Written by Rick Clarke/Illustrations by Andrzej Klimowski




Expanding the Monolith Cocktail’s remit to include more in the way of new literature and poetic musings of a kind, we are pleased to announce the serialization of burgeoning author and rallying beacon of the band Vukovar Rick Clarke’s new novel The Great Immurement. Following on from the first three chapters, kindly and perceptively illustrated by the much-respected Andrzej Klimowski, you can now read the next trio of chapters below.

THE GIRL AND THE PLAY-THING

The Great Immured/I/Us/They still absorb the contents of this sticky, crumpled paper from time to all-time. The letter received:

 

Said the girl to her play-thing:

‘Sometimes I feel you don’t belong… anywhere’

          She stroked

                                And stroked

                                                                And thought…

 

‘Except I wouldn’t want you to be anywhere else – I would be enraged… inconsolable…’

 

And so they sat upon their metallic plinth, the rust gathering rust in their infinite day-time play-time.

The play-thing, red, raw, balding and seeping felt it belonged … anywhere … except its current placement, and so it left.

 

                  The girl cried. She ignored the pain of the departing-wound, with all the blood, pus, open flesh and swinging innards and all else with it, and instead, she felt the pain of her lament for her greatest lover.

 

                                                    All day she cried.
All day….
All day….
All-Every-Day.

 

On her plinth, in the outskirts of the inner Otherlands – not quite all white, all light – she cried.

The play-thing had escaped into the inner Otherlands – all white, all light – and lost itself in amongst other clawing appendages of desires and almost irretrievably gave itself to the brutality.

 

                                                   It found peace and rested.

 

The girl did not stop crying. The departing-wound was healed to a smooth white mound, hairs penetrated the flesh (inwards and outwards) unevenly at uncoordinated angles.

The play-thing heard the sobs. The glistening, slightly sticky tears it could see without seeing were replicated in excitement rather than despair.

 

The play-thing found the girl. An arrival-wound could not be forced. However, the two were reconciled in a new way; a happy ending for both.

 

Sometimes these crumpled, sticky papers would get more crumpled and sticky at differing alltimes. Unreadable, in fact.

 

 

THE PARTIAL SEIZURE

To the doctor RE: Immurement – there are things my/our body/hole is doing without instruction ||| INFORM ME THAT I MAY REINSTRUCT THEE ||| Yes doctor.

 

In the Otherlands – I know longer know anywhere else – the temporal shifts are plentiful.

                     The rooms and the dimensions… the shapes… constantly change – permanent revolution, something I would wish on noone.

                                                                      The shift comes.

 

LOSE YOURSELF TO IT AND DESCRIBE FULLY ||| … .

 

I don’t hate the weirds I see in the street. They amuse me. I find them amusing. I find it amusing that they can’t detect their own filthy stench when everybody else can. Unwashed flesh, soiled clothes… the piss of their cats spray from their throat as they invent nonsensical sentences…outloud… to themselves of course. Who else will listen?

 

An all too familiar summer’s breeze passes over and through my skin. Everything seems to be happening in slow motion, overlapping with real time, causing sickness and nausea before I’m even aware of the fact. I’m disconnected. I’m watching myself from within myself. My thoughts are about my thoughts. Maybe the faint sound of music that’s drifting into my insides from a nearby side-street is the cause, maybe it’s the scent of some familiar-unfamiliar fauna or washing powder. Maybe it’s everything combined. Whatever the trigger, I’m hit.

 

A rising liquid warmth from the pit of my stomach spreads upwards through my chest, across to my fingertips and upwards once more to every nook and darkened lump in my brain.

 

                                          It isn’t possible to overstate the sickness.

 

I see what’s in front of me as any non-blind does, but I see more… There’re images that I

                                                    can’t

                    quite

 

                                                                                     identify.

 

I can understand them for no more than a nano second, these pictures are seen with eyes open, mixed in some impossible way with the reality that’s in front of me.

 

I glimpse a man who I recognise and instantly unrecognise. I just about hold in the vomit.

 

This is the point where my deitic coronation and entitlement reigns supreme. I know all, I see all, I have lived everything that is going to happen, my foresight shows me what I am about to live, a second in advance. Just a second.

And it’s all true.

 

For half a minute I am the King of all things. And then… again…

I’m hit.

 

The line of time – the timeline – that is lay out before me, by me, collapses immediately under noteven-close scrutiny. Everything was and is ridiculous, nonsensical… This future that had been crafted that fitted glove-like now appeared to be like the crackpot ramblings of the cat-piss-breathweirds I saw before. For now, they don’t amuse me anymore. I feel hatred and I feel no sympathy for these scums. It won’t last, I know when I’m next out in amongst them, I’ll giggle inwardly at a rogue flailer, escaping with a childlike glee from its carer.

 

I get home and my body purges itself, uncontrolled by my mind or my will, and I rest. Nothing feels completely real for a v v v long while after, not until the next day.

 

HOW OFTEN DO YOU GO THROUGH THIS? ||| Every moment of every time. ||| … ||| What can you do? Relieve me. ||| NOTHING. ||| Help me. ||| NO. EMBRACE THE ALL-KNOWLEDGE. YOU CAN RELIEVE YOU AND YOU CAN RELIVE YOU. RELIVE YOUR OWN DECAY. ||| … .

