Five Poems, A Photo & Two Videos — Barnaby Ashton-Bullock. Three Art Works — Cathy Daley

do it now! (make some memories…)

“Read that excerpt
From your powdering diary again,
Without the accent,
Without the vibrato,
Without the shiver,
Without the shakes,
Without the howl,
Without the weeping,
Without the breakdown
And, then, without your absence,
And, then, without your presence” –

Grey, patched, threadbare, moth-eaten,
thread-pulled, sub-sub Ralph Lauren,
clichéd, cricket-stylee jumper;
late ‘80s remnant ‘factory sample’
sold off from a knock-off market stall
bookended by louchely lippy look-outs
ever flouting ‘Trading Standards’ laws –

The skip-step, the heel-kick,
the flounce, the twirl it lent
that younger you, that younger me;
kiss her, dither, bother, kiss him –

Yesteryear’s fabusmug mugshots;
in them, we, so deported,
smutched in veneers
of photoed faux-nonchalance.
those pics now torn like bitter pages
from soiled calendars;
days better not lived
and lesser remembered –

Serrate o’days, since then, stalking
in scuffing, sub-coital suffrage,
as portent of the lowly, remaindered,
somnambulant, dawdler, imposter
internees imploring me with lullaby
to inch towards their Zyklon showers –

Prithee, AK-47, douche me deeply
on the oxide smear-slicked velveteen
between obliv celestials finger-plucking
the staling Novichok buffets,
their restroom strychnine mouthwash
thought restorative of long lost smiles –

Flakes of blitzkreig on stiff upper lips,
lovelorn drifts of death-twitch dandruff
simmering in spittle/snot coagulant simper,
scrubbed off to settle in lineal sediment
as panoramic murmurations in serried,
sebum scumlines that de-sheen
Victorian pedestal sinks’ cracked glazes –

As if embryonic, defensive,
trench and mound earthworks;
as if deep-piled foundations of death camps
cunningly constructed to render we,
in its venal penned-in Bailiwick,
as culpable queers who had, at times,
in former, formative solvent times,
given in to advances of self-thought ‘upstandee’ (yuk!)
CIS ’n’ straight
slathered predatory ‘friends’,
to their “c’mon, it’s only libido” drunken drawls of plead,
those once randy best mates and we,
all tending, forlornly, the opportunist stiffs
of such future, furtive Conservatives –

My pills, still in wanding, wan hand, yet to down,
The stopwatch’s spring sprung,
All life a piss-whiff waiting room;
Buffeted about this brassic, boarded-up town,
This itinerant’s pit-stop pick-ups more so arbitrary now,
Abeyant to the metronomic shush of the constant traffic sound
We mask the shriller timbres of climax within –

Police my life-end clichés, if you please;
“I’m sorry, but I’m just being me”.
I’ll recluse ’til I’ve a free pass hotchpotch
of credibly crafted neologisms. Yet,
what matters it, how I begin an articulate new life?
Or, even if I do, for the best of clocks stop
Amidst the drifting sieves of consciousness
That best birth a ribald, barking psychosis,
Usually at 4.30 -ish or some such:
AM, not the PM high-tea and cakes one, luv!

Mon Dieu! “What a picture, what a photograph!”
You were beautiful and didn’t even know it!
That swept back hairdo,
The mild-mannered machismo,
That signature blend of formal and sportswear,
That skagged, scrag of cricket jumper,
Those holed grey flannels,
Those mismatched bits of moth-munched Oxfam suits,
The vintage Penguin Classics peeking from torn pockets –

I never said it then, but I loved you;
We, in mutual uplift from that destitute, desultory youth,
Idealising a life ahead
And all the things and men and work we’d do –

Yet, I bereft before the starting gun
And now I face lust’s setting sun
And wonder what became of you
And wonder what became of me –

A zip-file compress of Arcadianal memories
Inserted in any old drive
But to which access is ever denied,
Archival format not recognised –
For you, my love, weren’t then,
Or now, even ever by my side.

