Tag Archives: The Bird King

FreeSpace: James Knight and Richard Biddle 2

12 Mar

The nicest people your’re never likely to meet…or…How ‘Time Lines’ came in to being…

About a year ago, I began using twitter to promote a now defunct business. I quickly realised its potential for connecting with like-minded others, and put it to work. I found the immediacy of its feed both addictive and seductive.

As a struggling poet, creative writing was never very far from my radar. So one day I had an epiphany hat if I used the tweet as an experimental platform for poetry.’ It wasn’t long before I found out that there was already a seam of creativity out there. It was called, among other names, #microfiction and there were quite a few people at it. @echovirus12 was one of the first nuggets I found.

EV12 is the brain child of @jeffnoon. It is a constantly changing evolving narrative that involves a number of different writers. In simple terms, each writer/member has the choice to respond to the previous tweet by echoing some element within it, and there is one golden rule: you cannot follow your own tweet. It’s genius, a kind of modern day exquisite corpse. I immediately wanted to be a part of it.

In my searching, I also found the amazing @virulentblurb by the incredibly prolific @kneeledowne who uses twitter like no one else on earth.

Originally starting life as an experiment to write an ongoing fantasy novel via the medium of Twitter, the Blurb has now mutated into its own website. ‘


I started writing, what I hoped were absurd, strange and darkly-humoured tweets and it wasn’t long before my work was noticed by the extremely talented @jamesknightbad, whose creation The Bird King’ I had just discovered. His alterego, @badbadpoet had created this mythical character.

How did the Bird King come to be in James’s head in the first place? Maybe Loplop planted him there: a bad seed sown in the soil of dreams. Maybe a mythical being called Crow was responsible. To this day, James is unsure. We will probably never know.’


James Knight

Medusa Variations

1. Dreams

At twilight Medusa becomes a tree. Wracked branches grasp at the wind hissing through her leaves. She twists under mineral dreams.


2. Little Black Dress

Medusa queues to pay for a little black dress. She’ll knock ’em dead tonight. But, fearing mirrors, she’ll never know how she looks in it.


3. Humdrum I

In Medusa’s kitchen, the kettle hisses and spits. She sits at the table, buttering toast. Her eyes are stony, empty; her mind’s elsewhere.


4. Book

Medusa is turned into a book, bound in snakeskin. Left on the shelf for years, her pages yellow with age and envy, become brittle. Her secret words will never be read.


5. Mermaid

Medusa swims through the starless abyss, harpoon in hand, hunting. Her eyes are pearls, her hair a crown of gaping eels.


6. Alice

He glimpses the reflection of a coil of Alice’s hair as she darts between still white soldiers. In the frame of a mirror, she’s vulnerable.


7. Humdrum II

Medusa’s mother-in-law clucks over the baby, pecks his cheek. Afterwards, in the stony silence of the kitchen, Medusa plans a chicken roast.


8. TV

They sit in their millions, fixed by her stare.


9. Reflection

Lost in the Garden of Eden, Medusa chances upon what she takes to be a reflection of herself: a woman, ripe with sin, entwined by a serpent.






I. Conception

 Contracting space, a bleeding sun.

 Yellow yoke breaks.


II. Gestation

Maggot, prawn, 


Feeding slowly, 




III. Birth

A hand smoothing down a stained sheet. 

Light-filled air, fat as a scream.


IV. Childhood

The pirate kills the ogre. 

School walls fall.


V. Adolescence

A secret wish in a secret place.

Policemen stand on blank street corners,


Preserved in the formaldehyde of memory:

Her careless smile,

An overheard phrase.


VI. Early Adulthood

A body stretching by the sea, 

Waves calling.

Eyes turn back to the boarded-up parade.


VII. Middle Age

Short nights, long days,

Croissants and coffee.

I can’t remember the name of that place,

But it was very nice.


VIII. Old Age

White eyes in a lilac room.


IX. Death

His lips look like plastic.

A hand smooths down the sheet. 

We sit patiently, slightly bored.



13 Deleted Scenes, From a Film Existing Only in the Mind of the Director

1. A panning shot of the room glimpsed briefly in the final scene. Stuttering fluorescent tubes, cracked walls, smashed bottles, a camcorder still recording.

2. Man A greets Man B with a slow wave. Hot LA traffic thunders between them, breaks the gesture into morse code.

3. Alessandra Lucenti’s character sitting alone on the terrace of the ruined hotel, laughing. 

4. The young couple strew their clothes over sand and run into the inky sea.

5. In the aftermath of the explosion, smoke cocoons a man wearing an eye patch and leaning on a walking stick.

6. The Director locks his hotel room door and turns back to the woman lying naked on his bed. A fly walks around the rim of a tumbler of whiskey.

