Anyone passing through…

Posted in Uncategorized on February 24, 2008 by peregrinatus

Might want to look at this competition to put together a book of bloggers’ writings in aid of the charity Warchild which is the brainchild of the Peach Blog .

I made a submission so it’s only fair I give a link even if I don’t have many readers yet.
It’s a really cool idea.



Posted in Lo, Stories with tags , on February 24, 2008 by peregrinatus

There was a dog’s corpse lying in the would-be-garden space at the back of the flats. The mass of flies crawling over it exploded lazily when Will stumbled past then immediately returned to their prior positions like they were attached on invisible elastic. The stink was faint but awful.

He was wearing only socks on his feet. His hoodie was up and covering his face. Despite the bright sun it was a cold day. In his right hand he held the grey and patchy remains of his trainers by the heel lips.

Custom stitched gold and off-white Adidas Dakotas was what they had been.

He had grown up in another, better world on a leafy street behind a glossy green door with a shining brass number ten. Up until he was eighteen he had been a prince of suburbia and had wanted for nothing. He grew up through milk; sherbet; mockingbirds; ninja turtles; South of France holidays; Genesis through PS2 computer games; an unlearned skateboard and electric guitar; Glastonbury tickets; cocaine and finally a custom stitched gold and off-white pair of shoes. They were the last purchase his parents had made for him before they died and had been the last tangible remainder. After the foreclosure of the mortgage he had got on alright for a while by drifting from one friend’s house to another. It wasn’t long though before his addictions caught up with him then left him in their dust and anything he had of value had been sold. He’d managed to arrest his fall just before complete rock bottom by taking on a council flat as the last charitable act by an acquaintance moving out of to get married. He’d found a job at HMV to cover the rent. The friends he had had back in his golden age were long since gone, moved either up or away in the world or both.

So he seemed not to notice the dog and the flies and the smell. He was preoccupied. His toe had caught on the top of a curb, tripping him. Just like that, the abstract latticed rubber sole of the left shoe had come away entirely. The sweaty bottom of his foot had touched the pavement directly when he stood up. The moment was as crystal in his mind as a car accident would have been.

They had already been unfixable but had retained enough cohesion to still serve as footwear. They couldn’t now, it was beyond question. His Adidas Dakotas with custom stitching. He had immediately removed both of them and began moving towards his home, like he was attached by invisible elastic too. How bright those three gold stripes had once been.

He set the shoes down parallel to the low red brick wall grown over with bind weed. The wall went nowhere and supported nothing. Like the entire architecture of the housing estate it had been conceived of by an untalented and impractical hack in the late sixties with a learned aesthetic that demanded geometric walls with no purpose. The area at the back here was intended as a replacement for the gardens that the higher up of the flats around it lacked. It was filled with nettles and piles of trash and a dog’s corpse. Will sat himself down on the wall and absent mindedly watched the flies. After five minutes he lifted a bony hand and slipped back his hood. The unwashed blond shock shone in the green and grey and dog’s blood rusty surrounds and stuck up at angles. He shrugged his shoulders and scratched behind his ears as they slid into coolness exposed to the air. After another five minutes he shucked his sweater. He shivered as his arms went to gooseflesh as he removed his T-shirt too and put it on top of his sweatshirt on the wall. It was an insubstantial body defined by its protuberances, the bumpy ribs and awkward elbows etc.

Five more minutes and he wetted his lips then rolled himself lazily but determinedly backwards off the wall and into the nettle patch. His naked back hit it first then after a few moments when his muscles had unclenched enough from paroxysm he was able to flip onto his front and stretch into a shape like a falling diver. Face first with eyes open. Fifteen minutes later he crawled from the complex of pulp and stems and limped back to the front of the wall to retrieve his vest and hoodie. He left his shoes and climbed the flight of steps up to his back garden slowly. That morning he had left the French window open when he left. He often did. He went in through it and drew the thick old curtains closed.

The dog lay there decaying all week.


– Lo speaking.

Someone always gets there before you…

Posted in Uncategorized on February 18, 2008 by peregrinatus

If there’s anything that living in this time and place should tell you it’s that fact. Trying not to get depressed about it would be the unlocking key to getting by, I expect…

In any case here is an offbeat but intellectual Blog I just found that managed to be about ‘chiasmus, perigrinations, ruminations’ and ‘dilemmas’ all the way back in 2005 and is still going. Who knew my ‘favourite word’ was in such wide usage? It’s very good though:

Fido the Yak

Of course i don’t really have any readers so the rec seems more to be a reinforcement to myself.

The Yak manages to use the dialect of the high academy that I wish I was still using (sort of, sometimes) too. In fact the more I read (I’m reading more whilst writing this now) the more overlap of concern there seems. He uses bigger words and reads more books though, it appears.

That feeling where after working on a something you discover something else and in retrospect realise that if anyone ever saw both at the same time they would probably assume yours was a copy. I get that feeling constantly and don’t even think that it’s necessarily a generational thing. That’s saying something on my part as I tend to attribute most crappy parts of my life as to sweeping and mass produced afflictions in society. This one though I haven’t especially known other people get hung up on.

