The men who stare at scapegoats

Have you ever noticed how some people conflate laziness with ignorance,
then blame their lack of success on [insert scapegoat here]?

Staring at a scapegoat


© TheSupercargo

Arcane Lore

Arcane lore - OsirisGod-King Osiris,
   son of the Earth,
      son of the Sky,
   brother of Chaos,
      brother of Darkness,
locked in a chest,
   thrown in the river,
     washed in the waters,
        drowned in the sea,
rescued by Isis,
   woken from death,
      father of Horus,
his life Set again,
   chopped into pieces,
      spread through the world,
         regathered by love,
         embalmed and reburied,
         through mourning restored,
   Lord now of Silence,
   Lord now of Love,
   Lord now of Green,
   Lord now of Black,
God of the Spring,
   Judge of the Dead,
      Show mercy Osiris!
         Restore us this day.



© TheSupercargo


Decisions ah!
     Wound about by drowsy lassitude.
          To rise?
                To write with words sublime?

Or to expire of a wasting disease?


© TheSupercargo

Bottled Spirits

Bottled spirits

I know what you think. Same like all these… Same like me, fore I come here. Fore I learn. I think same like you. Yes.

Flasks. Flasks, each with spirit. Spirit calling, calling, pleading: Oh! Release me! And you think: I free this. This. You think: Spirit glad be free. Him reward me. Make me – what – brave? Yes? Joy-filled? Rich? Yes?

No! You wrong! Spirit give some, but him take too. Take from you heart. What in you heart? You know? Maybe spirit give you joy. Maybe give you woe. Bad woe. You weep, maybe you want die. Spirit in them flasks not what you think.



© TheSupercargo

The above was written for the Friday Fictioneers flash fiction forum. The prompt: a photograph of a well-stocked bar.

Interview with a catafalque

Rose the CatafalqueRose is short; the top of her head only comes up to my chin. She’s stick thin and pale skinned with big eyes made lar­ger still by her make-up. She’s wear­ing a man’s vest over a pair of cut off shorts and her arms and legs are bare. Her long neck and her long fine-boned face are topped off with an explo­sion of dark hair bulked out with exten­sions, rib­bons, Rasta plaits, beads and what looks like tin­sel gar­lands left over from Christmas.

She meets me, step­ping lightly across the floor of the empty nightclub in her bare feet, hold­ing two mugs – one for me – of what turns out to be very strong, very black cof­fee. We settle into a booth where a black­out cur­tain has been caught up to expose a win­dow. The morn­ing sun – get­ting on for mid­day sun – shines in to spot­light the table and her long-fingered hands cupped around the mug. Her face is a faint, hin­ted lumin­es­cence in the shadow. For the rest of the inter­view now I am strug­gling to see her as my eyes switch back and forth between her brightly lit hands and her shad­owed face. I take out my recorder.

‘Can I ask you first, how do you define your­self? What does it mean to you to be a catafalque?’

‘Cat-a-falk not what I be,’ she cor­rects me in her low, slightly hoarse voice. ‘Cat-a-falk what I do. It my mode, fhem?’

‘I’ve only heard it used for a few months now. There’s you and Biyard and Loos-e and Zuu Cruu…’

‘Yeah,’ the bright hands raise the cof­fee to her shad­owed lips then put it back on the table. ‘Was me an Loos-e use it first. We rip­pin an snatchin for a gig an they want to call us DJs. Q’dem! So we look for some­thing else. We like cats, fhem? We sleepy in the sun­light, but we wake up at night. That when we sing!’ She smiles, a flash of teeth in the shad­ows. ‘And we like birds of prey, like fal­cons, with us eyes an ears always open to snatch up somethin we can use.’

 ‘So you gave an old word a new meaning?’

 ‘Noway!’ She’s emphatic, proud of her cre­ativ­ity. ‘We came up with a new word. Cat-a-falc.’ Stressing each syllable.

 ‘So, no thought about the ori­ginal mean­ing of cata­falque? A stand or a plinth for a coffin?’

 She laughs, imit­ates my deliv­ery as she repeats my words. ‘“A stand or a plinth.” Q’dem! You been Googlin? Granpa! Who do that now?’


© TheSupercargo

This is a year or so old. The trigger word was catafalque, obviously. I think it was a word from the Twitter hash-tag word game Artwiculate. Clearly the result was too long for Twitter, but I think it counts as flash fiction.


Not/But - Falstaffian!


Not ordin­ary,

But roar­ing,




© TheSupercargo

The house that grew

House plantMolly swept her cred-id over the pad with a show of confidence. The realtor smiled, dropping the seed into her other hand.

‘A wise decision,’ he said.

She closed her hand over the seed and felt its small hardness.

* * *

Molly trekked three days into the wilderness and set up camp. At sunset, she planted the seed, watered it from the flask. An incantation? But nothing appropriate came to mind. She rolled herself in her sleeping-bag.

In the morning, a first green shoot! And in three days, just as promised, the house was there, rooted and grown. The frilled green door stood open in welcome.

Molly stepped inside. Home, she thought.

The door snapped shut.


© TheSupercargo

This text was written as my first contribution to the Friday Fictioneers flash fiction forum. The stimulus was a photograph of a Gaudi house in Barcelona.

Note to self

Espresso note


Note to self:

If you want to stay up till 3am,
    go ahead,
          that double espresso at 10pm.

But no com­plain­ing after!




© TheSupercargo

Old Hob

Hairy poet



You know you’re get­ting old
     (or have become a Hobbit)
when it seems like time well spent,
         shaving your ears.




© TheSupercargo


…and welcome to The Supercargo’s Articulations

John TheSupercargoThis website is a step on the road to a re-configuring of my Internet presence. Over the coming year I plan to thin out the database of TheSupercargo main site. Some of the material already published there I’ll be moving over to this sub-domain, but I also intend to use Articulations to post newly written examples of poetry and short prose and items I find in my archives.

During May I intend to establish a number of pages here, including one which will be effectively a weblog chronicling the development of this site. To begin with, though I can say that the  site is powered by WordPress and uses the Runo theme by la_ri_za (aka Leena Lahti).

I’ve chosen Runo because it’s a clean, straightforward theme which also allows for simple control of fonts and – very important for poetry – spaces. I also love the look of the lined notepaper. I can say that the price for Runo Premium is modest and Leena has been very quick to respond to my queries and helpful in recommending things I can do to tweak her creation. 

At present the only plug-ins are Akismet (to trap spam) and Jetpack, but I expect that will change.

OK, that’s about all I want to say today. From tomorrow, Wednesday 1st May I aim to post one or two items each week, building up to a posting frequency of three to four items a week from June onward  We’ll see. 😉

I may publish the occasional photo, and there will be illustrative doodles, but the focus will be on the written word. I hope you enjoy my Articulations and come back often!