A To Z
an A to Z of Aberdeen with the intention
of cycling every street. He marked each
road in red, of course the shade
changed slightly over the years,
but I have the completed map.
It didn't matter to him that they
constructed new roads, a bypass,
new estates, demolished one
of the bridges he had defined red.
On January first he drew a grid of
the numbers one to nine hundred
and ninety nine, searching for each
in the brand new number plates issued
by the government. Sometimes in Aberdeen
the ice can be fierce. In sixty seven
the 'E' suffix lasted only seven months,
the new date was now August first;
he often said the warm weather allowed
him to cycle later into the evening.
In his final years, he read
the gas and electric meters
Can everything be made to go
from A to Z?
Is any single word
just one thing ready
to be slotted in?
Take loss like a pack
of wolves, only held together
by their howls , their savage teeth
and need to bring me down.
Does that go under you
or wolf or loneliness
or madness as I slam it in
my flailing mind -
that cupboard without a door?
Take life story which is a web
of words once strung out by
your mood, your memory,
an impish take on truth.
Do finished stories go untold?
Take thoughts hidden under curios
in your glass-fronted cabinet,
tossed in the hard-bound notebooks
piled on your brooding desk.
How can I file your thoughts?
Take sorting the lever arch file
and finding that first photo of me
under L when my name starts
with J and I’ll never know what
L stood for – lass, love, liar, lousy lay –
you’ve left me unsorted.
When Arabella Baker met Carlos
on Deansgate, the
Early morning drizzle smothered her Face and she
Groaned wearily. He
Ignored the noise and
Jumped back from a taxi splashing through a puddle,
but she was soaked to the
Knees by a passing Lorry.
“Move off! Leave the area!
shouted an Overweight Police officer.
Quivering, she grabbed Carlos’ hand and they
“A Stabbing!” yelled someone. Blue
Tape stretched and fluttered across the road.
Carlos Uttered a guttural squeal, and
Vanished into the crowd.
Arabella Waved at the empty space where for a moment
a new friend had
She Walked and Yawned
back to Zero.