when he leaves

every time he leaves
she struggles to understand
why the rooms in her tiny flat
seem to elongate and expand

all sunshine seems
to abandon the place
in protest at the absence
of his kind and gentle face

every time he leaves
she has a cigarette
replays their weekend memories
joy she’ll not forget

his departure leaves a void
that at first throws her off track
but she soon gets over it
secure in the knowledge he’ll be back

copyright © 2014 KPM

when he leaves

the lonely little pumpkin

there was once a lonely pumpkin
whose eyes burned bright ‘n wild
he’d been purchased by an old man
who was anything but mild
the old man carved the pumpkin brutally
a truly frightful face he styled
so hideous was this visage
it scared even the bravest child
 
“woe is me,” the pumpkin sighed
“I’ve no one with whom to play
cuz my face is such a nightmare,
all who gaze on it turn gray
an’ yet my face belies
a heart gentle an’ gay
if only some courageous child
would come an’ sweep me away!”
 
just then there came a little girl
she wore a mask of scars
with thin limbs pale as moonlight
an’ haunted eyes that shone like stars
“I like your mask,” the pumpkin said
above the noise of passing cars
“’s not a mask,” the girl said sadly
“my parents beat me with iron bars”
 
“that’s sucks!” the pumpkin gasped
“the pain that you’ve gone through!
I sense we’re kindred spirits –
we’re both outcasts feelin’ blue
I wish that I could somehow help,
but I dunno what to do
surely there’s a special place
for folks like me an’ you”
 
“maybe,” the child responded
with a deep an’ woeful sigh
“I tried to love my mom an’ daddy,
though they daily make me cry
“let’s just leave,” the pumpkin said
“somewhere there’s joy for you an’ I”
thus the little girl picked up the pumpkin
an’ they vanished with no goodbye
 
copyright © 2014 KPM

lonely little pumpkin

the love of her life

the love of her life
carried her books
chased her, laughing
along the banks of shallow brooks
gave her the best of
the cereal box toys
an’ let her into the fort
he’d built with the boys

the love of her life
held her hand in the hall
wrote their names in a heart
on his locker wall
defended her when other girls
sought to pick a fight
an’ called her after dinner
every night

the love of her life
proposed at the top of a Ferris wheel
the tiny car rocked
with her delighted squeal
both sets of parents
did approve
an’ soon they settled
into a marital groove

the love of her life
gave her many happy years
children, a home,
smiles, support, tears
his death seemed an
impossibility
but now she is alone
which she does not want to be

copyright © 2012-2014 KPM

the love of her life

just desserts

the King of Cruelty
sat in his Castle of Despair
ripping out huge swatches
of his night-sky hair

bemused as he slouched
on his blood-stained throne
angry that his Queen had left,
for now he had to live alone

the castle was deserted,
for his slaves had bolted, too
“alas,” he muttered to himself,
“my Halloween is lookin’ blue.

“how dare that woman leave me,
the bitch! – ungrateful whelp!
I should throw a Halloween ball,
maybe that will help.”

he sat down at his desk
in a chair of bleached bones
while outside at his door
the townspeople threw stones

he found some ancient paper
& a cracked fountain pen
when a thought struck him like lightning:
he had not a single friend

his rheumy eyes glowered
his wrinkled face scowled
& he cursed & paced about
while outside the wolves howled

suddenly he shouted, “Wait!
my lack of friends need not be tragic –
for am I not a mighty sorcerer,
well-versed in all black magic?”

he removed his book of spells
from a drawer of his desk
& in the language of the damned
created friends that were grotesque

they were smelly & hunchbacked
with piggy eyes that leaked pus
one had bloody stumps for limbs
& wore a monstrous truss

the King of Cruelty was delighted,
he reveled in their awful din
then he raised his crooked arms
shouting, “let my Halloween ball begin!”

but his friends were soulless creatures
obeisant to a darker whim
they fell on the King of Cruelty
& ripped him limb from limb

copyright © 2008-2014 KPM

just desserts pic

may I have this dance?

I tried to dance with death last night
beneath a sky with no moonlight
although I felt a tinge of fright
I asked him to dance & he said “all right”

I tried to dance with death last night
gazed at him with eyes devoid of light
but his eyes burned with fire bright
as he spun me around with all his might

I tried to dance with death last night
though he joined me just to be polite
at last I’ve found a place that’s right
embraced by cold cruel arms so tight

copyright © 2010-2014 KPM

may I have this dance

a hole in the wall

is she awake?
is it a dream?  

is that really a shadow flitting down the hall?
an’ what’s that bangin’ noise behind the bathroom wall?
tiles shatter on the floor in the midnight gloom
the gaping hole in the wall reveals another room
the walls of this room are made of dead bugs
a table set for two bears a bowl of squirming slugs
in a corner of the room is a sloppily made bed
with a dirty pillow that boasts a dismembered head
she spares not one thought for her immortal soul
she’s curious now, so she wriggles through the hole
with a bone-rattling thud she hits the dusty floor
to fall endlessly through an unseen trap-door
landing in the backseat of a cab with a crash
she’s greeted by a ghostly driver with a face of grey ash
rusty doors close with a screech an’ a slam
as the driver cackles “where to, ma’am?”  

