The day after a night out sometimes I awake, confused
Realise I’m holding my breath in the base of my throat in a silent, empty room.
Connect that confusion with regretted, acridic vodka, taken in shots,
Turn over, curl up, count the day as a write off, lost
Outside seems unfeasible with its myth of the day,
But that’s my premise, my promise- that here, where we are, if you open that curtain
Confront that light, it helps, in someway.
With this place, with Edinburgh, we have been gifted,
and no, this is not an ode to Scotmid, but instead to the city it sits in.
Stumbling out of my room towards low engagement with minimal contact hours feels like a scottish autumn, almost absurdly grey.
But then I remember- I’m on a crescent, a place, a way, and looking up, marvel
At how the dappled stone of marchmont holds its colour even in permafrost
How cornices exist, seemingly for cornices sake
And how these tenement buildings curving in front of me are sturdy, built to keep that consistent rain away
Some of these buildings even have views of the castle, safe atop its volcanic outcrop
When I’m hungover it seems to me a mirage, a beacon,
Something I don’t look at through the city for a second more than fleeting
But it’s there, providing the same security
As spotting the shaded figures spied atop Arthurs seat does,
Solid against the sky, those silhouettes of castle and mountain
when peeked at through buildings, these rocks, they help, they do
Fix the cracks within me traced to back to Sainsbury’s ‘selected wine: three for two’
Squinting at the sun through slanted library slats,
Think about this place, this city.
Think of how busy cowgate is looping down to your left, guarded by that tourist claptrap with a bad rap, greyfriars bobby
Don’t dwell in the thin light of city day on the fact that embarrassing yourself in Pizza Paradise is becoming somewhat of a hobby.
Be reminded by a rogue seagull call of Portobello, follow that breeze all the way toward the sea
And let the hangover be scrubbed off by the constant waves and sand and wind, northern grey on grey on grey
It’s hard to, when truly ravaged from tennent’s
Consider doing anything but curling in a netflix ball and paying your penance.
And, of course, the majesty of this city can be appreciated by eyes that aren’t heavy,
by muscles that aren’t tired
and by a bank account that can say ‘no, let me’.
But it’s when I walk, hungover, through the meadows, barely surviving the bikes,
that I appreciate this city, this moment, this student life.
*Illustration by Isi Williams*