Borderland

Hey everyone. It’s day 22 of NaPoWriMo and time really does fly when your having or at least attempting to rise to a poetry challenge. Today’s poem is on the theme of contrasts and i hope illustrates the different social, cultural, and economic geographies of two very different Glasgow’s located as they are within one set of traffic lights from each other This happens in all major cities of the world but i have chosen the one i know best as i stand at the crossroads of the affluent all embracing Merchant City to west and the less well off more socially traditional Gallowgate to the East. I’ve given the poem the title Borderland as it can be said it’s where one where one world ends and another begins. I hope you enjoy what i hope will be both a challenging and thought provoking read.

Borderland

On the borderline
i stand between Merchant City and Gallowgate.
i see two Glasgow’s
to the west of this border
i sense a social order where cocktails
are more popular than vodka
and sex on the beach is something to be sipped
in a bar.
It is not fair Monday quickie
in an Ayrshire coastal town.
This is a place where hand me down’s
are labelled vintage.
Clothes can be recycled in the same way
as bottles, cans, and paper.
This is where the ecological saviour of the world
will be born.
Where we scorn poverty
and democracy works for those
who participate in it.
The sky is only the limit,
if you accept limitations.
This side of the border,
is a diverse melting pot
a mini united nations
where contrasting cultures mingle
whilst retaining the right to be themselves.
This is a city of wealth
a style mile
where money speaks in many languages.
and the middle classes party
without the need to abandon their aspirations
in any way.
LGBT or Straight
this is a gated area
without the need for gates
This is the affluent part of the city,
pretty for those who have disposable income
to spend
want to be on trend
This is the place
where weekends see all colours of the rainbow respected
providing their dress suits
the code of the bar.

A few yards, to the east of where i stand.
i see a no man’s land.
which is definitely not the place,
for a woman to venture at night
Forget club sandwiches
this is fish and chips beneath the stars
The stars which some say only shine for others
and locals know are beyond their reach
Awkward, it dawns on me,
i have a foot in both camps.
Born in to a working class family with ambitions,
I let no-one make decisions for me.
I do not share the what’s for you won’t by you, fatalism of my mother.
A trans woman and university graduate
I discovered early,
education opens doors
to what some less enlightened family members
would have called people like me.
A poet and a member of the SNP
i am a gabby wee madam
with opinions on everything and the voice to make them known.
Though i like to think i am equally at home
with all social groups
i do find it easier to relate to middle class graduates
than some of the less desirable elements
in the scheme where i was raised.
This does not mean i have betrayed
my so-called working class roots.
I am a woman of the skirt suit
who fights for the rights of us all.
I cannot betray a background
which was never mine
i stand on the borderline between Two Glasgow’s
knowing i can blend in to both
there are no borderlines in my world.

@ Gayle Smith 2015

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