LOUISE PETERKIN is a poet living and working in Edinburgh. She has had poems featured in many publications including Magma, The Dark Horse, The North and New Writing Scotland. In 2016, Louise won a New Writers Award from the Scottish Book Trust in the poetry category.


Julie and the Planets

He carries it like a tray precarious with
goblets and still life fruit: careful,
Conserve the vinyl; when treated right
the Saturn discs will fill the room with a universe.
Alone you scatter them, naked, on the floor,
a god choreographing the planets, enjoying
the clatter like hard liquorice. Look at the
lyrics, sleeve notes for intimacy, study faces
for pock-marks, tight jeans for bulges.
Imagine the studio – ripe and
the inevitable hash, cola soldering in a bitumen ring.
The engineer high as the moon. The hatreds in heat;
sexual. The guitarist’s got the lead to put the vocals down
again though it was right, dammit, the last time.
You are jerked up like a puppet by a rangy
intro, the cool, spare New Wave at odds
with your shamanistic bopping,
hopscotching records like land mines.
Afterwards, you feel spent, embarrassed. Time
to go to work, dish up eggs and pancakes,
nylon clinging to blisters like hot plastic.
Watch the jukebox needle dip up and down
like a mechanical chicken.
Meanwhile, he returns
to a silent soundtrack of prior
violation, faint crop circles on the




Not entomology, nor some god-aping
yen for a menagerie to bend to my will
but for the blood, the lifeblood sir! It flows
through the strata of the littlest things.
I was precious

at first, reticent. So when a bee marred itself
in a clumsy descent from the window I let it
curl for days like a dried flower before I
sampled. I smiled:
it tasted liverish, autumnal.

       I dusted the sill with sugar for a fly.
       I blackened the sill with flies for a spider.
       The spider would tempt down a bird.

But I was impatient; I indulged.
I rattled a flea to my ear
then popped it in my mouth like a pill.
My fingers took on the tang of a bell,
faint arcs of gore under each nail

as if I had been playing a black-pudding piano.
Small viscera
hung from my gums like a piñata.
I needed self-control if I wanted the sparrows!
I began once again to propagate.

Until the day the doctor entered my cell
to find the air and my hair full of birds.

And what he conveyed, not so much in words but
a sharpening glint in his eyes was a sort of…
respect. I wouldn’t say awe. No, not just yet.



Notable Globsters

According to Wikipedia
include the Stronsay Beast. Measuring in at some 50 feet minus tail – missing by all accounts. Sea serpent! cried the anatomists, citing its length and wing-like protrusions. But no, it was the remains of a basking shark crudely recast by the bloom and curtsey of rot to this: a magic carpet unfurled on the beach, a stinking stretch of mass pimped up with the Jurassic swellings of decay. But what of the witness who affirmed it had fur, that it glowed?

And what of the St Augustine Monster, washed up on the coast of East Florida? Boys on their bikes caught its glint in the distance: an aircraft crash-landed and smashed on the shore. On closer inspection: a punctured hot air balloon, tethers hacked off, the Humpty Dumpty head subsiding to blancmange, a pink white exhalation of breath, a smelly rude noise. The implication was clear from the severed stumps: this thing would have had tentacles, huge, eight in number, perhaps sundered in a violent demise. Octopus gianticus! But no, the collagen was decreed vertebrate, most likely that of a sperm whale.

So, for pity’s sake, save us all the Garonne Chanson! Hugged by the reeds now and nuzzled by catfish till its scrappy increments detach in a buff cloud. When it’s trawled up time-spoiled and reeking it will be subject to a media flashing like dragonflies, forensics, intense cogitation. Its alarming shape could be explained away by the usual transmutations of putrefaction. But no microscope’s eye will decipher the swatches of DNA, no-one will quite find words to describe its colour. And when somebody in the crowd asks why was the carcass singing? nobody will give a definitive answer.



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.