Samuel Tongue



Pollok Free State, 1995 (i.m. Colin Macleod)


New car smell rammed into the roadbed until it stinks
of the earth’s gut: muddy leaves, wet dog, plum-cake.
Lichen-rust tectonic under bonnets, engines furred.
Headlight bulbs are goldfish bowls, tenantless. Doors pucker
with each slam and the boot flaps like a gull-wing.
Twin-exhausts whistling organ pipes. Everything natural,
every thing resourced: we make the things that make us,
moulded or vulcanised. Blacked tyres made up with stibnite.
When we fire them, rubber drips from the wheel-arches like hot sugar,
sweet petroarticles of faith on the tongue. We circle
each instant monument, generous heretics, knowing
these are ugly gods –  bitter in the stomach, black in the lung.



Samuel Tongue is a widely published poet. His debut collection, Sacrifice Zones, is forthcoming (Red Squirrel, 2020) and he has published two pamphlet collections: Stitch (Tapsalteerie, 2018) and Hauling-Out (Eyewear, 2016). He won a New Writers Award from the Scottish Book Trust in 2013 and poems have featured in journals and newspapers including And Other Poems, Blackbox Manifold, Envoi, Magma, Gutter, The Herald, Interpreter’s House, The Scotsman, The Compass, Northwords Now, and the anthologies Be The First to Like This: New Scottish Poetry and Best British and Irish Poets 2016. He is poetry editor at the Glasgow Review of Books and current co-editor of New Writing Scotland. His day job is project coordinator at the Scottish Poetry Library.

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