What the mirror showed

The mirror showed what it chose to show, never what the viewer demanded to see.

The mirror didn’t show the back of his head, because the back of his head didn’t exist. You peered into his mask from the inside.

The mirror showed a mannequin but not the blood, brain, heart, lungs, intestines and other organs inside you.

The mirror showed a pile of masks, some cracked, all dirty. You stood next to them, but the mirror didn’t show you.

The mirror didn’t show the nightly massacres taking place behind your eyelids.

The mirror showed pages torn from a notebook, covered in poems, diary entries and obscene doodles, all artfully arranged in the form of a man.

The mirror showed a spurt of blood, a smashed camera, strewn flowers, a copy of Hamlet.

The mirror showed a hand in a glove, a bird in a cage, a thought in a head. You turned off the light to extinguish all three.

The mirror showed a forest, a little girl, a dead wolf. Outside, sirens howled.

The mirror showed your future. Your reflection’s cold, grey skin and sagging mouth smelt of death.

The mirror showed her washing her hands. Blood spattered the white sink. Behind her, in the doorway: a man made of rusty knives.

The mirror showed him the mask he thought he was wearing, not the mask he was wearing, which resembled his face.

The mirror didn’t show the masks you’d buried like corpses. You smoothed your black skirt, admired your stilettos. You were dressed to kill.

The mirror showed itself. Nothing on its silvered surface was real. You stood in front of it, staring at a face.

The mirror showed the house’s empty shell. Vapour trails scarred the sky. Elsewhere, in a dark room, you put on your tie and your fright mask.

The mirror showed a cat, a broken bottle, a trunk exploding with fake furs. She kept to the shadows, out of the light of the setting sun.

The mirror showed your most acceptable mask. While you shaved, the man on the other side of the glass dragged a blade over his throat.

The mirror showed a dream superficially indistinguishable from your day-to-day life. You had no idea.

The mirror showed an empty stage. The audience could be heard muttering and coughing. Put your mask on. Perform.


The clowns

While you sleep, the clowns walk the tightrope of your life story. The faintest gust of wind topples them. They drift down like leaves.


The clowns daub themselves with war paint and don dark suits with silver cuff links and tumble into the sulphurous day.


The clowns juggle appointments, ointments, disappointments. They grin when we insert coins in their wide dead mouths.


Catching a clown is easy. Wait until he’s on his second bottle and then set your crows on him. When you’ve got him, don’t listen to his pleading.


If allowed near a churchyard, the clowns will dig up the dead. They can’t help it! They may bring you a leg, a head, hoping for your approval.


Water burns the clowns. Consequently, they bathe in vodka and drink mercury.


The clowns enjoy a special diet of strawberries, lamb, azaleas and fear. They can’t abide anything pink. Mirrors and loudspeakers confuse them.


Tell me about yourselves, she says to the clowns. But they have nothing to say. The silence stretches and yawns. She sneezes and apologises.


The clowns ride unicycles around the rings of Saturn. Astronomers sulk in their beds. A pie in the face, a supernova. Whatever.


Time stutters, the lights blink. The clowns wear our faces, but we don’t wear theirs. We wear nothing. We’re naked, soft, almost zero.


The clowns visit a bombed-out hotel. The air tastes of ash. They insist on a room with no view. The pulverised concierge wears a stiff smirk.


It is evening. The clowns are ensconced in your cerebellum. The feasting begins soon. The wet grey tables are laden with larval images.


Sometimes, the clowns slip out of synch with the ticking world. Slapstick tricks crack their backs. Mums and dads are sent out of the room.


The show is over. The clowns sit in rows, dabbing at their grease painted faces. The masks dissolve and their skulls show through.


The clowns try crawling down the wall. They want to be Dracula. But they fail. Hours later, rats have conquered the mountain of corpses.


For the clowns, sleep is a rehearsal for death. They keep their eyes open and dream of nothing.


Originally published as a series of tweets.

The mannequins are more real than you

The mannequins favour zero gravity, breathlessness, the labyrinth of stars. 