Read that excerpt from your powdering diary again
And, then…

Kill Clapcott!

The muscle liniment,
eucalyptoid twingey,
tweezing nodes!

The works footie team
pic scanned too blurry
to discern the gloss on
the crouched crotches
of the short shorts;
nylon, sateen or wet?

Lucky launderer!

Long service employee;
tarmac laying machine
and roller. We’d known
asphalt and asbestos: got
engraved plated watches
after x years o’bondage –

I worked the concrete division,
loved the smell of hot asphalt
tho’, when driven ‘cross the
weigh-bridge on its way to a job
twizzling its glisten of intent
thru’ sprung air to be laid/rolled

Inhaling deeply still
at the hallowed sight
of freshly lain tarmac;
I was the aggregates
gang-hand apprentice
force-fucked by a fisty

Kill Clapcott!

Untitled: Cathy Daley (2021)

Zero-Hour Zero-Hour Labour

Tra-la-la’s bloodied, chilli fingeys whipping the placcy tray rim for speckly remnants of
Geiger guac or Strontium cheese sauce smulch to strum, impact zone, gobwards.

• On the kitchen’s FM tuned, retro, monaural tranny, a smug DJ’s hissin’ proliferaton ‘bout
a ‘bullet chart entry’ that he’d payola predicted to snuffle atomically up ye olde Hot 100.

• Carby, isotope-nachos-fattened Tra-la-la yawns, for it’s fukkin’ Janet Jacksy plugged to
ecstatic blast of ascendency again, while Tra-la-la herself’d ballistically posted off her ‘a
cappella’ approximation of a self-penned demo ditty on a micro cassette to A&M (A&R) 8
years ago, an early warning of her talent, and she still hadn’t heard detonation or

• Defiant, she sings duets with Janet, via a handbag sized loud-hailer, in assorted salt-beef
bagel stores near you, overlaying her trenchant, tuneless takes over Janet’s own
commercially available recordings in wafting distort from a mini-speaker pouched within
the customised, Polaris missile embroidered bum-bag latched about her, harness like.

• “This is what you’re missing fukkas!”, she concertedly concerts, unabashed in a splurge of
entitlement in that she proclaims, forthrighteously and slightly foamingly, that, The ruling
class muso execs have silenced my sonorous talents. I need not their mediation! You need
not their gate-keeping! I sing irradiationally for you all, directly and without fee. It is my
newly launched ‘music-direct’ service industry for you all, my proto-fan community, to
entertain and assuage your every emosh conclavity and your each and ev’ry niche,
multiplicity of joy and adversity through my benevolent, performative gifting of ‘access to
the arts for all’, via my supine gob and your attenuated, attentive, adoring antennae. So,
pin ‘em lugholes open, you lucky mukky-fukkas, for the fallout fabufuk-flava o’me muzak
misbehaviour! This self-styled, twitched, diva bitch-siren’s twist, this Tra-la-la’s famed la

• Phrasing and intonation as ‘Sunshine Unit’ trilled rays that neutron mulch the neurals.
Subjected minds and applauding hands melting, their vapourisation measured in the
reflectometries of the resultant fists of mushroom mist. In proportionate response, she
is escorted from ‘La Taco Belle Et La Bête’ in a bopping flail of straitjacket, thinking of the
biohazard protection overalled bouncers, ‘Little Boy’ and ‘Fat Man’, as her backing
dancers and the stockpiled munching, laughing diners as her newly plutonium enriched

• A textbook instigation of ‘attack to defend’collateral damage management! The minder’s
preemptive strike against unacceptable impositions of illegal light entertainment;
balladeer hawkers must be expunged, silenced lest a malignant growth in regional poor
taste ensue! These chaperones of crocked croonery soon pistol-whipped her stentorian
feet into dainty, silken, ballet shoe shapeliness while the latter camp of unwowed diner
guzzlers crowdy-chanted, “Moo-moo, no moo-moo! This ain’t a salt-beef store! This be
Tacksy-Bellykins! And there, m’dear’s the door!”

