Sunday, December 08, 2013

Everybody lie down and no one gets hurt. + Talking Heids.

Everybody Lie Down and No One Gets Hurt

Artwork by Kirsty Whiten

The launch has passed. It was a small success. Thank to Sofi's Bar for being a warm, homely little place for poetic intimacies, and ranting. Thanks to Red Squirrel Press, Sheila Wakefield, in particular, who brought the pamphlet to completion, while I wondered about how much profit I would make. (Delusions of poetry selling) :P

Now the book is out there in the world (well, about 30 copies, to be fair) and I am now able to sell the book. You can buy it from this blog! Simply click on the button - remember to select the right option i.e. number 2: Everybody lie down and no one gets hurt. I will then post it out.

The pamphlet should be available to buy from Red squirrel Press and on Amazon in the near future.

There will be readings to follow. A launch in Glasgow too. Hopefully, Govanhill Baths.

Now the little book is out there, it seems so fragile, a little book of sleep that, quite frankly, could easily be interrupted in its light, poetic, doze. If a gentle little word or two is needed, this pamphlet might be for you.

The Art work is by Edinburgh based Artist  Kirsty Whiten (Technically Fife) who I really liked for her mix of brilliant, life affirming colour, with dark imagery and surrealist depictions. Beautifully warped in their vividness.

Cost 5 pounds (including postage)!

Talking Heids

McGuire has started a Poetry night at Sofi's Bar, last Tuesday of every month, generally. Featuring two established poets, music, humour and an informal Open Mike, some light music in the background and a generous and warm venue, that is, Sofi's.

If you want to know more about the night, who is reading, what events are coming in the future, join us on Talking Heids, face broker page: Talking Heids.

There is a reading on the 17th of December, with Kirsten Norrie, who will read some poems and play music, and a yet unconfirmed male poet will join her for our last Talking Heids of the New Year.

Talking Heids will also be part of LGBT History Month in February. More on in the New Year!  

*Don't forget to buy the pamphlet. :P 

Friday, November 08, 2013

Of sleep and waking up.

Sleep is coming.

The pamphlet is due for launch on the 3rd of December 2013. Venue yet to be confirmed. It will be in Edinburgh, that's for sure, with a possible launch in Glasgow following later or in the New Year.

The pamphlet is being published by Red Squirrel Press, thanks to the industrious and hard-working, Sheila Wakefield.

The book is loosely wrapped in a duvet of ideas surrounding sleep, sleeplessness and the great wide awake!

It has been a labour of love, insomnia, mindfulness and addiction.

More details to follow, so get your pyjamas on, or get out of bed, turn the lights out, or stretch up your arms into the cold reach of the real world.

Sleep is coming and it's shattered.
Many people have fallen awake.
Bed has come in the night to help you grow.
Pillow like a placenta has come to nurture your soft neck.

Watch out for podcast next week at Scottish Poetry Library.

Love in the vaguest sense
of its invisibility,


Sunday, September 15, 2013

September reshuffle

My pamphlet is not coming out this year with Tenor Bull, won't be happening until next year due to ongoing delays, technical problems, outside of my control and everyone else's.

Instead my book with Red Squirrel Press will be out at the end of October! Thanks to the powerful Lady and personality, that is, Sheila Wakefield. More on that to come.  Know only this, there will be readings. There will be laughter. There will be mouths open, aghast. Your secrets are not safe with you. Bring them with you. Air them. A fresh air.

I won't even tell you the title yet. Only know, my one faithful reader (Jim), it is coming soon, soon, sooner than Jesus to our rescue. We will soon have to wake up to another book.

United Nations of Sleep

I seek asylum at the Embassy of Bed.
Nightly it is granted, without passport,
an evenings access into eternity.
- McGuire 

Thursday, August 29, 2013

August and everything after.

I read at BBC Slam again this year. I managed to win my night. I was up against some worthy performers and somehow, by some fluke, perhaps something in the air, I got through.  I ranted a short comic biography of Robert Burns, spieled a long humorous list of definitions of God, and a heart-felt piece about the eccentric and tempestuous couples of love. It managed the job.

On the Saturday final I was up against the strongest Ladies of the Edinburgh poetry society. :) Rachel Amey, Rachel McCrum, Sophia Walker. It was a tough final. I read my list of gods once more (probably not a good idea) and the a risky poem, Delta phos b, a graphic poem on internet porn addiction. (Not autobiographical)

Sophia Walker won! Deservedly so. She has been working away at performance poetry for years. She has a backlog of experience, her own private collections of turmoils and traumas that power her words. She read poems of her War experience in Uganda and my personal favourite, about masculinity and stereotypes. Well done, Walker!

Now that is all over, somethings yet remain! I have a pamphlet coming out any minute now, with small press Tenor Bull! And there is a book on the way as the same year? A bit unnecessary, but there it is. More news on that soon!

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Quick Sneeze Transcription

A sawdust haze and feverish itch surrounds the nose as the eyes begin to smart, provoking an anticipatory and reassuring, though useless, compulsion to touch the nib of the nose with the side of the hand.

