reclines in the unruffled air, observes that it's not too bad. The city's white-noise behind, the endless emails up front, and, between, all the fun of the swivel chair - not too bad to be back at work.

I, Fist, would like - with my usual smirk - to disagree. But even I can see that the trusted sandwich shop round the corner, and the regular brand of bottled water, beats the holiday cafe's fish pie schlop, and an Easter of diarrhea.


The Body Decides On A Holiday

The skin - under the hairs all scabs and spots - cries for a cleanse in a Turkish Bath. But, the prospect plain scares the crap out from the arse.

The gut demands a seat in a pub, the table piled up with booze and grub. But - warns each fat, lumbering part - for that we may just not have the heart.

The tongue untwists to suggest Amsterdam: lick me with the love of whores, find some padded room to smoke and shroom, to open perception's (at least pleasure's) doors. There is a protest from the wallet, and a wheeze from the lung. A sense of a stereotype and empty hype, and there in the damaged brain, a battered half-memory cries of past pain. No, it will not be done.

The feet insist, no matter what else, the arse finds a seat. The request is answered with a fart, and one knock from the knees makes the No complete.

The left fist, luxuriating in a dark pocket all day, like a teenage mood behind a bedroom curtain, le Fist Francais, has this to say: "paint my nails in purple, sprinkle glitter upon each knuckle, and sweep me off to gay Paris! Hear its bells call dingalingling! There I shall shimmer and there I shall sing! In that world of beauty outside of time, of Paris I shall be, and Paris shall be mine!"

Somehow he manages to resist. Although there in the eyes, a hint of mist.

And I, Fist, find little to say. Just this: "A forest is a city of wood, a beach a city of sand, and Paris sewers aren't so pretty. Do what you feel that you should, but your shoulders shan't shrug off the city." And so Fist, ready, waits, there in the hand.


Portrait of the Fist as a Human

Picture it:

The blood washed clean of it at birth, the first kindness of a mother or nurse, looping the whole of the fist around one adult finger, and then the first kisses in a flutter; the first paw at the bloom of the breast, the first reach for a rest during the first teetering steps; the handle bars of a bike, and school, and the like; eventually, the July air cools a touch at twilight, and hand in hand Fist levitates across the sand, till under a pier, or veranda, or as an owl woos, or as it turns midnight, Fist finds between another's legs the mystery of sex, and forgets its little local universe - instead, the ancient will of each species comes true; and with time, the hand coaxes into life a figure barely the size of a fist, a marvel made of human, such tiny fingers, as if a mirror from the past - or as if a line which, rather than long, thin and straight, and eventually dot dot dotting out to oblivion, there at the end, in fact loops back to life infinitely - a law of survival which lasts forever, even when Fist goes dry, even when to lift up Fist is to release a long, slow, sigh, even when Fist is placed at the end of an X made of arms, across the chest, and no religious or medicinal charms will work, and Fist curls up, and is cast down to rot, even then, in a sense, he is still held aloft, and comes from the earth back up.

Or maybe it's more like this:

Fist flies out and flops about, bloody and battered and blind, gropes for whatever he might find; it's food and a boob at first, and swabbing at his puke; and soon a spliff, a line of coke or nine, a fistful of pills full of who-knows, and don't forget all the booze, and the sickening and fattening take-away food; and don't forget the fist-fights, with strangers in city back-streets, the broken faces; don't forget the fisted women, the bouts of fucking amidst the miles of boredom, before the boredom summed up and Fist pointed the way to the door; and then the tax man and the reality check, the office, the swivel chair and the desk, the stealing and the back-stabbing, the blog and the spamming, even this little ditty; and everywhere, in the city stalks the Shadows of Hades, cooing to Fist come join us - and when they get the finger from Fist, they draw near, mouthing something about death that I, Fist, can never quite hear...

Ah, we know what life contains, if not what it's about; but not now how it ends, although we shall find out.



One, three, two, forty-five thousand and sixty-seven, eight, nine of you - swarms of flying rats, diving and bombing, swooping above and about, this way and that - like black drops of ink, blotting out the sky; spread over the years, I mean, across the whole of the city. Now I have a confessional cry: How is it that I, Fist, have always failed to punch a pigeon out of the sky?

Only yesterday - strolling through the Spring park, watching those grey stains, distant and dark, spread like litter, then edge nearer, nudge under the bench (which I'd finally settled upon) and search for some nugget, peck, peck, peck - rather than punch one, I simply, instead, put a cigarette into the hole in the middle of my head.

Now what grey poisoned flecks nest in the city of my lungs? My lungs, one day some place you will deflate, stop, pop, puncture; surely some evil like a pigeon is to blame, and it's not Fist the first punch comes from?


