Monday, September 28, 2009

Yesterday I stood on an upturned steel tank just outside Paddy's Market in Glasgow and performed a poem. I was wearing a favourite skirt. It was very noisy there and i had to declaim at the top of my voice.
I loved it.
And I wonder what happened to the shy little boy who wanted to be invisible?

It's partly in the poem:

AT PADDY'S MARKET. By Jo Clifford

Patrick used to be a friend of mine
His market dealt in stocks and shares,
Discounted trading and derivatives.
Patrick was a bandit in a bespoke cut suit
Who traded in deception, greed and in despair
And so was honoured as an asset to the state.

I disowned him when he got his knighthood.
I'm an open-hearted trannie, very tolerant,
But that was one step too far for me.

So instead I took up with his cousin Paddy.
Paddy's place wasn't quite as smart as Patrick's.
Full of deadbeats, rejects and derelicts.
Just my kind of place. I felt at home here.

Paddy's goods were open to the wind and rain
They lay scattered in puddles, in the mud and dirt.
You bought and sold stuff at Paddy's out of desperation
Out of need.

He never got his knighthood. They closed him down.
They built a picket fence around his market
Locked it up behind the biggest padlock they could find.

(My heart was like that once)

Patrick's market is doing well, they say,
For all it's hated and despised,
They still tell us it needs to be doing so much better.

All around Paddy's are the faded signs
Resisting the poll tax. Talking about the revolution.
The one we all think never came.

(My heart's changing now, and the both of us
Are living through our own wee revolution.
Tearing down the fences that used to stand guard
Unpicking the locks at dead of night
Creeping past the the police barricades
Removing frontier posts of fear and shame)

That's how I know Paddy's market's still around somewhere
And Patrick's one day will come tumbling down.
Because it's true what the man said
The man they built the empty church for just down the road:
You have to choose, he said,
Between your money or your soul.
And the first will be last
And the last will be first.

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