Ill Defined Locations

Jonathan Andrew-Bunker
Jonathan Andrew-Bunker



I am bored with symmetry, logic, systems, and rationales
Please don’t bother yourself to explain the why where or how,
Whatever happened to losing ourselves in some threatening city?
The thrill of taking a wrong turning and sensing the shadows shift-
Shape into lives that only in this moment have any relation to our own:
Becoming unmoored from our painstakingly constructed personas,
Thinking acting dying in the vertigo inducing deep instance.


Please don’t tell me where I am going or where you have been,
The only maps I read fringe the expanse of blank space with monsters:
I have always searched for a location with ill defined co-ordinates,
A place where the boundaries are frangible or porous,
Here I can stage the break out, the break in, the break through,
A clue to the exit, entrance, waiting room or maybe terminus,
It’s been said before but I will say it again: existence is elsewhere;
In the recessed wardrobe in some forgotten attic spare room;
Down a rabbit hole in a field or through a silvered looking glass;
At the opening of the hidden eye or the tingle at the base of the spine;
A broken lift stuck between floors high up in some sink estate;
In the pressure on the solar plexus, in the hollow nexus of flesh;
Or a graffitied toilet cubicle in some abstract hotel of the future;
The cellar of a church scrawled with incantations, exorcisms and veves;
In an abandoned concrete bunker on a desolate stretch of shoreline;
Beneath an island of black sand and volcanic glass in a complex of caves;
Or the receding house in the borderlands shifting in the distance;
Somewhere or there if you say the right words at the appointed time
You could find yourself in some subterranean underworld or Wonderland,
To re-encounter all the savageries of childhood games and innocence,
Meet the chthonic deities, secret rulers, invisible masters, sovereigns
Of all they survey in these latter days of the Fourth Decadency.


I have heard a rumour that they are hiring, press-ganging, shanghaiing,
Suitable personages, help is always wanted, space can sure be found
For lieutenants and officers of a studious and introspective disposition;
Rehabbing Ingénues resting in between a succession of difficult roles;
Be-bop gynaecologists smoking before inserting a fist into localized wombs;
Free-styling surgeons coming hard and fast as they make the cut into flesh,
But remember that incision is always first, anaesthesia only ever after:
For Sisters of the Immaculate Silk Stocking and Perpetual Pain
Raptly murmuring well sorry but you to me are just a pigeon;
Purveyors of all kinds of reprocessed filth and high spin deviation;
Hard noise volatilized followers of sinister charismatic cult leaders;
Aberrationist lexicographers in league with heretical cartographers;
Natty dogs with polka dot ties telepathically communicating weather reports;
Architects and designers specializing in the style of the Neo-New Brutalism
Or are actively working towards the Retro-Chaldean-Rococo-Monstrosity;
Procurers of contraband urine analysis and recondite pharmacopeia;
Contortionist courtesans of a pan-dimensional renown and fame;
Deep cover agents that have forgotten that they are in fact agents
Subverting the suburban norms that they ostensibly embody.


In the presence of the sublime and the grotesque our eyes will dilate
As we experience the miserable miracle beyond all artificial paradises;
But it is the only destination worth setting out for so let’s carry on
Without lodestones or compass, no navigation aid beyond still beating hearts.

27 thoughts on “Ill Defined Locations

  1. This is a quite remarkable piece, moving, as it does, through the stages of searching for meaning: logic, fantasy and false prophets, to the conclusions that either (a) the answer lies within or (b) there is no answer. I really like the references in (ii) to popular escapism.
    Impressive work.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Chris, I really threw the kitchen sink at this one. Because the piece is so overloaded with references I was tempted to write footnotes and annotations a la Swift’s The Tale of the Tub or Eliot’s The Wasteland or Ballard’s The Atrocity Exhibition, but they would be several times the length of already lengthy poem. Great interpretation by the way which gives me a lot more credit than I deserve.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thank you Chris. I mentioned the annotations and footnotes as more an example of my tastes and my show off tendencies. I have a thing for annotations, footnotes, prefaces, afterwords, etc etc. One of my favourite stories is Notes towards a mental breakdown by Ballard…every single word of a brief note is annotated increasingly baroquely and spins out of control. I have always longed to write a story like that but I haven’t attempted it yet.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Oh this is wonderful, such a trip! So many great adjectives and descriptors. You certainly have a fantastic imagination and a way of conjuring up the visuals. And a nice return to the world of our old friends the Melancholy Lt. and the Ingenue. Been wondering what they’ve been up to. Smiling!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Lily. I meant this to be much shorter originally but I kept adding, and adding, and adding. They have been keeping quiet for a while, but it doesn’t mean that they don’t haunt me hovering around in my brain.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. A beautifully written poetry/narrative that reveals a complex inner world of illusion and delusions . Many layered , weaving a vulnerability, sufferings, a longing for an unchartered destination to escape physically and emotionally. I also enjoyed subtle touches of humor in the lines. On reading this I am reminded of the writing of Anna Kazan in Ice. Well done and hats off Mr. Cake.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Miss Heart. Where would writers, actually where would anyone be without illusions? The possibility of escape is so slim and so complicated now that the world has been mapped and surveyed that the yearning for it becomes intense (we all want we would know we can’t have). Kavan along with those other druggie writers Michaux, Burroughs and De Quincey were a major influence on the style, particularly the third section where I just let go.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thank you Miss Heart, I certainly hope it is surreal, I certainly surrendered to the flow and it is based on analogy rather than causal logic so those are important qualifiers. I only like to stray from the path in my imagination. Actually I much prefer to stay at home in real life.

        Liked by 1 person

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