobia of flying, that somewhat fortuitously means I have a relatively small carbon footprint.

3) A bicycle. I just never learned to ride. As a boy I was always in my or some friend's garden playing football in the winter and cricket in the summer, so never went pedalling around the neighbourhood. They tried to teach me at college, where student cars were banned, but my balance and reversion to primal simian fear of falling conspired to render me unteachable. No skateboards nor scooters either and this was despite me working for a skateboard company for 15 years!

4) A camcorder. Even my phone doesn't have video. Currently I don't own a camera either. Just not someone who likes to leaf back through photo albums or sit and watch home movies. Maybe I'm just weird like that. Mind you I don't like my photo being taken either. Like certain tribes I gauge the camera to steal my soul. Or something...

5) Games console. While I used to like arcade asteroids and space invaders, I cannot stand modern day video consoles. My sons are of course obsessed with them, making up for lost time as my wife and I held out against pester power for some considerable time. I loathe the compulsive nature of them; the physical passivity (WeeFit notwithstanding), the febrile involvement with shoot 'em up games. And each time a new game comes online and my son tells me to look and marvel at the amazing graphics, I do indeed look and see the emperor's new clothes. The graphics are still cartoonish rather than 'realistic'.

6) Newspapers. It might be moot to say that one owns or doesn't own something as disposable as a daily newspaper. But in all my life I have never been a reader, preferring to come by my news information by marginally less biased sources. Strange that I married into a family of journalists and for the last two years have been working in a news organisation that still thinks as much in terms of print journalism as online. Funny old world.

7) A set of weighing scales. I don't deal drugs, nor do I concern myself with a numerical marker of my own mass. I can gauge reasonably well when my bones and muscles feel discomfited with the burden they are being asked to carry around, or that I don't have a sufficient reserve of puff. I don't bake, consequently I don't have to weigh out flour. One of my twin boys however does make fine cakes and keeps asking me to invest in a set of scales.

8) CD player. Bit of an odd one this in that I always seem to be behind the trends in music delivery systems despite being a huge music fan. I used to buy records and tape them straightaway to play them on a cassette player. I was slowly building a top of the line hi-fi, but never brought it to fruition before having to sell the units to raise money and so rarely had the opportunity to play my records. When CDs came along I shunned them and continued my record-cassette nexus. Yes I loved the crackle of the grooves that were removed by digital CDs, but it wasn't just this since I don't have such a refined ear to appreciate the depth of difference. By the time I got with the programme, I just recorded CDs on to my I-tunes on my mac. Still do. Like my unplayable records, I am now building up a sizable collection of CDs I can't play since my mac eats all discs. Sigh...

9) Contact lens. despite being short sighted I am very squeamish about eyes, even looking at them for any time (that scene in "Un Chien Andalou" is a nightmare for me!), so that the thought of my fingers coming into contact with them, even with the membrane of the lens interceding is something I just cannot contemplate.

10) A Stephen King book. Or even borrowed...

5 Things I wished I still owned

1) My childhood cat. 6 months before I was born, my parents brought home a black moggy. I grew up with him, every night sleeping at the foot of my bed once I'd graduated from a cot. He lived to the ripe old age of 23. Unfortunately my wife is catphobic, so no chance of forging such a relationship with a moggy again.

2) Misty In Roots "Live At The Counter Eurovision" LP. An ex-flatmate of mine walked off with this album of mine when the flat broke up. Quite possibly the best reggae LP ever made. Don't think it ever made it on to CD.

3) Sony Betamax video recorder. Proof that I am a complete technofool, I grew up in a home that had opted for the betamax over the VHS. While not inherently foolish in and of itself, when my parents decide to yield to the inevitable and move over to VHS, I offered them £14o for the betamax, even though I didn't have anywhere of my own to live and consequently no TV to plug it into. I never got to use it and of course the brand succumbed to commercial oblivion not long after I made this useless purchase. File with my hi-fi that never left the launchpad either... I think I still have some betamax format videos somewhere.

