The small car was a Fiat or maybe a SMART car. It lingered as if going backwards. The mass of cars this late teatime surged past it. I was in the third car to make a dash for the freedom of open space in this rat run home when I saw the jumble of pink, purples, brown hair and assorted limbs. There was a high row of lifeless but moving toys in the back of the small car. They made a small Roman amphitheatre of nylon and furry animals. Appearing on the driver’s side a large mop of curly dark hair could be seen.

Now the large call centre round about was coming up and the opening to the artificial football pitches was leaking cars into our way. I was connected by that glacial slow umbilical cord which connects cars in the seated semi-coma of traffic jams.
We both had to let some cars in from the parents taking kids back from the clubs at the football pitches. Blonde haired women in miserable face masks in demon eyed four by fours forced a way in. While the male counterpart sped into the line of metal like dye working itself into an intravenous drip.

Relief. A short line of one bus, one Volvo and a personalised number plated Audio.

The roundabout was about to free. I, waited with the clutch up and saw the giraffe and whales near the other side.
The alloy wheel like a chunk star was what I caught. The rest of the sporty Vauxhall Corsa smashed into the zoo.

And time slowed as the dumpy capsule rolled smashing and laying fragments all around the road till it finished roof down half on and off the roundabout. He had stopped dead-losing only the front left headlight. His adapted seat had him lower down like a ship on the horizon.

Turning left and getting right onto the wide grass verge I stuck the hazards on. The bus driver had ran back from the stop leaving passengers on and off the bus. I ran past some drivers angry they had been stopped from inching home.
There was only a hairline cut on the lady’s scalp. She spoke as she lay hanging.
‘Hold her head, son.’ The bus driver said.
‘Your hands son.’ She said.
The toys were everywhere as the sirens’ sound came from the town centre’s direction.

Halftime on an In-Service Day


Memory feeds on the best and worst

Thankfully the acres of planning minutiae

From teaching do pass into Hadean come glacial

Slivers of *toom space-

On this day in Malawi I mind my African colleague

Asking ‘Why be afraid of rats in the roof?’

They *bide in *mony of their thatched roofs

Being a *feartie was easier to explain

than Assessment is fer Learning

Its ins and oots

‘No reason I suppose.’

I said putting my mind firmly with the red earth there

Not the sandstone or flint mix of the beach at Kirkcaldy.

For ST.

*Toom=empty, bide=stay, mony=many, feartie=easily frightened,



Near as full as a human torso

This buzzard grips Fife in talons

So tightly on the rotten wood post

This metal box of a car is weak

Nonchalantly in preconscious mode

The marsh before him has gossamer

Spun and fairy wrought mist above it

There will be carrion to hunt later

On the edges of their roads and being

Yet in this time in

The constant wind and rain even

A favourite tree makes no recompense.

Not in the Losers Cloakroom


My English soccer team I support

is not at home

In the ‘Losers’ Changing Room’

We are on the Chelsea Stadium tour

And the Russian oligarch owner isn’t at home

It reflects a global world, ages since workers

Kicked round a leather ball in pre-Kaiser days

I wonder what else can be bought, can all

Be bought, all be given a value then spent.


*Picture of the Chelsea dugout in London; it was an excellent tour!

Deid Turning


Tolpuddle Martyrs

Dead Turning for David Cameron*
*Speech by David Cameron re: wanting Scotland to stay in the Union.

So the Prime Minister of Greater England
Bemoans the loss of his Scottish clan
As the clan dead lie upricht in their graves and armchairs
No reporter down in a water-soaked land
Will ask him
‘What are the languages of Scotland?’
‘Name some of the poems for the 25th of January-Burns’ Day?’
Nor will ane or one tell of a visit
Sunshine skinkling on a beautiful English river
Next to where the Magna Carta was signed
Or the admiration for Shakespeare or the Tolpuddle martyrs
Will a reporter ask of his College Club where members burn £50 notes
in front of the poor or hapless?

He is no devil
Shake his haun or hand either would do
And I’d say we are on one island
The poverty, lack of education or business
Is not good enough it is shaming
No matter how many sit and enrich themselves-
Look out my place of work
See it there, the north of England, parts of London tae
So a vote
For Independence
Nae separation
And Again.



Sometimes she knows she is angry shouting at the twilight shift workers on the freezers or restocking the tinned goods aisles. The American experience hadn’t been good.  This was after two years back in the windy city. Not Chicago but Edinburgh.

