Saturday, 17 December 2011

God Loves a Sinner

After R.B.

I sat with Bukowski
on the steps of the
dock, sharing a
cigarette, shooting
lasers at the moon to
measure the distance
from dusk to dawn.
He talked about drink,
starvation and crazy,
crazy women. I talked
about Plato, Elvis and
Baudelaire. The sun
went down and the sun
came up. The post office
dug its deep claws
into both of us.

Russell J Turner – December 2011

Monday, 21 November 2011


cracks open the sky a ragged scar from sunrise to sunrise as all those maybes those quantum ghosts pour out on steeds of jet black night waving their swords of pure white light

kisses you on the lips the lips and grabs you by the hips the hips

runs through the fields of tomorrow laughing at the joy of just being alive at the possibilities inherent in a blade of green in a future glimpsed in a fragmentary dream

builds topless towers of idiom breaks formal language on wheels of real

sits patiently by the bed until some drowning breath lifts up its shroud and dark dust settles with one last squeeze walks out head high to few regrets debts paid plans made

is a wind swept dangerous disco dancer who never never never takes no for an answer

Russell J Turner – November 2011

Monday, 7 November 2011


A girl on the bus plucked a spider
from my hair today. She said it was
annoying her. With long dark hair and a
nice smile, but young enough to be my
daughter, so instead of flirting I read my
book and didn’t see where she got off.
I know that there are things which will
haunt me for the rest of my life.

Russell J Turner – July 2011

Saturday, 29 October 2011

nous baisons les flâneuses

hand in hand they walk the city in a darkening noon scribbling occult signs on street corners bleeding meaning from the twisted pipework nous les cherchons toujours kissing under a sodium dawn making violent love behind broken wires running naked through the underpasses nous les suivons toujours hand in hand they slice and shuffle maps cartographers of possibility interpreters of stained signals builders of the already built sibyls of some civic future nous aimons les meufs urbaines nous baisons les flâneuses

Russell J Turner – October 2011

Heading South for a Sinner

Heading south for a sinner,
With the jugglers and the smugglers,
The diamond rhymers and the hard two-timers.
Fleeing down the barrel of a desert line,
Fleeing from the fear and the broken years;
Scattering our twenties across sand and scrub,
Hash, cheap booze and jungle.

There were nights bigger than the skies:
Woodfire scavenged,
Planned, rammed and scammed.
Stars as bright as fucking needles
Sliding through the nets,
Hung like cheap scenery,
And skewering our sight.

And the mornings.
Those 5 o’clock hangover headfuck mornings:
Too bright light and no horizon, no perspective,
Just some diesel-driven imperative:
Heading south for a sinner.
For another cheap dinner
Or a low rent winner.

Then the sea rose up to greet us,
To wash our feet and drown our debts.
Then the sea rose up to eat us,
To drag us down with few regrets,
With sex and drugs and rock ‘n’ roll:
Heading south for a sinner.
Heading south to save some soul.

Russell J Turner – October 2011

Thursday, 8 September 2011

the chemical blade intercedes

the light has gone out my dark eyed girl as i grip your hand grip your hand the chemical blade intercedes mirrors reflect only misery shattered through the golden dawn we ran down naked the chemical blade intercedes drowning in the love that filled us and the pain and the pain and the pain and the pain the chemical blade intercedes language is lost as tomorrow scrapes the inside of my skull you stand on another planet spinning and the chemical blade intercedes

Russell J Turner – July 2011

Saturday, 20 August 2011

Another Stranger and Another Street

stumbling down sick-stained neon streets stalking some random stranger who walks past a pub so I enter the bar and drink a pint and exit the bar then rewind and repeat
rewind and repeat
another stranger and another street

then at pub number I can’t remember trailing the bloke in off the pavement poking me in the chest shouting something can’t focus properly but I see her at the end of the room short black hair short black skirt fishnets pumps and wide wide eyes
wide wide eyes
eyes to fall into and drown in surprise

the punch comes in but she’s already got me by the arm dragging me down the road round the corner laughing so much I can hardly breathe doubled up she grabs my chin slaps me twice and kisses me full on the lips
full on the lips
no sound but the silence of the beat that my heart skips

and the sun comes up and the sun goes down
and my world stops but the earth spins round

and I have forgotten what it was I drank to forget
and all that there is is her body in the bed
entwined around mine
and her voice in my head
and her smile yes her smile
and our future
for a while

Russell J Turner – July 2011

Let's Start Again

Bombs in bin bags, and little boy soldiers
bearing Kalashnikovs and a soul–stolen stare.
‘Don’t be a stranger,’ you said, as the
flickering black and white faded to scarlet.

