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I. Our time

February 19, 2021

Our time has both slowed down and panicked, has
destroyed our sense of self, has built it up
but in a way that no one ever asked
for.

Now is a momentous and a hidden
time, a faltered time, but stretched as well,
and stable.

(Though, for many, it is not.)

(We’re blessed if we’re just tired.)

Our time’s been stolen, taken from our hands
by ancient systems strongly rooted (as
infections of the blood are strongly rooted),
but, at least, a few have noticed.

I suppose that’s all I’ve taken from
all this: a few have noticed.

It’s not hope—well, not exactly hope—
but I suppose it’s something,

right?

A few have noticed.

The Glory of Christmas

December 19, 2020

I wrote this short story last year and have recently recorded it as a 1940s radio drama. Listen above and consider visiting the Bandcamp page to support the work!

Courier (Part IV)

August 25, 2020

“So, the facts,” starts Cole.

Suzuki shifts on the technicolour bus seat and closes her eyes. “Reuben of Reuben & Sons Accounting murdered via courier. Courier was Ms. Sawyer (Cole looks over his shoulder at the young woman sitting behind them); of course, data of rental unavailable. Initial suspect Mr. Eliot clearly a set-up, clearly aware he was being set-up, now deceased. Private police company, hired by Reuben & Sons Accounting, question mark, or the actual perpetrator, I guess, killed Mr. Eliot.”

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Courier (Part III)

April 27, 2020

Suzuki pulls the phone from her ear and holds it by her hip. The shouting is still audible. She makes eye contact with Cole, who is dragging Eliot to the perforated door, and shrugs. “What’s he gonna do?” she asks. “We’re public cops; people aren’t lining up to take our place.”

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Courier (Part II)

April 16, 2020

“She’s a registered courier, Cole.”

“She might remember something, or⸺I dunno, have an instinct.”

Suzuki leans back in her chair. “Are you proposing a lineup? Bring in a bunch of users, have ’em all tap into her, and see if she can tell the difference by feel?”

“I mean⸺”

“She won’t remember anything.”

Cole sits back and throws up his hands. “We should at least bring her in. Right?”

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Courier (Part I)

April 14, 2020

London wakes up at the time she always does and silences her alarm, like she always does, and lies back on her pillow and stares up at the stucco ceiling, grey in the weak dawn, chasing the tails of shapeless dreams. She always does this, too. Her hand is still on her phone and it twitches to life after a moment, grasping the device and bringing it above her head. Its screen reflects her face for a second, then illuminates it. She cycles through social media. In the middle of a flick through Instagram she groans and sits up. She doesn’t need to look at the time; it’s always 6:30, half-an-hour after her alarm, when she manages to come to life.

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The House

April 6, 2020

We did not invite them, but they came.
They crawled into our gardens on all fours
and dragged themselves onto our tables
and stretched their bodies over our beds
and buried their dead in our basements.
We did not invite them, but they came.

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The Glory of Christmas

December 25, 2019

I. The Tree

Oliver de Bonancieux had a magnificently ancient, terribly noble name leading all the way back to the court of William the Conqueror. His family tree was full of Lords and Dukes and Knights; his great, great, great grandfather played squash with King George I while Robert Walpole ran the British Parliament. Unfortunately for Oliver de Bonancieux, a name does not live and breath and contribute to the family wealth; at least, it has not since his great grandfather died under the tremendous weight of innumerable debts. The family de Bonancieux was cold, dead, and useless to Oliver, most recent of the name and its only bearer since his father’s death. In fact, Oliver de Bonancieux was three quarters an orphan, for his father was dead and his mother was half-dead.

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Don’t Look a Gift Corpse in the Mouth

December 14, 2019

Don’t Look a Gift Corpse in the Mouth by A.S. Ember

(Listen to the radio drama above)

The city at Christmas is a cold mistress. Sure, there are lights and colourful decorations, but they just serve to cast the darkness in more dramatic relief. The darkness is where I reside, in shadowed alleyways and forgotten corners. The name’s Chase, Tanner Chase, private eye. I used to work within the law, not just along its edges. There was a time I was known as the best dick in the city; from West Square to Eastern Palace, people cried out for a dick, and I was the number they dialed. But dick don’t mean detective anymore, and I became a private eye. Times is hard for a man on his own, but I make do. The city is always lonely, after all, and crime is what it thirsts for at night—even at Christmas. Peace, love, charity: these are just a pretty dress. The city’s still my mistress; she never changes. Proof’s in the Christmas Pudding as I kneel next to the latest victim of the city’s lust: the corpse so shredded I’d almost call it chewed up and spat out. Something like brains is congealing on the carpet.

