Posted on March 18, 2013 by Nik

Reasons to be self/unemployed #32

From the Alchemist’s Kitchen

To be eaten naked in order to get a tan whilst breakfasting in the hills.

This multi-tasking is favourable for making your family jealous when you leave the California spring later this week, for the grey bleak English winter (yeah, I know, still winter over there, whatever) Read More

Posted on January 12, 2013 by Nik

Who knew the provenance…

cover-titleWho knew the provenance exactly? It probably found its way through the centuries from some old colonial town house on the distant and prosperous seaboard, but someone has dragged this handsome Victorian claw foot bathtub high into the Cordilleras to market this day, by mule, or by lackey, or by rusted truck. It sits proudly in the dust amidst a multitude of other curious repurposeable objects. The present owner of the bathtub, a raffish man with deeply lined, silver bristled, sunbaked face, a bunch of gold teeth, and a fine, if weather beaten, rufous red felt hat, has  amongst other exotic items in his possession, a battered brass telescope, various and sundry antiquated surgical instruments, a rebuilt wheelbarrow, a number of tattered volumes (including a dog-eared English treatise on masturbation titled “Manhood Rescued – A Helping Hand-book for Victims of the Follies of Youth”) an assortment of traps, pulleys and restraints, a handsome caged cockerel, a stoat and prize goat – but it was the bathtub that caught Sulleiman’s eye. Read More

Posted on June 8, 2012 by Nik


download PDF

download PDF

…Above you and between all these celestial bodies now, hangs the moon, bold, brilliant, heavy in its proximity, gyrating imperceptibly, heaving tides and blood as it lilts in great timeless arcs across the heavens. Beyond her, the unfathomable depths of the cosmos also have their influence you imagine, and, you feel fleetingly, in moments like this, that you are not separate….

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Posted on May 14, 2012 by Nik


Sulleiman emerges from the bushes, a disoriented, quizzical look on his wizened, timeless visage. He brushes off bits of leaf and twig clinging to his brocade tunic and burgundy pantaloons, before picking himself up brightly to continue on his way. But a little girl called Lali, who is six, is standing there watching in open curiosity, with her big dark eyes that the world flows into without any resistance at all. “What were you doing in there?” She asks with irrepressible innocence and glee.
“Oh…” wiry silver eyebrows lifting with mild preoccupation, and in a layered Russian-Iranian accent he continues “a little problem I’m having with relocation.” Read More

Posted on October 16, 2011 by Nik

The Temple

Inside this temple are mountains and rivers
there are forests of oak, mountain lions and moss

Seismic shifts and lightening bolts are inside
innervating every silent thought Read More

Posted on October 2, 2011 by Nik

Reflections on Peru

Photo album at FB: Amazon to Andes

… descending over the Amazonas, vistas of jungle, thatched roof, thin pillars of smoke, winding muddy river through low cotton cloud…

we land,

dismounting steel, into a welcome wave of humid heat, across hot tarmac, through tin pot airport, 3 wheel moto-taxi driver hustle and away, tearing like madness itself through the chaos of another 3rd world tropical city! Reminds me of Bankok 20 years ago. But this is Iquitos – different time, different place. Feels good. Unrestrained life at the pace of ungoverned humanity – dirty, chaotic, colourful, unconscious, living in the moment. Squinting against hot road dust, a thrilling roller-coaster ride through traffic governed only by the laws of nature – a fluid dirty dance, family of 5 on a moped cutting in as we cut through another narrow opening and close the gap, ebb and flow, seething into the largest city on earth with no outside road access. And it is a shit hole. There are some ragged remnants of the bygone colonial rubber boom era, Spanish tile, fading façades of faux grandeur, but tropical decay reclaims such structure fast. Read More

Posted on September 27, 2011 by Nik

Doing “frog”

No, not the kind of frog you might lick recreationally for it’s secretion of DMT (should you be so inclined.) That would be Bufo alvarius – the Colorado River toad. This is Phyllomedusa bicolor, an Amazonian rainforest treefrog,

And talk about right of passage – this little fucker took me down!
Sapo, frog “medicine” – or poison – is administered to boost ones mojo. Traditionally taken to hone hunting skills, keen the senses, boost immune and reset nervous system, or in other parlance – to realign the chakras, emphasis on the third – personal power, deep cleanse the body through purging for health and vitality, strength, passion and prosperity (success in hunt or business)…
OK, thought I, lets give it a try… Read More

Posted on August 30, 2011 by Nik

Somewhere in the Amazon rain forest

Banisteropsis caapii

Banisteropsis caapii

After swallowing a shot glass full of the somewhat wretched medicinal brew, with ceremonial reverence and a personal intention of what to work on for this ceremony, we sit upright in meditative postures, on mattress pads, in the darkness of the Maloka – a large circular palm thatched structure, open to the surrounding jungle sounds. 20 plus Pasajeros in the broad circle, and 6 Maestros at the center, we wait in the stillness of the night, mid the haunting and lyrical sounds of vibrant tropical forest.

Holding down the nausea, the medicinally purgative Banisteropsis vine and synergistic DMT laden Psychotria leaves start working their mojo after about an hour, as the maestros pipe up, chanting their ikaros. I came to think of these as song-lines navigating other dimensional space-time. Traditional Shipibo shamanic healing and blessing chants that, when the maestros are all singing together, can be divinely beautiful, and when dissonant as they individuate, breaking off in turn to sit in front of each one us, shuffling about in the dark, off their kites, puffing away on mappacho – hardcore sacred black tobacco considered the male propitiate to mother Ayahuasca – they can sound like a gang of wailing cats on heat stuck in an air duct.

And so it begins… Read More

Posted on April 25, 2011 by Nik

A fistful of short stories

8 out of 10 (New Yorker) short stories leave me cold as a fish in space. So whilst like film, there is a degree of subjectivity, here’s five, captivating in their dark humor and edginess and for my money, rewarding in their poignancy, punch and pure celebration of life, love and madness:

  1. What you Pawn I Will Redeem by Sherman Alexie. A story of great humility and humor in Native American spirit and good men: Go ahead and read this story below or download PDF
  2. Everything Ravaged, Everything Burned, by Wells Tower. A superb, vivid and haunting, anachronistic excursion into Vikingdom. Read below [P2] or download PDF
  3. Until Gwen, by Dennis Lehane. Evocative and raw, written in 2nd person perspective: “Your father picks you up from prison in a stolen Dodge Neon, with an 8-ball of coke in the glove compartment and a hooker named Mandy in the back seat.” download PDF
  4. Bullet in the Brain, by Tobias Wolff. Acerbic, cynical critic reviews life in bullet time. Sharply written. download PDF
  5. Depth Charge, by Craig Bernardini. Radical right of passage story, plumbing the depths of a soul searching alcoholic 21 year old becoming a “man” (from Narrative Design by Madison Bell. download PDF (1.2MB)

Read More

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