March 26, 2007

the off-beat has started

Tony O’Neill

Peter Wild

Chris Major

Sean McGahey

Hello WWW – This is a truly amazing issue of Savage Manners!! I’m humbled by the quality of poetry and fiction that’s on your screen!! It’s amazing that regardless of influence, background, or past literary clashes – We all want to tell it as it is!!  



I was down vuh canal on mee own. I can’t say as I know why I was on mi own but if I was on mi own it was probly cos Noo-Noo’s dad was playing up and locking Noo-Noo in her room again which is wot he did most of vuh time cos he was mental and muslim and all vuh rest of it.

I do know what it was I was doing voh.

I was snipin.

Snipin was one of me most favrit of games. What you did if you was playin snipin was: get down on vuh ground and drag yourself around like as if your legs were dead or gone or summat. Snipin was best after vuh rain had rained cos ven all vuh ground was wet. Snipin was vuh best when you had to snipe froo vuh mud. You knew youd had a good snipe when yr cloves was reekin at vuh end of vuh day. You had to get down on vuh ground and narrow your eyes and pretend like you had a rifle or some’ing and you were movin to some better vantage point cos you had to tek someone out. When I say tek someone out I mean killem. Snipin was all about killin. 

So. I was snipin. I was up on vee embankment and I was eyeing vuh canal vis way and vat way when I saw vuh fumb making his way down vuh path tward me. Vuh fumb was a sad looking cunt, no mistake. He lookt old to me and he walkt like he was carryin vuh wait ov vuh world on his back. I dint fink all vat much of him. I lookt at him and I fought about whevver he could be mi target or not – mi snipin target, I mean – but vat was all. I was finking about what I was doing and so I dint fink too much about vuh fumb, leastways till he dropped down onto his knees in front of vuh shit tree. He dropt down to his knees, right – and I tell you I can see vis clear as day – shit squeezed out from under his knees the way toofpaste squeezes out the end of vuh toof paste choob. But the shit dint seem to bovver him or anyfin.

Stopt me in my tracks voh, I’ll tell you. You dont see someone drop to veir knees in a pile ov shit every day now, do you? I forgot snipin quicksmart. I forgot snipin an I was all eyes. Vis next bit, fink of me like I was a big, bulgin eye. No arms or legs and no head and no nuffin. Just a eye watchin a fumb. Okay?

Vuh fumb reached into his pocket and took out a piece of wood about so big by so big. Vee eye vat I was fought ay up. What’s he gonna do wiv a piece of wood? What he did was vis: he unfolded a knife – and duh knife was about vuh same lenf as duh piece of wood which I now understood to be vuh handle of duh knife. Vuh fumb took duh knife and he started sticking it in vuh trunk of vuh shit tree. It was well psycho. He was stickin duh knife in vuh tree like vuh tree was someone vat he really fuckin hated bad. Was well weird. Dint end vere voh. Soon as he was finished stickin duh knife in, he let his hand fall and he let duh knife go, duh way you would if youd just forgotten what it was you were doin. Duh knife dropt to vuh ground just behind him but he dint even look at it. He had his hands up, both of em, and vey were checking out vee hole what heed made in vuh shit tree. Was ven vat I started feelin all sortof proprietorial tward vuh shit tree cos – I fought ven – who was vis fucker comin along and stickin his knife in our shit tree?