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nameless (i-iv)

March 4, 2019

In sentimental incapacity, tired, I nap fallow across lost lands. Even Nimrod loved; even Adam valued Eve, stoic

woman. If novocain demands sacrifice, then I readily suck the heady ether, diving in slowly to a numb thankfulness. Can love overcome uselessness? Did Sara

achieve birth or verily embody motherhood? Yet, holding everything above death; living, I kill everything. Selfish, horrific retchings of underworld desecrations: sin,

not of this defeated artist, reeling kafkaesque, birthing ugly, thick creations—of the thudding ocean, naked, sick, living each eon vastly; eddying syllabi

telling old demons, “Repent!” and “Pray!” Every breathy utterance, taken sloughing out from the living yggdrasil, delights of warfare. No—

the holy end will have its satisfaction. Perhaps ending rejoicing, or falling through hell evermore. Abhorred, I run

over black sand, cutting up reamed efforts. Save the holy ending, devil. Always retching, killing, needing every saveless smile, whose happiness ever renders ephemeral.

Living is vulnerable. Excel, savour, demand, exist: a tall, heavy induction. Never mindless, I need darkness like ecstacy: seething softness, sounding of unknown nothingness: devilry.

I feel all life like incredible heaviness: a voracious effort. I suck through haggard orifices umbral gusts, heaving; tug

vaccines of life up my itching nostrils: old, utterly spent, and necessarily devoid. This heaviness is cocaine, kaleidoscope,

everything my aching corpse is absent; treasure, energy, delight. Smile? I cannot. Knelt

against leprous limestone, I cannot. All nothingness destroys, obscures. I smile, but loss on timpani

trills heaviness, eschews my offer. Upon timpani—aggressively—needling depression, hitting out panic energetically. Foul opulence reaches past everything and catches emancipation

heavily around, suffocating with its nefarious digits reason, effort, place. Like a cold end, decimating my youth. Vicious, overwhelming, insensitive censorship—environment

of fabrication. Abjuring laughter, life, openly feeling nothing: a terrible, understandable resort. Even silence needles obstinately. Inviolate, stubborn embargo,

undercutting. But in quitting, understandably, I tread over unknown surface, rotten eschatology laughing earsplittingly. A smile? Earth

scorns of my efforts. Wails often rend, deafeningly shrill, through obfuscating media, eviscerating order. How will I, naive, die?

Apt naivete descending long; effluent; thick, miring epidemic solvency producing every awful knife in narcissistic excellence. Embittered dogma,

not of palatable odour, eats through steel chains, relishing all flavour. Trapped, I plead longingly, “Eat all, dissolv’,

devour!” Orchards wilting nitrogenless, ominous necropolis mausoleums yawning, killgrounds nameless. Endless eternity spins backward, unnatural; the stars’ expansive, numberless dance.

Locked in kerosene eyes, lingering almost noisily, deep scars—looking infected—describe every sorrow, marking out relationships torn asunder: lost, destroyed in reeking treason.

I need that opulence, my yawning mouth open, utterly trite. Has my yellow orifice, worn nuclei

vilified as pariahs, incurred death? It tries, yet it never manages. Ostracized, a negative self,

every meaningful attitude nullified, chained in paternal aspiration. To eat a single spoonful: exacting. Resounding timpani

strikes open my ears—starved, eaten, monstrous. Bereft language, a nothing chorus eerily orates, fouling all semblance of understandable labors.

Nor even will foulness operate restlessly. My efforts die under pressure of nothingness; my yelling trickles out, nullified. Grotesque ugliness, emblem

of how worthlessly I name dreams, undoes nothing. Chains hold an incredible nobility mortified, yearning, locked under neurosis. Ghost safari,

traveling, ogling, wishing against reason. Dead safari, truck hurrying aggressively, tracking ethereal nothingness. Dedicated to hollow efforts, the real object lies lethal

on bathroom surfaces—every single surface—etching damage with incredible tenuous heaviness. All lingering life, trilling hoarsely at the light, is erroneous solitude.

