‘Whatever it takes to mark these patient, keepie-uppie days; waiting for him to come home again.’
Neu Reekie Untitled Three
Edited by Michael Pedersen and Kevin Williamson
Published by Polygon
My girl has her mission:
flour, eggs and milk, placed on the table top.
She’s donned an oversized apron; a chef’s hat.
My boy? A druid in a dressing gown, hood up,
listing 20th century icons:
Ann Frank! She wrote a diary, to make the bad stuff good.
Bill Gates? I think he invented YouTube?
She’s only half listening to her brother,
their elbows knock in the full-length mirror.
She swishes her hair, sticks out a hip
by the strip of fairy-lights. I flip the crepes:
portions equal. Or it’s goodnight.
He kicks invisible balls high into the air,
and lists footballers now:
Ronaldinho, Maradona. Kevin de Bruyne.
Try-outs on the tongue. Poetry for wee boys.
Dad’s been gone 7 weeks.
Hong Kong to New York and everywhere in between.
Our kitchen clock sneaks. Drums keep the beat.
Each of us moves about the room,
each to their own tune. Whatever it takes
to mark these patient, keepie-uppie days;
waiting for him to come home again.
Gratiagusti Chananya Rompas
at the dining table i think perhaps it is now time to look for another galaxy. a
bowl of kidney bean soup looks like stardust. the dim kitchen makes me long to
be engulfed in a cosmic stream of lights. we speak about a motel named after a
bird and about the local optometrist. about respect and milkshakes. and finally
about the house renovation that’s taken ages to start. a ghost clings around my
ankles like an invisible ball and chain, so hard to shake off. where will your
adventures take you. a freshly decorated living room right out of a magazine,
where your friends and family quietly have their tea and cakes, or a distant
planet where the air is fresh, filled with promises of victory for humankind, or
simply another place for you to die. anywhere but here. a more meaningful
death, but a death nevertheless. once the last cockroach flips over on its back
and stops moving, no one will ever eat a bowl of kidney bean soup again. and
stardust will stay afloat in space, as if no one from this earth has ever made it
Here was Uncle George’s shelf.
Magnus in ashes. Here was
Alasdair Gray’s Lanark,
illustrations like black leaf.
Here was a stroke of genius
(useless dancing dust).
Here was another ur-text,
fire as its summary.
Here was Tony Kushner’s stuff,
the origin of a course
I could never take.
Now all of Scottish culture
is stained with your lack of tears,
anti-blots that block writing
progress. Walking through spaces
safe from money (museums, etc.)
become funeral marches
to the peace I felt when, leaning
slightly in Rose Street’s record-shop,
our shoulders brushed. Pecked.
You tolerated it. You awwed.
I still try to capture that birdsong.
And here we are, reading his thoughts.
Arranged like purple orchids in a vase
on a boutique wooden crate coffee table.
Leaves reaching out, petals unfurled.
He was a crossword with missing clues.
Sonic the Hedgehog eyebrows. Disdain.
My favourite stanza was the Oyster Bar
where we entered a midweek pub quiz.
There is no collective noun for a Lumsden,
a Reekie & a me. He winced when Paul
or myself chipped in with a plausible guesstimate
which inevitably proved wrong.
He wasn’t always patient, with other men.
We came third. Won a bottle of citric wine
whose origin & age he surely despised.
But fair play to him. We prised it open on
the spot & clinked two glasses per poet.
I raise mine high to an omnium-gatherum,
an olla podrida, a gallimaufry, of good ole
bars that never change, to poets who
wear button down shirts of khaki. Prost!
the smell of garlic, grass, petrol, pals, poems that make you weep, tits, you
filling your arms with me, the way town looks at christmas, the moon and how
it always comes back, expensive pens and red swimsuits, diving in, hair long
enough finally to tie in a pony, plaits, armpits, elbows, pubic hair, collar bones
and bellybuttons, all in and all out, all bodies of water, all bodies of sky, the
sound of cereal hitting the bowl, freckles, constellations, scalding hot hot water
bottles, the smell of the rubber reminds me of my mother, someone to take
your temperature, sweat in summer, dew, snow, fruit pastel ice lollies, things
that fizz, child’s pose, happy baby, learning how to say no, finding your glasses,
your keys, your phone, your vibrator, pictures of you when you were a child, the
mosh pit, the war ending, people saying sorry and meaning it, singing together,
how easy forgiveness comes, patterned wallpaper, flamingos, penguins, whales,
kissing strangers on dance floors, the cha cha slide, your friend’s bed, laughing
with their loves, bookshops, libraries, printers that are working, postcards,
handwritten letters, hotel rooms and the orgasm on the freshly made bed,
blackheads, cliffs, the edge, the chain, fleetwood mac, islands, horizons, eating
fish and chips, skin, your period finally coming, waking from deep long sleeps,
blood coming out of the sheets, satisfying sentences, the tongue of your home
town, windows, oh i am grateful for windows and grandmothers and family and
finishing books, a film that sticks on you like a stamp, finding a painting that
is more like a mirror, backpacks, bikes, wheels, circles, bats, birds, weddings,
stretching, reality tv, the top of mountains, contact lenses, the right shoes, all
dogs and their ears, oranges, easy bowel movements and drivers waiting for
passengers running for the bus.
Watch the Neu Reekie online launch video on the Neu Reekie YouTube channel:
Neu Reekie Untitled Three, edited by Michael Pedersen and Kevin Williamson is published by Polygon, priced £12.99