Pushing out the Boat, Issue 9

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Pushing Out the Boat 9



Pushing Out the Boat 9

Pushing Out The Boat 9 Foreword


t is rare to find an anthology that, whilst representing so well the area from which it draws its inspiration and response, reaches out to embrace a wealth of new writing in a wide range of styles. Here you will find poetry and prose filtered through the necessary sieve of quality: English and Doric, local and international writing cheek by jowl; and the work of young people sitting alongside that of more mature writers. This is a handsome magazine, building on earlier successes, with sparkling new art work, excellent design and layout as well as a treasure trove of words. The North East is lucky to have such a dedicated team willing and able to bring together a regular anthology of such a high standard, and thus encourage not just local writers and artists but also writers from all over the English-speaking world to aspire to seeing their work in a quality production. As the submission guidelines say ‘Our readers come to us to be entertained, seduced, unsettled, surprised, and above all given something to think about’. You’ll find plenty within these covers to do just that. Keep Pushing Out the Boat! Christine De Luca

[Christine De Luca is a poet who writes in both English and Shetlandic. She is widely published and has been translated into over 15 languages as well as being broadcast on Radio 4. Her awards include the Shetland Writing Prize; the prize for best poem in Shetland Dialect in 2006; and the Prix du Livre insulaire 2007. She also featured in ‘Best Scottish Poems 2006’. Her fifth collection,The North End of Eden, will be published by Luath Press in 2010. www.christinedeluca.co.uk and www.hanselcooperativepress.co.uk]

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Contents Page 4 Epidermis and Inner Truth - The First Skin John Worthington Page 5 Preface Page 6 Touched Angela Arnold Page 7 Unemployed Angela Arnold Page 8 Autumn Move Angela Arnold Page 8 Fontana, Sienna David Pettigrew Page 9 Egg Races Heather Reid Page 13 Scintilla and Zit-Geist Donnie Ross Page 14 Fitty Gloamin Sheena Blackhall Page 15 Portsoy Sheena Blackhall Page 16 Social and National Identity - The Fourth Skin John Worthington Page 16 ebay item 131187118520 Margaret Stewart Page 17 A Day Out Eleanor Fordyce Page 17 Old Tree Keith Murray Page 18 Raiders Christian Ward Page 18 Untitled Christine Spence Page 19 Gourdon Jane Pettigrew Page 20 Practice for Parting Maggie Wallis Page 20 Death Mask of a Cockerel Maggie Wallis Page 21 Attempting to Break the Barrier Maggie Wallis Page 22 Betrayed Jeff Crouch and Nicolette Westfall Page 23 VL Lynsey Calderwood Page 25 Crow Feast Gerard Rochford Page 25 Oot o a Bot’le Martin Walsh Page 26 Untitled Christine Spence Page 27 Fairytale Ending Judith Taylor Page 28 Lean Times Judith Taylor Page 28 Ice Wind Fiona Russell Page 29 Path seen on a Hill from a Train Rumjhum Biswas Page 30 Untitled Neil Russell Page 30 Winter Elizabeth Waugh Page 31 Good Friday at Graceland Sara Kay Rupnik Page 37 A Sort of Myself Bernard Briggs Page 37 Mother’s Lace Bernard Briggs Page 38 Scunner in the Gallery Donnie Ross Page 40 Heirloom Eleanor Fordyce Page 41 Winter Lights Within Christine Laennec Page 42 Greylags Alexander Lang Page 43 Last Journey Home [Young Writer] Hannah Kunzlik Page 49 Networks, San Gimignano David Pettigrew Page 49 Boat David Pettigrew Page 50 Wee Small Hours [Young Writer] George Hardwick Page 51 Human Pollution [Junior Writer] Fraser Cowie Page 52 Untitled Dasha Vyhnalkova Page 52 Jars 018 Christine Spence [Young Writer] Camille Conner Page 53 Life [Young Writer] Camille Conner Page 53 Santa Reparta 2

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Page 54 Page 55 Page 56 Page 57 Page 57 Page 58 Page 59 Page 61 Page 64 Page 64 Page 65 Page 65 Page 66 Page 66 Page 67 Page 72 Page 73 Page 74 Page 79 Page 79 Page 80 Page 81 Page 82 Page 82 Page 83 Page 84 Page 89 Page 90 Page 90 Page 91 Page 94 Page 95 Covers

Cosmology [Young Writer] [Young Writer] Sing to Me Moorland Form Paraphernalia Platform 04 Urban Shaman Doing Penance Untitled The Past is Another Country Enchanted Forest Place The Battle of Culloden Dark Orange Light Hibernacle Dufftown Darts Street Light Aurora, Dundee The S Word Momadu and the Sardine Fishers Umbrella Nap Outrunning Debt Stormday Mindfull Meditation Sweet Sorrow Black Kitty Grun On the Day of Stanley’s Funeral Roos 2 View of LA from the Getty Centre Contributor Information Kenzo Offers Magazine Information [including Team List] Front: Yellow Driftwood Inside Front: Dolce & Gabana Offers Back: red oxide water tracks fence lines Inside Back: Platform 02

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Camille Conner Camille Conner Lisa Gribbon John Bolland Callum Kellie Rapunzel Wizard Wayne Scheer Dasha Vyhnalkova Knotbrook Taylor Emily Fraser Neil Russell Neil Russell Jill Henderson David Kowalczyk Linda Smith Heather Reid Heather Reid Martin Walsh Helen Addy Helen Addy Lesley-Anne Taylor Nat Hall Paul Barnes Paul Barnes Paul Barnes Stephen Pacitti Haworth Hodgkinson Lindsay McMillan Helen Nash Sarah Ellen Taylor David Pettigrew Sarah Ellen Taylor Tim Winters Callum Kellie


Epidermis and Inner Truth - The First Skin

John Worthington


[monoprint, ink on paper]

Pushing Out the Boat 9

Preface ‘Pushing out the Boat’ - have you ever wondered where this expression comes from? According to The Phrase Finder, it derives from the age-old practice of building boats that were too large for one person to move, so a lone sailor would need the help of his neighbours or a passing stranger to push his heavy boat into the water from where it was beached - an act of generosity on their part. So it is with this substantial vessel, whose construction and launch relies on the labours of our team of generous volunteers and contributors. Creative writing continues to flourish - if the number of entries we received this year is anything to judge by. We were delighted to read so many different kinds of poems and so many of high quality. There was no shortage of urban themed pieces reflecting contemporary experience, many showing a commendable desire to experiment with imagery and layout. The number of Doric entries which managed to avoid nostalgia and sentimentality, however, was rather disappointing; but those we chose show that the Scots language is as capable of being both lyrical and humorous as ever it was in Burns’ day. We also received a fine selection of poems from younger writers, which we hope will encourage more to send us their work next year. The perennial claim that the short story is dying was again contradicted by our contributors, whose 96 submissions (our highest total ever) displayed a striking variety of style and subject matter. As ever, we read far more high quality pieces than we had space for, although certain topics, such as memories of dead relatives, recurred rather more than we might have wished, causing us to appreciate those writers who were prepared to take risks by venturing out of their comfort areas, especially in the case of genres. Unhappily, some fell into the error of ‘too much tell and not enough show’, ignoring Henry James’ advice (‘Dramatise! Dramatise!’), a cardinal sin in this compressed form of fiction; but the stories we chose were economical in expression relative to the quality of the emotions expressed. Their authors took us everywhere from Graceland to the Sudetenland by way of Aberdeen Royal Infirmary, skilfully evoking both mood and place, finding excitement in the seemingly every day and bringing vistas of the exotic to life. This year’s magazine is generously packed with the pick of new writing, complemented by excellent artwork, both figurative and abstract. We hope that you enjoy the startling inventiveness of some of the images and the reflective quality in others, as well as the stimulating interplay between the literary and the visual which is a feature of the magazine. Sometime in the 1930s, the phase which gives this magazine its title came to be used in nautical circles to mean ‘to buy a round of drinks’. Cheers, everyone!

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Touched This morning, all it rains is drops: small, tight, smudge-makers. But last night it really rained. Rain was a wild hundred-handed applause, a mad splatter of endearments: kissy smacks and snappy backslaps of affection, fat falling loving mother seeds that drummed and pummelled like music – like yeast – of life, drops rising to a crescendo of affirmation. And hot, inside themselves. These morning drops from a lax sky are only their worldly stand-ins, falling, straight, into a bewilderness of loss. Angela Arnold


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Unemployed Another doodle day, space without grammar, time just jotted. Hours don’t pass so much as whine into view – and then fret out by the backdoor of inattention. They’re beginning to be like children: worried over. Morning, and they’ll limp loudly, slow enough to count as sick, surely? Mid-afternoon, and they’re suspiciously inaudible: suggesting stuckness and inner-storm and shapeless vengeance. Nights, of course, perversely, they fly free-wheel with far too fast a feeling of relief… another day seen off unmastered. Worst, this unforgiveable conviction that mangled twenty-something hour stretches are piling up somewhere. Angela Arnold

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Autumn Move First, hails of swallows and then all that black bird-snow of starlings – and now the neighbours moving on a whim, careless, leaving dross of years. Rubbish left in big bag gaggles just outside: for covens to eye on the wing, for the too-late winds to palpate, first sleet to spit bits at. Any moment, our blitzed trees will admit us to hollow windows. No one but robin will pattern the drive: all that white untrodden, unspoilt, unfun. And slowly we’ll begin to reinvent the gone – this way and that, depending on the lie of log, the heated flicker of some dubious recollection: more than halfborn from the glass. Angela Arnold

Fontana, Sienna

David Pettigrew 8

[Multimedia print] Pushing Out the Boat 9

Egg Races


s the boy in the blue tee shirt crosses the line, the man to Sarah’s right rises to his feet and ululates like a tribal chief at the circumcision of his eldest son. “Fantastic!” he bellows. “Yes! Yes!”

Sarah wouldn’t be surprised if he was now to light a cigarette and lie back wearing nothing more than a smile and a look of quiet satisfaction; but instead he turns towards her and says, as if it were necessary, “That’s my boy.” “Great,” she says. Tosser, she thinks. “Well done,” she says. This is after all what he expects to hear, some affirmation of his own superb creation, some recognition that it is his strong, healthy sperm that has produced this stunning athlete, capable of beating his Primary Two classmates into lesser positions. Already those children are being hustled off to make space for Class Three’s egg and spoon race. She can see the man’s son straining his head upwards, scanning the rows of parents for his own. The proud father raises his hand, thumb-up, and the boy beams back. Sarah imagines she catches a whiff of raw testosterone as the boy returns to his seat and the father rises and walks away, mumbling something about work commitments as he leaves. It is, she thinks, one of the perks of being male, this ability to show a complete lack of interest in the offspring of others without being ostracised by one’s own kind. Had a mother left at this stage she would have felt the weight of disapproval heavy on her shoulders, if not sharply embedded into her back. “Is this seat taken?” A young, blonde woman gestures to the seat beside Sarah, her face scarlet, her fringe plastered to her forehead in damp curls. “Have I missed much? Have the Primary Fours run yet?” “No, not yet.” “Oh, thank Christ for that! I wouldn’t have been forgiven if I’d missed it; Brian’s got a real thing about me being here.” “I guess they’re all the same, when they’re young. They always like to think that mum is watching. I take it Brian’s in Primary Four then?” The woman laughs. “Oh no, Brian’s my husband. He’s the one who expects me to be here. Apparently his mother never missed a school event; he thinks it’s a crucial part of childhood. Mind you,” she drops her tone conspiratorially, “Brian’s mum didn’t also have two under the age of three and a part time job at the bank to contend with.” A ripple of laughter spreads through the crowd as a small girl stoops to pick up her egg for the fourth time, and then, a long drawn out “awww” as her face crumples and she begins to sob. One of the teachers hurries across with a tissue and guides her to the finish line where Miss Beresford, the head teacher, is attaching stickers to the chests of all who cross. The winner’s sticker shows a large gold cup; Sarah considers what the others might say: ‘Proud to have taken part’, ‘Tried Hard’, ‘Good Sport’ or, more truthfully, ‘Loser.’ Pushing Out the Boat 9


Egg Races “That’s my girl over there, that’s Stephie.” The blonde woman points to a buck-toothed girl who’s been sent to retrieve the fallen eggs. “Do you have someone taking part?” “Yes, my son, Marcus. He’s Primary Four too.” There is an awkward pause and then, “Oh.” Miss Beresford’s voice rings out from the loud hailer advising them of a fifteen minute interval before the next batch of races; adults are invited to partake of the tea and cakes kindly provided by the parents on the pupil council. Sarah’s blonde neighbour is first to her feet. “Don’t want to miss the buns,” she says. “I didn’t have time for lunch.” Sarah remains behind, mentally unpicking the ‘Oh.’ It is, she suspects, the standard ‘Oh’ that accompanies any mention of her son: ‘Oh, that boy,’ ‘Oh, isn’t he the one…’ ‘Oh, it must be difficult for you.’ She puts her fingers to the part of her head where disappointment lives, and presses hard. Across the field Marcus is sitting with his class. His teacher, Mrs Anderson, is beside him, her hand resting lightly on his shoulder as though she fears he might suddenly drift into the sky like a wayward balloon. Every so often Sarah can see his shoulders twitch or his hands flutter briefly to his face. His feet beat time on the ground. Stephie’s mother has not returned to her seat. She is standing with a group of other mothers, something chocolaty pinched between finger and thumb. She is nodding vigorously and smiling, sucking, one by one, at her fingers. Suddenly the members of the group begin to laugh and, as they do so, they separate slightly, like fingers opening from a fist. Sarah would like to join them, share in their banter about so-and-so’s latest achievements in the swimming pool, Bobby’s success in grade one piano, Hannah’s award for most helpful girl in class; but she doesn’t think that any of them would be able to participate meaningfully in a conversation about expulsion from a shoe shop for bad behaviour, or what it was like to be driven to hit your child hard enough to leave a mark, mark enough to keep him out of playschool for a week for fear of a visit from a social worker Marcus is off his seat now, running backwards and forwards behind the other children. Mrs Anderson tries to grab him as he passes, but he’s fast and dodges away, laughing. Miss Beresford strides towards them and joins the game. There are three players now, but only one is having fun. Sarah wonders whether, as a result, she will be called in to school tomorrow for the kind of little chat of which there have been many over the years. In his primary year there had been questions of why, a search for explanations for the cause of his behaviour – was he getting enough sleep, was she firm enough, was she too firm, had she tried avoiding additives, were things ‘difficult’ at home - and it soon became clear to Sarah that, whatever her son’s problems, the cause, and therefore the solution, must somehow lie with her. It was as though people saw her as the plug in a bath full of snakes and, if only someone would be brave enough to put in their hand and remove her, then the snakes would drain 10

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Egg Races away, leaving behind something useful, safe and sanitised, something that could be relied upon to sit quietly and still within the classroom. When, by Year Two, they had been unable to identify the precise cause of ‘the problem’, they had called in the experts - the mind plumbers - who had asked the same questions and reached the same conclusions: her son had hit the learning curve at speed and spun off at some peculiar trajectory, seemingly at odds with the rest of his classmates. They’d given her four letters to attach like a badge, and then asked her to consider medication, something to calm his habits during the day. Whilst she had been wary of a chemical solution, Jason had refused point blank. “What the fuck do they know anyway,” he’d said; “the reality is, the lad’s too bright and he’s just not getting enough stimulation at school. If they were doing their jobs properly he wouldn’t be so bored and getting into bother all the time.” Such comments were lobbed at Sarah after the many meetings, which Jason himself refused to attend, and increasingly she’d felt like a tautly-strung tennis net into which two players - the school and her husband - hit their hardest shots, never actually clearing the tape. It had almost been a relief when, last year, Jason had left, citing a lack of happiness and a need for personal space on the note he’d left behind on the kitchen table. Now there were just the three of them: Sarah, Marcus and the ADHD, a trio of educational refusniks, a wandering band of alphabet refugees. Across the field Marcus has been captured and herded, like a wayward sheep, back to the flock. Sarah can see his hair sticking up in wild, unruly licks, even this seeming to defy any attempts to control it. Sarah wonders whether there is a psychiatric label for intractable hair. Mrs Anderson has pulled up a seat and is talking to him in soothing, sing-song tones. She is young and keen and - Sarah now notices - unmistakably pregnant. Sarah finds herself shuttering tears, raising a knuckle to her eye in an attempt to route them away. Pregnancy affects her in this way, the amazing potential of it, the hope. It is, she considers, the start of an exciting race when people stand hopefully, egg cradled in spoon, and everyone appears equal and happy. But when the race gets underway, some eggs will be dropped and there’ll be tears and consolation, and some eggs will be abandoned by people who realise they didn’t really want to race in the first place, and whilst most will cross the line with egg still held on spoon - happy, optimistic parents - some will later find their egg is flawed, perhaps by a hairline crack or bloodied yolk and, later still, that such eggs are not welcomed in the kitchen where the other eggs hang out, for fear they’ll spoil the omelette - eggs with ADHD, for example: bad eggs. Back on the field the wind has picked up and two teachers are struggling to hold between them a length of red and white tape which flaps and billows in the breeze. At the opposite end a group of children are being urged towards the starting line where they wait in a fidgety row, tugging at white socks and denting the toes of their gym shoes in the mud. Sarah spots Stephie’s mother half-kneeling on the ground at the far end of the chairs, one hand resting on the grass, the other holding back her hair, as though she herself may spring forward at any moment and join the race. The seat beside Sarah remains empty. Looking across at Mrs Anderson she wonders about pregnancy, remembering how, from the point of conception, there are rules and small traditions to be followed, mantras to Pushing Out the Boat 9


Egg Races be learnt. The ‘I don’t mind as long as it’s healthy’ mantra, for example, which must be chanted whenever the question ‘what are you hoping for?’ is asked regarding preference for a boy or girl. She remembered Jason’s own take on this being ‘don’t really care, as long as it knows one way or the other,’ but that was another story. In reality though the whole thing was a lie, for health was just a low priced starter on the menu of what people were hoping for in their offspring and, by the time they started playschool, it barely featured at all. No, what parents really wanted was a child who could share and show good manners, who could complete a complex jigsaw and read by the age of four, or showed an aptitude for music or art. When Marcus had started playgroup his own skills had lain in the production of noise and violent tempers and it wasn’t long before Sarah understood that hers was not a child who would be invited to birthday parties, and therefore she was not a parent who would be included in the clique of doting mothers. ADHD, a tricky group of letters: not smart enough to be an acronym, not meaty enough to be an anagram, but weighty enough to attach to an eight-year-old boy and his mother and drag them relentlessly down. Miss Beresford moves to the end of the line, her hand raised, her face that of a conductor just before bringing an orchestra to life. It takes a while but, when she is sure she has the attention of all children, she drops her hand and gives a loud and simultaneous blast on a whistle. The children lunge forwards, arms and legs pistoning through the air, expressions set hard in the uncompromising stone of competition. Sarah looks back towards the table where the few remaining cakes - marshmallow hats and Smartie-eyed buns - lie scattered untidily. She feels a stab of pity at their rejection, a righteous sense of hurt for their creators. Behind them the gate, which leads from the playing field to the outside world, is standing open, a honey trap for toddlers, or for children who see a chance for an early escape, not to mention their fathers. It seems suddenly important, to Sarah that the gate be closed, fencing in the world of education and separating it from her life outside. She stands and begins to shuffle along the line, mumbling apologetically. As she reaches the end of the row one of the young runners falls - collapsing as if taken by a sniper - then half-rises from the mud, his eyes bright with shock, his mouth a hollow rictus of despair. Mrs Anderson is quick to her feet, running to help the boy, her pale blue skirt billowing, her sensible red pumps slapping against her feet. Sarah dare not look; she focuses instead on the gate and the road beyond. As the school gate slams, the winner of Class Four’s sprint hits the tape, punching at the air and gasping with elation. The early summer breeze rushes to greet him, cooling his skin and toying affectionately with his tousled, errant hair. Then it moves to Sarah, carrying with it the sound of distant cheering; as if this, her exit, is as she had suspected a cause for celebration by the mothers left behind. Throwing back an imagined two finger salute Sarah slips the surreptitiously-rescued buns into her pockets and begins the long walk home. Heather Reid 12

