7 degrees colder

24 hours older

which way does the crow fly?

either way,                  i try

to relax

but my jaw is                                            clenched

and my fists

are peeling;

the sky  is grey

like a                                       dirty quilted ceiling.

i look out the window

at a sign by a bus stop

“only men have a prostate”

[oh gee! thanks for the reminder]

is there a poster girl

for the                                           NHS vagina?

                                                science or art

   – a field freshly ploughed,

like a furrowed  high brow,

petrichor,         defined and brown.

the world looks much better

when  i’m upside down.

a red box of horses,

stand, parked in a lay-by;

while merry-go-round ponies

are tethered on standby.

the hive remains empty

but            the dolphin and  bear

are manic,                 grinning

[seeking any old crap]

are in need of repair.

  the pie-maker is sandwiched

‘tween            engines of hope

& domestic                             despair:

’tis a lamentable strip

of tearful                     good-buys,

where a sandwich board

offers 50% off

all funeral   care.

and so i brush my green hair.

pretty lavender house,

amid a field of green grass,

 still, pretty while

the Brig Tavern is                     open for laughs.

from this vantage                point

i feel disadvantaged:

can’t take any more

of                     decay and disparage:

gardens of furniture

left out to rot.

only service vehicles may


in this plot.

 peacocks parade

the parade, posturing wildly

in cheap polyester

while people continue

to wander through, blindly.

                                                                                  a shimmer of light on grey salted water,

momentarily, makes my mind

fumble and   falter.

remember the time

i fell asleep at your altar?


and i am passing your house

where i’m guessing               you’re dreaming,

turning day into night,

night into fleeting.

the cross on the hill

– a placebo,                                                                                   a pill

where the masses pray,                               still,

not seeing is believing.

ivy-clad trees

fringe the Pirate’s Bay

as we splutter,                           swerve and   sway

i lose sight of the sea.

a ginger-haired hipster

gingerly boards with board, beard and girlfriend:

her face looks     too old.

the light turns red


outside the house of a proud

Llaso Apso owner,

complete, with poster-dog

– a picture in the window.

sheep in the                field continue

their grazing,                                                                         oblivious

to their fate, their death, impending.

lambs to the slaughter;

to the Farmer a daughter.

what a ridiculous outfit she wears:

marigold head-scarf

and piss-stinking tweed

carrying a basket of wares.

what a ridiculous world we live

in,                 exist in.

where    money means more

than the air that we          breathe in.

a small flock of birds take

flight while a lone black bull

lies curled up tight

 looks sad, alone.

[what use is a vane when each day is the same?]

                  the castle is in ruins, as is my day:

i am now running late

in every          conceivable way.

yet try, as i might, to fold

the continuum

so that i may arrive on time

but it’s a gnarled old  vine.

  i almost had it, but the light turned              red.




my heart plunges to

new depths    of sadness

as i pass by a Tollbooth where,

in the hands of the madness,

witches and midwives and

women of heart

were burnt at the stake

for the  sake

of their Art.

i’d be cast out, for sure,

for my green hair and wanting,

my maps of the stars and my

backwards handwriting.

a big mound of    shit

by the   Bayview Hotel

lies steaming as the

doors                                                                          slam shut.

[oh well…]

a boy, in a trilby, left

alone by a hut,

adjusts his blue braces,

then ties up his boots:

purple and yellow

– mismatched laces:

a tip of the hat,

an eccentric young fellow.

against all my best    efforts,

i        am going to be late as,              once again,

public transport  has failed me.

tomorrow’s     no         good –

i need this  to                   save me.

but the  crocuses,                                                                                                             snowdrops

daffodils and                                        lilies

lining the hedgerows are


it’s                                                                        St Paddy’s Day,

amid a sea of                                                    shamrock,

some antagonistic prick

has a RFC flag, hung on a stick.

it fills his backyard with                     hatred

and colour:

the red, white and blue

heralds another

Unionist Jack living in

the East Corner.

you have to ask why

there’s a car park             for Smugglers,

smug in their    haven

of phone shops and pubs and

Cash Generator heaven.

a new zebra is crossing

 but where   is the old?

Lisa’s ice-cream parlour

looks battered                                                     and cold.

11 minutes late

i am rattled, frustrated

it’s a beautiful town

but i don’t need the           scenic –

i’ve seen it before

[and i’m tired already]


11 minutes late

and we’re doubling back

to that fork              in the road

to get back on track.

fuck                        doing this             commute

on a daily basis.

i’d sooner be dead than

listen to                        Oasis.

turn it down, turn it off

we have all heard enough.

this is no good –

it’s choking my patience

and darkening my mood.

                                     18 minutes late and 18

minutes away.

the black horse doesn’t care

of my angst and plight,

as he lifts his tail high

and continues to  shite.

and so,                 life goes on

 it’s 10.21.

is there   more than one          sun?

there must be a                                              quicker way

to the town                     where i was born:

such a ridiculous way to travel

i can feel my sanity

start to slowly


  finally, the estuary opens

before me:

the ruins                           and spires

invite and inspire me.


why stop here,                                                                                         when the end is in sight?

i’ve no time for a holiday

and no need for a               bike…



 in a pile

of           dead newspapers,  i watch

our footprints dry up

on the  linoleum floor.