The Fist Thief

Whom is the thief of fists? The one who unfolds the hateful hand of a child, happily around some lollipop? Who picks the clenched fingers of some crammed commuter, out from the blackness of a trouser pocket, unfolds them for a mobile phone, where a dependable voice coos of home? Whithers the hands of old men into the dry, cracking branches of tiny dead shrubs?

Would-be boxers type at desks, and fists that would hold women aloft like trophies, or sport them like gloves, gently hold hands in a dull little park. O polite, professional city day - are you the thief of fists? And city, do you return after dark the fleet of stolen fists, dotting them about in the black heart of dreams, like the stars that burn each night, such dependable gifts?

Or perhaps, thief of fists, you are but a borrower: and when the blue above at noon grows dark with planes, when the monuments and parks are heaps of rubble, when dust thrashes like fighting snakes upon the air, the fists you have thieved will return, in vast numbers and free, released from everyday mediocrity, to briefly live and swiftly die - without knowing you, O city, O thief of fists, neither your who nor your why.


Through Binoculars

Patrick has been promoted: it is a party all afternoon. Yes there are speeches, yes they could not have been over more soon. "Tom," Patty said to him, "Tom. Haven't seen you hardly all year! What's been happening to yer?" Well Tom said nothing of that Friday Feeling of fuckitall, or the weekend where pleasure was dotted about like Wars amongst Stars, or a Saturday spent daydreaming of Monday morning as if of Mars; Tom said nothing of the Fist Blog at all. "Ahh nothing much you know." "And a good day today?" said Paddy, "my lucky day?"

And once again it is the fists of truth he failed to say. He failed to say: "Today, I locked the office doors, unleashed my binoculars, and spied through the window the student party. There they danced and there they sat, wrapped up in the colours of a flag; orange, green, and white. And I spied today the first bikini of the year, here in this glorious Spring-like warmth and light, in the park there, where, she, stomach all wobbly, face all slushly, sipped at beer, fell off the bench and on to her rear, and spilled cigarette ash, right across her vast breast - like some violent, alien rash. But then laughed, as if she'd just passed some crazy test, as a friend called right over - O Milly, Oh Molly, in a voice that sounded like, You silly, You lovely, as if some echo of a Dublin sidestreet, where mourners by a coffin sighed, O my darling, Oh my beauty, and then cried."

Instead it's simply - O you know me old Tom, struggling on, battling through, bureaucratic fist-fights is my life, through and through. And how's Patrick's day - his change of position? "Just an excuse for a drink!" says Patrick, who looks at Tom for a brief second, as if from great distance, or as if spying a truly curious name - some name that has become anonymous, or meaningless, or strange, through some result of the passage of time, or through age, or via the distance of an internet page.


The City Springs A Question On Fist

"Light flows through me. It mingles amongst my many streets, warms the women feeding birds, there on the benches, and the men striding the path through the park for a break; bright blue, it calls the buds up through the earth, daffodils, bluebells, and tulips soon too, and the birds start to swoop and to sing; the buildings glow like a chin (lit up by a buttercup), even the streets - so hard and mean they once did seem - have lost the blare and bluster, every car is mildly on some mellow meander; even the litter, the endless litter, is merely loitering without intent, dancing and drifting, with energy and elevation, with all that the City is soon to be sent - already begun - what I mean to say is, look here, it's Spring!

"Now, Fist," questionned the City, just this afternoon, "Fist, Fist, Fist. What dark little twist can you possibly put upon all of this? Why not speak to I, the City, as a tree hears a nesting bird, with just one simple word? (The word, Fist, being: Friend.) And why not look to unhand yourself along some young thing's neck (already their blouses are looser, opening), as soft as a dove -"

"And sing a song that ends in love?" I interupted. "Love, Dove? (Sing spring's wing?!) Heaven's above, such a school-child rhyme, stolen from a pop tune. I'd rather be cold and fruitless, like the moon, than chant your false hymn.

"O City in Spring, what do you bring? Wasps and bees are bullets of pain, flying out from a hand-like hive; and what will clean the streets, if not the slap of hard winter rain? And what are flowers but fists, forcing up through the black earth, powering through the death-dream of winter, the diseased dirt? O City, I shall speak of Spring. But not the way your postcards were picturing."



"Look" said the self-pitying Perineum, "Look. You eyes: Do not lower yet in your illness - but see out over the city, here from the office window: it has caused your streaming sickness.

"How? you ask. Maybe it was that shuffling commuter - or that one or that one or that one - from whom a particle of sneeze dropped out from his nose and onto his knees while on some train, then drifted outside and into the rain, from where it flew into some corner of you? Who knows? Who?

