Easter Road, Abbeymount, Meadowbank

VIII.	Easter Road

My stomping ground is Easter Road,
a place of withered leaves, stubbed butts,
strewn rubbish, and the same squat
bulldog lamp post tethered
while his master buys a macaroni pie.

A bookie’s, two booze shops, three options
for tattoos, and a bakery with sourdough
for £6 – can’t see that lasting,
not for the Hibs fans, egg and bacon roll
for soaking up the Deuchars is more like it.

Cats here must be cheap to rescue, for the
thrift shop down below
sells three books for a pound,
jumpers for half nothing and nick-nacks
(you’ve guessed it, mostly cats)
for less than 50p.

IX.	Abbeymount

Tucked away
     at Abbeyhill
          are two short
               flights of steps.
     drunks share cider,
          homeless piss,
               sometimes an addict nests in temporary rest.

Today, I passed a forlorn woman there,
hair and words tumbling to where
her tweed coat met her slender ankles.

“You never open up, what’s happening?”
Her lips inch-close to a waxen man,
chin dropped and downcast eyes.
He shrugs in place of words,
to see where that might get him.
Not far, I’d guess.
If these two were a trailer
for a film, I’d pay to go.

I walk on
past a long-closed school,
now studio for artisans,
wall-mounted post-box
burnished brass:

Each time I pass
I want to feed it notes
composed in ink
(no blots),
flawless, cursive swirls that say:
Dear Miss MacKenzie,
don’t cane the children.

X.	Meadowbank

Shopping’s a chore, bore, snore – more, more, more stuff!
Meadowbank’s my nearest hit for retail.
Canopied box-stores piled high,
cheap everything I don’t need.

Renton sneers in my ear: “Choose a fucking
big television. Choose washing machines,
cars, compact disc players, electrical
tin openers.” (My God, that film is old.)

A beggar shelters: street-aged, hunkered,
cowl pulled up, head bent in prayer.
He’s motionless.

It’s him – I’m sure – my house guest!
Then he lifts his hood and smiles wise eyes
under red hair. ‘How’s it going, hen?’
I slip him coins, bid him well, leave him
to share his Haribos with a one-legged
woman in a wheelchair on her smoke break
from the bingo. ‘Thanks pal.’

Nearby, the running track is
strapped in woodchip hoarding,
graffitied boarding.
Street art – a cleaned-up, corralled,
candied version, anarchy made anodyne.
Squirts, sprays, splotches drained of energy,
sucked free of rage, of angst, of roar;
sedated art without a heart,
fictitious as the child who sings a love song,
all sugary confection, life shielded
from calamity and rupture.

Extract from Edinburgh, A Long Poem

by Eimear Bush (September–October 2020)

One thought on “Easter Road, Abbeymount, Meadowbank

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s