Draping poetry over the queue barriers – Day 6 MON July 28th

At the Tollcross International Swimming Pool, in Glasgow, a very relaxed atmosphere in the adjacent rose garden despite the almighty snaking queue system complete with shiny new barriers glinting in the sun.

THE SUN!!!???? again, here in Glasgow we have had sun.

Our permissions as roving poets limited us to the areas OUTSIDE of the queue barriers where folk lined up for security, so we found ourselves looking in at those waiting and draping ourselves over a queue barrier. Not the most ideal situation for a non-intrusive dialogue – but smiles still surfaced. 

One gentleman on a bench told me he hated poets, they are all “smart” – but after granting me permission, and smiling at mine, he shared his own few lines he’d learnt by heart.

Another in-security queue cluster had told me about a situation where someone had to leave a long distance, Sydney-based relationship – and I shared the poem, “Rushcutters Bay, or I Can’t Decide” and the line

“Moored like these yachts

in obedient patience

I consider our trembling marriage”

It made me think of the few precious platitudes from Dr Seuss I cling to:

“When things start happening, don’t worry, don’t stew

Just go right along, you’ll start happening too…”

And speaking of queue clusters, it is an odd thing to be doing a funded project aimed at reducing queue-induced stress where Glasgow2014 doesn’t want us working within the most obvious long line-ups: the security bag and tag airport-style queues.

We’ve done porta-loo queues, Box Office at St George’s square queues, queues at tube stations, queues that curl around a park, queues that reach critical mass at SECC before flowing in en masse, queues that stretch the streets… there are no shortage of options, but the organisers in Glasgow have been very efficient with their queues, bless ’em – most people are on the move!

“This is my function here today” – Ibrox Day 5 SUN @ Comm Games

Sunday, in-queue– what if my national identity sells out? Flags flapping, helpers and hi-five, (take a look at the absolute resilience of this volunteer!)

We had a happy b-day in-queue, where as they waited, the whole of Copland St joined in to sing, Happy Birthday! I gave him a birthday present of a poem that could move with them. If not move them.

Lovely to actually be asked by someone next in line to please share another.


And to actually share


“it disappears this muscle clutch 

in a grinding muffled roar

an elastic snap second

a blink-less swallow…

your rising determination

thrusts me back

till I’m swinging

nestled in your hooked elbow

egg-cold and tightly stitched

brushing your heaving chest

till I’m spinning

seed-giddy, through a held breath

hurtling between seven intentions

knocking teeth loose in a tackle

at a rugby sevens line up.

Where do you think they are from? Stewart asks, of those wearing a green and gold t-shirt, boasting AUSSIE, carrying an inflatable kangaroo & clutching a curling colonial flag. Maybe there is something in a stereotype because we bonded rather quickly, and I shared the poem about the sea and Sydney-

“the bridge yawns gracefully above

houselights huddle on a stolen headland

camped conversations silenced by distance

and the inky black spill of still ocean

the water is a kiss or a slap 

against the city’s concrete rim–

I can’t decide”

We cut quickly to political agitation. The Brits were the first boat people to land on Australia, ah, “she knows our history” one of them chimed in. Lets not in Britain suffer from the same amnesia that Australia does when it comes to what actually happened to get us where we are today. Empire was, and did, and settlement wasn’t really so much that as invasion, and where I come from I’m not considered Indigenous and the first people were not the first to suffer a near genocide, and there is today a Commonwealth of nations in which there is rarely (each of us) a common wealth.

Wow, what a day! Despite the slight dribble of rain, the wind blowing my poncho into a portable ‘poet’ bubble, and the tube station hold ups, (long lovely queues) – there were smiles and spectator glee.


“softly surfacing pride”…poetry in queues dubbed ‘left-field’ entertainment in Oz media

ABC audio interview – with Barbara Miller

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Who decides it is a welcoming city? Day 4 SAT @ Comm Games

The woman you hear was a warm voice to edge past in all the crowds and traffic congestion, the re-direction and the road blocks. She was tirelessly welcoming people,

“Hello and welcome to Glasgow!

And if you’re not from Glasgow, thanks for having us, for putting up with us”

I thanked her with a little tiny piece of poetry, and you’ll hear people passing and saying hi or a squeak of celebration.

Tawona pointed out too, that it is not up to the host to decide that they are the most welcoming city. It is up to the guests, and those that are visiting – or those that live here and haven’t always been welcome.

There is a cause uniting people- getting games traffic through, putting on a decent show in the face of  some international attention and I feel folk are stepping across dividing lines a little more. Though it is hard to step across anything really with so many road blocks.

It was flotilla day, the ships were reportedly rolling any moment,  so the eyes were gazing out across the Clyde. We caught up with those waiting on the bridge.

The Riverside was flowing in usual fashion -huge crowds but rarely a long line up to work within, and folk taking a break to sit and sip. We kept clear of the security barriers as requested, so the critical tension points were again out of our reach. It is remarkable though what a little bit of dialogue does to crack open a creative quest. You really can feel the butterfly wing begin to softly shake the Earth.

ABC Sport Pages online listing for a poet at the Commonwealth Games

Barbara Miller from ABC Online caught up by chance at the SECC – thanks to Jack Peck Sydney Word In Hand Poetry Master for tipping her off- and we are on front page of ABC online!!!