The mannequins inhabit a forgotten planet, orbiting your daydreams. 


The mannequins will accuse you of anything. Their courtroom is lodged behind your eyes. 


Time is kept on a leash. When the mannequins laugh, it digs up your bones. 


Look in the mirror. While you slept, the mannequins left scarlet lipstick stains on your throat. 


Originally published as a series of tweets. 

Mr Dudd is not an easy way out of the day 

Mr Dudd and I don’t think that the government has been the most beautiful girl in the morning and I’m still waiting for my life and death.

Mr Dudd is so cute when you get the chance to win this game in my head and I love it when people don’t know why you should be able to see.

Mr Dudd and I love you so much better now that I’m a big fan of yours truly and I have a nice dream about you but I’m still not working.

Mr Dudd is so much better than the original version and the first half of the day after a long time ago when he said that it is a great way.

Mr Dudd licked the first place in my room and my dad just called me a little tool. The fact is that you are so much better now.

Mr Dudd killed it tonight at 8pm and I don’t know how to make the most recent update. I’m at work today and I’m still waiting to get my hair.

Mr Dudd ate the whole world. I love it when people say they will be in my head and I don’t think I’m going to get my money back.

Mr Dudd swam in the morning and the other hand is the most beautiful girl in the world to me. The fact is that you are a few days ago.

Mr Dudd feared the worst thing about it but I can’t believe I’m going to get my nails done today and it is the best.

Mr Dudd pissed to get my money back. I just got home from school tomorrow but the most important thing is that you can be used.

Mr Dudd died in the morning and I’m still in bed with my friends and family.

Mr Dudd and the zombies are so cute when you are really playing with my life. I hate it when I get something done right.

Mr Dudd writes about the future whenever I’m bored and lonely. People who don’t like me try to make the world uninstall and reinstall.

Mr Dudd kisses old school with my wallpaper and I run into a fight with my worst nightmare. Sometimes you need me to be the best.

James Knight tweets about me but you can’t even play without having a bad mood. I’m going back and forth between us and we.

Mr Dudd represents a major problem with my life and death and destruction and a few years ago he was not a fan of yours.

Mr Dudd paints canvasses to be the best. Occasionally I love the new one and only a couple of decades ago I was just a little slow.

Mr Dudd sucks for the rest of the year and I have no clue who I am.

Mr Dudd buried his first game in a statement issued by the end zone. The gun couldn’t be happier with my life.

Mr Dudd chases moths to get a new song on this page and it will take place in the first half of the year before that.

When Mr Dudd’s battery runs out he has to go back to sleep and wake me up by singing the national anthem.

Mr Dudd enjoys a good time waster but it would mean so much more if the shoe size were not immediately known.

Mr Dudd empties his wife of mouse droppings so that he can get a new song on repeat for the rest of the year and I don’t think.

Mr Dudd watches lions eating my feelings for you guys. They savage all the best parts of my day. Sometimes you need me to get my nails.

Mr Dudd has sex with my friends and the other side of the mirror. It doesn’t matter how hard it is, the company has to go out with my life.

Mr Dudd stuffs his wallet with forged diplomatic relations between China and India and I love the fact that you are so much better now.

Mr Dudd declares war on terror suspects and a few weeks ago I had constipation, despite the fact that America is not a fan of yours truly.

I don’t know if Mr Dudd is real, but I think it’s funny because the last time we went to sleep we turned into an argument with my life.


This is a series of tweets, all written on an iPhone, using QuickType (a predictive keyboard that suggests three possible words or phrases, in response to the last word typed or selected). Apart from the name Mr Dudd and the occasional word I threw in as a curve-ball (for example, “war”, “buried” and “forged”), all of the words in the tweets were selected from those presented by QuickType. 

It was an enjoyable exercise that revealed a lot about Apple’s perception of its customers. At every turn, QuickType invited me to write about family, friends, my nails, my hair, how much I love X. It often suggested I write about smartphone technology (“uninstall and reinstall”). The personal pronouns “I”, “me” and “my” were never more than a few word choices away. 