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Pushing Out the Boat 9


Donnie Ross


Scintilla and Zit-Geist

Fitty Gloamin Doon at the fishin clachan, there’s nae quines sheilin mussels or baitin lines wi mackerel. Nae loons wi ticht neives nettin, nae fishies, split an gutted, washed, satted and dried. Naebody’s birsslin oatcakes ower the griddle. The kitchie fleers are spreid wi rugs, nae san. Nae Fitty fishers fecht hame throw the tide. The shacks an sheddies, oothouses, sit-ooteries haud secunt-haun TVs an roosty bikes, a puckle gairden gnomes wi beilin peint, the antrin cat or bowfin gurly tyke. Washin still skelps ootbye, ships dowp in bottles on stoory windae sills. Glaiss fishin wechts are door-stops, nudgin drift-wid ben the step. This is the kirkyaird o the fishin trade. The cottages like ceemetery merkers hunker, backs tae the sea like auncient crones. Aybydan, iver cheengin, the sea’s dreich sooch is Fitty’s nearest neibour, an its auldest. Inbye a playpark, a fishin boatie’s turned tae a toy, tae cairry a catch o bairns. The herbour an the docks, the stank o dulse is strang on the neb. Throw this warm gloamin, doon the Fitty shore a barfit quine, lang-shanked, for verra glee kicks up the san that happit mony’s a wreck, the smachrie an the spindrift o the sea. Sheena Blackhall


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Portsoy a yacht slices the waves like a cheese-cutter off the jetty, youngsters plump like porpoise-pods in the Firth half-fish, these seamen’s sons in seal-wet trousers dive, surface, shake on the rocks like sodden shags lobster pots loll on the pier, drool orange ropes pleasure boats like Costa Bravo toys make show-off circuits speeding round the surf the harbour water’s jade and bottle green aquamarine where black-shelled buckies crawl my balls are freezing one young buck shouts out chicken his diving mermaid girlfriend counters each tiny craft is moored by chains and anchors as each child here is tied by love and need to the grey stone houses climbing the slopes above where gulls plonk down on lums like ice cream scoops Sheena Blackhall

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Social and National Identity - The Fourth Skin

John Worthington

[monoprint, ink on paper]

ebay item no 131187118520

Margaret Stewart 16


Pushing Out the Boat 9

A Day Out


lambering over sand dunes in a bracing sea breeze is not my idea of a perfect scenario for a relaxed picnic. I have never thought the combination of sand and sandwiches ideal. She is weak, not used to such arduous exertion and needs more than a helping hand. My mind wanders to Mary’s coffee shop on the prom and warm scones. But she has insisted and so the beach it is. Propelled by the breeze, we lurch along. She stops suddenly on the crest of a dune to gaze at the frothing grey waves, edged by sand the colour of toast. “Will this do?” I say. “No. Further down.” I circle her waist and we rock like gawky children tied together in a three-legged race, feet at odds with the shifting sand. She battles with the wind to hold on to her wig. “Catch it!” she shouts, as it swirls aloft, a dark wingless creature, eager to be free. Its flight is short-lived and, spiked on dune grass, it hangs like a tribal trophy. I put down the bag and retrieve her dignity. She is sitting on a hardened bed of sand. “This is exactly where I want to be, where I want to come… after. Do it on a day like today; just you, and the wind to take me where it will.” I look across to the vastness of the sea and understand. She opens the bag and unwraps a sandwich. Eleanor Fordyce

Old Tree The old tree’s album is complete ready for cutting and release there must be seventy tracks or more open to applause of brittle leaves and each and every bare black branch eager to be the first rugged stylus to fall upon the turn-table playing out the years flat on the forest floor to the percussion of fine rain the silent cymbal clash of the moon as the exiting lumberjack takes his conductor’s bow. Keith Murray Pushing Out the Boat 9



(Varley Halls of Residence, Brighton 2003-4) We raced down hills in supermarket trolleys, imagining we were Viking raiders. Some pillaged the local pub for mead, others hauled girls over their shoulders. When drunk, we compared tattoos, cooing at the Lindisfarne script inked on biceps and shoulder blades. No-one remembered the old Norse lodged in our throats; its meaning vague as the longboats of cloud drifting above the North Sea. Christian Ward


Christine Spence 18

[Old postage stamps with postage marks cut from envelopes, joined with string] Pushing Out the Boat 9


Jane Pettigrew

[Ink & watercolour] Pushing Out the Boat 9


Practice for Parting Last Saturday we tested out the umbilical cord for elasticity. You set off did nine miles on your bike before I pinged back passing you in the car the momentum carrying me on a further ten miles. In the rear view mirror I watched as your eager face diminished and then was gone. Rain on the windscreen I waited in a lay-by for you to reappear a slow dance up and down Strathconon.

Death Mask of a Cockerel He was second in command, constantly jumping hens, and strutting to the tune of his half-baked crow. His silence is tangible. This disembodied head no more than a glove that fitted snugly over the activity of life, face, monochrome grey and a faraway look reaching beyond this world, merging like bluebells at dusk with the distant shadows. Maggie Wallis


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Attempting to Break the Barrier I was flying last night he says. We are camping at Glen Mohr. I, pregnant with my third son; he, in his pyjamas, only four. I know it well, that certainty. Flying’s a serious matter, not just a silly dream and with practice you get better. When I flew, I worked hard to take off from the ground, but once in the air I soared and swooped. (Harder for my brother, I remember.) I’ll show you if you like he offers. Along the grass runway he sets off at a pace getting smaller and smaller. Then he stops, far away, just stands there. I’m setting out breakfast when he returns. Grass was too wet this morning he shrugs, and gets on with his day. Maggie Wallis

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Jeff Crouch and Nicolette Westfall 22


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harlene cawd me a VL the day. Kirsty yir nuhin bit a big VL, she said, an then she startet sniggerin. Ah wantet tae ask her wit she meant by that, but ah knew she’d jist take the piss oot me fur no knowin so ah jist said, How dae you know? Charlene jist startet laughin again an then she shook her heid an said, My god Kirsty, magine bein a VL. Ah felt dead stupit an ah kiddet on that ah didnae care wit she said but inside ah wis aw gaun cos it soundet lik it wis somethin dead bad. Ah ast Harpreet if she knew wit is wis bit she didnae know either, so we went tae the library an we looked it up in the big Universal Dictionary, bit the closest thing we could find wis VD. ≈≈≈ V-L-V-L-VeeeeGaunny shut up, ah said tae Charlene. She’d been sayin it aw day an ah wantet tae slap her. She said it tae aw the boys in oor class an nearly aw ae them laughed apart fae Bunsen because he canny staun Charlene, an Chris Rice who said he didnae believe it. Hey Chrissie, said Charlene as we were walkin oot the class, How’d yi no break Kirsty’s VL fur her? Chris tolt Charlene tae eff off. He said, If Kirsty’s a VL then ah’m a big gay. Then he turnt roon an whispert tae me,Yir no are yi? ≈≈≈ Charlene said, When are yi gaunny nip wee Chrissie then? She caws him wee Chrissie but he’s the same height as her. Ah said, Wit yi talkin aboot? She said, Well yees baith pure fancy each other. Ah said, How dae we? She said, Aye yees dae. Ah said, Naw we don’t. She said,Yi want me tae ask him if he’ll got aff wi yi at the next Kirky disco? Ah said, Charlene ah don’t fancy Chris aright? Who dae yi fancy then? Ah said, Naebdy. She said, Yi must fancy sumdy. Ah said, Charlene ah fancy masel an that’s it. She said tae me, Who ootae aw the boys in oor Regi class dae yi hink is the maist good lookin? Ah said, Ah don’t know. She said,Yi must know unless yir a lezy. Ah said, Charlene shut up. Ah went through aw the boys in ma class in ma heid an ah narrowed it doon tae Chris Rice, Bunsen an Wully McCoy (but he’s a nut case so ah didnae want tae pick him) an ah still couldnae make up ma mind. Charlene, ah said, Who dae you think is the maist good lookin? She said, Probly Chris Rice. Ah said, Aye that’s wit ah think anaw. Kirsty, she said, Wit did ah tell yi? Ah said, Wit? She said, Ah rest ma case. Ah wis walkin oot the school gate wi Harpreet, an this lassie that wis in Charlene’s auld Regi class come up tae us an said, Is your name Kirsty Campbell? Ah said, Why dae yi want tae know? She said, Is it but? She wis a big tall heavy lassie wi hauns lik a grillar an ah wis scared she might batter me so ah jist said, Aye, how? She said, Is it true you’re still a VL? ≈≈≈ You ask her, ah said. No you ask her. Gaunny you no ask her. No, said Harpreet, Cos it’s you that’s the VL

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VL We ast Miss Thin the librarian if she knew wit it is wis bit she jist looked at us lik we wur stupit. Miss Thin’s well named cos she’s a wee skinny skelf ae a wummin wi short short hair. We ast her if we could go on the internet an look it up cos she obviously didnae know, bit aw she said wis, Kirsty an Harpreet stop your shenanigans. ≈≈≈ Charlene said, Well if you’re no a VL then who are yi no a VL wi? Ah said, Widyi mean? She said, Who’ve yi got aff wi? Ah said, Wit? She said, Who’ve yi nipped? Ah said, Naebdy. She said, See so yir a big virgin lips then. ≈≈≈ Chris Rice went in a bad mood wi me. We wur walkin home fae school through the Robbie Park when he said, How did yi no jist admit yi wur a V? Ah said, Cos ah didnae know. He said, Wit? Ah said, Never mind. He said, Well noo evrubdy’s slaggin me an sayin ah’ve tae prove ah’m no gay. Ah said, Jist ignore them. Naw ah canny, he said, Cos they’ll jist aw keep hasslin me tae ah prove ah’m no. So wit yi gaunny dae then? Chris Rice pushed me intae the bushes. WIT THE… ah said, WIT YI DAEIN? Ma feet landet right in aw the muck an the leaves an ah wis tryin tae scrape it aff ma shoes before ma ma saw it an went daft, when Chris pit his mooth against mine an startet kissin me. He pit his airms aroon ma waist an ah jist stood there totally rootet tae the spot while he opent an closed his mooth lik a gold fish. Ah tried tae copy wit he wis daein wi ma mooth but ah gave up after aboot ten seconds cos he wis aw pure slevvurs, an ah still hud ma eyes open an that wis when ah saw Charlene an Laura Kyle an the lassie fae Charlene’s auld Regi class jumpin oot fae the bushes behind us. WOOT-WOO, said Charlene. Chris pult away fae me an wiped his lips an then he said, There ah did it. Ma lips felt aw big an wet an rubbery lik goldfish lips an ah could taste the Wrigleys chewin gum Chris hud been eatin. See, he said, Ah tolt yi ah’m no gay. WOOTWOO, said Charlene again, then her an Laura Kyle an the other lassie startet singin, Kirsty an Chrissie up-a tree-ee. ≈≈≈ Charlene said, So d’yi fancy wee Chrissie then noo? Ah said naw. No even ah wee bit? Naw. Wid yi get aff wi him again? she said. NAW. Wis he no a good kisser then? Charlene, ah said, Ah gie up talkin tae you. So see when he wis kissin yi, she said, When yees wur in the bushes? Wit aboot it? Did he try an slip the haun? Charlene, ah said, Ah’m no even listenin tae yi noo. Did he but? Ah jist ignort her. Ah bet he did, she said. Ah bet wee Chrissie tried tae… When ah saw Harpreet this mornin she said tae me, Is it true what ah heard about you an Christopher Rice? Ah said, Ah don’t know, wit did yi hear aboot me an Christopher Rice? She went pure bright red in the face an she said, So what was it lik then? Wit wis wit lik? ah said. What’s it like to kiss a boy? Harpreet, ah said, Did anyone ever tell you, ah said, That yir nothin but a big VL? Lynsey Calderwood 24

Pushing Out the Boat 9

Crow Feast The crow is eating his wife. She had bad luck on the road beneath their nest. He was always a chancer: fertilised her eggs, made a racket, squabbled with squirrels. Now his flint beak, bloodied with flesh and feather, sees off the vulturous seagulls. He flaps up and down as cars pass by. His children are dying high in the lime tree, eggs cold as marble. He will survive the summer, live off the corpses of winter. He cannot mourn. Gerard Rochford

Oot o a Bot’le Beneath the ocean sky stands a redhead, mesmerized by schools of wheeling starlings on a wild, synchronised romp, above the city’s spires. Two girls pass by, blethering. See at wifey’s hair, is at nae bonnie? Aye, Sharon. But it’s nae real. Nah, must be oot o a bot’le. Fit’s she starin at onywae? Their eyes follow the redhead’s gaze, she turns and smiles. Sharon looks to heaven: Birds! She wis starin’ at birds! Her friend pulls a face: Hey, wifey, get a life! Martin Walsh Pushing Out the Boat 9



Christine Spence


[Mixed media - old spoons with black & white copied photographs]

Pushing Out the Boat 9

Fairytale Ending

She thought she wanted a daughter white as snow, red as blood, and black as a raven. She was given only a counterfeit of herself. Or at least, that’s all she saw: her mirror-image glaring back as if at some wheedling, poisonous crone. She knew her powers would never hold that girl’s heart and she sensed, wandering somewhere out of reach, her wished-for perfect child. Too late, she saw how the wish had been granted twisted; saw the landscape under her window shimmer again as it had that bitter year. They had recreated it all between them. Cold. Injury. Claws. Judith Taylor

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Lean Times I walk the discoloured world like a bear unable to sleep for hunger unable to find sustenance under the white dust or the grey glass it turns to. Whoever brought this Calvinist cold, you can stop now: it isn’t making me better only blunt with rage and exhaustion as I stumble over my own tracks in the void again.

Ice Wind

What did you think? - by stripping everything down you would enrich it?

On a nor-easterly it comes, gathering like a foul temper.

Do you think those birds, fluffed out and tremulous on the end twig of starvation, are being cheerful in adversity? They don’t know how. And me, I’ll live. I always do. I’ll stick my head in the garbage at the back of your bright, insulated house; I’ll eat my own spoor; I’ll last this out, and see whatever worse time might follow it. Only now you’ve brought my anger down where you live, don’t please act surprised to see me use it.

That bastard ice wind, an angry spirit raging, armed with frozen flakes the size of silvered coins, thrown hard on stripped April ground. Harsh land where lambs try to shake birth slime clear from womb-snotted heads. Their flailing bodies should be licked, that life force triggered to flicker inside them; but these ewes stand like ashen fleeces on pins. This season they’re milk-less.

Judith Taylor

Fiona Russell


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Path seen on a Hill from a Train meek un-grassed beaten white by hooves paws and claws have signed on your humpback not even a thistle lives to unburden your travelers’ tales and none dare ask the sun sitting up so high above your smoldering meandering length there is nothing to break your silent impasse because the bells and flute songs are always always wind borne Rumjhum Biswas

Pushing Out the Boat 9



Neil Russell



Elizabeth Waugh 30

[lino print] Pushing Out the Boat 9

Good Friday at Graceland


harlene was positive that life’s memorable moments, those ones that almost always required thank-you notes, were far less dramatic than they were cracked up to be. Weddings, births and deaths were more expected than not, while those sudden moments of knowing it was time to dump a boyfriend or find a new job or change the batteries in the smoke detectors were the ones that proved to be more consequential. Sharlene had one such moment on Ash Wednesday when the Seniors arrived at St Anthony Center for her class in ballroom dancing. “Hey there, sweetie!” Sharlene called to each of them. “You ready for some romantic moves?” “You said it, darlin.” Mr. Halliday’s Old Spice preceded him through the door. “I got more romantic moves than you can handle.” Tottery Mr. Clemson leaned heavily on the arm of his plump wife. In spite of their good cheer, the dusty crosses on their creased foreheads affected Sharlene. Touched some part of her soul with an aching twist. A twinge that zinged around her brain until her mission became clear: she would make an Easter pilgrimage. She, Sharlene Lapidus, would return to Graceland to confront her past. “I don’t know, Sharlene,” said Patrice, her supervisor. “We’re awful busy Easter weekend.” “Not on Good Friday we’re not. Everyone goes to church services and then to the Winn Dixie to pick up their hams for Sunday dinner. I’ll be back in time for Saturday’s egg hunt.” “But what will I tell the board?” It was Patrice’s favorite ploy to instill fear and guilt. As if the board of directors cared. As if they had any clue who worked for them. “Tell them I plan to attend religious services myself.” It was as close to the truth as possible. Sharlene’s mama was no more encouraging than Patrice. “Just what do you think you’ll find in Memphis now, all these years later?” she asked when Sharlene dropped off her dog Rufus on Thursday night. Her mama knew nothing about Graceland and was instead referring to the time Sharlene was nineteen, high on love and chasing after Billy McCree. Billy was a musician, a fiddle player, no less, and he had promised her the world: a great job dancing in a club where she would be a star, a love nest where they could stand at the window and watch the moon floating in the Mississippi River, and himself. What more could she desire? Sharlene had gone to Memphis on the Greyhound with her go-go boots and her tips from waitressing, and for a while it was grand. “Well, Mama, I want to remember what I lost. So I won’t make the same mistake next time.” “What ‘next time’ do you expect at your age, Sharlene?”

