To learn

To learn you need to go towards that which you like least;

It is no good sitting in comfort.

If you like the summer, pursue the winter,

If the light is your preference,

Go to the darkness.


Growth can only occur through a connection with the unfamiliar

the strange,

that takes us away from conformity

towards diversity


Seeing the world in all its different dimensions,

Stepping out of your pool

Into another.


Not battering someone over the head

for thinking differently to you,

for seeing

Blue as yellow or green or red;


Nothing is real;

we all exist in relativities,

in relationships

to one another

with each other.


When people move towards politics,

Things start to fall apart,

Whether nationalism or patriotism or whatever system

of belief that


The world.


To be free you must understand bondage;

emancipation, slavery.


When the world is served to us on a plate,


there is little struggle

when things just


We are left

Not quite knowing

What is right

What is wrong

What we have worked towards

and what is a gift.


Take for example

Hunger –

All food tastes better on an empty stomach;

we are able to appreciate the variations,

the subtleties

of savoury and spice

When we are not overwhelmed with excess.


This is more than a study of the opposites,

It is an interpretation of

the world.

an analysis of how best to live,

how best to grow.

On the basis

On the basis of not being able to write a full sentence


the homeless

people I saw on the streets of Glasgow this week;

It is probably


for me to reflect my thoughts



Costa* cups,

the receptacles.


Drowsy men and women,

some with swollen livers



sedated by opiate cocktails

and ground-down benzos.


Some asking for change,

although most.

just sitting there.


Some with placards

explaining their situation;

Others with just

the tattered cups.


And the irony of £2.80 for cup of coffee which we accept as being OK

and folk on the street




Likely kicked-out of accommodation

for failure to pay

or comply with requirements

of whatever pathway the social services have dreamed-up

to keep the statistics at bay.


A mixing-pot of mental and physical health




A concoction of misery,

their dirty,

chipped fingernails

and thickened skin.


Matted hair,

Some with Irn Bru to hand

as if

that is something for them to identify

to, relate




the homeless of Glasgow

seem to be better tolerated

than those of other places;


I see well-meaning folk,

Stopping to chat

to enquire

about circumstances.


The overpriced coffee is not obscene,


we distance ourselves from these people

who are merely

representative of

the cracks

in our society.


*I am not specifically getting at Costa – I suspect they are amongst the best of a bad lot; they seem however to be the favoured collecting cup used by people in Glasgow in 2017.




It’s odd.


When I try to write anything about my past –

childhood or later years;

It always comes-out like this.


I cannot seem

to string a sentence together that reaches the end of the line;


at least not consistently.


It is as if

the past is encoded as fragments

as specs of

hiding in the woods in Huntly Park


smelling the damp of Rouken Glen;


dust of road behind school

becomes mixed with scene

where I am sitting with Annie & TV on wall

in pub

is telling us

that Diana has died.


There are these discrete entities that do not exist;

we call them


and short

and medium term



In reality

they are just

sparks of action potentials

coalesced in my brain.


and I wonder


the head injuries I have experienced

over the years

Have already contributed to the loss of memory

to road-blocks between my synapses.


‘Men at work’

says the pathway

that takes me to the first days of school

for I know it happened,


it is in a void.


The first years are quite patchy

with the exception

of the odd


faded red and navy blue


Nervous fingers


plaster over my knee

from the fall

that became infected


I can remember

my mum

tending the wound,

the pus/

Gravel mixed-in

and limping


not making too big a thing of it.



Looking backwards

to my ancestors

huddled in Shtetl,

who got by without polaroid aides to memory

and forwards

to my children

who have moment by moment


on my phone

hanging in the cloud;

how will this affect their view of the past,


school sports day


I just read Planet of the Apes

By Pierre Boulle,

Written in 1963 originally as La Planete des Singes

And released in ‘73 as the movie with Charlton Heston

(Now deceased, gun lobbyist).


I had read it many years ago

And returned to the novel

After my recent confusion over the War for the Planet of the Apes

Which I found



The novel twists reality,

Manipulating past, future and present,


And time-travel

All coalesced

Into a hectic



The movie I found merely odd

I even

Nodded-off in the middle,

Which is never a good sign.


99 +

Today, I met an old lady.

To say old

Is no exaggeration

she is one year off 100.


She was lying in bed,

in blue and white

hospital gown,


her skin soft,

fingers delicate –

shaped into a century-old pattern.


She struggled to hear

or perhaps better


What I was saying.


She looked across at my colleague,

at the end of her bed;


Her awareness intact.



Pillars of the Earth

This book was a gift


or seven

years ago.


Given to me

by someone




who cared & saw through the tangles of organisational politics.


For, the book

is about monks vying with abbots who are battling with bishops

in a hierarchical mess


the church.


All taking place almost


years ago.



All sharing the same goal –

praising The Lord;

somehow blind to the concept that


sees all things & that cheating on earth is equivalent

to falling short at the gates of heaven.


And if you mirror this

to modern-day

and you replace

worship or prayer

with treatment

or care

And the Holy One Blessed Be He with


You might see where I am coming-from.


Only, there is no divine retribution

In healthcare;

the winners and losers;

are those who


And those who do not.

Those who


Avoidable harm,

And those who do not.


The line between recovery and deterioration

Is so very dependent

on people

Who are not as expendable as

a thousand

labourers, craftsmen or artisans.



the making of a doctor or nurse

is not taught;

It begins at birth

And is nurtured,

through life.


University or college

merely provide

the finishing touches.


And, if we are born to the priesthood,

but somehow

find ourselves

taking the path

Less trodden,

going, against the flow,


are committed,

that should be enough to sustain us.


If you are placed here to care, to treat to share,

To love, to nurture, to heal,

You really have no choice.


Spiralling you tumble.



Every system is perfectly designed to achieve the results it gets/

So, said Deming.

Or, it might not have been him, but some other American.


The recipe:

Take a group of likeminded people,








& avoid – diversity at all cost;


those who disagree are not likeminded

and therefore

must be cast-out.


Bring them together,

(the likemindeds)

get them to agree,

let them to have a good-time;

enjoy themselves,


Over a glass of wine,


take what is made


is the sum-total

of the combination of ideas and outputs of the originators.


If the output is wrong, doesn’t quite fit,

If it gives you a result which was once almost or good-enough right,

Which was once consistent with the world-order, then,

But has not kept-pace, now,

has lagged behind

the growth

or evolution

of changing times


And you take the same batch of folk,

and get them talking,

without them acknowledging that the landscape has altered,

that perhaps

what was correct then

is no longer &

what was good then

is now a flop,


without them possessing the humility

to realise

that the order

is different

you are left with




Something along the lines of hubris.


A classical concoction of bleary-eyed losers

doing their best to maintain


status quo

in the face of a


the great wave off kanagawa Tsunami_by_hokusai_19th_century.jpg