The heavy decrepit bodies of the great and not so, mingled with their offsprings, children too young to realise that this too would be their fate. Pathetic men way past their glory days paraded pretending that they still had it, while bored defeated women looked on knowing they didn’t.

It was another day at the enclosed perfectly temperatured salt baths. The warmth was comforting to the skin and the soul and made old bones and muscles feel rejuvenated. The inhabitants floated safe in this maternal womb away from the business deals that no longer mattered in a world that no longer cared and was on its last legs. Some old guys studied the racing form while younger middle-aged men preferred the stock market. Some gambled with their own money while others ventured with what they had married into, or had inherited. All in all there’d be few winners that day. There were no more lucky numbers to be had, or surprise gold and mineral funds in a world that had been looted, raped and gang banged so many times there was nothing left. Certainly not energy for outrage. Only resentment from natives who had been trampled under foot and squashed by the invaders who destroyed paradise without ever having taken the time to truly look around and realise the greatest wealth was above the ground. But like rats they burrowed lower and lower into darkness desperate for any shiny morsel of opportunity. Never thinking any further ahead than that.

We had destroyed the world without realising that such an abomination also destroyed ourselves. What we project outwards also implodes us. Given time.

I stood in the warm salt water as the floating bodies of the dead and the dying circled me.

(C) Frank Howson 2019

Sketch by Frank Howson.



He says he doesn’t remember

What he did with you

A surprising snow fall

On this New York avenue

Gonna run to see him

At someone else’s expense

Lying for a living

To play out this pretense


Tall man in the fall

He’s a Lincoln monument

Standing there for all the world to see

A little bird at his shoulder

Your tiny claws holding tight



But you want to take flight

He looks the daddy that you never call

Tall man in the fall


He left a fading Polaroid

That you hide from view

“When will I be loved?”

Sings an aging ingénue

Gonna stroll by his house

Perhaps he’ll wander out

Dropping you a penny

In the hand that you’ve been dealt


Tall man in the fall

He’s a modern day Alamo

Cross your heart and step across that line

A Santa Ana breeze is blowing

You’d love to steal from his wife

Get away

Scott free

Go runnin’ for your life

But he hesitates in that southern drawl

Tall man in the fall


He’s gonna write you a play

You’ll be perfect as the leading lady’s friend

But you won’t know that ‘till you’re ‘round the bend

His words will cut like bullets

The scenes will play too long

The other girl gets all the lines

And be warned

The ending may feel wrong

Be warned

The ending may feel wrong…


Tall man in the fall

Cycling down Calvary

Shed a skin

To the old life that you knew

There’s nothing left

“It’s finished”

His back to your sacrifice



Thou heart has paid the price

Your two wild horses slow to a crawl

For that tall man in the fall


Tall man in the fall

Tall man in  the fall….


Recorded by Stephen Housden.

(c) Frank Howson 2013