Ita and Tom-Jimmi Campkin

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The town surrounds the hill like a doughnut, and we are the hole.  We lay side by side, staring at clouds like nature’s Rorschach.  Here are warriors with spears and here are fucked up dolphins with five tails.  There is a strand of DNA being broken apart with pliers and there is a dick with three balls.  Three balls.  She observes it dispassionately and says, dryly; enough to give anyone a stomach ache.  Then she claps her hands a few times and shakes her head.

We endure below the waterline with the scum and the fools, but on this hill we can exist, and stroke the feet of angels.  She tells me to splay my fingers out wide and to comb them through the clouds, to feel divinity in the webs.  I half-heartedly swat at thin air and she stubs a cigarette out onto the back of my hand.   Raising one shoeless foot she traces out her name, lets out a fart with a wince and demands another cigarette.  I feel my phone vibrate but this hill has rules.  No technology.  No distractions.  No unnecessary conversation.  I wish I could live my life the way I live on this hill, staring at frozen water and being burned alive.

In the nearby churchyard she has a favourite grave.  A young Italian couple died on the same day over thirty years ago.  The tomb is expensive but forgotten – once pristine marble now dirty, a bunch of rotting artificial flowers in the honeycomb vase, slowly sinking into the ground head first.  I ate her out on the cold stone, looking up at that glorious landscape – the round thighs, the scarred rolling tummy and through the gap in her tits to that gasping, eye-rolling face.  But then my eyes lingered on their names, rusting and bleeding onto the off-white slab… names chosen by parents for children, and I couldn’t muster any enthusiasm anymore.  Rolling off, I told her I had a sore throat and she didn’t speak to me for a week.

This is all memory to me now.  She sleeps somewhere beyond where angels and demons sleep, a special place where she connects to the planets in far off systems and keeps them turning.  The hill is no more and the hole is filled.  There are no clouds, and I swipe my hands through a vacuum.  I try to make shapes out of the nothingness, and I just end up trying to marry specks of dust into sculpture.

Just before the end, we lay in a trembling embrace.  She hadn’t stood under clean water in three weeks and her hair stuck to her skin at every opportunity.  I would do the same.  She looked at me through gelatinous eyes.  I’m just so tired… and she smiled sadly.  I’m terrified because I’ve never seen her cry before.

A few years ago the town planners bulldozed the church and built a supermarket over the graveyard, the dead trapped under the aisles.  I hate it but I tell myself; it’s just the next logical step.  God creates Man.  Man creates Walmart.  Walmart destroys God.


Jimmi Campkin is a “Writer, photographer, creator of SANCTUARY. 16bit child, INFP with clinical nostalgia and red wine for blood.” You can enjoy more of his work at jimmi campkin.com.

Strike a Match-Basilike Pappa

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Some are atheist to thorns / star-crossed / easy pure hope / hurl quotes at you / colorful futures / white-bearded universe / prophets without a clue / no fishnet can hold the sea

Gods / distant spies / needle makers / cracked open jaws / highway wolves / gaping / smoke up curses / under a ripe moon / the world is potbellied

Impressive projects / dead lines / scrape the sky red / thundering ornaments / refrigerator romance / our darling forests turned into floors / not our feet over flowers

Waves of chlorine / bleached urban legends / army civilization / vengeful magazines / isolated mouth / words lost in time difference / return from the dead like a bad smell

Suits drive bright machines / exquisite oysters / indulged / emptied / lean legs / pants glittering / for want of soul or sex / this life tastes like sleeping

To wake is to watch / so scare off all rhyming / be fast / abrasive / tight fist / and amnesiac/ most of our loves are strangers now

Be heart-wrought doubt / no reassurance / be that diamond you’d devour / take extract from a wild summer / and strike a match


Basilike Pappa lives in Greece. She likes her coffee black, her walls painted green and blue, her books old or new. She despises yellow curtains and red tape. She can’t live without chocolate, flowers and her dog. Places she can be found are: kitchen, office, living room. If she’s not at home, I don’t know where she is. You can find Basilike up late with a notebook in the Silent Hour.

The Effortless Brass-Jimmi Campkin

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I’d known The Boy about six years before I realised he had feelings.  Until then, I’d assumed he was like a dead tree – enigmatic and interesting to look at but essentially hollow and lifeless.  The Boy only made sense on drugs – taken by himself and his audience – but in that narrow alleyway of lucidity there was a path to reaching him.  Like those on the fringes of death who witness the long path to the bright light, if you were willing to get as fucked up as he could and did, you’d find windows where he made sense.

I remember lying on the floor, smashing my teeth on a brick, convinced it was a stale piece of bread, and seeing him standing above me, upright, without the usual hunching of the shoulders.  His voice clear and concise, not broken and wavering.  I crawled in the general direction of his shoes, blood dribbling down my chin and spitting bits of tooth and gum out onto the concrete floor.  I grabbed a handful of dust and rubbed it into the smashed remains, feeling the first burning embers of pain even this far gone.  He looked down on me with an expression I didn’t think he was capable of; pity.

