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‘Richard concluded his argument, after an hour’s kind condescension in the shadow of the Arc de Triomphe, with a sincere ‘C’est la vie’ that Robert would just have to accept. A flash of Napoleonic fury followed, a chase, and Richard sped away, at a brisk but even walk, down the Champs-Élysées.’
First published in The Mechanics’ Institute Review, July 2017.
‘It was only the desire to ignore the fear of death that cemented him to the valley: the death of knife-jacking buses; the death of border capture; death under torture; death in the unknown. Death lit him under spotlight in the belly of the boat. Everywhere was death.’
First published in Litro, January 2017.
‘The crowd is typically torn-shirted and jack-booted, ritualistically colliding with each other, conkering smaller Mohawks out of the clearing. All heads, all elbows – the entity revolves around itself, crashes into itself, destroys and rebuilds itself like an asteroid belt. Bored lumps of rock pumped full of energy and desperate for contact, impact of any kind.’
First published in Disclaimer, January 2017.
‘Gilbert (the object of my spite, my idiot spouse) is hunched over his typewriter, scribbling in the open novel beside him, muttering indistinctly something like “bollocks, bollocks, bollocks”…’
First published in The Ham Free Press, pp.63-65, December 2016.
‘The orchestra is tuned, the portraiteers are crowded around their canvases, the thespians are already wittering their monologues – this will be Zakopane’s greatest performance and here, crowning its peak with a final pot of Mikado-yellow, the set-designer is descending from his ladder to timid applause.’
First published in The Jellyfish Review, November 2016.
‘‘There she goes,’ called Luis over the crest of a wave, and he was right – there she went, old Mexico trailing as a short strip of horizon beside them, looking almost benign from here, from this distance. A yelp or two from the other boys-on-boards, separated now by the rhythms of the Pacific. The morning rose equally above them all.’
First published in Disclaimer, May 2016.
‘…it was only in reach of this barefoot individual Arab, this “Aziz al-Addin” (forever pleased with the assonance of his own name): history-swept wanderer passing daily-drunk amongst the strangers of East and West Jerusalem, too blind to further distinguish secular Arab from the darker shades of Yid, humming half-forgotten liberation melodies under the vodka on his breath.’
First published in Disclaimer, January 2016.
‘The Dy Alt Welt symphony could be linked only to my own feeling of home drawing me towards memories of the Jordan Valley: its rich woodland which I had explored with no fear, its village communities that I had shared in and internalised, and the house of my grandfather. I convinced my family with poetry, and brought my father’s suitcase back to the study where I had found it.’
First published in The Nottingham Review, September 2015.
‘It might be any other objet-d’art of typical kibbutz trash, but it cannot be. It is the epicentre of this space, a crack of colour amongst the grey. In it she finds an image from a nightmare she has already forgotten, shining ambiguously from a chink in herself.’
First published in Sonder, July 2015.
‘It is still unclear as to how Monsieur Lebeau came to hate the building at 33 rue de Nostalgie. It has crouched innocently at the edge of the harbour square for at least three hundred years, squatting there in the coastal sunlight with its timber sagging slowly towards the water: a simple structure, inoffensive to its neighbours, even betraying a little humble flair.’
First published in Spontaneity, 2015.
‘…there would be no toy cars, no pyjamas or pogo-sticks. What I wanted was a stack of uncles — more precisely Uncle Bobby, Uncle Jack and Uncle Nicholas in ascending order. I was about to turn six. My mother tried to appease me with a trip to Scarborough. It would have to be the uncles.’
First published in Spelk, April 2015.
‘Most nightclubs are marked by a grand opening, fliered, noticed as the doors are first unlocked. Not the Birdcage. By the time it reached the desk of Lonely Planet, a disaster report had already landed in the Prime Minister’s lap (a little known story: he spilt an entire bowl of cereal onto his favourite pyjamas the morning that he heard a Tel Aviv nightclub was responsible for the disappearance of twenty-six Jews, seven Arabs and an entire squadron of the Mishteret Yisrael).’
First published in Storgy, December 2014.