Memories of Joan McGavin, Who Introduced Self to Edinburgh

Self’s first full day in Edinburgh was spent with Joan McGavin.  Thank goodness, because Joan was Scottish by birth (even though she now lives and teaches in the south of England) and took self to a number of places, including to the Scottish National Museum, where among other things self saw a fascinating exhibit of antique sewing machines.

We met, of course, at Hawthornden (enchanted, beautiful place)!

The poem below is from Joan’s 2011 book Flannelgraphs, published in the UK by Oversteps Books.

Steady on there

Because the drunk man
in front
called the two schoolgirls
drifting through the park
in front of him
Black bitches
you said Steady on there
then That’s not on
when he kept on cursing.
You’d just noticed
the young policeman behind
who said, Steady on, there;
I’ll deal with this
glancing over his shoulder to see
if his superintendent, or an angel,
or God, was behind him —
like that feeling you get
in the cloakrooms of posh hotels
when you look in mirrors
and become an infinite reproof
of people who might be you
over the taps.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Most Cryptic Souvenirs: SFMOMA, August 1997

DSCN1208

Ticket stub:  San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, 2 August 1997

The Exhibit:  Raised By Wolves (documentary photographs and videos depicting the lives of street children in American cities.  The artist’s name was Jim Goldberg)

At the back of the ticket, in self’s own handwriting, the following (written in red marker):

  • Is Dinner Ready?
  • Am I Being Watched?
  • Do I Know Everything About Myself?
  • Am I Looking Too Far Afield?
  • Am I an Ass?
  • Am I Too Soft?

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