LAURA TANSLEY’s writing has appeared in Butcher’s Dog, Cosmonaut’s Avenue, Gutter, Lighthouse, Litro, New Writing Scotland, The Real Story, The Rialto, Southword, Tears in the Fence and is forthcoming in Stand. She is also co-editor of the collection Writing Creative Non-Fiction: Determining the Form. She lives in Glasgow and is shy on Twitter @laura_tans.


Sex / Air travel

I want it as smooth as a pen on the first page of a notepad, with enough space to stretch out like the quarter seam of a new paperback, and if anyone makes any announcements they had damn sure better sound calm and confident and never end a sentence with god bless us all



Empty responses never existed

We made a Ouija board one night, a Smash Hits cover cut-up, because I’d heard proof they worked. One had told my mum she’d fail her eleven plus, which she duly did it being her destiny, and we wanted the same kind of chance to have something known for sure so we asked questions that we knew deep-down were self-fulfilling prophecies. What will we become? *Nothing* What’s after this? *Nothing* What’s better than Paul Rudd’s tongue when they kiss in Clueless? *Nothing* Then Lisa Downs’ dad drummed her bedroom floor from the kitchen below with the end of a broom and we screamed as if he’d scared the shit out of us because, after confirming with the dead, we knew fiction was as true as fact.        



Reassure me with pressure

He’s never been happy to see me cry, especially in public.
Pinch-gripping the back of my neck he holds me open, puppets me like a snap dragon, pours me out
like milking a snake and I need it:
drain me, do it quickly. Squeeze the life out of me and bring me back from the dead.

Like a scared dad whispering words to a son, he brings my ear closer to parched consonant clicks,
gives stern advice, grit that has to be heard and heals under a graze mingling my history with his own.
Head up, he says, mark up, knees up.

I can’t help but; body responds.
So for balance I’ve been drinking like a man even though all those units hurt my head and my heart
and carrying boxes with the weight I deserve not what I can cope with
is a disc-rupturing way to catch up with or compete.

It’s a lot of responsibility for us both, a lot of tradition to resist,
but he knows if in bed I choose not to bend, and stay stone-still in erotic thrill, it’s because all day I have to pretend.

Maybe if I could curl my back like a cat everything would crick in to place. My shoulder blade jut would sink, ceasing to be a wing case, that future hunch erased.
If we could make the shape of question marks maybe we wouldn’t be such contradictions.



All works published by the Glasgow Review of Books are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommerical-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License and the journal reserves the right to be named as place of first publication in any citation. Copyright remains with the poet.


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The Glasgow Review of Books (ISSN 2053-0560) is an online journal which publishes critical reviews, essays and interviews as well as writing on translation. We accept work in any of the languages of Scotland – English, Gàidhlig and Scots.

We aim to be an accessible, non-partisan community platform for writers from Glasgow and elsewhere. We are interested in many different kinds of writing, though we tend to lean towards more marginal, peripheral or neglected writers and their work. 

Though, our main focus is to fill the gap for careful, considered critical writing, we also publish original creative work, mostly short fiction, poetry and hybrid/visual forms. 

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