Thoughts ahead of the day of the dead

A metal claw crumbles chunks of their grandfather’s Govan school as my boys begin nursery just yards away – I wonder, would he have been glad or angry that his grandsons will grow up where he did? After he ran away to London, and had me there? Are we a snake, eating our own tale? My Uncle Eddie likes the circularity, but my father preferred straight lines. Although two of his last paintings have a frame contained within them, as if he wanted to paint outside it. Perhaps that’s what I’m doing now. I hope so.

The tearing hand is a joy my kids, as it is to me. I tried to mourn the history and sandstone, but could only see the sick-green inner walls, the rotting wooden rafters, and remember how much he had hated them, the bitter men who told him he was nothing. On my walls hang a series of colour shouts against them; and in my pocket, on a silver stick, his songs, to tell them they were wrong.

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About Pedalling Poetry

Writer Ellen McAteer is founder of Tell It Slant poetry bookshop in Glasgow, and a visiting lecturer at the Glasgow School of Art. She was a mentee of the Clydebuilt Verse Apprenticeship Scheme, under Alexander Hutchison, and a singer with the band Stone Tape, as well as a solo singer who won a BBC Radio competition with her song Blue Valentine. She was Director of the Poetry Trust, which ran the Aldeburgh Poetry Festival, a director of the Scottish Writers’ Centre, a visiting lecturer at Oxford University's MSt in creative writing, and a member of the core group of performers at the Hammer and Tongue spoken word collective in Oxford. She is a qualified Librarian.
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