In the Beginning was a Bridge. Ok, technically in the beginning was a poem. Ok, before that was a title. They say everybody has at least one good poem in them. I’m not sure about that, but I had one good title of a poem in me*. Before a title, there was a morning, probably a wet and cold Monday morning in February, because that fits the mood more than because it’s true (we’re post-truth and all that) a person was wandering to work in the Cityside coming from the Waterside and somebody on the opposite footpath called him a Fenian Bastard. In the fading light of a February evening (keeping up the mood here) he was wandering across the bridge towards the Waterside when somebody from a passing car called him a Jaffa Cunt. The loons were obviously out in force that day. The word ‘Abridged’ and the line ‘Whatever you are, you’re not one of Us’ came into his mind. He wrote a poem that appeared in The Chancer, a groovy and bad-tempered little Derry magazine that he and an assorted Bunch of Chancers created. It also was for some reason he can’t quite remember read out on a Swedish (or possibly Finnish) feminist radio station. Though he has forgotten the rest of the poem – if there was a rest of the poem, maybe it was just that line – the word ‘Abridged’ stayed with him and the feeling that not being ‘one of us’ was a good if not a potentially healthy place to be. It lay dormant for quite a while until it was time to create a magazine. I remember reading a theory that darkness of thought and emotion lay dormant until a suitable host comes along. Doesn’t sound likely in actuality but aesthetically a magazine created by a person from Derry’s Waterside was waiting for a title and I like the idea of the word ‘Abridged’ suddenly reappearing like some nefarious demon in need of exorcism. On the radio, people are talking of atrocity and talking up World War III. Twas ever thus.


*Actually I had two. Abridged 0 – 12: I’d Step Into The Light If I Could Take The Darkness With Me was originally a poem about cocktail drinking, notably Sex on the Beach.