California street


2016-02-05 11.42.21

Sitting in the car working out my route on the map. The sky is a damp sheet of grey, darker toward the west. Walk.

I chat to Flo in the public loos about her work. She plays country and western music, the speakers piping it into the ladies and gents. The flower arrangements are beautiful, and she tells me I should see the place at Christmas. Flo has just been awarded toilet attendent of the year 2016. We smile.

Finding my way down Orange Lane I come across an Oxfam shop and spy some Midwinter 1960’s crockery in the window in a very lovely blue. I go in and ask Doris what is the best thing about Montrose and a customer yells ‘ The road oot a’ here’. Everyone laughs. I buy my found treasure, promising to come back and buy the sauce boat . Hmm….

Walk, rain, library. I watch a man on the microfiche machine scrolling through the pages of the Montrose Review. He has done this before. He looks efficient and seems to know what he is looking for. Unlike me. But then, what I find, is it. Walking a line means I have to face everything with the same curiosity. This is the interest, and the challenge of the imposed parameter.







Hands 1

From a series of photographs for Dighty poetry group taken yesterday. A big thankyou for everyone’s patience. An anthology of the poets work will be published shortly. Here is my contribution which came about from a particular walk a winter morning last year, when I came across an airman’s type jacket frozen to a wire fence, and a torn up Christmas card which read ‘To Lisa and the wee man’. I had been reading about a German airman who had been captured and paraded through the town. He was apparently exceedingly tall. A friends Aunty told me that during the war her Dad had buried an old bread van in the garden as an air raid shelter for the family complete with bunkbeds. I was also investigating the circuses and travelling shows that would come to Dundee. This piece came from those beginnings.




On the edge of town

a bone black fineness of winter air

licks the salty rime at the lip of last tide.

Bridge pilings punctuate the slaked slip clay

sooking the river toward the sea.

The small terrace of brick houses,

backing up the hill,

tell stories to

soft morning rolls of babies, tucked up in the grocers van.

Wash day legs give up to floral loose covers,

peonies and roses.




Beyond stiffened boiler suits forgotten on the line,

the tackety boot lane opens out onto waste ground,

common grounds for

stories and secrets, promises and plans.







With quickening pinched toes, blue knees,

rattly grin,

that two day old bruise, deepening, darkening, at once,


bring him,




birling, swirling, starry lights,

diesel, fried onions, burnt sugar.


All seven feet tall in his showmans breeks,

yelling scream if you wanna go



from here.

Head thrown back, blinking the colours away.


All seven feet tall with his brylcreemed hair.

Lamp black,

lunar black,

crow black.

The token he gave only good for a ride,

sorry ma wee lass.




The gennies tut as they quietly cool,

bulbs dim.

The uncoupling of parts.


Early morning sees a nippit wind,

funnels the soor smell of your breath.

A whale back sky brings word from the north,

whips the clay slaked water as it heaves upstream,

on its way,


passing through.