Sounds of Night in the Cities of Scotland
A sky of fading denim blazons
an original 5.01 sun. Dusk.
5.02 approaches down the Kelvin's "waterfall".
Cities of fags and whisky
where the glasses clack like geese
on their way to the slaughterhouse,
where hoardings harass the main roads
with visions of other worlds -
the square eyed Edens
of a consumer's universe.
Where's yer authentic spirit lie?
In a beer glass? In an unzipped fly?
"Plink'' "plank'' "plonk'' "plunk" mistake "plank'' "plunk".
The instructor's niece tortures the keys
of a landed seraphim, crashed
from heaven, winded, God's wooden
next of kin. It's like learning to eat
this practising, this hammering of strings,
mush spooned down a drooling chin.
But the wincing gourmet dreams of the tuned
cordon bleu of Mozart,
of the sumptuous meal of great art,
of steaks for his inner invisibles,
grub without farts.
A night of his snores and "domestic bliss"
newspapers, biscuits and technicolour
his dreams of the runner of beans
that clamber up the garden wall.
His paunch as fat as his wallet
glutted in the frigid kitchens of marriage
where she's thought of the acid tart
of adultery, her strawberries, his cream,
his skin with that heavenly sheen -
compared to the old man's pastry -
her larynx exploding with lust at his thrust -
"O Fuck!" - it makes her want to scream.
Dracula wraps his cloak around, sticks his fangs
in the sinking city. Pale neck
of horizon bleeds from the gash he's made.
Night and dusk scarpers in the neon lights
night and a quaking nature
tu-whit tu-whoo's and bolts in fright.
Here taxi's are the city's werewolves -
tearing to shreds the wallets of victims
with screeches of ear splitting brakes.
Still, the real horror chamber's open late -
it exists in the busy out-wards,
the blood baths on the welfare state.
Grease grimed windows house
the chippy's vat of fat. Splash!
Fish splish and splosh
flip and flop in the pans,
sputtering in bright waistcoats of batter.
Add a pickled egg to the night,
to romances, to salt coated throats
that'll douse their aching dry
in pubs that are woozy
and layered like pickled onions
with unpeeling love affairs
that smart like vinegar in the eye.
The rent girl's forget-me-not chamber
has lashings of little girl pink.
Big fat business men are bad
with little Sue. Hearts will thump
in the baby oil world
where everyone is body like a seal.
Buttocks grained like ping pong bats
reveal the reddening fingers
of a grunted, orgasmic slap.
Their legs are cocked in love knots
but these smart girls don't kiss -
so they save their bliss for someone else.
The lit pub sways like a ship at anchor:
matches, pint mugs, bar stools, no wine.
Crowded and dense as pages from Heidegger
the philosophy's "hae a guid time".
Chain smoking tubbies propping up the bar
order up another - vats of beer on stilts.
Round as the apple barrel on the Hispaniola
if you hid inside you'd hear talk of cut-throats
sweetened in the doric of their humour.
The murmur of small talk rises like heat
and melts the worked sweat off the pennies.
Everyone buys their round. Everyone's sound.
Suspended seconds when the eye was blinded.
Night wombs the city's fearsome lights.
His brain like a stubborn foetus
a youth apes the slicing tantrums
of the womb's last leaving in the sharp
twisted motion of his knife,
slashing some anonymous victim.
Put your ear to the pregnant belly,
the taut skin drawn like a drum.
Is it for this we come bloody
from the hollow dark to the sharp
blinding lightening of the sun?
Dogs stir lazily as a radio chats
by jets of the gas fire's orange ice lolly
bringing back an esplanade floating in straw hats
down the shifting shingle of the years.
Shrivelled skin wizened as the apple
she munched one morning on the pier.
A snort escapes the gummed up kip
in which dreams of that trip radio the present
through a broadcaster's dream jumbled voice
which wheedled them out to the egg and spoon race
in a place far away by a sea
still crashing in the ear's coiled mystery.
An Inter City's hurtling lights
slice the tracked dark
like a brain command's shuttle
down the nervous system
which ends up as "sandwiches please".
See that hovering hostess?
She too is yanked into the future
like me, laden trolley and all.
Thus sitting and standing we're yoked
across the massive spin of the globe
to Edinburgh, pulling up at the station
with the wine of "hello's".
Varnished floorboards pine for an answer
to the question: what is art ?
The bar sends up its fug of answers:
the post performance belles of the rich life
pass nuggets of prospective gold.
Critics swish pans in the river.
Another beer is sold.
Would you swill the waters of the done before
for some writer's serendipitous, unknown
pearled treasure, an oyster cache untold?
Art's selfless currents swell my sea.
Here's a pearl of wisdom from me.
Creased pages of the oft palmed bookface.
Cyrillic swarms like ants on the sheets.
A student in search of bright knowledge
a wisdom as old as the moon.
She hustles them onward through deserts
caravans of letters, their tired feet,
humping the stored draughts of remembrance,
fuel for the uncrossed deserts,
for mirages of distant oases
or papyri of knowledge, glimpsed from afar.
The swish of a breeze ripples curtains.
Through the window a comet or star.
A table top candle
above the second coffee of love.
Crockery recedes in concentration.
All light is here.
Smalltalk acts as catharsis
to the burning emotions
on the waxen ear.
Now they play chess with affections
on the past's chequered floor.
They think they've mated the future.
Pawn to king-four.
Scree scraw scree scraw scree scraw scree scraw:
the bed springs bel canto
to the body's bouncing rise and fall
of love, its airs, its rhythmic call.
Mouths jammed together, heads rolling round,
with sweaty hands, with banging palms
she eggcups his mooning bum
a slamming force rising till they come
there together in the air,
sweating hard, inside out, given.
Tremolo, tremolo from the springs.
Sweat serenades their love-sung limbs.
Two yellow slits blink in the pitch.
The whines of a starving dog
rent a flat's tenanted air,
bring home an animal's Auschwitz.
The Ethiopian children
who can't shit or spit
are palpable in these remote rooms.
Pulled from the mind's dark corners
a hypodermic witch
casts spells in nooks and crannies.
The addict's sweat plastered hair
reeks of the bedlam of blunted needles.
The pared to the bone nails
of the murderer's fingers.
Cheap suits and moustaches
stalk the dark streets,
razor blades flat in their wallets
like the wings of cased butterflies.
Gin ghouls twitch in doorways,
puppets, strung by drink.
Night receding quickly
to its smallest point of darkness.
of the soul.
Whoever hoovered the grass last night
missed the little speedwell,
the debris of nature's night long thrash
on a flat, green carpet.
A burning sun wakes up
in the mists of a hangover
pops two aspirin in the dawn's
light, transparent glass.
Vision. Fusion. Dissolution.
Memories seep into sheets:
"A went tae bed wi you?"
Flowers wear contact lenses in the dew.
Sunday Posts buff the mats
of a million sleeping pensioners
in rooms which smell of tea,
hawk the blue china of the jubilee.
That royal state between sleep and waking
when the teeth are forgiven
their free fall in the glass
when bird sound through the curtains
is both in, and out, of dreams.
Look: the humped cat snoozes
in bed by frazzled toes.
Not the slightest thought of getting up.
Frozen excrement of the morning walk
where birds left splotches of tippex
that look like little white roses
on the darkened paper of the roads.
Bouncing dogs bound around the city parks
snuffling for the faintest hint
of last night's frenzied trail.
The morning's crystal hush.
Two rusty cities waking, to find a world -
the night's dream, earthsprung, in sleep stunned minds.
Ice cold walkers fumble hands in gloves.
The hymnal heavens sing a psalm of doves.