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Good Friday at Graceland That was exactly the point. Time was bending away from the dancing girl in go-go boots and clingy dresses and edging closer to the stiff-jointed ladies who came to class in silk windbreakers and matching pull-on slacks. If another chance, even a slight one, came along again, Sharlene wanted to be certain she would recognize it and grab it up, clasping it as close to her heart as she could bear. “What about Dan?” Her mama offered Rufus a cracker topped with pimento cheese spread. “Dan is Dan, a good ole boy set in his ways.” She would have said more about Dan being too content to change, but she didn’t want to run the risk of hearing the ‘why-buy-thecow-when-he-has-the-cream’ speech. “I think I might need a change.” Dan himself was unperturbed by her plans. He would be bowling with the guys from work, he told her. Maybe having a few beers afterward. “You stay outta trouble now, you hear? We’ll go out to Vespa’s for Italian on Saturday, how’s that sound?” On Good Friday, Sharlene rose before dawn and danced around the kitchen in the dark. She pony’d into the stream of golden light slanting from the refrigerator’s opened door. She watusied as she made coffee. She shimmied as she packed a lunch of peanut butter crackers and celery sticks, three bottles of iced tea and a couple hard-boiled eggs, eggs originally destined for tomorrow’s egg hunt. She would be a calmer and wiser woman by then, cheerfully unloading cartons of dyed eggs for the Seniors to hide near the Child Care Center. She grapevine’d back down the hall to her bedroom. At least she had not caved in to Patrice’s pressure, and this trip, unlike all those trips she had considered before, was going to happen. By the time she hit Route 55 and headed north, it would be daybreak. By the time she reached Memphis, it would be noon and the Seniors would be eating their meatless lasagna, not in the least discomfited by the cancellation of Sharlene’s low-impact aerobics classes. She eased into her black leather slacks and slid up the side zipper in one go. She had not gained a pound. ‘A dancer’s body’, her mama always said when they went shopping together. She buttoned the black leather vest and stood sideways in front of the floor length mirror. Yes sir, this was the same body Elvis had seen all those years ago. She sensed he somehow knew that. The air was misty and cool, and the road, dark with dampness, was straight and reasonably empty. Sharlene tuned in the oldies station and recalled the time she and her girlfriends had made this same trip. Fresh out of high school, they had piled into Jo-Ann Beanland’s convertible and gone screeching up the highway with a six-pack, singing and hollering and hanging half out of the car most of the way to Memphis. Once they found Graceland, there was not much else to do but cling to the wrought iron gates, to trace their fingers over the musical notes and press their faces against the cold metal and hope something would happen. That Elvis himself would open that front door and saunter down the long, curving drive to say, “Hey, girls, come on in and see my Jungle Room.” Instead, they ate barbecue at a diner down the street and drove home with the top up, subdued, but satisfied.


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Good Friday at Graceland This trip would be a more solemn occasion. Elvis was dead, after all. Sharlene didn’t dispute that. Cut down in his prime before she could dance her way back into his life again. The sun came out suddenly, glinting off the blacktop and into her eyes. Maybe the black leather would be too warm after all, but it was her best outfit, and Elvis deserved her best, which was certainly a far cry from what she had been wearing the night he found her. She crossed the border from Mississippi to Tennessee and felt her heart lift as high as it had all those years ago in Joanne Beanland’s convertible. In mere minutes, there were highway signs for Graceland. Then she was swinging off the interstate and winding her way down Elvis Presley Boulevard. And there ahead she could see Elvis’s jets, Hound Dog and the Lisa Marie. She parked and stretched, fixed her hair and put on fresh Tango Berry lipstick, which was close to the frosty tangerine shade she had worn with her go-go dress. She tugged her black leather back into place and followed the signs to the visitor center. She waded through a busload of Seniors to reach the ticket counter. ‘Welcome to my world’, Elvis sang over the PA system. “Reservations?” asked the uniformed girl from behind the grilled window. “I’m not with a group, sweetie. I’m here all on my own.” “One minute please.” The girl shifted out of sight. Making reservations had never entered Sharlene’s mind. Had she taken a day off work and driven all these miles to be turned away? She longed to rest her head on the stark businesslike countertop. ‘Are you lonesome tonight? Do you miss me?’ “Which tour would you like?” The ticket girl was back. “Graceland.” Sharlene felt faint. “The mansion tour?” The girl started pressing buttons somewhere beyond Sharlene’s line of vision. “What else is there?” “We have the Elvis Presley Automobile Museum, The Airplanes Tour, and our Sincerely Elvis museum. We also have our Platinum Tour Package which includes all the attractions.” She gave it some thought. The Platinum Tour was tempting, but her time was limited, and she was already wearing down, becoming a rag doll who had taught three aerobics classes in a row. “The Mansion Tour.” “You will be in Tour Nine, which leaves in approximately a half-hour.” ≈≈≈

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Good Friday at Graceland Sharlene had been on stage dancing her heart out the night Elvis came into The Shadows, a club in ‘the shadows’ of the Peabody Hotel. Her dress was a mere slip covered from its very low top to its very short hemline in fringe - iridescent fringe the same green as Easter basket grass - that shimmered and shook with her every movement. The club was so dim that its patrons were visible only as disembodied faces hanging above the pizzasized tables, but she saw Elvis’s entrance as clear as a sunrise. He was at the center of his entourage, a tightly wrapped group whose movement created a ripple effect in candle flames and wavering faces as it crossed the room. She was dancing to ’Wild Thing’ when those men flowed through the audience, and she threw herself into overdrive, her arms pumping, her fringe shuddering. Even in the darkness, she could decipher the outline of his dark cape and his wraparound sunglasses. Later, when the note came to the closet-sized dressing room, she recognized it as genuine. “His boys are waiting for you in the side alley,” her boss told her, “but you have one more set to dance, so don’t go running out on me.” ≈≈≈ Tour Nine, when it was called, consisted of four retired couples and a half-dozen women close to her mother’s age and dressed alike in jeans, loose, western-style, embroidered shirts. One woman wore a back brace and carried a cane, as if she had come to Graceland for a miracle cure. Sharlene lagged behind, adjusting the player and earphones that were apparently a major component of the tour. The shuttle bus, the same model St Anthony’s used for its Seniors, crossed the highway, entered the gates and drove up the curving drive. It stopped at the front door for them to alight like invited guests. A stylish woman greeted them and then proceeded to confide how Elvis bought Graceland and its 14 acres in 1957 for $100,000. She spoke as if that had been quite a good deal way back then but, personally, Sharlene thought Elvis had been taken. She herself had paid $35,000 for her own house 20 years ago and, while it wasn’t Graceland, it was in a better area of Pinewood Park. The woman swung open the front door and waved them into what was a cozy kind of house with average-sized rooms. Sharlene could easily imagine herself sitting there on the piano bench next to Elvis or floating down the curved staircase in a sequined gown like the one Priscilla was describing into her ear at that very moment. She would have sat at the dining table every night with Elvis and his boys; she would have cooked up some middle-of-the-night hamburgers or stuffed a turkey or done most anything in the kitchen, a familiar, larger version of a dozen kitchens she had seen before. Going into the basement with its carpeted walls put Sharlene in mind of the Beanlands’ rec room, but the Pool Room resembled a perfectly folded chintz fan. The pool table was as out of place there as a claw-head hammer in a lady’s sewing box, but the Jungle Room was another story entirely. Reverently, Sharlene paused opposite the chaise lounge covered in wild animal skins, a perfect backdrop for her own black leather. ≈≈≈


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Good Friday at Graceland On that night the note came to her dressing room, Sharlene was a free woman, a young girl really, with the world at her feet. And Elvis himself was waiting for her. Even so, she stayed to finish her last set. As if dancing at The Shadows was a stepping stone to Broadway. As if there would be a million other chances to be spirited off to Graceland. She had done what she thought was right, but in the years since, Sharlene grew to understand that fate turned on a dime. Had she broken her commitment to The Shadows and gone into the alley with her note clutched in her hand and her Easter grass dress shining around her, she might well be mistress of Graceland today. ≈≈≈ Now Sharlene found herself in the Trophy Room, where bits of Elvis’s music played in chronological order as the crowds inched forward, lingering at every photo, every gold record, every damn trophy. The heat of the room, the theatrical tone of the recording, and the crush of bodies heavily scented with Shalimar and Chanel took its toll on Sharlene’s patience, and she pushed on down the entire hallway of gold records to the display cases of clothing. Beside each outfit was a photo of Elvis wearing the exact same thing. She recognized the spangled, fringed and wide-belted jumpsuits, and there, ahead on her right, was a plain black jumpsuit draped with a shiny black cape. It could be the same black cape he had worn into The Shadows. Is that what she had expected: a photo of Elvis sidling into a Memphis bar to watch her dance? But the accompanying photo showed Elvis with President Nixon, of all people. She hurried past the rest of the display, past the garish, polyester concert costumes, past those people who continued to plod along mutely, faithfully following the player’s recorded timeline. Sharlene was certain none of these folks had ever had as close an encounter with the King as she had; none of them, it was obvious, had aged as gracefully as she had and none of them, she wanted to scream, had missed as great an opportunity as she had. Sharlene could have easily stepped into the empty space Elvis was trying to fill with his string of starlets and beauty queens. She liked a good time as much as anyone else, but she had a practical nature, a sense of commitment that he would have recognized as exactly what he needed. She wouldn’t have let him die alone on the floor of his bathroom. She was a light sleeper after all, and she knew CPR. Had she gone with him that night at The Shadows, the course of history would have changed drastically. It was the strongest belief she held. Outside, breathing deeply, Sharlene pulled the headphones away from her ears and let the recording run on; she was too far ahead of it now to matter. She turned into the Meditation Garden where the Presley Family graves lay in a semicircle. She drew close to the wrought iron fence. ‘Elvis Aaron Presley, January 8, 1935 - August 15,1977’. Was that right? Elvis was over seventy? Detecting a change in the recorded voice, Sharlene repositioned her headphones to hear Priscilla describe August 15, 1977. Just another day in the life of the King, who was up all hours with his boys, playing racquetball, singing hymns at the baby grand, going to bed in the wee small hours, and then, inexplicably, dying. Nothing about the drugs that supposedly killed him, nothing about the poor girl who, when she realized he was missing from his bed, was unfortunate enough to find him cold on the bathroom floor. Not even a mention of her name. As if she had never existed. As if she had never been with Elvis.

Pushing Out the Boat 9


Good Friday at Graceland Sharlene took off her headphones. It was time to go home. What else did she need to know? Elvis was a Senior Citizen, seven years younger than her mother and ten years older than Dan. Had he been anyone but Elvis, he could be in one of her classes at the Center. He could be another Mr Gianelli, Sharlene’s favorite, who often stared into space, wondering how all those years of his life had led him there to weave strips of colored raffia into placemats. Or how, perhaps, he had missed the chance to die young and live forever. Had Sharlene done things differently, had she gone with Elvis all those years ago and become the mistress of Graceland, her life would not be much different than it was today. Cushier, maybe, but essentially the same: she would be taking care of Seniors. Instead of Mr Gianelli and his poker buddies, Sharlene would be encouraging Elvis and his boys to stretch, to stay limber, to keep moving. She would be hovering over them in the kitchen to supervise their snacks. She would be listening to their tales of life on the road, their conflicting recollections of practical jokes and wild parties, hijinks and groupies. She would be flirting with them, calling them pet names, pretending she just might go out with one of them behind Elvis’s back. She would make them all feel good. At the edge of the Gardens, Sharlene stopped before a graceful statue. The figure was Jesus, not crucified, but alive and standing at the foot of a very large cross. He wore one of his flowing robes, his arms outstretched like a dancer’s and his face peaceful. Two angels with feathery wings knelt at his feet. Their hair was in ringlets, their hands prayerfully pressed together, and their eyes raised in adoration. Why bless their hearts. How nice for them to know they were finally in the right place at the right time. Sara Kay Rupnik


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A Sort of Myself Crushing worlds between The sweat of my hands I sit, looking Within a view myself a view of sorts Whistling the tunes of Those crushed worlds, but Not the notes Tasting a fighting breath On the curl of my tongue I sit, listening Within a silence myself a silence of sorts Hearing the blows of The sea against the land, but Not the punches

Mother’s Lace She twists a scrap of Mother’s lace fingers thoughts against patterned clouds bends storms around a helpless moon a window, her troubled world.

Needing my own fists For a million reasons I sit, plotting Within a storm myself a storm of sorts Chewing the words of A pointless argument, but Not the thoughts

She boils a song in constant cups knits prayer in a heap at her side kicks exhaustion into dark corners an unopened door, her uneaten meal.

Painting life and love Into the corner of a smile I sit, becoming Within a moment myself, a moment of sorts Finding the calm of A plausible sanity, but Not the peace.

She wears a colourful sigh around her neck stabs a reluctant friend into conversations watches a distant sleep for children a crashing sea, her heartbeat. She beats a lifetime of boots from rugs flags dust in pursuit of shelves scrubs the pain from an empty chair a silence of deep questions, her Man. She slashes the fog with her tongue curses the waves and ungrateful years slams the faith of dogged expectancy an empty beach, her church. She soaks a scrap of Mother’s lace wipes despair from practiced eyes smiles a widow’s gratitude a black dress, her heart. Bernard Briggs

Pushing Out the Boat 9


Scunner in the Gallery


olk fairly eest ti look forrit ti ma accompnimints, ivvry time anither diffrent een, ay, ae time it mith be ‘The Quine Fae Ipanema Slightly Oot o Tune’, ti complimint a fyow wee dellykit watteryculleries, or next up mebbe the Gallery wid hae a show o black an fite foties, nostalgic kine, an a wid liven things up be giein a bittie o boogie woogie some wellie in the backgrun. Aabiddy likit it, cis fanivver a startit layin ma healin aal hans on the keys, they aa aye clustert roon the picters at thi tither en o thi gallery, faar a sippose th’acoustic wid lend a kinna mistiness ti the soon. Bit richt aneuch it wis a bit o a scunner fan wi heard they wis gyan ti shift the Hospittle Art Gallery awa an pit in a MRI Scunner instead o’t. We aa suppos’d, though, Foresterhill is efter aa a placie for Health Care mair nor fit it is a Arty venyoo. An onywye, aabiddy kens at i Hale Buddy Scunner wis invintit in Aiberdeen. Ken? It his a muckle mugnet in’t at maks slices oot o yer intimmers jist like a butcher’s baconer, tho mebbe nae sae tasty, an sine taks mair picters thin a quinie at a hen-perty. An so, av coorse aathing hid ti shift, thi hid ti kerry oot aa them pintins at hid bin in o i store for ages, an tho some wis nae bad, some wis gie skeery kine and some jist nae mous avaa, as i aal fyokies eest ti say; an sine as weel wihidti cuncel oot a curnie o artists at hid arranged exhibeetions, tho they wis affa gweed aboot it, mestly. Bit the Art Pianna, ken iss, wi forgot aa aboot it. Left er in aneth the stairs far shi aye eesed tae bide, nivver mine fit the Health’n’Safty hid said aboot er bein a fire risk. A hiv ti admit tho the pianna wisna the only bigeck. Cis fan the mugnet cam aff the larry an in throwe the door, wi hid ti saw oot the posts, an fin it wint inti the scunner shassie it wis a helluva ticht pinch - a some doot wi’d ordered a bigger een thin hid been specifeet. Bit a jist thocht, ach, naebiddy’ll notice, fit wye wid thi? Onywye, iss is fit happent. Cam the day o the Gran Openin o the New Scunner. Aa the hoy ollygoy wis air, an as ae mannie said, ere’s mair o’m than ye mith imagine, in aa ther finery, aa sittin on ther weelupholstert doups pretennin ti claik knowledgeable aboot is an at: weel weel Sir Graeme, foo’s yer neeps deein is ear, ay yer mejesty, a sippose the price o ile wid be a bit o a bugger fin ye’ve si mony rooms ti heat - ken fit like. Some o’s wis prisintit ti the Jook, an he says ti me, “Weel weel, ma mannie, an fit div ee dee?” Ken is, a’d haen sic a day o’t an sax or sivven hunner jist like it affore’t, at a jist stare’t at im for a meenit or twa, ower lang onywye, cis ees special booncers gied me a bit o a special look o ther ain, finnin aboot in er trooser pooches and seemin nae aa that pleased ti see ma ether. The Jook’s een kina frostet ower an aff e jookit doon the line, an a man say e misst a richt gweed bit o a crack wi masel. Onywye, seen cam the moment aabiddy hid been wytin for.


Pushing Out the Boat 9

Scunner in the Gallery The Queen skirls oot in a hich vice, “Noo than, loons an quines, wir ower the meen idday, ti declare is Scunner open, an God bless aabidy, at’s scunnt in o’t.” Shi gies a muckle reed button a dunt, an thi scunner maks a lood girnin humm, wi fruntic lichties blinkin aa ower. A mim wee cheer gangs up fae some o thi hoy ollygoy, bit seen aabidy faas kin’ o silent, cis a winlin o rick wis creepin oot fae aneth the cryo-unit, an we cid hear an affa queer kin’ o a soon – kinnoa squeaky jummly-jangly vibratin grummlin. We aa lookit roun ahinn o’s, an a gasp gid up. Richt doon i middle o thi congregation, the aal irin-fram’t pianna hid been summon’t be thi muckle mugnet o wir scunner, an ’twis rattlin doon on’s squeaky wee brassycasters stracht for the podium, jist lik a glaikit boy racer makkin for i Memsie Crossroads. Spik aboot E equals MC squared, iss wis a helloa lot mair like F sharp mayjer, allegro con brioche inti thi bargin. The Queen wis pu-pu-puuin at i stringie cis thi wee curtanie wis stuckn, fan aa o a sudden shi kinna jaloost things werna jist richt ahinner, an turnt roon. “Watch oot, yer mejesty,” eejackylaytit thi Provost. “O me, O me!” cries a pucklie perfessers - first time they’d ivver agreed on onythin. “Eooogh!” squeaks thi Queen. Bit it wis aa ower late. There wis a muckle twangin thrummin crash, as a irresistible force cam across a VIP. Thi Queen gid erse ower tiara. Pianna keys took aff is wye, bonny hattie yon wye, widden splinters aawye, an si mony diminds wis scaylt at a couple a disteenguishtlookin aal docters wis seen scrabblin on i grun efter’m in aneth thir cheers. Er wis a respeckfae silence. E Provost wis fobbin lik a fat kittlin, an be thi time e ivintually fun ees vice it wis lik an aal hennie at’s been aa o a sudden nabbit fae ahin be thi new rooster. “O michty,” e quavers ti i heid bummer o i Burjessies, “A doot wi’v squished i Queen!” Hmmff. A steekit ma knivvs, an sine a shiel’t in ma yird, an efter at, wi ae swack loup a wis be thi aal buddy on thi grun, faar ti improve metters a startit ti mummle, “Faa widda thocht it, faa widda thocht it?” An sine a gid er a gweed bit o a dicht wi ma hunkie ti tak aff some o thi stew. A wis jist startin ti think aboot moo-ti-moo resuscitatin er, fan shi opens er een an says, wi a bit o a crochly lach, “Weel weel, ma loon, iss is near-aneuch waar than i Blitz. An a wis nivver aa that keen on Moze-Art neether.”

