Colin Campbell Robinson


from The Doors – the ghost variations



Part 3


this is the end, my friend

jim morrison




Here are double brown church doors with iron bolts and studs. Keeping out the heathens, keeping out the just.

Realising he has no memory he abandons himself.

The doors will not open. He will not enter.

Return at night, the house lit, blinded night, his face.

This may be a good result not that there is any way of measuring difference.

Having no memory did not mean senses are not conjured. Events occur as if by magic.

The men with black ties make another appearance, mortality in the evening breeze.

Where has he come from? Why does he belong nowhere?

Home is only here, he writes as if he is at home.

Who wrote the soundtrack to your memory? The songs are all the same. This is our tragedy.

He is not the only one without memory.

On the beach the gardener is lost.

The farmer cannot hoe the sea.

In the barn the sailor hid his fear.

The fisherman drilled for gold.

Is there a season or only a turning?

They cast stones but can’t read them.

The door slams shut late.




Blue door, white wall: bad cold in March.

How many blue doors? How many white walls imagined? Imagine as being here now or imagined as if in the past, hence nostalgic.

Nostalgic blue doors and white walls discussed by those with nowhere to go.

He came from a culture of shame, not sin. ‘To lose face’ is the worst fate to befall whereas she came from a culture of guilt, ‘to be innocent’ is the ultimate crime.

Words in space as if traversing the universe, planets of meaning fixed in their orbit bouncing their dark light off each other.

The order in which they are sighted determines their reading.

Blank page: the no-thing on which words are printed.

Respect space, respect spacing. Space and time; spacing and interval or, as the Japanese say, ‘Ma’.



Grey door, burglar alarm. Disc zone.

No one’s breaking in; you’re safe behind the door.

He read the papers. Re-lived the situation, set off the alarm, the red alarm.

Forget to shave or, at least, remembered but didn’t. To shave or not to shave is not much of a question.

Look in a mirror, any mirror. Choose the first face you can think of. Divide by two, multiply by three and the answer is?

Memory in the mist: in the midst of forgetting, in the missed opportunities. Choking on swallowed water, he could be drowning.

In the dream he blacked out and tumbled. When he awoke he fumbled for his dressing gown, steadied himself and made for the door, the grey door.

A slight trembling, a feint fear in his eyes, being incapable of saying anything as opposed to having nothing to say.




The mourning Gondola plies his trade, sings songs in a faint key. Raw umber and terracotta reflected, the gondola night and day.

Some time since, sometime since a visit, a dalliance, a cruise around the waters.

He reflects on cruising, on drifting. Hand limp in water, eyes opening, closing, the odour and the tragic gondola.

Proceed as if the novel is already planned, half written even (like the bachelors grinding their coffee).

The last glass cracked, no more drinking in memories. They’ve all dissolved in one lemon, in the ice, in the water at 5.00.

– Shall we discuss today’s aggressive rejection of nuance?

– Nowadays the particular is only to be found in the nuance.

Roland and Walter sitting by the canal chatting.

A Place where nothing will take place except the place.




Is white a colour?

White door. Number 11.

Go to ‘The Three Reasons’ on Gallowgate Street.

Through this door shadows come. This door is a bridge between two worlds: one is known as ‘in the dark’; one is known as ‘in the light’

Once their performance is done they (and you know who ‘they’ are) return over the bridge, which is a door.

In the vision something is oddly erased, interrupted, incomplete.

Tomorrow, ‘The Three Reasons’, yesterday, ‘The Three Falls’, and now ‘The Three Men’, one singing about prison, one reading his news (not ‘the’, his) and the third chuckles at his own wit and erudition.

There is a fourth man but he’s quietly writing in his notebook so we won’t disturb him.

I write on blank pages, my pen does not scratch, he thinks sipping iced water.

What time has he been given? How are the runes, the dice, the book or cards? Once he was told omens hid in the shadows. This is his fate.

All our words are but the work of shadow, figures of our consuming lack, he says.

He reads so he can write. With no reading nothing would be written.

Books are ghosts, they haunt us, he says.

Reading is a discussion between the living and the dead. Endless questions answered with questions, doubts, half theories and fullness.

We speak to break our solitude; we write to prolong it, he says.




Last night she came, as a child wanting affection.

On another occasion she came as she was in pain and sore with the end hanging over.

Where have they gone those who’ve gone?

Several answers but nothing fits. And she has left us with this and this is it.

Who else sees her and what do they see?

There to the country she fled and now she’s dead.



The ghosts are (in order of appearance): Roland Barthes, Samuel Beckett, Tomas Transtromer, Walter Benjamin, Edmund Jabes and my sister Jacquie Robinson.


Colin Campbell Robinson is a writer and photographer living on the Isle of Bute off the west coast of Scotland. His piece Noir appeared in Ink Sweat and Tears and he also has had work appear in Shearsman, Molly Bloom, BlazeVox17, Empty Mirror and Indefinite Space. Blue Solitude– a self portrait in six scenarios is available from Knives Forks and Spoons Press.




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Colin Campbell Robinson




The inferno of the living is not something that will be; if there is one, it is what is already here.

Italo Calvino. ‘Invisible Cities’.



The proof is in the text.

He manipulates keys.

They hold plastic close, electronic skipping.


– Message me sometime.


She said thanks and left the rest to his imagination.

He was in the ether, didn’t really exist at all.



– I didn’t get it.

– I sent it.

– You can’t read it?

– Delete.

– Are you sure?

– Deleted.


No one has time.

It is written or is it?


Few words come down the line.


– I imagine you languishing.

– How could you?

She slaps down her receiver, breaks into tears.


Everything happens including…


The text is another message. Meaning in the touch.

We connect.


– I’ve known you for how long

– 3,250 seconds to be exact

Long as…

Long as…




She sent pictures of herself. They are stimulating.

The world is stimulating. The world is pornographic.

Paint it black, he says to girls in coloured clothes.


She says, come unto me or was it onto me?


You’ll be surprised to know this is fiction.


She reads his text, smiles, holds her head in her hands.


Spying, he’d call it spying.

She says she’s keeping abreast of current trends.


There will be change. I know what I know, can’t hide. She came down the line like a spider.

Networking, she called it, work-grouping.


This is a party line. Hold on for connection.

Your party is busy.


– Ring me on my work phone but whisper.


He’s making it up.  She makes up with one hand on the wheel and free.



Dart about like a moth. Death will soon come.

And he came quick as a genie offering sad wishes.


Have to keep it brief. No one has time.

Single-minded love to be loved.

She looks in many directions but there’s no diamond on the horizon.


Metal days, steely and iron-filled.

Gold feeds her fever.

Her fingers move faster.

She sends messages of empty expectation

like a heart scavenger.


Death comes all over her like a youthful lover.



Colin Campbell Robinson is an Australian artist currently living and working in the Celtic extremity of West Penwith. He has had his work performed and published in a variety of venues both in
Australia and Europe.

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Last day to vote for our May Pick of the Month

Today is the last day of voting for our May 2015 Pick of the Month.

The shortlist is

*Kyle Cooper ‘The Flying Monk’ (poem)
*Rushaa Louise Hamid ‘Another Canaan’ (poem)
*Rupert Loydell ‘Black Holes & Other Inconsistencies’ (poem)
*Rhona Fraser Millar ‘A tiny pot of Devon custard’ (flash fiction)
*Wendy Pratt on ‘Letting Go’ by Angela Topping (review)
*Colin Campbell Robinson ‘Noir’ (word & image)


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