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Walk A Pavement Once

I don’t have time to do things twice.

I looked in the mirror; so too did my much younger partner. It was plain to her, to everyone: I’d overdosed on repetition. It was time to go cold turkey: it was time to go to Brighton.

When you live like me, in inland and inclement Scotland, Brighton appears to be a dazzling jewel. And it was. It was everything I’d read and heard about. Indeed it was more, because I - and Suzy - added another ingredient, something absent from the guide books  - something absent from all guide books - do it once.

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Water Under The Bridge

The burn stretched out in front of him like a ribbon, both the obstacle and the goal. It ran along the edge of the playing field and separated the school grounds from the streets of the town beyond. The boy usually crossed it, twice a day, using the little wooden bridge along with the other children. Some days though, he was drawn down the muddy bank to the water’s edge. Jumping the burn, and making it, offered a thrill. It was a challenge and for his friends to see him make it, especially when they did not, was a big deal.

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We r i people

Ma legs were shakin’ under the table as the community hall filled tae capacity in front a mae. A wiz reminded a midnight mass in the seventies except that a wiz at the tap table, and the priest wiz among the congregation. This memory came back tae me as a read wan a the flyers blowin’ aroon’ the car park where the lock up garages wir bein’ demolished. "NO SHERIFF OFFICERS" wiz the bold message they told, n it star'l'd me ae think how long they'd been layin there undisturbed.

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Wetsuit

The water.
Dark before me, cold - that crushing, heartstopping chill -
The ice-laced memory of youth, ebb and flow there, in North Sea waves.
A rebellion now: this body, its’ years of life - of life-giving and life-living - marked across the skin;
stretched scars of joy, of tears, of memories - the sag of days passing; wrinkles etching recollection.
Yes, a rebellion then, to pull on this neoprene suit
its’ inky thickness wrapping this aging self of mine, warming these bones which now feel the ache of years in their joints,

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What makes a Rebel?

What makes a Rebel?

 

Minute by minute,

tip toeing towards change.

Conscience nudged forward   

by a father on strike.

Scrambled eggs again for tea.

              

Age fifteen.

Innocence lost

to a dead eyed glance

from the cardboard elegance

on Glasgow’s mean streets.

Pause for five minutes.

Share a word, a smile

with those who wait for the day

when someone recognises them

as a son, a daughter.

 

Age twenty one.

Step over the unbound lepers

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When the trams were abroad.

It was simple to do, joining on a big queue.
At the stop we expectantly stared.
When a caur did appear, to a brief muted cheer,
you'd have started to grow a wee beard.

This caur, known to toffs as a tramcar,
boasted dyed blond conductress in slacks.
'Inside only!' The gallus one bellowed.
Upstairs, strode us youngsters, in packs.

Caurs ran to The Cross, where the drivers got lost
and they ran to the mills and the schools.
You could skip paying fare to near anywhere,
in my hometown where anarchy rules.

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Where are the Rebels?

I sat today and wondered, where are the Rebels? Do they still exist? Does it even matter?

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Who Do You Think You Are?

It was a difficult time for those of us transferring from our safe, small, district based primary schools to the big secondary schools all of which were in the centre of town. To add to the pressure we were the first intake of the comprehensive system introduced in 1970.

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Who Wears a Purple Hair-net Anyway!

'Where dae ye think yer going' said ma mither fae below,
'Ye'll need tae dae the hoovering before ye cross the door'
'What! I'm off tae see ma pals,' I said, 'the weekend's here, ye know!'
'Aye, after the upstairs cleaning's done, and definitely no afore!' 

Now I'm a busy lass, ye see, things tae do, places tae go,
But I'm no a housekeeping slave, which is what she thinks I'm for.
The upstairs rooms and landing wants hoovering, that's required.
'an mind tae dae the dusting tae', essential, not just required!

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Who, Me?

I get called a rebel. I'm a responsible parent with a strong sense of right and wrong. I'm a thinking individual with reasons behind my actions. I'm a law-abiding citizen. But maybe I'm just not ... uniform enough. And the police don't like it.

It started early on. Normally, parents where I live would rent the village hall for their child's fifth birthday. I could have done that, of course. But it would have been rather cruel to my little one, who had just got through a very bad year in nursery — failing to develop the noisy, extroverted personality the system demanded.

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Keywords: 
family, defiance, nanny state

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