La Mort d’adam – extract


Here I speak.

But hardly has my voice been weaned before the rounding up of tired words begins.

To gnaw away at childhood savours...

The mouth watering with the blood of the visited parlours of the soul...

And suck up the juices of memory’s common lands...

Are the daily tasks in chewing the cud of our story.

From within me,

I am dumb.

But in my mouth there is a story.


A story told by an idiot that has spent too long chewing over the flesh of his past.

Walled in by its shores,

The island kept watch over the island.

Beneath the ferns fear was buried.

The fruits fed on it.

The sugar cane’s earthy juice was a reminder to the men of the island that theirs was 

of sugar and poison,

Born of the earth’s hidden fear and its bite.

The inedible part of the island. 

As time passed, 

Gods come from other islands and continents were washed up on the lava shingle

rounded off by the swell. 

Like all those not born on the island,

They had prospered and gone into decay,

Then returned to the compost of dreams that the rain gullied back to the sea.

Sometimes the black, rootless sea spewed men up.

They came out of the water strong and vigourous,

They scrambled up the summit of the steep-sided mountain only to find that they were alone, abandoned. 

So they took to stumbling down to the shoreline to greet other men they hoped would be stronger than they.


Whose hands and feet were less keen,

Tumbled into giant crevices.

Surrounded by cliffs,

With the sea out of sight,

They lost sight of the present and what lay beyond.

From one birth to the next,

Their eyes took on the shape and colour of the island ;

A red and black spot sharpened with blood, lava and fire.

My father,

Whose ultramarine eyes were an antidote to fatality,

Landed on the island with fate’s courage.

Preceding him was a cloud of war and famine’s wind.

The outpourings of a world fascinated by its holocaust which only the heady scent of 

the geraniums could help forget.

There he was,

A builder of herds

Whose gristle, nerves and bones would be a stay against the revolt of the famished.

But here,

On the island,

The parading demons were more powerful and dangerous than the piercing iris of my 

father’s glance.


The whip-crack of his will turned rotten in the face of the damp taboos.

Accustomed to the drums of solitude,

No man saw in the eyes of the meagre heifers the beckoning to a richness founded on the collective mooing of their fly-ridden matrixes.   

They turned their backs on my father.

The idea of a herd was an affront to the island’s very nature

Which, in guarantee of their pittance,

Kept animals and men in isolation in narrow caves,

Some dark,

Others light,

Each hollowed out by the knotty nightmares of man, animal and stone.

At that moment, 

I was yet to leave my mother’s womb.

She was reluctant to set down her labour in the orifice of a land unknown to her.

A birth being beyond him,

My father joined the ranks of those fighters whose names were being lost in the 

struggle against the eternal.

Valiant and without hope,

He would cast a herd with his marrow, and the still fresh marrow of his children-to-be.

What a man could not achieve,

The family line’s coat of arms would see to.

In the meantime,

He was in need of a steed worthy of the weight of his impudence.

Adam would be its name.

It was to be a bull.

I needed to be born.

This I did once my brother had staked his own claim.

I open my eyes

Perhaps the world carries on like this

I remember nothing

Perhaps it will stop like this

Come on, let’s go!

Let’s go from here!

All is just forgotten dreams

Condemned to walk in the night until eternity.

The island was everywhere.

In my mother’s milk

In my father’s eyes

In the duvet on my bed.

It draped my skin with a mishmash thanksgiving where insects came to celebrate 

baptisms, weddings and funerals.

Tattooers belonging to a subterranean monastic order and which scarpered with my 

screeched mumble ;

But which returned to finish the job off once I was asleep,

Leaving behind them on the floor and walls the silvery lacework of their withdrawal.