Pushing Out the Boat 9


Scunner in the Gallery Losh, bit a wis richt gled at a’d changit ma hunkie twa-three months afore! Ay, at’s foresicht aa richt, an verra fyow o’s hae’t. Hoosomivver, a strippit sootie did minshin later on, ower i wattery an waach tae an scones, at dichtin the Queen wi a hunkie wis a clear breech o thi prottycol o 1253, La Rain Bool-Versy, Dichter Non, an they div say ther mith be a gweed fyow knichthoods nae handit oot in Buchan an Strathbogie for a filie, if nae langer. Weel, noo the stew’s settlt, an it’s pintless ti be aye pickin at thi skurl. Marita’s learnin ti mak brose, altho ye reelyantrooly canna get the richt kinna meal in Venezuela. Files a get oot ma keyboord doon at the caffie, an fan Marita’s spikkin ti thi maraccas, a gie them aa a bittie breenge throwe the Maxixe. The locals aye show ther appreciation wi yon thing they dee – rollin ther een up an stickin ther knivv doon ther thrapple. Thi div seem a happy kin of fowk, jist aboot ivrybiddy a meet smiles an lachs oot lood. O michty aye, a’m as poplar as ivver. An lang mayt lest. Donnie Ross

Heirloom It sits on my windowsill, waiting, empty jug with frilled rim and bulbous feet; dark green glass, glinting in the winter sun. It sat on her windowsill, bunched full of snowdrops, green and white innocence, still life perfection in a kitchen of happy chaos. Now snowdrops clump the wood; the jug is filled to the brim with her. I am a child again, in awe of their beauty and her unfailing faith in springs to come. Eleanor Fordyce


Pushing Out the Boat 9

Winter Lights Within You say: it’s so dark and driech here so far north so far away. I say: but let me show you the soft gentle darkness of my street in mid-winter. We can walk past tea-time scenes behind a shifting tracery of branches. There’s my neighbour waving to us from her golden doorway a moment’s greeting before the clicking lock returns her to the warmth of the fire. Here are roses blooming in the stained-glass windows: curving leaves that twine and glow within frames of curving granite. And can you see, along the terrace, the delicate chain of lamplight? Its pattern, pinned to earth, is echoed by the stars. Where I lived before this it’s true that dusk came later but for all the winter daylight there was darkness in my heart. Christine Laennec

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Greylags Wi oot flaa wrocht frae ae piece o seamless silk the loch an sky Abuin a raggit skein dwindles tae a raw o buoys oan the tidal licht knirls tae beads lowse oan a string Ahin at illusion’s rim it rins the fabric like ae bruken threid syne invisible. Alexander Lang


Pushing Out the Boat 9

Last Journey Home (In memory of my grandfather, Oswald Kunzlik who inspired this story)


t was near impossible to move in the crowded train carriage; every seat was taken, and huge bear-like men stood crammed in the aisles. Oswald got a few dirty looks from the towering figures as he pushed his way through but, as an eleven-year-old with an angel’s smile, he got away with shoving past. He had struggled halfway up the train when he spotted a small, child-sized space in between two large suitcases on the floor. He leapt for it and curled up as small as he could, hugging his legs tightly to his chest to stop his arms from shaking. Deep breaths Oswald - in and out, in and out. He’d never disobeyed Mother before, not ever. But this wasn’t technically disobedience, was it? Mother had never specifically told him not to get on a train back home, so he wasn’t breaking any rules. Right? He clenched the thick material of his coat in his fists and closed his eyes. Mother was going to be so angry. He shivered a little, despite the oppressive heat of the carriage. Mother was a calm, placid woman, softly-spoken and gentle with all people, rarely perturbed, never losing her temper. But if anything could make her blow up, this would be it. Oswald bit his lip, suddenly rethinking his plan. But it was too late now. He was on the train and moving further away from Pilsen by the second. Mother wouldn’t be happy, that went without saying. But this was a crucial task; she would understand. She was the one who taught him that school was the most important aspect of his young life. And the one thing he had forgotten was the one thing he needed - his school reports. He knew exactly where they were: he could visualise them in perfect detail sitting nestled in the little wooden box at the bottom of his wardrobe. All he had to do was get the train to Staab, walk home, collect the reports and catch a train back to Pilsen that evening. Simple. Except it wasn’t. People kept looking at him strangely, making him shrink further back into his corner. Rather than risk meeting anyone’s eyes, he looked to the floor. It was a dirty brown colour, with clumps of dust collecting in the corners and along the edge of the wall; trampled sweet wrappers lay despondently in the aisle and between people’s feet; cigarette ends stood like tiny tree stumps under chairs, with black ash delicately swirling around them. Gradually Oswald tuned into the conversations around him. The woman diagonally opposite was going to see her grandmother in the village just before Staab - she was talking excitedly about it with the man by her side: she told him that her Oma made the best sponge cakes in the world, try one and he’d never want to eat anyone else’s cakes ever again. Oswald chuckled to himself. Liar. Mother made the best sponge cakes ever; she was renowned in Staab as the best cook for miles around. Stupid woman, telling lies to her boyfriend. The men sitting on the seats just to his right were discussing something about the Sudetenland, something about Henlein and Hitler and the Nazis… Gott in Himmel! His heart skipped a beat. Henlein and Hitler and the Nazis? That didn’t sound good. He looked around nervously. No-one was looking at him. No-one he could see anyway. His heart was thumping in his ears.

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Last Journey Home Black. White. Red. Everywhere. Everyone in the carriage was wearing it, that armband emblazoned with the black, pointed swastika. Mein Gott!. He had got on a train full of Nazis. This was very bad. Total furchtbar! The Nazis were the reason he and Mother had left Staab in the first place. The Nazis were the reason Father went to protest meetings and came home with a black eye and a bloody nose. The Nazis were the reason Father had been called up to the Army, in case war broke out and the Czechoslovakians needed to fight against Germany. And now he was on a train full of them: full of Nazis who would happily shoot him if they realised Father’s allegiances. Being the son of a man who spoke at Anti-Nazi rallies and helped protect German refugees escaping the regime would definitely not go down too well, he was old enough to realise that. If anyone spoke to him he’d have to pretend to be one of them. Pretend to be a Nazi. His mouth curled up in disgust. Pretend to be one of them after they’d forced him to run away from home in the dead of night and leave his books and his friends and his Oma… ≈ ≈ ≈ He hadn’t known they were going to leave. In fact, the first Oswald knew about it was at the dinner table, halfway through eating his stew, when Mother told him to pack some clothes in a suitcase because they were leaving in the middle of the night. It had something to do with the Nazis, that much was clear. Everything had something to do with the Nazis these days. He had heard his parents talking about it before Father was called up to the army. The reason for leaving, which wasn’t fully explained to him, also involved a Chamberlain (whatever that was) and meetings in Germany that Czechoslovakia hadn’t been invited to. It had been mentioned briefly at school, and all the adults talked about it when they thought he wasn’t listening. An hour later, at just 8 o’clock, he was in bed with the curtains tightly closed to stop the light of the sunset streaming through onto his wall and keeping him awake. However, even in total darkness it was still difficult to sleep: too many thoughts raced around his head. How could he sleep, knowing that right now Mother was downstairs packing up all the belongings she dared take and that tomorrow he would leave this house never to return? He didn’t even know where they were going - Mother had ended the conversation with “We’re leaving early so get as much sleep as you can.” He could read her moods well enough to know not to ask any questions. She was tired and worried and didn’t need Oswald asking things she couldn’t tell him. Perhaps they were going to find Father. Mother had said he was due in Pilsen within the next week, and that was only a few hours away on the train. Or maybe they were going to Prague! Tante Maria had visited last year with stories of her trip to Prague: boat trips along the River Vltava,Vyšehrad castle and the Nové Město with Wencelas Square. It sounded beautiful, and much more fun than Pilsen.Yes, Prague was probably where they were going


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Last Journey Home after they found Father. After all, Father was interested in politics and the capital was where everything political happened! Oswald smiled and sank further into his quilt. Prague would be good. He could picture it exactly, Tante Maria was so good at describing things. Father said she was a born storyteller... He remembered none of this when he was pulled out of bed at three in the morning by Mother, who looked as though she had not slept at all, and warned not to put any lights on and to wear as many layers as possible. Drowsy and disoriented, he took twice as long getting dressed as normal, particularly as it was pitch black in his room even with the curtains open. Clouds covered the moon and there were no street lights in Staab. He stumbled downstairs in the darkness and sat eating bread and cheese in the dark kitchen with Mother standing over him, concern radiating from her features. The second the last crumb was in his mouth she shepherded him out of the house into the pre-dawn morning. The heady smell of dewy grass and fragrant flowers overpowered him as he stumbled outside into the cold air. He could just make out a small horse standing in the back yard, tethered to a rickety wooden cart filled with what looked like quilts and sheets. Oswald stood in a stupor, very confused. They didn’t own a horse. Or a cart for that matter. “Herr Salz has given them to me,” Mother said by way of explanation, her accent more prominent than usual over the familiar German words. Oswald frowned. Herr Salz? As in, Herr Salz, Father’s boss? Why had he given them a horse and cart? Mother gestured to Oswald to clamber up onto the cart, which he did, too confused to do otherwise. Was he still dreaming? He lay on the soft down bedding and felt his eyes start to close. He couldn’t even feel the hard floor of the cart beneath the quilt, it was so thick and comfortable. Mother began to tie the tarpaulin down over the cart. Before she fastened the last corner she reached in and hugged Oswald tightly, kissing him on the forehead. “Everything will be good soon,” she promised. She handed Oswald a heavy bundle wrapped in soft grey cloth and looked at him, though he could hardly distinguish her expression in the darkness. “For emergencies,” she said. She looked as though she wanted to add something else but decided against it, and lowered the tarpaulin. In the total darkness that now enveloped him, he reached out blindly trying to work out what Mother had packed. The two suitcases were by his feet but he could feel nothing else around him. Nothing. There was just the bed linen and the heavy bundle Mother had given him. He shuffled into a more comfortable position and pulled a pillow under his head before contemplating the heavy bundle. Should he open it? Would Mother be cross? He bit his lip as he considered the ramifications of unwrapping the bundle. No, she wouldn’t be cross, he decided firmly. She had said it was for emergencies but he wouldn’t be able to use it unless he knew what it was. Yes, he convinced himself, he should open it. Eyes finally adjusting to the darkness under the tarpaulin, he unwrapped the thick cloth and let the contents drop out onto his left hand. It was metal, he knew that immediately. Cold metal. It was a funny shape too, rounded at one end and in a sort of L-shape... Mein Gott! He dropped it onto the linen like it was on fire, and held back a scream. Pushing Out the Boat 9


Last Journey Home A gun. His mother had given him a gun. A gun. A real, loaded gun. Oswald’s heart pounded out a war rhythm in his ears and his breathing grew ragged. Mother hated guns. Hated them, hated fighting and violence. She called herself a Pazifistin, a pacifist. If she had given him a gun... He swallowed nervously. They were in a lot more trouble than he had thought. As it turned out, the gun was an unnecessary precaution. They weren’t stopped or searched and no-one asked any questions. In fact, the only voices he heard during the whole trip was a man calling a Czech greeting to Mother and Mother responding in kind, her voice strained and pitched higher than normal. Oswald kept quiet, hardly moving the entire trip. He kept the gun wrapped up in the cloth and within arm’s reach, though he tried desperately not to think of it. He drifted in and out of sleep, hardly aware of what was real and what wasn’t. Even when he thought he was awake it was difficult to tell for sure as he dared not move an inch or breathe a word. Dreams started to dance in front of his eyes: dreams of Mother shooting a gun at a man wearing a swastika armband, blood pouring out of his chest; sometimes Father was there in his army uniform, sometimes he wasn’t and Oswald knew he was in a Nazi prison. In one dream bullets rained down on the three of them as they hid behind the cart together, and he could hear strange unearthly cries coming from around them, the cries of the dead reaching up to claim three more bodies for their own. He woke up sharply. For a moment his dream seemed real, as rain beat down on the tarpaulin like a shower of bullets and the wind screamed through flaps in the material. Deep breaths. It’s okay. They were still moving, he could hear the steady clapping of the horse’s hooves on the road. The cart swayed gently, like Oswald imagined a boat might as it drifted across a wide ocean, with water splashing on the deck and the cries of seabirds in the distance... He didn’t wake again until Mother pulled back the tarpaulin and gently shook him. He was dazed by the bright glow from the street lights above him and his legs were stiff and uncooperative when he tried to clamber down off the cart. His stomach hurt. He was thirsty. His head hurt. When everything was off the wagon and the horse untied, they were led into a dim but warm apartment by a man Oswald was quite sure was Herr Salz. What on earth was Herr Salz doing in Pilsen? He looked from Herr Salz to Mother in confusion, but received only comforting smiles from them both. They ate a sparse meal of overcooked fish and undercooked potatoes and only had water to drink, but it was heaven to Oswald. He felt like he hadn’t eaten in days, or weeks even, and gulped down the food. After eating, Mother set up the bed linen in the corner of the room, close to the fireplace. “We may not know where we shall sleep every night,” she said with a smile, “but at least we shall be in our own beds.” Oswald said nothing. It sounded like they would be moving around a lot more in the next few weeks and he wasn’t sure if he liked the sound of that.


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Last Journey Home It was only when, an hour or so later while searching for his book, he realised his school reports were missing. He checked with Mother but she didn’t have them either. Oswald sat in silence, willing away the burning tears that were stinging his eyes. He couldn’t breathe. No. They couldn’t have left the reports behind. He needed them. They were important. What if he wasn’t allowed to go to school because he didn’t have those school reports? He wanted to cry, he wanted to curl up in a ball and cry his eyes out. But he couldn’t. He couldn’t do that to his poor mother, who had walked all day in the rain, on dirt roads and stone-strewn paths. She looked tired, and much older than her forty years as she sat by the fire with a glass of beer, the amber liquid glowing gold in the firelight. He couldn’t worry her like that. No. She must not know how upset he was. But he needed to get those reports. He changed quickly for bed, and curled up with his back to the rest of the room. Obviously he would have to return to Staab. The fastest way there and back would be by train, and he knew there was a direct train from Pilsen that passed through Staab. He would have to get up early before Mother awoke, and he’d need to take some money to pay for the ticket. He knew where Mother put her money, so that was fine. He smiled to himself. Excellent. Now he just had to hope that he would wake up early enough in the morning. ≈≈≈ It took a good few hours to reach Staab from Pilsen and the second the train pulled to a halt, Oswald leapt off ahead of the Nazis. He kept his head down as he scurried out of the small station, avoiding everyone’s eyes and their enthusiastic greetings of “Heil Hitler!” He barely looked up as he moved swiftly through the familiar streets of his little hometown. He knew the place blindfolded and it didn’t take long to get home. He crept in through the unlocked back door and ran across the room and up the stairs, taking them two at a time. He darted into his room and flung open the heavy wardrobe doors. There it was. That little wooden box, made by his grandfather as a birthday present, lying there innocently waiting for him. He picked it up carefully and, as he did, a smile spread across his face. Perfect. He glanced over his room once more before leaving, shutting the door behind him. He would never return, he knew that now. He didn’t exactly feel sad about leaving home for the last time. It was a strange feeling he had, but it wasn’t sadness. He felt like he was looking at a house that belonged to someone else. They had only left yesterday but there was already a strange emptiness, a lack of life to the place. There were no pictures on the walls, nor fresh flowers on the windowsills. There were no shoes by the door and the stove was cold and empty, something Mother never allowed. It was home, yet not home. Familiar, yet distant. Oswald didn’t like it. It made him uncomfortable. He shut the door carefully behind him as he left the house. Auf wiedersehen.

Pushing Out the Boat 9


Last Journey Home He returned immediately to the station, clutching the box in one hand and his train ticket in the other. The train wasn’t due for some time so he spent the remainder of his money on two apples from the small kiosk, and found a place to sit on one of the rough wooden benches situated across the platform. He bit into one of the apples. It was much too sweet for his taste, and his face wrinkled up as the sickly juice ran out into his mouth. But at least it was food. Beggars can’t be choosers, as Father once told him. Was he a beggar now, he wondered? When the train finally rolled into the station, steam billowing out the front carriage, Oswald had finished both apples and had been kicking stones about on the platform for what seemed like years. He jumped onto the train and quickly found a spare seat which he pounced on. It seemed the journey out of the Sudetenland wasn’t as popular as the journey into it - the carriage was barely half full. He collapsed onto the worn, slightly stained seat and breathed a sigh of relief when a woman without a swastika armband sat down next to him. It was turning dark again as the train pulled into Pilsen. Oswald got off slowly, breathing in the crisp, cold air. He hugged the box with his school reports close to his chest as he made his way towards the station’s exit. He was about to walk off the platform when a sudden shout made him stop. “OSWALD!” He turned swiftly to look behind him. Mother was running towards him, her hair flying out of its normally impeccable bun. A smile lit up Oswald’s face as Mother came closer and finally enveloped him in a tight embrace, whispering worried words into his ear. She was shaking, he noticed, and suddenly he realised how scared she must have been for him. She had known there would be Nazis in Staab. She had known the danger. She hadn’t been angry as he had feared, she had been terrified. But now he was safe. Herr Salz was out looking for Father every day to stop him going home to Staab: he would be instantly arrested, Mother said. He didn’t know they had come to Pilsen. She hadn’t told anyone and hadn’t risked writing it in a letter to Father’s regiment. Once reunited they might go to Prague, Mother said. Or England. Or even Canada. Oswald liked the sound of Canada. Hannah Kunzlik (Aged 17) Joint Winner of Young Writer Award


Pushing Out the Boat 9

Networks, San Gimignano

David Pettigrew

[multi media print]


David Pettigrew

[water colours]

Pushing Out the Boat 9


Wee Small Hours The wee small hours; I return, to this cavernous collection of walls, floors, ceilings and trapped dreams. The sun, having slid off the horizon, as talk rolled off our tongues is long forgotten, an eternity away from the veiled landscape surrounding this house and the black shroud of silence that is draped over me, a pure and incongruous layer of peace. To describe this house, any day of the year is not to scribble a sketch of calm, of quiet: uproar prevails, yet is quashed as it appears. A child; two, three, racing, shooting, killing, getting back up again in games of endless rebirth around the house. A vase fractures, splitting into countless shards. She swoops, finding the guilt, as a hawk its prey; the punishment is swift and merciless. Tears, a protest, she does not waver: I am simply glad it was not me. And then, I am noticed; she frowns Where is the milk? I told you to fetch milk. I turn around, no tears or protests. I fetch the milk. And so this peaceful, empty air is unexpected, a surprise; I don’t know this house to be silent. This is a rare occasion: me coming home in the wee small hours. Rooms empty, lights off: another house. I am offered a slate wiped clean, by this new, midnight solace. Here, I am not a father or husband, she doesn’t have and hold me, for richer, for poorer. I am alone. The possibilities of the darkness lie in wait, for me; I am a dancer weaving a magical story with my arms and my legs. I am a lover romancing in gentle candlelight. I am an artist, brushing the stroke that will complete my masterpiece. I need not love and cherish in sickness and in health. A hundred million fantasy worlds for me to conjure in this twilight house where I reign. Yet my reality is tucked upstairs in bed till death do us part. George Hardwick (Aged 17) Joint Winner of Young Writer Award 50

Pushing Out the Boat 9

Human Pollution

Watch out! cried the seagull, his leg stuck in a can, they’ll spoil your day! Get away while you can, hollered the crab, his back legs trapped in a bag, get out of the way! Be careful! yelled the shark, with no dorsal fin, cut off by some nerds. Help! screamed the baby polar bear, then splosh and those were his final words. Guessed who I’m talking about? See what’s happened to the ozone layer? We are destroying our planet. Where did your last fish and chips go? It’s becoming a habit. So fly away seagull, scurry away crab, swim away shark. But as for the baby polar bear, well, that’s in our hands.

