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Rob A. MacKenzie: a poem

© Ryan McGoverne


“We have heard of such towns – Aberdeen, Grimsby, London” (George Mackay Brown, Vikings: Two Harp Songs)

These days, I have adventures with smoked paprika

by kitchen striplight, marinating chicken with garlic,

olive oil, cumin, coriander, black pepper, turmeric.

I hear that one can buy the ingredients in Grimsby,

that central London has already piloted electricity

and microwave ready meals. There, it's still very

possible to plug in, switch on, and experience

total lack of power, but I demand my thruppence

worth. Here, at Leith's cutting edge, the blue rinse

is back in fashion, safety pins are driven through

eyeballs, and I have branded a designer stew.

The musos have given up pontificating on new

music, as a revolutionary gesture. They say it

died as an artform in a club in Aberdeen, '68.

They're now into fluffing the perfect omelette.

‘Omelette! See it, say it, sorted!’ is their slogan.

Eggs intimidate me, their hard faces. I log in

to egg sites and their bias against chicken

is a turn-off. I wish smoked paprika restored

my high. Where is London anyway? I scoured

a map, found only Luton. No, I'm not bored.

Rob A. Mackenzie is a Glaswegian poet, editor, reviewer and occasional translator. He lives in Leith. His poetry collections are The Opposite of Cabbage (2009), The Good News (2013) and The Book of Revelation (2020), all published by Salt. He runs the literary publisher Blue Diode Press.


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