“A part wants to break away from the other part. The part that wants to break away claims a different culture. How many cultures make the whole. Who are the true people from the part that wants to break away and the true people from the part that believes in the whole.| My flash fiction, Jitters, at Litro today. Chosen for Flash Fiction Friday.

(image: Frank Moth)

The Street of Lamps


In Madrid there is a street called the street of lamps. It is called the street of lamps because they sell many lamps. It is also a street with cold floor cafe with sawdust and old medieval style damp alleyways with flowerpots on the balconies. I sat there, in the cafe, after wandering the street of lamps and wrote the above. It is part of my new book of prose poems and flash fictions entitled  The Green Monk.



Another childhood micro story. From my novel manuscript The Autobiography of Don Whiskers.

A micro tale of a six year old boy from Northern Ireland in London in the early 80’s. He is always unlatching the gate and singing songs in old English pubs along the river. He is a pub storyteller. Everyone loves his wiggle.





Folk surrealism. Experimental electronic. Magical realism. Immigrant stories. Outsider art. A journey!!

A collaboration between UK musician Stephen Emmerson and Madrid-based writer and performer Marcus Slease.

Available over at Bandcamp:



(album cover by outsider artist Grzegorz Wroblewski)



The Grand Tour, back in the day, we based on John Dewey and experiential education, at least partially. It was also based on ideas of high culture, and the lack of it in England. Also class and privilege, since mostly it was some aristocratic females and of course upper class males. Get out of the classroom and experience your culturally rich education. Come back to England and show it off with your culturally rich mind and artefacts to prove you have been there, on the continent, and have become a gentleman, or in some cases a noble lady.

Of course a dose here and there of so called high culture is fine. I also like the idea of experiential education. But not The Grand Tour. The Grand Tour evolved into a kind of package holiday, a list of famous sites to see, take a selfie, and tick the box.

The experiential is not separate from the imagination. Science is finally catching up, at least partially, with the science of the mind in the east. And also the imagination. The imagination can also be swallowed up by measures and testing. The ultimate enlightenment masculine dream of control (e.g. the idealisation of science).

Wallace Stevens understood this. And after him John Ashbery. Both influenced in varying degrees by Surrealism and Romanticism. It is the interplay of so-called reality and so-called imagination. But, as usual, we are naturally bi-polar as a species, swinging from one extreme to the other. But that’s OK. Sometimes we find nice interplays. We need an out there and in here to bounce off each other. When one loses touch with the other, we lose our grounding. This goes for dry scientific reasoning and objectifying and measuring everything, as well as imagination without any grounding in the everyday.

Stevens wrote, “The imagination loses vitality as it ceases to adhere to what is real… There are degrees of the imagination, as, for example, degrees of vitality and, therefore, of intensity. It is an implication that there are degrees of reality. ”

Yes there is Naples, all fine and dandy, but there is also NAPLES! And the Naples of one influences THE OTHER NAPLES! There are many Naples. Why try to limit yourself to just one. The one that was prepackaged for you.

Imagination, it seems, is being downplayed in education. Science and technology, and of course the world of buying and spending, are numero uno. We need imagination. Maybe we need to become more like children (not actually children maybe). Maybe that is one of the cures for what is ailing more and more. At least, that’s what I have found!

The ultimate travel involves the active imagination. It is very powerful, and many children, before it is drilled out of them, travel freely from place to place.What is travel anyway? The actual movement of the body from one place to another? Perhaps. But you can also travel alone around your room. See A Journey Around My Room by Xavier de Maistre. And also many others!










NOMADIC SURREALISM, the spirit of the bathtub

When Ewa and I first arrived in Madrid, Christian Pérez, his wife Megan, and their son Oscar welcomed us. Showed us around their neighbourhood of La Latina, lollies and neighbourhood festivals with sweet meats, up on their rooftop terrace, an introduction to mighty fine Spanish olives, wine, and cheese. And much much much more. They are great friends!!

Christian is a terrific musician, so versatile and expansive and curious with his instrument, it is more than an instrument, both Ewa and I love attending his performances. One of the first ones we experienced, and experienced is the right word, it is fully immersive, you feel it with your whole body, expansive, was at the old tobacco factory, a kind of network of cave street art and music, a lively place, and Christian and other musicians collaborated with dancers, improv, the dancers moved in and out of the instruments, around them like snakes, slithering and bendy, it was all very sensual, and also beautiful.

Last Sunday, 3rd June 2018, Christian played some terrific improv/free jazz with some visiting avant-garde musicians from Canada, Francois Carrier and Michel Lambert, and it was a spaceship, my pineal gland was vibrating.

The concert was at Cafe El Despertar, one of my very favourite places in Madrid for experimental music, tons of pictures of various legendary jazz musicians on the walls, and the room for concerts is intimate and cosy, there is direct interaction with audience and musicians, a nook.

At the beginning of their second set, Christian invited me on stage to read my balloon poems, from my latest book The Spirit of the Bathtub, an improv collaboration with these stellar musicians. It is just what the doctor ordered, feeling that energy, something larger than small mind self, by the time I started the second poem I was letting go, feeling the hula hoop, it is the best kind of nomadic travel. I am still riding those waves!

jazz poster madrid 3rd June 2018