Ceud Mìle Fàilte – To My Part Of Our World

I think I’m really clever

so coordinated

when I can remove

the remnants

of today’s make-up

with my right hand while

unhooking earrings with my left

after having

stacked

crockery and cutlery

in preparation

for twenty

having cleaned for the days

I didn’t

while working

teaching

clearing

sorting

finishing

one job

before embarking

on the next

 

I think I’m so organised

after

shopping

with my list

for food

drink

accroutements

the je ne sais quoi

of visitors

 

I think I’m on the ball

 

I’m not

 

I’m not on anything

but the same wheel

that we’re all on

you know the one

when we impress ourselves with our

own abilities to cope

under pressure

to be

to do

to act

to keep on

keeping on

 

I think I’m doing so well

and I am

 

I definitely am

 

I know this

by comparison

to when I’m not

and, oh, there have been times

when ‘not’ has been

the ‘it’

 

but now

right now

I’m doing well

as well as anyone can do

with

still

so much to do

 

I think I’m so clever

removing

with my right hand

today’s make-up

while

at the same time

my, oh, my!

such dexterity

disentangling dangling earrings from lobes

time-saving

knowing I have organised

am organised

will be

the hostess with the

enough

more than enough

to make them welcome

and

next week

I’ll abseil

and kayak

just for fun

 

these are the

holiday-days

the manage-and-do

and fill-the-days

with what is not the

everyday-do-days

these are the good

but also

busy days

 

as all days

 

I think I’m so clever

so coordinated

so resourceful

that I can do all this

and be

sane

 

while monitoring

watching

still

always

what is going on

in the realm of those

whose lives

coordinate

and manage

a different agenda

where

welcome

hospitality

ceud mìle fàilte

are not the operative words

I know

I’m doing well

and the earrings and makeup removed

two-handed

in a satisfied acknowledgement

of

the fridge

and dishes

ready

speak my truth

 

I’m clever

in some ways

in more ways

like so many

the everyday ways

we do

we are

the embrace

that love

to welcome

life

and loving

 

how clever

and resourceful

and full of life

are we

in spite of all

 

slainte

friends

 

these are the days

of life

living

and being

the welcome

to our part of the world

Remember, To Carry The Flame

We marched for you back then

You don’t remember

Crusaders for a kingdom

How we strived

Destitute, determined

Carried with us

Hope, appeal, intention

To survive

 

We stood for you back then

You don’t remember

Faced down the tanks

Deployed in George’s Square

Heard the Riot Act

Dismissed, resisted

Gathered for a living

Far more fair

 

We starved for you back then

You don’t remember

Force-fed prison time

For worthy aims

All but now forgotten

As the years pass

No recollections

Still done in your names

 

We died for you back then

You don’t remember

Someone from your family

Now deceased

Their legacy, the freedoms

Fought and died for

Bequeathed to you

So future would know peace

 

We lived for you back then

You don’t remember

Parents of a past

Lost in years’ layers

Gone, their cause forgotten

Present children

Remember now

And ask if you still care

 

We worked for you back then

You don’t remember

Unborn you were

But we had you in sight

Fighting for the future

Of all children

And conditions we could live by

Workers’ rights

 

We fought for you those years

You don’t remember

Distance lends enchantment

Or dismay

Forgotten, now, we are

We were foot soldiers

Who thought that we had

Surely won the day

 

We fought for you back then

You don’t remember

Battled for a birthright

Better ways

Took a stand

We fought for bread and butter

For a piece of

All created

By our hands

 

We fought for you back then

You don’t remember

In daily labour

Justice all we sought

Manned the streets, the trenches 

Raised our voices

We fought for you back then

As parents ought

 

We fought for you back then

You don’t remember

Torches dropped

As mem’ries fade away

Hopes were high among us

Generations

Would benefit in living

Brighter days

 

We fought for you back then

You must remember

Gains we made

Eroding by the week

Fight for us

As once we fought your corner

Supporting those

Who work for what you seek

 

