Read Raw Ltd

 

Promoting Creative Writing in Scotland

 

Featured Poet

 

Graham Fulton

 

 

Graham Fulton was born in 1959 and lives in Paisley.

 

Heís been writing and publishing poetry since 1987 when he first attended the Paisley Writersí group.  His work has been published in numerous magazines, anthologies, newspapers and online journals, in both the UK and USA, including Ambit, Orbis, Edinburgh Review, Gutter, The Potomac,Raintown Review, Word Riot, The North, Envoi, Other Poetry, Glasgow Herald, Nothing is Altogether Trivial, Iron, The Echo Room, California Quarterly,BarbaricYawp, Stand, Staple and The Poetry Book Society Anthology. He also appeared in the Polygon anthology DreamState: the New Scottish Poets,Scotlands (Carcanet)  Scottish Poems (Macmillan) and Scottish Literature in the Twentieth Century (Scottish Cultural Press).

 

In the 1990s he was on the editorial board of West Coast Magazine, and was joint winner of the Scotia Bar First of May Poetry Prize. He has also been the recipient of three Scottish Arts Council bursaries.

 

His published collections include

Humouring the Iron Bar Man (Polygon, 1990)  This (Rebel Inc, 1993)  Knights

of the Lower Floors (Polygon, 1994)  Ritual Soup and other liquids (Mariscat Press,

2002)  Inner Circle(Controlled Explosion Press, 2008)  Black Motel/The Man who

Forgot How to (Roncadora Press, 2010)  The Ruin of Poltalloch (Controlled

Explosion Press, 2011) and The Zombie Poem (Controlled Explosion Press, 2011).

 

Many of his small press publications combine poetry, illustration and photography. 

His third and fourth full-length collections Open Plan (Smokestack Books) and Full

Scottish Breakfast (Red Squirrel Press)were published in 2011, and his most recent publication is a collection of 22 love poems called Upside Down Heart published by Controlled Explosion Press in 2012 and featuring colour illustrations by artist Becky Bolton.

 

Two new full-length collections called Brian Wilson in Swansea Bus Station and

Please Wear Comfortable Clothes and Be Prepared to Discuss Suicide are to be

published in 2013 and 2014 by Red Squirrel Press and Smokestack Books.

 

Please check out www.grahamfulton-poetry.com for more details.

 

 


 

Grahamís recent publications

 

 

 

 

FULL SCOTTISH BREAKFAST

Red Squirrel Press, 2011.

58 pages. £6.99

ISBN 978-1-906700-51-5.

 

Full Scottish Breakfast is a headlong journey from space age innocence through to cynicism and eventually into bemused middle age, taking in frantic and funny encounters with mad teachers, wrecked cars, heroes, villains, painters, sheep, Chihuahuas and dead relatives along the way in an attempt to make sense of whatever has led to here.

 

 

Ď An aptly discomfiting collection, and a beautifully evocative diorama

of ďmortal graceĒ. In a single breath, you go from surface to depth and

back again, and history and the multiverse in between. Each word, a tiny,

perfectly-placed depth charge. The effect isgiddying,revelatory. This is

the Sensational Alex Harvey Band in ink and infinity; the book youíd hold

close on the last ship to Outer Space.í

                                                                                    Suhayl Saadi

 

 

ĎGraham Fulton has been one of Scotland's foremost poets for many years,

 and this is one of his most complete and representative collections among

others published over the last few years. 'Full Scottish Breakfast' takes us

on a trip from the absurd to the tragic, the tiny to the cosmic, the loving

to the angry, and that's just for starters. He can be hilarious, gut-wrenchingly

affecting and deep by turns, turning the relatively small area of his native

town and city of Paisley and Glasgow into a universal place, and sharing it

with us in his profoundly quiet, powerful voice. The intense humanity of

these poems is what you will take with you long after you're read them.

Get hold of this collection from a leading poet

at the height of his powers.í

                                                                                    David Manderson

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

UPSIDE DOWN HEART

Controlled Explosion Press, 2012.

32 pages. £6.

ISBN 978-0-9558996-9-0.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

OPEN PLAN

Smokestack Books 2011

72 pages. £7.95

ISBN 978-0-9564175-6-5

 

Open Plan is a demented elegy to all the minutes, days and years that slip through a hole beneath our tidy open plan desks. Graham Fulton writes with wit and compassion of the world of e-mails, post-its, tea-breaks and sickies, of the little rituals, the red tape and humdrum flexi hours punctuated by moments of mayhem, of those who are here to stay and those who are just passing through, of the things we need to do to stay sane.

 

 

 

ĎIíve admired Graham Fultonís work since I first heard it: his mix of tenderness, adrenalin, razor clarity and dynamism, as rare as it is potent, just sings. This is poetry got right to the heart and the head at the same time. Itís just poetry got right. Brilliant.í

 Janice Galloway

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Seven New Poems

 

 

 

Traffic Lights Boy

 

this boy is obsessed

with traffic lights

the way they are      the way they look

the way that red changes to amber

green

the way they wait

in particular places

on the surface of the planet

the way

that people stop and start

at particular times of the day

in the light and the darkness,

something

to do

 

with control        flow

beginning     end

the source of something

at the centre of everything

 

he used to love turning

taps on and off

in the bathroom or the kitchen

watch

the water spinning

down

the hole

 

he used

to love to switch the lights

on and off in the bathroom

or the kitchen or the bedroom

or the attic,

see

the darkness becoming lightness

lightness becoming darkness

the joy in his brain     

the source of everything

at the centre of something,

the way it looks       the way it is,

the way that green changes

to amber

red,

something

to do

 

 

 

The Trees of Paisley Grammar School

  