7. A montage, in which we see all six main characters asleep.  

8. A moonlit night. Man B walks by the towpath, hands in his pockets, head lowered, whistling the tune heard by Man A on the staircase. 

9. The man with the eye patch is disturbed by an unusual cloud formation. 

10. Leaving the theatre, James Knight and the Director argue over the casting of Alessandra Lucenti as the blind poet.

11. The girl on the reception desk picks up her scissors, cuts the silk ribbon and opens the white box. Inside is a maggot. 

12. A repeat of scene one, with Man B taking the place of Man A. 

13. A close-up of a wet black disc, radiating blue. The camera pulls back, to reveal the Director’s eye. 



James Knight: I make bad dreams in the form of poems, stories and pictures. I am a member, with acclaimed author Jeff Noon, of experimental writing group @echovirus12. I am the bad, bad poet

Website: http://thebirdking.com/


Richard Biddle


Drained of energy, she drifts into lethargy, smiling to herself as she tries not to think. Closing her eyes, she drinks in emptiness and sinks into the caresses of another world.

A bluebottle buzzes her, tells her it doesn’t believe in glass. She stirs and opens her eyes, sees past the annoying insect, the trees leaves waving, a thousand hands saying goodbye.

Her desktop drones, its humming, standby-murmur, a charm, sending her deeper.

The bedsit is tranquil.

A casserole left in the oven on a low heat is cold. A muffled whisper seeps into her daydreams, telling her toxic secrets.

On the windowsill the fly is still.


Mesmerized, they stare at the swirling, suckered arms of the beckoning octopus and the shark’s dead eyes that offer no remorse. I come to watch the eels.

My father first brought me here as a boy and I fell in love with this ill lit watery stage where floating players perform hypnotic turns.

I too have gills, can breathe liquid. I too am behind glass gazing at people staring back wide-eyed at my naked form, giggling and weeping. 


No knock, just a splintering kick, my dream and doorjamb cracking simultaneously. A volley of swift thumps brings me to.

Naked and floored, I take a boot to the head. Two teeth rattle across the floor, a desperate gambler’s final dice throw.

A pillowcase is slipped over my throbbing face, anonymity for a condemned man. My hands are pulled behind me and cuffed. I wince.

They shove me through the remains of my front door and into the morning drizzle. Whilst I was sleeping a crowd has gathered. They welcome me with camera flashes and death threats. Through the deadening fabric of my hangman’s bag, I hear the accusations and stagger disbelievingly towards the waiting van.

Inside its cold confinement, speeding through traffic, the two guards discuss me

In my semi-consciousness I realise what has happened, the word, the word they were all shouting….



Richard Biddle: https://twitter.com/littledeaths68; http://writings43.blogspot.co.uk/


If you would like to be showcased and then be eligible for ‘FreeSpace’ (3 creative slots on our site) DO get in touch via the comment box or via @ArtiPeep. Creatives from any discipline welcomed.

ArtiPeeps’ Weekend Showcase: James Knight (Poet)

1 Feb


Every Friday, 1 artist/painter/poet/writer, letting their work speak for itself



When the Bird King Died


When the Bird King died the world fell asleep. The clawed words he’d cawed from his craw scratched at our dreams.

When the Bird King died the trees shed their plumage amidst a sobbing storm.

When the Bird King died the shop window mannequins laughed and tore off their clothes.

When the Bird King died the kettles sang a tea-time dirge. The milk curdled in contempt.

When the Bird King died the sea and sky swapped places. A flock of fish shimmered over a coral cloud.

When the Bird King died the ants turned on the anteater, ate him from the inside out.

When the Bird King died the world fell under the yoke of Childhood. From whispering huddles, toddlers issued bloody decrees.

When the Bird King died leaves became flames. Forests were lakes of fire, from which scorched birds shrieked, falling upwards into clouds.

When the Bird King died fridges turned on their masters, guzzling the hand groping for butter, the fingers feeling for wine.

When the Bird King died the loners and the losers and lovers became pupae. Everyone else fretted over the imminent mass metamorphosis.

When the Bird King died people wrote poems about daisychains and a girl’s eyes and I love you and life is short. They’d learned nothing.

When the Bird King died the world continued to turn. Trains ran on time. People died in wars. Old ladies farted in floral armchairs.


The Birth of the Bird King by James Knight. Used with Kind Permission

The Birth of the Bird King by James Knight. Used with Kind Permission


I make bad dreams in the form of poems, stories and pictures.


I am a member, with acclaimed author Jeff Noon, of experimental writing group @echovirus12

I am the bad, bad poet

Website: http://thebirdking.com/

%d bloggers like this: