Brief Tales

Erevan, a building?

Nothing could be further than the truth. A city built from scratch out of the blocks of pre-diluvial sandstone, an alpine village made of matchsticks. I am astounded there is nothing but red dust and faces like plucked chickens. And you say it was not here, within this marvel, this jewel of a city, Young Armenia.
And I too am ashamed of its shabby interior, its strange moon like appearance.

September 1996

Lake Yerevan

Better than a thousand words, than the silken word mongerer of deadlines and schedules, promises without end, are the stolen moments:  a bitter lemon twisted on the tongue, a glass of water cupped from a mountain spring, eagles still as night, dark skies, emptiness and a shepherd’s hooping hoot.

The blades of grass sing. They are the  reeds of memory, brittle and unforgetting. I lift my arm. It holds nothing but air, the salt of liberty and the currency of freedom, running like a golden river from the depths of the lake to the everturning skies above.

Lake Sevan

As oil under the surface of an olive’s skin, the water, as turquoise, as blue and transparent as the eye could imagine, wraps the mountains sides and the frozen air into a gorge of Mediterranean splendour and delight, ample for the setting of some Greek mythology. Where on its banks a girl, youthful as springwater, awaits her lover and attracts by chance blue-bellied songbirds with her dark eyes , reflected within the night sky. Where the memory mingles in a thousand shards, the broken detritus of recent history: a carnage of bottles, cans and shattered plates glistening in their Soviet boredom among concrete piles and sewage pipes.Here on the banks of Lake Sevan memory is hardened by the harsh winter, by icy clear water and the footsteps of forgotten civilizations – hardened in the molten cupriferous crystal of fossil stone and rusting metal. 
September 1996


A character who lives in a complete tip but is extremely clear-sighted and prescient.

A character that lives in a perfectly clean and sterile house, but lives entirely in the fog.


Artist’s Cave

I imagine an artist who lived in a cave, and I imagine then that they were a musician. And because they lived only in this cave they could make no music. All they could hear was the sound of their music, a sound they heard but could never understand. Then they could only live like a dog and make works scratched out of the earth. Their work was there, made up from the carcasses of the carrion they found to eat at the cave entrance. Surviving images made from a carcass, and a music of bones.

June 2005



ONE MORNING Bartlebooth, while reading a contemporary novel, let out a cry: ‘What unutterable crap!” he cried, and running out of the room, slammed the door so hard that the roof of the flats shook.

He was pitched into a rage; ‘This is art, is it? I’ll show them.” He muttered to himself as he fled down the staircase. But just as he uttered these unkind words he stumbled onto the postman, knocking the parcel he was carrying, out of his hands. The postman immediately fell upon Bartlebooth and a terrible fight ensued in which the aspiring artist lost all his front teeth. The postman dusted himself off and picked up the parcel.

Just goes to show you should never get enraged by a piece of artwork.

Look, let’s be honest, I’m not going to kid you anymore. I’ve got nothing. I’ve got not a thing, nothing, and no one wants to know nothing. Really, I haven’t got a penny, it’s all gone. Or no, no, even that’s not exactly right. I mean I never had anything, it was all a fiction, all just face. I never actually said I had anything except this, any thing other than myself. And you, if you don’t like what you see now?
  Oh, you’re upset! Well I see, you’re disgusted with me!! No, I never thought you’d be so despicable , so disgusting yourself. So that was all lies too? Your adoration of me. Only when I had something, then you wanted to hang out with me, and bask in my reflection, enjoy the trappings of my beneficent wealth. I see it all now.
Well I can tell you for nothing, you’re all shit and as for fame, I never had any of it, not really. It was all made up, for you, for them, for everyone. Can’t you see? You idiot! You’re a stupid ignorant fool! I had something of nothing and that’s all there was to it.

January 2012

The trees shake for everyone

The leaves shift for every man

And the sound of their moving

can be heard by every woman


One comment

  1. Pingback: Barbarisms | barbarism from within

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