These are the stuff of your dreams.
Millenarian fantasies girdle the earth,
faster than Puck but slower than the light,
and the world goes to hell in a hand-cart.

Yet you are no Pandora or Cassandra,
though your hope still hides in corners;
skittering from room to room
she whispers to no-one in particular:

‘Burn the churches, the temples, mosques
and synagogues. Piss on the grave of
consumerism and I will bless you and
bring forth sweet wine and roses.’

When I make the call you are climbing
another mountain, screaming at the
gathering storm, and the words stick in
my throat: ‘I love you. Please come home.’

Russell J Turner – June 2011

Sunday, 24 July 2011

(après garde)

I cut my eyes with a carpet blade like some do it yourself Buñuel

(do it yourself Buñuel)

There are no collaborators here no martyrs to a back catalogue of the
twentieth century

(après garde)

We walk through the gardens
slashing burning burying
planting pruning cultivating

(Candide on ketamine)

Voltaire would have choked on our arrogance
I disagree entirely with what you are saying and
I will shoot you through the face if you say it again

(leave no witnesses)

Constructed to our own designs decaying in its

(brave brave new world)

Shit just got real

Russell J Turner – July 2011

Thursday, 7 July 2011

Every Tattooed Slave

Every tattered shade hides a broken lamp,
A fuse-blown tale of luck and love lost.

Every shattered grave hides a broken joy,
A lonely Fall and a killing frost.

Every flattered maid hides a broken tramp,
A sweet double-standard that the boys ignore.

Every tattooed slave hides a broken toy,
A clockwork body which her lover wore.

Russell J Turner - July 2011

Wednesday, 6 July 2011

Books What I Have Read

January to June 2011

Neverwhere - Neil Gaiman (9)
The Handmaid's Tale - Margaret Atwood (9)
The Blind Assassin - Margaret Atwood (10)
Windmills in Flames - Tom Raworth (6)
77 Dream Songs - John Berryman (8)
The Rings of Saturn - W G Sebald (10)
The Emigrants - W G Sebald (8)
The Scar - China Mieville (8)
Kraken - China Mieville (6)
The City and the City - China Mieville (8)
Three Uses of the Knife - David Mamet (7)
Luck of the Devil - Ian Kershaw (6)
Reality Hunger - David Shields (9)
Supercontinent - Ted Nield (8)
Doctor Brodie's Report - Jorge Luis Borges (8)
Second Avenue - Frank O'Hara (8)
The World That Never Was - Alex Butterworth (10)
Whenever I Get Blown Up I Think Of You - Molly Naylor (7)
Harlequin Valentine - Neil Gaiman & John Bolton (7)
Alias Grace - Margaret Atwood (10)
Surfacing - Margaret Atwood (8)
Pale Fire - Vladimir Nabokov (9)
Our Post-Soviet History Unfolds - Eleanor Lerman (8)

Films What I Have Seen at the Cinema

January to June 2011

Black Swan (8)
Blue Valentine (9)
True Grit (8)
Animal Kingdom (9)
The Tempest (6)
Source Code (7)
The Extraordinary Adventures of Adele Blanc-Sec (6)
Meek's Cutoff (10)
Essential Killing (8)
Point Blank (2011) (7)

Thursday, 16 June 2011

Just before we went on holiday...

55 Fiction

Just before we went on holiday the news came through that my nine-year-old daughter had been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize and would be up to her neck in media flimflam for the next month at least, thus putting the kibosh on our family vacation. I was stunned. I hadn’t even realised she’d been nominated.

Russell J Turner – June 2011

Monday, 13 June 2011

three trick pony

a drama in seven acts

act one
in the beginning was the word and the word was cod

act two
our hero stands silhouetted against a raging storm sky arms aloft wielding the one true sword the saviour of a nation handsome beyond credit with witless maidens swooning at his feet he shouts creative defiance at the enemy of his people arrayed in crackling dark magic and a fetching black cloak

act three
disaster strikes as our hero is momentarily distracted by his own reflection in the limpid eyes of a particularly attractive maiden and the enemy attacks with deadly if inaccurate force decapitating three of the women and depositing the pretty boy on his tight buttocks sans sword but with a stupid gurning expression on his face

act four
fortunately one of the less witless maidens has had the presence of mind to disentangle herself from the general swooning she creeps up behind the black foe and savagely garrottes him with cheese wire to almost universal rejoicing

act five
in a conventional narrative our heroine and hero would marry and live happily ever after but she is too clever and sensitive and so pursues a career in conceptual art while he is too flighty and violent and sticks to the tried and trusted booze broads and swords light years from a renaissance man but definitely a three trick pony

act six
curtains fall cymbals crash and the audience spontaneously combust in a frenzy of nihilistic self affirmation

act seven
all things must pass there is peace at last

Russell J Turner - June 2011

Saturday, 11 June 2011


She bruises easily
She cries suddenly for no reason
No reason that any other need see
Her cheek rests on the cool of the kitchen table
Anything else would be too much effort

