Thursday, April 27, 2006

Red the Nile, Blue the Hills excerpt: the storm

The sound of the explosion was muffled by a heavy squall of sand and dust blowing down from the desert into the city. The storm had continued for several days gusting with the highest wind speeds measured by the weather ministry since records had begun. In the suburbs, old gnarled trees had fallen onto cars parked on the boulevards. One had fallen through the window of a jewellery shop, which was then looted.

The fallen trees were used in café arguments to illustrate that this storm was the worst ever of all the storms that had ever come in this week, in this season, from any year. The trees had been on the boulevard since the time of the Ptolemys. It must be a sign.

Dust and sand from the storm lay a centimetre thick on the street where the engineer lay crushed. Eddies and tiny whirlwinds spun from around where the heavy lid had fallen. There were muddy pools around the steel.

The winter winds had been born in the central desert; there they divided into spinning arms each hundreds of miles long. The weakest scythed into West Africa attracted by pressure troughs in the Atlantic. In Nigeria they became the dirty, dry, maddening, endlessly blowing Harmattan. The strongest arms broke away, rotated, divided and then divided again to spin across the desert north to Cairo in a chaos of gust and squall.

From southern Assuit to Cairo many of the winds spilled down from the desert plateau into the narrow valley cut by the Nile. From over the rooftops in Cairo they descended into the streets in moaning pulses that exploded on the ground into torrents of fine, dry, drenching sand that instantly covered the oven lid, transforming it to a brown mound.

From Cairo, the winds bubbled on across the delta to swirl over the sea. When they reached the beaches, the winds quickened, passing over the waves as beige and yellow clouds. As the clouds rose, hammers of clear air smashed into the sea mist. Some of the squalls bounced on the pressure and incoming sea breezes to return to shore in small wet furies.

The weather caused wild wave patterns down the Nile. From Assuit through to the delta and to the sea feluccas and tourist boats were rocked. On the Mediterranean into the Ionian Sea the waves were tumultuous at the mouths of the small harbours and bays. In Albania they blew from the port of Vlora over the mountain passes to Gramsch.

In Egypt trailing gusts drove the surfaces of marshes, lagoons and wetlands over coastal roads and into delta towns. The windowless cement hut in Raz El Bar where the dead engineer had holidayed before he retired was flooded. The waters left patterns of shards of cracked shells on the street in front of it. The road to the hut was littered with heaps of rubbish and piles of dead birds woven with reeds and small stones.

The evening before, the only fishing boat that had risked a trip out from the port of Raz El Bar had difficulty threading the narrow opening between concrete abutments to get back into the harbour. It surfed in high on the swells from the deep water, its hold empty, moving sideways until turning sharply, almost at right angles just as it reached the narrow harbour entrance. The boat hovered there an instant, seemingly on the spray and in the sky. It then jerked itself around, turning, keeling over, and knifed in close to tipping, with its masts at acute angles to the sea. The boat righted at the last moment, hurled into the calm inner harbour on a dying wave, scraping its sides on the jetty behind the seawall.

Red the Nile, Blue the Hills is published by Blue Orange Publishing.

Monday, April 24, 2006



A decline.
of fashionable successions
of colourful sterotypes
of decaying monuments
of unageing intellect

none could tell the end of it
in the world
never being
so much booty, samite robes veir,
choicest things,
large women and eunuchs
curves of swords shortened
cowering Platonic
academics hiding ‘til
Lucretia is born

A time since you paced the boundaries
Under an image
Blazoned in the sky.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

some desire

Some Desire

some desire to
live through
to predict it

obsessive stress
of god, not world but
the moving
black priest in a crowd
dust billowing
over the plateau
muddy rain.

Friday, April 07, 2006



Dear Blue Orange Publishing reader.

If you have been reading this regularly you will see that we predicted the following.

1. The half-fish, half-animal missing link;
2. The Gospel of Judas, what it says and who wrote it;
3. The Katrina follow-up;
4. The death of the Whale.

There are quite a few other predictions which are coming true too, which you will know as the outcome of the war...

If you are reading for the first time, search the topics here and see the dates. It is better than Nostradamus and for good reason too! But it still surprises me.

Thursday, April 06, 2006


1. From time to time Blue Orange rewards a dissonant raving comment with a gift of one of its series of books, either the Hank series or the Casebook series. We are sending the casebook series to the comment 'What is to be undone' made to our item on the former Bektashi politician. Congratulations.

2. Editors of other publications are reminded to acknowledge extracts taken from this blog. Publishers can request items here be removed if they wish to publish them elsewhere.

3. The newest book Re: The Dead Arts is being prepared for printing. Those nominating selections should hurry.

Monday, April 03, 2006



I hate the sound of children on my grass
under stars on holy night
and the neighbours hearing them.

I hate them outside
turning on and off lights
when they are not there.

I gave lovely ones gifts and dreams
of my redemption so they wouldn't
speak of sins and believe.
They don't

I am the only child,
of the only family.
There will never be enough
compensation for

Who is there?
I thought you had gone.

If you want to heal
why choose this house?

'Eve' is an as-yet unpublished poem.