Ross Macgregor: The Olive Branch

Ross Macgregor


Familiar Postcards from A Hostage


I send you a postcard, you send me a postcard,

From some exotic place.

But there are no more exotic places. No more remaining exotic places.

From where you are standing, can you imagine what I am thinking?

I think one day I’ll cocoon myself from head to toe in wrapping paper and lie on our hall floor waiting for you to come home from work.

Except I am also you at work, waiting to come home.

From the outside it looks like the house lights are glowing invitingly, like an electric heart. I once knew a man who hung himself from a lighthouse balcony. (But not that well).

He didn’t even take the time to write a postcard.


The Olive Branch

Azure Azure Azure blue,

Crinkle cut chips, a rippled sea,

Christina & me

On a moped

Up and down hills together


Overly Melodramatic & Worthy Poem about Rhodes Old Town

You want a Greek tragedy,

You’ll find it in the cheap trinkets & false idols,

The plastic soles, trampling along the arteries

Within the weeping walls of an ancient castle

Creating jobs, all in the name of progress

Devaluing the currency of a once grand culture


A Super Conscious Dream I Had Whilst I Was On Holiday And Not At Home, Asleep, My Subconscious Perhaps Could Have Even Escaped My Body

Enough sweet talk. Who wants to go on a brand safari? Bastardise a franchise. Big game. No sweat. Punch holes in years of time-worn, shoe-horn tradition with no regret. No name, instant fame. Eyeing up the jaws of a diamond-studded dinosaur from across the marble floor. Gold-digger. Stocking filler. Plant the jewels in the soil and you’ll be commended for a noble attitude. Resist with resolve. Spider-webbed. Bulletproof. Answer to no-one. Cry in the dark. Jewels of light. Hands on your stony face like roots around a boulder. Toes curl and glass shatters. Still nothing matters. Numb as tumbleweed. Useful. A feather-light versatility. Has an answer for everyone.

A bird’s nest appears on the helipad. Timeshares away from home. Make up with yourself in a make-up mirror. No hard feelings. No certain feelings. Full soft lips.  A baby in tow.  No–one will know. If it’s a boy, his name will be on every street corner. If it’s a girl, she will have bright cats’ eyes and an inviting nature. One cursory glance at the periodic table should put your mind at rest. Paris, Texas. Sierra Nevada.  Somewhere. Across the cold desert canyon dawn orange & purple, her name carried in the wind and scrawled on cave walls. It’s been a long time coming, this empty desert highway. A thumb turned upwards in rigor mortis. The heart still beats. It’s  a real page turner, a bonfire burner, a renewable energy earner. When will this end? Why did it begin? Just a skeleton, a set of grid coordinates and a flashing red LED light from out of the mist. A battered eardrum and a reverberating primal scream. Alibis, anecdotes and epitaphs. Conch shells, empty wells, silicon beaches and glass ceilings. Turning over to face the other way just isn’t working.

A former notion of self vanishes, this time in the rear view mirror. A hazy trail of tail lights and fireflies. The checkerboard pattern of on-and-offs are windows on a skyscraper. The one with the helipad at the top.

Flapping windscreen wipers. A waving stranger through the rain. The journey of conversation. With relief, you metaphorically slip into the passenger seat. A pit stop, too much coffee and you piggyback a mechanised revolving promotional figure. Perhaps over-enthusiastically demonstrating the merits of coffee.

Later spooning. Two sugars. Caramel, honey, cream. Tracing a finger over all those eyelashes, what meaning in braille? Hummmmmmmmmm. A metronome. A rhythm. A train track. A spine. Click clack.  Lego pieces. Precision design. A template. Cloning. Straight out of the box. Out of the box. Think outside of the box. Think outside of an analogy. Shivering, naked, exposed.

“It’s a true original, sir, how would you rate your stay?” says the  concierge. Well, from the boxes marked 1 –5, I choose, through the devices of a travelling circus of mime or Chinese Opera. Picking daisy, I blew dandelion seeds towards a Dalmatian through half-shut soft focus eyes. Do you even know what that dress is for? I brought up last week’s lunch just so you could have that. It’s a bouncy ball, not a retina. Get a firm grip on top of the joystick Jeffrey. Time is short. Now meditate. Tease along the cliff edge. Doesn’t matter. In this dream you can fly. Helipad, lily pad, whatever. Just don’t stay Lilliput. Another siren calls from another island. When there’s more than one voice, how is it you are supposed to choose? I fancy a girl called harmony, but she doesn’t exist. Choose your wife just like a piece of fruit, said the imaginary greengrocer. Much different from the butcher, all that stuff’s dead see, red sea. But the fruit, it’s alive. It says, Pick me. Don’t ask me how. I’d  have to synthesise a crossroads and a windmill. There’s no point in incubating an idea unless it gives birth to another one: Jeffrey Jennifer Juniper Green Effervescent Tongue Tip Top Shape David Star Judaism, Hey Jude, how’d you like your rubix cube. Hey Jude? Well done. An unprecedented response for a timeless design within a limited timeline. That kid’s special. It’s  in the lottery of programming. Three ripe bananas and you’re laughing, three cherries tickled pink until you run out of ink. But together doesn’t work. You see, synthesis is a delicate affair. That’s not to say the banana and cherry didn’t have an affair, just not in this yoghurt pot. Whip crack. Lip smack. And other rock pool chronicles. Life’s crazy in this popsicle elevator.


Ross Macgregor is an Edinburgh based artist and illustrator with a dark past in the murky world of advertising

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