Chips, paracetamol and wine. The things we need to keep us alive, and the things we need to dull the pain of being alive. These are poems about the weakness, foolishness and brilliance of human life, places rarely visited, poems without convenient endings. Hopeful and hopeless, detached and engaged, this is a book about dunderheids and smackheads, lost cats and stuffed dogs, Charles Bukowski, Jimmy Johnstone and Kylie’s golden pants. Chips, Paracetamol and Wine holds up a mirror to the world, reflecting the chaos just below the surface; just the way things are.
Ricky the dunderheid has been putting all of the right mail into all of the wrong letterboxes with a cheery smile on his face and a low intelligence quotient in his brain according to his superior postman who told me Ricky’s a pure dunderheid, av telt im time an time again tay check thi names on thi doors but he’s thick as mince, and there are people opening telephone bills and electricity bills and threatening letters from debt collectors and love letters and hate letters and the latest copy of Poets’ Wives and the latest copy of Shit Science and the pricelist for Little Psychopaths’ Nursery that should have been delivered to different inhabitants, and it’s happening so much people are doubting who they are and what their names are and wondering if all their precious memories of childhood and dead parents and foreign wars you can’t possibly win have been artificially inserted into their minds, and if they are in fact Mrs Mussolini from the next block, or Mrs McGlumphit from the top floor, or Mr Plott from the ground floor, except for the ones who get no mail at all like us who have always known that we don’t exist
sitting in the Scotia after John McGarrigle who- was-killed-in-the Clutha’s funeral, wolfing triangular tuna sandwiches and listening to someone singing We Shall Overcome into a feedback microphone, I ask Bobby Christie if he remembers walking home twenty-five years ago from Tom Leonard’s Writers’ Group in Paisley in the dark with towering orange streetlamps and turning left into Penilee Road where a cop in a panda wound down his window and asked us what we had in our bags to which we shouted POETRY! in unison, lifted thick majestic photocopies and Poems of Thirty Years by Edwin Morgan into the air as he looked on in horror and told us to be on our way and not to do it again and Bobby disappeared over the hill as I turned right into Atholl Crescent to go to a house where I no longer live to talk to people who are no longer there, and Jim Ferguson is wearing a burning red tie and brandishing a virtual cigarette, and We Shall Overcome was sung by Joan Baez in 1963, it’s really hard to believe, it feels as if yesterday has still to happen, tomorrow is already gone
this couple have a dog a sort of dog off the leash with a small laughing son and it’s biting the swan on the wing in the park pond biting and tearing at its wing with the white wing flapping and the dog snarling and the couple calling TOBY TOBY STOP IT TOBY, but not caring and looking at me looking at them and knowing they’ve been seen but not giving a flying fuck if a beautiful life dies, and their laughing son laughing and not giving a beautiful fuck if the swan lives or dies
three junkies huv jist gone up that road pal three junkies huv jist passed me wan aftur thi other az ah stood here in thi rain an they wur aw lookin at ma bike ma thousan poun bike each wan wuz slowin doon an eyein up ma thousan poun bike fur fuck sake wan hud a ginger bottle in iz haun az e slowed doon ah cud see it in iz eyes oan a Saturday afternoon three junkies huv jist gone up that road pal so jist watch yersel an huv a good day an if another junkie so much as looks at me ahll kill thi fuckin cunt
Glasgow, 13/7/2018 FUCK OFF YOU TINY-HANDED ORANGE-FACED CUNT painted in red on card is one of the less ambiguous messages at the Death to Donald Trump rally in George Square in the sunshine as is BAWBAG TRUMP’S A FUD RAGE AGAINST THE TANGERINE TRUMP’S AN EEJIT said in a bubble by a stuck-on cat a pussy on a placard a Saltire saying FUCK OFF YA FANNY a Welsh dragon saying I HATE FASCISTS as babies dreaming in prams and not in cages obliviously mix with ministers political or religious activists and re-activists urologists sociologists anarchists telephonists taps aff sunburnt bampots dogs with signs saying PUGS AGAINST DESPOTS toddlers with signs saying TODDLERS AGAINST TRUMP old ladies booing when prompted cannabis smokers energy drinkers muslims and atheists and candlestick makers FUCK OFF YA RACIST CUNT DONALD WHERE’S YER CONSCIENCE a Buddhist monk who’s had enough holding a sign that says TRUMP’S A MUPPET two orange balloons in a transparent bag which looks like a big orange arse with a blond wig as American tourists pass by on the open-top sight-seeing bus taking pictures and saying Oh Elmer, isn’t this quaint!
There was once a moment before Jim Baxter played keepie up at Wembley in black and white, and then it was there and then it was gone, there was once a moment before Tommy Gemmell booted Helmut Haller up the arse prior to being sent off in 1969, and then it was there and then it was gone, there was once a moment before Joe Jordan came flying in to head the ball in 1973, there was once a moment before red-haired Billy Bremner shoved red-haired Jimmy Johnstone out in a rowing boat at Largs when they should have been tucked up in bed, there was once a moment before Joe Jordan scored against Yugoslavia in 1974 and Billy Bremner hugged him to death with a mixture of joy and pride and sadness and regret, and then it was there and then it was gone, there was once a moment before Kenny Dalglish sent the ball between Ray Clemence’s legs, there was once a moment before the Wembley crossbar cracked in two, there was once a moment before the ball was given to Archie Gemmill, and then it was there and then it was gone, there was once a moment before David Narey stuck out his toe, there was once a moment before James McFadden hammered the ball from 30 yards, there was once a moment before Leigh Griffiths took a free kick against England after 87 minutes, there was once a moment before Leigh Griffiths took another free kick against England after 90 minutes, there was once a moment before Harry Kane equalised three minutes later which we all knew was going to happen, there was once a moment before sometime in the future when we finally qualified at long last, and then it was there and then it was gone
‘A Mayakovskian slap in the face of public taste... reminds us of the timeless belligerence of a stuck-out tongue.’
Glasgow Review of Books
‘This is poetry got right to the heart and the head at the same time. Brilliant.’
‘I’ve always been a huge fan.’
‘Fulton’s lyrics are some of the true treasures of contemporary poetry in Scotland.’
‘These poems will cheer you up and restore your faith in humanity. Buy ten copies and hand them to your friends.’
Mistress Quickly’s Bed