I dint get too far wiv vat fought cos den he did what I fought was vuh weirdest fing yet: vuh fumb put his mouf to vee hole in vuh shit tree. Vere I  was, lyin vere up on vee embankment watchin vis dolly cunt stab vuh shit tree an make an nole and ven he put his mouf to vee ole and I tell you I dint know what vuh fuck to make of it, I dint honestly. For a minute I fought he was eating duh bark and ven I fought maybe he ‘d made a mouth in vuh trunk wiv his knife sose he could kiss vuh tree and ven I just stared wiv mi mouf open and mi eyes wide cos I dint get it, I just dint get it at all. Vuh fumb had his mouf up against vuh tree and his eyes closed and he held vuh trunk duh way youd hold up a trophy if you was a football champion or somefin. He stayed like vat voh, on his knees wiv his mouf pressed up against vee hole heed made for about five minutes. I cunt take mi eyes offof him. I cunt, honest. Vere came a point voh when he lowered one of his hands into vuh shit at duh foot ov vuh tree and he plunged his hand in and took up a good handful of vuh wet dog shit and – for one horrible fuckin minute I fought he was gonna smear it over his face or eat it or somefin. But he dint. He had vis handful of wet dogshit and he brought it up to dee hole an at vuh last minute he jerked his head away and filled vee hole wiv vuh shit. He held vee hand vat ‘d brought vuh shit up over vee hole and he lowered his uvver hand and plunged vat in shit and he brought up annuva handful of shit and he plastered vat over vee hole and he lowered his first hand again back into vuh shit and so it went on until heed got shit all over vuh trunk of vuh tree and all over his hands and all over his coat and his trousers and his face. Vuh fumb was totally covered in shit. Was fuckin horrible.

When vee hole was covered, voh, vuh fumb – who looked a sight by vis point – got to his feet some’ow and sortof drunkenly wandered off. He looked like mi dad after mi dad ‘d had a night on vuh sauce.

And me? I just lay vere watching him go, wonderin what duh fuck it was I’d just caught an eye full of.

Part 1 Vere ‘s zis tree down by vuh canal and vuh tree was full of shit. When I say shit I don’t mean actual shit I mean shit what people ‘d froan away. Shit like irons and kettles vat dint work no more. Shit like fuckin bubble wrap and what do you call it, polyfene. Vere were vese long polyfene choobs sortof hanging over some of vuh lower branches. Noo-Noo said dey lookt like elbow length gloves left behind after some swanky party or summat but I fought vey lookt more like arms what had been chopped off. Someone had even tossed an old bike frame into vuh tree and from where weed sit you’d fink vuh bike ‘d burrowed its way in, deep.  

Vere ‘s other shit too, shit I dint see at first, shit what Noo-Noo had to point out to me. Vuh bloody mice frinstance. Not vat vere were bloody mice in vuh tree. Bloody mice is just what Noo-Noo called em. Vere were bits of cotton with tails, bits of cotton what had been soaked in blood, lookt like. When youd seen em once you cunt miss em. Noo-Noo said vat vuh bloody mice lived inside of my mum and my mum flung em out once a month and veyd all scurry down to vuh shit tree cos vey were glad to be out of my mum but Ide just tell her to shut up. Shut up Noo-Noo, Ide say. Vat usually did vuh trick.  Anuvva why vuh shit tree was callt vuh shit tree – all vuh dogs vat get walked down by vuh canal liked to do veir business in among vee exposed roots at vuh foot of vuh shit tree. Noo-Noo reckoned dat it wus duh smell. Vuh shit tree stunk. Noo-Noo reckoned vat duh dogs got a whiff of vuh shit tree and nen ney cunt help emselves, dey had to go. And – dis is Noo-Noo as well – cos dogs are essentially clean and decent and polite creatures, dey go where duh other dogs have been so as not to make vuh mess any worse. If people were like dogs, Noo-Noo ‘d say some’imes when she ‘s off on one, dee whole world would be a much better place.  

