Foxtrot Echo Bravo

Foxtrot Echo Bravo-by Douglas Thompson-220515-reduced

The poem I wrote about a fox last week (posted here) inspired me to try a picture of one and here it is. It occurs to me for the first time that there’s something Scottish and Celtic about what I’m doing these days (like the Book Of Kells, which is Irish I know, but St.Columba and all that was the connection). These pictures, this one particularly, are also about pattern recognition. If I tell you there are actually four foxes in this image then you can waste the next ten minutes trying to spot each of them. Are we watching him or is he watching us? Their ability to almost magically appear and disappear from the undergrowth seems at times to verge on the supernatural. Our brains are set up to scan peripheral vision for vital information such as faces watching us, and there’s something truly spooky about the way our neighbourhood fox peers through our patio doors each night and clearly understands a great deal about what we are. In my personal philosophy Gaia made us all, and therefore our relationship with animals is as close as we can get to knowing God/Gaia’s mind, and the comfort that gives us is of a divine/spiritual nature. Whatever made us does appear, in our moments of darkest loneliness, to have fled and left us all as orphans. But surely the deeper truth is that (s)he remains constantly present and near-at-hand as manifest in all living things. Put simply, our creator, our parents, are still here and around us everywhere. None of us need ever feel alone or downcast who have truly opened their eyes to Nature.

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May Day

Now the city hoists its sails
as green leaves unfurl to catch
the blustering force of May
and change is in the air
underway and underfoot
in the blood and eye and ear
the whispering roar as of an ocean
eroding at the edge of dreams and thought
all April’s confetti petals swept aside
by unseen hands between two scenes
our backdrop’s being changed
and we are lifted upwards
on this flotsam tide.

Park Circus

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Vulpine Night


Fox weaves and overlays
the restless complexities
of his habitual rounds
a geometric web to bind
it all together, pin it down
against the night wind’s ravages
and if you are weak or meat
our little savage scout
will sniff you out
map-maker, interloper
who’s to say that what he makes
of all our mess and noise
is not more sense than us
with metal, plastic, electronic toys.

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Grotesque confetti of this hellish wedding
the plastic tatters blowing on every branch
the burn whose clear water I dappled in as a child
now strewn with rusting supermarket trolleys
sinking into mud, entwined with root and branch
something loving in the slow and blind embrace
of Man by Mother Earth, a raped bride choking
and I who observe am polluted too, the child gone
whose clear blue eyes were once free of sin
yet strange new lilies bloom sun-yellow
in beleaguered weed giant aliens grown glossy green
birds sing a pair of ducks nest in rubber tyres
seasons progress Nature sleeps and re-dreams us
whispering hope drawn from a wellspring strength
that there is still time left before our grizzly end.

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The Day We Slipped Through Time

GVVT bus garage

The day we slipped through time
and all the buses changed
into heritage designs
with sixties speed-stripes
coachwork curved and angled
in antique light of dead decades
we laughed to see them pass
with double pairs of headlight eyes
children once more on our way to school
and old men also, museum pieces ourselves
fraught with the same ungainly beauty
reflecting distances we have travelled through
dust brushed off and shined up bright again
or so it felt to us anachronauts, in every sense
still running, running out of time.

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Finnieston Crane

Finnieston Crane

What is it so moves me
about this rusty old skeleton?
Like a strong man grown old
a boxer in tears after his last fight
something tender in the rust
as muscle-bound hands struggling
daintily to hold up a bouquet of flowers
to a girl too young for him
hopeless maleness, a giant kneeling
the criss-cross shadows of afternoon light
play fretwork filigree across the rivets
still holding, each the size of a clenched fist
the grey bedlam of random stairs and gantries
like a battering ram to scale the walls of hell
bearing testimony yet to the price
men paid with all their working lives
for the granite and marble of Park Circus
from where the powdered wigs saw only these
grim scaffolds poking above the pall of smoke
Jolly Rodger piratical empire to rape the new world
the thousand ships the face of Helen launched
or Victoria, of Troy or London what’s the odds
this Trojan Horse has long since loosed its crew
all are past now, all are dust
and circled by barbed wire
a crown of thorns fallen at its feet
our giant is ignored again
by the passing cars and T-shirt generations
with tinted glass and television eyes and yet
they’ll miss the silent shadow
of our Leviathan and Behemoth
when slow rust takes its toll at last
and he who held a world in awe upon his back
is Ozymandias, king of kings laid low.

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Art at Gesso Cafe


Six of my digital art images have just gone on show at a new licensed Cafe/Bar/Gallery called ‘Gesso‘ opening today at Glasgow’s Charing Cross Mansions. This is the first time I have exhibited and the first time most of these images have been printed at this scale onto canvas. Gesso does an excellent cappuccino and I’m told the food is first rate too so go along and check it out soon if you’re in the area. Local artist Jaz Sandhu is also exhibiting some of his oil paintings there. The intention is that the cafe and its free space at the back will evolve over time into a fully functioning art gallery with a rolling programme of artists (as opposed to novice amateurs like me). :-)

punkpunkIn other news, a new short story anthology from Dog Horn Publishing hit the shelves last month, called “Punk Punk“. The stories are all about Punk, that most rebellious and inspirational of youth movements, which so shaped my life back in the late nineteen-seventies. My story, called “Out Of The Box” revolves around a true incident I witnessed back then at a Stranglers concert, in which an exuberant fan leapt from one of the Apollo’s boxes onto the stage by sliding down the safety curtain in Errol Flynn mode.

Also just released is an anthology of short stories on the theme of the human senses, called “Sensorama“, available from Eibonvale Press. My story “Musk” concerns a man whose smell and sense of smell suddenly change and thereby reveals hidden and disturbing truths regarding human sexuality. Not one for the maiden aunt then.Sensorama_full (1)

Also some excellent reviews have recently appeared of my latest book, ‘Volwys & Other Stories’, for instance this one by Martin Rose writing at Sein und Werden, and this one by Charles Packer writing at Sci-Fi Online.

Finally, Portugal’s finest Paula Brito, probably the closest thing I have to a devoted European fan of my writing, has just posted a short interview with me which you can read here:

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