The Shadow of Jack Ketch

The curtains fall away, exposing the booth’s wooden frame. Mr Punch shits himself: it looks like a gibbet. Where’s Ketch? He turns around this way. He’s behind you! He turns around that way. Where where I no see him. Behind you! Fucking bricking it. An imaginary rope hangs in the salty air. Where’s that nasty Jack Ketch, children? Ketchup on bags of chips looks like the blood throbbing from Mr Punch’s broken brain. Got sand in mine, made them crunchy. You’ve been framed. A face as flat as malice turns this way, turns that. Thisser way, thatter way. Nasty Ketch. Come on, let’s have a dip. A ripe cloud covers the sun and a dog chokes on a crab.


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


New and future projects

I’ve got a few projects on the go. One is time lines, an anthology of Twitter poets that I hope to publish next month through Nearly everything is in place now, including the cover art. Here’s a line from my draft preface: “In the world of poetry, the tweet is the new sonnet.”


One of the writers represented in time lines is Richard Biddle. We plan to set up a fresh Twitter account together and create a tweet-by-tweet continuous narrative. I’ll be releasing more info about this as soon as time lines is out.

Another project, starting soon, is Transformations, a reworking by several poets (including me) of Ovid’s Metamorphoses. This is Nicky Mortlock’s brainchild, and I’m honoured to be part of it. Ovid’s mercurial universe of instability, eroticism and violent change has strong echoes in my writing, so it’ll be quite natural to recreate some of his stories.

The next solo book I hope to publish is 13, a sequence of thirteen 13s. There’s still quite a lot of work to do, but I’d like to publish in late March, to mark the Bird King’s first birthday (my first BK tweet was emitted through @echovirus12 in March 2012). There is also a chance that one of my 13s will one day be published in a slim volume of its own, with colour illustrations by a very talented painter…

Finally, as my obsession with Mr Punch, Judy and Jack Ketch deepens, plans are afoot for a collaboration with an artist on a Punch sequence, with the working title Mr Punch Dreams

The Snowmen

Snowmen are clowns in sinister stasis.

While you sleep, they smother cats and feast from bins. At dawn, their paunches drip.


Watchful, patient, hollow eyed, the snowmen conspire in silence. They know they won’t be around for long, but they don’t care. One night, two nights of misrule will be enough for them.


Some of the snowmen are defective. Ostracised from their own kind, they stare at your dustbin, contemplating waste and endings.


The Snowmen have unprepossessing names. Snarling Jack, Belly Beast, Hang Dog. But their hearts are full of such pretty, flakey poetry! Arthur Clamps intones sonnets in his sleep.


Over time, the snowmen turn hard and ugly. Charming tubbiness becomes deformity. They curse their makers in wet whispers.

But Black Snow falls into your dreams and can never die.



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

13 Chess Pieces, Hallucinated by the Ghost of Alice Liddell

1. Mr Punch. His cracked right eye bleeds a little crimson tear. Put your ear to his paunch: Judy sighs, lovesick, along his entrails.

2. God. Hard as pride, smooth as a skull. A thundercloud solidifying into a chalky pillar. Words fall like stones, break the lake’s mirror.

3. The Minotaur. Don’t do that, it’s a fucking red rag to him, mate. He was stitched up all wrong. Something lonely bellows in the night.

4. Damien Hirst. Please don’t touch the vitrine. His master’s voice was caught in a springe, then throttled and bottled. The price tag sags.

5. Josef Stalin. She marvels at the shirt-bursting magnitude of the iron-faced titan. Flocks of birds volunteer for suicide displays.

6. Medusa. Prim and starchy behind the desk (Rothko bleeding at her back), after hours she sheds her skin, loosens into lithe lunacy.

7. The Bird King. Feathers turn to words that devour first the page, then the hand holding the book.

8. William Shakespeare. The machine judders, steaming and hissing. Mysterious characters flash across the screen.

9. Grendel. He’s hypersensitive. And you should see his tantrums! He’s like a big baby. Alice looks up at a man made of blighted bone.

10. Angela Carter. Not a grin, but an unknowingly knowing smile, lingering long after her face faded.

11. Medea. A nightmare, coiled dormant inside her, awaiting the breath of a bitter Spring.

12. Satan. At the murder scene they found a baffling assortment of objects: musical instruments, goatskins, red candles, a bellows.

13. Judy. Punch drunk after the news of her promotion, she dances around the house, smashing picture frames and mirrors with red fists.


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

time lines


Very soon I shall be releasing an anthology of writings called time lines. The book is a collection of works by six authors (including me), all of whom have published and collaborated on twitter.

The other five authors are @littledeaths68, @gadgetgreen, @sandcave, @welloverthought and Mina Polen, whose work can be found on this blog and whose twitter handle is @minafiction.

The six of us are quite diverse, in terms of our subject matter and styles. But we share a preoccupation with inner worlds, an interest that has found expression through the solitary communion of social networking. Many of the poems and prose poems in the collection started life as tweets.

I hope to publish the book through Lulu before the end of the month. It will be an inexpensive print-on-demand paperback of around 220 pages. An ebook version may follow.

13 Imaginary Tarot Cards, Unsuitable for Cartomancy

1. The Black Hole. A starry-eyed god shifts in swirls, his roaring maw swallowing worlds.

2. Medusa. With one hand she strokes a snake. In the other, a heart of stone.

3. The Fly. Iridescent wings, meticulous mandibles.

4. Vivisection. Life distilled to geometry.

5. The Impossible Tower. A factory chimney, reflected in a lake.

6. The Blue Rose. A clawed hand places it on the pillow of a woman wracked by bad dreams.

7. Blank. Turn it over, then back. Look again. Still blank.

8. The Bird King. His wings are a fog of nausea.

9. Ambition. A pyramid of corpses, surmounted by an office chair.

10. The Wolf. In the shadow of a fedora’s brim: sorrowful eyes, a snarling smile.

11. The Orgasm. An explosion in a skull.

12. Eve. A gorgon, standing in a pool of blood.

13. The Broken Mirror. A man crouches, weeping, over its thirteen dagger-like pieces.


This piece is dedicated to Diana Probst, whose idea it was. Part 10 is for Kneel Downe. Parts 2 and 12 are for Medusarants. Copyright James Knight. All rights reserved.

Dolly Daydream, the Bird King and Medusa-Christ

Here are some new artworks. I hope you enjoy them.

Dolly Daydream


Dolly Daydream 2


Dolly Daydream 3: Seeing Double


Dolly Daydream 4


The Bird King’s eyes are wide, wild, flecked with blood. If you look into them he will see into your heart, your famished heart


The Bird King dispenses nightmares, pouring them from coloured vials into sleepers’ ears. His calling card: a blue rose, left on the pillow.


Inside the brain of @echovirus12


Inside the heart of @echovirus12




Digital Medusa-Christ


The Bird King’s Weakness


Medusa’s Eyes


All images on this site were created on an iPad, using public domain images and Photoshop Touch. They are all the copyright of James Knight. All rights reserved.