We fought for you back then

Oh, please remember

The battle scars we wore

To pave the way

Conditions that we railed against

Remember

Vote anyone

But not for Maggie‘s May

Buddha Knows Best

20160529_181913

waiting for first coat to dry

pegging out clothes on the line

ivory tint in ponytailed hair

clotted cream scones tasting fine

 

pen and a coffee at hand

doodling flowers in the sun

soda and lime and ink on a page

ecstatic that summer has come

 

music chosen by kids

buddha sat under tree

lotused repose in semi-closed eyes

replete and contented like me

 

windows of soul opened wide

faint breeze to filter on through

leaves of green gratitude canopies all

wishing the same for all you

Not Nearly Ready

you’re ready

I’m not ready

and I don’t know

when or if I’ll ever be

the seconds

they are racing

I can’t stop them

and they’re squeezing

all the lifeblood

out of me

you’re ready

and you’re willing

I’m not either

but the time

keeps ticking on

till I can’t see

ready, steady

please don’t go

just stay here

while I practise

letting go

to set you free

You’re Younger Yet

you’re younger yet and life holds full its promise

and I would not deny you all its claims

nor ever harness hopes or all that they hold

nor ever seek to squash the fire that calls your name

 

and I would not withhold from you each wishbone

that comes your way, upon which you may dream

nor burden you with harsher truths that years taught

I’d never blot the landscape of young life or all it seems

 

I have no aspirations to encumber the joy you know

for I, too, once believed the dreams you cherish and you hold

I once believed that all I sought was there for ripest taking

if I were, like you, courageous and so bold

 

I’d never take away your youth nor hope diminish 

by word or deed, the dreams we share, though altered, still unchanged

I cannot be the one who says the no to

life’s expansion, growth, by any name

 

life takes on a new form and I’d never challenge spirit

younger years, exuberance that dares

I’d only caution prudence, observation

as you climb the unknown, always have a care

 

as you go along the ridges, meet the strangers

hold within some doubt, please think of this

that somewhere, on the dark of all horizons

is the love that once betrayed with tender kiss

 

you’re younger yet and, out there, there are traitors

beware but still believe that life is fine

I’m older, always here if you’re discouraged

one flight away, one thought to keep in mind

Big Phil – For All Seasons

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(source)

He wore a fedora, lined satin and labelled inside,

Ribbed ribbon round it, doffed to all women outside.

He wore a crombie, woollen and heavy, so warm,

Mints in deep pockets, shared, with small hands, in their turn.

He wore his brogues well, polished and spat to high shine,

Lasted new soles on, tingles all tapped in, his signs

That values were priceless and what you had you protect,

Laboured and worked for, the type of man to respect.

He wore a bunnet, on days of the week, for the graft,

Workboots and parka, donkey-jacket, all part of his craft.

He wore his years right, he wore them till fifty and eight,

He wore a coffin, early death a part of his fate.

He wore the long walks, the countryside, he wore the earth,

He wore his heart out fending for, feeding those birthed.

He wore trade unions, he wore them and stewarded cause,

He wore Keir Hardy and wore them for life, all because

He wore for workers, he wore the rights that we hold,

He wore no-nonsense, he loved, we did as were told.

He wore his laughter, deep in his chest, where it grew

Rumbled and burst forth, head thrown back, and we knew

He wore his heart done, giving his all wore him out,

He wore a family that appreciate better his type.

A man for all seasons, he wore them and wore them with pride,

Big Phil was the daddy, a working gent till he died.

He wore a gravestone, it wears the dates of life here,

I wear his hats now, his legacy, wear with no fear.

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(source)

Sooking Silence

sweet_shop_shelf1_500

(source)

quarter worth of drops

tuppence hal’penny worth of treat

small denominations

for weighted-measure worth of sweets

lemon sherberts, strawberries,

liquorice in strings

butter dainties, caramels

a paper poke of things

tempting to the tastebuds

lips purse, tongues salivate

little lads and lassies

in the corner shop all wait

taking turns to order

eyes purchase every kind

going over flavours

in the testrooms of their mind

counting out the coppers

with due care, not one to spare

fair exchange and movies

sooking silence in armchair

contentment on a Saturday

sherbert moments, MB bars

rainy days of chewing gum

watching old film stars

stocking soles and cushions

hammer horror, if allowed

choking on gobstoppers

while Fred swings Ginger round

penny trays and hal’penny trays

sugared bits of bliss

candy-coated treasury

whose sticky lips I sometimes kiss

Mick McManus, wrestling

dad and smoking pipe

everybody sucking

afternoons of sheer delight

bottled up for keeping

labelled so not lost

treasured, measured memories

all poured at human cost

Smile!…..Oh, Va Te Faire Enculer!

