Saturday, March 27, 2010

Abnormal Phenomena

A Rab Wilson over St Andrews

I am perturbed to note that the British Government is cutting the budget of the Department devoted to investigating paranormal activity, especially in the light of the recent rash of Rab Wison sightings.

The proliferation of Rab Wilsons is one of the great unexplained phenomena of recent times. Typically appearing in or near literary festivals, Rab Wilsons have been explained away as weather balloons but the resemblance is superficial.

Seamus Heaney recently described a close encounter:

"I was appearing at a prominent poetry festival when I began to get an eery feeling that I was being watched. I withdrew to the toilet and was shocked to find, when I opened the soap dish, Rab Wilson hidden inside. Running from the room my fear and amazement were further compounded when I saw Dennis O Driscoll with a Rab Wilson attached to each trouser leg. I am now scared to leave my house."

The origins of this phenomenon are vague but it is thought that Rab Wilson was a writer, originally.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

MacDuff: An Update

The Kingdom of Clatteringshaws, seen from the Royal Blimp

It is time to address the concerns of the many people who are in daily contact on the subject of MacDuff, King and Spiritual Leader of the semi-autonomous mountainous region of Clatteringshaws. I last wrote of his exploits, you may recall, after his audacious plan to walk 4,6oo miles round the world equipped only with a child's play tent and a box of oxo cubes ended in disgrace and acrimony. The contest between macDuff and his acquaintance Sid, designed to prove who was the most deranged and emaciated ex-serviceman at that time in Dumfries and Galloway, ended, predictably, in a draw after both contestants passed out due to a combination of hunger and delerium tremens near Moffat. Macduff, if you remember the press coverage at the time, was repatriated by the 1st Batallion Semi-Automatic (Hand Wash Only) Garden Refuse Recycling Unit of the Clatteringshaws Militia, while Sid disappeared into the southern uplands pursued by the CID.

I am overjoyed to tell you, however, that after a short period in a secure nursing home in Dalbeattie, macduff has made a full recovery and is now back in his kingdom where he is currently undergoing a rigorous royal tour of the local bayous and sheep pens.

I wish I had such good news about Theosyphillis Neill, a man who is slowly evolving into the subject of some Hogarthian print about the perils of contaminated gin. Neill is now scarcely recognisable as the handsome rake who piloted the first Thistlemilk barge into the port of Drumsleet 120 years ago. Years of poverty, broken bones and bad luck have taken their toll. To make matters worse his cooker has exploded, meaning that he cannot even make tripe for himself and Terry, his cocker spaniel.

I am therefore beginning, as of today, a charity relief fund for the support of this wretched fellow and hope you will support this in the same spirit of benevolence and generosity which you showed when recently donating the sum of 18p and 3 pfennigs to me to finance my visit to Columbia.

Thank you in anticipation.

Breaking News: Neill awarded Emergency Needs Grant by Parish Council! two weeks to drink like fuck before worrying about the cooker.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Shug at Aye Write

A wee video showing part of the reading at Aye Write. I'm at the end after the real writers.

Shug hamming it up at Aye Write

Wednesday, March 17, 2010


Very busy just noo. Resurrecting old poems, trying to finish Part 3 of Mac the Rabbit and plotting world conquest in the Autumn. Oh aye, and my work.

Went to 'Aye Write' a few weekends ago and read a poem at the Adrian Mitchell event before attending the Gutter launch on Saturday night. Went up with the very generous Mr and Mrs Titus. Good meeting some old weel kent faces and finding some new ones. Went back up on Sunday for the launch of Best Scottish poems 2009 which was very enjoyable, as was the Mitchell Library's Hospitality suite, the Green Room.

best Scottish pomes 2009

Only drawback was the last train from Glasgow Central, sodium yellow lighting, hot air belching from hidden blast furnaces and, of course, a male voice choir from south Ayrshire singing some trad songs about being up to their oxters in fenian blood.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Nebelgard Girl

Nebelgard Girl

I shone the iron wheels of her cart
as she bathed in the mere
with long necked birds.

My sisters necklaced me with samphire,
twisted tansy in my hair.
They sighed when they saw my breasts
just budded, but

my skin will not be jowled or scarred.
look at me as I leave my hearth,
smell the broom on my breath,
I will be the mother

no man has forced.
Mark it! When I am gone
flowers will seep through the earth like milk.

Tuesday, March 02, 2010


I'm rooting through my old stuff to try and select the best for a volume later in the year. Here's a poem about Jane from 'Horridge'.

Ideal Homes

You keep the Subaru,
compact as yourself,
white as the knuckles on the wheel,
snouting south over the Corinth Canal,
through the bleached bones of Greece.
I look into your eyes,
beyond the reflection of that farm truck
with brake problems.

Three days ago in the Cyclades
a huge sun sank on cue
and a breeze carrying all the hot bubble
of the Peloponnese fanned my cheek,
and I thought yes this is the place,
but now I look into your face
I see a darker climate,
but I am disposed to live there,
with all its squalls.

From roughly the same time, in response to Rachel's request, a poem by Jane. Jane was published in quite a few places, then got scunnered. Don't know why.

Four Seasons in the Blue Room

Let me breathe your name
like a sigh,
on nights when the moon
hangs like a tiny ear,
and the wind whoops
above our bed,
and the only way to go is up
out of the window:
dance in air.

Here I have fingered treasures:
smelt your skin like good food,
kissed the rose coloured lips,
moved under your careful hands.

Everything began on a night like this.
Today was warm on my cheek
like a familiar breath saying
open, come,
and suddenly that night,
when I knew I'd touched something amazing,
seemed no further away
than that breath
and those hushed words.