So I was over in the west end but I really wanted Govanhill to take me home.
To familiar faces, streets we walk, where there’s nothing else to know.
Home to the displaced, immigrant and refugee. Edinburgh, London, Brighton.
To people in transit or running on the spot. Transylvania, Kurdistan, Saracen Cross.
Our doorstep is your doorstep.
Home to sharing a room with four sisters, long hours and low wages, dying before you reach sixty-five.
Fenians and billy boys, Afghan and Somali, kosher and halal manbuns.
Private schooling, family connections, socially-distanced yoga.
Or a square go outside the pub because what the fuck are you looking at?
Poets and academics, neighbours and their bin bags, a place so vibrant you have to close your windows in the evening.
All of the above, thanks.
Oven chips are cheaper than avocadoes but we’ll have them both, please.
Happing and clapping and jigging the joie de vivre round the bin sheds every day.
Our photographers know it.
You can see it in on display in our shop windows.
So nae luck, west end ten-storey concrete hell.
The cheap rent and never-ending streets are here, not there.
Writer’s block and works in progress are in a tenement off Cathcart Road, a basement in Dixon Avenue, a bedsit in Daisy Street.
Not Crown Circus, Athole Gardens or Woodlands Road.
So take me home, on the bus that still goes from Donegal to Govanhill four times a week.
Home to artists’ collectives, gallery co-operatives and jakeys and bams and rockets.
Place of chaos we always come back to, place of refuge which won’t leave us alone.
The starting point, the final destination, and the map that gets us from one to the other.
So then I was making my way home and I met my brother for the first time in years and asked him what it was like in the Gorbals.
He said it’s pishing with rain and full of vampires.
I said cheers Govanhill.
(Photographs: Simon Murphy)