A drunk canvas

A Drunk Canvas
René Adams
3,430 words

Wolf grow me a hangman.

And when we reincarnate we’ll be dust just the same lover. So to violent tomorrow, and the light bleeding through a purple pashmina hung over knackered blinds. Somewhere in time. Making the light just so. Creating your body, that day, that night, that time.

The shades shuffle cards. They pull one out. The Queen is eyeing the Joker. And no-one has any limbs undancing. The shades and I, slam it down on the table. Red nova flesh. And so many miles under many lives, the world is still, and we say sacred words. Not alight by the extortion of a polluted sky.

The aeons are not cruel, yet, they are always wild, lassy says, as we swim.

Now the Sphinx will turn its head around 360°, and I am left still more impressed with silence. And down here where birds have names, but no reflections, each day rolls down a canine tooth reddy, and each and every now and then, they chat among the night.

And finally the slightest of music, and in, several bodies beginning to form in perfect open space. An eye socket opens, a few miles in all directions, like a giant porcelain bowl, painted with the intricate maps that a spider creates for shades to follow.

The aeons in their endless hymns and tricks dance, in and out of our lives, where a dog turns into a saint in the rain beside his owner, where a magpie flies past a lamp-post as you’re deciding whether or not to howl or laugh. So with Daedalus gropes in space, an eye lowers down into a great socket, already turning through all years, as a curious vixen does, out-running blood-vulgar vermin on horse-back, that even vermin look down upon, and feel proud not to be tethered by such debasement of spirit.

Then gravity had scent, at long last, then red horizon tries to bust through the window of a sleepy worker somewhere in East London, pawing his skin to move with day. The aeons chit-chatted forever in a glance, and continued to connect sinew with pain upon bone upon blood upon organ upon adipose tissue… And all the things that can make a single twin glow. The Vitruvian androgynae reached out into the aeon shadows, as they created it, not in violence, but in dance, Asking: “Which waltz shall Nevernight be today my kin?”

To which the aeons of course did not reply. But welcomed the being’s audacity to dance before being whole. And besides, the bricks are whole, the night is whole, and it is only the aggressive few, who fight. Then the slick lines of tormented evolution twisted around the being’s body, making the warping hands speed in operation, as if excited by something terrible: the design, the siege, the play, the joke they had in mind. Now, the lonely drifter’s body began to curl into a ball of cold nova, contorting in pain once more, unable to dance, unable to understand the first stanza of a burning opera.

Now being hurdled through each trajectory, and through each singing death, the aeons sent their clay man through space, as even it, inside its several hearts, began to split, and laugh too, as it was re-incarnated and killed many times in each breath. A Siamese swan diving through infinite water, where all animals split, all animals march, and down through several throats, phosphagen life runs down. Enemies swap clothes, and silhouettes get down dirty in old photographs.

Although below all this speechless gravity… In perfect sync beside a graceful couple celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary, putting the dust of apathy and hate to shame, the being- now two, burst through the first outer layers of a small planet’s hemisphere, bayonetting, across the night, onyx rocks, red and blue, through mind and consequence, arms by the side head first, where a high laughing gutter howl could be heard, by all listening! Especially a tired worker in Estonia pouring a drink, especially a fox in Northumberland waiting for his wife to come home.

And with a deep wound on her hind leg, where she had just escaped a pair of hound jaws moments before, Pahnyetta, vixen, darting ghost, finally started to slow down, feeling both humour and death near her bones on the moors, so, like all knowing animals do, she decided not to spend her last moments in chaos, and face her hunters with joy. A high horn sounded from behind the dogs, as several lepers on horse-back, without the legs to run themselves, called upon the hounds to stop mauling the vixen, so not to miss the show.

The comets landed a few hundred miles apart, both burning, standing, and moving out from their craters as two brothers. They both seemed to be on an island, that moved below their feet as they walked. The common aeon wager was to create the final beings, or: Homo-ordo, “those which were the last”, and to throw them back again and again, to see if their dance could make them laugh any harder. The Estonian man blinked, as he downed his third glass of home-made Vodka, and the mate of Pahnyetta blinked, walking out from the entrance of their set.

