Introducing the October 2010 Readers – 2. Jim Ferguson

Jim Ferguson is a poet and prose writer based in Glasgow. Jim has been writing and publishing since 1986 and is presently a Creative Writing Tutor at John Wheatley College in Glasgow’s East End. His collection the art of catching a bus and other poems is published by AK Press, Edinburgh.

For the past 6 years or so Jim has been writing, among other things, a biography of the Paisley poet Robert Tannahill (1774-1810). This work entiteld A Weaver in Wartime, though mostly unpublished, has now been completed. In 2002 he graduated with distinction from the MLitt Creative Writing course at Glasgow University. He is the current ‘Poet Laureate’ of the Scotia Bar, Glasgow.

His work has also been published in anthologies and in numerous journals and literary magazines, including: Gutter, Edinburgh Review, Common Sense, Minted, New Writing Scotland, Northwords, Cutting Teeth, Scottish Child, Nerve, Echo Room, Rebel Inc., West Coast Magazine, The Wide Skirt, Variant and Air. He has a spoken word cd entitled ‘QUIRKY’ (OG Records, 2009).

bus x bus = bus
from ‘Brain Fever’

this boy don’t take no subway
this boy don’t take no train
he only got the sus for the bus into town
and aint got the eyes of the sane

if only he could raise an arm
      twould be thus he could hail a cab
         instead he leans his body, too relaxed,
              on the bus-shelter’s thick glass pane

stupid smile bolted on his lips
he’s a drunk or a junkie or mad
cause nobody smiles like that
— all irrational and blinking
he can see other folk wonder
what the fuck he is thinking
cause to smile like that he must
be a drunk or junkie or mad
or possibly plain old bad

            he puts the fear in the air
                      pours paranoia into the heart

as wee boys in go-carts
scoot by and scream
but they’re in slow-motion
all blood-red and seem

                  like they’re heading for a crash
                              like they’re heading for death
for tragedy unbound, and unbidden
    like a lightning bolt from heaven
        but the boys all laugh and disappear off
            round a corner as

the queue starts to move
our man ambles in
to a smooth seat groove
and they’re off

            doors slide shut
            doors slide shut

‘screw the nut,’ he thinks
    keeps the smile bolted on
        as a song starts to issue
            from his alcoholic lips:

this boy don’t take no subway
this boy don’t take no train
he only got the sus for the first omnibus
and he aint got the eyes of the sane

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