Best of all, the tweets are wonderfully unnatural, absurd, like fragments from English as She is Spoke or La Cantatrice chauve

13 clips from a horror movie filmed by the mannequins amid the ruins of Hollywood

1. His mouth opens and a red spider crawls out, followed by another one and another one and another one and another one and another one…

2. Her body is no longer her body. It looks exactly as it did before, but it is strange, wrong. She looks at herself in the mirror and weeps.

3. The sound of machinery wakes him. Iron grinding iron, shrill whistles. After a few seconds, it stops. When he sleeps it starts again.

4. The street is quiet. A few cars, people ambling along. A woman crosses the road, pushing a pram. Inside, there is a severed head.

5. Night. A luxury apartment on the 33rd floor. A bed, a man, a woman. The harder they fuck, the more horrible their deaths.

6. A man sits on a stool at a bar. He doesn’t know there is something in his whiskey. The barman knows. All the other customers know.

7. The suburb looks much as it did before, except there are no people and dogs roam free and windows are smashed and the flies are God.

8. They laugh. Life is easy. They’ve never had it so good. An ocean sunset. Meanwhile, in the cabin, a shadow twists and lengthens.

9. Their bodies are placentas, feeding something squalling, ravenous.

10. At school, the children sit quietly at their desks, devising a thousand parricides.

11. The camera was left running, by accident. He reviews the footage. Then he goes into the basement and shoots himself.

12. A spiral staircase leads to a corridor she doesn’t remember. She feels compelled to explore. Water drips from the ceiling.

13. The light is poor and there is smoke, but it looks like a large bird or a man dressed as one, tottering, lurching, shrieking, laughing.

13 enigmatic scenes from a TV murder mystery that everyone has seen but no one has made

1. The house, stamped white on slate sky. Behind the windows, all the rooms are filled with water. A drowned man in a dinner suit floats by.

2. The revolver lies on the pillow of an unmade bed. The revolver is not just an object. It is the man with the scar, his fear and impotence.

3. A hand on a door handle, hesitating, unmoving. The shot is a close-up; we can’t see if the door is open or closed.

4. An oblong mirror returns the gaze of an anxious woman. She hates the world. Her eyes are crystals.

5. A room on fire. A laughing man sits on a smouldering sofa.

6. A succession of corridors. We glide along them like ghosts.

7. Outside, there is a dark forest. The story will begin and end there. The beginning will mimic the end. The end has already happened.

8. “I’m sorry. Please leave me alone,” whispers a mouth tight with pain. Blue light reveals a knife in a drawer, a torn photograph.

9. The walls are bleeding. Blood collects at the feet of a naked woman. She’s standing up, eyes open, but she looks dead.

10. The curtains are closed, but this looks like a study. A shaft of light shows us a letter-opener. This is an invitation and a threat.

11. The corridors again. They link up, double back, double cross us, never end. Doors are closed or ajar. Music is playing. No one is there.

12. A bath fills with hot water. We expect to see blood. Someone has written the word MANNEQUIN on the steamed-up mirror.

13. A stone through a window. Flying glass, a cry of surprise or horror or delight. The moon is full. A blade of cloud slices it in two.


When God blessed creation, a ewe gave birth to Adam. When he cursed Satan, Eve hatched from a crocodile’s egg.

In naming the animals, Adam marked them for death. His own name was a slow fire. Eve’s was an inferno.

In the shelter of the Tree of Knowledge, Eve coupled with the serpent. When Adam discovered them, the sight turned him to stone. God howled.

Birds, reptiles and insects answered to Eve. Fish and mammals were her enemies. Bees inscribed her messages of love and war in flowers’ scents.

Eve spun a web from moonlight. God’s words, frail, dry, got caught in it and shivered to dust.

Eve’s midnight laughter made the dead come to life. Her midday sorrow buried them again. The world’s terrible machinery never rested.

Eve made a mirror whose surface flickered with fleshy desires. When God jealously smashed it, she buried its shards in our dreams.

God invented religion. Eve countered with science. God made the pig, the cow, the lamb. Eve made the knives and forks with which to eat them.