In the Scottish Highlands by Mallory

Inside the mouth of comedy
lies tragedy.

Gordon tartans tacking home
as swift as swallows dart,
ancestry through the windows
of the hurtling car,
digital landscapes clicked
above the speed limit.

Tears for unknown relatives
in graveyards and fields
where it is they who would
have tugged their forelocks
to the lairds.

Somewhere in Spain
on my hotel TV
somewhere in Spain
someone is buying
a property when he has no idea
what he’s getting into.

‘I worked my entire life in Croyden and
my missus want to retire to Spain
so we are retiring to Spain.’

The relations you wouldn’t wish
to have are probably the ones you had
not princesses or scalawags
so anecdotally slipping off the rims of cocktails
and the manor on the hill in your third martini
is the one to which your forebears
defaulted their drought destroyed tithe,
fell into near famine’s whirlpool,
hungry all the way soaked in bilge
to make you possible.

25s to 85s
all heritage blonds
Jimmy Choo heels
sheening Lululemon buts,
How Byron would
love Aberdeen now;
he might not have
sojourned to Italy for syphilis
or Greece to die,
preening in now forgotten immortality.

Welling as mistily as the drizzling rain
over a grave stone rescued from
moss and lichens, laid as a slab
pressing as heavily down on the corpse
as had life.

Ambivalent receptivity.

One more last visit —
a baggie filled with illicit earth
from above a
great great great3
grandfather’s grave
prize for a crystal
snifter on the mantle,
the moss and lichens of memory.

Geriatric rock on the radio
singers from the 70s in their 70s
trailing off their ruined voices
for same aged fans,
fixated on family in the 1670s,
desperate to screw down indelibly
their brass plate on the family tree
before kaddish.

George Mallory (G.W.M.Harrison) publised a collection of verse, Cerrd Dafod, titled for Dylan Thomas’ definition of poetry (‘Word Songs’) and is best known for his poem, ‘John Berryman, dead’.  He is working on his third adaptation of an ancient play for the modern stage.


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