Sunday, November 28, 2010

Just been up the glen again. Some good photies which I will post separately. It's been a busy week. Nice evening in St Mungo's Mirrorball in Glasgow on Thursday night. Read with Kona MacPhee and Brian Whittingham. A reunion of sorts of my first ever St Jo's creative writing evening class which spawned talents like Evelyne Pye and Geoff Cooper and Angus MacMillan, all of whom have their own collections now and all of whom are fine poets. Geoff and Evelyn were both there on Thursday and it was great to see them. Found a brilliant cellar that served cheap and lethal cider, too. And saw a hare on the way home in the Dalveen Pass, as Shug Bryden was kindly driving me hame.

I see Scotland on Sunday have a haiku competition to celebrate new year's day, 1/1/1

Send entries to

I wrote the definitive new year haiku a few years ago, mind you.

"Scotland, New Year's Day:
two men in t-shirts converge,
to strangle each other."

Sunday, November 21, 2010


Can't shake of this bug: sure these last two poems are products of fever.

I Dreamed all Day

Clouds were embers in the morning sky.
The sun swooped like a bird
behind the tree line

on a land green as eels.
Against all prevailing inclinations
I was blown south

to a place with many people:
each step of mine broke
on their small smiles.

Night fell after that, like a drunk,
down through all the compass depths.
Only in the dark,

lights hung like silver. I stopped
the bus driver then, to make sure
your eyes were aboard.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Royal Wedding

Hotfoot from the annual Eric Booth Moodiecliffe Memorial Lecture at the Tartan Bonnet (this year’s address was given by Keith, Ulrike Meinhof’s hairdresser, and gave us such an interesting and off-beat insight into the hairstyles of the extreme left in the 1970s), I was delighted to receive news of the marriage of Prince William to Kate Middleton. What a relief it will be for all those folk, unemployed or forced to work till they’re 90, on pay freezes, or faced with the shrinking of public services on all fronts, to have a fairytale royal wedding to look forward to, with perhaps even a day off work if they’re lucky to have a job by then.

Didn’t they do this to us last time, too? Giving us Charles and Diana’s wedding at the time of the Toxteth Riots? How charming that they think we’re such gormless buffoons that we’ll all fall for it. Trouble is, we will: cue endless colour supplements and programmes on the ‘People’s Prince’ with old drabs, panto queens, court correspondents, Simon Schama etc droning endlessly on.

My only connection with Prince William is a conversation reported verbatim by my niece, one of whose friends was campaigning for a post in the student union and had the temerity to approach the People’s Prince for his support while he was with his pals in a pub. “Go away you dirty badger” he cried, to an approving chorus of braying from his peers. I still don’t know what that means, but it does illustrate an important truth about these people: they might as well be from Mars, and why we waste any time thinking they’re relevant in the least to our lives or worth a single thought, unless that thought be how to get rid of them and have a independent Scottish Republic, is quite beyond me.

Friday, November 05, 2010


Last night I was mobbed by crows,
felt like Tippi Hedren, less lovely though,
more lost. Today puddles will join together
and the world will be recast in water,
beautiful, bottomless, with a mirror view
of small clouds and aching blue.
In the meantime, I will try and wear you down
with substandard verse, look down on the town
from this long window, see wet tar
streaming all the way to Mars.