Use Your Hands


The first time anyone eats a stuffed owl, it’s not pretty.

Owl skin sticks to your gullet.

Clay and feathers feel like intruders in your throat.

And the copper wire… the copper wire is impossible to digest.

It scratches at your intestines.

But by the time you’re on your second, your third, fourth stuffed owl, you adapt.

You adjust.

Then, when you find yourself in The Owl Museum after midnight, you know what to do.

The Owl Museum doesn’t have knives and forks, so use your hands.

Recipe: Herring and Felt Chili

Autumn sceneWelcome, friends, to a recipe as joyous as the dawn chorus. This one is outrageously easy to make, and perfect for a sombre Autumn afternoon.

Ingredients: One kilo of herring roe, a felt pocket, feta, rocket, salt, saffron.

The Method:

1) Gently salt your herring roe.

2) Place the herring roe in a large felt pocket.

3) Cradle the felt pocket for three to four hours.

4) Transfer the herring from the felt pocket onto a plate. Add rocket, feta and saffron.

5) Tuck into the Herring and Felt Chili.

6) Embrace the feeling of Herring and Felt Chili inside your belly. A feeling of longing, of sickness, or remorse, of regret. A Herring and Felt Chili for what could have been and a Herring and Felt Chili for what still may transpire. A Herring and Felt Chili for him. For her. For them. For all.

7) Make another dish of Herring and Felt Chili but this time leave it on a neighbour’s wall.

8) Recite a poem about Herring and Felt Chili which you have invented on the spot.

9) Cry yourself to sleep.

Serves: 1 to 2 people

Similar recipes: Herring and Satin Chili; Salmon and Felt Chili; Salmon and Satin Chili.



Like an astronaut tumbling to Earth from his disintegrating rocket,
I crashland in your heart.
I crashland violently,
the force tearing sense and reason apart.

Dazed, I gaze around and realise I am stranded.
I am stranded in the land of chickenbones.
I am stranded in the land where the ChickenMasters roam.
I am stranded in a land that’s far from home.
I am stranded in a land that’s far from Maidstone.

A shriek. SHREIK!
From a beak.
The ChickenMasters say I’m washed and ready to eat.
The ChickenMasters talk to me about ChickenMasters for hours.
The ChickenMasters want to cook me in their trousers.
The ChickenMasters say half of me is sweet and half of me is sour.
And the ChickenMasters want to cook me in their trousers.

“Have you heard about the history of the ChickenMasters?” they scream.
And “Your world is heading for disaster,” they scream.
And “We wash our juicy chickens in the sea,” they scream.
And “Being one of our chicks is easy!” they scream.

I am stranded in the land of chickenbones.
And I am stranded in the land where the ChickenMasters roam.

I’m not one of their lil’ chicks.
Not one lil’ bit.
I don’t agree to their deal.
I won’t end up as a meal.

I’m stranded, I’ve crashlanded in the plains of your heart.
Now the ChickenMasters will rip my soul apart.

Egg City Blues








Four million eggs were poached in the city today.
Four million eggs poached and six million eggs prepped in other ways:
two million eggs scrambled,
two million boiled
two million deviled, steamed, coated in oil.
Eggs in the city! Eggs in the city!

Today we eat eggs with friends.
We eat eggs on the subway.
We eat eggs in our PJs.
We eat eggs while sending text messages,
egg yolk dribbling messily onto our phones.
Imperfect eggs are crushed beneath our Jimmy Choos!
Lack of eggs is not an issue, not in our city, not today.

A couple of kids throw eggs at the door of Old Man Joe.
A couple of lovers dip toes in eggs like soldiers
then lick each other’s toes.
Egg tasted. Eggs wasted.
Eggs devoured.
Do cracked eggshells expose egg power? Yes, it’s true.
But lack of eggs is not an issue, not in our city, not today.

“What’s beneath the egg?” people forget to ask us.
“What’s beneath the egg? What’s beneath the egg?”
Some days bodies are poached in the city,
bodies mangled and twisted,
scrambled and boiled like eggs, like eggs.

Some days there are eggshells without eggs.
“Don’t tread on the eggshells if you want to keep your legs!”
they tell the children.
Behold the Egg City inferno:
Abandon all yolk, ye who enter here!

Some days eggs disappear like props in a conjuror’s trick,
and on other days The Age of the Egg seems mythic.
But not today.
Today we enjoy eggs in the city,
eggs poached, scrambled and coated in oil.

A Complete History of Beauty

mr and mrs smith

My dear, I comprehend beauty.

Have you ever witnessed the beauty of an egg being poached?
Have you ever listened to the greasy screams of chips as they fry?
Or the death cry of the beetle under the nip of a shrew?

My dear, we’re beautiful things,
But there are things more beautiful than me and you.

Ghosts of Meals Past

the hauntingThe meals they haunt the walls and floors,
It gives me angina and shivers.
The meals they lurk in stalls and doors,
They stalk the moors and rivers.

I hear the cod and hear the crisps,
And fear their cruel and dreadful deeds.
I sense the steak and sense the chips,
And know how they must ache to feed.

They pierce the belly of the dark.
The ghosts of meals past.