A tightening of the facial muscles, a clenching of eyes, collides with a whip lash, neck jolting snap, releasing an orgasmic gunshot of compressed snot sprayed out into the world, as we intone the universal prayer of the photic sneeze reflex 'Achoo!'.

The sense of release, comparable to post coital bliss, is experienced for a few milliseconds as the senses come back into focus. A short-lived moment of oneness and peace are felt in this instance, like breaking the sharpness of a migraine; tension has been eased, a mist cleared, balance reestablished.

We come down from this heady zen like height instantaneously, to reach for the tissue paper, to wipe the straggling wet and blow the slimy remnants. Recovering is like opening a window in a dust-filled room to the bright, clear air of a summer morning. 

Monday, May 27, 2013

The Fall from the Classical

O Dyslexic poems built
like a row of condemned buildings,
short of some scaffolding.
The thread barely holds,
syntactically, stops and stutters,
breaks off mid-thought
at what might have been a sliver of wisdom.

Lines divert, meanings crash,
form dilapidates, contents trash.
Something has been lost altogether,
the artifice, the skill, the metric chisel
has been dropped.
Any child can riot a crayon
over a page of white noise.

O Dyslexic poems built
like a row of condemned buildings,
that won't hold up any longer;
there are no more coliseums, no more cathedrals,
just long lines of shopping malls,
and bubble-gum sentiments.
The season of falling standards
resounding, everywhere around us.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Just round for a cuppa.

'How honest can a person be?'
In the ensuing silence
the room assumes an immensity.
Someone clears their throat.
A window is opened.

Everyone hides in plain sight,
behind mugs of coffee hoping
this awkward pause will soon pass.
Mr and Mrs Smith, keep their underwear
well and truly ironclad.

'It depends what you have to hide,'
someone admits. At this Mr Smith wipes sweat
for his brow, Mrs Smith kneads her handbag closer
into her lap. Readying themselves to depart,
separate as always, untouched.

'It's not like we could all do with some counselling...'
Mr Smith remarks, 'is it...?' 'Yes...' Mrs Smith says...'
'...who in their right mind needs that?'
They make excuses worth leaving for.

Tuesday, May 07, 2013

The Maturation Process

Thirty years playing at the perennial child,
when will you grow up, just before the coffin?

Grab yourself by the brain. Become
the Catherine wheel you are. Sing a wall down.
Dance until kissing armies are created. 
Tame the private gloom with beasts of laughter. 
Spontaneously combust the toxic doubt of insecure Self.   
Embarrass yourself publicly and take it as spine strengthener.

Ultimately, we are all dead, so courage to do (and in doing be done),
something that might make you look a fool is a fine art gallery.

It is not the sadness in dying
but the sadness of not living intensely
that should shock you out of docility.  

Tuesday, April 02, 2013

April Showers

I will be reading at these events this month. Come along. Don't bother. However you see it. You are welcome. At Bletherskites the readings will be filmed for posterity and evidence that we do actually exist. The Holy Show will feature one of my poems which was made into a short film for the religious themed night. Holy Show clearly features some well known writers and musicians who will make it an entertaining night of God knows what. Reading at 'Last Monday At Rio' thanks to Robin Cairns on 29th of April on the The Last Ten Red will be on at the Persevere, come ear the words, if you can stand the silence of listening. 1st of May at 8. 

Yours sincerely,

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Searching For Everything Already There

'The Universe is searching for its long lost relative The Other Universe, as Life also searches, with infinite melancholy, for The Other Life.' - Department of Lost and Found Souls. 

(For Charles Simic) 

The World is a search party looking for itself,
looking for that which is absent;
A key, a cherished stone,  a heart shaped locket,
some lasting impression, something in the dark.

By close of day half the planet goes to bed, exhausted,
leaving the other to wake and continue their search.
A millennium – day after day – without object.
Not so much as a wry smile caught in the glint of a star.

Some say it is not the finding
but the search that is the measure. 
I am inclined to agree
as I look out the window at my lover
who shows no sign yet of disappearing.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Shadow Boxing

A silhouette less defined stretches 
prowls more panther 
beneath tall grass
primed to pull at all that is wild.

   All you compress 
   to hold together,
the clean surface wiped clear of suspicion
betrays nothing of the conflicts
which lie back there in the shade
as you lift the gun to your smile
to wipe your face off the world.


A darker number of a poem. My interest in the human shadow never ends. I'm no Jungian analyst but something in that metaphor of the shadow pulls me in and encourages me to shed light through writing on the darkest of human spaces. 'The furies are at home in the mirror.' R. S. Thomas. Don't be crazy alone forever. ;)  photo byjasonlumsden

Tuesday, February 19, 2013


For Olrando Cruz 

He was a delicate boy dainty as the stem of a carnation.
An eater of fairy cakes and banana bread.
An attender of Yoga classes, weekly bending and stretching
the Ashtanga Sun Salutations.