Fraser Cowie (Aged 10) Joint Winner of Junior Writer Award

Pushing Out the Boat 9



Dasha Vyhnalkova

[digital photo]

Jars 018

Christine Spence


[mixed media - collection of glass jars with black and white photocopied photographs of people suspended within by black string]

Pushing Out the Boat 9

Life A budding plant, in the first breath of spring, breaks though the soil to decorate the ground. Tender green stem and fresh dewy petals, it gazes at life. Growing, growing, growing reaching out its roots, searching and feeling for nourishment and love. This new-born plant has blossomed into a flower... It needs more room growing, growing, growing. Summer fades, as does the colour when the sun droops in the sky, along with the leaves. Green stem, frail and fragile going, going, going falling over in winter’s winds, Santa Reparta frozen grey and solid. With each frosty breeze the petals pile around a worn stalk, I know of a place, under the ground, dropping its last seeds where the smell of dust and dirt is old gone. and in the ceramic detail, laid into the floor, there has been laid a story. A story of a king, a peasant, a priest holy and condemned have walked this path I walk now. The altar still bathed in its ancient glory, echoes of Italian sermons haunt the air. Histories of past marriages, christenings, cremations... A graveyard in this place of life with every rotting brick comes a memory that is not mine. They are forgotten. Camille Conner (Aged 15) Joint Winner of Young Writer Award

Pushing Out the Boat 9


Cosmology Come, stretch out your fingers, grasp in your hands the fate of us warm your toes by the sun and your nose by the stars. Drape the planets about your neck, one thousand stunning jewels. So close, you hear them… Each small sigh stabs at your very heart, your Milky Way veins yearn to respond. Take a seat, take in the view one thousand little lives spiraling down your back. How beautiful! Your new décor… Move your feet from the hearth cover your silky soles in a slipper of myth and legend yawn and rearrange your gems. Their insignificance is curious, glamorous and superficial. Who are you, to take diamonds so seriously? The starlight flashes into your eyes, from each facet, onto your ebony skin easily blocked, shaded away from your clear iris by a careless hand. Whose fingers dip into the galaxies from time to time? Swirling around random little lives? Why, yours of course! These slender extremities that mingle with the stars, poking and prodding absentmindedly. oblivious to the specific colors, you admire the pattern each swirl makes in your glass. Camille Conner (Aged 15) Joint Winner of Young Writer Award


Pushing Out the Boat 9

Sing To Me Woes and worries are floating away wisps of words glide on the wind my toes are wound up in the warm, white sand and the water welcomes me in Come along, come play! it whispers with glee Run... And jump! teases the sea Let go! Join in! It’s time to be free! the ocean sings to me. Camille Conner (Aged 15) Joint Winner of Young Writer Award

Pushing Out the Boat 9


Moorland Form

Lisa Gribbon 56

[etching/toray and chine colle brown and black]

Pushing Out the Boat 9



arooz always was a curious boy. Always he would be out there in the yard with his telescope or skulking in his bedroom, preparing delicate glass slides for his microscope (50X magnification).

He might have been a doctor or a cosmographer. Through his eyepiece you could discern - he would show me when I attended to him - the hairs on the leg of a housefly, the scales on a moth’s wing or - in the chill of midnight and a power-cut - the rustiness of Mars, the dry desert of the moon. He was always looking deeper that young man, always trying to magnify his way towards the truth. Of course he had night-vision glasses when you searched him. It was natural that he would want to see. John Bolland

Platform 04

Callum Kellie

[photograph and sculpture]

Pushing Out the Boat 9


Urban Shaman In the tropics of London you get jungle, up here it’s forest thickets. This was wildwood, then stumpland, now a tangle of streets, but I never lose my way on the spirit journey. A canopy of low rise roofs blur into distance, overtopped by emergent tower block pines. No trance state is needed when discarded flyers curled up at the edges like autumn leaves litter the gutter, and dotting stone pavements are lichens of chewing gum. I can read this language, trace the ancestral essences. The road is a watercourse sploshing with car engines to be forded at traffic lights. No moss grows on the north side in the plantation of council flats, but satellite dishes all point south-east. I will never lose my way. Rapunzel Wizard


Pushing Out the Boat 9

Doing Penance


oodrow eased himself off the Fourteenth Street bus and hobbled towards Jimmy’s 24-Hour Diner. The early morning air still had a chill in it and he pulled up the collar on his oversized khaki jacket. He knew if he got to the restaurant before the morning crowd, Mr. Jimmy would have a hot cup of coffee and a warm honey biscuit wrapped in tin foil waiting for him around back. “Good way to start the day,” he muttered, imagining he was talking to the new kid they let in the shelter last night, the one called Mama’s Boy. “I got me a sweet deal with Mr. Jimmy,” he advised Mama’s Boy as if he were walking next to him. “He give me food in the morning and let me use his bathroom, if I don’t mess with his customers.” After Woodrow used the toilet, one of the kitchen staff brought a to-go coffee and a foilwrapped package out to the loading dock. Woodrow sipped the still-steaming black coffee and unwrapped the foil with the anticipation of a child tearing into a Christmas present. Sometimes, he’d find a few strips of crispy bacon or a sausage with his biscuit. This morning a slice of well-salted ham awaited him. “Oo-wee,” he sang. His body tingled as he bit into the meat. He would have done a little dance, but he knew he had to save his energy for the day’s work. “My dancing days be like yesterdays,” he explained to Mama’s Boy. “They ain’t never coming back.” He wiped the crumbs from his face with the back of his hand and smiled. “Mr. Jimmy a good man.” He spoke softly, so only Mama’s Boy would hear. “You find a friend like that, you respect him. You hear me?” After finishing his breakfast, he threw the foil and cup into the green dumpster and, without saying a word to anyone, marched down Fourteenth Street until he could no longer see Jimmy’s. “Well, boy, time I got to work. Now you just stand back and watch how it’s done.” Woodrow walked up to a well-dressed man carrying a briefcase. “Beautiful morning, sir. You got any spare change so I can get me some breakfast?” The man reached into his pocket and handed him a couple of quarters before hurrying on. “Thank you very kindly,” Woodrow shouted back. He turned. “See? With a man in a hurry you get right to the point. But always find the time to be polite. Never know when you gonna get return business, know what I’m talking about?” The next few people turned Woodrow down, avoiding eye contact. “That’s all right. I figure if I collect on one person in five, I be doing fine by time night comes. The important thing is to stay calm. You lose your temper, you no good to no one.” Just then, one of his regulars approached him with a crisp dollar bill. “Always good to see you, Woodrow,” the middle-aged woman said.

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Doing Penance “Yes, Ma’am. And bless you.” He turned his head to speak to Mama’s Boy. “See how being polite pays? That’s what I been telling you.” Woodrow felt his mind drift while continuing to approach people. He stopped thinking about Mama’s Boy and let his thoughts wander to Woody, Jr. He must be nearing thirtyfive, he thought. Probably got a whole herd of kids by now. Sure would like to see them. For years, he imagined meeting Woody in the street. They’d recognize each other instantly and hug like no time had passed. Woodrow wiped his eyes and approached a woman carrying a cane. She raised it slightly as he neared. He nodded, flashed his smile, and walked on. “You got to know when to back off,” he whispered. “No good comes from scaring folk, especially women. No good at all.” He thought of Mama’s Boy at the shelter last night. The kid looked so skinny you could almost see right through him. He twitched and shook, like he was either drugged out or so scared he feared someone might steal his pants right off him. “Seen that happen,” he said aloud. “They stole the pants right offa some white boy while he sleep on his cot at the shelter.” He shook his head. “Ya got to sleep with one eye open, boy. That’s for sure” He remembered trying to warn Mama’s Boy to get a cot near him, as far as he could from the one they call Mojo Man. But the boy laughed. “You want me sleeping near you, Gramps? I ain’t that way.” The boy left with Mojo, didn’t even stay the night. Probably out cattin around and gettin high. “You got to work smart if you want to make it, boy.” He recalled saying those exact words to his son once. Woody Jr didn’t listen either. Woodrow hobbled after a young couple walking hand-in-hand. He spoke to the man. “You a lucky one. I had me a good woman once. Now she with Jesus.” He lowered his eyes. The young man tried to look away, but his girlfriend whispered, “Give the poor man some money, baby. I feel bad for him.” Woodrow accepted a handful of change, offered thanks, and turned to Mama’s Boy. “You see what I mean by smart? Never talk direct to the lady if she with a man. You don’t want to seem threatening.” cont/ 60

Pushing Out the Boat 9


Dasha Vyhnalkova

[analog photo]

Pushing Out the Boat 9


Doing Penance The afternoon sun warmed the air. Woodrow wanted to take off his jacket, but he didn’t have any place to put it. Besides, he feared he smelled bad being out in the sun all day. He hoped the jacket might cover the odor. He approached a bearded man in jeans. “Excuse me, but I wonder if you could help me out this fine afternoon?” Reaching into his pocket, the man gave Woodrow a quarter. Woodrow looked into the man’s face and smiled. “Now I offered you a chance to feel good about yourself. Surely that’s worth more’n two bits?” He laughed, as did the man, who took out his wallet and handed him a couple of singles. “Now that’s what I’m talking about.” He conjured up Mama’s Boy once again. “You got to size ‘em up, you see? Some folks need what I call follow through. You can see it in they eyes. But be careful. You got to know when to lay back.” Self-control, he thought. It took him a lifetime to learn it. As the day progressed, Woodrow tried flattery: “That sure is a beautiful child you got there, Ma’am;” patriotism: “I served my country in Vietnam;” and the direct approach: “I need just two more dollars for lunch.” When he guessed it was about two o’clock, he stopped at Krispy Kreme, where his friend, Alice, always let him have doughnuts from the morning if he bought coffee. She knew he liked the jelly-filled ones. After he ate, he joined her out back for her break and bummed a cigarette. One smoke a day is all he allowed himself. “Too expensive a habit,” he told Alice. “You should quit.” “You’d have to buy your own, then.” He smiled “What are you saving your money for?” she asked Woodrow. “I got plans,” he said. After finishing his smoke, he excused himself and used the bathroom, washing his hands and face thoroughly. Taking a pack of gum from his pocket, he split a piece in half and popped it into his mouth, chewed rapidly, and spit it into the garbage before saying goodbye to Alice and returning to the streets. “It’s important to smell good,” he advised Mama’s Boy. “If you smell like a ashtray, folks won’t want to go near enough to you to give you they money.” He approached a few people before receiving a handful of change. One person who refused him, lectured him about getting a job. 62

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Doing Penance “Yes, sir,” he said. Woodrow continued explaining his philosophy to Mama’s Boy as if nothing had happened. “No booze when you working. Folks smell alcohol, the money stop rolling in.” Woodrow tried recalling how long it had been since he’d gone to an AA meeting. Didn’t seem worth it any more. For over a year, he had gone three times a week, Monday, Wednesday and Friday, and church on Sunday. That was after Sissy had left him and took Woody. He even got a lawyer to try to let him spend time with the boy. But she could never forgive him. She wanted nothing at all to do with him. He didn’t fault her. It wasn’t the booze or the drugs that caused his craziness, no sir. It was him that beat her so bad, she had to spend near a month in the hospital. The boy stayed with her mother. He tried speaking to Woody, but Sissy’s mother would hang up on him. When he called Sissy at the hospital, she’d do the same. She couldn’t forgive him and he couldn’t forget. As bad as she hurt, she had refused to press charges. But when she got out of the hospital, she took Woody and moved in with her family. She didn’t care how many meetings he went to or how much he apologized. Probably the smartest move she ever made. He sent her money for more than a year, but he had used his savings for the lawyer and then he lost his job at the plant. He spent most of the next two decades in an alcoholic haze, sobering up in jails and shelters before returning to the streets. That was before he made his plans. Now alcohol had no hold on him. And he worked sun up to sundown, like a righteous man. When the streetlights blinked on, Woodrow felt his pockets full. He’d keep what little he needed for bus fare and supper at the church, and give half of the rest to Pastor Jerome as a donation. The remainder would go into a savings account with both the pastor and Woodrow’s names on it, so neither could withdraw the money without the other signing for it. Woodrow had already made out his will, leaving his savings to Sissy and Woody. The pastor promised he would find them when the time came. It was starting to get dark and the chill had returned. “That’ll do,” he told Mama’s Boy. “You don’t want to be on the streets when the crazies come out.” Woodrow walked slowly towards the bus stop, feeling alone for the first time all day. Although the street was crowded with people, he approached no one. He wondered if he’d see Mama’s Boy at the shelter. Maybe tonight he could talk some sense into him. Wayne Scheer

Pushing Out the Boat 9


The Past is Another Country a man in the other room is making a man-sized box very intensely with pungent glue and a delicate hammer he’s from Chile she said had to leave at very short notice back in the old days left the family dog out in the street I drink tea from a naked woman beaker she says don’t call it a coffin you’ll only upset him she translates he says he took the wood from an old skip in faltering English he breathes everything… is made… from nothing… Knotbrook Taylor

Enchanted Forest

Emily Fraser 64

[digital illustrations, produced by scanned papers and textiles]

Pushing Out the Boat 9

stone circle burial mound standing stones henge (secrets concealed)

ploughed lines planted seed waving wheat hedge (at the edge of the field)





arc of time ritual of the seasons

arc of sky ritual of the seasons

place of work place of worship


jacobitesjacobitesredcoatsredcoatsredcoats jacobitesjacobitesredcoatsredcoatsredcoats jacobitesjacobitesredcoatsredcoatsredcoats jacobitesjacobitesredcoatsredcoatsredcoats jacobitesjacobitesredcoatsredcoatsredcoats jacobitesjacobitesredcoatsredcoatsredcoats jacobitesjacobitesredcoatsredcoatsredcoats jacobitesjacobitesredcoatsredcoatsredcoats jacobitesjacobitesredcoatsredcoatsredcoats jacobitesjacobitesredcoatsredcoatsredcoats jacobitesjacobitesredcoatsredcoatsredcoats jacobitesjacobitesredcoatsredcoatsredcoats jacobitesjacobitesredcoatsredcoatsredcoats jacobitesjacobitesredcoatsredcoatsredcoats jacobitesjacobitesredcoatsredcoatsredcoats jacobitesjacobitesredcoatsredcoatsredcoats jacobitesjacobitesredcoatsredcoatsredcoats jacobitesjacobitesredcoatsredcoatsredcoats jacobitesjacobitesredcoatsredcoatsredcoats jacobitesjacobitesredcoatsredcoatsredcoats jacobitesjacobitesredcoatsredcoatsredcoats jacobitesjacobitesredcoatsredcoatsredcoats bitt e r Neil Russell

t e asr s

Pushing Out the Boat 9

‘The Battle of Culloden’


Dark Orange Light standing in the cold dark orange light eyes to the ground then upwards to the steamed window hazy with breath blurred with tiny drops of moist diamonds written into backwards for all to see standing in the cold dark orange light I Love U and it’s neat and it’s clear rounded off with two smiles standing in the cold dark orange light one in the moist one on my face Jill Henderson

Hibernacle This word was born wearing a black pork pie hat in More Tomorrow, Belize. It has the smile of a boll weevil, the mind of a carnival geek, and the eyes of an arrogant baboon. Its parents are Mae West and Andy Warhol. Its laughter is pure peroxide blonde. David Kowalczyk 66

Pushing Out the Boat 9

Duffhaven Darts


ert hirpled intae the bar o the Duffhaven Airms an collapsed in the aul cheer he aye kept at the back o the bar. His bunions were stounin fae his ticht funeral sheen. The march ahin the coffin tae the kirkyard, follied by his unseemly rummle doon Shore Brae efterwards, hidnae helpit, but he kent fit punters were like - nae loyalty tae the howff that sheltert them. He’d shut the pub oot o respect tae Janet, but if it wisnae open seen, the vratches wid drift aff somewey else. Richt enough, JC’s shadda, his heid, in its unfamiliar black hat, still noddin forrit as if he wis plooin the pavement, wis aready passin the windae, an wi his mucker Alfie nae far ahin. Bert hid been jist in time. Wi’oot utterin a soun, JC slowly hotched his bulky erse on tae his favourite stool. He wis quicker tae swipe a nip gless fae Bert’s tray on its wey past, but Alfie, roostin in his usual corner bi the fireplace, wisnae sae lucky an hid tae glower at Bert till the barman reluctantly slid een alang the coonter. “She wis a fine quine, wis Janet and a damn good worker ahin the bar, unlike some.” Alfie took a ticht grip o the gless in case Bert changed his mind - efter a, it wisnae aften ye got onything free in the Duffhaven Airms. “She wis that.” “Tae Janet,” muttert Bert, takkin a wee sip o his fusky an shudderin. His usual tipple wis milky tae. Fusky didnae agree wi his belly. “Christ, he must hae been smitten wi er efter a.” JC liftit his dram an nodded tae the ceiling. Na, it wisnae at streak o misery ahin the bar at hid kennt fit wis the richt thing tae dae. Hoosebound though Maggie Watt wis noo, Bert’s mither’s name wis still above the door o the Duffhaven Airms. “Aye an she didnae hae her sorrows tae sikk. Big Zander, her neebour - mine he eesed tae drink in here wi her excuse fer a faither - tellt me eence at summin nesty hid happent fan Janet wis a quinie, likely efter her puir mither deid, an yon soor-faced besom o a sister took ower the hoose. Mabel wis aricht wi the loons, but Janet wis a bonny bairn an hid blue een like her mither’s that were aye lachin an fu o fun, naethin like her sister, fa hid a gley ee an hid tae wear yon National Health specs. Wi Janet, Mabel wis as coorse as cat’s shite. “Efter at, it wis as if a skin hid grown ower some hurt at didnae heal, but still festert awa inside. Her faither wisnae much eese, he wis aye fond o the drink an spent mair an mair o his time in here. He wint senile in e hinner eyn an jist sat sliverin intae the fire. Fool aul brute. “Janet ran wild in er teens, aye the first tae tak a dare, the only quine tae jump aff the quay, tae smoke, tae chick e teachers. She wis still bonny but her face grew harder an her een lost at sweet look. At a Toon Hall dunce, she met Andy West. She’d been swiggin vodka fae a bottle Bert here hid nicked fae ahin e bar o the Duffhaven Airms. Tryin tae impress her, nae doot.” Pushing Out the Boat 9


