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. 

Tension : Liz Niven

I am knitting my way through lockdown.

Jumpers for grandchildren.

Three down, one to go.

I finger the wool like worry beads.

Everything has turned into

the terminology of wool.

It’s a one-ply world. 

Thin. 

Frail.

There is little pattern to the days.

We eat, we sleep, we make do.

Morning, afternoon, night merge seamlessly.

Ribbed by death reports.

Lives have been lost, carelessly, like dropped stitches,

many have dropped through the cracks,

of poverty, vulnerability, instability.

Instructions have been inaccurate.

Our threadbare world has unravelled.

If there’s an upside, might it be that we can darn a hole

in our now emission-free earth?

Compensate the tardiness, delusional exceptionalism.

The News is permeated by 

sharp clack of needle on needle, 

verse on verse, the rhythm of the rows.

Metal clicks like a clock. Time passes.

In the end, buttons will need threaded, anchored.



Beleaguered : Joanna Lilley

 

She stays below the tree line

to be unseen among the crowded saplings,

spruces, firs. She’d planned to hike,

invisibly, the breadth of the boreal biome

west to east, from her makeshift

Beringian home to a shielded shore.

She hasn’t left yet, though.

She even bought a house and paid

for a divorce. She’s calculating

how many moments in this synergetic forest

are reduced in rapture by each mosquito

that yaws towards her neck, by every plump,

green larvae swinging on white silk towards

her cheek. She’s still too human.

For every flower she learns,

she forgets two birds. She’s leaving

one day. She knows too many people now

and more are always coming.

The newcomers are especially fatiguing.

They pluck, pickle, build, run, ultra,

shoot, according to the season. She feels

the ricochets as she sits on a fallen log

to give the dog more woodland time.

While everyone is doing, she undoes.

First the clinging fingers of the earnest ex,

then an employer or two. She’s waterproofed

her boots and tightened her trekking pole.

The dog can come but no one else.

Picknicking : Alan Price

 

At sunset you push the boat out

as a soft breeze creates easy ripples,

in a picnic spot hidden by bamboo,

lotus cool lovely by evening.

Some horny guys prepare iced drinks.

Attractive dolls sprinkle and arrange salad.

Then a tiny dark cloud appears.

Have I time to finish this poem before it rains?

It’s pouring down now, drenching everyone.

What a wind beating at the boat side!

ThreeYüeh dolls. Wet and clingy scarlet dresses.

Whilst the girls, from Yen, suffer crying mascara.

A painter guy scrapes the boat against the bank.

Curtains are blown open. Flowers shot onto the river.

Getting home’s such a battle through a storm.

On shore, this June collapses into autumn.

A version after Du Fu’s 陪諸貴公子丈八溝攜妓納涼,晚際遇雨二首》杜甫

BONNIE AND CLYDE (1967) directed by Arthur Penn : Alan Price

 

I dispatched my parents to The Tunnel Road Picturedrome
to see Bonnie and Clyde. What they found was Gold Diggers
of 1933 – a film within a film where Ginger Rogers sang,
“We’re in the money.” Clyde sat in the back row: furious
they’d killed a man. Bonnie sighed. “If you boys want to
talk why don’t you all go outside?” Despite all the chatter
in their flea-pit my parents (who were never in any money)
stuck with the stalls: watching kids rob banks and healthily
shoot at rednecks. Arthur, I thought they’d hate your film
but they loved it. That balletic massacre of an ending: how
Bonnie and impotent Clyde writhed in orgasmic displeasure
as bullets ripped through clothes and flesh. “It was horrible.”
said mother, unfazed. On that night screen violence, cocoa
and toast brought me closer to Mum and Dad. I’d seen
the film yonks before. My audience even younger, than the
Barrow gang, with not a bloody-minded oldie in sight.

 

Corona Courage : Donald Adamson

 

Corona is buzzing

closer and closer

like a persistent wasp

with me as the jam pot

while across the way

an old, decrepit house

is socially distanced

from trendy neighbours.

It has seen everything,

fears nothing.


At Summerlee : Donald Adamson

 

I’m scuffling brown leaves

with my grandson. The branches are bare

with just a wizened pennant or two

still hanging on.

A half-mile stretch of canal

gleams, beckons, bends

and vanishes.

Our pace is slow, suiting us both

as we move hand in hand

each of us into our own

distance.

 

Heart Crime : Alan Franks

 

As a young man I stole a heart-shaped locket

From an old woman’s shelf.

My hand just swept it off and into a pocket

As if I were someone else.

Now, as then, I don’t know why I did it.

Because it was there, I guess,

And because I’d decided her grandson was an idiot

Whose friendship made me embarrassed.

It was silver and cold. It opened, and in it

Was a lock of grey hair

Which turned me into a grave-robber for a minute.

I wished it wasn’t there.

The dreams that came to get me, you wouldn’t believe:

First I’m shot like a pheasant;

Next, my side is slit by the terrible scythe

Of the grey moon’s crescent.

I hide it in the loft, the wall, the wainscot.

It roves rather than rests,

Like the core matter of a contested conscience,

My secreted priest.

Years go by and my own heart gets nicked –

Just when I think I’ve got her.

Tricksy old love and his haul of stolen tickers

Hung in his hideous abattoir.

I get shot of the locket. Decent price

From an old Brighton associate;

Shut myself from the will to turn out nice

Or, God help us, expiate.

Strange to say, he never opens the piece;

Just puts it on the scales.

The lock must add point-something of an ounce

To the weight of the sale.

All right then dreams, I say, so give me hell

And, scared half to death,

I’m barely feeding into my new love’s shell-like

A single curl of breath.

To all who find in my chest an empty hole

That should be heavy-hearted

I say go estimate the weight of the soul

That parts from the departed.