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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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Music was the air around us. Contrapuntal violin and flute danced together between my ears, filling the mindscape normally reserved for spontaneous, toxic words with a sonic perfume. The mighty sun upon my face was uninhibited in the absence of any single cloud across the azure canopy overhead. The vivid colour framed his face, only for a moment, as I looked towards him - upwards slightly, as the difference between us in height sweetly allowed.

He looked powerful; statuesque.

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When ah mind back tae last century, 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 enough tae stert tae spier: black n white, hoo cum this fear?

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apartheid, defiance

At 7PM

At 7PM (Inspired by Baudelaire’s At One O’Clock In The Morning)

Finally! I am home! Nothing matters but the glass of white wine in my hand. For the next three hours, I will read what I want, and write what I want. Finally, the burden of the job is sitting at the office and I can do what I want!

Finally, I can develop Ilse further and paint her secrets darker! I can take her to the darkest corners of the world and back and we can cry hot, gooey, black tears together.

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Au Revoir, Petites Rébellions

There is no such thing as a free ride, unless the ride in question is on the Paris Métropolitain.

But even then…

Sweltering, you descend underground into Laumière, shunted to and fro amidst the late-afternoon chaos. You are tethered to your petite amie by palms loosened with sweat – or loosened with something psychological, an unconscious choice. The boiling sea of heaving, sweating bodies pulsates and shifts around you, never casting the same shadow twice. Everyone has somewhere to be and nobody can spare a second of the time it takes to get there.

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Auld Rebel

Warning: this piece contains strong language

My itchy feet did not stop when I returned home from the Far East and met the man who would become my husband in less than six months. They were soothed. They were softened. They were worn, day in, day out, for many years. 

Worn, trodden upon, used … my feet were trampled over many times but still they plodded on. They say we hit a treadmill at certain times of life and maybe that’s where my feet found themselves for thirty plus years. 

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Bad Widow

My husband just died but at least I’m taking it well. Everybody tells me so. ‘Oh Julie, you’re just handling this all so well’, they gush, willing it to be true. Insisting upon it.

At first I tried to play along; I wanted to believe. The love of my life died at 43 after a grueling duel with leukaemia, but whatever, I’m so strong. I’m so competent. Look at me, I’m handling it. Just like you all want me to.

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Please note: this piece contains strong language


The social worker’s name was Teresa. She had glasses, short blonde hair. She looked like a teacher except she was younger.

She’d be there every second Tuesday when me and Bex got hame fae school.

Me, Bex and Sarah would be on the sofa. Mam and Teresa would be at the table, talking, drinking coffee.

Aye, athing’s fine, said Mam. Apart fae this ane and his cursin and swearin.

Mam said it like it was just something funny but, Teresa didn’t take it that way.

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Because Ah Matter

Like a rat up a drainpipe I shot back out that school gate lik’ the devil was on mah tail. This wasnae mah gig and ah wasnae unpacking. If ah was gonnae engage in education anywhere, it wasnae here. Ah totally had the fear and the battle lines between me and mah maw were drawn. Day in, day oot, ah was frogmarched through the gate as invisible anxiety stirred within. Opposing the forces at play, ah shot right back oot it.

“Get back here!” Gangley Gibson with the protruding teeth stomped a path towards me.  

“It’s no happenin!”

“We’ll see!”

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Beer, Loathing and Air Piracy

Ca’ me Demian.

Ah’ve drank well oan this story o`er the years.

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