4) A pierced ear. I got my ear pierced shortly before going up to perform at the 1985 Edinburgh Fringe. I went to work with it. I got married with it, over my wife's objections. I commissioned a jeweller to make me a specific design for a drop earring. I went back on the Tube hours later to an outside 5-a-side pitch when I realised it had fallen out while playing and I found it! Just after I started my current job my sleeper fell out and so inured to the sight of it I didn't even notice it was missing. By the time I managed to get round to buying a new one, I couldn't get it in. Despite having had the hole for 25 years. My wife is delighted.

5) An airmail envelope. Not just any envelope of course, but one in particular that I sent to a rock and roll hero of mine. Michael Gira lead singer of Swans, possibly the loudest band in the world during the mid-1980s. Gira also wrote visceral prose and I saw that he had a book out in the States through a small press and - this is the 1980s remember - I sent him a $20 I went to my bank specially to exchange. It was more than sufficient to pay for the book and I imagined plenty left over to cover P&P. I penned a short note , "I know I shouldn't send cash through the mail, but this is impossible to come by in the UK". Nothing until 6 months later my envelope is returned with to my relief, the $20 bill inside. I assumed it had simply been returned to sender as addressee had moved away. But as I was about to throw the envelope away, I twigged that my cover letter wasn't there. I scanned the red white and blue border piping on the envelope and found typed above the bottom horizontal "If you shouldn't, don't'. I wonder what became of that envelope. I never got hold of his book of stories.

Wednesday, 15 June 2011

Quickie Divorce (real time) - Friday Flash

portmanteau tote
combination drawstrings
ingress exhalation
plush riband
foam crepe
recesses crinkle
moulded atomiser
lubricant billow
muzzle luscious
assemblage salve
smooth stilettos
black weal
steel pumice
tapered tallow
grooved aromatherapy
symbiosis cordial
indurate ottoman
buttressed recumbent
heft bliss
ratchet operatic
crosshairs maestro
bloodless ardour
torque crescendo
declutch conducting
reverberation timpani
recoil exultation
rupture soaring
pithed bodiless
perforated suds
punctured immersion
spatter smirch
encore encore
flawless purged
dismantle uncluttered
reconceal divested
dematerialise triumphant
quietus release
contract decree
nisi absolute

Saturday, 11 June 2011

Book Covers

This wasn't the post I intended to write.

Originally I wanted to post my top 10 album covers and extol the art. But I couldn't come up with 10. I stopped buying LPs what ten, twelve years ago? CD covers being much smaller didn't quite cut it and now downloads don't even require covers if you don't opt for the thumbnail.

I'm just in the process of commissioning two different book covers and some modern-day majuscule calligraphy. The majuscules won't be able to be replicated online in any useful way, so that's destined for a print only project. The other two are book covers for kindle books I aim to have out soon.

But do I need covers for kindle editions, other than a thumbnail for online browsing? When you download, you get a poorly contrasted black and white washed out version of your original coloured design, which does no favours to any conception you might have had. There is of course no need for spine or back cover artwork either. Of course one could go to other e-service providers and maybe retain the integrity of the cover design. But what would be the point?

In the same way, perhaps more so, that I couldn't come up with 10 album covers, classical book covers also turn out to be less than precious. Kafka, Burroughs, Camus, anyone you care to mention are forever being reissued in new editions with different covers each time. My Penguin Classic Camus, all have covers bearing artwork not commissioned for the book, paintings by Magritte, Picasso and Masson merely offering some tangential relationship to the title. All my Salinger paperbacks were in an edition from 30 years ago, where the covers were just plain silver-grey, unadorned by anything but title and author name. My "Catcher In The Rye" recently fell apart from old age, so I replaced it and the cover is now some red and white combo, with a black strip for the calligraphy. It really doesn't matter a jot.