She falls down stairs frequently
She hides her secrets in cisterns
Knives hold an unhealthy fascination for her
Blades and bottles, blood and bourbon
Draining, draining the beauty away

She headbutts his fists for fun
She needs to be taught a lesson
Perverted by language and by love
The sex is great but the rest is just a
Lonely fucking walk to the edge

Russell J Turner – June 2011

Friday, 10 June 2011


Please check out recordings of my 'stuff' and let me know what you think at

doing it toronto style

sixty seconds after i sat down behind the desk they brought in the girl nineteen baby trashed fun with your mates

now streaked mascara shakin’ and a-cryin’ did they touch you touch you or much much more

bullshit questions of degree and consent was there a yes in your dress there was a yes in your dress

with the tannoy shouting they are just too weak the tannoy shouting you must hide under covers

they fucked you and they fucked your life nineteen baby hey at least you made the nationals

well fuck you jack and the horse you rode in on fuck you all i will walk my own walk fuck you officer

i’m doing it toronto style

Russell J Turner - June 2011

Monday, 30 May 2011

some weird sin

iggy on the stereo sunday morning windows wide open blasting out the neighbours but who gives a toss crashed on the sofa scavenging joint butts for a pipe hoovering the dregs of headfuck cider mad juice i hear you vomiting noisily into the sink bent over laddered leggings and short black skirt something snaps and i grab your waist spin you round just enough time for shocked eyes in streaking make-up mouth wide open i kiss you hard smoke and booze and sick mixing with lust and panic struggling and kissing and kissing and struggling then something snaps in you licking my face biting my neck rolling in the crushed cans howling the words i feel stuck on a pin laughing and kissing and kissing and laughing i feel stuck on a pin just some weird sin

Russell J Turner – May 2011

Tuesday, 24 May 2011

When Someone Says ‘Duck’, Don’t Say ‘Quack’

There was a flyer proclaiming the second coming of Christ pasted to the outside of the window. Slightly on the slant. This intrigued Cass, who worried away at the peeling corner, giving the finger to an old woman sat at the back of the shop, counting beans and mouthing threats. The flyer covered a hole. A bullet hole. It looked like a small calibre, high velocity hole. Perfectly round with minimal cracking, though which side of the glass was the point of entry was difficult for Cass to discern. Ballistics were not really her forte. More of a hobby.
The old woman had stopped mouthing threats and was now removing a small selection of firearms from some hidden recess behind the counter. Cass sighed. All she had wanted was a pint of milk and some crackers, but had somehow managed to provoke a deranged suburban shopkeeper into starting a shooting match. When will you ever learn Cassandra?
Carefully she spat on the flyer and smoothed it against the glass, raised her hands in that universal gesture and backed slowly away from the window. This appeared to mollify the woman, who methodically stashed her guns away, made a zipping motion across her lips, and returned to counting her beans.
Whoever does that? Thought Cass as she walked up the road. Whoever actually counts beans?

Russell J Turner – May 2011

one hundred schools

one hundred schools

are flowering in the desert like roses
a carpet of red
fed on bread and watered with

wine and stale sweat

are covering my mouth like lilies
a living sheen of
green exhaling and breathing in

the fumes of night

are creeping through the room like strangers
a comfort of grey
they whisper the wisdom of

one hundred schools

Russell J Turner – May 2011

Friday, 20 May 2011

the dead done gone and did it again

a cheery singalong pantoum

the dead done gone and did it again
the dead done gone and shredded your heart
the dead will whistle their one refrain
the dead they tear your song apart

the dead done gone and shredded your heart
the dead paid the piper but forgot the tune
the dead they tear your song apart
the dead will be your playmates soon

the dead paid the piper but forgot the tune
the dead march on to a different drum
the dead will be your playmates soon
the dead enjoy vicarious fun

the dead march on to a different drum
the dead they freely waste your time
the dead enjoy vicarious fun
the dead done gone and ripped the rhyme

the dead they freely waste your time
the dead will whistle their one refrain
the dead done gone and ripped the rhyme
the dead done gone and did it again

