Oi! Writers of Glasgow, Scotland, and the goddamn world. We need YOU(r submissions).

Aloud Magazine Issue 03 is in the works, and for it to look as beautiful and be full of as much scrumptious literary goodness as it has been in both previous issues, we need y’all to get writing.

See our ‘Writing’ page for previously featured work and artwork, and our ‘Submit’ page on guidelines and how to go about sending us your stuff.

Good luck, we’ll bother you again soon,
Cal, Cat, Emma, Ross, Alice, and Max

Cal and Aloud, a match made in heaven.

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Young Prince Signing Off – Exit Stage Left

What a send off! ALOUD #11 was cracking, as it always is. Thank you to all who came along to participate and to observe and marvel, it’s because of you guys we’re still able to do this!

Last night was also my last night with Aloud, as I’m graduating and fucking off into the sunset come Summer. I’m sad to be leaving, but grateful for all the amazing experiences Aloud has provided me – I wouldn’t be performing poetry if not for the amazing work of Syd Briscoe and Heather Margaret St. Clair, who founded Aloud. I’m more than happy to be leaving Aloud now in the capable hands of Ross and Cat, among others.

I’d love if you could check out my performance poetry YouTube page here:

Big love you poetry fucks
– Cal (eternally coy diva roach, the Young Prince) Bannerman

The Young Prince

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Issue 03 Cover Art – Dugald Kinvig

'The Grand Spoken Word Machine'

‘The Grand Spoken Word Machine’

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Candle Wax Days – Kieran Kelly

Future stalks feebly
Prowling cowed in North Atlantic
Flinty Swells
With blistered tongue and cracked lips
But bolstered by an inhuman determination
To call in our tab
Lies impotent
Sharpening her knifeblade hands
In silence

The streets
Open their jaws
Unnecessary thought patterns devoured
Rended from our synapses
Real life all around us
Crumbles and collapses
And for one spring weekend
The earth stops spinning
On its axis

From now on it’s just the leaden hum
Of heavy bass beats
Deep conversation
And the line in the sky
That the ocean meets
Gazing out from the boat
In hazy contemplation
Laying waste to the Alexandrian
Libraries in our minds
To find respite, solace our saving graces
In dirty, badly lighted places

But these are candle wax days
Which drip, drip, drip away
Each drip drops
Collected by time
Who waits for us with a fatalistic smile
Playing patience
With Future and Consequence.

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Alba – Victoria Hamilton

I saw him in the back room.
His frail hands
And words didn’t fly,
More a float
With no signs of sinking.
They hung in the ale stained air,
Favoured Scots.
That harsh clicking drawl
Framed fractures
Of feelings and far flung travels.

I’m obliged to write in this
Mother tongue.
Adopted really
By boat men
And famine bent workers.
Verbs and nouns counted their way
Down family
Lines, abandoned towns.
The road from
Gweedore to Shettleston’s long

And the sentiment’s strong
In the snugs
And terraces my
Friends frequent.
Our sassenach names and
Emerald hearts stand apart
From the slave
Ships and bonds that built
Her foundations forced on the

Bones of an Empires song.
They made her,
My forefathers fought
Her battles.
They built her brick by brick,
Connected track by iron track
They filled her
Tenements with life,
Her ship yards
With sarcasm and laughter.

In the midst of discontent
She bore me.
Not out of love, a
Mother that
Moulded and broke me.
She bound me up and thrust me
Out, immersed
In her waterways,
She drowned
Me with poets and thinkers.

So whose pen tells her Freedom? Whose lips
Dare not speak her tongue?
She cast me
Out of the garden
To rot in her dole queues
And dank schemes.
A wandered teen
I deny
Her and all her shortbread pomp.

So this is why I write.
Not for her
Islands, oil or troops
Those bonny
Glens and low land stoops.
But for McNulty’s and
And Donechys
Who carved the rock on which she

Stood. So together we stand
Wrapped in a
Cloak of saltire blue.
For freedom
Has no native tongue,
She binds no ethnic
Glue. Our bonds
Are built in
Steel and stone
The bedrock of proud Alba.

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The Gardening Jacket – Jim Mackintosh

my grandad’s tweed jacket
shaped by the seasons
held together, filled
by fragments of him

a penknife, bone handled
the silver inlay, lost
the memories of string
of cabbages snicked fresh

loose tobacco
trapped into corners
enough for two fills
hiding from the reality
the pipe was snapped

the cobbled stitch
of a plaid patch
on an elbow worn
from fence post leans

the sweet, unknown air
folding through me
like the memory
of a piper’s lament

on the walk, solemn
paced to the kirkyard
leaving the jacket
on the shed door

for cabbages and days
of yellow broom sprigs
where drills of seed
fill the pockets with him

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Untitled – Ewan Imray

It is as if I am playing chess against a Grandmaster
one who isn’t confined by the rules
slowly, meticulously grinding me down
I am but a lowly pawn; My Queen just removed.

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the sky was pink – Johnny Owens

Arms splayed wide, across the park and right passed it all. She’s lying, almost dozing, till she moves herself up onto him, delicate china head balanced gracefully in the deep crevasse of his shoulder blade. Arms ain’t splayed no more, tight around her instead, eyes fixed tight on the trees printed across the sky, grand painting splashed across them, twigs and arms and branches and every thing. Twisted knots together.

She runs her hands across the minute blades, each with thousands of glassy beads dancing up from them all – it’s early still. She runs her hands back up him and she looks right at him and he looks back, eyes bright, and she tells him she meant every word she said, that she loves him something fierce. He says he knows, reckons it’ll be like it is forever, and he tells her – in soothing tremolo – he ain’t felt nothing like it before. She can’t quite know yet what it is, but she knows it’s something. They knot fingers, like liquid clasps, and she tells him she reckons she’s always been alone. Always alone, they were all always there, but she felt alone – that was until now, until him: pre and post.

They’ve no idea how long they’ve been there for, not that it mattered in any way, no time for time at a time like this. He tells her about a book he read a hell of a long time ago, the title evades him, it had made him feel not alone. What was it that it said. “Nothing hurt and everything was beautiful”, something like that. She says that that’s pretty, sounds like a pretty book she says. It was, mostly. She says she doesn’t feel too bad, last night considered, she feels composed and he agrees, but they’ll still need a couple of those things he’s got on script, he reckons. She reckons that too she says.

Up on a hand, she floats down his torso – through strands of hair he sees the sky and the sun, and it goes on forever – she rests her head on his stomach, hand gently grazing the skin of it – skin on skin, atoms on atoms, dragging gently apart – and he realises only now how cold she really is. As she does all of this, all of it, he smiles to himself and – as though perfectly predicted – he feels her own smile against his skin, warm with reassurance.

The morning piles itself on, heavy light streaming across unburdened eyes until they’re forced to abandon what was so comfortable and shift weight. He feels the morning dew soak through cheap denim and cotton; she feels morning dew soak through aged cotton and denim. She sits upright and cocks her ear, asking if he can hear it too: laughter, children in the distance. He says he can, she asks if it’s the same, she asks if they can hear it, and he sits upright and wraps his arms around her once more.

They sit in silence, listening intently to the distant laughter, and it bubbles and rises, and the wind rushes by for only a second, and something rustles the trees surrounding them, and the laughter rises slowly once more before it fades and settles. And the sky was pink.

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Honey – T.J. Dennett

After they left you lost your job, the Georgian
house your father had left on his deathbed,
and the respect of the school. Graffiti
appeared on playground walls, names of giants
never mentioned before: Cradlesnatcher,
Kiddiefiddler. Whore. Market stalls whispered
Myra and the Moors in idle gossip,
spreading rumours like honey over bread.
Tabloid journalists scrutinised every
angle, listened to your messages and
rifled the garbage as you dyed your hair
and changed your name to escape detection
like a pirate radio. Mrs P.
Mrs A. Mrs E D O.