Book covers may once have mattered when browsing in a bookshop, but now? Kindle certainly places no value on them. And yet I would be loath to stop working with book designers and graphic artists and give them my commissions, because to me the cover is part of the book qua artefact. I love what the designers bring to the table. Exactly what is being eroded by the trend towards e-versions. Maybe one day my modern-day majuscules can be read on an e-reader. But until then, I will continue to strive to place part of the book's conception and creativity upon its cover(s).

Just for the record, here is my facvourite album cover of all time. But it would have made for a dull article as a chart of one.

The Cure - "Three Imaginary Boys"

Thursday, 9 June 2011

Reading Between The Lines - FridayFlash

Your deportment plumb-line straight I note

Every detail of you traced in my mind like a line drawing

How the lines of experience crisscross your face like a delta of dried up tributaries

Your aquiline lineaments pressed, recessed and shrouded into geological strata

Parallel lines, fault lines

Hard lines on a hard life

Contour lines countenancing

A fish caught on a longline with abated breath.

Once set early in your timeline

A ton of lines given to the pipsqueak, seeking to press all rebelliousness from you like a juice reamer, until the pips squeak

Lined up outside the headmaster's office to await further correction

His three-line whip cubed as cat o'nine tails

Laying it on the line, thick with a trowel

Trying to make you toe the line

To tread the line of least resistance

A life lived by tramlines

Guidelines on a leash

The pre-written storyline awaiting your signature on the dotted line

You learned pretty fast to draw your own line in the sand, one which saline tears could not efface

Your base camp baseline

Your shored up shoreline

A line which no one could cross

Without battle lines being drawn up

Alignments, geometric and confederate

Lines of attack, lines of asymmetry

Front line salients and invulnerabilities

You hole them plumb beneath the plimsoll line with your low blows and rabbit punches

Blindsided sightlines, they wanted to believe in you

Clotted lines of command, they were desperate to follow you

Everywhere lies behind enemy lines

To all bar you, piercing clarity as to your throughline

Crystalline clear conscience

Borderline psychotic

Preternatural cunning, ley line intuitiveness

The lines you fed your allies

The consummate actor who knows his lines like the back of his hand

And the life lines on the palms to boot

Friends bought your command performance hook, line and sinker

Until you would extend them no further lines of credit

And their lifelines ran out

Over-extended supply lines

As you cut the line on them

You lined them up for execution

They withered and perished in the line of 'friendly' fire

Still crediting themselves acting in the line of duty

Corpses and carrion picked clean all along the line

Flatlined them flat broke

As you lined your pockets with dead men's silver, your neck ringed with their gold teeth

For you the bottom line is all

Somewhere along the breadline the penny dropped for these paupers

And they drew a line under their misery

Disinclining ever to become ensnared in your traplines again.

Down the abandoned line

The decline set in

As your waistline spread

Your sleek aerodynamic lines

No longer streamlined by toned sinew

As your self-discipline dissipated

Once your rush of adrenaline could no longer be maintained

Unable to bear the loadline of your thrill seeking

Putting your life on the line time after time

Nor through the lines of cocaine you snorted

The amphetamines you mainlined

Pipelined direct to your hardened heart

The sclerotic arterial lines

The body's looming deadline

Life's killer punchline

But just so we don't have our lines crossed, there can be no misunderstanding

You bust my bloodline as unforgivingly as my noose bursts the blood vessels in your face

My aborted lineage terminated by you

Ushered prematurely across the finish line into death

Now it is you I have dangling at the end of my line

Hoist on a gantline

Plunging neckline put in, rather than on the line

Gasping, hissing down your hotline to the devil

Your new line manager for eternity

He stands second in line behind me, for the defilements I will wreak

On-line with my camcorder streaming your pain to the world

Maybe a headline in tomorrow’s newspapers

Before your very permanent deadline


618 words, 86 lines, 85 'lines' (1 phonetic)