When the Bird King died

When the Bird King died the world fell asleep. The clawed words he’d cawed from his craw scratched at our dreams.

When the Bird King died the trees shed their plumage amidst a sobbing storm.

When the Bird King died the shop window mannequins laughed and tore off their clothes.

When the Bird King died the kettles sang a tea-time dirge. The milk curdled in contempt.

When the Bird King died the sea and sky swapped places. A flock of fish shimmered over a coral cloud.

When the Bird King died the ants turned on the anteater, ate him from the inside out.

When the Bird King died the world fell under the yoke of Childhood. From whispering huddles, toddlers issued bloody decrees.

When the Bird King died leaves became flames. Forests were lakes of fire, from which scorched birds shrieked, falling upwards into clouds.

When the Bird King died fridges turned on their masters, guzzling the hand groping for butter, the fingers feeling for wine.

When the Bird King died the loners and losers and lovers became pupae. Everyone else fretted over the imminent mass metamorphosis.

When the Bird King died people wrote poems about daisychains and a girl’s eyes and I love you and life is short. They’d learned nothing!

When the Bird King died the world continued to turn. Trains ran on time. People died in wars. Old ladies farted in floral armchairs.


All texts on this site are the copyright of James Knight. All rights reserved.


Medusa Variations

1. Dreams
At twilight Medusa becomes a tree. Wracked branches grasp at the wind hissing through her leaves. She twists under mineral dreams.

2. Little Black Dress
Medusa queues to pay for a little black dress. She’ll knock ’em dead tonight. But, fearing mirrors, she’ll never know how she looks in it.

3. Humdrum I
In Medusa’s kitchen, the kettle hisses and spits. She sits at the table, buttering toast. Her eyes are stony, empty; her mind’s elsewhere.

4. Book
Medusa is turned into a book, bound in snakeskin. Left on the shelf for years, her pages yellow with age and envy, become brittle. Her secret words will never be read.

5. Mermaid
Medusa swims through the starless abyss, harpoon in hand, hunting. Her eyes are pearls, her hair a crown of gaping eels.

6. Alice
He glimpses the reflection of a coil of Alice’s hair as she darts between still white soldiers. In the frame of a mirror, she’s vulnerable.

7. Humdrum II
Medusa’s mother-in-law clucks over the baby, pecks his cheek. Afterwards, in the stony silence of the kitchen, Medusa plans a chicken roast.

8. TV
They sit in their millions, fixed by her stare.

9. Reflection
Lost in the Garden of Eden, Medusa chances upon what she takes to be a reflection of herself: a woman, ripe with sin, entwined by a serpent.


All of the texts on this site are the copyright of James Knight. All rights reserved.

Sylvia’s Eyes

Sylvia’s eyes make disastrous confessions. They glaze red then green then black. On Sundays they swim in a red currant sea, their currency bankrupt, ruptured and enraptured. Sylvia looks grimly through the window at the wino winnowing winsomely inside-out, and laughs with all her fight. At that moment the door enters with an excuse-me, sipping silver. What’s this annoying crackling noise? It seems to come from you or perhaps from Sylvia’s deadly aunties, who lie folded up at the bottom of her wardrobe. Their mouths are full of sausages and they hum in the night. A knight waves from somewhere far off – not me, you bastards! Yellow moments drip from bleak taps. Drip drip, your nose is gone. Which is all very well, witch is all very – well… which is not to say, knot to say, so difficult to say, I get tied up. The hanged man weeps and his cheeks burn with my shame.

This was never going to be a good idea. Try to concentrate, Sylvia. Try to concentrate ON Sylvia. So. Sylvia’s eyes are wormholes into the devil’s dreams, spy holes into squirrels’ foragings, dirt holes filled with sugar, spite, lies and full stops. Why all this crap about her eyes? Does a woman not have any other bodily features worthy of comment or cement? Poor Sylvia, with her hopeless unhoped-for eyes, with her eyes like smashed lightbulbs, with her eyes like laughing testicles, sits at last and finds a piece of god or cod stuffed into the cushion gratefully receiving her terrifyingly angular rump. She falls to prayer. As her words ascend, the disgusting hatch at the top of her head is thrown open and her internal organs attempt their escape. Her brain does not want anything to do with it, however. How wise!

Soon, Sylvia is a husk. But her eyes, her eyes, you should see her eyes, still open, still limply inky and languid and smoky like coffee and sex with strangers and regrets at 3am. Her eyes point at nothing, at you, at me, the person responsible for all this.

This is a piece of automatic writing, originally tweeted in manic haste a couple of evenings ago.

All texts on this site are the copyright of James Knight. All rights reserved.

Music into words

This evening, I listened for the first time to a piece of music called Realms by Adam Wimbush (who composed a brilliant piece for the Bird King recently). Whilst listening, I tweeted the words and images that Adam’s evocative piece put in my head. The exercise was like automatic writing, in that it was spontaneous and I had no opportunity to correct what I was writing as I went.

Below are the tweets, amalgamated and given headings (corresponding to the titles of the four tracks that comprise Realms) but otherwise unedited. Make of them what you will.