Russell J Turner – May 2011

Wednesday, 4 May 2011

A Trick of the Night

Tricks told to a lover
Tricks sold to another
Tricks rolled undercover

Tricks taught to a loser
Tricks bought by a bruiser
Tricks sought by a user

Tricks turned on a sixpence
Tricks learned for a pittance
Tricks burned and good riddance

A trick of skin
A trick of the light
A trick of sin
A trick of the night

Russell J Turner – May 2011

Sunday, 1 May 2011

an evening of fun in the metropolis of your dream

don’t take the stairs just fly through her open window break your reticence on the wheel of panic the wheel of time rolling and the iron cooling sweep her off her feet get down on your knee declare undying love in aramaic offer her that silver hoop that sapphire loop make her laugh get her drunk shower her in roses crown her with thorns nail her to a cross roll away the stone then pull her to your breast take her by the hand walk through the streets run through the streets dance through the streets in the soft evening rain the music of angels crying kiss her like tomorrow will never come because tomorrow never comes in the city in this city on this night as you surrender up your life to her your past to her your future to her your ever present now to her for a sliver of love for a handful of joy for an evening of fun in the metropolis of your dream

Russell J Turner - May 2011

Saturday, 30 April 2011

Tes Yeux Bizarres Me Suivent

Sex in Paris is defined by political vocabulary.
Sex in Paris is refined by abstract dichotomy.
Sex in Paris is just you, me and two hundred years
Of erotic revolutionary discourse.

You are Charlotte, the angel of the knife
And Louise under Caledonian skies,
While I am Gustave and Ferdinand,
Wrapped in some crude metaphor.

With your lopsided smile and your Communard style,
I worship your skin and kiss the ground you walk on:
Your beauty helps me breathe,
Tes yeux bizarres me suivent.

Russell J Turner – April 2011

Saturday, 23 April 2011


chin up big boy
fingers splayed and rope burns
no more jabber jabbering for you my son
just that slow chest crush
and the fading light sight
the hardcore clinging to the hillside weeping

steady now sister
the man you loved is gone
rolling the boulder and unwinding the sheet
just blood on your hands
and the helter skelter
venerated desecrated reduced traduced and bent

Russell J Turner – April 2011

Tuesday, 8 February 2011

Kiss Me Comrade

When the revolution came I was fast asleep, and woke to discover that my housemate now spoke in slogans and used the crockery for target practice.

When the revolution came I was on the bus, and all the road signs into town were being transliterated into Cyrillic by teams of cheerful women.

When the revolution came I was outside having a crafty fag, while they abolished the bourgeois distinction between management and staff.

When the revolution came I turned on the TV, only to find that every station was broadcasting a subtitled documentary on the life of Lenin.

When the revolution came I fell in love with you. I fell for you hard. With your socialist rhetoric and your tricksy ways. Kiss me comrade. Kiss me quick.

Russell J Turner – February 2011

Sunday, 6 February 2011

five for the symbols at your door

the newspaper headlines blew down empty streets mumbling something about the third world war we were all too tired to care washed out on hope and benzedrine licking the ash off each others faces just to die that little bit quicker but not you not you under the rags deep in the cellars you scrubbed your hands again again o my lady i had no more strength the king would not die and a ghost still walked my waking dreams but there is a power in repetition first as tragedy then transcendence and i hammered my totems to the crosspiece
one for my belief in you
two for the razorblade and gun
three for the children of trinity
four for the strength to stay alive
five for the symbols at your door

Russell J Turner – February 2011

Saturday, 5 February 2011

we will bury her under the trees

in a dark room i hold her and she turns from me a dark girl i hold her and she turns from me with dark eyes my hand cups her belly she turns from me a veil of tears shrouding what the mourning may bring and all i can think to say is we will bury her under the trees

Russell J Turner – February 2011

Sunday, 30 January 2011

Cruising with Mercator

A crude analogy
A textual fallacy

Heading south for a sinner
Crossing the line
Mercator maps my territory

Not with broad brush strokes
Or a fountain pen
But a seaman’s bright lucidity

Russell J Turner – January 2011

Friday, 28 January 2011

No More Picture Postcard

Blood red lipstick:
Write your manifesto in six feet scrawl;
An angel with a dirty face,
Slingbacks and anoraks.

