California, things I have learned so far

Kooks may be smuggled in

Peak experience is just a bob down-river at Andrew Molera

The 5 roars all night

Never drop in on Sarlo or that other old guy

Not to feel too bad about driving a 2-litre car

Velo hangs in Morro Bay shop rafters

The health food labyrinths of Santa Cruz have no Minotaur at their heart, only granola

Anza Borrego moonlit pales against suburban hikes

Home is a painted memory

Cars have grilles as big as buses, yet buses are empty

Cool longboarders have tattoos

Esalen is super free, so long as you pay

Only the very poor or healthy walk

20 Ventana Wilderness miles in rainbows hurts

Declarations of political allegiance are made by bumper sticker

Bull elephant seals are as big as bulls

Hermetically-sealed existence breeds paranoia

The biggest fucking loser in surfing is a Four Mile local, 48

Piss bottles are a gritty but integral aspect of van living

Making shit yourself feels better

The Meat factory

Moments before demise
An intervention
The transposition swift
Man chicken
An alchemical
Interchange of souls
The chicken, suspended by claws
On the abbatoir line
Suddenly heads a boardroom
Trapped in a fat
Shades away from
heart attack
Eyeballs become beady
Meanwhile, floors below
The startled CEO
Is bound
Ahead a rack of
And death
Behind a still-live
Battery line


This automatic flesh
Endless limbs and limbs
Concrete bodies
Sagging seams
Weighed down like weary sacks
Mutely groping
At the receding backs
of dreams
Drawn tight or
Drained in
unpursed folds
Ventricular prisons
schisms of the corpse
Wrapped wholesale
In hope
Leached, beached
Soaked in the opaque
Blood of the march
Matchstick arms
Utopia on trial
The hell-lit face
Of gravity's smile
Grinning at
The gate
Those nimble eyes
Fevered eyes
Rapid dilations
Some symbolic rhythms
In the gorepit
Bowel of earth
Sin songs
Rebirthed as law
Toweled through the teeth
Of chatelaines
The walking, being dead
Routed morals
Flee the farce
This bloody fate
This wretched dance
And who now?
To Ford this flooded world
Parse these broken limbs
Conjoin this weary flesh
Wherein our Salvation?
Youthful dreams
Hoax of freedom
Tarrying amongst the
The discordant
damned to dally
In endless toil
And tally
The spoil of commerce
Free Trade
A bountiful phrase
This communocapitalist
And you missed the gravy train
Missed the chance
To sit amongst the
The wisdom of the rich
An insane Insane
we choke
On pure intentions
Salvation for
My generation
A departed hope

Some shops have been kind enough to stock the KooK - Shelter, Thalia, Almond, Surfy Surfy, Mollusk SF so far. The Kook, Alex and I, are very grateful for the support. Kook II is a distinct likelihood for Winter 2010...
Keeper of keys

The old fugitive
Of road tales
Now forgotten
Songs of the wayside
A teller
Tinker of the wildland
Of the free forest
Composer of
Unpublished, unheard
Scum they tag him
Waster, freak
Softly he Speaks
Without prompt
A crisp memory
Of snow-fed
Brittle dreams
Of mountain passes
Threaded seams
Lunar man
Thinker of little
No-mind explorer
Gleaner of much
Walker of blacktop
Before that
Knower of forest heights
Silent plateaus
Of the mind
And uplands
Outcast they call him
And vagabond
Another that fell
Through the cracks
Was damned
Bather in Klamath
The keeper knows death
In complicated dreams
He arrives
To prompt a shudder
On remote sand
Under bridges
Refuses to abscond
Mazed in by
Forest thickets
A believer
That this
Confuddled by cars
The logic of money
This, spread sheets
Pocket change
The sum of evolution?
Instead he departs
Once more for
The path
Holder of knowledge
Keeper of keys
Dreamtime scholar
Bagman they call him
Desert the
Sacred holder
Of birdsong
Plant lore
Ancient structures
Now hogtied
By strictures
Stitches across
The brow of the earth
Decorations garish
All our manifold
Baubles of
To beautify?
To improve?
The keeper
In disgust
Rubs polluted soil
Worn palms
Then gone
Dissipated with the wind
Disintegrated under light
Evaporated into air
Come nothing
And with his loss
Goes ours
With his loss goes ours

Bu is a scientific term used to describe a twisted human experiment - perfection and total chaos

