Body of Work

He longed for the birds to sing, to give away their hiding in the matted hedgerow. A distant car answered his agnostic prayer; the whole boundary awoke; swooping, hollering, the masses set a darkness against the precious remaining light of the afternoon. As it all started so it all soon settled to passive chattering of dominant females, the greenery again alive and he the keenest eavesdropper.

He smiled. In every correctly tabulated column of his notebook he wrote time, distance, echo and delay. He plotted and cross referenced. He marked his location on his far from rudimentary home-made map then made his way toward the railway cutting.

Swathes of green gave way to slate grey rock chipping, however, the foot of the cutting was banked by forgotten grasses; wild bushes and overhanging trees with their exposed root systems piercing the eroding soil bank. The oil stained stone tunnel mouth swallowed all the light that dare to venture more than ten yards in.

It was the remains of the long stolen tracks that led his eye to a slumped, seated outline in the shallow light of the tunnel, an ungainly location to fall asleep so he approached with military caution. The more stealth he applied the louder his footsteps on the gravel. He stood politely silent for a moment for he was all to aware of the shock of being rudely awoken. He straightened his jacket, pulled hard at its hem to snap a crease back into the material. He looked to his boots and quickly balancing on one leg, rubbed his scuffed toecap against his calf covered sock. He announced his appearance with a deliberate cough.

The bag of rags never stirred, nor was it ever likely to for upon closer inspection revealed itself to be a coat, a poachers coat, thickly waxed like tarpaulin. From underneath poked one shoed foot. He stepped a little closer and coughed once more with intent. The coat remained indifferent to his presence but worse still he realised he had polished his shoes for nothing. With his mothers’ disdain ringing loud in his ears he reached for the corner of the coat pulling hard enough to disturb its bulk.

The heavy material cut theatrically through the air. No Matador cape this, no jewels glinting in triumph only the remains of a youth soaked in the remnants of an ill fated struggle. The eyeless head, although crudely bludgeoned to a jaw-less pulp still sat precariously in its rightful place if only by a single crossed wire stitch. Each finger, devoid of a fingernail, pointed in its own unnatural direction. Puncture wounds mingled with every size of bruise whilst octagonal lacerations circled the lower abdomen. The skin on both knees had been removed in perfect surgical symmetry. One foot missing, the stump ragged in removal.

Distracted briefly by his internal monologue he gathered his thoughts and knew exactly what to do. He dropped the coat at more than an arm’s length so as not to catch his un-noticed boots then patiently removed his pencil from his notebook and drew two lines across the days’ proceedings.

He loathed how it spoiled the layout but he was not given to wasting a full-page. He begrudgingly wrote the date, time and location and in capital letters, “DEAD BODY”. He grieved for the intrusion, the inconsistency, the entry, juxtaposed to all his prior comments wasn’t neat to the border or aligned with any other text, it didn’t fill all the columns nor fulfil any of their criteria.

He turned his back on the remains of the scene snorting in despair at the sight of all those incomplete columns. “What a waste” he thought to himself.

From the map around his neck he made a reference north-easterly then set off across the cutting. He would have to start another column in his notebook but he knew the petrels would, at least, be a noteworthy addition to his day.


© D. Archer 2012. I found this in a notebook in my bottom drawer. Time does not seem to have improved it but as I don’t have a lot of fiction on here I thought I’d give it a whirl. Not quite flash fiction, not quite a short story but definitely not very good.

The Sixty Second Rule

I am not the moral majority
neither right nor left;
I am a father of two who
writes nonsense poems
about cats, chickens,
manic depression and death;

Do not censor your work
it is cathartic for your soul;
censor received comments
their gilded nature and their
sycophantic silver-tongued tone.

© Copyright D. Archer October 2011 

Please read my warning page and “He owns a Thesaurus and a knife” Thank you.

He owns a Thesaurus and a knife

He clicks “Like”
before he reads it
just so he can be
the first;

He commits his crimes behind
skin crawling comments
he likes your profile picture
not your verse;

many like him are
clicking “like” just
because you have
two breasts;
he only reads
the first three lines
not educated enough
to read the rest;

He showers you
with platitudes,
he panders to your needs;
this vampire and his vagary
is insidious in his deceit.

© Copyright D. Archer October 2011

I have been blogging for just over two weeks now and I am very worried about certain comments I see in fellow bloggers comment boxes.

I am a man, I like poetry, some men are men and they do not. They comment in such sugary sycophantic terms it makes my teeth rot and my blood boil; “comments” so vague that you could drive a bus through them, they speak of Knowing your pain and empathising beyond belief, this is the language of the predator, the stalker, those who seek to groom.