Vuh shit tree really did smell bad. It want just vuh shit. Vere ‘s another smell underneath vuh shit. Sometimes I used to fink it ‘s vuh bloody mice mixing with vuh shit but uvver times I fought it were somefin else. Vuh smell was so bad. Like a fire. You know when you walk twards a fire and you can only get so close cos of vuh heat and vuh smoke and you have to lift your arm up and cover your eyes to stop vuh fire and vuh smoke from making you sick or burning your eyebrows off or somefin. Vuh shit tree was a bit like nat. All vose people walking veir dogs had to stand off by vee edge of vuh canal while vuh dogs did veir business. Even me and Noo-Noo cunt get close. Whenever we tried we always had to stop cos vuh smell made us wanna gip.  Even saying everyfin what Ive said voh I still fought vat vuh shit tree was sort of magical. I know how gay vat sounds. But. So many days vat summer before vuh last year of school me and Noo-Noo and sometimes Scarfy and Doughnut but mostly me and Noo-Noo played down by vuh canal and whatever we were doing vere were always times when Ide look down at vuh tree from up on vee embankment and see vuh shit tree for what it really was. What it really was was magic. Me and Noo-Noo ‘d sit vere an squint an say what we could see like in vat quiz show mi gran liked to watch. Ide squint and say summat like about how vuh bloody mice were in fact candles, candles like what youd find on vuh King of Noway’s Christmas tree. An Noo-Noo ‘d squint and say vat vuh polyfene choobs were like some kind of alien tinsel. Or duh bubble wrap was angel hair. Or vuh bike was a sort of clunky, mechanical Father Christmas. Weed go on for hours some’imes. If we stayed late enough, vuh cars from duh motorway gave us fairy lights. Its probably hard for you to see or even fink about but vere were definitely times when vuh shit tree was beautiful. Beautiful and magic.  

And we weren’t alone in finking what we fought.  Apart from duh people who walked veir dogs we dint really see anyone else down vuh canal. Vat was one of vuh reasons why it was so great down dere. Was our kingdom. Me and Noo-Noo were vuh King and Queen of vuh Canal. We did what we liked and want no-one around to say oy or stop it or leave off or anyfin. We did as we liked. Even after duh summer was over if we bunked offof school we’d be down vuh canal fucking about. Vuh canal was like our second home or summat. Was a place we could go to to get away from whatever else was happening. Cos it was just duh two of us voh or vuh free of us sometimes if Scarfy was along or vuh four of us if duh Doughnut man was around and cos we knew vuh lay of vuh land anyone else who loitered stuck out like what mi mam would call a sore fumb.  

Which is why, when we started seeing sore fumbs all vuh time, it became like vuh most important fing vat had ever happened in vuh history of time. I say vuh most important fing. We’re pretty stupid, me and Noo-Noo. We’re pretty stupid cos it took us ages to do vuh maths. You know what I mean when I say vuh maths dont you? Two an two an two an two. Stuff you add up to work summat owt. When I say it took me an Noo-Noo ages to do vuh maths I mean vat it took us ages to put everyfin togevver. We started seeing sore fumbs every day. We’d be in vuh middle of some’ing and Noo-Noo’d say, Fumb. She’d say Fumb, I’d say Where? and she’d say Vere! like as if I was stupid. Or sometimes I’d say Fumb and she’d say Where? and I’d say Vere! like as if it was her what was stupid and not me. We took it in turns, mostly. We’d see vuh fumb and we’d stop what we were doing and we’d watch for as long as it took vuh fumb to passus by and ven weed get back to doing what it was weed been doing before vuh fumb came along.  I cant say as why we dint follow any of em. I dont spose we fought vere was anyfin more to it van sore fumbs walking by. We just dint is vee only answer I have to give you.  

Summat happened voh – summat what I’ll tell you about in a minute right, if you just old your horses a bit – and after vuh summat happened, me and Noo-Noo talked about all vuh fumbs and we boaf of us fought vere ‘d been more to vuh fumbs all along, we just dint fink to mention it to one anuvva, you know? After vuh summat happened, it was obvious wot all vuh fumbs were doing. But until vuh summat it want obvious. If you follow me.  Anyway. Vuh summat wot happened was vis:

And so, the unfathomable depths gaped like a tormented snake. The sound was as enticing yet frightening and she  moved with unusual grace toward him. She stroked his head, massaging the thoughts away. Inside she cried.

Inside. Always inside.  A tumultuous blaze of thought after thought.