You know what I want to be? A human seaweed slasher

Kelp Fiction
He rolled into town with the tail-end of a week long west. He’d been surfing the North County out in the emptiness, bull kelp and big sky. A strong north wind helped him in, blowing against the ample backside of The Wreck, making it like a sailboat skimming along the cracked highway. Out where the land disintegrated the bluffs and the immortal kelp made the ocean glass, he came to a stop in a parking lot with a perspective far down the coast, a point sweeping away to the north giving shelter. Elephant seals lay lumpen and huge on a haul-out, at times tossing their heads to provide a fanfare of strangled barks. He cracked a window and sniffed the air, smelled cedar and marijuana and dust.
The Wreck was just about the last thing binding him to this earth. It kept him moving from one free park to another and much as he hated the noisy old vessel, always fearing it would turn on him for the times he’d cursed it, right now it was home and still it would be until it choked the last rattle. Maybe then he’d die with it and they’d both go off to some forlorn junkyard and be crushed together, oil and blood. He noted similar wrecks in the lot as old surfers came to the shore, to be reborn anew each time, blessed no matter the malignancy of the land.
It was an average sort of day with the odd one running and the crowd had dwindled to a few. The sort of day that drew the long-termers dialled into the intricacies of the coast and the ebb and flow of the crowd. Tuned into the sferics they’d emerge, like some nascent kahunas, riding off invisible oceanic sense far greater and more experiential than the weather map. Perhaps it was a shift in the wind that drew them out, a micro-slide of pressure, some lengthening or intensification in the rhythm of the swell. There were surfers here, ocean people, as linked with the place as fishermen or sailors and equally cursed by the inevitable return to the stricture and structure of earth.
Three out the front on the pavement drew his eye and he kept his window down to hear them talk. They had dry hair and the air of old-timers going to seed - protruding bellies and one aged dog between them who was losing the gain in his hind legs. In the centre of the three was a somewhat familiar man, perhaps some surf star of a previous decade, and he held court with his cronies. A pattern emerged, seemed that the man would hold up the core of the narrative aided and abetted by his friends who would chime in with some affirmation or a throwaway slice of minor disagreement. They stood at the railings and he wondered just how often they’d stood there, in those precise footprints, as sopping wet kids through alpha males and now waiting for the right day, always waiting on land and sea, shooting the breeze for what it was.
He christened the speaker Troutface because of his often-open mouth. Of the other two, the ganglier he called the Elk and the third the Cop, for his bushy moustache straight out of some Highway Patrol stereotype. Troutface spoke with the pace of a veteran storyteller, his voice slightly hoarse, over-articulating his words. His dialogue was informed by what went on around the trio in the lot itself and, of course, out in the water. But if the action was insufficient, Troutface would weigh in with a: ‘Here’s one for ya, remember the time when…’ With the window down everything they said was audible, so he pushed his back into the worn fabric of the seat, hooked his arm up on the door-sill, and took it in.
Troutface: “There’s Kelp Bed Moyles streaking up the outside, look at that man go. You know how he got that name, Kelp Bed?” Both the other guys shake their heads but you bet they do. “I gave him that name back when he still rode a longboard the first time round.’ He paused for effect. ‘It was a big day, biggest day of the Winter.’ Therein the precedent for ten thousand surf stories. ‘Bigger then ’84, bigger than Steak’s wave from the lighthouse to the boardwalk, bigger even than Grey Whale.’ The other two guys are nodding their heads, they know where this is going but the Cop still breathes out some air at the mention of Grey Whale, the biggest set to cap on third peak with the shadow of a whale vertical within it. It was local legend, possibly bullshit.
‘So I turn up here at dawn, haven’t slept a wink because it’s just thundering in.’ and Troutface pounds his fist into his hand, gives a roar to indicate the building swell. ‘And it’s absolutely peaking, not a breath of wind. And the only other guy to show up, man, it’s Tony Moyles. Young Tony Moyles, barely graduated from the shoreline, toting a brand-new Hobie his rich uncle bought him. So what do we do?” He leaves the question hanging but it is insistently rhetorical. No matter who responds, we are gonna learn the answer.
“So I take the jump-off but Moyles won’t come out there and wait for a lull, he takes the stairs and makes the longest paddle wide. Now there are triple-overhead waves between the sets running through, waves swinging in from the south, monstrous wedges looming up outta the West but the real beasts are coming from some unknown direction a shade off North-west, standing up into giant bowls.”
“Like Superbowl Sunday.” Ventures the Elk, but Troutface swings right back in. “Like that but bigger and meaner.” All three nod in agreement, whether it’s true or not, worthy of some contemplation. “So I’m sitting out there, way outside, and when the sets come I can see Moyles taking his path. I’m waiting for one of the big ones, and I sit out twenty minutes or more, then I see some coming in. Just then Moyles makes it out, and he’s puffing and panting and doesn’t know which way to paddle.” Troutface is getting more animated.
