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A Dressing Down

Looking back, secondary school rules on dress were fairly relaxed when I started there in 1989. Ties, although encouraged, were an endangered species, and dark-blue blazers reached extinction some time during my second year.  Trainers and “T-shirts with slogans” were severely frowned upon; jeans banned outright.

“You’ve got the biggest bit.”  My brother Andrew measured the chocolate Swiss roll with his eyes. “Put some back.”

I stacked the three sections on top of each other. “We’ve all got exactly the same size.  Stop whining.”

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A Goat Named Miro

It was Liz's idea. I mean I was content in returning Miro to the Hagerstons, but Liz insisted this was a battle we needed to fight. When she gave her impassioned speech all I could think about was "will this cut into my Mario Brothers playing time?" I knew it would, I knew it would cut into catching salamanders and toads down at the bog that borders our subdivison. I knew it would cut into a lot of things that I prefered to do instead of civic activism regarding a pet goat. I was counting on the folks to step in and curb Liz's ridiculous idea. But they gently encouraged her.

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A Juvenile Success

The dictatorial, purple-faced, square-shaped department head ae Religious Education, Mr Blank, had been summoned. Five ae us were in trouble. Three were good boys led astray and oot ae their element. Me? Ah had experience and wis a little scared, but better prepared fir the disproportionate onslaught. The final guy, a misbehaving maestro and ma mate, Richie, wis a living, breathing nutter, who would crack jokes in a foxhole. He couldnae care less if you paid him in PlayStation games and sanctioned days aff school.  

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A Real High School Rebel

When I was younger and still at high school,
I had an edgy t-shirt I thought made me look cool.
It had in bold black text “Lethal Death! USA”!
I made a point to try and wear it every day.

If I remember right the t-shirt was white,
A comfy fit that felt just right.
It used the colours red, white and blue,
And featured cool looking skulls and flames, too.

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Accidental Rebel

Mrs. Green gives me that smile, except it isn’t really a smile. The corners of her mouth turn upwards but the rest of her face keeps a steely expression. No, this definitely isn’t a smile. This is a message, a message that says ‘I’m watching you’. 

For the last five minutes I’ve shared a desk with Mrs. Green, the Home Economics teacher. I’m told this is for bad behaviour, or so she says – I know she’s wrong. We share a desk out of boredom, my boredom. 

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Ahm no a rebel

I grew up in Coatbridge. For those who’re unaware it’s a fairly large town on the outskirts of Glasgow.

It’s commonly termed as “Little Ireland”, this is due to the very large influx of immigrants from Ireland during the 19th century who settled in the town for work in the iron and mining industries.

Jumping to the present day, the heritage has continued and Coatbridge still has a very large percentage of its population with Irish ancestry.

This is my story:

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community, solidarity

Am Brùnaidh/The Brownie

Am Brùnaidh

Dè an aois a bhithinn –
               seachd, no ochd bliadhna dh’aois?
A’ seasamh dìreach
nam fhroca dhonn
               le crios ùr leathar mum mheadhan
               agus taidh bhuidhe mum amhaich
                               a’ feitheamh ri bràiste.

Cha robh agam ach ri na bòidean a ghabhail
gus an t-seamrag airgid a chosnadh.

A’ togail mo làimhe deise.
Òrdag agus lùdag paisgte nam bhois
na trì meòir eile air an cumail suas
agus mi a’ tòiseachadh…

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An t-iasg nach b’ urrainn snàmh/The fish that never swam

An t-iasg nach b’ urrainn snàmh
le Daibhidh Eyre

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When ah mind back tae last centuree, no jist tae when a wis wee,
But neither yit had ah got a degree.
Apart-heid wis oan the news, thon kin o stuff, nae excuse.
We wur jist young, students no richt shair o wha we wur or gaun where.
But auld enuch tae stert tae spier: black n white, hoo cum this fear?

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apartheid, defiance


Warning: This piece contains strong language  

It’s hard not to pontificate,
While trying to articulate
The burning black despair,
That life just isn’t fair.

Is this what’s known as fate?
To feel this deep a hate,
For something someone else controls.
Alas, rejoice! There’s avocado rolls.

Days spent furiously dreaming,
Of a wallet fat and gleaming.
Trapped into what we’re worth,
By the simple act of birth;
Inside my mind is screaming.

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defiance, individuality