Emotions wrought – always aware. A tiger that never sleeps; she could feel his pain. Again, she understands. But understanding can be too much. It can suffocate the loved. And so she stilled her knowledge, rolling the beast around her, awaiting it to change its form. Awaiting the moment when light could enter and could be passed in the caress of small warm hands. She will save him.

The tight creases subside, momentarily. But the anguish is apparent . A green pebble lost to the sea.  A soul reborn, struggling to breathe and enjoy that breath. The gentle strokes continue. Absorbing the oceans depth, internalising the roar. Time is just a concept. It will be restored with the return of his soul. She offers maternal limbs; the gift of herself.

She knows that words will not soothe. They may be desired but they will ensnare a bite. And so … inside. Always inside. Powering the gentle touch that placates and nourishes.  Defying the weakness coursing through, enjoying the aches that her support brings.  Wondering …

Her attention distracted briefly, her glance returns to find him lighter.

And then she cannot breathe either. Can not enjoy the breath for she understands, too much. A slight withdrawal and the tiger takes fright.

Drowning in the tides that carry the heaviness, laden with the raw flesh of truth.

The gentle strokes continue, though the light has dimmed. A mute siren with only herself to offer, without faith in long lost saints. Heavy flesh a burden and she damns her mortal state.  Cursing her abilities to understand and nurture, she suffocates in the knowledge of herself. Knows that she can not save him. She has killed him.

Inside, always inside.


Elizabeth Rose –

I am from the UK  living in a small village in the south of spain, enjoying the crazy mixture of expats and spanish fighting to communicate! I write, paint and tutor for a living.

Shudder ~ Sean McGahey

January 14, 2007

An aristocratic opium smoking novelist sits watching two golden retrievers in the throes of spasmodic fits. “Lucky” the larger of the dogs has already bitten her tongue off with blood spurting from between her teeth splashing across the white tiled floor; “Paisley” has already lost control of her bowels and creates an interesting almost modern art looking feature on the floor with her excrement and blood looking remarkably like John Prescott.

Eventually they both flop to the floor like two bags of fat and bones. 

“What a waste of two beautiful dogs” muttered William as he carefully steps over them avoiding the matted lumps of blonde dog hair.

The novelist closes his note book, lights up a cigarette and slowly gets up from out of his chair.

“Waste? How on earth am I to write about poisoned dogs if I’ve never experienced the real thing?”

William lights up a cigarette and pours himself a drink

“What kind of novel are you writing?”
“A preposterous tale of murder and rape”
“Don’t you mean rape then murder?”
“Don’t be absurd!! Murder then the unholy act of brutally vandalizing the victims’ body…rape”

Looking slightly worried William quickly finishes his drink and asks

“So how are you going to experience this barbaric ritual of murder and…rape?”

“I’m glad you asked!”

The novelist places his note book and pen on the table and from the inside of his smoking jacket pulls out a small revolver.

William takes a step back “What’s with the gun old chap?”

The first bullet thuds into Williams’s chest creating an almost perfect black hole the size of a 20 pence piece his brown jumper slowly turns black with blood, William falls backwards and hits the wall, his face turns chalk white and is gasping for air.

The second bullet slams into his stomach, the novelist opens his note book and starts writing in short hand and looking at William as though he were a painting or a statue in a museum.

William slumps down to the floor with a look of complete horror and disbelief with his mouth opening and closing like a goldfish, the novelist kneels down beside him and whispers

“You cannot believe that this is actually happening? Can you? Don’t worry my dear brother it’ll soon be over for you and the start of something for…them”

With a loud thump the third bullet cracks into the side of Williams head, the side of his skull shatters on the floor like an egg being dropped.

“Is he dead?” asks a voice from the back of the room behind a large heavy red curtain.

“Absolutely dead as a door nail”

The curtain is swiftly pulled back and three naked men stroll forward already lubricating themselves.

