Printable: London Fallout Letter

London Fallout Letter


K. Shawn Edgar

Whatever happens now, do not interfere.”

Woodheavy Brown, In a letter to Edwin Meek, 1999

You’re a lion about the unicorn.”

Edwin Meek, In a letter to Woodheavy Brown, 2002


The bit, the brick, the broken idea. The bit, the Brit, the broken idea. The Brit, the brick, the bad idea. The red of the crab is the pink of the mountain. The red of the crab is the pink of the mountain. The red of the crab is the pig of the mountain.

The bit, the brick, and the broken idea. The Brit, the bit, and the broken idea. The orange of the sky is the pink of the ocean. The orange the sky is the pink of the sea. I hide me. I hide me.

A handful of rock. A handful of clove. A handful of gold. The skins feel the same. The skins feel the same. Along the water, along the sound. Rocks in the hand tumbling. A handful of rock. The bit, the brick, the broken idea.

The red of the crab is the pink of the mountain. The red of the crab is the pink of the mountain. The red of the crab is the pink of the sea. The red of the crab is the pink of the ocean. The red of the crab is the pink of the motion. I hide me.

Bits, bricks, and broken ideas. Bits, Brits, and bad ideas. Brits, bits, and broken ideas. On the paved path along the Sound, bits, bricks, and bad ideas flower Cassandra into motion. The red of the crab is the pink of the mountain. The red of the crab is the pink of the sea. The pink of the flow is the red of the her motion.

Along the paved path, bits and bricks and broken ideas. Bits and Brits and bad ideas. Pick of the little kid, and jump into the water. Pick up the little kid, and jump into the Sound. Distracted parents sitting on the bench, bits and bricks and broken ideas. Bits, and the bricks, and the bad ideas. The red of the crab is the pink of the setting sun on the mountain.

I hide me. I hide me. I hide me. I hide me. I hide me.


When I tell myself the things I already know, I’m talking to you. The friends I haven’t met; the strangers on the bus who fain interest. I tell you all, in conversation form, my childhood stories.

The summer evening baseball until it’s too dark to see. The skatepark halfpipe sessions at Avery Park. And then the travel tales from the 1990s. London backstreets and the black soot underground trips. Walking Bond Street and the Bonham-Carter building explorations—a swimming pool illuminated by yellow-green, dank underwater lights three floors below the street.

I tell you about the pedal mashing moments, fast downhill; the car-dodging moments from red-lit intersection through red-lit intersection. The oil spot skidding, or the road-edge gravel slides, and the nose bump bunnyhops up curbs and over concrete dividers.

I unravel the details of long cold night “sleeps” in that Edinburgh train station on Princes Street. Marty the planner of uprisings, clad in dirty argyle and woolen jumpers. Mugs of tea and plates of peas.

I tell you all these things for no other reason than because the bits, the bricks, and the broken ideas.

And in the distance, dogs are barking.


The Queen’s Rusty Spanner

Lodged in her gob

from where it came

no one’s ever known

the rusty spanner

the broken teeth

but she isn’t dead

she’s only been bled

a little to a liter to a lean

white witch

High over head

hoist your Jacks

we’re gathering at the well

to force her hand, to demand

the rusty spanner

the broken teeth

The queen’s to service country

so bring your nuts and your bolts

This •Public Display Art• Book

is a joint effort of Publicrats United:

K. Shawn Edgar, Woodheavy Brown & Edwin Meek

Copyright © Share Alike & Attribution 2015-16

Free the Word





Audiot Savant

W.—round, filmy and loosely kept—spat blood profusely for pure pleasure. On the sidewalk, in the halls of settling brick buildings, over green spears of academic grass, W. bit his inner lip, right side, square in the middle, and spew forth the new flow of his oft seen blood and saliva just to hear it hit.

Like bird shit on car metal sometimes. Others, it was a slow soggy swimming pool of a sound like a kid pissing down the shallow end. Those were the good ones. Their gospel spurred him on.