I have taken some slagging this weekend. I think I might have brought much of it on myself, right enough.

Apparently, referring to David Bowie as an artiste is deemed incredibly pretentious and results in, Ooh, la, la’s and Lah de dah’s from my jokers here. Having a Glaswegian accent does not allow you to insert French, or any other language, into general conversation. I don’t care what they say. I know they all think he definitely had a certain je ne sais quoi.

Bastards.

The main piece of slagging actually started on Thursday and continued right through until yesterday. My own fault, as I said.

Hubs and I had to get passport photos taken (our old ones are so out of date, they’re relics). But hubs has been growing a beard. Yeah. No problem with that. His face. He can do what he likes with it. Up to a point. What he can’t do is put it near me. It started off jaggy and then just got tickly. I can’t abide being tickled. Anywhere. By anything. Hate it. I panic and scream. Even been known to cry. So no one tickles me. Under threat of death.

So, the beard. Tickling wasn’t the only problem. The beard is, was, oh, sod it, here’s what it was. https://scottishmomus.wordpress.com/2016/01/17/hair-today-gone-on-a-promise/ (And feckin’ WordPress won’t let me link normally! What is it with this place and changes?!)

Now, the beard came off. I was pleased. He should’ve been pleased too. Took fifteen years off him. We went to the photo booth in the local supermarket. Not before I’d put a fresh face on though. Wanted to look my best, didn’t I?

Why do things never quite turn out according to plan? Or be as straightforward as they should?

The instructions on the machine were quite complex.

Choose the right set of photos. Sorted.

Put money in. Done.

Check seat height. Swivel, swivel, swivel back again.

Align eyes with the magic line. Swivel some more.

Uncover your head. I don’t do hats.

Show your ears (!). I don’t know either. I thought maybe they wanted to be able to check for the presence or absence of ear lobes as a genetic identifying trait. Tucked my hair behind my ears.

No hair on the face. I’d already shaved. Kidding! Sweep hair away from forehead and tuck it in along with the side bits. Looking a bit like Hitler at his point. So tempted to do the finger moustache. Lot of face on display now.

Do not smile. No problem, this isn’t funny. ‘cept for the thought of what the  passport office would say if I sent in my Hitler impersonation.

Do not make any facial expression. Fuck! I can’t do that. When I see the corpse in front of me I know why now. You need expression on your face to look alive.

Keep your eyebrows down. Double fuck! One of mine has a life of its own.

Ready? Steady…..

…don’t smile, don’t smile, do not smile, keep your eyebrows down, look straight ahead, do not think about Hitler’s ‘tache, keep your eyes aligned, don’t look away, Do Not Smile…

…and Snap!

One very ugly, traumatised pic.

It was lucky I had my fourteen-year-old daughter with me to talk me through the process. She kept popping her head through the curtain to keep me right. You’d think she’d have been a bit more on the ball with the results, mark you. Louise takes the best selfies of all my crew. Their words. We both rejected the first one but thought the second would do. It looked okay in the reflection.

How fucking wrong we were!

I kid you not, it was the ugliest photo I’ve ever had taken. Really minging.

And I should know. I’ve had some belters.

I even kept a collection of stoaters so that I could show my kids, should I have any, for when their teenage insecurities would inevitably arise. My sister would just rip hers up. Pot ugly, rip, rip, bin. And this was in the days before we had mobile phones, so every photo in the bin was like throwing away money. Holiday batches would come back from being developed and she would rifle through them, dismissing one after and another and shredding them. Even if you were in it. And looked okay!

I must have had a premonition, way back then, that I’d be surrounded with weans. I actually recollect thinking, ‘I’ll keep this (hidden) then surprise my kids with it when they feel an ugly day is upon them. I’ll whip it out and say, ‘Look. Even your gorgeous mother had off days. I never looked like that. It’s the camera. It lies.’