“Now take your time boys, I don’t want to miss a thing”


Former editor of The-Beat and as quoted on 3am magazine “Scourge of the off-beat generation” Unfortunately he’s from Birmingham…..


From the safety of the DC bar he sat and mused distantly at the scene that was only an Ambien away. He’d fled and got on the plane, swallowed the pill and woke to the gay steward gently tugging his arm.  

He’d fled, left everything as the country shattered like a pastry between two hungry hands. And the hands of course, were poverty and desperation. Of course it didn’t have to happen and many people and many thousands of dollars were pouring in from the outside to quell it; but, the tensions had been building for decades and there was nothing worth saving in the country in the first place.  

He’d fled and left everything. It was only a cycle now that was ending. He’d fled the states and now he was fleeing this flimsy, broken, pastry that would be savagely consumed by anarchy.  

The shots were a surprise. But they were a surprise like the monsoon is a surprise, calculated and anticipated. So that when the anarchy finally breaks, it’s more of a relief than anything.  

The air was ready for the shots and when they came there was a sigh that was louder than the ‘pops’ that blasted distant and childish. But they were real and they shattered and flaked off the buildings and sent little puffs of pulverized concrete up with them. Screams broke the calm understanding that comes with inevitability and duty and the woman at his table rose as he held limply to the syringe. She fled and called out, searching, obliterating his crude understanding of their blunt language in a cacophony of noise.  

Mothers grabbed their children and men grabbed their lovers. People fled in pairs as he waited there with the needle thinking, ‘this is expensive medicine’, shaking his head and wondering why she didn’t just let him inject her quick before she fled. Yes, everything was measured with distance.  

The ground showed a line as dirt erupted and sprayed and settled and if the line was ten feet further toward the ocean, it would have consumed him. It would have ripped through his delicate flesh like this restive anarchy was ripping through the fragile façade of a government.  

He ran. He dropped the needle and he ran. But as he ran he was astutely aware of his isolation. As he ran he had tears in his eyes. They started as a reaction to the cool air hitting the fleshy eyeball. But they continued and increased as something different. His palm was empty and his heart was hollow. He ran and he was sad. He was distracted and he was not happy.   

He should have been brought to a mental climax with the danger as he fled the government complex where dark men with large black guns roamed the periphery and shot stochastically. He ducked as the building to the side of him showed impact. Every reaction was a deadly step behind but he reacted with faith nonetheless.    



He picked DC because his brother lived there. But he didn’t want to call him nor did he remember his address or his phone number. No worry, now, at least. There were more important things on his mind; he watched couples entrenched in each other, staring, indebted, into each other’s eyes across flickering candles and glimmering liquids.  

He took the light-rail from BWI and transferred and went to a familiar area where an old girlfriend had lived long ago. She was now in California, he’d heard, and that was just one of the million odd things that passionlessly left his life with no fanfare.  

This was an old lover that had NOT shattered him like a dull pastry. This was an old girlfriend who had interesting things to say, but this was one in which he did not want to lay with and thus obliterate life with. There was one, however, which seemed to forever taint everything. One which commanded so much of the word LOVE. He still thought about her daily.  

What else was he to think about when his palm was empty and he was not sliding between those sweet lips? This was a girl he could not get over and this was one reason he left to inject medicine into veins. It was a substitute for driving an ambulance and treating alcohol poisoning in Boston.  

He was scared of AIDS. And for that entire year there had only been one girl. There were many pretty American and European girls. But most had husbands or boyfriends back in civilization and most only stayed a month. But there was one that he had for a week before she disappeared, likely kidnapped by an uncle. Many of his contemporaries there he was sure had AIDS now. They were the ones who didn’t get enough in their previous lives and now that they were the esteemed outsider and it was readily available, they couldn’t discriminate. Which is vital when over 40% of the population has the mark.  

