Don’t you dare stare into her face
as her shadowy form marches down the street,
hair tied back, dark eyes, no smile for those lips.

Her bones stand still outside the grey office
as she inhales from her cigarette enough life
to show up.

Is that a warhead hurtling down?

She strolls to the toilets and hammers down a fifth of vodka,
her features deadpan like deflowered oysters.
Another day begins.

Bogdan Tiganov


Their dagger eternal

They’re strolling tonight
popping a virgin
they’re happily married
their children run surgeries
their children’s children PhDs
they own the brothel
the hotels and the factories
they know good business practice
they don’t fart in public
sip the finest wine
snort grade A coke
they’re jogging this morning
a smile tattooed across
scouting for the kill

Bogdan Tiganov

Short stories


I sat at my kitchen table, mine – my kitchen table. I lit a cigarette, somehow the ashtray just slid to me as it should. ‘Flannery O’Connor on steroids’ wrote John Williams about Harry Crews. That’s so lazy but I’m too lazy to explain why.

I felt home. Have you ever felt home? I mean felt home flowing through you and into everything around you like a superpower.

The kitchen table from circa 1980. The Russian fridge still going after thirty years. Everything unchanged. Untouched. This is where I watched my parents chase each other – dad on one side of the kitchen table, mum on the other. She held a chair up as if the chair would protect her. And they’d scream and curse and then calm down and kiss. I saw this madness like I saw my own spit fly off the balcony. Or baby chicks in the bathtub. My childhood was incredible because I created it that way in my mind, over and over, crafted like the handcrafted chess pieces my grandfather gave me when I was four.

Harry Crews wrote my favourite book, A Childhood, as if he sliced a bit of time out of the world and inserted it into type, complete with magic, soul and desire. I sat crying at my kitchen table because this was home and I could do exactly what I wanted to do. Then I left.

Bogdan Tiganov