Duffhaven Darts “Fit wis at?” Bert scraiched. “At’s a load o lees, ah nivver...” JC ignored him an cairriet on wi his story. “His mither kent fine, an he wid pey fer it later, but it wis a fer naethin, Janet wisnae interestit in oor Bert. She couldnae keep er een aff the fisher proppin up the wa. Ower drunk tae stand, but nae ower drunk tae try it on, a tall, licht-haired Viking like his ancestors, sailin doon the firth, lootin, pillagin an takkin the pick o the quines. She wis pregnant at sixteen, mairriet at the registrar’s an Mabel sniggerin at she wis gled tae get rid o er. But then naebody wis ivver feel enough tae mairry Mabel. “Andy wisnae bad tae her, but there were times, mebbe frustratit wi tryin tae get through tae her, that he wid gie er a richt dunt. Ye ken yersels that Janet aye held hersel back, as if it wisnae her life; kine o lookin oot at fowk fae far awa in anither place, or throw een o thon distortin fairgrun mirrors, as if it wis naethin tae dee wi her, even her bairns. Fower roch loons she hid; only the aulest, Dod, wis, fer a wee filie, able tae reach throw an touch her - an, weel, he’s gone an a.” JC pulled oot a big fite hunky, gied a snocher intae it an began again: “Fan Andy wisnae at the fishin - mine at wis the days the boats could be oot three days an back wi a sma fortune in fish - he startit tae spend mair an mair time up at the golf course an in the hinnereyn he left her fer thon bold tart at workit in the bar in the club hoose. Efter Dod left the skweel, Andy fixed im up wi a berth on the Mizpah. Janet wisnae pleased, but fit could she dae? It wis fit Dod himsel wintit, like a the loons his age. Couldnae wait tae leave Duffhaven High an awa tae the fishin, syne buy a funcy car an spin roon an roon Duffhaven, showin aff like a the rest o the loons. “But on is first trip the Mizpah wis owertaen bi a storm in the Pentland Firth. A steelhulled Aiberdeen trawler cam tae the rescue, but the cook tellt me later at Dod froze, ower feart tae jump, an afore the skipper could haul him aff, the trawler wis spun roon bi a muckle lump o watter an it smashed the widden Duffhaven boatie tae smithereens. “The middle twa loons were buggers o hell, expelled even fae playgroup; but then it wis mair serious stuff an the polis were comin tae Janet’s door. Ah’m thinkin mebbe at wis their wey o tryin tae get throw tae their mam. The youngest een spent mair an mair time wi his faither an his funcy wumman in the posh bungalow Andy hid built at the tap o the brae an Janet wis spendin maist o her time on her ain in the hoose. At wis far her pal cam tae the rescue. Mo’s a lassie at takks life bi the scruff o the neck an shakks it intae shape an she tellt Janet aboot a job goin in the fish-yaird far she works; but even she wis surprised fan Janet said she wid gie’t a go. An a few months later, she cam in here on a nicht oot wi her mates - mine at, Alfie? We couldna believe oor ears fan Bert pluckit up the courage tae ask if she micht be interestit in workin wikkeyns as a cleaner an barmaid. Ye shoulda seen is face fan she said aye. But she fair kent hoo tae haunle Bert. She said she hid a lot o practice fan she bade up the road fae him an fan she wis in is class at Duffhaven High.”


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Duffhaven Darts “But I wisnae the only een,” Bert butted in. “You eens didnae ken fit hit ye.” “Aye she hid a sharp tongue richt enough,” Alfie said in admiration. “Mine, the bar coonter wis polished within an inch o its life. Ye coulda aten yer denner aff it. An the glesses gleamed, nae a fingerprint in sicht, nae like fan ye were in charge, an she could pu a far better pint an a. Even yon black hole o the Gents didnae escape.” “An ah’ll nivver forget,” said JC wi a sleekit smirk, “thon day fan the pub wis busy an Bert here couldna cope an wis shoutin an sweerin fer Janet tae cam an serve an stop the skivin. She cam through fae ben e hoose wi a face like thunner an yelled that mebbe she wis workit like a horse, but she wisnae gaun tae pish like a horse!” “At fairly shut im up. Ah lauched as much ma ribs wis sair.” Alfie grinned at the memory. The ootside door banged an fower ither mourners cam in: twa burly black-clad mannies, weel-aff lookin, an twa young loons. “Ah dinna recognise at twa,” whispered Alfie. “Her breethers. They wint awa tae Aiberdeen tae work on the ile rigs. The ithers are...” “Her sins, a richt pair,” Alfie feenished the sentence. “Ah heard they’re aff tae Aiberdeen an a, tae bide wi their uncles. Best place for em.” But they jist lookit lost e day. Een o them pickit up a dart lyin on the table an flung it halfheartedly at the board. It skittert aff the wire an landed unner JC’s stool, fleggin Bert fa wis offerin the tray o nips tae the breethers. But there wisnae the usual ragin; instead Bert pit doon the tray gently. “Ye ken, I’ll nivver forget Janet’s darts match.” He leant on the coonter an lookit roon the bar, noddin tae the fite-faced loons staunin bi the windae. “Ah admit ah wisnae keen fan yer mam an some o her pals startit comin tae the Airms on a quaet nicht durin the wikk. Even fan JC pintit oot at they were bringin in plenty siller - the fishin wis daein affa weel an the fishyairds wis peyin the workers a bliddy fortune - ah didna like weemin in the pub. Cleanin an washin e glesses is aricht, at’s fit weemin dae, but tae hell wi em on the ither side o the coonter, orderin up daft drinks. They jist cause trouble an pit the punters aff. Maist men come doon here tae escape the wife’s naggin. It’s aricht fer JC, he disnae hae een. But Janet an Mo an Betty fae the baker’s jist cairriet on coming. Bunch o brazen hussies, I thocht. “It wisnae lang afore they pickit up a set o darts an hid a wee game atween em, skirlin an lachin fan the darts didnae hit the board an een skitit past ma neb. The Duffhaven Airms did hae a men’s darts team, at played ivvery Tuesday nicht in the winter, but as lang as the weemin avoidit at nicht, they werenae bathered, maist likely didnae even notice. JC an Alfie hid the neck tae jine in, fair trickit wi a this female company fer a change an pullin ma leg fan I complained.”

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Duffhaven Darts “Ach they were a lot better lookin an they nivver girned like you.” “The darts match wis Mo’s idea. She’d heard a wifie fae Banff at workit in the fish sheds spikkin aboot settin up a weemin’s team an wis ower makkin arrangements afore ye could blink, though I kennt Janet wisnae sae sure. She said I widnae approve o mair strange weemin in the Airms, especially yon toffee-nosed fowk fae Banff. “Tae ma surprise Janet took tae the darts nae bather. She said she likit the cool heft o the arras atween her fingers an the thrill o throwin em, nursin em tae the target. Efter a bit o practice, she could even hit the doubles an trebles she wis gaun for - an better nor I could. Fan she wis cleanin afore we opened on a Sunday, we’d hae a rare news and she tellt me she’d even hid a shottie wi her loons’ aul dartboard fan they were weel oot o the road. Aye at’s richt lads, ye micht weel hae een like sassers; yer mam said ye’d nivver believe it efter the ragin she eesed tae gie ye fer makkin hunners o holies in yer bedroom door. I couldna get ower her spikkin tae me like she hidnae deen since we were bairns. Even fan she wisnae feelin great - an ere wis times ah sa her doublin up wi cramps in the belly - playin darts seemed tae calm her doon, gied er summin tae takk her mind aff ony troubles. Onywey, eence ah heard er tellin Mo, fa wis worriet aboot it tae, at she couldnae be bathered gaun tae the new Health Centre, as it wis cried. Aul Doctor Shearer kennt fit wis wrang jist bi lookin at ye, she said, but the new young doctor spiered ye up hill an doon dale an still didnae get tae it. An then her face wint like ice an she changed the subject, wouldna spikk aboot it ony mair.” “Weel we a ken fit it wis noo,” sighed JC. “On the nicht o the darts match they were a there fine an early an Betty fae the bakers brocht a tray o fine pieces - fer the interval, she said tae oor amusement. As a van drew up in front o the Airms, Mo, fa wis the captain an wis gettin real flustert, rushed aboot shoutin last meenit advice aboot fit she ca’ed psychological tactics, fitivver they were at hame. But she seen shut up fan a crood o blokes shoodered their wey throw e door, roarin, ‘Richt, at’s us. Hey, far’s yer team?’” “Oor team? Oor team’s staunin ower ere!” Ah said. “Wid ye like a cake?” “Mo wis fizzin tae start wi, blamin the wifie fae the fish sheds gettin it a wrang, haverin aul biddy at she wis; but then she startit tae see the funny side o’t an thocht they micht as weel gie’t a go. The men werenae convinced tae start wi. Ae bloke wis glowerin at the weemin as if they’d deen it deliberately tae takk the piss oot o em an wis fer gaun hame tae Banff, but the van wis awa an fan the captain sa a the funcy pieces, he thocht it wid be guid fer a lach. He said the mannies’ teams only offert greasy sassidge rolls fan they played an it’d be worth it fer the straberry tarts, an he nudgit JC, fa pretendit nae tae see the joke.


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Duffhaven Darts “Janet - yer mam - could dae nae wrang at nicht. Ivvery arra she threw struck the board bang on far she wintit it tae ging. The weemin mebbe werenae gaun tae win in the hinner eyn, but they were haudin their heids high an it wis far fae the walkower the men thocht it wid be - an me an a if the truth wis tellt. Janet wis their star player an in the final game, she took on thon dour bloke at hid wintit tae ging hame and hid spent the hale nicht nae spikkin a word an glowerin at a the quines. He wis a guid player, but he wis at rattlit that Janet kept pace wi him a the wey, he made a pucklie mistakes fan he reached the doubles at the eyn o the match. On the ither haun Janet nivver battit an eyelid. Wi her first arra she hit saxteen instead o double saxteen richt on the wire. The team were haudin their breath, willin her tae win. She missed a thegither wi her second dart. JC wis clutchin his pint in baith hauns an prayin an I pokit anither hole in the dish cloot. Ah’m tellin ye, the real Janet wis ere at nicht,” Bert whispert, minin the quinie wi the licht in her een, fa hid been lost tae Duffhaven lang lang ago. In the quaet bar fowk weyted fer Bert tae finish his tale. “But Janet’s third dart hit the board smack dab in the middle o double eight. Fer the first time in mony a year ah saw her smile an fer a minty it lit up the hale bar. She’d won. Ah we heard wis the door bangin shut ahin her opponent.” In the Duffhaven Airms naebody spoke. The door swung in the win as if somebody hid jist left. The men lookit doon intae their nips an mourned Janet. The loons grat quaetly fer their mam. Nae the thin-lippit wumman they’d jist beeried afore her time: she hid taen sae little pairt in her life. They thocht o the quinie wi a glint o the sea in her een at hid eence ruggit at the hert o Bert the barman. A quine ran blithely doon Duffhaven brae, shoutin a greetin tae the win, afore loupin the greysteen herbour wa far the pewlies pipit laments. Bricht hair streamin, she flew up the saltscoored sky, far the hamefarin sun reelit in its cloudy nets, an sailed oot ower the sklinterin waves o the firth forivver. Linda Smith

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Street Light Aurora, Dundee Not quite the Northern Lights, not even close, but more a stain across the sky the shade of orange that requires a mother’s spit to rub it off, the ferrous bilge that sometimes spills from fishing boats, and, though it lacks the sulphur smell its shade evokes, you can imagine that its taste is copper coins in sweating palms, the sickly wooliness of fairground candyfloss. Strange then a pilot on the evening flight might view that curdled air and think of home: fooled by the glow of warmth implied by its corona, or that here, across the Tay, our gaze is drawn towards the haze above Dundee: the brackish smirr that forms when night collides with city, light with dark, so, stars are forced to navigate the stain, drop anchor in the skies above the Carse. Heather Reid


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The S Word I know the S word, our youngest child said, coy between a story, supper, bed. Which S word would that be? We feign to guess: salt, perhaps, or seaside, maybe Shrek? He teases with a snakelike, hissing S and then an E, repeated, Eh, Eh, Eh. Oh, Sellotape, we jokingly suggest, or could it be sedation or select? But it seems the word is sex – a bigger boy, had told him, in the park, beside the swings, and I picture how that stubby, spiky word had passed between him and my youngest son, slippery and new within his hands, a sweaty baton, eagerly passed on. So what is sex? We ask our little boy, and suddenly he knows he’s gone too far and squirms between my arms - he isn’t sure and, satisfied, we whisk him up the stairs to safe routines, the kissing of stuffed bears, the care of teeth. The S word waits downstairs - a hand grenade a dangerous device in little hands. We place it on a shelf too high to see, and then return, to tuck our baby in, aware, with some regret, the time will come, he’ll reach for it and want to pull the pin. Heather Reid

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Momadu and the Sardine Fishers


am Momadu. I am ten. I live in Goderich village. Me fadda tell me dis de biggest fishin’ village in all de contry. Fish’men dey are comin’ here from far an’ wide. We get Temne, Susu, Mende, Kroo an’ Bullom men, bot de most plenty are de Fante people. Dey are comin’ from Ghana in de dry season, when de sardine com close to de beach. Never you see soch black black men. Som de elders dey say dis people bring bad magic, dey steal we fish, dey steal we titties1. Bot me fadda, him tell me dem jost jealous because dem better fish’men. Me fadda say: “We Temne people, never we fish dis sardine before de Fante com, always we are fishin’ bonga.” Dat what we Temne people lek. Meself I de lek couta2, de flesh him sweet pass all. Me modda she get good coppa for dis fish. Even de whitemen com here to buy um. I want to be a fish’man. Me modda say I must go to school, bot I no de lek! Mr Ibrahim, he beat me too moch. Him say: “Where you’ mind boy? You never pay attention, you always dreamin’! If you no listen, you no learn. If you no learn, you no get work.” What him sabbe? Him no sabbe not’ing. I am not stupid, I will go to sea. Me fadda say always there is work for good seaman. When she hear dis, me modda, she de vex too moch: “Why you go encourage de boy lek dat? Him jost end op anodder no-good black-arse fish’man lek him fadda.” “Who you callin’ a no-good black-arse fishman? You get a wicked tongue, Susu woman!” De both of them dey are shoutin’; dey have big palaver, den me fadda grab me modda, give um big kiss. Him winkin’ at me. Modda start to laugh, den we all laughin’. De storm don pass. Me fadda t’row me coins. “Momadu, go buy two beer, de cold one from Ma Conteh. No com back too quick.” Door close behind me. In de hut I hear um say: “Now, what dat you say about me black arse, Susu woman?” Modda giggle. Dem grown-up people, dem always havin’ fon! ≈≈≈ Me fadda get t’ree wife. “Plenty problem!” him say, bot still him laughin’. Me modda, she de yongest one. I tink say him de lek her de best. Him say: “Dem Susu women, dey de best lookin’ ones in all de world. Allah, him bake dem jost de right colour brown, lek we Temne people. Dem black black Fante women, Allah don bake dem too moch. As for de white one, dem no baked at all.” Me fadda say we must pity dem. Ev’ry day me fadda bring home fish, bot him no stay ev’ry night. Some time him go to de hut of de second wife, Fatima. Dat one she get a tongue. Me modda say dat tongue so sharp you could fillet a bolo-fish3 wid it. When she get me alone, Fatima tell me: “Picken of Susu woman no good.” She say I bad. “Casilla go com ‘cross de water for you when de night black an’ no moon in de sky.” She frighten me. Fadda say we must be kind to her she don loss two picken4 to de fever when de rains don com, now she barren woman. But I no de lek um!


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Momadu and the Sardine Fishers De first wife, Okrafa, she bigger dan me fadda. She get plenty picken wid um. She always laughin’ an’ jokin’. She gib me good chop when I go visit; sometime she gib me pig trotter, I de lek too much. Ev’rybody love her, dem say she wise woman. When she look me in de eye, I t’ink say she see ev’ry blessed t’ing in there. When she cottin’ fish wid de big cleaver, I am glad I’m not dat fish. When she dance to de drom beat, ev’rybody want dance wid her. ≈≈≈ Ma Conteh, she live odder side de village. I must cross de beach for dem beer. She get a big fridge dat woman, never we see one here before dis time. Dey puttin’ in kerosene lek in we own lamp, but I no sabbe how dat liquid make de cold in de one an’ de light in de odder. Dat a pow’ful magic dat! Me fadda, him say: “Sardine pay for de fridge. Dem Fante men dem de lek cold beer too moch!” Me, I t’inkin’: What about mi fadda? I de lek dis time. Dry season don come, him bring small wind. I can hear him whisperin’ in de palm. Him make de water dance an’ de fish swim close to de land. Wah! You hear dat? Coconut done drop to de sand! What happen if dat bin fall on me head? Dey say it can kill a man. Better it fall on Mr Ibrahim! I go cot um for de milk. It’s a hard work dat. I must cot off de flesh wid me cotlass. I give pow’ful blow, lek me fadda don show me. Dat’s a good one! De milk run cool down me t’roat. No com out Ma Conteh fridge dat one! Allah be praise for dat. When I leavin’ de palm shade, de sand hot too much. I must ron to de water. Look at dem crab scatt’rin’, dem ronnin’ lek de wind, never I catch one. Always dey fly down dem black hole onder de sand. If you wait, dey com out, slow slow. First is comin’ de eyes - on sticks! Den is comin’ de body, same same colour lek de sand. Dey always watchin’, always ready to ron. Now me feet is in de water; dat feel good! I follow de line where de waves is breakin’, ronnin’ away when de big one com, lek dem small bird dat com here after de rains don don. “What you lookin’ at, Momadu?” “Eh, Kwame you make me jomp!” Dat me fren. Him a Fante boy, same age lek meself. He been gon long time. “When you don com back?” “Jost I com. Sardine is ronnin’, tomorrow we go fish Turtle Islands. Why you no com wid os?” “Eh, Fante man, you no get school?” “What use school for fish’man? Dey teach you catch bonga? Dey teach you catch sardine?” “Dey no teach me not’ing. Bot Mr Ibrahim, him beat me plenty if I no go. Me modda she go vex wid me, maybe Casilla com for me dis time.”