I’ve never had to whip any of them out and reassure them. They’re the selfie generation. All pouts and confident smiles. And if it doesn’t turn out well? Delete.  Just like that. How was I to know, all those years ago, that mobile phones would be a thing? And that selfie would even be a word. I could have saved myself the bother. They’ve found some of my stash in the past too and just ripped the shit out of me.

Hubs got in, daughter talked him through it. First time, fine. The bastard looks younger than me. And he’s fucking eight years older. Eight and a bit. Sometimes nine.

I thought, stuff it, I don’t care.

But I did. I do. I even got slagged for being vain! Like they wouldn’t have minded? Aye, right! You look in the mirror and you think you look one way. Then you see a photo and your illusions are destroyed.

According to second daughter, there’s a pile of psycho-babble about the mirror/camera/self-perception. I understood it at the time. Just can’t remember what it was. Something about she sees a nine in the mirror but she might only be a seven. The mirror contributes value added tax via personality. The camera is a bitch. Something like that.

Anyway, I had to take both photos and forms into work to get them countersigned by one of my colleagues I’ve known for about ten years.

She actually asked me if I wanted her to certify that it looked like me. And I was consoled that at least she didn’t think it did. She kept glancing at it then at me. I’m easily appeased.

I then passed it round the staffroom so’s they could all get a good laugh. They did. Some said theirs were bad too. But I know they weren’t as Quasimodo’d as mine. I could tell by the look on their faces, as they tried to compose them into some sort of expression that didn’t say, ‘For fuck sake! What happened to you?’

My eldest son wasn’t that kind. He’s a bastard though. He said, ‘You look as if you’ve been seriously assaulted and found in a hedge at the scene of the crime.’ He is a bastard, isn’t he? Even although I had to agree with him. I looked traumatised. Like Hitler must have after, you know.

On Friday, they all gathered, for a soiree. (oops) Not just to look at my photo, obviously. But I just had to show them. I mean, I just had to.

I kept saying, ‘Sure that doesn’t look like me? Please tell me that doesn’t look like me? Am I walking about looking like that and I don’t even know? For fuck sake! I’m fucking ugly!’

By now, hubs was pishing himself laughing. So were the kids. And my daughter’s fiance. He didn’t say anything though. He’s obviously much nicer than my own kids. I think he might be scared of me too. No fucking wonder! I was terrified when I saw me in that photo.

My eighteen-year-old said it did look like me but maybe in about ten or fifteen years from now. She’s a bitch. Hubs said that was good, though, because then I wouldn’t have to get a new photo when I next go to renew my passport in ten years. He’s a, he’s a, he’s sleeping on the couch!

The applications haven’t gone yet. I’m so tempted to go back to the booth and have another one taken. Or kick the shit out of it. But I’m scared I’ll get another just the same. Or even fuckin’ worse! Then I can’t even say it was an aberration. I can’t risk that. I’d never be able to look at myself in the mirror again. I’d just keep saying to myself, ‘Do ye think ye’re lookin’ good, hen? Aye, well remember what thought done. Shat the bed and blamed it oan the blankets.’

I’ve always known I wasn’t photogenic. Now, I’ll have the evidence for the next ten years. And that bastard of a son of mine said that the DVLA could access my passport photo when I come to renew my driving licence. Did you know that it’s become obligatory to have photo ID on your driver’s licence? So, I’m not only running about illegally (sh!) but I’m doing it with a coupon that looks mangled. And he wants me to let them put the same one on my licence!

It’s snowing here. If it clears up I might nip down with my illegal licence and talk nicely to the photo booth.

Then take it back into school on Monday for another signing. Maybe another slagging. But I’m a hacket-faced bint so I can cope with that.

My only consolation (I always look for the bright side) is that three of my daughters are nice kids. My youngest said I always look beautiful. (shit, I wonder if she’s a bit slow) and my twenty-two year old produced her passport to show me that she looked, in her words, ‘like a junkie’. And she did! I felt so much better. My eldest said I shouldn’t mind because, if it were her, she’d rather the geezers at passport control were shocked the right way. She’s maybe my favourite now. For a wee while.

And, if you think there’s a hope in hell that you’re getting to see it, you’re wrong. Very fuckin’ wrong. Jist so’s ye know. I’ll unfollow ye if ye ask. I feckin’ will!

Off to practise taking selfies. Wonder how the filters work. Je ne sais pas.