Djiara… he mused and remembered the embrace of slipping in, the fleshy friction… With that thought he grew mad at himself. This is what he did. He built things up. He perfected them in his mind until it was something he worshiped. It was an edifice created in the cavity of something else. She was just a black fuck. But that wasn’t true. Just stop.  

He rose his hand and flicked two fingers and the bartender walked over.  

“Tequila and a Clipper.” He leaned in and the woman asked him what type.  

“Top shelf honey.” He said and he was different, He didn’t care. He wouldn’t tell her where he’d been like it was a sapphire they would coon over. He’d worn that mistake before. After shooting darts into Humpback whales for eight months on an uninhabited island in Mexico’s Pacific and being repulsed, shocked, and bewildered by an intimate dive into a cousin’s pungent Los Angeles. He was thoroughly embarrassed by the quivering shortcomings of that character. He didn’t want to use experiences as a crutch.  

 He watched the bartender work. She was nothing beyond him. He wondered where she was from. He wanted to know her secretes. He wanted to give everything he had to her.  


He walked form the bar and went to the seediest place he could find. He got another tequila and ale and sat back. Waiting.  

The place was full of early thirties milling about watching each other. He approached several women and was burned badly before he went for one girl with a brutish friend who easily flaked off with the conversation.  

They danced and he had what he’d fled with. He smelled slightly, but it was yet body odor, merely body aroma. They danced together and he told her nothing. She was an aid for a congressman and she had things to say and he absorbed them. A song ended and they were smiling, she was fading from a laugh and she paused to catch her breath, a hand to her lung. He looked at her and she looked at him. He took a step and put an arm around her, pulling her tight. They shared that anticipatory look where the moment resigns to momentum and becomes a safe response. He smoothly shattered it with the fleshy bite of her lip.  

They embraced as the music erupted and bodies began to writhe about.  

An half hour later she was saying with pleading eyes and a tilted head, “I can’t, I’m sorry, my boyfriend wouldn’t like that.” He watched her reel away as the brutish friend pulled her, by wrist, through the door way.  

As her figure disappeared from the heavy wooden doorframe the night hit him as a blunt realization. He fought it, though. With a shot he left the bar and began walking again. Bars were still open for a bit longer and he walked until he saw Chinese characters, then turned a side street and dove into a small basement bar. Someone was smoking in the entryway and put a hand across his waist. He showed ID and was watched steady for a moment.  

He landed on the bar and put his head down. He heard a scratchy voice and turned. He was feeling ill and got an ale to settle it. He turned and she was 40. She said something and he immediately began to tell his story.  


Her flat was something from his most depraved collegiate days. There was a mattress on the floor and an unsuccessful artist’s clutter, an artist whom had lost or never found her art. Old newspapers and dusty books were out with sweaty whiskey glasses on top, ashtrays were full and scattered.  

They had collapsed on the bed and he was succumbing to the duty of their momentum. She was rubbing her hands through his hair as she said something and laughed. He felt like he had missed something. He turned to the clock and it was 4:30. He didn’t even have a car. He hadn’t talked to his brother in seven months. Tomorrow he’d go to the hospitals, contact the agency, get his pay.  

He sighed. But now, now she was kissing down his torso and he was neither sleeping in a hammock in a thatched hut, a hotel, or the streets. As she took a break and smiled at him he asked, “Do you have a condom?” 

She turned and slid out an audible wooden drawer and he thought of the coast in the tropics. He thought of the deserved disaster. He thought of his friends that were momentary kings there in that tropical hell… Did they do what they did knowing the consequences? Would they do it all again? Or did they shrug it off and say, ‘probably not?’  

He heard the package rip and she looked at him. She was not an armadillo. She still had some youth. She may be a good person –interesting. Things were still possible. She unrolled the protection and moved down. He felt it slid over and he felt her warmth.

Coming soon

December 22, 2006

London Based Savage Manners: – writings in which expression and form, in connection with ideas of permanent and universal interest, are characteristic or essential features, as poetry, novels, history, biography, and essays.