Deadly Nightshade

Hi everyone, today’s post comes in the shape of a new poem entitled Deadly Nightshade. I hope you enjoy the read.

Deadly Nightshade

Culture my drug of choice
I love hearing different voices
excite me with there words
in poems and stories
giving glimpses of their worlds
observed or imagined

This time I re-visit my past
Its a cold blowy Monday
I walk to the University of Strathclyde
There night air fills with a mix of regrets and pride
regret this was in another age
pre transformation
Yet proud I made it there at all

In a land where bikes
are the metaphor of social mobility
there are challenges for those perceived to at be risk
of endangering stereotypes
being viewed as different
a step too far
conformity Is worn as a badge of belief
like the old school colours

times have changed
since the days I discovered me
the mid to late nineties
when these streets were my streets
my locality my spaces
my seat of learning where I was taught
by a lecturer whose daughter is now a friend

everything which starts must also end
it is the natural way
creating memories which stay with you
as one day blends into another
this visit is tinged with nostalgia
the songs may be different
but the story remains the same

there is permanence in the brick walled buildings
though cracks have begun to appear
in the now stained glass ceilings
the gated communities of the mind
designed to keep trouble out
as the chosen ones learned
to play by the rules.

Ties were loosening not quite as secure
as the architects once thought.
Warner demonstrates this as he reads about the Scotland of a different time
a time where boundaries of division
were being questioned by a younger generation
willing to question prejudice
who sought answers to subjects
previously ignored or at best not spoken of in company

In the warmth of a lecture theatre
he reads to an audience willing to listen
his novel is set in days
when we knew our place
Yet embarked on a road which would lead to the end of certainty

the seventies were exciting times for those of us growing into ourselves
finding our way our voice
punk was our parents protested
junk for those with nothing between the ears
the claim their parents had made about Elvis
rock ‘roll died but its child gave birth to new songs

We are taken back in time as the author enchants, entertains and enthrals his audience
by the power and passion of his oratory
mixing authority ,and honesty
his use of language grabs hold of their captive hearts
as darkness begins to descend on the city
his characters come to life.

At the end of the reading
I venture back in to the evening
walking once familiar routes
on my road for the Southside bus
As I cut through the merchant city
I view the less than pretty sights
of glasgow’s deadly night shade

A drunk man with no home except a bar
scars the sky as he screams into the night
I take flight my pace quickens
as he restlessly batters a dustbin lid
in a desperate cry for attention.
this in a city which has been reinvented
as a centre of culture and style

Less than half a mile from this drama
stands galleries and concert halls
places he will view from the outside only
this city is no place for the lonely
I would like to hear his story
but I cannot take the risk
It would make me late for my next event
As compare its important to be on time.

I continue on my way
walk passed the central station
without a backward glance
chances are not to be taken
personal safety comes first
even on a Monday evening
there can be menace on every corner

As I head to my bus stop
I see a crowd of four drunks
they are arguing amongst themselves I walk past unnoticed glad to be anonymous in this friendly city
sometimes its better that way

Eventually I board the bus
which takes me to my destination I continue my cultural evening
leaving the deadly nightshade.
to those forbidden from entering
the comfort zones of others

@ Gayle Smith 2012

Love And Best Wishes
Gayle X

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