I can not, I will not sit back and do nothing. I am warning anyone male or female who is listening to read “comments” in broad daylight both metaphorically and physically speaking.

Poetry is the most cathartic of all art forms, we tag our work with words like “Lust, desire, sex, violence” thinking these innocent adjectives are describing our written work, there are “people” who tag surf these very specific words and then zone in for the feast.

You may call me an alarmist; if I am an alarmist then let the bells ring loud, the Internet is a dangerous, anonymous hiding place.

Do not think me naive enough to think this is a woman specific crime, I know men have been victims and targets, I refer to the danger as a “man” because statistically it is.

If he claims to share your pain ask him what his last menstrual period was physically like.

This is not a victimless crime, these “people” are cutting and pasting long, winding thesaurus thumbed words from their pre-prepared Text files and posting them into your comment box within seconds, seconds! of you publishing your post. Many of them will not contain your name or their signature. Ask yourself how the hell did they type a short story competiton length reply within 0.2 seconds of you posting and publishing?

I am shortly to remove the “Like” option from my blog and will only accept comments that quote lines / phrases of my work back to me. It is my blog and my life. I intend to stay safe and I urge you to do the same. I am beginning to question whether those who “like” just for the sake of it are using this in an unofficial way, a coded way of communicating with the cohorts.

This post will soon be a page on my blog, I intend to list support agencies and their contact details. I am in the process of gathering this information.

If you feel in danger tell someone, ask for a second opinion on the “comments” let someone know you have concerns. Consider the personal details you chose to provide. Re-read the comments, treat it as a study in language, ask yourself questions, consider implementing a “comment” policy where all comments are moderated before being posted. You have a Delete and a SPAM filter please use them more often.

David Archer



On my Life

This is no idle threat;
if you hurt her
in any way, shape or form,
you’ll communicate
by blinking twice
and you’ll be fed
your every meal
through a straw.

You will piss in a bag
and shit in your pants
but I will not kill you quickly
I’ll do
worse than that.

© Copyright D. Archer October 2011

Not for Susan

After your recent reprimand
I now know where I fit in;
it is only to walk the dog
and to put out
the re-cycling bins.

On reflection
I remember writing;
“Happy Birthday Susan, Lots of Love.
One kiss from you my darling
will never be enough”;

You studied these words
with one eyebrow raised
and with a scowl that could sour milk
you questioned the amount
of attention I had paid;

It wasn’t the fact
the poem wasn’t long
but it may have been the fact
I got your name
completely wrong.

© Copyright D. Archer October 2011


In between
the swollen graves and
huddled masses
we wait and we write;
we write and we wait
all spent but for
a little more dirt reached;
talking over fighting
shouting over shooting,
foreign tongues silenced
as and when they fall.

© Copyright D. Archer October 2011 

One Tenth of Ted

Make no mistake
I am no Ted Hughes
just because
I come from Yorkshire;
I have one tenth his talent
and with my face it is safe
not to lock up
anyone’s’ daughter.

I do not possess one tenth of Ted Hughes’ talent it is much, much less than that but “tenth” rhymes better. I hope you will forgive me for assuming such a lofty percentage.

© Copyright D. Archer October 2011 

Sour Creamed Customer Service

You were anything but
your name-badge “Joy”;
with your sunken face and
sour demeanour,
your cigarette sallow skin,
covered bloodhound jowls as
you stood colder than the freezer.

You snatched my money and
without pleasantries or spoons
you thrust me my food
whilst simultaneously sucking
all the oxygen from the room.

You burnt my salad
with your scowl
and froze my cubed cheese
with your breath;
telepathically I tried to make you smile;
you serve food
not timeshares on behalf of death!

I wrote this on the back of my till receipt from my local supermarket.
I made the mistake of complaining about the quality of the meal I had been served. The manager brought over the canteen supervisor and I was transfixed by the fact that she was absolutely, 100% devoid of all human emotion. It was as if I were talking to a bowl of soup. I think I will print out a copy of this poem and put in in their suggestion box.

©  Copyright D. Archer October 2011

Sheffield Road Soliloquy

“Fuckin’ fuck off!
Leave me a-fuckin-lone,
I swear to God
I will Kill you
if you follow me
fuckin’ home!”;
white lightening lips
spewed this venomous verse
and the next morning
they found him dead;
I guess she was true to her word.

One of the best things about living in an attic flat that overlooks a busy main road is the choice language that one gets to over-hear. This is the language of Barnsley, make no mistake.

© Copyright D. Archer October 2011