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Andy Breckenridge

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the poet

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.

the poems

Tartanalia

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                        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 …

00:00 / 00:45
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                        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.

Publishing credits

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)

Photograph: Ganavan
Beach In Winter

00:00 / 01:21
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                        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.

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