He could pirouette as smooth as Billy Elliot.
He read the poetry of Shakespeare
and Dickinson. He quenched the thirst
and trimmed the foliage of countless houseplants.

In the ring though, he'd cave your face in wide as Fingal's Cave,
bring out a flock of bluebirds singing and spinning into concussion.
A proud man, nineteen wins one draw two defeats.
Knocks out teeth round after around.  

Old Man Recovery

All the songs I have sailed
All the drinks I have sank
All the pubs I have ship wrecked ashore
All the alcoholic moonlights.
I have left them all behind 
for the harbour of Sober. 

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Stephen Nelson: McGuire poem.

This was made for me by the inimitable Stephen Nelson over at afterlights. I asked for it.

I asked Stephen for a name/poem last year.
He said, Aye!
I received an email.
L.P scratched off abruptly.

What is this mess I was see before me, I thought? It was meaningless. Incomprehensible. Visual nonsense. Ugly. I didn't want to offend. I told him it was a bit harsh or something like that. Then he sent me the name/poem you see above. The original he sent is picture below in red.

I neglected it to be honest. Memory was provoked today when I read the review of his new book - Lunar Poems for New Religions -  by Claire Askew at One Night Stanza.   So with an element of sycophancy and a realisation that the above black and white name/poem is actually pretty damn good and suits my character down to a tee, I thought I'd air it on this here blog.

Stephen Nelson perplexes me. His concrete, visually poetry perplexes me. I look at it like a Doberman looks at a mathematical equation - completely oblivious of the importance of what lies before it, content in its ignorance. Recently I realised that he is pretty damn good, that his avant garde approach is designed to baffle. It certainly isn't for everyone. It's experimental. Yet even simply a visual thing, a 'picture', 'art' they are quite amazing. They beg you to ask questions. Decipher. Find out what they signify. At once playful. Visceral. Free-Associative.

My name/poem contains these ingredients:

*The letters of my surname. Upside down, inverted, some large, others smaller.
*Brackets (or, parenthesis) within which the letters of my name are guarded.
*Two upside down question marks flank either side of the letters and brackets
*Two commas lie beneath the question mark, again upside down.

This is all contained in a wee nucleus like cell which of course encapsulates my name. What does it mean? Nothing. It could be pretentiously put as indicating, the insufficiency of language to full explain the mystery of personal identity. I like that idea. It could be a visual metaphor highlighting the chaotic and baffling nature of McGuire and his slapdash approach to poetry and writing.

At the very least it has a visual riot that I have come to appreciate of recent more than I did when I received it. Have a look at afterlight, you will surely be baffled, intrigued, dismiss it all as preposterous, then notice one you would like on your wall.

With love X

Save the best/worst till last. This was the original Stephen sent but I wasn't that into it. Meaning, visually it did nothing for me. You might think differently. Look on.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Nocturnal Questions.

When will the ghosts of eternity
clean my dishes hang up my washing
and rake the dry leaves in the back garden?

When will the ghosts of time stop knocking
on my window at three in the morning,
come into the light and smoke on the landing?

When will the ghosts of time do stand-up routines
in the graveyard under moonlight in front of the living
who have nothing but time for them?

When will the ghosts of time run out on us
with only the trail of wind or a door swinging
in the distance to leave us wondering?

A candle stands sentry at the window
smoke lingers and curls from incense
the universe rumbles like an empty stomach;
beyond that as always we are vigilant.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Burns Night Poetry Slam

Thanks to former Slam Champion and bastion of decency Graeme Hawley, there has been a Burns Night Slam organised for this Friday at the Scottish National Liboobry.

I managed to get the rabbit of my name pulled out of the magicians hat alongside a host poets, namely: Rachel Amey, Robin Cairns, Leo Glaister, Tracey Rosenberg, Steve Urwin, Jim Monaghan, George Wilson, Katherine McMahon.

There are a remaining 12 who applied to enter the slam but did not get their names pulled from the hat, these remaining 12 poets are invited to take part in the haiku elimination round, where 3 of them will be chosen by the judging panel to join the 10 (above) in the slam proper.

No more reformed alcoholics, literate dyslexics or mental health patients will be able to get in, I'm afraid, as the night is fully booked.

I'm looking forward to the night, though normally I am fert of the slam because it is competitive and a bit of a challenge. I am an anarcho-primitivist who prefers to live life in my log cabin, living off of the land and cultivating private skills in arts and crafts, don't you know.

Bring on the Slam! May there be no third degree Burns!

Wednesday, January 09, 2013

Craigmillar Burns' Night Reading

McGuire is reading at Craigmillar writers group on the 16th of January. It is also a tribute to Robert Burns. I look forward to it. I will be ranting for quite some time and there will be a host of other readers as well.

Come along if you get the chance. Enjoy. And if you can't enjoy, get drunk. And if you can't get drunk,  get uninhibited sober. And if you can't do either of them stay at home and judge from your armchair.

Starts at 7 p.m. until prison lights are off.

Cast a light
into the darkest corners.

Yours, absentmindedly,