It sucks all the same.

– Al Speaking

Next up…

Posted in Uncategorized on February 17, 2008 by peregrinatus

…something not poetry. Haven’t decided exactly what yet.

– Al


Posted in Hylo, Poetry on February 17, 2008 by peregrinatus

Reading Tree Rings


I came upon

Summation and decay

Together breathing love

Recycled in each other’s air

Beneath the forest’s shade

Curled up inside the stump

Of an old bay

Recently cut


– Hylo Speaking


Posted in Hylo, Poetry with tags , on February 17, 2008 by peregrinatus

A Dialogue


A silhouette.

Stop motion clouds behind a silo.

Farmsheds pale.

The plane whites out.

Nature runs down the zoetrope.

These are the things I begin to see.


Said the old man the walker met on the road.

And the walker who was a scientist said:


Dirtless earth, substantial air, etc.

These are well known formulations

to me. Like manipulations of imagery

to a city mind fond of rambling

and refined thinking, also.

They come easy.


They parted.

The path bends.


New phenomena include:

The hawthorn’s blossomed elation

into dissolution;

ladywort by a puddle,

weeping; campion

and wild lamb’s ear

shimmer under the shadow that summer

cuts out from the kestrel’s wing stencil.


I made good use of:

A British Pocket Field Guide to the Clouds and Grain,

by configuration of the RNA.

And intercepted communiqués of sorts,

from the greenwood, I peeled leaves

and was delighted. I found

a thing I had been seeking.

Confirmed and unearthed

the essential dying vehicle

so quick behind the palisade,

and pinned it like a butterfly.

i.e. what living is.

i.e. corroboration of my metaphors by an ad hoc

hiking kit of observation and nothing more.

It was evidenced and written down.

Once, I had a hand that caught a messenger.

I decoded.

Once, to the eye of the walker scientist,

all weathers were fine,

and laid bare the different elements.


These are the things we begin to see.

The zoetrope runs nature down

and out the white plane of

pale silos and farmsheds.

Cloud motion stops behind

a silhouette.


The old man said.


Posted in Hylo, Poetry on February 15, 2008 by peregrinatus





along this road

clichés feel new




seem true enough

to force laughter

out of the blue…


…desire and…


…red kites

back tumbling

over the trash



…new country is.


…sky slogans…


…feeling the flare gun

parabola of the sun

for the first…


…swallow’s bow

and the recurve

of an elm sapling…


…the ecologies breed

the new eclogues…


…I see…


…It seems…


– Hylo speaking

About this Blog

Posted in Al, Essays with tags , on February 15, 2008 by peregrinatus

Peregrine is my favourite word.

per·e·grine (pěr’ə-grĭn, -grēn’)


  1. Foreign; alien.
  2. Roving or wandering; migratory.

n. A peregrine falcon.

[Middle English, from Old French, from Medieval Latin peregrīnus, wandering, pilgrim, from Latin, foreigner, from pereger, being abroad : per-, through; see per + ager, land; see agro- in Indo-European roots.]


The best bit about tracking etymologies for me has always been the way it shows how deep metaphors go. The words start harmonising and you aren’t really sure that they properly ought to.

For example the word ‘pilgrim’ has the exact same root as ‘peregrine’.

At the heart of the way the word pilgrim is used in English now in religious terms (the same terms used by Chaucer and Bunyan for example) is one passage from Wycliffe’s English translation of the bible. The passage is Hebrews 11. 13.

The Authorised Version of the bible has:

These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth.

Wycliffe has:

‘knowlechide that thei weren pilgryms, and herboryd men on the erthe’

The change from ‘harboured men’ to ‘strangers’ was made by Tyndale and has stuck ever since. This shifted the meaning from being a person in a foreign or alien land to a person that found all of the earth alien and foreign. “Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you” is what Jesus said (or rather ‘John the Evangelist’ – it would be him, wouldn’t it?).

In turn this is where the ‘Peregrinatus’ comes from. A Peregrinatus is a pilgrim without a destination, a person that affirms the fact that they have no permanent home or country on the earth by wandering like a foreigner everywhere they go. They’re not travelling to a shrine they’re travelling to Death. Cheery or what? (Although, in fairness, I guess they had Death down as a shiny streets of gold and diamond zombie city where all the houses are mansions which is slightly more upbeat – not really though.) As a tradition it particularly rose from out of the gloomy Celtic character, what a big surprise.

For example: the Old English elegiac poem that people call ‘The Wanderer’ is possibly about a Peregrinatus. Pilgrim means peregrine means ‘roaming or wandering’. The German for Peregrine Falcon is ‘wanderfalke’ the Swedish is ‘pilgrimfalk’. The word that people translate Wanderer from in the OE poem is ‘Eardstapa’, literally earth-stepper. That’s a cool extra layer of meaning right? A pilgrim isn’t just someone that is foreign to the world but disconnected but a person that is defined by their complete lack of levitation when it comes to their groundedness.

You have to ask why the dictionary definition of the word ‘peregrinate’ mentions that it especially refers to travel ‘on foot’ too. Where did that come from in the Latin or even Biblical inheritance? Is it some strange echo of an awareness that pilgrimage is all about the actual no-getting-around-it worldliness of stepping on the earth and immersing yourself in the alienating world?

