Familiar and Strange – Rachel Clive for Queer River Wet Land

Familiar and strange: A Queer River Walk with James Aldridge, Minty Donald, Ingrid Shearer and Cecilia Tortajada.

Glasgow, 10thSeptember 2021. By Rachel Clive.

five queer river lovers, familiar and strange 
meet on the dividing line of blue and green 
consider the edges.
on the grey bridge under their feet 
a small brown slug squidges past a sycamore wing  
a plastic cup lid, and an orange train ticket;
under the slug runs the kelvin

a student runs from one side of the bridge to the other 
takes pictures and disappears 
an elderly man picks up litter, quietly attending to his city

dogs lead their humans to water and trees, 
a sleepy bee loses its bearings 
buses rumble and birds cry out: beware! beware!

the queer ones follow kelvin

fluid nonbinary interminglings 
blond sandstone stands by windswept red 
the blond sandstone is older

rats feast in cars while humans sleep 
but the rat race is for rats and we are 
at the confluence, where kelvin meets clyde

govan keeps watch

two white swans shake their feet and wiggle their chests 
protecting their large grey young; 
feathers roll and tumble up the slipway, trembling with the wind.

the tide is out and the surface is slippery. 
i pick up a toy car and a broken lighter, 
luminescent leftovers, like squid remains in plastic bins

materials break down; release can be unpredictable

I wonder who the car belonged to, whose hands have played with it 
how it ended up here, how I end up here, time after time 
with kelvin and clyde and the turning tide 

the trucks thunder in to clean the hard grey riverside
the noise of their engines is shattering, like gunfire exploding, 
the birds scream and i cover my ears, there is nowhere to hide.

we need to reorganise

Published by James Aldridge

Visual Artist and Consultant, working and playing with people and places. Based in Wiltshire, UK

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