Realms can be downloaded FREE here.


Realm A (Rococo)

A silence, an almost nothing. Something moving, watery, deep, growing.

Then rains and something rasping. An electric falling, a collapse.

A small voice, plaintive, bird like, in the storm.

Hints of speech in yellow and black, nature’s danger colours.

Hammering hammering hammering in yellow and black, yellow and black.

Juddering fish.

Cut to an interior.

Your broken machines make milk, meat and faces. It’s close.

Can you hear the sea?

That nagging rhythm, sagging under the weight of water.

A beach – outside now – where the colours are gone. Metallic light on set sand.


Realm B (Under the re-plosion

A pause, a scene change.

The next realm is made of insects. They flutter & pullulate in my ear, in my hair, in my head.

Other things too, dropping from the sky. Machines or creatures.

I feel as if I’m being laughed at. The rhythm again, insistent, cold.

All the lines and graphs here look like words, a forgotten tongue. Peering closer, wasps in my ear.

An aluminium sheet covers a corpse.

A hive of industry, a nerve centre, a nervous centre of electrical buzzing.

Buzz buzz, metal wasps.


Realm C (The Permeated Anomaly)

Another breather. Another scene change.

The third realm seeps in like bad hypnosis, like a torrent, like light.

I can feel the wings of the mechanical birds as they flutter blindly across my forehead.

A voice chases them.

What are you saying?


Is that a gun? Why this furious activity?

Searchlights melt yellowing faces.

Then we’re processed. Their voices are indifferent. Orders, observations, conclusions.

Red light along the yellow and black lines.

What at first I took for a dialogue isn’t. Two hemispheres of one silicon brain exchange bursts of information.

Is this me thinking or you?

Finally we’re taken somewhere else. Units beep.

It grows dark.


Realm D (In Loquaciousness Lay Insanity)

One more realm. Under the waves, morse code.

People walk by, trying not to look at the chirping tangled angular shape hovering above us.

On the horizon, the sea is being hoovered up.

The chirp is not a message. Don’t listen: it will drive you mad.

The sea is gone. Look up: the sky is a mirror.

You look like an android.

Still that sense of being laughed at. The light goes again and the textures change underfoot.

Sonic beacons or will-o-wisps?

The sensation of sinking, very slowly. The hovering creature or contraption or phantom or god is still there, invisible but felt.

Being sucked into it, engulfed by it. Lunatic loops.

The brain of god is a cloud of insects.

Cold cooperation, metallic harmony, glazed eyes.

In the brain of god there is something like a thought or an idea or something trying to speak but unable.

Everything gets greyer, weaker.

At the end, just a beach, a disappearing cloud.

And a maggot on the grey sand.


All texts on this site are the copyright of James Knight. All rights reserved.

Ted Hughes / Dr Seuss Mashup

That Crow-Wodwo, that Crow-Wodwo,
I do not like that Crow-Wodwo!

I do not like his hungry eye,
I do not like his morbid sigh,
I do not like his style, you know;
I do not like that Crow-Wodwo.

Would you like him in your head?
Would you like him when you’re dead?

I would not like him in my head,
I will not like him when I’m dead.
I do not like his style, you know;
I do not like that Crow-Wodwo.

You may like him in a book!
You may like him, you’ll be hooked!

I would not like him in a book,
I will not let myself get hooked!
I would not like him in my head,
I will not like him when I’m dead.
I do not like his hungry eye,
I do not like his morbid sigh,
I do not like his style, you know;
I do not like that Crow-Wodwo!


In fact, I love the work of Ted Hughes! This Mashup was requested by @littledeaths68 and composed in haste on a train.

Josef K Through the Looking-Glass… a Lewis Carroll / Franz Kafka Mashup in 5 tweets…

Someone must have been telling lies about Alice K, for one morning the Queen of Hearts burst into her room, shouting, “Off with her head!”

The two men introduce themselves to him as Tweedledum and Tweedledee. “I am here to arrest you,” says one. “Likewise,” says the other.

The warped geometry of Looking-Glass Land is such that, the quicker he strides towards the Castle, the quicker it recedes into the distance.

As Alice awoke from uneasy dreams, she found herself transformed into a gigantic insect. Her mandibles jutted forlornly through the windows.

Franz Carroll looks at himself in the mirror, dreams of escaping its gilt frame.


All texts on this site are the copyright of James Knight. All rights reserved.

Ed is in your head


This is a picture of Ed. Ed isn’t in it. Ed is in your head. He switches from 2D to 3D on bank holidays. He’s a frame in the film, a flame in the kiln. In thunderstorms he dismantles himself, one steel rod at a time, and his rodent mouth spits phonemes, basslines, rat-a-tat-tat rattlesnake machine gun orgasms, adverts for porn and poeminems. I once saw him wrestling jackals, sandwiches and bluebottles, spilling pills, thrills and ills; but that was just my interpretation.

This isn’t a picture of Ed. Ed is in it. Ed isn’t in your head. He switches from 3D to 2D on work days.

Dedicated to the ludicrously talented writer, artist and vital force that is @3dgriffiths.