Wait though. On more occasions than he could bare recall some of these spitting crusades punctuated only with an old fashioned SPLAT struck him as the most disappointing, the most redundant. They caused W. to flip his gray matter in its bone pan. And reconsider. Faith?

His reactive thoughts backfired: You should quite, my man. You should just stop trying. I mean, what’s the point? Spit like life, even when infused with blood like the body, is only hydrogen atoms and oxygen atoms—only stardust. Isn’t that what they say, the humans, stardust? It’s stardust. That’s good, stardust and energy. My spit is of the stars, and I shall not contain it within this one vessel of the body.

Milling its hot cherry into the wet London concrete with the ball of his booted foot, W. crushed his American Spirit to the sidewalk. What a sensation sound gave him, the torque of soul leather on cement rubble. He could even hear that last hiss of fire and water.

Turn he back then to chipping the blue polish from his nails, while thinking that black might have been more cheerful. Such a drab day deserved more black polish.

No visible humans were walking about, and W.’s head was too heavy but only on one side, only because of the titanium plate that held his brains in. So, tilting to the left from his late Spring car crash, he saw a continuous imbalance in the visual weight of the world.

On one side of the picture, onerous squares of blank gray sidewalk framed street gutters with their yellowing Fall leaves floating in chemical-sick rainwater, prone and emaciated, weakened by disintegration, through a sewer compost and on out to a flat untrustworthy river. A river that hid its victims well.

The other side of this picture, lightened by diagonal lines and clouded by visual noise, was a localized haunting of slugs and condensation. W.’s internal fulcrum could find no equilibrium in this two-sided rendering of the actual. All was jitterbugs and tossed salad for W.

Whenever he moved along a sidewalk, and two or more humans were coming toward W., he would unwillingly migrate toward them—pulled in by their gravity. With surprise and obvious disgust the humans would archly pull away and rush past him, or flee to the opposite side of the street.

But this time, alone on the sidewalk, W. noted the unique slime trail of each slug that worked itself up to light speed at his feet. Yes. That noise they made! The succulent hiss of a trillion self empowered pores lubricating the jolly fellows’ paths across their universe of two square meters, each little dirt clod or piece of stone a star, each small rubbish pile a new planet for the jolly traveling fellows to explore in their way with antennae slowly caressing, probing, tracing the contours of every tidbit internally.

The sounds of which came to W. as a concert of saxophones blowing. He’d known that music before. Those long curved horns of the Swiss reverberated out to him from some snowy mountain memory, the only truly ripe and fitting comparison—the image of blind, cartoon-colored martins moving over the metallic soil of some forgotten planet.

Were these slugs merely space travelers of the overlooked galaxies at his feet? Aliens incognito from another dimension? Time Lords!? They could be doing anything at that speed, and who would know?

If only W. could explain to the humans about the boisterous slime-conducted astro-pilots. Share their subtle language.

Slime Drive, he would intone. Martins are all around us cruising at full slug speed to unknown sectors of the sidewalk. Look, you, a wormhole in the street; it leads to the third planet in the Dogtrot system on the other side. Think of the possibilities.

But humans would not understand, never sensing more than their input filters allowed. The unseen mesh of some intricately laced membrane keeping too many things from them; their eyes, ears, noses, tips of their fingers, pads of their feet, the bumpy skin over their nipples, all selecting only the must sanitary, mundane, or sanity friendly stimuli…!

So, W. only spat his consternation. Spat he blood! For saliva alone was not enough, too light, too watery. While W. heard the pulsing of molasses from a thousand trees, over a thousand kilometers away, the humans could not even hear their own hearts, which bestirred his soul to flight, or the murmur of their skin as it warmed and began to darken in the sun, which ignited his blood to flame.

Blood to flame.

The heady phrase evaporated as W. lit a fresh cigar, stepped off the sidewalk, and wandered into the street.

