Let me sleepLandscape by Ally Thompson
as railway sleepers sleep
in domains of foxes
urban wastelands
twilight zones of chimneys
abandoned warehouses
disused tunnels
overgrown sidings.
Let me sleep
in the dead dream
of Victorian Glasgow
overcome with moss
decaying brick
neglected rhythm
of the everyday.
Let me sleep
under rusting tracks
of the forgotten moment
atlas-like to bear
the world’s weight
delivered to each
lost tomorrow.

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scarf on sofa

scarf on chair
One of the scarves I designed for Vida has arrived from America. I can report that the quality is rather good, and therefore recommend with a clear conscience that anyone who likes them should go ahead and order one or two up if they so desire (scarves and tops to 2 different designs by me are available). I ordered this scarf on 7th May and it arrived yesterday (9th July), so the process is not fast but bear in mind they are making each one up from scratch. Also, the now ongoing Brexit disaster is not going to help in terms of how much these cost, due to the falling strength of the British pound against the American dollar (the VIDA factory is in San Francisco).

For anyone living in Glasgow or nearby, I am going to make this unusual offer: the first two people to email me with proof of purchase of one of these clothes items, can have a free canvas. I’ve got two of those (Bathing Seagull and Foxtrot Echo Bravo, see photograph below) to give away. If you want one (and have bought a scarf or top), I will meet you in any cafe you like and give you a canvas to take away, signed and suitably wrapped in protective sheet to carry home and hang on your wall. Each picture is 870 x 600mm, and usually sells for around £175, so this is an insane offer. You can see the original posts of these digital artworks and their accompanying poems here and here.

scarf and canvases


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Foxes Lightnings Poetry Scotland

A few things have come in over the doorstep in the last month or two: a short fiction piece of mine called “Moon Shot” has finally appeared in the long-awaited anthology of flash fiction “100 Lightnings” from Australian publisher Paroxysm Press, alongside the likes of Kaaron Warren, Angela Slater and Allen Ashley. Big in Australia at last🙂

Secondly, an eight part poem of mine called “Galloway Octuplets” has appeared in Poetry Scotland broadsheet, pictured above. The first two parts previously appeared in my blog here and here.

Thirdly, my poem “Vulpine Night” has appeared in the excellent anthology “Foxes Of Glasgow” edited by Peter Wright. The poem was previously posted on this blog here.

Fourthly, yesterday I won the Faith/Unbelief annual prize for my poem “Dunkled Trinity”, previously published on this blog here. Although I explained that I am not religious before reading it out in a church in Glasgow’s west end, the spiritual message seemed to transcend that distinction and it was an enjoyable occasion alongside very talented and kind fellow writers and judges.

Oh yes, and I forgot to mention: on Thursday the United Kingdom died. The death throes of the British Empire, which I have long predicted, are thus entering their final stages. Common sense suggests that a new constitutional settlement must soon emerge and Scotland take its place at last as an independent nation remaining within the European Union. Sometimes history does offer second chances. Let’s not cock it up this time, folks.

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Goodbye London



Goodbye London my love my sore feet
my hot afternoons and solitary mornings
wandering around Liverpool Street Station
those cobbled lanes spilling views towards the river
the Shard teasing veils of cloud
the looming Gherkin planting its reptilian feet
among the open-shirted city suits with pints in their hands
the reverent bustle and hush at Leadenhall market
of a city seamlessly both modern and ancient

Goodbye London my crazy lost and tragic lover
you took it all too far we never knew your highflown days
were the zenith of a Babylon, a Babel, presaging
an ignominious end nosedive coked-up
voting for your own destruction stoned
on the drug of Xenophobia

Goodbye London
our relationship now slated for demolition
once seemed always under construction
the Walkie-Talkie, the Cheesegrater
the Thames glittering under London Bridge
as I made my way to Borough Market
or to Spitalfields, the dark dreams
of Hawksmoor’s churches
and Kentish Town, Camden Locks
Regents Canal worming its way past
sober white houses of Primrose Hill
or Greenwich Park the pigeons and squirrels
eating from our hands as statues
London my immortal friend
how to forget this or ever leave it?