• “Did you see, hubster, she’d fair missed her spume of lips with the trajectory of her
lipstick!” / “And, wifey, she missed her face with the radium pan-stick by a long chalk of
megatonnage!” / “And, bastard, I’ll wager that her acne mounds were mouthing the words
to mute choruses of what, I think, were outlawed National Anthems!” / “Yes, you cow, and
the pustules, therein them there zits, popped into lavarous rivulets of saluting, freeform

• [Or did something step on a hot sauce sachet mid shape-shift?]
• [And where’s my side order of planetary accreta?]

• “And, oh, zutty-zut alors, it’s like horizontal lightning!” / “Oh, my giddy word, is that the
sound of an atom splitting?” / “L’addition s’il vous plaît et maintenant avec vitesse parce
que we’re really dry-fry dying!” / “Mais, ma chérie, tu as payé les con quand tu as
commandé! / Oh, fuckety, I must’ve lost my mind in that tickle of fissile missile/ Service
c_nts! Serv…

Untitled: Cathy Daley, 2021


No baseline contentment if
Swaddled in free-fall baubles
Bought from blood money
Of backhand deals

You honey cuss
All them that squawk
‘Collusion’ in ev’ry
Ablution of tongue

Sweeping the swarf
Out the lamp-room minds
Blastin’ the smut, the clinker
Off bulwarks of disjointed time

There was a strike, m8
And we didn’t win
Its ‘pause for thought’
Still shuttlin’ through the hitherto

Still chidin’ the interim
The scabs’ names named
The moth eaten banners
Fumigated, framed
Untitled- Cathy Daley, undated


a smulch of sobs in the ears of eternity don’t mean shit, luv!
a thin grin, ground out of a militarised zone;
your eyes, the kalashnikov-ed watchtowers
with bullets cracknelled into souffléd resolve.

the puffety pink accepting flesh,
the pistol-whipped bones atone.
don’t snitch, your cadre compadres are dead already;
be asbestos, be hard and killing,
let them stroganoff you,
be mannequin.

hemmed in, let ‘em lick ’n’ nip
your anthrax dusted mascu-bits
and launch an exocet from the slick slipway gliss
of your privatest privacy;

change your signage from ‘no entry’ to ‘way in’ to ‘dead end’.
we’ve only seconds now,
only seconds.

Barney Ashton-Bullock is the poet/librettist in the ‘Andy Bell is Torsten’ queer music-theatre collective whose albums and books are published through Cherry Red Records and he narrates his own verse on the Downes Braide Association albums ‘Skyscraper Souls’, ‘Live In England’ and ‘Halcyon Hymns’. He has poetry published in a wide range of cult poetry journals, in the ‘Avalanches In Poetry’ tribute anthology to Leonard Cohen, in various Dreich pamphlets, in the Pilot Press ‘Queer Anthology Of Healing’ and in the ‘Soho Nights’ anthologies published by The Society Club Press who also published his first collection ‘Schema/Stasis’ in 2017. His latest books are ‘Café Kaput!’ (Broken Sleep Books, 2020) and ‘F**kpig Zeitgeist’ and ‘Bucolicism’ both through Cherry Red Records mail order.  Twitter: @barney_poet

Banner Art: ‘null et nada‘. A Photo-work by (c) Barney Ashton-Bullock.

Cathy Daley (1955-2022)was a Canadian visual artist whose work continues to be shown and collected internationally.  Her work is in many public and private institutions incl., The National Gallery of Canada, Ontario Gallery of Art, The Canadian Art Bank, and numerous private collections. At the time of her death, she was a Professor Emerita at OCADU (Toronto), where she taught drawing and painting for more than 25 years.  Her work is represented by New Zones Gallery, Calgary, Alberta.

Page Design, curation & layout: Robert Frede Kenter. Twitter: @frede_kenter

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