From the inmates of Shotts prison, an accretion of voices not
unlike the sounds erupting from the fiddles, flutes and guitars of
musicians you might find playing in a Glasgow bar, only these
disparate voices are not musical. Instead, a finely tuned array of
words expressing thoughts and emotions procured from their writers'
time in prison: "Porridge, a breakfast people make in pots./ But
I'm doing porridge here in SHOTTS." In one of the prose pieces, a
grandfather pretends to his visiting grandson that he's a secret
agent on his final mission signalling to the reader his retirement
from crime; in another, there is the ongoing concern for an elderly
father at home with senile dementia: "... he's ducking behind the
curtain ... I don't know if I can cope with this today." Haiku and
longer poetic forms capture the interminable frustration of being
inside and the effect this has on the human psyche: "Go off the
rails/End up in the cells/Apply for bail/Application fail// Back to
jail/howl and wail." One reflection on the emotional difficulty of
being transgender in a system that does little to offer support
adds poignancy to an anthology that is already thrumming with
humour and attitude.
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