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 This work entiteld A Weaver in Wartime, though mostly unpublished, has now been completed.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


Introducing the October 2010 Readers – 1. Gordon McIness

Gordon McInnes is Glaswegian by birth, but raised in North-East England. A ‘Clydebuilt’ mentee, his pamphlet Sand & Scar is available from Vision Street Press. Travelling to England most weeks, he tends to write on the train, meaning that he normally ignores his fellow passengers and talks to himself. If you happen to sit next to him, just smile and nod occasionally. It helps.

Fog Shadow, Newport Bridge
“Everyone carries a shadow” – Carl Jung

ten thousand tons of lattice mass
steel merging into fog
a gauze like paper tissue
shafts of obscured sun

shuffle between stanchions
shadows cross in air
becalmed on morning, Middlesbrough –

My father, if you hear me,
I’ll leave your shadow there.

Introducing the September 2010 Readers – 3. Eleanor Rees

Eleanor Rees was born in Birkenhead, Merseyside in 1978. Her pamphlet collection Feeding Fire received an Eric Gregory Award in 2002 and her first full length collection Andraste’s Hair (Salt, 2007) was shortlisted for the Forward Prize for Best First Collection and the Glen Dimplex New Writers Awards. Salt published her second collection, Eliza and the Bear, last year.


East to west, west to east,
wetness crawls

the promenade wall.
Oil and chemical, salt and tar:

the night is in my throat.

I consume distances
at the edge of the river,

three am, solitary
held only by the rain and the sky.

The wind’s touch is courageous.

The stars are stags,
antlers pointed at each new shore

sailors discover
far from here, in some sunny waters.

I open to it like a mouth

and sense her shining
full height on the horizon,

as if the horizon is a ledge
she balances upon,

and hovering I rush to her,
her starriness, her electric pulses

that beckon, she widens:

I immerse myself in her thighs.
Her whiteness, her size.

I am her: the sea is a boat.
We ride until the dawn.

– from Andraste’s Hair

Introducing The September 2010 Readers – 2. Martin MacIntyre

Martin MacIntyre grew up in Lenzie, on the outskirts of Glasgow, his father being originally from South Uist. In 2003 MacIntyre won the Saltire Society First Book of the Year Award for his book, Ath-Aithne (Reacquaintance), a collection of Gaelic and English short stories. Having won various awards for individual poems, his first collection Dannsam Led Fhaileas / Let Me Dance With Your Shadow was published by Luath Press in Oct 2006. Martin was crowned Bard at the National Mòd in 2007. A new novel An Latha As Fhaide (The Longest Day) was published in August 2008 and short-listed for the Saltire Society Book of the Year. He is currently working on a new novel and a second poetry collection. Martin lives in Edinburgh with his wife and two children.

Foghar Dhùn Èideann

Tha foghar Dhùn Èideann
a’ fàgail na cuimhne
gun phuinnsean:
na dhonn-bhlàths
na odhar-shràidibh
na ruadh-fhàilte
na òr-bhuidhe chàirdeas

agus anns an luaidh lachdainn
a nì a gheamhradh air an dràsta,
cha dèan e dearmad air
meud na duillich,
cha chàin e mealltachd
gach maidne as àille,
cha chaoidh e òige chaillte
na chomh-thràth tràighte.

Saoraidh e a sholas dìblidh
bho chiont na Dùbhlachd
is caisgidh e a mheallan dubha
bho ùth am màthar bàsail.


Edinburgh’s Autumn

Edinburgh’s autumn
leaves the memory
without poison:
in its brown warmth
its dun streets
its russet welcome
its golden companionship

and in the swarthy homage
which her winter now pays her,
it won’t neglect
the mass of foliage,
it will not decry the beguilement
of each more beautiful morning,
it will not rue lost youth
in her sapped twilight.

It will absolve feeble light
from the guilt of December
and wean the black showers
from the udder of their deathly mother.

Introducing the September 2010 Readers – 1. Michael Pedersen

Michael Pedersen is a 25 year old poet/spoken worder of Caledonian Stock. His inaugural chapbook Part-Truths (Koo Press) was a 2010 Callum MacDonald Memorial Award finalist. His sequel chapbook The Basic Algebra of Buttering Bread will be available in September from Windfall Books. Based in Cambodia for the last ten months he has been script-writing for a forthcoming motion-picture and attempting to learn Khmer.

No.58, Slorkram (Siem Reap)

This stilted house (of heavy heart) speaks
out in castigation of the card-counting
swindlers gambling by the river.

Ferny feet hide secrets buried deep
in the soil, down beneath the timber,
where, all earthy, only spiders stray.

Together we watch the sky like television
screens: lapis days turn back to black
booted nights but we natter on,

letting colours creep and silence settle
behind the shadows of shrubs –
think milk mixing into tea. Tonight

the ether’s eyeballing us, winds gallop
from tufts to yarns, settle in yawns –
a telltale sign to shamble off to bed.

‘Remember Michael’ (with a voice
brass as bells) ‘inside all bones are white
and souls are soft as ripened Mango’.

‘Of course. I won’t forget it.
And tomorrow can we talk about
the Big City who lost his feathered hat?’

Introducing the June 2010 Readers – 5. Jon Stone

Jon Stone was born in Derby and now lives in Whitechapel. He is co-creator of hand-built lit journal Fuselit and Sidekick Books, a new publisher of themed anthologies. He was highly commended in the National Poetry Competition 2009 and his debut pamphlet, Scarecrows, was released by Happenstance earlier this year. Luke Kennard describes it thus: “Angry, beautiful poems which access parts of your mind you didn’t know you had … It’s hard to capture the sense of joy I get from reading this collection.” Jon maintains the site

‘No one knows the things you keep from me’

Not the doctor. Not the best friend. Not Jean Grey.
Not the addled priest who I’ve been watching pray

for any decent, half-revealing anecdote,
my blade against the pitched tent of his hairless throat.

Not your parents, not when they were – well, alive,
even with my torturer on overdrive.

Not the nine enchantresses of Avalon.
Not the paid informant, nor the other one,

nor the one I haven’t paid, the volunteer
whose motives are well known, yet on the whole unclear.

Not the archivist who makes a log of us.
Not the greatest of your six biographers.

Not the man who, combing stalls at Comic-Con,
finds a copy of the Necronomicon.

Not the dying signalman who stammers
deep into my ear. Not Nostradamus.

Not Cassandra, suddenly mischievous
and all the court reduced to true believers

and then the world, as if lined up, shot through.
Not the beardy old guy and not you.

– previously published in Under The Radar.

Introducing the June 2010 Readers – 4. Marion McCready

Marion McCready was born in Stornoway and brought up in Dunoon, Argyll where she lives with her husband, three-year-old son and eight-month-old daughter. Marion studied Politics, Classics and Philosophy at Glasgow University and has been published in a variety of journals including The Glasgow Herald, Edinburgh Review, Horizon Review and The Red Wheelbarrow. Calder Wood Press will be publishing a pamphlet of her poems in 2011.

Who Am I?

I was born of the river,
a quine of the shore.
Under a sunless sky
I wear seaweed in my hair.
I have sunk giants.
I have a body of stone.
I close my eyes and hear
the small round o
of a mouth, whistling.
The owner passes me by
like the many mothers
who come to me in dreams
like the carrion crows
that kaar at my feet.
The grey seals howl by night
on my thigh.
I am a rocky shoal,
a dangerous reef of drying rocks.
I am The Gantocks.

(first published in Poetry Scotland)