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Calypso Punch

All through the long months of summer, the air would smell of sickly sweet-sour mangoes, as mango trees from every house’s backyard came into full bloom. And in the distance, you could see coconut trees sway gently, their fringed leaves fanning the hot summer breeze. All activity would quieten over the afternoon, very much like a siesta-stop. All the street dogs would rest in the shade, and not even a bird would stir. It was too hot for anything else, other than the Hiptage flowers, which would grow and cover every wall and fence with its gorgeous blooms.

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Challenging Authority

I have Miss Muir, my primary teacher, to thank for the person I am today.

We lived in a small village where everyone knew one another. I had a wonderful childhood growing up with two loving parents and an extended family. A mining community, we looked out for each other and were taught to have a healthy respect for authority. If you “got into trouble” at school then you knew you had double the trouble wiating when you arrived home. Such was the support for the local school. Life was extremely good until I started Primary 7.

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Charnock Richard


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Cheese and Wine

In 1983, I was in 6th year at a small secondary school. One Friday in the spring, when the school was quiet and the teachers were too pre-occupied to notice, my friends and I decided to seize upon an unexpected opportunity. We all had every Friday morning after 11am as study time and got to spend this in our common room, which happened to double as the library. It was on the top floor of the school near the art department and the art teacher happened to be away that day on a field trip with the year below.

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Cherry Blossom

‘You’re odd.’

God, you pick your moments. 

‘I can tell just by lookin’ at ye…’

I don’t mean it’s been a bad day. Quite the opposite. My work for the day done, I’d been congratulating myself, standing on the porch, winding down, the sun still warm upon my face.

‘The clothes you wear…’


You loom, casting shadows, banishing light: sucking the joy from the end of the day.

You’ve been waiting for this opportunity, haven’t you? The chance to have a go, to cut me down. Your time, your time to shine.

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Chipped mug of a man

Stood up, on an incline,
facing down to the out of town.
I watch a candle wick of a man running up, lung bellows pumping faster than our universe expansion.
Passing cars buffeting my stationary form with the rankling tides of imbibed chides.
I'm a drying towel on a washing line, put out after the sun passed by.
Lank and damp, a worn washer,
The bulging drop, tap end friend.
Clamp after clamp,
Peg held tramp,
Crinkle cut,
Chipped mug of a man.
I am an oil paint paper chain, sedated and serrated.

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everyday rebellion


“The Nigerian Air Force launched a bombing raid today targeting the Oji River Power Station. Ten square miles around the station has been razed and the operation is being hailed as a great success.”

This report was transmitted on the BBC World News from Lagos, five hundred miles west of Oji River. As locals, we knew it was propaganda and a form of fake news.

“How come a young Scot is married to a Nigerian and living in Oji River?” I hear you ask.

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I was as quiet as a mouse
wouldn’t say boo to a goose
I was obedient
did as I was told
Got myself into deep water

My life changed
when I met Clara
with so many needs
I have become a lion
I roar out loud and break down barriers

I make people take notice
of Clara and of me
to give her sunshine 
and to give me hope
She is my cause, I have found my voice

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Clothes are pants

I honestly wish I could be one of those
Folks who goes about with no clothes
Pants are a bother, they get inside out
Woolly things itch from within and without
My socks get wrinkled, my shirts get crinkled
And sometimes my jumpers come out the wash shrinkled
When it's cold I lose mittens when it's hot I lose hats
I always detach things that should be attached
So I've had it with clothes and if I had my way
I'd wear nothing at all, or pyjamas, all day

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everyday rebellion

Cooking, Rebel Style

Please note: this piece contains strong language

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