I’m ok.

I’m not ok.


The contradictions

inherent in the structure of language.


I think



I can also think



so NOT THIS too.


They can both be true.


I was unwanted.

I was wanted too,




What was unwanted was A BABY,

what was wanted was ME.


The first was true before I was born,

Both were true after I was born.


I was a buttonhole.

I was the emptiness that held a marriage together.

And the way life should have been was a button too big for the hole.


Be His Da


Be his Da.

Dae that fur me.

Jist be his Da.


Ye used tae luv me.

Luv me noo.

N be his da.


Help me oot.

Ah know Ah wiz daft.

Jist gie him a Da.


You get me.

He gets us.

C’moan. Da.




Ah’m yer Ma.

Ye wur premature.

Jist seven months.


But a fuhll weight

N a forceps delivery.

Figure that oot.


Ah’m yer Ma.

He’s yer Da.

Naw there’s nae kissin.


She hinks “The minute he’s up.

The minute he’s oot

I’m offski. Joab done.”


This other guy,

He gies me stuff-

Records n medals.


Ah saw an auld picture,

Him n ma Ma at work.

Ah thoat “Ah’m gaun mental!”


Right in the pit

Ae ma stomach.

“He’s me, Ah’m him.”




30 year oan .

Da’s deid n Ma’d left.

Re-merrit n happy.


Ower a vodka

At 3 in the moarning

Ah spit it oot.


“Wiz HE ma Da?”

Nae indignation.

Jist “Whit makes ye ask that?”

The Parents

Monoliths of flesh and bone:


Impermeable, unknowns.


They’d talk in shorthand

But only of work,

The business of the day.


Carving hard mythologies

For the foundations of childhood,


Where threadbare truths were dangled, arms length,

Familiar lies embraced.


The telly was our maypole.

Small thoughts on writing/on reading

Most sentences get us from A to B.

Consciousness swirls around them like the air outside of a jet plane

The sentence is a fixed thing which we float around with our meanings and histories.

The molecules of meaning bounce off of each other, connections are made.

The personal and impersonal rub shoulders

The best marriages of reader and writer have the former formulating truths which the latter has previously only intuitively understood.

Some reader/writer relationships are more akin to intense love affairs, the reader possessive of their understanding and either keen to parade their insights or contradict those of others.

These contradictions live in the molecules of meaning.

Rather than enter the discourse on those writers who educate, elucidate and enlarge me I prefer to bring my understandings from my readings to my poetry,

thickening the molasses of miasma

in the hope the baton of understanding

is picked up elsewhere..

Glasgow was a Seaside Town

Glasgow was a sea-side town

which sailed inland

in search of squalor,

turned it’s back on the setting sun

and somehow found America.

It’s cowboys swung through saloon doors,

with shipyards wages

poured in tills,

supped their mutual fills of sorrow,

danced in the dark come closing time.

The Wild-West, Govan’s desperados

soaked in work-sweat,

crushed in pubs

nicotined lungs, liquored livers

rain-whipped bunnets soaked by lamplight.

When the jobs ran dry, with the self-respect

and a deep-cut gulch scarred the townsfolk memory

the jokes came fast as the bitterness rose

And stabbed at the gut saying “how hard are we?”

The gangland teens, the football kickings

Whit school do ye go tae?

Here, stitch that!

Taught by the tawse and the home-schooled slipper

Or a well-aimed buckle from a BB belt.

Everything’s bigger everything’s better

brassy blondes,

borassic lint.

There’s no internal monologue here

It’s as loud as a shout on a midnight street.

Glasgow was a seaside town

which sailed inland

in search of squalor,

got sooted, booted and settled down

and sold its soul to the silver dollar.

What’s Lost

Tell me about your life,

The untold days

That will incinerate when you go,

Your favourite toy,

How you felt lying awake in the dark.

Tell me about your normal family,

The uncles who never were.

Tell me the unsaid stuff

That will have you live in me-

One little thing that no one else knows,

Because when you die

Only caricature remains.

This is what I asked you.


You told me

You loved all existence

As much as you loved me.


I waited decades

for my father’s hands

to take shape in mine.


Calcified skin,

yellow tobacco-edged and burn-tinged,

elaborating his age;


but I never got the rooted veins,

nor the cold marble threading waxily

up wiry arms,

nor the anchored mum of a tattoo.


I got duck-billed fingers,

arms of flabby contentment bathed in mother’s milk.

Sun-frightened skin

fresh as a strawberried nipple.


Yet his hands live on

in my head

chiselling away at stubborn but superfluous words.

Solitary Object

Every solitary word has a weight.


Centuries of weight.

The heft of now.


Times there are

to plough through this

just to get the day done.


But the natural gravity, heaving down for each, remains.

It is always there to see, to feel

If you would but acknowledge this.


Haul it into the sanctity of

Your hard earned understanding,

Drag it to the fireside of your meaning.

The Parents

Monoliths of flesh and bone:


Impermeable, unknowns.


They’d talk in shorthand

But only of work,

The business of the day.


Carving hard mythologies

For the foundations of childhood,


Where the fragile truths were dangled, arms length,

And familiar lies embraced.