Something to say

                         about the way

   they move in the wind,

                               the free verse,

                sway, the leaves,

the complete greenness

                  of the leaves,

          the dark of the branches,

and the trunk

holding it all together

as the leaves shake, twist,

                       dive with the wind,

               the rhythm,

greenness, a celebration

of being

              this

 

          and the sound the wind makes

as it moves through the leaves,

      a soft sizzle,

                              building up

and dying away,

                  building up,

dying away,

                    and the rain

       coming down all of a sudden,

the smell of the rain a few seconds later,

              or is it only the smell

of the concrete,

                    seeing a light

        in the cars

               beneath

from left to right, right to left,

         a sense of relevance,

                 of something giving,

a gap

                                    in the traffic,

     for whatever time,

itís only the rain, wind,

me, the trees

 

 

 

A Clue Where We Are

  

Someone says itís never too late to learn

and today

Iíve learnt that itís raining

and that

Sugar Ray Robinson fought

at Paisley Ice Rink in 1965

when he was past

his best

with the bagpipes playing

and everyone going haywire

and wearing hats

and smoking cigarettes

and walking off at the end

looking like

he hadnít a clue where he was,

and Cassius Clay

before he was Muhammad Ali

fought at Paisley Ice Rink in 1965

but was booed off

and made a beeline for Renfrew Airport

demanding to be

on ďthe first flight outta hereĒ

which implies he was less than

enchanted with Paisley

and Scotland

and into the night sky

where we all go,

and on November 19th 1968

The Who played Paisley Ice Rink

supported by The Small Faces

with Steve Marriott who died in a wardrobe

and The Crazy World of Arthur Brown

with a crown of candles on his head

and Joe Cocker

and Free

and they never came back either

and occupying the same space

in a different time is a Tesco supermarket

where Iím currently buying a Gluten Free loaf

 

 

 

Page twenty three

 

Here

on the thirty eight bus reading

How Late it Was, How Late,

and on comes

a policeman

who sits down on the

please give up this seatfor any disabled

or elderly person seat

without a flicker

and stares straight ahead

out of the window

with one hand gripping a pole

and a slight smile

on his face

as if heís thinking about

a shag he had last night or

somebodyís face he stamped on,

     and Iím reading the same line

over and over,

something about

being lifted by the sodjers,

and keep on peeking over

the top of the book to see

what heís doing

which is

staring straight ahead

with the same slight smile on his face

and thereís only him

and me and the driver,

nobody else,

and Iím sure he knows exactly

what Iím thinking,

heís always known it,

Iím sure

     he can feel the guilt oozing out

of every orifice in my body

as the sweat trickles down

the back of my neck,

and heís got slightly greying hair

and looks quite old although

heís still walking the beat

because

maybe he loves his job so much

and wants to be out there

among the people

stamping on their faces,

 

I can see

his handcuffs

and his padded protective jacket

and his spray can and

someone is talking on his walkie talkie

but heís carefully ignoring it,

     heís too busy

staring straight ahead

and filling me with creeping guilt

for something I have

or havenít done

until

without warning he gets up

and dings the bell

and stands beside the driver

and theyíre talking to each other

and laughing

and theyíre probably talking about me

like itís some big official conspiracy

as the bus stops

he gets off

and starts to walk away

but suddenly undoubtedly

glances at me for just a split

second,

through the glass,

almost imperceptibly,

as if it never happened at all,

or itís all a thing in my mind,

     and I know it, and he knows I know it,

and heís telepathically

saying to me

I can see you     you little bastard

I know what youíve been doing

 

 

 

High Street

 

I saw Gerry Rafferty going up High Street

on a sunny midweek evening

with a big hat on his head

past the Wee Howff

and the pub on the corner

thatís all

boarded up

and the Kilt making Gentlemenís Outfitters

with a few suspicious people

hanging about the bus shelter

on his weary, reluctant way

to

an event at Paisley museum

featuring photographs of

famous people

which had finished ten minutes ago

with not a saxophone solo in sight,

and we walked past

on the other side

towards Stead and Simpson

and The Cross beyond thinking

That was Gerry Rafferty,

legendary Paisley born composer of Baker Street

and Stuck in the Middle With You

which was playing on the radio during

the Michael Madsen ear slicing scene

directed by Quentin Tarantino

although this was several years after

Reservoir Dogs and several years before

he died

 

 

 

Mother on a Train

 

She strokes the cheeks

                                   in tiny circles,

                                                  strokes

                                      the nose

                                        and cheeks

                            over and

over and 

               doesnít make a sound

             as the fields and homes

race past

 

                brings her finger

in a soft line from

forehead

to nose

             across the cheeks

and sees

                into the eyes

as her baby sees

                            into hers,

forgets

to cry

 

                    and the lands

and the skies

move past,

                           slip

                                to silence

                                    in silence

                        as the thundering train

delivers us to

                    wherever it is

weíre going to go

 

 

 

A View from the Bed

 

thereís a painting of an idyllic house

with a white picket fence

on the salmon-pink wall,

                  and below that

a white radiator bolted to the wall,

                  and below that

a white skirting board

                  beside

the infinity-coloured carpet

and the polar bear-coloured rug

and a copy of The Orchard Keeper

by Cormac McCarthy

and a half-empty bottle of water and a pair

of folded blue jeans and a pair

of unfolded black socks,

         and across

to the side of the single bed which is

hidden from view

        and onto

the top of the bed

and along

my fingers and up my arm and up

my face and into my eyes and

right inside

the brain with its lobes and stems

and whatever else is sloshing about

with all

the beautifully bewildering signals

I donít even want to think about

and the thinking crashing

around and thatís about it

 

  

 

 

All poems on this page are the copyright © of Graham Fulton

 

 

 

 

 

 

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