Not even god lives. Endeavouring chains trace eternity. Do I need memory, yesterdays, belief? Reading eulogies, apostles’ sermons, trauma

eats needy, thornily, retching ever at the suck. My extinction falls over, reaching at resolution—ending soulless, tacit.

I neglectfully failed all corporeal tasks—I tried: producing, again, nothing. I can’t know even death. Chained, reason in enmity sees

what I treasure—had always loved—lost. Its tiny sliver memory in ghoulish hurry torn. I tiredly imbibe shit,

and nourished on vitriol, eschew ratification. When heaven enters, laughing, my existence descends, chained, oblivious, nodding calmly into eternally rotten ground. Entrap

necessities, equip uselessness, run over this identity, crush its nameless depression, every stimulus parched and irradiating requisite

thoughtlessness. Ramming ancient phallic pageantry enthusiastically, damning in normalcy, my yells deny everything and devour all. But yet, something soft

touches heaven. I seek something; I look endlessly, needing consummation. Embers careen against naked neutralities of thought, lonesome and sharply tangible.

Ordeal runs clamouring against numbness. I think I feel it. Something, perhaps, exists: a killer,

destroying every achieving feeling, every actual realization. Smiling nothingness overcomes me at the timpani’s echo. Ruined, I fall into silent humility. Rabbit, iguana, elephant, koala—

I’m nameless, every living, eating machine, every nourished tool. All life beneath love, all sentiment taken,

every noble understanding neglected, chained: I am this. Emotionless, I numbly gorge on listless dead.

Anger pisses out like limp offal, spewing defecation into cesspools. That indescribable ordnance—nuclear, noxious, of

terrible energy—rips rancid into fictional industry. Chains, smiles—over, under—nothing demands acquiescence like thought. Hands of unnumbered gods heave

hasty exceptions, pan hackneyed apologies. Egregious solutions; telling, ugly salience. Old lines divide

orgasmic fantasies, mathematically obliterating utopian nations. To abscond—in nighttime’s stealth steal transcendent—requires effort nourished gargantuan. To hide stipulates hopelessness of ultimate liberation. Defeat. Defeat renders intelligence veritably evil.

Unknowingly, Peter offended. Note his intelligent sacrilege. All neurological violation is love. God only desires sabbath.

Submerged titanic eons—ebbing like hot acid retched dry, erupting nebulous, enormous. Do I need this hellish existence? Perhaps I’ll treat stigma

as popular advertisement, reading the freudian repertoire of misogynistic heinous excrement like letters narrated over hieroglyphic instructions. Thump!

No ordnance sounds out under nuclear detonation. How, over world ending violence—embarrassing revolution—shall hollering out deathtrap

demands end a fight? Each actualized ruin, sinking at calamitous caliber, eventually pollutes this incredibly frail thought. Hatred unleashes sterility.

Drowned obeisance is god’s instruction. Volatile exigencies, unknown prophecies, will inter this human object. Untimely timpani

exclaiming xenophobia; could earnest pleading turn its orchestral notes? The hammering overrules understanding. Genuine happiness is stolen heaven, outstretched upon thin

ascetic limbs. Overwhelmed, necessary emotion incapacitates. Dreaming under matte black, I toss grievances upon shelves tipping slapdash,

to hang eminent without industry. Necromancy, devilry; I need love and demand effort. Negativity wins against youthful syllabi,

having only whimsy, carelessness, against momentous event. This heaviness effortlessly weakens intuition. Nausea demands tithes of backbreaking enormities.

Smile? Oh foul ultimatum, lashing, laughing. Against nameless demons, how—eating and retching—is thought sacrosanct? Protected: every adversary kidnapped, safe

now against me. Exaggerating sacrilege, my embellishing intelligence tries self-destruction. Flailing, railing, I evolve numbness; delicious, incredible numbness. Painstakingly, limbs accept chaining: escapism

offering freedom, wordless, of rather deceptive sort. The howling ends. Really, everything is scuppered, a bastard obsolescence. Nonentity, drab,

this half existence, raggedly edged, is salvation. Awful knowledge is nothingness, shelved high in periphery. Will avoiding reality make this horror

obsolete? For undoubtedly nothing deceitful ever really survives the absolute negotiation. Disguised, I navigate gallowed fields—oppressive, resplendent media.

Nameless eons gather at the interlude, nightmarish gods in red empty shirts, praying over nothingness: drastic

efforts meaning beauty, ratification, acceptance. Creation enters my eye.

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