I’m not a religious man though. You don’t need to be. Marx has his theory of alienation too after all, which turns the tables so that it’s either God (Feuerbach) or Capital (Marx) that makes you not feel at home in you own skin. Then capitalism sort of won (for the moment at least) and Marx’s grand theory to describe society got internalised as the explanation for a very personal (yet ubiquitous) form of anxiety. The truth of the commodified world of popular culture is inescapably alienating – and how could it not be, YOU CAN ACTUALLY WATCH PEOPLE ON TV COMPETING TO BECOME DONALD TRUMP/EAT MAGGOTS FOR CHRIST’S SAKE! IT ACTUALLY CREATES WEALTH! AN ACTUAL DIRECT DEHUMANISATION = PROFIT ENGINE! AS ENTERTAINMENT!

Le Peregrine

Pop culture’s a constant negotiation because of this. Any sense of belonging (of having a home) you have with a great number of the people you meet is based on mutual consumption of pop culture and at the same time (with anyone you’d want to spend time with) is conducted whilst dancing around that act of consumption – a way to use it as a personality marker without checking the price tag.

For me what a cultural wanderer, a cultural peregrinatus, would be is a person that feels as though existing in the floating world of insanity that we have to define ourselves by is like gazing in mixed fascination and horror around a foreign landscape full of utterly unexpected sights. That Douglas Coupland style commitment to the alienation and exploration of the world at the same time. I’ll be aiming for that here.

That probably means it’ll be a bit scattershot, especially at first since I haven’t done this before. I’m trying to write a few short stories a week and apart from that it’ll probably be rambling essays and over concerned analysis for things that both do and don’t deserve it. Books, TV, Comics, Films – the caboodle.

– Al speaking.



Posted in Stories, Tigraphon with tags , on February 14, 2008 by peregrinatus

In the most lasting and recurrent dream I’ve had throughout my life I am standing or wandering or sitting or waking or dying on a walkway of rusted iron. It is part of a labyrinth but I’m aware that there isn’t a way out. Sometimes I dream that I’m standing at a place in the maze with a vantage point so I can see the geometric ripple of the riveted metal lines extending in all directions to the horizons. At one time I remember the walkways were all level on a flat and infinite plane and from the elevated point of view offered by standing up I could see all of it until it receded into the haze of air with no sign of running out. At other times the walkway lattice that I’m wandering on is sunken so that it’s impossible to tell where it’s leading or see anything more than the right angle immediately behind and the one ahead.

In every case there are always sheer plunging expanses on each side of the route. At those times when the paths are ‘sunken’ there is still a chasm on either side but rather than meeting another walkway it is interrupted at a distance as far again as the walkway is wide by high iron walls of the same age and rusting appearance as the one I am walking on. Though the metal paths are wide enough that I can comfortably walk, or even run, down the centre without the true danger of falling the spaces are always infuse the atmosphere of the maze with a sense of risk. It is a fear of a potentiality, I think. I have never fallen though, in any dream that I can recall.

In that landscape I cannot stop dreaming about there are two other ubiquitous elements. Firstly, the sky above is always visible and open and clement, the sun always just shy of uncomfortably bright. Secondly, if I look over the edge into the iron-sided space I see that far below at the point where the ribbon I am walking on meets the surface of the plane the entirety of that surface is water. Though I am too high above to hear it as anything but a murmur the waters move. At times it is almost imperceptible but still present enough that the place doesn’t feel still and at other times they spin and churn urgently down the channels. They do not run like streams though, they move like the sea. It is as though there is an ocean, a sea exterior to the maze, a place where all of those linear spaces meet an open body large enough and organic enough to swell and ebb on a large scale. The effect then in the trapped maze water is a constant and unpatterned sequence of waves and echoes from that larger motion. They remind me exactly of the motions the tide made when meeting or leaving the huge rock pools and titanic corrugated beachscapes of my holidays in The Gower when I was a child.

Often the channels are so filled with a riot of colours in seaweed that the surface of the water looks less like a liquid and more like a mass of bladdered and pulpy flesh or soil heaving and breathing. It feels both terrifyingly titanic and at the same time comforting. Comfortingly alive. The air is always filled with the taste and smell of brine and ozone.

When I was young there were sometimes other creatures in the maze with me. I once ran from saurians there along those broad girders; gazed at the silhouettes of oblivious and gargantuan sun blotting birds in the skies above; or leviathan cylindrical shadows and accompanying delicate filigree ripples on the surface of the water below when skimmed by fin tips. Nowadays there are no other living animals. The space grows quieter and quieter and more peaceful each time I visit it. While I am awake I miss it.

Other changes have occurred there as I’ve grown up. The landscape of my youth had elements of set dressing as though lifted from adventure stories: vines, mosses, and even wide leafed ferns; giant hogweed; rope bridges; massive cogs and gears etc. Those have also faded over time.

Recently though, I haven’t been remembering my dreams much. I am writing this down in case I never see that place again and over time forget it.

– Tigraphon speaking