Blueing over,

the morning glinting

as an intensifying dream, the sky

all swoll in the full bright.
Between spaces

birdsong sharpening silvergold,
everything young.

Eyes spark: a new day beams.
A skeletal hand against the sun.

Three Foot Soldiers

The little troop of us
pumped legs in ramshackle time,
fists determinedly swinging,
eyes skimming the cornfield for enemies.

We could hear
some kids on swings singing,
odd birds chirp, and our commanders orders.
We were Japs today.

An unScottish Sun
reddened our backs raw.
Out playing,
hours we went,
leaving snail-trails in the field,
slowing to a trudge,
the game’s laughter dead.

No provisions, and way past dinner,
we fell, rifles at our sides.
We forgot our names
and lay on our backs looking at the sky.

A Blemish

I tried thinking
the words onto paper:

then, a white pen;

but there was always
a shade of difference.

I tried speaking
whilst just
holding the sheet

but it always changed.

How can I make my mark
but leave this world

pristine, intact?

La Pelouse

La mer fractale de verdure surprenante ,

clipsé et de- contextualisée

à ce bateau dans une bouteille :

soustraites , aplati et réduit,

avant de re- érection rassis


de la campagne apprivoisée .

Le désert une mémoire pâle

à travers le verre en toute sécurité de la civilisation

False Hierarchy of Truths

The truth which you know.
The truth which you understand.
The truth which you believe.
The truth which you don’t believe.
The truth which you would never believe.
The truth which you could never understand.
The truth which you cannot know.

You are all these truths.

The lie which you know.
The lie which you understand.
The lie which you believe.
The lie which you don’t believe.
The lie which you would never believe.
The lie which you could never understand.
The lie which you cannot know.

You are all these lies too.

Sound Punishment

She wouldn’t let your big hand near me
“He doesn’t know his own strength” she’d say.
You’d crack the leather of a BB belt instead as a warning.
And I would hear it in whipcracks at the circus
and the terrifying roar of an approaching underground train.
And yet three dislocated shoulders in 12 months
we’re given out of love from her. And she later said
“If that had happened now, the Social would be onto me!”

Glasgow, boy’s view

The post-war river
is bunged up with sludge.

A reluctant dredger
coughs through the night.

Industrial clouds
hold the town down.

Wet washed-out sheets
on the wash line.

The thin soles of your shoes
say the trams coming.

Consumptive buildings
are on their last legs.

Barbershop poles
are things of beauty.

The dentist gasses you.


(odd city parks
planted next to
our grubby lives,

no business there-
some green

But summer,
months blazed sun-long at Lendalfoot
You knew grasses there, blades
rooted down to your core.

Whispering alone in the corn where the breeze grazes.

(Country dirt, city dirt.)

Weaving trails, grass paths, you and the crickets.

Auld Maggie:
black dress and white bib,
permanently outside
in her chair. Collie dog at her feet.
His tongue out, panting. The heat.
She was there forever.
(Not now.)

The Man on the Couch

Usually up ladders,he got taken doon a peg,

Lying on a bed settee in a single end

wi his broken leg.

He’d hurt it playin fitba oan his brek.
This strange guy

lyin therr for days, 

wiz ma Da so ah wiz telt.

Ah jist found it funny him bein therr,

that’s aw ah felt.
But ah learnt tae mark his horses.

The wan, two, three

oan the cairds in the papers

and that became somethin for me.


On shifting shores, the mermen writhe
sluggish, drugged from hand-held-high
blind pewtered cups where oceans spill
to the salt-wet sand, and swither, swill

the love-drunk sky’s caressing rains,
(cold ecstasy in spittle comes)
come permeate the mermen’s wetskin
cored by the howl of the downpour’s drum.

Undinal dirges swathe the air,
the airs come swirling from the deep:
Möbius tunes freed by the spume
wind endlessly, bring wind borne sleep.

As Morpheus lulls the sleeping sands,
the mermen slip to night and slither
back to sea, to dream, to live and
size the stars through shimmering silver.