No more big wheels,
No more picture postcard,
Just needle-stuck and wolf-eyed.
The certainty of reverie

Kissed her on the mouth,
Full square on the mouth,
And took her breath far away,
Travelling hopefully. Unravelling

The savagery of youth –
‘Life’s too short to darn socks.’

Russell J Turner – January 2011

Tuesday, 25 January 2011

The Notary Swings the Cat

Elvis has left the building.
The notary swings the cat.
I would if I could but I can't so I won't.
Bring me the head of John the Baptist.
No shit Sherlock.
The revolution will not be digitized.
The revolution will not be analyzed.
The revolution will not be memorized.
The bear came over the mountain.
He who laughs last laughs longest.
Bought for love and sold for a pittance.
Unfit for human habitation.
Lickspittle scuttlebut.
The cold executioner's dawn.

Russell J Turner – January 2011

Sunday, 23 January 2011

Trust Never Sleeps

There are things best left unread:
Like the Necromonicon.
Or the Daily Mail.

There are things best left unwed:
Like the Bride of Frankenstein.
Or the Groom from the Black Lagoon.

There are things best left undead:
Like a cat-in-a-box.
Or a particularly recalcitrant zombie.

There are things best left unfed:
Like the fires of dark Satanic mills.
Or a voracious and unwarranted ego.

There are things best left unbled:
Like those war story wounds.
Or a big, big heart.

There are things best left unshed:
Like a pair of sheer silk stockings.
Or a snakeskin layer of trust.

There are things best left unsaid.

Russell J Turner – January 2011

Tuesday, 11 January 2011

they'll all be dead in six months anyway

when the ship sank there was barely time to break out the brandy dig out the manual figure out this new calculus this other set of variables

when the ship sank do not forget this is war my son i won’t papa just this once but never again i won’t papa they will use this to put a noose around my neck just put the cross around my neck papa and be done

when the ship sank adrift in an ocean literal and spiritual no place of sanctuary nothing but a big red talisman to hide behind and whisper

when the ship sank called to the others not sleeping but wideawake they came from the west lost in translation lost in jubilation into the waters into the boats cut the ropes cut the ties that bind

when the ship sank everything changed he was a good man good man shake his hand but they’ll all be dead in six months anyway

Russell J Turner – January 2011

Tuesday, 4 January 2011

Othertimes I Bring Gifts


The lines run down the window
Broken by light
I call you from the diamond
Singing of fair cities and dead prophets

Not one but three
Take tea with the lanternman
As if hoarding memories
Against the coming frost


Startled she wakes
Clutching like a drowning girl
Scattered pattern princess
Heading for the bright lights

There is no honour in abandonment
Grey weeds between the bricks
Yellowed paper road
And red ruby slippers


Sometimes I weep
And othertimes I bring gifts
As the crowd roars
For their shy hero

Then as now the clock beats
Some staccato silence
Fourteen times he took their plaudits
And broke their big hearts


No more nonsense
Just a quiet sense of the ridiculous
No more nonsense
Sleeps with me, sleep with me

Russell J Turner – January 2011

Books What I Have Read

July to December 2010

Jitterbug Perfume - Tom Robbins (9)
Madame de Pompadour - Margaret Crosland (4)
2666 - Roberto Bolano (10)
The Crucible - Arthur Miller (9)
Antwerp - Roberto Bolano (10)
Salem Possessed - Boyer & Nissenbaum (7)
The Daughters of Juarez - Teresa Rodriguez (5)
Amulet - Roberto Bolano (10)
Judge Sewall's Apology - Richard Francis (9)
C - Tom McCarthy (8)
Censorship - Julian Petley (7)
The Pillowman - Martin McDonagh (8)
Otherland Vol. 1 - Tad Williams (6)
Surface Detail - Iain M Banks (9)
The Skating Rink - Roberto Bolano (8)
Wittgenstein's Poker - Edmonds & Eidinow (8)
Oryx and Crake - Margaret Atwood (8)
Monsieur Pain - Roberto Bolano (8)
The Year of the Flood - Margaret Atwood (7)
Southampton Dada - Nick Rogers (6)
The Heart of a Dog - Mikhail Bulgakov (7)
Pandaemonium - Christopher Brookmyre (6)
The Little Prince - A. de St-Exupery (8)
Thought Disorder - Joshua Jones (6)

Films What I Have Seen at the Cinema

July to December 2010

Inception (6)
Winter's Bone (10)
Richard III (7)
Blood of a Poet (8)
The Social Network (9)
Police, Adjective (3)
The American (7)
Somewhere (9)