A Northerner wished he was on holiday. He finished work for the day and wished just that. He didn’t mind so much years on that his lass left, or that he was walking softly into madness, as, as the madness came, he danced harder in the night. He almost broke it once. He almost said in bitter tongue: “No, I cannot see any reason to dance, no, I cannot see any reason to javelin this thigh”, like a melting Golem waltzing back home. The Giro’s shook as they arrived through the letter box, as the alcohol made his hands shake, like drunken hummingbird wings. Thursday.


Pete, or Mad Pete, chucked in the toilets.

And all the academic stories about the life of fiction splashed from his mouth and no-where near the bowl. The same way that whales decorate the sea with their own songs, and flies in darkness make love near the flushing sound of distant villages and the beer that rats drink in glorious memory of great monarchs smashing bottles of champagne against gentle war ships.

The man gave out a small guttural cry. Which he hoped, and was past caring if anyone heard.

And like all Foxes, Vulpes vulpes! Shy rhythm hunting bright dance across the moor, the new children of the aeons walked in and out of each, never needing lips to smile, since their God always smiled in their teeth when cornered. Pahnyetta politely danced away from each new lunge of jaw, even though she knew that the circle of dogs and hunters was closed. So, she wished her moxie to be the last thing that her trappers would see. Her husband wept as he darted across the moors, unable to tell why he was doing what he did so, and then knowing, beginning to screech, in a din that made even the moon yell.

The brothers of the comet, still impaled without sentience, as ghosts before flesh, seeped in and out from every dream. They pondered over the drunken men and women, delighted in filth and beauty, and tried to balance beyond themselves why the aeons had created them. They flew over the desert sea, the hard loving sky-scrapers, where people eloped from sanity – for a time – on desks, homes, ramshackle glowing, the electronic forts inside binary songs, and over a damn still being built, where several beavers occasionally licked the rain from their whiskers, and continued with their work.

Where Vittiena, silent rouge wanderer, and the entirety that dying and birthing foxes both go and come from, landed down, front paws then hind, in the icy grass. Gracefully in-front of their endless stroll. The animal God stared up at the giants, by the river, wondering if they could see her twitching, which of course they could, before and after she came to ask favour. “Are you… You are not!” She said virulently, thinking that she had seen all things, from all places, on all plains… “Foxed one…” “Foxed Two…?” The brothers said looking at each other dumbly, still trying to decipher themselves from ether and matter.

(Where Vittiena, without so much song my beloved. This nose we share. This scent we share. I hate the way you bump your hind into the left of our fox-hole, making the dust dance, each time you come home, just to annoy me. Hate the way your canines remind me off life. Hate your Autumn filled coat. Making my fur smell of us. As you needn’t tell me it is winter my beloved, I am cold too, until I run with you in my limbs, and I know, that we are one animal)

“Ohhh you! You dumb beasts! Here this! Ohhhh!” Vittiena said in anguish, having seen the glitch in the spectrum, and racing towards it to see if they could aid her and her kin. She showed her teeth, shooting as many vulgarities as she could, skipping to and fro, trying to translate her plea into utterances that the spectres might understand.

Then, as if there are no fowl dances, only masquerades in each season, the comets which were now men, faced each other, and began to walk back from each other, begging that their small friend join with their steps, “I cannot! I cannot! I have come to you that I may ask- AH!” Vittiena said, beginning to walk in

So where a shade below black turns and steps near the base of the moors, three gods waltz in a circle, and no one can tell among the light who is who! And which way the delirium turns… The brothers began to walk in a ∞, before breaking it, and letting Vittiena leap across the flame they had created for her to speak, having only learnt the most basal modes of communication, albeit, all that was required.

And she leapt through the flames. Transforming at different times at the apex of the heat, changing one way into Pahnyetta, as the vixen called upon her God, and the other way, as her husband who ran towards her, hearing the sound of madness in his ears, already so far beyond blood, ran to lassy across field.