I’m asleep, she thinks
this has to be a dream
the car rockets towards a fiery tunnel
and she awakens with a scream…  

copyright © 2014 KPM

a hole in the wall

(sub)urban nightmares

hell is bein’ forced to see
dat which causes misery:
     racks o’ new clothes
     dat ya got no money ta buy
     handcuffs on yo’ man
     cain’t do shit but wave – bye bye
     heavy snowfall
     when yo’ landlord’s cut off da heat
     a baby boy in raggedy shoes
     too small fo’ his growin’ feet
     folks comin’ out de grocery store
     when you ain’t et in 10 days or more
     da banker dat denies yo’ loan
     dere goes da house you’ll nevuh own

hell is bein’ forced to see
other folkses misery:
     strung-out hos on corners
     endless homeless faces
     unemployed peoples
     wit’ sad defeated faces
     no pre-natal vitamins
     for dat baby in yo’ womb
     got no health insurance at all?
     bettuh start savin’ fo’ dat tomb
     men whut live in boxes
     asleep in fetal positions
     ‘n others dat you know
     strugglin’ ta survive in awful conditions

hell is when ya realize dat don’ nobody care
hell is da fear dat you could end up dere

copyright © 2014 KPM

(sub)urban nightmares

 

before dawn

on Thursday nights in bed, I think only of tomorrow
Friday being the one day I’m guaranteed to feel no sorrow
so I cozy up to Eeyore, arrange the pillow beneath my head
& heave a sigh of relief at being safe in my big bed

but once I fall asleep, something happens to me inside
my subconscious always takes me on the wildest ride
yeah, once I fall asleep, I lose the boundaries of home
in familiar but contradictory country I am sent to roam

at Dousha’s old house I walk through the open front door
the rooms & hallways are endless; they’re nothing like before
in the formal dining room are twin girls with bright red hair
though I’m stunned to see them, they act like they’ve always been there

they hurl themselves at my bare legs, planting kisses on my thighs
one of these girls looks “normal”, but the other has funny eyes
they clamor for my attention, but just one twin do I understand
the other twin speaks thickly, as if her words she can’t command

anyway, I hug them both, because they seem to know me
plus I’m curious – they claim there’s something they must show me
yet I cannot overcome the feeling of impending doom
& my feet are heavy as they drag me to the old guest room

a woman cries out behind me, & the twins both fade away
from the room I stand before I hear a guitar begin to play
my legs have turned to water – suddenly I feel fatigued
yet & still I go inside, cause I’m totally intrigued

he lies naked on the bed, the guitar barely covering his dick
Judy’s “man that got away” – the one whose death made me so sick
he looks just the way he used to – golden skinned with piercing eyes
& he’s laughing – damn him! – at my obvious surprise

“C’mere,” he says grinning, & pats the space beside him on the bed
I readily acquiesce (cause I always followed wherever he led)
as soon as I’m beside him, he lays the guitar on the floor
soon I’m naked in his arms – I’m a trusting 19 once more

“Bet ya miss me,” he whispers, his tongue invading my ear
“Bet ya learned that I was right – my soul is always near
Did ya think ya could escape? All too true was my decree:
Forever you’ll be mine, way beyond eternity.”

I dearly long to protest, but somehow I’ve lost my voice
& when he leads me to the kitchen, I follow – I’ve no choice!
in the kitchen he hands me a paintbrush, his big brown eyes mad with glee
& on the walls we paint scenes of gross depravity

magnum opus now completed, he fucks me yet again
we both scream through the saliva that’s sliding down my chin
the assault on my body was endless, twilight bathes the defaced room
so I grab my clothes & flee – my soul I can’t let him consume

in the driveway is a car – a Cadillac ragtop
sobbing with fear, over the door I nimbly hop
I am filled with questions: there’s no key…how do I drive?
but the car spirits me away, & I’m so thankful I’m still alive

my hands are on the wheel, but the car goes where it wants
passing people & places best forgotten, & all my other old haunts
at the corner of Hayden & Euclid I crash into a rock
when I awake, my head is sore, but from the crash, or the alarm clock?

