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The next time you calmly book into

a quiet b & b in Edinburgh,

check out the ordinary house 

in the ordinary row. And look at

the ordinary old man that runs it.

Notice the discarded cigarette packets

and empty beer bottles tucked behind

the drab, ordinary bin. Then notice

the extraordinary garden he tends 

with such extraordinary fastidiousness.

Admire how he has nursed his young blooms

and how they’ve burst into vitality.


Then, look again at this ordinary

old émigré, as he coughs and bows

and shuffles you to your resting place.

His gentle, trembling hand stained from dark labours,

holds a key to a distant, shady past.

A past, where - with careful precision

and deliberate skill - he picked a bright, smart,

extraordinary seventeen-year-old nurse

and strung her up like a lank sweet pea.

A snatched blush, she swung in the breeze

like a snapped corn dolly – beyond fertility.

A prize for extra fags and cheap booze.

                                                           A breath hanged

for being an ordinary weed

in a tidy, re-made bed of perfect,

shaded nacht.

ou Who Live Safe: in Memoriam

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