The council tore down the red-brick cottage
to stop the media poking lenses
into unwanted business. They threw out
the wooden boxes and Primus camping stove,
but left the tea-tray behind as a clue
for amateur detectives, morbidly
curious, and for future explorers.

The new headteacher explained your absence
in a language children could understand,
saving the detail for the staff meetings
as I was moved to the countryside to escape
the questions and the bullying,

only knowing you’d signed a different register.

For years I played dumb with psychiatrists,
who wanted me to do that trick with the chalk,
but yours was the only love I wished for.
I made diary entries in my wrists,
slept in my crimson-stained school uniform
and waited for the tap tap tap on the door,
telling me you’d come home;

but you never did.

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Crystal Palace – David Stakes

In Retiro Park
Falling silver under a crystal sky
Summer glints of every Contour on the slide
Gold leaf kisses
Concussion dreams
A kaleidoscope of being

Lips part at a moth’s touch
Red and gold warmth
A leaking heart on sheer thighs
An eye for you and touch of skin on skin
Soaking, light enveloping
The crystals of believing
I drip mercury on all your beauty
Souls encompassed by every fold, every vein
Entrusting the deep warmth of surrendering
The dispersal of love on the dappled floor

In the end
You are holding nothing
Just hints
Hints of everything

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The corner of Sauchiehall and West Nile Street – Calum McAfee

The corner of Sauchiehall and West Nile Street is home to a particularly unremarkable Starbucks. Sitting within a five minute walk from no less than four other identical coffee shops you might be forgiven for wondering why it should be here that he spends his evenings after work. He always drinks alone and the ambient music is (to his mind) always unpleasantly neutral. Reaching him only via a playlist that has been vetted by some corporate committee, Starbuck’s arbiters of taste, the CDs are periodically sent from HQ and are all the staff are allowed to play. Vibrations that simply are, noise that simply is, communicating little, lest something potentially offensive be heard. He knows this because he is an excellent listener and Baristas haven’t a lot to talk about. There is something important in this he is sure but decides that ultimately it’s not worth pursuing.

Shut up about that would you? You were going somewhere with this I assume

Right. The reason why it is this singularly average Coffee outlet that he chooses to spend his time are,

A) It is the closest to his office (ease is a central pillar of consumerism after all) and,

B) Two of the adjacent walls facing out onto either street are made entirely of glass, perfect for people watching

Really? That answer required two parts?

Yes. His ideal spot was right in the corner of the two window walls, on one of the barstools pressed up against the small outward facing tables. Despite the fact he sits a just few metres away from the people outside, and is even helpfully elevated to eye level, our man is able to remain quite unacknowledged by the crowds going about their way. He was, he thought, both inside and outside in this seat, a fact which pleased him. Sometimes he felt he could have profound thoughts in this environment, the idle chitchat and melodic monotony

Melodic monotony?

offering up a kind of white noise that helped stimulate his incisive commentary. The ageing black cleaning lady he would often see making her way to work with three small, nearly imperceptible scars below her eyes, for instance. He had read somewhere that these were tribal tattoos Witch doctors would give to young women when they reached maturity. In Nigeria maybe, he couldn’t recall. She was without in a more tangible way than he was, and no doubt had more interesting things to say, then she turned the corner. Maybe she was going to clean an office block similar to the one he worked at, maybe she wasn’t. In all likelihood the life he was even then beginning to generate for this woman was entirely fanciful. He thought he might have touched something important with this but then he thought better of it. He did that a lot.

Yeah I noticed. Aren’t Starbucks offering a promotional Espresso shot from Nigeria at the moment?

No that’s Ethiopia I think. Anyway, draining the remnants of his venti coffee cup and placing it on the counter, tokenistic gestures of thanks and goodbyes dutifully given and received, he makes his way to the door. Coat on, fists in pockets and hood up, he heads west along Sauchiehall Street. His head a caffeinated engine of idle thought.

A desperately needed change of scenery, this guy needs to get a grip.

You’re no doubt absolutely right.

Who even is this guy? What has he got to say? Where is this going?

It’s going nowhere, it’s done. I’ve run out of words.

What a shitty story.

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