[christ, i’m becoming such a bore!]

while outside

the paint is  flaking

from fences, sills, doors,

peeling; and                                        now coffee stains

from constant harsh braking.

odd splashes of colour

in the otherwise grey

town of my birth: St Andrews,

being where    i drew a breath first.

i feel like a tourist

 in cherry Doc Marten’s and cherry-lipped mirth.

a 7ft Jesus stands

with arms extended

now    faceless and blind

to the     shameless

blasphemy and filthy graffiti:

a big cock and balls

                                                                                                  and some scritti politti.

3.19 i will be home in an hour

 if i am not slayed

by the    red savage glower

of the fat man, sat,

rubbing his thighs.

i hear the blear in his voice

and smell whisky from his eyes.

his big face is scaling

is it  eczema, or

too much                                   dry-shaving.

a dry heave ensues,

caught by reflexes,

from the cold of                     Port Stanley

to my solar plexus.

[the yellow of daffodils makes the gutter look pretty].

                     but HEY! shouldn’t YOU be eating

                                                                                     healthy ostrich today?

[say… let me think about that. NO!]

        i am                  vegan                                                                        and i say

i’d much prefer to let

ostriches stay

healthy, to run as intended –

not to feed you and your greed

                  until your stomach’s distended

with the carcass of such

an exotic bird

that’s bigger than you –

that’s just so absurd!

the   screaming child just wanted

a hug, while his tiny little brother

lies snug

as a bug

in     a rug.

wrapped up in softest of white cotton wool

 while deep inside mummy’s

                ripe and plump                                                      womb

another one spools.

[this girl is a breeder, of that i am sure].

black coffee, cold,

leaves the unpleasant taste

of death on my breath

smoky and bitter.

despite the high caffeine

i feel myself flitter.


by a red telephone box

the boy in the trilby,

          with mismatching laces

sullen until          he

boards the bus with a smile

in a sea       of grimaces.

there are boats in the gardens

and moss on the dykes;

       rusting basketball hoop

and broken downpipes.

a white house in the middle

  of a sparse patch of forest

with a     blue broken hut,

with            knives                   in the door

and windows              nailed shut.

an ivy-clad mansion seems

lost in its garden,

where the                  one-eyed donkey

stands still beneath the washing line

and crossed wires of

broken telegraph poles

 it’s then i realise

there’s a split                                     in my sole.

my foot it feels damp

like my spirit,                               my mood.

life’s no holiday camp.

my thoughts turn to food.

3.38 and still       we press on.

a little coastal town, a little                                                    closer to home.

one sheep in the flock

kicks out

like an ass.

the others watch on

from their huddle-like mass.

once faux Tudor splendour

to now tawdry and torn,

the Lundin Hotel

now shabby and                worn.

an old lady boards

and         sits at the front,

her feet can’t touch the floor

so she swings them like a child,

                                              by the emergency door.

traffic cops speed by

with sirens, blue light.

woah… 1930s architecture                                                                                                              [reboot]

a refreshing sight.

[i never understood the appeal of golf].

the Glen it looks pretty:

                    manicured for spring,

colourful flower beds

meticulously trimmed.

Ices,     Ices,  fish and  chips

and         pubs

there’s even a place where

you can have everything on it;

yes… everything under               the sun

but it’s a penny for a sonnet.

3.48 and i am half an                           hour away.

action,               adventure and… perhaps

it’s too early

to be advertising Christmas dinners

or maybe they’re lazy,

or onto a winner.

but hey…

even a broken          clock tells the right time twice a day.

never mind me, as you bump me

with your bag

and snag

my hair in your jewellery

as you rush                                            to your seat.

oh close the door and get moving

pick up the             beat…

          i am at the end of my rope.

i feel damp and exhausted,

          no faith, no charity        and

certainly no hope.

since 6.27 i’ve been

walking and waiting and

watching the clock.

i’ve been late for everything

with one damp  yellow sock.

3.58 and      i’m four towns away

the heating is broken

and my patience is                                                             frayed.

like that bin liner, i am

snagged in a tree,

ragged and ripped

    and misplaced by the breeze.

i try,   try,            try to best                                              dislocate

and find some release.

it’s been a long day

and no amount of purple crocuses,

by the side of the road, will

make me feel            better or

maybe… just maybe

i should not have entered

the      Happy House to try, buy

a  little             happiness – if

that’s what they’re selling –

i can guarantee        nothing pretty, however;

only dirty old men

with dirty three-legged            dogs,

or with their arms in slings,

slinging back gin

or any damned thing:

because one broken arm

can still             chug back the drink.

a boarded up bookstore next door

to a shack,      where nomadic yukka

thrive out the back.

[how did you get here, you strange desert plant?]

next boards an old man

with                                   a hipflask and stick.

i can’t move to that seat, you unreasonable prick!

you want me to move

to a seat covered with papers.

where do you suppose i put them

give them to your    imaginary waiter?

why not just sit there?

as i point out plenty seating.

and absolutely no need

to pull my hair

as you shuffle on   past

puffing and bleating

in your slow,              plodding                                                      gait

when you could sit just there

but, no,   we must wait.

[wait for your death?]

how many newly-departed are,                today,

planted in their plot

of yawning cold clay

to  decompose, to decay and      rot?

everyone quietens

as we          pass

the field of the dead:

memento mori, fear of

                              the Dread.

“pedestrians this way”              a sign

that points

to a hole

in the ground.

i break                                           the silence laughing out               loud.

do your solar  panels work

on a day like today?

because mine are malf


with a spark                       and     a jolt

as i feel damaged and sick.

i am one town                    away.

no rest for the wicked

’til this  day is                         done.

© Kat McDonald 2017


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