copyright © 2012-2014 KPM

before dawn pic

in days gone by

in days gone by
there was bright blue sky
& carolling clouds & sun that shone
amidst this beauty the Weaver walked alone
sometimes she sang, mostly she thought
& she was happy more often than not
watching everything with a wary writer’s eye
silently seeking an answer to the eternal question:
why?

in days gone by
lived an aging monarch
dying lion in a tower in a city out of place
& every day his mirror revealed
another line bisecting his face
vividly he recalled the taste of old dangers
as he grew old surrounded by
sycophants & strangers
who do not know him, who do not care
that he dreams of a Weaver with jet-black hair

in days gone by
the Weaver would dance
through streets & square
oblivious to point & stare
slanted eyes searching for those who knew
& weren’t afraid to join her retinue
but she was luckless, the city’s inhabitants pluckless
misunderstood, she was mocked & taunted
yet she danced & wove, undaunted

in days gone by
the aging monarch mourned
struggling vainly to recapture the kingdom
where love in him was born
he is moody & melancholy, wondering if this is all
groaning beneath the weight of the script
that orchestrates his fall
pleading & praying to the deities above
that at his life’s end he’s granted
one more chance to love

in days gone by
the Weaver lost heart
she could find no one who’d listen
to the tales she had to tell
the townsfolk sneered & scoffed at her
resistant to her spell
so she packed her poems & potions
& set off for distant lands
enraged but resolute she leaves, with ne’er a backward glance
for she is still the Weaver & her faith is still in Chance

in days gone by
the monarch’s eyes grew dim
his soul was cold
late one night he quit his kingdom
seeking someone warm to hold
he cast off his robes of ermine, & tossed aside his crown
tormented by terrible thoughts as he trod the stony ground
bewildered & bitter, his royal heart was in despair
then the wondrous words of the Weaver
floated to him through the air

she sang of ships that sailed the seas
& slaves that killed their masters
of love that brought one to their knees
& the squander of piasters
& creatures that did terrorize the Lost Boy of the bog
maidens with mesmerizing eyes whose lovers dwelt in fog
she sang of all these things & more
in a voice sultry & strong
& the monarch rejoiced that he had found
that which he’d sought for so long

with agéd voice he spoke to her, laying bare all his woes
how he’s hounded by fear & futility
as his useless life comes to a close
he’s lost the desire for food & drink
& fleshly delights are past
on Death he wastes neither thoughts nor fear
accepting those die as cast
“But I pray,” he pleads,
“Grant me one wish – to lie with you at my last.”

the Weaver’s gentle soul is touched, & her heart is kind
she takes the monarch by the hand, & leads him like one blind
to the center of the enchanted wood
tall trees with leaves like lace
on the mossy bed where they recline, she reveals her secret face
& he gazes on her glory, his old eyes red & bleary
& she sings to him & kisses him
‘til he’s no longer weary

in days gone by
an abdicated king &
a Weaver with jet-black hair
dwelt in an enchanted wood
& lived lives free from care
no thought they gave to the outside world
no wish had they to go back
pleased by each other’s presence
of love they had no lack
& they grew old together
untroubled by cold or storm
& when at last the monarch died
he did so in arms that were warm

copyright © 2014 KPM

the poet

Aphrodite’s child revisited

thoughts both beautiful & obscure
a heart as dark as it is pure
the sum of everything she’s sown
is Aphrodite’s child full-grown

lost lovers like so much debris
the strong gnarled arms of her family tree
the reflection of tiny lines on her face
as she grows old in another place

without & within the doors are open
a little wiser & well used to copin’
at childhood’s demise she will not mope
yet loves & writes with childlike hope

she works / she cleans / she cooks / she eats
then dreams at night on crisp linen sheets
unspoken wishes in a brain that’s yearning
dark desires that keep her stomach churning

a woman alone without a womb
at peace in Eden’s grey & green room
where angels look down from the walls
& memory dwells in hallowed halls

she lives with the voices of the ages
& with the Magi regularly engages
no matter that her arteries harden
there is joy amongst the words in her garden

what care she for the grey in her hair –
she, who’s endured the black dog’s glare?
she’s happy with the witch doctor’s pills
& the damp embrace of the Scottish hills

there’s no fear in the mistakes she accepts
just anger & grief & ashen regrets
yet she will fight a wee bit longer
& every battle will make her stronger

rejecting the role, rejoicing in the place
her duelling done with style & grace
demons & tricksters & stealers of hearts
felled at her feet with poison-pen darts

no matter that her waist grows thick
her breasts remain firm & her mind is quick
immune to anybody’s taunts
serenely meeting her needs & wants

barely free, torn between two homes
inside her head she endlessly roams
divided mind with heart still wild
is aging Aphrodite’s child

copyright © 2010-2014 KPM

Aging Aphrodite