Every year I look forward to returning to Edinburgh at Festival time – because I’m half-Scottish and studied at Edinburgh University, because I love the Book Festival and other festivities there, and because it’s one of the world’s truly splendid cities.
And for the last few years the Fruitmarket Gallery has given added reason for delight, providing the setting for a fine evening of poetry, whatever the festival weather. Hosted by the Fruitmarket’s inimitable Iain Morrison and local poets Andrew Philip and Rob Mackenzie, the night alone’s been worth the trip north.
I’m very happy this year to be joining Andy and Rob again, along with Simon Barraclough, Chrissy Williams and AB Jackson, and to be hosting here, virtually, a small introduction to their brilliant work.
Next in line is Simon Barraclough, author of the Forward-finalist debut, Los Alamos Mon Amour (Salt, 2008), Bonjour Tetris (Penned in the Margins, 2010) and Neptune Blue (Salt, 2011). He is the editor ofPsycho Poetica (Sidekick Books, 2012) and co-author of The Debris Field (Sidekick Books, 2013). He is currently poet in residence at the Mullard Space Science Laboratory.
We'll Always Have CGI Paris
Open on the galaxy, dolly zoom
through Doppler shifting stars, leave the local planets
in our wake, brush off the Moon
and rummage through the clouds to find
the crouching continent where Paris piggybacks.
Pinpoint the pyramid, dogleg along the Seine
until the camera starts to weave between the struts
of youknowwhat and youknowwhere
to finish on us kissing in the festive, fireworky air.
But we were never there. My sitcom kept me
in LA, your slasher movie debut
saw you junketing in hotel rooms out east.
We shot green screen on different days: my face
a balloon taped to a broom, your waist a tailor’s dummy;
our foggy breath was lifted from Titanic;
the cutaways to clasping hands were cut in
from a jewellery ad as all of Paris waited
to be pixellated, cut and pasted.
But we’ll always have Paris,
although our eye lines never matched
and everything we tried to hold onto
our phantom fingers passed clean through.