Poetry Map of Scotland poem no. 77: Kilmarnock

The Bonnyton Road

The amber prism
And the rhythm
Of the rain
Make the past dance.
The 21st century gives way to a watercolour existence;
The concrete crumbles,
The dirt road embossed with hoof and tackity-bit prints.
Clydesdales
Cart coal.

Sandstone and plaster
Hold the laughter and arguments of a century
In their porous surfaces
But won’t release the resonance
To this one-man audience.
I stare at silent scenes
Quietly stepping,
arm-in-arm
with the benevolent ghosts
of The Bonnyton Road.

Warts and all
Working class existence
A world without the NHS
I see women die in childbirth
And the pallor
Of stillborn skin.
Men maimed in foundries and mines.
The black spit.
Cheap Johnnie Walker from the factory floor
Forging and fuelling hard habits
And short lifespans.

In the midst
Of all this;
Community, understanding
A sense of belonging.
Factories, arteries
Giving lifeblood to
Pulsating tenement blocks.

I deride my neurotic nature
As modern problems fade against the backdrop
Of true struggle and poverty
But these trade-off’s and exchanges
Have taken other riches
Leaving only money in their wake.

Silence scythed
By internal combustion
The ghosts scatter;
Halogen headlights end my reverie.
Collar up and
Hat-brim down
I step back into modern life
And off the Bonnyton road.

Kieran Kelly

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