This night getting ready to don a freezers jacket she was angry. Again. The American Dream is just that a vision designed to fill and occupy hearts and land. Who would get there and get the dream would be the Chosen like her grocery manager promoted above her in Texas. They had been there five years and her husband had lost his job at a motorhome manufacturing plant. She had just been about to try for that promotion with the chance to move to Oregon. Now they were back here. Her husband had lost his mum and they had stayed in the small house. The need to go back and gone and gone when the house went to them and the small savings she had also went to them and not her sister-in-law.

And mum was ill with motor neurone disease.

The long night shift was hellish in January. They always lost workers who did the night shifts and she would put on the freezer jacket.

Loading up a trolley full of burgers, steaks and ready meals she picked up some gloves from the warehouse office and headed on to the supermarket floor.

The sight of her blonde hair and small figure meant misery for her twilight pickers who shimmied and knelt down in their light blue nylon uniform. She had control of the Grocery aisles most week days. The total lack of interest in them and their lives meant she was disliked and hated by whatever target she would pester that week or month.

‘You’ve got to clean and check the freezer before restocking. And don’t be bringing stock into room temperature too soon.’ She said to Kerry this month’s victim.

Her workers got finished their stocking the quickest of all the Twilight managers. It meant the complaints and subsequent punishment by her (although it had been dealt with confidentially) was usually ignored by the Senior Manager. Mostly a person who complained would leave. If they were to stay and then be off at any point she would phone a few times with a message that had nothing obviously malicious in it. That would come face to face when no one would be in her earshot. Just two people in a deserted aisle with windows that were blackened eyes beyond the strip lights glare of the shopper free supermarket.

Her venom was also reserved for students who were sometimes clueless and unused to anything resembling hard work. They were game but she would usually see them off. Her one year at university had been spoiled by a relationship and the rumour was a failed pregnancy too.



It was two am. The re-styling and arrangement of several aisle ends was behind. It was seasonal promotions and they had to be laid out and finished well for the morning opening.

Derek who was about sixty avoided her anger and bullying. Twenty years as an army squaddie in Germany and more as a truck driver meant he did his job quietly but thoroughly. He would take control of the warehouse picks and would, carefully, shield those he thought about to go under or collapse in tears from her words.

He was in the warehouse getting boxes of French mustard from Level Four. The ladder he was on slipped and as he fell he used the better arm he had to grab out. The right hand got the steel edge of the shelf but it slipped and as his hand left the edge of the shelf he managed to get back on the ladder which only his left foot had been on. But then both feet went as the wobble in the ladder continued. Slipping down his left hand was the only one to just about to get a grip. The weaker one due to the accident that had finished his HGV driving it slipped and the wedding ring that he wore caught on a rivet. The small rip he felt and the scoop and tearing pulse of pain made him shout. He fell hitting his back on the side support of the shelving unit.

Blood was streaming down his hand on to his trouser and the sandy coloured concrete floor. The scream of her worker who had gone in with a trolley for the boxes of mustard brought her and the shift in.

Derek was the First Aider and he was semi-conscious. She froze. The sickness and vomiting she would feel or bring up since her miscarriage when she loved a man that didn’t want her was there. Years of it when she or her husband would be sick.

Bending over and looking at Derek writhe in pain with a bloodied stump of a finger she struggled. The angry and familiar black bile she could felt like warmth and lay on others was gone. A small figure with red hair came under her left arm that had been stuck to her side. Kerry.


The security guard came and began wrapping the finger while putting Derek into a recovery position. Well, enough to swear he asked after her as the one weakness she could not hide behind her won door eased off.

‘You cannae stand the sight of it, then?’ Kerry asked.

The moment and tightness in her stomach went with the silence. She could say nothing back to her. Taking her arm off Kerry’s shoulder she looked up at the full crew of twelve from her shift.

‘Is the ambulance going to take long?’ she said.

The small amount of liquid from her was just away from the plastic entrails: the curtain flaps that marked the entry from the warehouse. It was round the corner from Derek’s black boots.

‘It’s something I’ve always had happen. Sometimes I can help it.’ She said.


The small explosion of activity and the bright jackets of the paramedics meant the shift finished late and by 6am everyone was tired. The hour she spent on her own in the café next to the vending machines was a long one. Kerry’s tears from before the accident had come back to her. The smell of her light perfume and the conditioner in her hair.

It reminded her. Brought to the front that her love for that man had not left her but she didn’t know where the never being able to have a child began from that hurt.

They all noticed the silence when she returned. A few shrugged and nodded heads-perhaps their faces smiled but most might not have been sure as they left the floor. She was speaking to the security guard who was a bit of an idiot but didn’t enforce all the petty rules. They passed her as they clocked out.