"But, look. Admist this city and the attack of its air, the most you can hope for is to be like me: tucked away in folds of fat, all sweet and sticky, jolting along blindly - unimportant, unnoticed, undecided - not knowing your own luck, true, but (now and again) tickled!"

And I, Fist, reply: "Perineum, so what? Make a Wish - it's the same as a Want - which is not far from a Punch, and for that act of Will, there's always a Way, even when his Health has wandered away. You don't think its true? Then next time I pull down his pants, I'll show you."


Birth of a City

What was that? Smack in the middle of his mouth, a long, hard punch? Sent up from the lung? In the form of a cough? That almost knocked his glasses right off? And what was that? Like a slow, long slug, a finger of fat ooze, manouvering its way around his nose? And the skull - that usually presses in as soft as a stroking palm - has it really grown spikes? Spikes that scrape along the grey top of the brain, like finger nails down a school blackboard?

Blackboard? School? His body? Where the provinces are full with the fats of putrid foods, the sewage works splutter and stink, caves and crevaces swim with steaming seas of salt water? Where the magic temples allure no worshippers, the streets are over-run by barbarians, and the chimneys splutter black smoke?

No, today he is a new city, one invaded by illness - and the brain shouts for balm - like cymbals the eyelids crash up and down, failing to be and fighting to be still and calm - and the Memory mutters something about Mother, chicken soup and orange juice - whilst the stomach begs the belt to let it run loose - and the throbbing neck has inflated its own noose -

and I, Fist, amok in the middle of it all, am as happy as an old General. An old General: one suddenly freed of his paper-strewn desk and occasional cigar, freed to roam and wreck like a mad young war lord, scratching at the fires, the fires spreading out like a plain across the skin, dropping paracetamol down the throat, like grenades down a bolt hole, and shouting out, like a fist-clenched loud speaker, with a voice so joyfully raw, that the City of Fist has been born of this body, and it is a city made entirely of civil war.


Without Name

"Look at the blog," I ordered him like a little puppy dog. "Look at the whirlwind of words. How they run in a web right around the whole wide world. Look."

"So what?" he woofed right back.

"So this. Why the leash of office life, why the sty of the city? Why not act as words speak? Demolishing cities to dust, say, in the space between a question-mark and a full-stop.

"Why not flood the air with a fleet of fists, roaming around the great globe itself, fisting the human debris with raw hurt? Why not chase down the chicks in their changing rooms, flicking away all the misty steam of this world, with just one stroke of the wrist? Like words, grope in the guise of a gift, governed by the will to get? (Of course - with, I, Fist, the calm, controlling eye of your storming self.)"

"Words, words, words," he snarled back after a bit. A temp was teetering around in the cabinets.

"Millions of them. Millions of words trekking around millions of worlds. And yet there - the temp, look, her pale, exposed neck, as up she stretches up. How many places from that fragile edge of the ear to the angle of her shoulder blade? More than all the words of this warring world put together. O, that little line of skin, so wholly without name. So soft to touch with the tongue! Or trace with a finger. And what would the languages of earth weigh then, in the black wordless nowhere of a bedroom at night, where the contours of her face move across your face, and your hand is lost to the world, lost amongst the long, looping ringlets of her hair?

"So much, Fist, for your war of words and worlds!"

Silence. But we will speak later.


No Post Today

The stomach grumbles and groans: "Poison, poison! How he fisted me with toxin after toxin last night; beer, wine, whiskey, cigarettes - and cheap meats after night fall. Such damage he has done, such damage I will do. That's my grumble, that's my groan, and now that's all."

The armpits weep and wail: "O the stench of his sweat today! One moment sickly with sugar and heat, the next minute a shivery silvery slivery slime, as sharp as lemon or lime."

The raw eyes dream of retreat: "Knock, knock, knock, Mr Brain! How out here the avalance of air gives us such a bald, blood-shot, barmy stare! Please, please, please, let us lounge about blindly inside the fuzz of the skull today!"

And from the teeth, a woo woo woo like the ghosts of a graveyard: "Today we are tombstones, today we are charcoal. O hangover of hangovers, we were first smoked out, then a war's worth of alcohol has killed us all."

And the brain arbitrates all the complaints: "Poor bits and bobs, poor little boy: out you went to play, and back you came as a broken toy. And now, we must pay: with peace, silence, sleep. So Fist - that means, Thou Shalt Not Post Today - no, not even a peep."

I nod, go quiet, wink. As obedient as an echo, bounding about an abandoned cave, or so he does think.