“Can you see? Can you see?” Vittiena finally said, landing down and panting as the fire extinguished and the distant brothers stopped dancing.

Their heads leaned this way and that, still many millennia away from understanding completely, but, aware that the Fox God’s heart pleaded for something. So, unknowing… They looked up into the stars and asked each twitch of light in the gale, what they could do in this instant, to grow, to learn, to ask the fermenting mode of the universe, which they felt may be melancholy, what they could do, to make it vitalic.

Pete dreamt of lassy. She wasn’t as she was, or, was not here. One of the old creole tales that his uncle had told him, in the same mixed North-East dialect that came across like a foreign slur of words trying to remember a distant world, was how the: Jãh-teh-fah.

A daemon that come to you boy… Ha! After a lover had left you. The Jãh-teh-fah always hungry, and could only be fed by this particular type of sorrow. And worst of all, the daemon would turn into the image of your lover whilst you dreamt, and pull even more teeth from your mind in this way, savaging both memory and present, although, not being her.

I died a little when that fella went.

I bet he’s still selling that crap to the angels.

And I open the weekend. Say Bavaria. Hey. Here’s to you fella, next one’s on you.

“Know that the Jãh-teh-fah may come Petey, and, you must know that this is only dream. We, as before told me, pass this on, so that you will know which is real, and which is not.”

But Mad Pete’s night was a slumber in a dirty room, dirtier than all the gutter
faucets of the world pouring at once, into a drunken and slobbering mind, where, like a heavy rock being swallowed by many tendrils, and even sadder, making him burp and smile at the same time, floating down past Pluto, goodbye denizen one, hello to the damn-cats howling in alley heat, he realised, that even this, even this repeated tale from his dead senile uncle, this fiction, this old dog wandering in and out of each room, this Jãh-teh-fah, was at least, some company, throughout the night.

Vittiena felt her time move away from the strange beings near the river, and made the choking and screeching of a fox calling for help, walking away, smiling in crimson dusk, dresses by night to slay light, and back into darkness. She said one thing, a name, as she disappeared. She howled the same name that a near-by vixen howled before death, the name of her mate, which is hard to hear, only, the name that he replied, across the moors, heart becoming coal, a reply, knowing that his mate would be with Vittiena soon-


Where there were only two beings on the planet who resonated in the same way, in the same waterfalls and ruptures of melodic light, transpiring and warping the damns open.

And if Jãh-teh-fah felt like being as lucid as Mad Pete’s ole lover, she would, and if Jãh-teh-fah felt some foreign pain in the moors behind where he slept, she did, happy to bring blood into an awful dream, the same way that a Fox runs into a maelstrom of hounds and horsed bile
threatening to kill them all if they don’t depart from his lass
in awful screams
that already make the dogs laugh! Although
to die
for you
what else
am I here for?

and to ask Vittiena
to join with him beloved
we’re west and east lover, yet
lets sing away
in dancing light.

Or at least, that’s how this bloody awful poem began, making Petey wake, and wonder around dressing himself half in the half chimeras in his bed-sit walls. Half jeans being pulled on, and knackered black converse dragging him towards the havoc in the base of the moors…


monarch butterflies and 2017
and the damsels are lions
this garden is
days inside
an orchid dog ribcage day
and winter bye bye blues lover
it’ll be made from blood-bone time, this song
passing out as my knuckles crack
in smokes
organs opened
by heavy pulse
by teeth: jettison shouts, public screams, and a name


All of my silhouettes make all the suns, and all of my bruises grow bones
in thistle fence crowns, these moments, of madness, so much more real
than a world inside a poem

Thy sly drone from the planets!
make fierce attempts
to be both bagpipe and howl
my horizon stare

Such befouling lives spring from my own tongue!
my relationships are animalised scent, where
Hylas is taken in by the bone white form of
such tree limbs swaying in darkness, yet
my verse is a beer belch, and nothing of the sort
makes an Autumn cellar, lesser its cellar, only the yarns and ale
stronger each year!