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Momadu and the Sardine Fishers “Wah, Temne boy, you frighten too moch. Who dat Casilla anyway?” “You no sabbe Casilla? You no hear of dat white devil? He cross de water, take we black people in de night when we no get moon. Dem people never com back again.” “Dat an ole titty tale! We get dat same devil, we call um Kumdumbwe, bot no one believe dat no more. Anyway you no get eyes in you’ head - you no see de moon las’ night?” “Never mind de moon las’ night, what if cloud cover him? Casilla him see ev’ryt’ing, him wait his time.” “Momadu, you get a big imagination. I sabbe fine you want com. I see it in you’ eyes. I go com for you before son op. If Casilla com, him take we both!” ≈≈≈ After me fadda don lef an’ me modda put out de lanten, seem lek I no sleep at all. Outside in de night droms are beatin’ late; den I hearin’ only dem big boy frog callin’ dey girl fren’ in de bush. All night dey croonin’ above de slow beat of de sea. Sometime me modda, broddas an’ sistas make small cry in de dark. I pray to Allah dem no go wake op when Kwame com for me. I list’nin’ for de first cock crow. Kwame say dat go be him. I prayin’ Casilla not waitin’. You hear dat? Dat a crazy Fante cockerel dat, he go wake op de whole village! I creep small, small to de door. I open um, door creakin’ bad, me heart beatin’ lek a drom. “Dat you Momadu?” I jomp! Dat me modda. Watin I go do? “Yes Ma. I go pee pee.” Outside there is big moon... t’ank God! Night is full of shadows. Where dat Fante boy? Ah ha, I de see um. He t’ink say de palm tree hide um, bot I see him robe flappin’ against de sea. Den I’m ronnin’ crazy ’cross de sand lek dem ghost crab. Him make anodder cock crow, den him ronnin’ to catch me, bot him no go catch me. Fante boy strong, bot Temne boy quick pass all. Fires burnin’ in de Fante compound. I smell de mangrove wood an’ I watch it spittin’ red into de sky. Fante men movin’ quiet roun’ de fire. Kwame tell me dem makin’ prayers to dey Fante god for bring good fishin’ an’ protect we from bad spirit. Kwame fadda, him big man, he speak to me bot I no sabbe what he say - him no speak Krio. Jost I see de white of de eyes and de teeth movin’. Kwame tell me him sayin’ he glad to meet fren’ of him son, him say: “God willin’ we show Temne boy how we catch sardine.” All ’round os, onder de moon, Fante men movin’ dey big canoes to de sea. Ten pow’ful men pushin’ wid de fadda of Kwame. Each time him call, de odders reply togedder, strainin’ de boat small small ’cross de sand. Me an’ Kwame, we pushin’ wid dem. All along de beach I hear de crews chantin’ togedder. Kwame an’ me is climbin’ into de canoe, water lappin’ 76

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Momadu and the Sardine Fishers warm roun’ de belly. Den we feet on dry wood, canoe movin’ onder os. Look de big fellow comin’ from de compound wid a motor on him head. Wah! Dat a heavy one! Kwame tell me it a Johnston 40 horsepower, com from ’merica. De big fella put motor onto de stern. Anodder fella bring petrol in red tin. Den we all on board. Big fella make one pull on de starter. Motor jomp alive, lift de bows, cot de water. Den we racin’ t’rough de surf, sea spray comin’ over os. I want to sing an’ dance. Look de odder canoes liftin’ an’ fallin’ wid de swell, trailin’ white where de motor chop de water. Village gettin’ small. Light is comin’ quick now, moon an’ stars fadin’. I see de white line of de beach. I tink say dat me modda’s hut yonder. She go vex wid me - I no want t’ink ’bout dat! Look de son comin’ over de mountain, never I de see um lek dis before. “What you t’ink, Temne boy?” “Better dan school, dat for sure, Kwame!” Canoes now followin’ de shoreline, ronnin’ south. Son is high, him dry de skin, bring colour to de mountains. I can taste de sea. Motorman tappin’ me shoulder, pointin’. Wah, look at dat! Flyin’ lek a silver bird, so swift, so close to de water. Den him totch de water, change direction, son flashin’ on de back, den him gone. I sabbe dat one, dat a flyin’ fish; I bin find one on Goderich beach, bot never I see a livin’ one. I ask: “Kwame, how far de fishin’ ground?” “Everyday different, Temne boy. Sometime one hour, odder time four, five. Last news dey get um off Number Two River, but de most plenty dey swimmin’ at Turtle Islands. Dat anodder two hour.” “Hey Kwame, you ever put foot on dem Islands?” “Never, Momadu, me fadda tell me dey get a pow’ful juju in dat place, we people no welcome there.” “Ah ha, Fante boy, dat a true t’ing you speak! Dat de place dey take we for ‘nitiation. No titty ever go there. Dey get crocodile in dat place, colour red, small, bot fight lek de devil. Dey get a pow’ful med’cine in dat crocodile. Jost one drop go kill a man! Dem de ones we must fight to make os men.” “Wah, Momadu, better you dan me!” ≈≈≈ “Turtle Islands, Turtle Islands!” Kwame pointin’ an’ callin’. I see dem far ’way, flat an’ low, jost shadow over de water. Dey no get mountain lek de mainland. As we gettin’ closer, colour of de water changin’. What a colour! Never I bin see a colour lek dat one before. I no get word for um, but it fill me heart wid joy. Look dat beach yonder, look de white white sand. All de canoe don cut dey motors, dey close by. We lek a small Fante village on de sea. Fante men callin’ an’ jokin’ to dey fren’s ’cross de water, bot I no sabbe dat tongue. Pushing Out the Boat 9


Momadu and the Sardine Fishers Son high in de sky, beatin’ down on us. No breeze, water lek glass. “Hey, Momadu, you bring chop?” “No, Kwame, I forget um. Jost I bring coconut for de milk.” “Which kind of fish’man is dat, Temne boy?” “A forgetful one, Kwame, you never forget not’in’?” “Never mind dat, we go share chop. I getta rice, fish, cassava an’ plantain, plenty for we both.” All de fish’men onwrappin’ dey own ‘namel bowl from de cotton cloth. Soon ev’ybody get a full belly, eyes gettin’ heavy. ≈≈≈ Watin dat? Motor jomp to life. Me eyes open wide. How long I bin sleepin? I no sabbe! All canoe racin’ ’cross de water. Ev’rybody lookin’ ahead. Wah, de sea com alive! Ev’ry place you look, water boilin’, dolphin leapin’. “Sardine! Sardine!” Motor roarin’, net flyin’ off de stern! All canoe workin’ two by two. One make circle of net round where de sea boilin’. Odder bring end of de net to close de circle. Den him cut motor. Now dey paddlin’ strong ‘round outside of de net, drom-drommin’ wid dey paddles, makin’ pow’ful ryddm wid dem deep Fante voice, drivin’ de sardine into de net. Iroko make de call an’ we start pull de net, all of we togedder. Him call, we call same, we pull... him call, we call, we pull. Dis way we make song to de sardine. Dey flappin’ silver an’ gold at we feet. Net pilin’ high in de bows, ev’rybody laughin’. “Dis de good sardine, Momadu, look de colour, de colour gold!” Kwame say. “You see dem black spot on de side? Dis one get a sweeter meat, better price dan de odder one.” Canoe low in de water. If I put me hand over de side I can totch de sea, feel de water ronnin’ t’rough me fingers. Canoe full of sardine. Dem not flappin’ now. Dat ugly fellow yonder, wid de scar an’ de red eye, I t’ink say him speakin’ to me. “What him sayin’ Kwame?” “Him askin’ if it true what dem say: you’ prime minister get a Congolese woman in de fridge?” Odder fish’men is laughin’. “Tell um I no sabbe dat.” “Him ask if it true all Sierra Leone men cannibal?” 78

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Momadu and the Sardine Fishers “At all not! Dat a lie dat! Temne men not cannibal. Prime Minister is Mende man, but I no sabbe he eatin’ habits!” Dey all laughin’ again. Iroko speak some word to de ugly one. Him no ask more question. Son is lower now. We don pass de reef, I can see de surf breakin’ yonder. Fish mammies comin’ down de beach wid dem big ’namel basin on dey head. We comin’ t’rough de surf. Motorman cot de engine. We glide to de shore, bows touch de sand. Mammies ronnin’, two fish’men jomp ashore for steady de canoe. Den I hear a screamin’: “I go kill dat Momadu, I go kill um.” Dat me modda, she screamin’ lek a mad woman. Next t’ing, she grab me ear; she pullin’ me from de canoe, cryin’ an’ beatin me at de same time. Den she hoggin’ me, but still cryin’ an’ screamin’: “How you can do dat to me? We t’inkin’ you’ a dead boy, we tinkin’ Casilla don don for you, never we go see you ’gain!” Wah! De whole world watchin’ me. Oh Allah, please hide me down a crab hole! Martin Walsh

[1 women; 2 barracuda; 3 skate; 4 children]

Umbrella One hour early. Lipstick in left pocket; tube ticket in right. Damp umbrella under one arm. Three visits to the Ladies. Make-up subtle; outfit cute. A stark monitor reads On Time.

Nap Our heads touch on the pillow. Her eye is the room; inescapable circle of blue.

Imagine his shape appearing; arms under jacket, around his waist. The first grasp complete and perfect.

Unsteady finger finds my mouth. Explores tooth and gum; surface not enough.

His face jigsaws where an ache was. Fingers hover over a bin, drop the umbrella down and in.

Her gaze is nine month steady. Hungry fists hold tight to duvet and love. Helen Addy Pushing Out the Boat 9


Outrunning Debt We sold the dream house, the hot tub, the fancy car. We bought a small farm near Watsonville. A tiny fifties house, dreaming green carpeted peace, silently scanning the valley. Out back a barn, dirt floor, beams, workbenches and archaic tools, shelves, jars of dubious content the old lady couldn’t take. The house needed work before the rains, so we entered the barn only to store our remnants. Black widows, brown recluse, and mice wintered there. Our marriage foundered. In February our second child was born. I roused from bed only to nurse my tiny girl and tend her sister. My husband flew to Singapore. We would not see him for a year. The plum trees in the side yard nudged toward spring, in fragrant clouds of pinking white. My two-year-old stood in the doorway, proud of her fistful of lilies. We took to picnicking behind the barn. Taylor wanted her wagon. Warily, I lifted the cross bar, swung open the doors, looked into the gloom. I took stock: a plough, bits and cinches, a hackamore, jelly jars, the old woman’s gardening gloves, a trowel, a box of recipes. That fall we filled the wagon with apples. By Halloween I’d brushed the cobwebs and mouse-chewed chiff from our grime reamed crates. I opened them and fell into my past: snowy winters, friends, poems and photographs. That November I sat by the barn and read. Carly took her first steps. From the stand beyond the barn we chose the perfect Christmas tree. Hesitant, then sure, I wrote home. Lesley-Anne Taylor


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Stormday What do we do when wind awakes? Some take to bottle in despair, as if to gulp an illusion – others tuck in deep in their yarns, light wax towers, hail to Mary, holy gale, gust, hissing disguise of earth disgust through wildest skies, as heavens send their cavalry; some wonder what it’s all about. Floorboards tremble under our feet, everything shakes like a spinning washing machine – birds fly like crabs in wild airflows, won’t hang our shirts till next Wednesday… Sunset looks like pale flamingos. Others switch on marine forecasts. I still remember fishermen who moor wisdom tight on bollards; pride iced inside a blue fishbox, their living anchored to tight rope, as water hits without hatred, jealousy, discrimination. Will drown my fears in cullen skink, most of us grasp tongue of the storm. Nat Hall

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Mindfull Meditation

Paul Barnes

[Acrylic and plaster on canvas]

Sweet Sorrow

Paul Barnes 82

[Acrylic and plaster on board]

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Black Kitty

Paul Barnes

[Acrylic and plaster on board]

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h thocht it wis high time Ah looked in on ma Uncle George. Ah’d tried tae pit it aff as lang as Ah could, bit there wis nothin for’t: fit hid tae be daen, hid tae be daen.

“Weel, Donald, it’s yersel. Ye’re a big stranger. Come awa in and gie’s yer crack. Aye, sit ye doon, yer Aunt’s oot the noo, bit Ah’ll pit the kettle on in a meenit, an we’ll hae a fly cup. Bit afore Ah ging ony further, dinna forget tae tak a pot of yer Aunt’s rhubarb jam awa wi ye. She made it last wik. We’d a gran crap o rhubarb fae mi plot this year - ye ken Ah hiv a plot divn’t ye? Up ahin the Stewart Park?” “Aye, George, ye telt…” “A gran bit o grun it is. Ye shoulda seen mi ingins this year. Real boskers they were. Bit spikkin o grun, Donald, ye ken, it’s affa the linths some fowk’ll ging till, tae get haud o a bit o grun that disna belang tae them. The meenister wis on aboot it on Sunday. (Ah’m nae an affa reglar attender, Ah hiv tae admit, bit it wis Communion, an Ah thocht Ah’d better mak the effort. Forbye, Ah didna want an elder callin roon tae speir fit wye Ah wisna there.) Och aye, Mr Grossart wis gaun great guns on Sunday. Mair affen than nae he’s gey dreich, bit he fair made us sit up, gie him his due. Thon King Daavit wis an affa bloke, ye ken. King or nae king, he shouldna daen’t. Ye ken fit he did tae Uriah the Hittite, jist so as he could hae it awa wi Bathsheba - aye, that wis Uriah’s bonnie buxom wife that he’d taen a shine tae?” “Aye, Ah’ve read…” “He pit him tae fecht in the war, richt intae the front line o battle, an got him killt. That wis an affa thing tae dae tae a man. An tae think Daavit wis an ancestor o Jesus, Mr Grossart said! Bit nae good cam o’t in the eyn. Aye, nae good cam o’t at aa. An Daavit wisna the only ane that wis at it, said Mr Grossart. Kings hid an affa poo’er in thae days, he said. There wis this King Ahab - hiv ye heard aboot him an thon bit o grun?” “Aye, he wis king efter…” “Aye, ye’ll mair likely hae heard o his wife - he wis mairrit tae Jezebel. An she wis a Jezebel richt eneuch. Of course, it wis her pit her man up till’t. Ye see, it wis this wye. Ahab winted a vinyaird that wis ained bi a man ca’ed Naboth. It seems the grun wis in by Ahab’s hoose, real handy like, and Ahab winted it for hissel, ye see, tae plunt his neeps and tatties in. Bit Naboth widna hear o’t. He widna tak siller, an he widna swap it for anither bit o grun either. His vinyaird hid aye been in the faimly, ye see, an he wis sweir tae let it ging tae a stranger. Nae maitter he wis the king. An ye ken fit happened?” “Aye, didna Ahab…” “It’s aa in the Bible, ye ken, Donald. Ahab wis fair pit oot. He wint richt aff his mait, an took tae his bed an turnt his face tae the wa. Jist like a big bairn, said Mr Grossart. Syne alang comes the wife, Jezebel, an she speirs at him, ‘Fit’s the maitter wi ye? This is nae wye tae cairry on. Fit’s pit ye aff yer denner?’ An he telt her aa aboot it.” “Aye, an Jezebel…” 84

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Grun “’Ach’, says Jezebel, ‘fit a damn chik he’s got. Fa’s King o Israel, him or you? Get oot yer bed this meenit, an come doon an eat yer stovies.’ (That’s the wye Mr Grossart pit it.) ‘Dinna be neen feart, ye’ll get yer vinyaird aa richt. Ah’ll see tae that.’ An ye ken fit that coorse limmer did, Donald?” “Aye, she…” “She wisna ane tae let the girse grow ablow her feet, Donald. Awa she wint, an afore ye could say Jack Robinson, she’d skreivit a wheen o letters an sent them tae the fowk that wis weel hanselt wi siller, an fowk wi a lot o clout, an even tae the nobeelity that bade in Naboth’s neck o the wid. An the plan wis this, ye see ...” “Ah ken, she…” “She telt them tae ask Naboth alang tae a slap-up feed - lik a toon cooncil denner, Mr Grossart said - an pey a puckle o ne’er dae weels tae stan up an say afore the hale gaitherin that Naboth hid spoke ill o the King, an hid even cursit the Almichty God Hissel. Wis that nae affa?” “Aye, George, an…” “An that’s exackly fit they did, Donald. An afore peer Naboth kint fit wis happenin, they’d haaled him ootside and steened him tae death. Noo wis that nae a terrible thing tae dae tae a wyteless chiel? Jist cos a king that hid mair nor eneuch aready wis sikkin mair!” “Aye, bit the…” “The upshot wis that Ahab got his vinyaird, aa richt. Bit the day wis tae come fan Jezebel got her sairin: she wis flung oot o a windae an the dogs chaad her tae bits. Aye, it’s aa in the Bible, Donald. An aa cos her man wis greedy for a plot o grun… It maks ye think, Donald. Aye, it maks ye think.” “Weel, George…” “Bit here, that wisna aa. Mr Grossart telt us anither story. Nae fae the Bible, bit bi a Rooshian ca’ed Tolstoy. Him that wrote War an Peace, ye ken?” “Aye, Ah’ve…” “This wis anither story aboot a man that wis ower greedy for grun. He wis fit they ca’ed a serf - a bittie like a crofter, bit nae as weel aff; he wis affa peer an hoped the day micht come fan he’d hae a wee place o his ain. Jist a puckle acres, maybe, tae keep a coo an a pig an a hen or twa, ye ken. Weel, the laird got word o this and thocht tae tak a rise oot o the peer sowl. So ae day he says tae him, ‘Ivan’ (that’s Rooshyan for ‘Jock’), ‘stairtin fae here, ye can rin roon a the grun ye lik, in a square or a circle or fitivver, an gin ye’re back here at yer stairtin pynt afore the sun gings doon ayont thon hill, ye can keep it aa tae yersel.’ An Ivan thocht, ‘God be thunkit, here’s mi chunce tae get oot the poverty trap. Ah’ll rin mi shanks aff, an bi the time nicht fa’s Ah’ll be a laird in ma ain richt.’ Pushing Out the Boat 9


Grun “Sae a day or twa efter, wi the Laird stannin by smirkin an wishin him luck, aff he sets, lookin stracht at the horizon, an mairchin lik ane o the Tsar’s ain guard. Weel, efter a fylie steppin oot lik this he thinks tae hissel, ‘Och bit this winna dae. Ah’m nae getting forrit near fast eneuch. At this rate Ah’ll end up wi nae mair nor a tattie patch.’ Sae he pits his heid doon an stairts rinnin. On an on he gings, loupin burns, plouterin throw dubs, pechin awa, ettlin tae win hame bi nichtfa. Weel, tae cut a lang story short, he’s beginnin tae rin oot o puff, bit gings knypin on, oor efter oor, takin in mair an mair grun, til aa o a suddent he lifts his een an sees the sun. It’s mair nor half wye doon the sky, half wye tae the tap o the hill! An wi that he stairts rinnin hell for leather, cos he kens if he disna mak it back tae the stairtin pynt in time, he losses it aa. Pechin, swatin, ivvry muscle strainin, his hairt haimmerin lik a fencer’s mell, he teers on, mortal panic buildin in his min’. Jist anither twa hunner yairds; his neeburs are cheerin him on, an in anither twa three meenits he’ll be a rich man. ‘Come on, Ivan, hing in, gie it aa ye’ve got!’ An, fair forfochen tho he wis, he took a laist gulp o air an, knittin an purlin his legs, he staggers for the line. An noo he’s there! He’s daen’t! An fit dis he nae dae noo, peer vratch, bit drap doon deid! His hairt jist couldna tak it! An Tolstoy speirs at us: ‘Foo muckle grun dis a man really need?’ Ye see, Donald? An Tolstoy’s unswer? ‘Sax fit bi sax fit bi three.’ The size o the hole they pit him intae in the grun… Aye, in the verra grun he wis sae desprit tae hae. Aye, that’s aa the peer sowl nocht in the eyn.” “Aye, George, bit…” “Aye, an Mr Grossart wis in gran form wi the bairns an aa. He telt them the story Jesus telt aboot the fairmer that wis an affa ane for byggin barns; he couldna get eneuch o them; an they were nivver big eneuch fan he hid them; an he wis ayewis knockin them doon, an byggin new anes, muckle great big anes, an stappin his hey an corn an aathin intae them. An fit wis the upshot? The verra nicht he got his new barns fulld up wi corn, he passed oot o this warld an aa. Och, it’s an uncertain warld, Donald; an fan we leave it we canna tak naethin wi’s.” “Aye, George, an…” “Hiv ye ivver heard o a place ca’ed Alltnagellagach, Donald? There’s a big fishin Hotel there - or eesed tae be onywye - affa popular wi the toffs it wis. Ye’d see Rolls Royces an Bentleys parked ootside it ony day o the wik.” “George …” “It’s up in Sutherland, nae far fae Lairg. It’s a funny name, bit of course, it’s Gaelic. Ah eence looked for it on the map, bit couldna find it. Ah dinna ken fit wye it’s spellt. They say Gaelic spellin’s affa hard tae follae. Ye dinna pronounce it the wye it looks. Mind ye, English is gey queer itsel fan it comes tae pronooncin it. Ye min’ thon thing George Bernard Shaa said: that, gin wi follae the rules o pronooncin English, G-H-O-T-I should be pronoonced ‘fish’. Div ye ken foo, Donald?”