K. Shawn Edgar | Slug Herdsman | Frost Demon | Dollar-Store Hack

What’s the Glory Morning Story


Sleeping Near RADA


Forming a city block, the Bonham-Carter House has a narrow, pensive

main entrance that, although inviting, blends with the rest of the street.


These buildings on Gower are people: sedate and old, with noisy pipes.

Their walls occasionally bleed, especially under the orifice windows.


We enter her; check in at a melancholy brown and black front desk

where two cartoon-eyed girls extend mirthless greetings, stamp our books.


Glancing about, decades of décor mingling, interbreeding with scuffles

drawing and redrawing Arabesque boundaries between conflicting styles.


You have a nervous excitement rising. It always shows itself as static

electricity in your pale yellow hair, caught in your eyelashes and brows.


Our black duffles rest more lightly on our shoulders as we climb the stairs.

Four weeks tramping France and the U.K. to settle now in Bonham-Carter

it’s the delight of weary limbs nearing rest, craving nourishment and warmth.


We emerge on the fifth floor huffing air, muscles done for now; dim hallway

a straight line moving away in seemingly endless space toward room number 524.


This is a quiet, timeless vortex—slightly buzzing with ghosts from busier times.

You dance-walk ahead, sliding fingers over silent doors trying each handle.


Halfway along we find a large open arch; this floor’s bathroom and toilets.

It’s an expansive, high ceilinged room with rows of magnificently sculpted

porcelain shower and toilet stalls, sturdy as if built for Roman gods.


At the opposite end there’s a tall window and a rectangle of sunlight mirrored

on the wide, tiled floor; we drop our duffle bags and strip down to bare bones.


Cranking large, chromed faucet handles full on, hot water spray steams our

cold skin as we jump from one stall to the next, drenching hair with warmth.


I’m tall, like 6’3” on a good day, and the jutting nozzle is above my head,

slick pale tiles extending higher than that; steam magnifies all lines infinitely.

You appear as a white wisp of lithe flesh, with blond hair straight and long.


Those hard nights sleeping in parks and doorways vanish, lifted away in vapor

as our bodies meet again in the middle, under a stream of charged, stinging

hot hot hot water; fingers now sliding along naked familiar spaces, rediscovered.


This is the perfection of travel to foreign places, known but fantastically new.

London is like a cousin’s kinship one remembers from photos or crisp paper

letters, handwritten as a child in a voice projected to capture a future positive.


Facing the door to room 524, we’re still damp under our half fastened clothing.

You slip the large old key awkwardly into the peekaboo style lock and turn.


We’re here, toppled onto the unmade bed, like fallen flowers; our eyes at rest,

duffles tossed toward the only window—showing a sunbaked courtyard below.


K. Shawn Edgar | Writer | Humorist | Mad Assassin

A Roadbed in London


London Shadows by Eva Von Pelt

Photo by Eva Von Pelt


G. smokes these brightly colored cigarettes

from a stiff paper case remindful of small cigar boxes

Except hers have tissue paper between cigarette layers

and a gold colored, pressed aluminum seal on top

It’s evening, midsummer, and about 8:30, judging shadow angles

All day we’ve walked the shops, aimlessly; our hunger growing

For G. it’s smokes. For me it’s G. All day all night, it’s G.

