Personifying it

by Chris Buchanan

Poetry, 2022

They said six to eight weeks

and I thought you’d be pissing yourself with that, loving it, pissing deep down his lungs and into his flat red chest

but obviously not. You did it in four

you were just rinsing harder,

as if you needed a masterpiece

It’s inhuman what you did to him.

Key Sticking In

by Chris Buchanan
Poetry, 2021

She felt for the lock in the dark,
coming home late, key sticking in
at the plate,
leaving a mark and a scuff,
click click stuck stuck fuck ugh
– flipped her fist to a strain,
and then
– just –
air through the threshold, through her and then
sense in the skin, not the head.
She got in
good, rest at the bedposts.
Stood on lead pins.
With a tick of the clock she stopped –
she dropped in the dark and got off.

The Giraffe-Necked Woman

by Chris Buchanan
Poetry, 2020

Pretty sure no-one else can see
the giraffe-necked woman.
She only sees me:
she looks no-where else,
waits for me motionless behind blinds,
walls, trees, the dark, closed eyes,

her lids are relaxed, always as if amused,
lazily leaned into laughter lines
and her open mouth smile
so distended, her jaw
must be long broken, lips long gaped to
sticking that way, fastened, aching
long open, cartilege stiff,
the look never breaking,

Sometimes I meet her eyes,
stare her down, scrabble for the magic words.
Her reaction is resting there ready,
on me before I speak.

The neck is so I can’t forget, I guess:
she’s never explained any of it.
I get the impression I wouldn’t get it.
Or it’s funnier if I don’t know.

Horrid Spider

by Chris Buchanan
Poetry, 2018

Me dad he said
the horrid spider
and takes your head.

Me dad he told me
it spits on your lips
then the horrid spider slides
its bulb from behind,
saliva squeezing hips

Horrid spider babies feed
inside you,
masticating rot, imbibing
dead snot, loosening clots
and lots of babies are freed.
Nose bleed.

Me dad he drew
his fingers through,
of day-old dew.

The Boy from the Badlands

by Chris Buchanan
Poetry, 2017

Rob McFadden, he’s a bad un –
he’s a nasty, gone-off pasty
full of sweaty brawn and internet porn.
Steer clear of his beery back streets
and his alt-right tweets.

He’s a bad lad
an his dad said he’s a mad ed.
I’ve seen him eatin cod and chips
with skeevy teeth and rotten lips.
He dun’t have salt and vinegar –
he just has crack and poppers –
and his eyes are bleedin beadier
than Roy fuckin Cropper’s.

Rub McFadden’s lamp an he’ll chew you
in his greasy gums –
do you in the slack of the black eye
and keep the good un for your mum.

30 Flash Fiction Prompts

Nancy Stohlman

Need a little mid-winter inspiration? Try one of these flash fiction prompts:

1: Write a story in which something transforms into something else.

2: Write a true story that is so ___________(insert adjective here) that no one would believe it’s true. But it is.

3: Find a story you’ve written that isn’t quite working. Chop it down to exactly 100 words. Give it a new title.

4: Write a story that is based in or uses elements of mythology–any mythology from any culture or time period.

5: Bibliomancy–open the dictionary to any random page, place your finger on any random word and poof! That is the title (or part of the title) of your next story.

6: Write a story from the point of view of someone much older than you.

7: Write a story about or featuring a body part. (Heads out of the gutters, people, there are other…

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A love poem by Steve Martin

“To be there when I need you to be there…
and to be out of town the rest of the time.”

Chris Buchanan writes

A love poem by Steve Martin: renowned comedian, banjo player and personal friend of Johnny ‘the casher’ Cash. Transcribed from Saturday Night Live (season 14, episode 20).

Every man needs a woman and I need you
to lift me when I am sad,
to comfort me when I am down,
to clean me when I am drunk,
to walk beside me when I want to look like I’m not gay,
to walk in front of me when I need someone to act as a human windbreak,
to kiss me when I’m horny,
to massage me when I am tense and / or horny,
to make me horny when I’m not horny
and then to watch me fall asleep.

I need you, darling,
to clean between my toes when they are not clean to my satisfaction,
to pick the nits out of my hair when I have head lice,

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The F-Zero annotated roster

Lately, I’ve been playing a lot of F Zero X for Nintendo 64. It’s a grand old racing game, with a massive cast of thirty weird-looking comic-book-style characters. In most cases I don’t know their real names, and I don’t have an instruction booklet.
All I do know is – a lot of them look silly. And when I’m trying to race I find it impossible not to glance at the little portraits in the top 5 and come up with nicknames for them. Many of the names I came up with are lazy, and some of them are childish, and all of them are stupid. Nonetheless, I will now ask you to read them.

1 ) Dr Zoidberg
Dr Zoidberg, formally a local MD based in interplanetary deliveries, has fallen on hard times recently. Also something is stuck up his nose, I don’t know.