He said; She smells like a spring thunderstorm.  A spring thunderstorm.  That was exactly what she smelt like, what she sounded like, what she essentially was.  A storm in a fruitful season.  He crouched onto his haunches and I met his eyes, but they moved too fast for me.  Curling into a foetus, I began to violently spasm, kicking and dragging my body in a circle.  He told me later that the retching created petal splatters of blood around my head…. like a scarlet daisy. 

*

The Boy’s earliest memory was watching a fox with a broken leg trapped in an old oil drum, slowly starving to death over a period of two weeks.  Every day that summer he’d clamber through thistles and nettles taller than him to find the poor beast inside the metal coffin, rattling and whining.  Initially he would sit apart from it terrified and fascinated, as the animal crashed and groaned, trying to free itself from its prison.  But as it became weaker, the noises died down to a soft howl, gentle as the wind through a keyhole.  Towards the end, he would push a crate against the drum and peer inside, looking down at the fox as it looked back up at him….breathing heavily but with a look on its face of utter serenity.  No noise, no whining or struggling, just two damaged lifeforms staring at each other – one at the beginning of its life and one nearing the end.  He once told me; the fox went to sleep, and I kept going back to see if it would wake up.  But something ate its eyes, and it didn’t move no more. 

*

I still go to the old oil drum, now rank and loathsome, filled with black muck and vague glimpses of rib and snapped femur.  I throw my old cigarettes inside, hoping one day I’ll feel bad about it, but I never had the depth of feeling that The Boy did, with or without drugs.  I take enough blotter acid to wallpaper most family homes, but the sun still looks normal and the trees don’t sing anymore.  I push through the thistles and weeds, remembering the pain this little child went through to experience feeling.  How he’d return home covered in little white nettle bumps on his arms, legs and face.  How he’d never cry, even as he slept on a mattress damp from beneath the floor.  Born to indifference, raised in a slum; just a product of bad decisions and post-industrialisation, both parents dead in a public toilet cubicle.

I buried The Boy in a quiet corner of the wasteland.  I picked the spot especially; surrounded by nettles guarding what they could not harm, within sight of the drum and blasted by the rays of the noon sun.  He rests under his little barrow mount, like ancient kings, away from all the troubles of the world.  And that is what haunts me; leaves me so helpless and jealous – not that his troubles are now over, but that nothing ever troubled this simple, stupid Boy in the first place.


Born in November 1983, I have been writing in some form or another for most of my life, but I began to take it seriously as a career around 2003/2004.  Since then I have produced a novel, a novella and a series of short stories some of which are loosely linked into an overarching anthology.

Most of my stories come under the wide umbrella of ‘general fiction’, but I have experimented with genre pieces.  My short stories tend to be bittersweet, nostalgic, sometimes melancholic and (on occasion) examine the darker side of human nature and obsessions.

I welcome you to my site Jimmi Campkin, and I hope you find something here to please you.  If not, below you’ll find a big picture of me to scream obscenities at.

The Addicts Don’t Disgust Me; Humanity Does-Rachel Finch/Bruised But Not Broken

Even the heathens used to suck on their mamas titty.. 

There was a time the addicts cried for milk and that was enough..

Those babies grew with Love in their hearts and still the world beat them down.. 

People, beat them down.

I’ve watched everyone i’ve ever loved reach out for comfort. I’ve watched them all reach for a damn fix too. 

But I don’t get mad.

You know why I don’t get mad? 

Because the baby crying for a bottle still hides inside.

Because those babies grew into children, suffered at the hands of men claiming to be human and they’ve been gagging on trauma ever since.

But no one’s there to pat their backs.. Couldn’t soothe the colic, can’t help heave the vomit. 

There is no support system.

Just little girls hiding behind big tits and long eyelashes, painting smiles onto their faces, as if foundation hides the streak of tears, we know it doesn’t.

Little boys, bruised, looking up at men that fathered them and then taught them everything love isn’t, through their fists. 

Rape, carried behind their eyelids, beatings still living beneath their skin.

There was no fucking hero. 

Just small people, reaching for a bottle, reaching for a titty that’s dried up, a fucking hand to hold that can’t be found because jesus, to touch them would be to risk the plague.

And you walk by.

I have watched these people crumble. I have watched them stomach grief, living with a bad taste on their tongue, struggling to spit the pain from their lungs and I watched them fight.

The shame in their chests, the weight on their shoulders, their broken hearts barely beating. 

They were anything but weak.

And you think you’re better than them, because you carry your pain in your pockets and you can handle the heavy that weighed them down. 

You did not live their path. 

I guess I do get mad, when their bodies convulse, when they throw up as much as they choked down, when they laugh admist the agony of overdose.. 

But not with them.

With those of you that think you’re a fucking gift to the planet, but can’t be a gift to a brother. 

The addicts don’t disgust me.

Humanity does. 


Rachel can be found on WordPress at Bruised But Not Broken and on Facebook