We head into a tobacconist near the edge of Leicester Square

Soot smeared lions-o-stone guard its shadowy entranceway

and there’s a Union Jack painted on the slope leading us inside

We’re heavily engulfed by the shop’s warm, spicy aromas

G. buys two red cases and a sleek, expensive titanium lighter

Outside, she rips open the golden seal and lights one up

But the spicy smoke never touches her; repulsed by the

smooth, translucent skin that turns it away harmlessly

while everything else—everything outside G.’s atmosphere

burns to balance the dark nature of her skin’s magic trick

Together we walk upstream; American fish out of water

All around us, rippled faces peeking and quickly disengaging

telling of themselves in segmented whispers soon silenced

by G.’s forward momentum and my need to stay close

Charing Cross Road is a fluid collection of human muscle movements

tearing and mending in cycles along the imperceptible concrete curvature

Skin to skin or cloth to cloth, it’s a migration of Us in every direction

Every passing touch for me is a jolt of heat, discomfort, and confusion

If this story could be told from within G.’s head, how different the line

breaks and beats might be; how different the tone and content

I’m all disassembled into numerals non-compliant, negative, or imaginary

thinking she’s not thinking of me; that I’d be only a distant shadow to her

My heartbeat – allotment nearly up – looks beyond its shelf life prediction

fully unaware its neighbor, the brain, is too fixated on external conflict

and on the polarizing gravities of bodily urges to regulate its healthy beat

Up the road there’s a shout from G. and a metal clicking exclaims that

her new titanium lighter is on the fritz: click, click, click, and shout

Now, only a pale swoosh on the canvas of our night, lively Charing Cross

is merely a tertiary character in this Cigarette Won’t Burn melodrama

Starring G. as herself, and queueing our fast approaching antagonists

Their leader is shorter than me, but looks stony tuff and mean from habit

You know, like he’d eat a puppy’s face if need and survival were behind it

Me, I’m the kind who’d not eat a little puppy’s face, not even for survival

Really, only G. could ever get me to eat the face of said, sad puppy

Only by her command, or for her protection, not that she’d ever ask me

When I look up from my curbside rant, G. is in the square opposite

with a raised pink cigarette, inquisitive eyes, and a smile setting her

pouty amber lips aglow; the stony-tuff puppy face eater flips and flicks

his metal lighter into a burst of responsive flame as G. leans in acceptingly

My eyes rip themselves out as he kisses her with a rough compulsion

He has a pile driver’s aim and a prisoner’s need—without moving

I’m in the square, just inches away from the puppy killer’s warm body

Smokey; muscular; unyielding; but what shocks me is the look I catch

along my periphery in G.’s huge eyes

Clearly, I’ve slapped her face and insulted her honor by stepping up

Her eyes scream that she doesn’t think it necessary for me to defend her

Well, too late, the Man-Lock is in place and its combination scrambled

I couldn’t step away now, even if I wanted that sort of quick resolution

Leave your home country, travel in the new; eat bread, peas and coffee

and then you’re breath to breath with a stranger who feels more familiar

than the woman who brought you to this point of puffed-out-feather tangle

I can sense myself in his eyes, starring back at me, except there’s no respect visible

just lustful cravings and the red river of bored aggression pounding every shore

If one second equals one year, and two men see a sinking boat from different places

their answers for righting the situation will only buffet the wreck with confusion

My eyes refocus momentarily on the three mean-faced guys backing up puppy killer

Are they active or inactive variables? I recognize the “pile-on” gene in their eye sparkles

Four little Londoners leering up at me like coyotes, and my biggest concern is G.

There’s anger in her giant cartoon eyes, and her full lips are now a single thin line

The line I had just crossed within her, which I didn’t even know existed; separating us now

Why? How to right this? I sense an opening: just slowly step back, casual and confident

while effortlessly changing my expression from natural born killer to whimsical whatever

And then we’re hand in hand walking away but G. is still angry, and The Pack is at our heels

The smallest of the four is clearly the weasel character that taunts and provokes the fleeing prey

He’s at my ear; he’s saying I’m smart to run away; his friends are mad dogs; puppy killers, I think

Man, they’ll tear your limbs and curb-stomp you; walk faster and get gone before hammer drops

But G. and I are walking intently; not fast, not scared—I, mainly confused; G., mainly resentful

Up the road to Romilly Street, we leave the crowds as the puppy killers disengage their pursuit

Now the conflict is between G. and I alone; yelling fistful-tears of resentment and confusion that

roll back and forth over our choppy seas, buffeting the stone buildings and recessed storefronts

as we auto-pilot toward our room in the Bonham-Carter House of forgotten peace and privacy