Back in 5

Hours, days, years? Lifetimes, reincarnations, eternities? Five what? I ask him: back after five what? Lines of coke? Five strangers fist-fucked? Five lottery tickets - bought in the memory of the dear deceased, Lady Luck?

- or why not five bunjee jumps from city roofs, flying like a fist, diving into the city, hurtling down through its air - and the drop stops - right on the dot. Just. Paused at your face, the curve of the street, hardly as hard as a fist it looks. And then back up it bobs, down it bobs back, bob, up, down, bob - like a kid's bouncy ball; harmless, and utterly sweet.

Or five fist-fights in the lunch-time and its queues: a princess picking over the salads as if over jewels; that fool fumbling his change; the bus-tinned tourists grinning at the surface of the city, like the sardined spectators smiling from seats in a sports stadium; and don't forget to wrench that paper-reading stinker from the toilet cubicle ... and for a fifth? Perhaps, dear, darling, random reader, it could even be you.

Or perhaps, back after five pints of piss, peed from the ridge outside the roof-top window, a pure line of fluid flowing through the dirty air, then burning down below, there in the eyes of innocent passer-byes, drenching the tickets and dreams of luck, running through everyday doors, flooding through atriums and echoing corridors, and washing away all of the city's innocent, questionning, post-it notes?

Or back in the time that it takes for five paragraphs of a blog to be daydreamed up, which inexplicably and mysteriously end with a question of love?


The Whim

Some whim of him whispers:

First, spread your legs out up on the desk, and do not worry who's coming through the door next. Then lay back, as if luxuriating in a bath, as warm and homely as a hearth. Shut those eyes of yours and conjure a line of stars, spread out along the backs of the lids. And let those fingers and your ears collude, to silence the hum of here and the distant cars.

Now, sing your self a story, tell your soul a tale, of a golden path thread through a green land; it begins with birth, ends back in the trusted old earth, and in the middle you take women by the hand, as down the straight line you sail, making love on the land, and never once hearing the word fail. O sparkle, perfect creature, O shine with this soulful hymn, and mouth out the melody of this whim!

Of course - regular readers - I, Fist, boom back:

Sing your self as a story, and sell your soul a tale to tell? Blind and deaf and docile you may well be for a moment - but there the throbbing city still is, swirling just beneath the window, staring from the screen with the eyes of a ghoul, and black growls stain the grey air. A golden path through that? With its maze of choices to make every second, around each corner? A maze without centre, sodden with a million threads, threads of falsehoods or facts beamed through the air, bundles of violence burning down cul-de-sacs, balls of sex sweating out swarms of contagions - and you with fat, stumbling thighs, groping fingers, a slow, slow bumbling brain? And you chasing around in circles, if in any shape at all, if chasing at all?

(Legs down. Eyes open. And on, fornever forward, upward and nonward, he works.)


Mothering Sunday

The lips had already done their bit - all the cliches and polite kisses - when the ears went on strike. Enough stories about school! they said, enough! LalalalaLA!

Into the silence of deliberate deafness, the eyes then spoke for a while. Look at this old lady, they said, whom looks just like you, but sagged and squashed. Look at her love, as she talks her tedious talk, here in your old home.

Your old home! answered the Imagination. Look around: the room fills with what has passed; that surprise birthday party, father leaving for the last time, you having sex on this very sofa; and further back, your parents sat around, you no bigger than a fist, sat bumping about in her stomach. And before you bounded into this brilliant world, you were conceived here too - with love-making perhaps, or planned down to the detail of your name, or maybe with a faked orgasm, such a tiny formality. Who knows?

Ah, said Nostalgia, how you were wanted here in this house. How you were welcomed here into this home. Warm, all so warm.

Then, the body parts all turned to me. Fist, they said in chorus, dear Fist, do not spoil all this, the peace and quiet. The tongue has sworn it shalt not swear - don't ask. And the penis is as sleepy as a babe. Fist, they said, Fist, so what that you once were tiny and fell out of her vagina? So what that you clung to her breast as the hot milk flowed to the mouth? Fist, angry Fist, rebellious Fist, hateful Fist, just stay in that pocket, where the arm has tucked you - no, thou shalt not wave about.

I had no answer, in my itchy laughter, there in the pocket, I had no answer. And now I speak: Body, as the lips lick themselves, looking for love, as the ears are invaded by the sound of a city, scything through space, as the eye twitches for threats from all corners of the streets, as the old house warms its lonely widow, so many miles away, what would you do with out me now, blurted into the everyday of this city, which doesn't have a care in the world?


