Andy Breckenridge is originally from Oban, Scotland, but now lives and works in Brighton, England, as a secondary school English teacher. He writes about self-imposed exile, place, relationships, cultural identity and memory, and his poems have been published widely in print and online journals. He's been a featured poet with Flight of the Dragonfly Spoken Word, and with the Northern Poet’s Society. His first poetry pamphlet The Liquid Air appeared in 2021, followed by an illustrated version in 2022. Andy's debut full collection, published in 2023, is titled The Fish Inside.
I stand outside your window at night
waiting for you to open the blinds and see
my tartan face the whites of my eyes
shot with blood lines – green irises popping
see how the plain silver kilt pins jawbone
my skin together in the wind see how
symmetrical and intricately blocked
I am – each sawtooth of green dovetails
with dark blue in a precise matrix
see how the straps and buckles fit so
neatly through the slits in my waist – hold fast
I was that night bus that snagged on departure
from Glasgow Buchanan Street and unravelled
en route to London Victoria
to help you find your way back – now I frown
at your lack of fealty and the accents
of your kids and yours – while you sleep, I’ll slip
sliver after sliver of tablet onto
your tongue until your teeth pop like lightbulbs
see my gridlines keep everything in check
stretch to infinity like a spreadsheet
weighing up the debits and credits
(you are in the red) that’s me peering in
right now, an arrow slit of borrowed moonlight
that’s my breath – that’s me hanging lifeless
in your wardrobe – following you in the car
lurking on shortbread tins and tea towels
as you scurry past gift shops at airports
avoiding eye contact – weigh me
Is my cloth too rich and heavy?
Morning light slides past
the blinds again and the first trains
shake me out of the air.
You Can Take The Boy
Out Of Nature …
Dizzy astride the rope clump
on the swing in the Hazel Woods,
you pendulum above the roots
exposed on the earthy floor.
Cool air wrings your eyes,
adrenaline runs its fingers through your gut;
the branch creaks out a rhythm like rust.
You are still unable to identify a hazel
or the bare bushes at the head of the loch
whose silver fingers tug at your jersey
where ticks hitch rides on your blood.
You pluck away their bodies and legs,
leave the buried mouthparts to grow out
or dissolve in the flesh.
Beach In Winter
You both always knew exactly what to do
and set about your play in earnest
knowing your time there was finite.
Fine sand and cold February air
pinched your small fingers, as you
crouched, burrowed and shaped
a friable cityscape of roads, tunnels,
bridges, stairs and squat buildings.
You never saw the low winter sun
pool shadows in every dip.
Or the tyre tracks beside you
twist like prehistoric spines
that stretched down towards
the footprints and pawprints,
the hieroglyphs left by birds,
the careless signatures of lugworms
or the blackened lines of dry seaweed
marking tide lines like shed skin.
Or the snow retreating to the peaks on Mull.
Later, by your feet in the back of the car
there are peeled off parking permits
empty hula hoop packets discarded and dated.
Rain flecks the shop front windows of the real town
empty and holding its breath for the season.
Tartanalia: Flights (Flight of the Dragonfly Press)
You Can Take The Boy Out Of Nature ...: exclusive first
publication by iamb
Photograph: Ganavan Beach In Winter: The Fish Inside
(Flight of the Dragonfly Press)