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Terry Collett Mar 2016
Edinburgh? You want to go
get a train to Edinburgh?
Lydia's dad says. Not now,
when I'm older, Lydia says,

looking at her father's steely
eyes, sober, smile lingering.
On your own? He asks, gazing
at her, taking in her skinny

frame, arms, legs and long
straight hair. No, with Benny,
she says, we went to Kings
Cross Station saw the train

that goes to Edinburgh station.
Whose idea was that? He asks,
Benny boy's? No we both had
the idea, she says, wishing

Benny was there as he would
know what to say. Long way
to Edinburgh, her father says,
picking up his cup of tea at the

breakfast table. 6 hours the porter
man said when Benny asked him,
Lydia says. Her father sips his tea.
Lydia waits. So can I go? She asks

her dad. He looks at her. When
you're older maybe. Well, got to
go to work, he says, gets up, pats
her head, says see you, Lydia.

Lydia watches him go, hears the
door shut. Her mother comes in
with a cigarette hanging from her
lips, her hair in rollers. What you

doing? She asks Lydia. Going to
Edinburgh with Benny, Lydia says.
Her mother stares at her and shakes
her head. Well make sure you pack

your clothes and empty your piggy-
bank, her mother says and walks off
back to the kitchen. Lydia frowns,
gets her piggy-bank and shakes it.

It sounds empty, except for a few
coins rattling. Can I go out with
Benny? She calls out to her mother.
She puts down her pink piggy-bank.

She walks into the kitchen where her
mother is washing up. Can I? She asks
her mother. Can you what? Go out
with Benny? Again? You only saw

him yesterday? Her mother says through
a mouthful of cigarette smoke. Need
to see him about Edinburgh, Lydia says.
What about Edinburgh? Her mother

says her words clouded in smoke. Dad
said I can go to Edinburgh with Benny,
Lydia says anxiously. Did he now, well
he can **** well pay for it can't he, her

mother says, well off you go then, and
don't be too late, need you to help me
sort out the washing later, I don't suppose
your big **** of a sister will shift her

backside out of bed before noon. Lydia
bites her lip. Watches her mother doing
the dishes. Ok won't be late, Lydia says,
walking out of the kitchen, along the hall,

out of the front door, stares out at the Square,
wondering if Benny is about out there.
A GIRL AND HER PARENTS AND A TRAIN RIDE TO EDINBURGH IN 1958.
Terry Collett Feb 2016
We arrive
in Scotland
(Edinburgh)

and find the
old guest house
and book in

and settle
in our room
with one bed

(a double)
a tall boy
chest of drawers

and a small
old dressing
table near

the window
well we're here
Rachel says

here alone
just us two
I watch her

standing there
our parents
(her father

my mother)
back at home
wondering

where we were
five hours long
train journey

I utter
wanting to
undress her

and get her
into bed
but stand there

waiting for
her to say
do you think

they will know
where we are?
she asks me

of course not
how could they?
she's unsure

and anxious
Daddy'll be
mad at us

going off
like we have
I hold her

close to me
kiss her neck
we're here now

as we planned
in Scotland
us alone

in this room
us lovers
she turns round

and we kiss
the best kiss
that we have

ever had
and we're free
to kiss now

and make love
in the bed
without fear

our parents
will see us
and she is

probably
thinking of
her father

the doctor
and I think
of Mother

the staff nurse
suspecting
she was right

when she said
to me when
I came out

of Rachel's
room last night
and she said

I don't want
you in her
room ever

again do
you hear me?
we are here

in our room
now Mother
and we will

get undressed
into bed
and make love

not just once
but maybe
more than that

it's raining
Rachel says
can't go out

and we look
at the bed
then undress

and we're there
together
stark naked

listening
to rain fall
while back home

the echo
of parents
and their call.
A STEP BROTHER AND SISTER RUN OFF TO EDINBURGH TOGETHER IN 1980
Terry Collett Dec 2015
Kirsteen closed the door
of the toilet
and puked in the bowl,

voices outside the cubicle,

patients to and fro,
hospital cleaners
or domestics wanting to clean,

she knelt over the bowl
fingers down her throat,

someone in the next cubicle said
whit ur ye daein'?

Kirsteen said nothing,
her throat was sore,
her eyes watery,
her tongue acidy,

ur ye nae weel?
the voice said,

O, shut yer gob,
Kirsteen said,
fingers by her mouth,
eyes peering at the divide,
min' yer business,

the voice said nothing more,
a chain went
and a flush
and the door opened
and feet walked away,

Kirsteen sat on her haunches,
held the bowl,
dribble on her fingers
and sick in the bowl rose,

an image of her mother
seemed over her
thin shoulder,
ur ye bein' boak again?
her mother's voice said,

Kirsteen stared
at the facing wall,
the top was white
with a silvery handle,

she gazed at her,
her mother's face
appeared opposite,
thin drawn,
I'll tan yer backside
if ye boak again
her mother said,

smells rose,
Kirsteen puked
in the bowl once more,

a voice came
and banged on the door,

Kirsteen open up,
it's Nurse Kerr,
ur ye makin' yerself
boak again?

nae, aam nae,
Kirsteen said,

a darkness came,
a swallowing up
inside her head.
A GIRL IN HOSPITAL WITH BULIMIA IN 1995 IN EDINBURGH
R Dickson Jan 2015
Young Robert Fergusson

I'm just back frae The Kirk
Doon Canongate way,
Afore yi get tae Parliament,
That was brand new yesterday,

Way back tae the 1700's
A poet in his grave,
Fergusson the poetry man,
He couldnae be saved,

Banging his heid  in a fa'
Tumbling doon a' the steps,
Hadnae sterted livin' yet,
His poetry had some depth,

Rab trained as a minister,
He abandoned fir poetry,
At the age of twenty two,
With no heart for the ministry,

He took a job as a copyist,
Tae earn a crust tae live,
Probably hated it,
So much poetry for tae give,

If he wis alive the today,
He'd be pertying in Ibiza,
DJing wi' the discs,
Rapping like a geeza,

He was only 24,
At Cape Club he'd dae a gig,
I'm sure he enjoyed himsel',
It's something that he did,

After the fa',
Darkly melancholic,
Depression followed,
He  wisnea an alcoholic,

Straight to Edina's loony bin,
Then ca'd Darien House,
On Bristo Street used to stand,
Can't think what'd be worse,

He was born in 1750,
Died penniless in '74
Unmarked grave in Canongate,
Nae headstane was in store,

Many years later,
Head stane was selected,
Rabbie Burns inspired,
Was paid fir an' erected,

The date upon the stane was wrong,
Hopefully wis being changed,
By Robert Louis Stevenson,
But died before old age,

Grave is now restored,
Tae it's former glory,
Ironwork and stane cleaned,
But it's no the end o' story,

A statue wis erected,
On the street ootside the Kirk,
The way they positioned him,
He's on his way tae work,

You'll see the Parliament building,
If you wander doon the road,
Poems and poetry on the wa's
But none in Fergusson mode,

It seems he's been forgotten,
In this day and age,
Someone with his talent,
Wan o' Edina's greatest sage,

Let's hope we'll see his poetry,
On Scotland's parliament wa,
I dinae mean graffiti,
I mean poetry fir a'.

— The End —