Just then a lady walks by and all three curtail their mid-story expressions and adopt a serious look. The Elk takes his hat off and the lady smiles back at him. Chivalry isn’t dead, the Elk seems to be saying, just not practised. No sooner has she stepped beyond earshot than Troutface weighs back in.
“So I paddle for the biggest wave I ever saw out there, and ride it down through the middle, but the thing turns into a mountain of foam and I drift off the back. I look out to sea and there is Tony Moyles caught inside this Monster!” Now they are all laughing. “And Moyles doesn’t know whether to go out, or in, or try and ride it. In the end he makes a bee-line for the kelp, gets caught up in it something awful, and the damn thing just mows him down. Moyles loses his brand new board forever, ends up swimming in on the beach through ten foot shorebreak an hour later.” They wait, because that’s what they do. “That moment forth; Kelp Bed Moyles, man. Even his wife calls him that!” There’s a pause, then the Cop sparks up: “What did his uncle say?”
But Troutface and the Elk are gazing up the strip. “There goes The Rapist. New board, again. Everything you got, the Rapist needs one better. Boards, cars, women…” All three shake their heads at this, cast stern eyes on this individual. Then the Cop sparks up again: “You bet his wife doesn’t call him that!” And they all set to laughing once more and in his seat he cracks a smile.
Just then on the point one surfer drops in on another. The guy inside comes smoothly off the bottom and disintegrates the lip, the spray from his turn forcing the unknown drop-in off the back. The three nod their approval like judges. Troutface starts up again, like an engine. “Good genes. Best father-son surf team in town right now.” But the Elk has a rejoinder. “That’s only because Jetty Bill is away.” All three repeat it. ‘That’s just because Jetty Bill ain’t here.” Such is the stature of a local legend, the man in the Wreck thinks, enforced and reinforced and proven and reproven until just the name is infused with some incontrovertible power. He sees the shade of reverence come over the old guys, hears it in their tone.
A man with no teeth wearing a tinfoil hat staggers by. ‘Hey Metalhat,’ says the Elk. But the guy just ambles past, eyes dead, meth taking his soul. ‘Here’s one for you.’ Troutface, unaffected, to interrupt any hope of silence. “So, Bubba and Yosemite Joe are out at the Big Creek sawmill where Bubba works.” The Elk checks a fact. “Yosemite Joe, your cousin? Big guy with the big teeth?” “Naw, that’s Yosemite Mike, Yosemite Joe is a small guy always wears gloves.” “Ah” the Elk swivels his long neck, apparently satisfied with the response.
“They get this piece of solid redwood, on a tip from Bubba, for Yosemite Joe to carve a board out of it. Now Bubba gives him the tip and also, because of his job, he gets him a discount. Now Yosemite Joe heads off and makes this beautiful big plank into a board and sells it at auction for a thousand bucks to some Hawaiian! But he never gives Bubba his cut. So you’ve got these two guys, who’ve known each other forty years, and they aren’t even speaking.”
It’s not the greatest story, there isn’t much response. After a while of silence, the three guys meander on their way, this not being the day for them. He wonders if there is ever a day now, or whether the days are gone and the parking lot is the session, like the old dog with his back legs going. He shakes his head as if to clear the thought from his mind. Within a minute he is suited up, pulling a long and slender spear of a board from the Wreck. The tide has turned and, without having seen this place for years, he knows what that means. In the distance the three retreating forms, shadows, their words echoing about his skull as he descends the stairs and picks his way through the boulders. On the point the toothless man is silhouetted by the decline of the sun, rays reflecting off the odd little hat. He walks into the water, kisses goodbye to the land, sets himself free.

SLO. Stumbled upon Velo.

Big blisters and big sky. Ventana wilderness skin heirloom. ..

To make amends for this sickly trickle of digital fuckery I'm going to churn out a very small run of homemade analogue chapbooks. I had this thought after fumbling my Holga for a second time and killing another full film of memories. Unfortunately my real photographs are all at home, but it's a promise.

There is no surf in England. John Charging...

I'm writing a collection of short stories entitled A Dictionary of 26 Nothings with the intention to submit to the Scott Prize in early July. I'm over half way through already. If anyone would like to read and advise on any of the stories, I'd be stoked.

With big love from Big Sur

Antediluvian Press

Breakfast with Goya

Code Maradona

Deathsong of the Coming Night/Blind Heart


Factory Roadkill


Harmony Bleeding


Joe Colt Interviews the Stars

Kelp Fiction

Love Songs of a Hermit

Methuselah Dancing

Neukolln Dirty

Oregon Moonlit Overture

Pastor and the Beast (The Devil Makes Three)

Quaalude Highway


Sins of Our Fathers (Tito, Herzog and the Joseph Kony’s Lord’s Resistance Army)

The Solitary Crow



Whitebeak & Boogie

Xanadu/The Apple Tree

Yonder lies the sinner

Zum Bahnhof