23 May
On Saturday mornings I learn the lanes of Edinburgh -
             track their trickles of life.  
I came across Second Hands last week
             and I will certainly go back.
                                    Stacked full it was,
                                    jam packed -
            with nerve tingling
            bits of old bric-a-brac.
                        Walking in - as you do -
             the inner earphone music looped - cocooned,
as it were, in a personal soundtrack - you stalk softly
through this neatly jumbled past
on permanent display.
As the feet shuffle the eyes dart - and extract
rich colour codes - of pearl and puce,
                        faded claret, sumptuous green,
                               burnished gold, dust -
You pick up and play - with silver shades
                                          of tiredness.
                        A pile of cheap picture frames
                                    lazily reclaimed -
                        queue for release.
Some photographs of you - a lady, a beau, a brigadier -
 decompose gracefully, shelved -
                        until such time as
            someone sets them sleeping once again -
                        in their own Petri-dish attic
            of lost minutiae.
            Looking up - from invoices, charts,
                        crinkled maps -
                        the minutes of administrative
                        meetings from ordered pasts -
             I spot - in an awkward, ramshackle line -
                        pictures of the picturesque,
  profligately framed - one eye towards the sublime.
 And, in a lonely nook, 
 alongside a pile of austere railway books, 
           bandy, barely standing but for a cord
                        weaved through his varnished bones
            and a surrogate steel spine -
  an old medical skeleton, head empty and drooped,
            leers maniacally at the carpet.
Idiosyncratic relic. No happy home can accommodate him.
     Think medical professors - long dead - obliging you
          to see through the poor soul’s disappeared flesh -
            and behold her grinning skull.

3 Responses to “Skeleton”

  1. timberbookshelves May 23, 2012 at 1:23 pm #

    Much appreciated. The subject, font, colour, photo, and content were a delight to encounter. I have to ask – understanding that this may look bad and entirely miss the point of the post, but I am compelled – the railway books – do you have any details? The entire stacked and jumbled place sounds like it is worth a weeks holiday, but alas I am constrained. As I look around, I ponder a place for the skeleton – coming up short at the minute, but I may get back to you on it.

    • @alipeoples May 23, 2012 at 1:54 pm #

      I’m sorry to say that Second Hands is a fictional place. It’s an amalgam of all the fine second hand shops I have encountered on my strolls around Edinburgh. I’ll try to post a straight article about these soon. Thanks for reading!

      • timberbookshelves May 23, 2012 at 2:30 pm #

        No sorrow needed, or I should be for taking you so literally. The reading was no weight to me given your subjects. Looking forward to more.

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