Goodbye London your smiling streets
the smell and taste of your dust-blonde hair
blinding my eyes, falling across my haversacked shoulders
goodbye the fabric of seats in the Stansted Express
leafy gardens of Hampstead and Shoreditch
the endless London brick the shadows of plane trees

Goodbye London fortune and prosperity
you turned your back first
sadness in our farewell kisses our thousand meetings
our hits and misses farewell cosmopolitan
metropolitan glamour excitement culture
for now the last bell has tolled at the Stock Exchange
and your long decline has at last begun
I see like a melancholy premonition
how you will retract in to yourself increasingly
become old and grey and frail and afraid before your time
your tall glass towers all turned to ivory and vacant
as brittle monuments to hubris and folly

Beloved London farewell remember
how I never left you
never stopped loving you
before you turned away and your face
became a blur of passing subway windows
a glint of light, a glimpse of height reflected
a broken dream of greatness.

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Glen Coe



Who can understand the Scots
who hasn’t seen Glen Coe?
-Our dark cold heart of rock
haunted by cloud-shadows
history racing the green slopes
as phantoms escaping nothing
twisted stone prison and fortress
pitted deep against itself
in endless rain and mists’ confusion
riven schizoid fissured
strong and defiantly ashamed
enjoyed as drama only
by everybody else: Japanese
tourists by the busload taking
selfies of our psychotic
geology like an amusement park
this glacial culture
strewn with lethal erratics
manifest metaphor
of treachery and doubt.
And yet this broken heart
ours uniquely
as a golden eagle
above all others
still moves and soars.

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Day by day you remember less
but reminded me yesterday
how to make daisy chains
until I wove you one from those
flourishing in the cracks between slabs
on your run-wild patio
made you a crown then a necklace
to dazzle your carers later
as they packed you off to bed
the white-haired May Queen in June.

Strange compensations:
how my turning up now
is always a surprise that leaves you breathless
Strange rages: you saying how if I’d told you
yesterday I’d be here for lunch today
you could have cooked me something
Strange sadnesses: how you begin weeping
when I tell you quietly that I did.

Side by side on your bench creaking with rot
enjoying this bonus heatwave
you ask me what we’ve done to deserve it
Gone on living -I answer flatly
as if losing a husband and eldest son
is not cost enough.

Over and over the same questions
life become symmetrical
now you the child and I the teacher
where once I was the little mummy’s boy
fresh from school loving coffee gateau
at Gavin’s Mill whose wheel still turned then
and the company of older women
cool and glorious as ice cream to me
all your nattering friends now mostly
gone under the dark moist soil
Gosh do I ever remember such a heatwave?
the hottest day since yesterday
I love the purity of dry dust on my boots
on my long trudge home across the fields
the sudden subject changes yes
it’s catching.

But this amnesia what if it’s more
blessing than curse? You returning
to the state of Nature herself:
the ultimate forgetter living only
in the moment questioning again and again
discarding tragedy formulating
no futures the blind watchmaker
crowned in daisies crestfallen
we fall into the earth as strewn flowers
but are uplifted always
because hope is self-evident
ever-growing and adapting whereas
despair is only an idea.

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How little they take from life
how much they give
a few worms from your soil
and in return each
summer dusk they fill with music
more endlessly inventive
than a hundred Bachs and Beethovens
in black tie coats and tails
little conductors atop your aerials
chimneys mapping out smokeless signals
an entire town staked out in hundred-metre grid
of sentinels, transmitters and receivers
flying spies, Morse code men
and mating Mata Haris.
Listen, look. Behind them now
the sunset grows and blushes
pale sky gradated blue grey to fawn
lenticular and nimbus clouds
building to a feathery crescendo
on which tree branches writhe
in polyphonic textures trumpet flowers still glowing
brimming full of brassy sun they’ve drunk
in seesawing motion of cello bows
May’s blossoms fall on evening airs
to kiss the jumbled roofs of gentle suburbia
beneath each of which a table lamp comes on
tree shadows nod and wave across wallpaper
a half-heard word is spoken, shared, a magazine
opened or closed the last car rumbles home
the birds hold forth the whole town theirs
unchallenged save for this audience of one
who walks tolerated through their four-dimensional
labyrinth of sound, marveling, wondering:
just who is in charge here.

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