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Grun “Aye, if…” “If ye pronoonce the GH like in ‘cough’, an the O like in ‘women’ an the TI like in ‘nation’, ye get ‘fish.’ An affa clivver man wis George Bernard Shaa; nae doot aboot it. Of course, if he’d hid his wye, we’d aa be usin an alphabet o 48 letters the day. Ah wis readin an airticle aboot it laist nicht. Bit far wis Ah? The wife says Ah’m an affa ane for getting awa fae the pynt. Och aye, the Alltnagellagach Hotel. There’s an affa intrestin story aboot foo the name cam aboot, ye ken. It means ‘The Burn o the Deceivers’. Weel, they say there wis eence an argie-bargie atween twa neeburs as tae fa ained a bit o grun alang the mairch atween their twa fairms. The mairch wis a wee burn, bit the ae fairmer (we’ll ca him McTavish) said that the grun up tae twinty yairds ayont it wis his, an it hid been in his faimly for generations. The ither (we’ll ca him McGinty) said exackly the same. ‘Come oot tae the mairch the morn an we’ll settle this eence an for aa,’ said McTavish. Sae thae twa met the neist day. Noo, tae tell the honest truth, neither o the twa o them wis really shooer aboot the maitter. McGinty thocht maybe they wis gaan tae hae tae fecht for’t, bit na, that wisna fit McTavish hid in min’ at aa. He hid a Holy Bible aneth his oxter an wis lookin as dour as a Free Presbyterian meenister that’s seen the beadle’s washin oot on a Sunday. ‘Will you sweer on the Word o God,’ he says tae McGinty, ‘that the grun we’re stannin on belangs tae you, an nae tae me?’ Noo, McGinty wis an elder o the kirk an daurdna perjure hissel on the Word o God, sae he said, ‘Na, Ah canna dae that. Bit will you sweer on’t, McTavish? Will you sweer on the Word o God that the grun yer stannin on belangs tae you, an nae tae me?’ An McTavish, bold as brass, steps forrit an sweers, ‘Ah sweer tae God that the grun Ah’m stannin on belangs tae me an naebody else.’ “Of course, McGinty jist hid tae accept it, an they agreed the mairch fae that day on. An it wis a lang time afore McGinty foun oot that he’d been swickt. Ye see, McTavish wis a richt fly chiel, an afore he went oot tae meet McGinty, he stappit his beets full o glaur fae the deuk-pond ootside his hoose. Sae he telt nae lee fan he said the grun he wis stannin on wis his ain. An that’s fit wye the place is ca’d Alltnagellagach, ‘The Burn o the Deceivers’. Yon McTavishes were a richt tricky lot. Aye, some fowk’ll dae onythin tae get a bit o grun, Donald. Noo, that brings tae min’ somethin else Ah eence read aboot, Donald, if Ah’m nae borin ye. It wis aboot a laird doon in the sooth o England, bi the name o Sir Roger Tichborne. He wis an affa grippit an ill-naiturd man, an wid hae taen a crumb fae oot a spurgie’s neb, nae a nice man at aa. An, as ye micht expeck, he didna treat his workers weel ava. Och, this wis about sivven hunner year ago, min’. Bit his wife Mabella - a bonnie name, that - wis the exack opposite - it’s affen the wye, ye ken - she wis kin’ hairted an wis ayewis daein fit she could tae brichten up their lives a bittie. Bit the peer sowl wis a lameter an she eesed tae hirple aboot here an there, back an fore, takin breid tae the peer fowk, an gien them claes tae keep the caal oot, an things lik that. But there cam a day fan she wis taen really bad, an for aa the doctors tried, they could see she wisna makin nothin o’t. In fact she wis deein. Bit even then the peer craitur thocht mair aboot the workers than she did aboot hersel. An she wis that worrit that efter she wis awa they’d be fair negleckit, she gaurt her man promise tae be good tae them efter she wis deid, an see that they an their bairns ayewis hid eneuch tae eat. Weel, ye ken fit that bugger did?” “Ah think…”

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Grun “He made a promise aa richt. Bit fit a coorse wye he did it. He telt his wife she could walk roon the ootside o as mony o his parks as she liked, an he wid gie the value o their craps in siller tae buy mait for the peer ivvry year. Bit the thing wis - she hid tae haud a bleezin torch in her haan aa the time, an fan the torch went oot, her time wis up. Can ye picter it? Ah’m winnerin if maybe Sir Roger hid read Tolstoy’s story, Donald.” “Na, George, nae if …” “Onywye - an this must really hae shook Sir Roger - that peer wumman, deein tho she wis, got oot her bed, took a torch, an craaled - craaled, min’ ye, Donald - aye, craaled roon 23 acre o the Laird’s grun. An he hid tae keep his word; an tae this verra day, they say, that siller’s pyed oot tae buy bags o flooer for the peer. Weel, fit div ye mak o that, Donald? The wumman a sant, an the man a divvil! An that’s the wye o the warld. There’s bit the twa kinds. An ye’ve tae mak up yer ain min’ fit kin’ ye’re gaan tae be!” “Weel…” “Aye, an Mr Grossart said on the Day o Judgment, fan the Laist Trump souns an we aa rise oot wir sax bi sax bi three beds, some fowk are gaan tae get an affa fleg. They’ll be waitin for the Almichty tae say, ‘Weel deen, thou good and faithful servant,’ bit aa they’ll get is, ‘Awa oot o’t, Ah dinna ken ye! Awa tae hell wi ye!’ (That’s in the Bible an aa, Donald!) An aa thae fowk that’s been fa’in ower theirsels tae tak fit belangs tae ither fowk - aa yer Hitlers, an yer Mussolinis, an yer Stalins, an yer empire builders, an yer invaders, an yer dictaters, fan the Laist Trump souns - they’ll aa fin oot far their shoe grips them. Aye, thon Hitler - ayewis cryin oot fer mair; nivver pleased; Poland, Norway… Och, bit here’s yer Aunt, Donald. We’ll get a cuppie tea, noo. Hey, Annie! Donald’s been gie’en me his crack, an we’ve fair worked up a drouth; pit the kettlie on, wid ye? An we could maybe hae a bittie shortbreid wi wir tea. Tell Annie fit wi wis spikkin aboot, Donald.” “Weel, Annie, it wis aboot fowk graispin efter mair grun… Ah think.” “Aye, an the Laist Trump, tae, Annie.” “Trump? An fit his graispin efter grun got tae dae wi a trump?” “Ye micht weel ask, Annie,” Ah said. Stephen Pacitti


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On the Day of Stanley’s Funeral for Stanley Robertson, 1940-2009

Today, let the sun shine on Stanley one last time. Tomorrow, story clouds will gather close. Ears will catch at dusk the soil-choked breath of earth-impacted piping.

Haworth Hodgkinson

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Roos 2

Lindsay McMillan


View of LA from the Getty Centre

Helen Nash 90


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Contributor Information Helen Addy, 32, is from Forres. She juggles writing with motherhood, the distracting love of reading/cinema and likes delving under the surface of words, to see what’s hidden there.

Fraser Cowie is ten years old and attends Tipperty Primary. He enjoys many sports and is a keen poet, being encouraged when he won second place in a local schools poetry competition.

Angela Arnold has written poetry all her life. She has also written books on psychological-astrology. Her present creative focus is her painting, exhibiting at Catterline’s Creel Inn during March/April.

Jeff Crouch is an artist in Texas. Check out his internet work with your favourite search engine.


Paul Barnes captures his imaginative, often surreal visions with a feeling of timelessness and space, like a dream or distant memory that has become all blurry and faded. www.paul-barnes.com Rumjhum Biswas’s stories & poems have been published all over the world. She blogs at: rumjhumbiswas.wordpress. com where she also collects her publishing credits and kudos. Sheena Blackhall is a novelist, poet, illustrator, singer and storyteller in North-East Scotland. From 1998-2003 she was Creative Writing Fellow in Scots at Aberdeen University’s Elphinstone Institute. In 2009 she became Makar (poet laureate) for Aberdeen & the North-East. John Bolland writes novels, short stories and poetry. His work has been published in The London Magazine, Lallans, Poetry Scotland,The Red Wheelbarrow and POTB. Bernard Briggs, Sussex born, is married with two teenage sons and now lives in Aberdeeshire. His first collection of poetry Love, Cry and Wonder Why (Cauliay) was published in 2007. Lynsey Calderwood is from Renfrew. She likes writing stories about places she’s been to and the people she sees Camille Conner was born in Louisiana, USA but has been living in Scotland for the past few years. She is 15 years old and enjoys writing poetry in her free time.

Eleanor Fordyce has lived in Angus longer than she cares to remember but is still a North-East quine at heart. Her outpourings have been published in both Doric and English. Emily Fraser graduated in July 2009 from Gray’s School of Art with a BA(Hons) Visual Communication. She works as a Graphic/Web Designer and freelance illustrator. Please visit her site at www.emilyfraser.co.uk

Lisa Gribbon is an artist specialising in printmaking. She draws inspiration from the natural world and man-made objects found in the elemental landscapes of Scotland. Nat Hall is a French born, Shetland based poet & visual artist, published in Scotland, France, the US and Canada. She is currently working on two distinctive projects. http://nordicblackbird.blogspot.com/

George Hardwick is a 17-year-old student from Oldmeldrum. He was encouraged to submit ‘Wee Small Hours’ by his English teacher and this is his first published work Jill Henderson, a Scottish born artist, loves to write. Since selection for POTB8, the briefcase of writing has moved from the top of the wardrobe to an easier-toreach location. www.doodlestuff.co.uk Haworth Hodgkinson is a poet, playwright, composer and improvising musician, exploring the borderlands where theatre, sound, words and dance meet to try on each other’s habits. See www.haworthhodgkinson.co.uk for more.

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Contributor Information Callum Kellie, hailing from central Highland, studied photography at Grays School of Art. With a spell working in the offshore oil industry, now lives and practices in Aberdeen. www.callumkellie.co.uk

David Kowalczyk has poetry and fiction published in seven anthologies and over 100 magazines and journals. He has taught English in South Korea and Mexico, also at Arizona State University. Hannah Kunzlik is a 17-year-old aspiring author who has been accepted at the University of St Andrews to study International Relations starting in September 2010.

David Pettigrew, born Meikle Wartle, Aberdeenshire, is a Post Graduate of Gray’s School of Art and a Professional Member of Aberdeen Artists. He lives at Old Portlethen Village.


Christine Laennec’s poems and short stories have appeared in the anthologies Silver (2009) and Wish I Was Here (2000), in Northwords Now and previous issues of Pushing Out the Boat. Alexander Lang, appearing a second time in POTB, is a poet and writer who tries to remember Aesop’s ‘Beware you lose the substance by grasping at the shadow,’ when his mind and screen go blank. Lindsay McMillan is a second year student studying Photographic and Electronic Media at Gray’s School of Art, Aberdeen. She uses photography to explore her surroundings, both physical and otherwise Keith Murray, Aberdonian, is five decades young. Poems’ publishers include The Herald, Leopard, and POTB. Recent collections The Camel’s Back (Koo Press) and The Babel Postman (Malfranteaux Concepts). Helen Nash is in third year Graphic Design at Gray’s School of Art. She went travelling over the summer of ‘09 and took this photograph at The Getty Centre, Los Angeles


Stephen Pacitti, an Aberdonian educated at the Grammar School and University, lectured for many years in Taiwan. Published works Poems (English) and short stories (Doric) featured in Lallans, POTB, Aberdeen University Review. Now lives in Glasgow.

Jane Pettigrew, born Aberdeen, is a Post Graduate of Gray’s School of Art and a Professional Member of Aberdeen Artists. Jane is an Art Specialist teaching in Banchory area schools. www.masterpieceartstudio.com

Heather Reid lives in Perthshire. Her work has been widely published, also broadcast on radio. She is a member of the Soutar House Writers Group Donnie Ross is a retired doctor, artist, musician & shed-builder. He once had lunch with the Dalai Lama, who for an enlightened being seemed to know remarkably little about Fraserburgh. Gerard Rochford’s recent publications: Figures of Stone (Koo Press); Erotica (Ascent Aspirations); Silver (Polygon); This Garden that was Ours (Embers Handpress); Best 20 Scottish Poems - 2006. Poet in Residence Scottish Review. Sara Kay Rupnik enjoys roaming from Coastal Georgia and Richmond,Virginia, to West Cork, Ireland. Her fiction, nominated for the Pushcart Prize, appears in literary journals along the way. Fiona Russell lives on a hill farm in South-West Scotland. She passed the MLitt Writing with distinction at Glasgow University, Dumfries. Fiona enjoys natural history, art and has two rescue lurchers. [Ed: we note Fiona’s mother Elizabeth Waugh appears elsewhere in POTB9]

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Contributor Information Neil Russell has moved increasingly away from painting, these days preferring to use text in a visual way. Although landscape remains his primary source, the nature of words themselves are often subject enough.

Dagmar Vyhnalkova simultaneously studies photography at Gray’s School of Art, and at the Institute of Creative Photography, the Silesian University in Opava, Czech Republic. She focuses on documentary, conceptual and fashion photography.

Wayne Scheer has been nominated for four Pushcart Prizes and a Best of the Web. Revealing Moments, a collection of twentyfour flash stories, is available at

Maggie Wallis lives in the Highlands. She writes poetry to express under the skin feelings. She also enjoys felting and climbing.


Linda Smith, now living in Kintore, nearer her roots, enjoys the company of family, especially her grandchildren. She spends her days exploring: new walks, new places, new stories. Christine Spence, 4th year Sculpture student at Gray’s School of Art, whose everyday themes of home, lost, forgotten, connection and family are inspired by her collections of old photos from ebay. Margaret Stewart, Aberdeen-born, studied at Gray’s School of Art. Works for Aberdeen City Arts Development, whilst in her own practice explores ideas of value through drawing, painting, digital images, knitting and glass. Judith Taylor lives and works in Aberdeen. Her first chapbook collection, Earthlight, was published by Koo Press (2006) and her second, Local Colour, by Calder Wood Press (2010). www.secondlightlive.co.uk/ members/judithtaylor.shtml

Knotbrook Taylor is currently the writer in residence of the Museum of Scottish Lighthouses and member of the Blue Salt Collective: www.bluesalt.co.uk Lesley-Anne Taylor was born and raised in Aberdeen. She currently lives in Santa Cruz, CA where she teaches and cohosts The Poetry Show on the NPR radio station, KUSP. Sarah Ellen Taylor is an American artist working in Britain. Taylor is heavily influenced by fashion design and the Buddhist practice of making offerings. Augen Gallery represents her work:

Martin Walsh, Kent-born Aberdonian, began writing after a long career in marine biology. He draws his inspiration from the people, voices and wildlife encountered down the years. Christian Ward is a Sutton-based poet, currently studying an MA in Creative Writing at Royal Holloway, University of London. His poetry is forthcoming in Albatross. Elizabeth Waugh is an award-winning sculptor and printmaker. She lives on the family farm near Langholm. Her work is exhibited across the world. Aged 81, she continues to work incessantly. [Ed: Elizabeth is

delighted to be appearing in the same magazine as her daughter Fiona Russell]

Nicolette Westfall is an experimental photographer who resides in Canada. Tim Winters lives in regional Australia and his artworks are closely connected to the visual exploration of landscape. Tim was a visiting and exhibiting artist at Peacock Visual Arts in Aberdeen in 2008. www.timwinters.com.au

Rapunzel Wizard writes and performs poetry, prose, plays, and songs. He started young, first reciting on stage when he was six, and never really got out of the habit. John Worthington is a recent graduate of Gray’s School Of Art. Based in Aberdeen, he works as a freelance graphic designer.

Printed by : Woods of Perth


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Kenzo Offers

Sarah Ellen Taylor 94

[watercolour, gouache, Arches with 21.8c moongold]

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PUSHING OUT THE BOAT - Issue 9 The Team: Managing Editor Treasurer Secretary/Admin Consulting Editor Art Panel Poetry Panel Prose Panel Scots/Doric Editor Copy Editors Covers Design & Layout Website Designer

Martin Walsh Richard Anderson Freda Hasler Graeme Roberts Michael Waight [Convenor], William Moulding, David Henderson Sheila Reid [Convenor], Fiona Hope, Mark Pithie Judith Taylor [Convenor], Graeme Roberts, Stuart Hannabuss, Rapunzel Wizard Derrick McClure Freda Hasler [Convenor], Moira Brown, Stuart Hannabuss, Max Roach, Sheila Reid, Judith Taylor Ruth Maxwell Sue Simpson, Freda Hasler, Martin Walsh Haworth Hodgkinson

Pushing Out the Boat is entirely managed and produced by this dedicated team of volunteers, with financial support from Aberdeen City Council and Aberdeenshire Council, and mailing facilities provided by Aberdeen Arts Centre.

Email: info@pushingouttheboat.co.uk Post: Pushing Out the Boat, c/o Aberdeen Arts Centre, 33 King St, Aberdeen AB24 5AA Copies of the magazine can be ordered via our email/postal address (above), price ÂŁ5 per copy including post/packing; or purchased from our regular outlets, whose continued support we gratefully acknowledge. These include: Aberdeenshire Main Libraries Aberdeen Central Library Better Read Books, Ellon Hammerton Stores, Gt Western Rd, Aberdeen Milton of Crathes Gallery Waterstones, Union Bridge, Aberdeen

Aberdeen Art Gallery Aberdeen Journals, Union St, Aberdeen Camphill Bookshop, Bieldside Newtondee Village Stores, Bieldside Peacock Visual Arts, Aberdeen Woodend Barn, Banchory

Copyright @ Pushing Out the Boat (POTB) 2010: the contents may not be used or reproduced without crediting POTB and the author/artist; any commercial re-use or reproduction of a contribution requires prior permission from the editor’s representative and the particular contributor.

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