BAKINGS

Bakings is The Bakehouse’s new online literary magazine – poems submitted by invitation alongside recordings of featured poets from previous Bakehouse events. Trawl through the site to find fine poetry from Scotland and beyond alongside film poems and illustrations. 

192 miles with Carla : ROBBIE FRAZER

 

I put my signboard in the back seat

and we tacked through the fleet of trucks

in the parking lot and onto the

hot open road.

Where you goin’?, she’d asked;

lips and beef jerky: I’m Carla!

Her jaw, blade straight, softened in powder,

she looked dry. Her earrings swinging, one-handed.

Her face was smooth and pale, no hair;

her colours borrowed from elsewhere,

she smelled of meat and sweet freesias.

Pleased to meet ya, she said,

her voice crunching under wheels.

You looked like you need a ride and I

need to hide myself from sleep you see.

She drove in bare feet.

Hon, get me a cigarette? She pointed;

I rummaged around and found a penis in a jar.

Oh right, she said, that’s weird, I know,

but that’s the worst I have to show you.

It used to be mine, she said.

It’s in a jar, I said.

I had nowhere else to put it.

*

Silent, we slid northwest.

The sun the colour of a two-bar heater,

switched off and still warm. Taking me back to

distant days huddled in layers

of endless tea and jazz in my fuggy room.

The window’s gap sucked on her cigarette,

licking it clean of ash, blushing the tip.

She smoked like she knew what she was about.

The hairs on her left arm were vermillion,

soon to be lost to the door’s shadow.

What you gonna do, Carla? When we get there.

I recognised her expression -

(I’d once told my Nanna I’d lost a friend to a rival

and her eyes and mouth showed me:

there’s worse to come, get used to it.)

*

Carla treated her hair like a sleepy toddler

slung this way and that, stroked and tolerated

but her eyes, hazel?, were made for the haze

of a long, long road. She seemed to have no edges.

I’m throwing it from the Golden Gate, she said.

I rested my hand on her shoulder,

the strap of her top under my fingers.

We drove into orange darkness.



Robbie Frazer won first prize in the Brian Dempsey Memorial Prize competition in 2018.  
www.dempseyandwindle.com/robbie-frazer

The Slow Collapse to Rain : Robbie Frazer

 

 

Ah! And there it is: the slow collapse to rain.

I turn from the window, my tea now cold.

His irises clouded, skin a membrane.

Sheets: milk-white, hard, tight shroud him - jack-knifed, old.

Used to make me sit in his TV throne;

fed me marshmallows and paté on bread,

talked of strong women of Athens or Rome.

I turn to the glass: cars, wipers, bowed heads.

I touch our condensed breath. A drop balloons.

Outnumbered, it gorges, fattens, falls.

Later, when crocuses have come and gone,

his shed: tea bags, clear milk and overalls.

Hauntings of compost torn half-open, spill

onto crusted gloves and mouldering sill.


Robbie Frazer won first prize in the Brian Dempsey Memorial Prize competition in 2018.  
www.dempseyandwindle.com/robbie-frazer

Beethoven in a Beetroot Field : Elspeth Brown

 

Beethoven’s great- great- grandfather bends his aching back

to howk another beetroot from the row, straightens,

stretches to the sky, hums an old folk song, rearranges it

then bends to grapple with the next row,

lowering his tone to match the earth. Row by row

he makes his tune. Remembers it to sing his son to sleep.

By morning it is a pattern in his head.

He hums close to the fresh green beetroot leaves,

he knows nothing of notes but adds a canopy of song,

like a cumulus cloud around his creation,

rise and fall, reach and bend,

Voice rising to greet the mid-day sun.

 

The Coming Dark : Bernard Kops

 

Wake up, open the window

I tell myself.

I do as told and turn my head.

My wife, my love asleep in another land

with her slight smile

she inhabits.

Darling, it is light but the dark is coming,

I whisper but never heard.

I hear my heart pounding.

The window scares as I open it.

The wind is howling and magpies sing somewhere

a song of chattering fear.

And no one is about.

I fear that the clouds will explode.

‘Can I wake her?’ I shout,

‘No’, I reply.

Love can be a bastard.

We must run somewhere!

No, no there is nowhere.

We are all destroying ourselves.

Oh children, oh loves,

laugh somewhere.

Only silence laughs.

The world is dying.

They are gone.

Remember!

What have we done to deserve such fear?

I close the window and rush to the bed

and shutter my eyes.

I feel her hot arms

and the silence of her legs.

She turns over

and I touch my wet face

and laugh my cry.


Incident : Jenny Mitchell


I’ve come to see what remains of my son

before they wash the pavement.

There are flowers sticking out of a fence

where strangers have paid tribute –

dying leaves: a golden mass of light

still in their plastic.

As I approach the concrete melted into blood

a yellow-blue board screams:

Fatal                Gang               In Confidence

I step away from the cracks and see the guts

have said too much, each drop a part of him I knew:

the sheet where he was born

a nose bleed on a white, white shirt

outline of a boy with three knife wounds.

Why is it my child locked in an airless box

and not that man, frowning in his car?

Or her, a girl I do not know

and did not push into this world?

My blood has fallen on the ground.

I am the blood torn from his heart.

These strangers want to help me stand

but where he fell, this pavement

frames me gentle enough.


from Her Lost Language (Indigo Dreams Publishing, 2019) 

Jenny Mitchell - Indigo Dreams

Twitter: @jennymitchellgo