 

 

WOMB OF ALL THINGS TO DIE

In which The Great Immured thought of himself, sang to himself, trapped himself.

 

Though any future of you and I
Was hastily stored and shut inside
The womb of all things to die,
Still I await you, arms open wide.

And though briefly this foetus came alive
And escaped its home in the deathly bride
The Motherly noose was quickly tied;
The babe now rots in its natal slime.

I swim the lakes of happiness denied
With each stroke I am to defy
Our deceased future over which I have cried
To punish myself in self-righteous, self-spite.

Through this act I manage to say goodbye
To the terminal tumour that engulfs my pride
And though I’ve longed and lusted and tried
I let it go to let it lie.

 

Rick Clarke


Parts One to three here…


Album Review: Dominic Valvona




Larry “Ratso” Sloman ‘Stubborn Heart’

(Lucky Number) 5th April 2019


Schmoozing with the very best of them over the decades, both as a receptacle and fountain of inspiration in his own right, author-lyricist Larry “Ratso” Sloman’s knockabout career trajectory has taken as many blows as successes. Lifted straight from Rock’s Back Pages, Sloman, who resembles Leonard Cohen and Bob Dylan as rumpled gumshoes with a penchant for filing pathos in the style of gonzo pulp, vividly documented the counter-cultural heroes of the 1960s and 70s for a litany of titles, including, when it mattered, Rolling Stone.

Most notably encapsulating the whirlwind adulation and reverence of Dylan-on-tour, Sloman’s self-explanatory entitled On The Road With Bob Dylan account of the troubadour’s 1975 Rolling Thunder tour remains both a template and benchmark in music writing. In that same sphere of influence, rubbing shoulders with luminaries such as the already mentioned Cohen but also Lou Reed and Joan Baez (who anointed the scruffy-attired writer with that Midnight Cowboy “Ratso” nickname), Sloman collaborated with a number of doyens, writing lyrics for John Cale and Rick Derringer.

A biography specialist-investigator though, he’s also both principally and co-written books on the baby-boomer generation antagonist and revolutionary figure Abbie Hoffman (Steel The Dream), the Red Hot Chili Peppers’ frontman Anthony Kiedis (Scar Tissue), and with magic historian William Kalush, a controversial propound account of the life-and-death of Houdini (The Secret Life Of Houdini). With his star in ascendance this year – that co-authored escapologist investigation is heading to the big screen alongside a Martin Scorsese directed documentary of the fabled Days Of Thunder – Sloman has decided, in his seventies, to finally take the plunge and release his debut long player, Stubborn Heart.

Imbued by those past and present relationships and attachments he sagacious grizzled narrator borrows Dylan and Cohen’s (well at least one of them won’t be using it anymore) signature burr and half-spoken wisdom; using it well to unburden himself; opening up that old, stubborn heart of his to the overriding power of love…or something along those lines. Though the tropes are well worn, Sloman’s patter still rings true, the disheveled bon vivant parading his wisdom in a semi-confessional, semi-elder statesman style of liberation.





Every song on this album has a story, a certain providence, with the first third of this songbook featuring a cast of more contemporary soul mates. The relaxed smoky lounge smooching opener ‘I Want Everything’, which features the ariel alluring ache of the Lebanese polymath and leading progenitor of Middle Eastern electronica (as a founder of the Soapkills duo) Yasmine Hamdan, indolently journeys from youthful “world domination” exuberance and hubris to the self-realization in maturity “that love IS the drug”, and that “sacrifices must be made.” The elegantly romantic, venerable-tinged, “star-crossed” ‘Our Lady Of Light’ features Nick Cave, in The Boatman’s Call era fine fettle, dueting with Sloman on a yearning song of hypnotic worship, chained empirically to the power of their muse, whilst the sun-dappled E Street Band lilted ‘Caribbean Sunset’ features the wafting smoky-jazz blues saxophone of Paul Shapiro and dueted soul of the singer/songwriter and violinist Imani Coppola. Though my copy didn’t credit anyone on the album’s country Stones waning finale to a false deity, ‘Sad Eyed Lady Of The Lowlands’, this Western mythological Gram Parson’s like gospel-country hymn features (more or less) a revolving chorus of guest vocalists.

Talking of myth and its making, the often somber remorseful and venerable ‘Dying On The Vine’ was originally conceived in a hotel room off Sunset Boulevard; the result of trading lines with Tom Waits and Chuck E. Weiss we’re told. The angelic swoon of Cohen co-writer, producer and back-up singer Sharon Robinson can be heard on this sanctified plaint; that swoon going a long way in creating the right mood of grizzled exoneration at that last chance saloon, Robinson’s support came in exchange for Sloman writing the preface to On Tour With Leonard Cohen.

Night creeper Dr. John like allusions with the “children of the night” recording from a phooey Dracula movies, Muscle Shoals Stones and bowing saxophone elegy follow as Sloman offers a myriad of sage-y metaphors and analogy: Some offer consolation, others, redemption.

Wearing it well, Sloman embodies the sagacious storytelling and voice of his Boomer generation peers with relish. Like a character from his own back pages, the bon vivant of cocktail and yacht lounge blues and candid romantic troubadour rock proves it’s never too late to add another proverbial string to, an already stretched, bow. This Stubborn Heart is one classy affair.





Words: Dominic Valvona

%d bloggers like this: