A poetic composite of snapshot episodes exploring my discovery of and harsh entry into another side of life. As this piece, written in West Scottish dialect explains, I was an innocent and naive child encountering a depressingly dreary existence only a short bus ride away from the massive lawns, swimming pools and towering castles of my pre-teen years. Although I had made earlier less successful attempts, I wrote this after reading Alison Dermott and Hugh McDiarmid and other poets who often write in this vernacular speech pattern style. I do hope it rings true.
Ah kin onli be Scoatish when ahm naw there.
Ah wuz born in Ingeland
so they toald me
aw the time.
But ah’d never bin there.
Ah moved tay Jurminy when ah wuz wee
and hud a nanny there
who tawt me tay say ya fer yes
an ma parents sed aye.
Ah hud tay get aw these jabs tay go tay Amerika,
an so ah thawt
mebbe it wuz in a jungle.
An when ah got there
ev’rybudy asked me whit haggis wuz like,
an did we come o’er on the bridj,
an ah didnae no whit a haggis wuz
an there wuznae a bridj.
Anyway, ah wuz aboot eleven uhr twelve, ah think,
An ah wuz back in Scoatland an it wuz in the Awtum
cuz it wuz gettin dark urly
much erlier than ah’d ever rememburd,
cuz ahd bin growin up oot in the States
whur the awtum drifted intay twylite,
naw lived in it aw the year roon,
an ah wuz ridin this bus
fay wan part ay Grenuck intay the toon sentuhr,
an ah mustuhv got on the rang bus,
cuz ah ended up goin the lang way roon,
up thru the Stroahn an aw awfy places like that,
whit always lookt aw dark.
Noo here ah wuz, a wee’un fay Amerika (whur ah hud a red bike, an only e’er took a bus when goin tay skool-a big yella wan-ye musta seen thum on the telly), aw frekels
an shag harecut,
denim jaykit on like a wee hardman …
ecology sine sewed on wan shulder an a pease patch on the uther ..
(mah furst gang fite, wuzne like in the komix or oan the telly or nuthin at aw:
ah’d asked whit time the qwahry boys wuhr comin up the hill and whit the battle plans wuhr,
an this uther fella that mah cuzin had her eye on, toald me,
“jist pick up a hawf brick an throw it doon at thim.”
Ah wuz awfy disappointed as ye kin imajin) …
An ah wuz thinking aboot it,
wi this bus lumberin
its way up n doon
these rubbish tips
whit lookt like roads
carved thru thum
an aroon these grey shells
whit lookt like
bombed oot warehooses,
but whur coonsil flats
whit hid peepel livin in thum.
An thay aw hud dark closes
that seemed tay swally ye if ye went intae thum.
It lookt like wurld war too wuz still goin oan
but nayb’dy hud toald these peepel it wiznae.
An auld wuhmen sat oan durty steps
smokin fags rolt up fay dowts,
uther wuhmen wuz hangin oot clays
jist below chimneys wut wur spewin oot soot.
And thur wuz wee’uns runnin aboot
wi nay clays on
oot in the street,
an thur hare wuz aw stickin oot like it wiznae e’er washt,
an mucky wee faces wi big sad eyes
wuz lookin up at me
sittin oan tap o’ the bus.
An Italyun ice van came up fay doon the burn
ontay the street as it wuz
playin this happy wee tinkly sound
Way whit wuz suppoz tay be like muzik
tay make ye wantay buy an ice lolly,
but really jist made me wantay be sumwhere else.
Ah wuznae shur if ah shuld greet,
as mah eyes whur aw wellin up wi salty tastin tears
but ah didnae no who tay cry fer
just then the conductress came up and sed,
“nay worries son, Ah kin see your house fay here”
an ah thawt, “och well, its naw so bad, ah’ll be hame soon.”
Then ah realized, ah didnae hae a hame,
just a place tay live.
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