2) Those Guys From The Star Wars Cantina Scene
One of them doesn’t like you, and the other one doesn’t like you either. They’re wanted men! They have the death sentence on twelve systems! And so on.

3) Angry Father Christmas
This year nobody left him a glass of sherry on the mantelpiece. A life long alcoholic, Santa is now forced to go cold turkey, and he takes out his frustrations on his fellow F Zero racers.

4) Captain Falcon
A former crowd favourite, the Captain is doing poorly of late. His driving is fine, but every single race, without fail, one of the other racers will knock him off the side of the track, crying “Falcon punch!” and laughing as they speed away. Every single time.

5) Captain Palette-Swap
Push the button, Max!

6) Temuera Morrison
After so many years stuck in the role, New Zealand-born actor Temuera is now convinced he IS Jango Fett. With this in mind, he races around F Zero in a replica Slave 1. Nobody minds him.
7) Jodie Summer
My favourite character. I have nothing mean to say about her.

8) The Most Boring Character
I dunno. He smiles, he wears a red helmet. Be honest – you haven’t got anything either.

9) The Cruel Wizard Wrath-Amon
That’s more like it. Wrath-Amon is the leader of the Evil Serpent Men, who are from another dimension and will reveal their true form if you attack them with Star Metal.

10) Mister Hyde
Mister Hyde likes to tell people that he is the famous literary character of the same name and alter-ego to Doctor Jekyll. In fact he’s just a very ugly man with the surname Hyde.

11) Badly-Disguised Cylon
This unfortunate double agent still thinks nobody has noticed his infiltration into the F Zero ranks.

12) E Honda
Us Japanese fighters gotta stick together. CUZ WE’RE BROTHERS! HA HA HA HA!

13) Utahraptor
Most famous for his appearances in Dinosaur Comics – Utahraptor is seen here in panel 5.

14) I Have No Idea
I originally had a dirty joke here, but I decided it was too crude. Make up your own story for this fella.

15) The Cat
Lookin’ goooood!

16) Female, Black Character
That ought to mollify that demographic. Next!

17) The Noid
Avoid him. Or better yet, knock his car over the edge of the track.

18) Super Arrow
After Jodie Summer (#7), easily my favourite character. I just love the completely serious expression on his face despite the hat, and the even more serious expression on the bird. God, I wish the bird was also wearing a hat like Super Arrow’s, except maybe with a letter B on it. In the game, his suit is bright red, which makes him even funnier looking.
I love him.

19) Doctor Smugman
The good doctor is a leading light in the field of centre-partings and races just to show off.

20) Foetoid
Remember Foetoid? From the game Forsaken?
Sure you do. Foetoid, ladies and gentlemen. I call him that because he looks a bit like Foetoid. Comedy!

21) Mister Creosote
Hercule Poirot, the great Belgian detective, stretches all his little grey cells as part of his continuing investigation at the F Zero tracks. Finally after sifting all the evidence, he gathers all the other racers together in the drawing room to… oh shit, it’s Mister Creosote.

22) The Troll
The Troll lives underneath the Rainbow Road track and, when not racing, demands tolls from other racers trying to practice. He is sick of people calling him ‘Krang’ and he does not know what they are giggling about.

23) Mrs Arrow
This attractive young lady has the extraordinary misfortune of being married to Super Arrow (#18). She is never seen without her signature sunglasses, onto the backs of which she has glued a photograph of a less ridiculous-looking man.

24) Fake Cosplay Fox McCloud
FCFMcC likes to pretend he is Fox McCloud from the Starfox games. To this end he has modelled his car to look like an Arwing and dresses like his hero at all times. He has never won.

25) Lobotomised Starwolf
Can’t let you DO that, Fake Cosplay Fox McCloud!

26) The Cryptkeeper
Hello boys and ghouls! Tonight’s terrifying tale concerns F Zero racing! He he he he he! I call this nauseating number… Driven… to DEATH!!
In recent years the Cryptkeeper has lost his hair.

27) Handsome Jack AKA Not Tom Paris
This handsome young chap spends so much time preening himself in the rear-view mirror that he has yet to actually start an F Zero race. He seems happy enough.

28) Michael Chain
Michael Chain is only a part time racer. During the week he teaches Art History at Stanford University, and campaigns tirelessly against racial stereotyping. Also – Michael’s car looks like a big orange toast rack.

29) Absolutely Not Captain Picard
Nobody knows what this gentleman’s real name is because everyone is so used to calling him ‘Captain Picard’. He hates it, and even got a tattoo on his head, just to make him look less like the famous TV character. The irony is that if he didn’t get so annoyed every time, they’d stop calling him that. After hours, he likes to hang around with Handsome Jack (#27) so they can discuss how they are totally NOT Captain Picard and Tom Paris, respectively.

30) Doc Brown
F Zero tracks? Where we’re going we don’t need… F Zero tracks…