So where the river departs from darting city, her knife
my eye, my train seat rolling jogging, I think of the same things
as all men do, as I am with the perfect scent of your bust
and the edifice of all living, and growth
i jog back down to the moors, where moxie flies!
and mist is only the fisherman’s net, that breaks open by striking blade

Eventualities of blood, the height, the smell
the rabid copulation that created us into buffoons, and
how may I introduce myself, dear lover, without a howl?

As my tongue is edifice to longing parlay, I
boom boom boom, lights a crimson laughter ray
so much so that, we are not the jeering lip, but the poems
that only calm madness can swell

So I swear gently, move eternity as I sway sat
fire boon tragedy blinking, more like where
our spiral mouths fed each other

I wrote hard into winter
my gusto so hard and heavy
that it made you so howl-

-Siren love, siren silk, siren black
our limbs the battered autumn branches that
pollinate the wind and family, yours
knowing that I am filth inside poetry, so
we dance so easy, our seas both swallowed
our bones still moaning in the luminescent dusk
we both eating at sun love
how lucky
our guts are!

The night can go either way
i drool upon havoc awakening
slide my hello to lightening
walking into the wailing fellows ahead, where
all that creole junk
is the hymn I sing low to myself.

As if needing a specific song to fight, as if needing a specific landscape to live, Petey scraped through the undergrowth of the moors, cutting his inner thighs on chicken wire as he climbed, and face, as he landed on broken glass from littering scabs. This. Was a good night for him. Somewhere low, there was a light pushing him on, like a dead rhino chasing a circle of horses and

A sly poem came
it laid upon a bad tongue
and said what it would

Hounds. He saw two comets departing across the sky. He smiled on his back. Nose broken by his own drunkenness. Heart healthy by his own blood, but the sound, the sound, the sound…

Each time he wanted to close his eyes and agree that he was insane with the night, a terrible sound made them open. It was a sound from only a few hundred meters away. The same sound he heard his dog make when he walked by a dog fight in a garage, and lassy was yelping, same place he received the scar from the top of skull, down nose, through lips, where he scooped her up, and cast the beggar’s spell, which is: “Slash my face, but this one’s coming with me”, lost top front teeth, making it out to a local bus stop with her, before he collapses, and a mixture of foreigners, locals, drunks, friends, brothers, strangers, and shadows say: this bloody man has made it out. If you come near… If you come near…

Normally the moor-walk, the way lumping heaves of legs and smokes into the blackless horizon, would bring Petey stillness. He dragged himself forwards bloody, watching a strange corral of horse arses trotting in the dark grass of the fields. And like a naked fool calling out tanks and suns, Pete shouted at the horse arses stamping around, tearing up the field in soft thunder on the moor.

Although, if honest, looking up at the pulsing stars, it would be better for it to end like this, since, two melting orchids are dancing like a double helix.

Ha! Vittiena, I’ll find you across the moors, don’t worry! I’M NOT BLIND, all the bets I flick on the click clack machine are bust, roulette Janis, roulette Pahnyetta, et, Jãh-teh-fah, and the sun slivers down the cheek of a days.

So-that no drifting dance, is met without chorus!

Those-those, havoc suns! Drunker than me! Thy battalion of fools! The sun never dies in a drunken heart! The heart never dies in a drunken fool! …and the only ghost that contorts like we do just has too many days, they disperse the long windmills turning white knives of fuel in the wind. Could just make the horse arse move like yours. Could paint away this life… Could buy a comet in this canvas. Spit- Reminder reminder. Never paint on Halloween, never speak with Jãh-teh-fah, never use words where skin will do, as the paint exchanges, and all comets are bust.

I walk out from the gents toilets. It’s the same as it was before. So strange, no one has turned them into a painting, so changeless 5.30pm we’ll call it. Or the first heart attack of a horizon. Depends which day you are. Just seen Mad Petey and some tossers painting! He was there! There was a bunch of other dudes too! You couldn’t make it out!

But there were these mornings.

And I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but the best of times are always in the morning.

It’s no puzzle.

The ape inside us is more than a song.

Took me a long time to learn that.



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