time lines teaser #1


What follows is a prose poem by Richard Biddle (aka bid), whose Twitter handle is @littledeaths68, and whose work kicks off the edgy Twitter poetry anthology, time lines.


Mesmerised, they stare at the swirling, suckered arms of the beckoning octopus and the shark’s dead eyes that offer no remorse. I come to watch the eels.

My father first brought me here as a boy and I fell in love with this ill lit watery stage where floating players perform hypnotic turns.

I too have gills, can breathe liquid. I too am behind glass gazing at people staring back wide-eyed at my naked form, giggling and weeping.


Parts 1 to 3 of my Mr Punch 13

What follows are the first three parts of a 13 I wrote recently, entitled Mr Punch Dreams, or 13 items discovered at the murder scene. When the sequence appears in its entirety, it will be accompanied by an artist’s illustrations. I hope you enjoy this little sample!


1. An uncooked black pudding.

Mr Punch likes the stars. They’re as pretty as his dreams.

They wink and twinkle, clink and tinkle
in the empty night.

you put a seashell to your ear you can hear the sea actually it’s your own blood roaring through you waves smash the shingle the moon hangs

– Well, here I am! What do you want, now I’m come?
– What a pretty creature! Ain’t she one beauty!
– What do you want, I say!
– A kiss! A pretty kiss!
– Take that then! How do you like my kisses? Will you have another?

Mr Punch’s head is in the clouds.

The crescent moon cuts his hair, shaves his chinny-chin-chin.


2. A glass eye, with a thin crack running across the pupil.

It’s raining inside Mr Punch’s head.
His curtains are red rags.
Judy is somewhere out at sea,
on a ship with hand-shaped sails.

Oh, I do like to be beside the seaside!

There’s one wife for you! What a precious darling creature! She go to fetch our child.

Mr Punch fears Jack Ketch’s gibbet.
It casts long shadows across his dreams.
The noose is the law’s lizard eye.

There, there, there! How you like that? I thought I stop your squalling.

The hangman’s eyes roll madly like marbles, like dead moons in headlong orbit.

I dropped it out at window.


3. A length of rope, frayed at one end.

Jack Ketch is a tetchy wretch with a scarlet rash.
He tends a tree in the public garden.
Every day, at noon, he deadheads the roses.

The curtains fall away, exposing the booth’s wooden frame. Mr Punch shits himself: it looks like a gallows. 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! An imaginary rope in the air.

– Mr Punch, you’re a very bad man. Why did you kill the police constable?
– He wanted to kill me!
– How?
– With his damned laws!
– That’s all gammon. You must come to prison: my name’s Ketch.

Ketch retches, fetches up ketchup
as red as the booth’s curtains.

He sleeps on a wooden bed with no mattress,
a portrait of Mr Punch hanging above his head.


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

13 unusual silver charms, attached to the bracelet you found under your pillow after the thunder storm

1. A teddy bear with two heads.
2. A heart with a large crack zigzagging down the middle.
3. A bird’s foot, scimitar-clawed.
4. A serpent, twisting around an apple.
5. A brain.
6. A pig’s trotter.
7. A hammer and sickle.
8. An exquisitely coiled turd.
9. A grinning moon.
10. A lightbulb.
11. The head of Mr Punch, bleakly benign.
12. A clenched fist.
13. An ornate capital B, or perhaps the number 13.

This 13 is dedicated to Diana Probst, whose idea it was. All texts on this site are the copyright of James Knight. All rights reserved.



Tonight sees the start of a Twitter collaboration with Richard Biddle, one of my fellow time lines poets.

The project is @cosmologgorhea. The name is a portmanteau word, combining cosmos with loggorhea (an uncontrollable verbal outpouring or incoherent talkativeness). Our subject matter is the Big Bang and subsequent development of the universe (no less!), expressed here through linguistic cosmology, words whirring and spinning, word-worlds evolving, revolving.

Here’s how it works. We take it in turns to tweet. Each tweet must contain three words DMed by the other author, and must build on the previous tweet. We want to create a continuous narrative, though the artificiality of including the rogue DMed words will force it to take surprising turns.

Richard has DMed me three words. So I’ll be tweeting first.

Neither Richard nor I have any idea how the story will develop. Please follow @cosmologgorhea and find out with us!

New material in time lines


Most of the poems and prose poems I contributed to time lines were new and had not appeared in print before.

Here is the complete list. Only those with asterisks have appeared in my previous books. “Phases” is a revised, augmented version of the poem that appeared in The Death of the Bird King.

When the Bird King Died
Medusa Variations
13 Pieces of a Broken Mirror
At Night the Mannequins Play Dead*
Broken clocks hand out wrong times
13 Deleted Scenes…
Cars crouch on wet driveways
Days of the Snowman*
Mirrors reflect in melancholy
13 Disturbing Objects…
At Seaton Beach
13 Transformations…
The Oneiropoem
Brassai in Paris*
Grandma’s Eyes
The Bird King Lies Dead

You can buy time lines here.

Dinner for One

I am pleased to announce that, after a hiatus of several months, the short film Dinner for One is back on YouTube.

I made the film a few years ago with a couple of exceedingly talented people, but we ran into some copyright problems with the soundtrack soon after it was uploaded to YouTube.


So I approached Adam Wimbush, who composed some terrifying music for the Bird King last year, and asked if I could use a section of his piece Realms as the soundtrack to Dinner for One. He agreed, and when I added his music to the film it was as if he’d written it especially for our horrible little piece.


I’ll say no more. You can see the film here and enjoy the combination of sound and image yourself.

I’m the one in the suit, by the way.