The Master of Rituals

his floorboarded bones are rusty nailed jointed

unoiled and wrapped in stiff wads of coiled rags

arms incorrectly angled end with scuffed knuckles

woodsmoked fingers and pipe tar bittendown nails


he is racked with medieval torture pains

a brickly arched back is nauseously slime coated

mortared graveyard teeth set in crooked abandonments

behind methylated breath-fumes his misty arcane eyes dwell


one legged he shuffles with a fossilised slum dweller ambiguity

his inner tinnitus voices weep through welted tunnelled scars

the castellated storms that rage around his corridors of power

stalk death with every eerie echoed clack of his knotted stick


and the castle children taunt:

“rotten leg!

rotten spine!

ya! ya! Barquentine!”






(ooh a little darker. Those moments when the pitch black tunnel of self-doubt opens its ugly jaws and begs you to enter and be damned but you fight back and say no! It might only last a moment, it might last some a lifetime. I had half a mad gothic mind on Mervyn Peake’s Gormenghast novels. Steerpike, Flay, Swelter, Barquentine, Fuchsia. Haunting their way through the castle story en route to their individual tragic endings).