Thursday Night

And there they are, on some late-night cable channel: human bodies barely the size of a fist, with fists barely the size of finger-nails - but punching this way and that, then pulling themselves upward into the womb, scratching for grip against the walls; feet kicking like fists, head screaming and eyes blinking in disbelief - as though a fist was flying right at their face - and then a final last leap of life - and then it's done; the abortionist vacuums the foetus through the vagina, and a would-be mother has made some money, selling the motion-picture scans to TV.

And there I am - I, fist, whom might never have existed, never been connected to arms and eyes and ears, coated in a layer of skin like this, so comfy now, flicking over channels, holding back a yawn. I'm attached to a man wasting time, wondering who or what else he might have been doing tonight, perhaps in an alternate life, and what's on TV next, and when is the right time to go to sleep.


Shop Girl

Dotted across the city like dogshit, there must be a million others the same. Where fingers filch about in pockets for poultry change, crisps, cans, cigarettes, soon exchanged, and their chemicals that fist the insides of humans, with their flicker of hopes. Corner shops.

Days have drifted past like three little dots, and I must have seen her a million times the same. Stood there behind the till: slim, long and white. Like an unlit cigarette, or beam of pure light. And her thin feeble fists working away, day after drifting day.

Today, two pink and bright lines have danced upon her pretty face: eyeshadow, she wears at work for the first time. He spied them fluttering from the line. Perhaps those eyes are lit up like a butterfly, utterly beautiful, and so free to fly away.

Or perhaps, she has had enough of staring silently down this line of dull, dark-suited men, whom desperately and always fail to flirt with her. And now she's decided to crudely signal that now she's a prostitute, saying: come at me with cocks ready, cock in my mouth, cock down south, cock behind me, flood me like a can of drink exploding over lips, or climb through me with your cocks, the way sharp crisps crawl and crunch down the throat, or blast me and burn me with a heat like the the tips of cigarettes; come, cocks, into me. Here I will have you all, and I can never be full, so come with your cocks and fists, ready and easy like change.

Perhaps, perhaps, perhaps ... and so I pay, and say goodbye.



And yes he is in a rush and no he can't stop to chat in the corridor and sorry but please would you get out of the way there and - at last - and - and - and - Out Of Order?

Toilet Out Of Order? Nearest toilet one whole floor down?

And - yes - rush - no - can't - stop - sorry - please - and someone's in there? Stinking out the place and, by the sounds of it, turning over the pages of a newspaper?

Umm-ing away to themselves?

And then ahh-ing?

O, the cheeks turn white in an instant, their respectable colours gone, become a ghost, and the belly garbles desperate complaints, and the eyes water, his mouth mutters, knees get the shakes, gut shudders, and the gates of the bowels boom out emergency signals, and the forehead has aged a thousand years in this single moment, now a sudden sea of rippling wrinkles - and even the left Fist (all French and laconic, scratching around near the warm cave at the base of the spine) is concerned by this. C'est n'est pas bon. Et le corps pleure avec la sueur.

Nearest toilet? Half the building away. And I, Fist, issue the orders. Mouth: quiet, teeth gritted as quiet as a fist. And I tell the legs: march, as fast as a flying fist. And I tell the bowels: fist, scrunch as tight and as hard as a fist.







after all


trousers are around ankles, the cubicle is locked, he is leaning back, and I, Fist, the boss, say: Bombs away! Fists away! Fly my babies, fly!

- and nothing happens. (Except for the left Fist, who releases a low, slow snigger.)



Pinch, punch, first of yet another month - and now the same sight, here at the end of yet another shift. From the pigeon holes, all of the forwards have departed. No trace now of I, Fist, stuffing them in, one by one by one. Flicking this floppy sheet forward there; fingers nudging pages straight here, neat and straight, neat and straight - not a trace. And my monitor, the same sight: emails and a blog.

And yet again, invisible but everywhere, an eternal mystery. How, once more, has she failed to materialise? The dreamed-of woman? Her, with her school-girl socks pulled up to her knees, the skimpy pants, a little loose about those lilting hips? Her, tip-toeing about the place, surveying him - him sprawled in a ball on the floor like a little fist, but staring up, gaping up? Her so tall, legs like beams of light filtering through to dark forest floors? Then her, pulling those pants to one side, perched upon this chair, legs lifting up upon this desk, pointing herself at this monitor - and then she summons a finger of fist to touch her, and pulls it inside of her pleasureflesh, and - and - and -

- and then out it comes, flying, an explosion of female fluid, scented with citrus fruits, a subtle hint of vinegar, coating the monitor, flooding the pigeon holes, drowning the body sprawled on the floor, who can no longer say what day it is, or what time it is, or what will happen in the very next instance.