“No thank you sorry thank you”

Gallery of Modern Art Library – Glasgow

I gave out the poem ‘in the style of richard scott’ – from Richard Scott‘s Soho (Faber & Faber, 2018) – outside GOMA Library.Ā  I was originally going to give out the first poem in the collection, ‘Public Library, 1998’, because the speaker writes ‘COCK’ in the margin of a library book, which is great. But I chose this one because I like the way it talks about liking to read poetry in an everyday non-grand sort of way.

Because it’s in the basement of a modern art gallery, I expected the library to be very sleek and angular, but it’s just like a normal local library – lots of crime novels and autobiographies, harsh lighting and garish sofas. I loved it!


Outside, I stood next to the statue of the Duke of Wellington, which Glaswegians famously love to decorate with a cone-hat. It is always interesting (and sometimes disheartening) when I hand out poems in city centres, because more people ignore me and less people take a poem. It makes sense: people think its another flyer or petition or god-leaflet, and have got so used to pretending those people don’t exist that they don’t even blink. Other people are very friendly and apologetic: “no thank you sorry thank you!”

But it makes it even more special when someone says yes, and their face lights up when they realise what it actually is that I’m giving them. Like the lady who responded to my question “do you like poetry?” with “not really!” but still took a poem and said she would give it a try when she gets back home to Oban (she was off to catch a bus) “when I can finally sit down and relax”.

Afterwards I had a look around the art gallery to warm up, and saw this painting by one of my favourites, Beryl Cook, of a woman by the river Clyde.





in the style of richard scott

my moon is a man
he’s watched me get naked in parks cemeteries by the canal etc
the other stars belt spade massive crab
are pretty meaningless and dead anyway

there’s no more music in poetry
than in my boyfriend’s whispered voice
both make my heart pump
belly spasm

I don’t forgive you bullies exes
the man who punched me the one who touched me
but I love my dad
even though he did and said shit shit things

I am free now still
it hurts every day so I read
mark and walt and arthur and constance and gregory and thom and my boy paul
write poem after poem about

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