the tale of the little angel

there was once a little angel
who had a broken wing
sad because she could no longer fly,
she decided she’d no longer sing

so she left her heavenly home
waved farewell to the celestial choir
& wished herself down to earth,
to see if a new talent she could acquire

soon the angel found herself
on earth’s solid ground
where she wandered, open-mouthed
at all the chaos that she found

the people in the north
disliked the folks who lived east
they were denying their poorer brethren
a share in their Christmas feast

while the people of the west
scorned all those dwelling in the south
there was hatred & incivility
spewing from everybody’s mouth

& the angel was aggrieved
for God had created man for bliss
now it seemed as if all mankind,
in their greed, had forgotten this

they were worshipping money:
dollars, pounds & pence
people selling their souls for money
to the angel this made no sense

men & women in thrall to things
& the thrill of their acquisitions
wanting bigger, better, more
losing their once happy dispositions

rapes & murders & child abuse
destruction of the land
lines at food banks & homeless shelters
the poor angel didn’t understand

she’d come from a perfect place
where life was heavenly
surely this disorder
was never meant to be

so she cried unto her God,
“My Father, I feel so blue,
I’m one tiny angel whose wing is broken,
what would you have me do?”

& God smiled down on the angel
before he replied
gently asking her,
“Did you forget how my Son died?

greatness I bestowed on you –
I blessed you with the gift of song
but you bemoan your broken wing,
you chose to forget that you are strong

mankind is flawed, but you can help them
& it’s such a simple thing
unlock that power behind your jaws, child:
I bid you open your mouth & sing”

the angel realised that her silence
had been a major blunder
as closing her eyes & opening her mouth
she sang a song more powerful than thunder

a song of redemption & forgiveness
the joys of heaven above
soothing words that offered hope,
& a reminder of God’s eternal love

as she sang her strength returned
peace suffused her soul
& the little angel’s broken wing
was again made whole

so she flew back home to God
& her beloved celestial choir
there to sing endlessly
hitting notes that were ever higher

but what happened down on earth?
well, the hostility did cease
& for the first time in a long time,
all God’s children knew His peace

copyright © 2016 KPM

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benefits blues

ah’m unemployed at Christmasbenefits-blues
mah pockets gots no bucks
jobless at Christmas
man, dis really sucks
every day I struggle
not to cry
when ah thinks of all da presents
ah cain’t afford ta buy

ah’m outa work
for da holidays
ah tell mahself
dis is jes’ a phase
ah been on countless
interviews
ain’t got hired yet
so ah got da blues

hadda go on the dole
fo’ dis festive season
‘n right now mah life
got no rhyme or reason
bein’ unemployed at Christmas
ain’t no fun
but ah take comfort from da fact
dat ah’m not da only one

ah may be outa work for now
mah self-esteem may be shot
but dis shit won’t last forevuh –
ah know dis ain’t my lot
cuz soon da Lord will bless me
wit dat “you been hired” letter
& 2017 will be so much better

copyright © 2016 KPM

 

home for Christmas

“c’mere, you,” he says
with that endearing, crooked grin
“damn, I’ve missed you….how long has it been?
you know what I’m here for, don’t think of it as a sin
now, how about invitin’ a fella in?”

weary & wary
she opens the door
soundlessly he enters, glidin’ above the polished floor
“you look annoyed,” he jokes, “like this is some hated chore,
please don’t be that way – I just wanted to see you once more.”

he pulls her to him,
kisses her, strokes her hair
they collapse into an overstuffed chair
clothes fall with many a guttural swear
as she drowns in memories of a love that was rare

“c’mere, you,” he says
as at the end she pulls away
the filling with a murky smoke of gray
in horror she watches as he starts to decay
& she struggles for the strength to hold the past at bay

copyright © 2016 KPM

home-for-christmas

welcome home

single she is, no one’s wife,
happy with her solitary life

the rows of DVDs on shelves
old ceramic Christmas elves
memories of love displayed on tables & walls
a bed piled high with animals & dolls
fish swimming in their colourful tank
nestled by books in alphabetical rank

remotes on the coffee table in a military line
dust-free surfaces glowing in winter sunshine
window sills crammed with welcoming plants
wardrobes that house shoes, sweaters, pants
her favourite rooms have been freshly painted
& nothing in this space by hatred is tainted

middle-aged she is, no longer svelte
just handlin’ life, no matter what cards she’s dealt

copyright © 2016 KPM

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get thee gone, Satan

there’s a monster that lives
behind her eyes
drowning out her good thoughts
with unholy cries
it buzzes in her head
like so many bees
distorting everything good
she sees

long has the monster lived
behind her eyes
spewing clouds of doubt
into her sunny blue skies
he brings bad dreams
disrupts her sleep
causing her – at odd times –
to moan & weep

the monster loves his home
behind her eyes
where 24/7
he plots her demise
but she’s blessed with
many allies
their power refutes
the monster’s lies

there’s a monster that lives
behind her eyes
I’ve got one, too,
so I sympathize
his delight is in falsehoods
which he spreads all day long
by God’s grace
I can resist
I stand tall, I stand strong

copyright © 2016 KPM

get-thee-gone-satan

 

poet’s dance (in memory of Leonard Cohen 1934-2016)

dance with me, Leonard
for today I’m feelin’ bad
an’ it never bothers you
when I’m morose or sad
never do you question
the negative shit I feel
when I cannot get
my black dog to heel

sing to me, Leonard
demon doubt draws near
you can hold him at bay
with your voice in my hear
those dulcet tones
fill me with hope
any song you wanna sing
helps me to cope

so dance with me, Leonard
cause I feel a bit depressed
listenin’ to your music
will return me to my best
one dance, dear Leonard
one more spin around the floor
before we both depart
through death’s dark door

copyright © 2016 KPM

poets-dance

just another girl on benefits street

I’ve got a job interview in a couple of hours. This will be my fourth interview since being made redundant last October.

I’m as prepared as I can be. I’ve done some research on the company. I got a good night’s sleep last night. I had a good breakfast this morning. I’m nicely dressed, my hair and my nails are freshly done.

Job interviews make me nervous, though, happily, the nervousness does not show and it doesn’t affect my performance whilst being interviewed: I don’t get all red-faced and sweaty and inarticulate. No, it affects me in unseen ways….my heart pounds in my chest and my stomach cramps and churns.

As this is the fourth time I’ve been made redundant since 2010, one would think I’d be an old pro at this by now. But one never gets used to this: the wait for the invite to interview, the wait for the results, the hope that you’ll get the job you really want, and then having that hope become a desperate prayer for any job at all.

Various factors come into play when you’re job hunting. Will the potential employer think I’m too old? Because, sadly, ageism exists. Will I they trot out that tired old “you’re over-qualified for this post” line again? This is something I’ve heard a lot, and it infuriates me. Why should I be made to feel bad for having gone to college, for having worked hard in a variety of sectors? All the work I’ve done, all my employment experiences only adds to the store of knowledge I can bring to a company.

I hate being unemployed….it wreaks havoc with my self-esteem and my mental and emotional well-being. I hate hearing the slam of the front door as the other tenants in my building leave for work. I’ve always been proud of being self-sufficient, and now I am forced to ask for help from uncaring government agencies: help with council tax, housing benefit, and Job Seeker’s Allowance. I have never in my entire life been on benefits on either side of the pond, and I have found the whole process draining and depressing. Mind you, I am grateful to have been awarded the help I’m currently receiving. But I would much rather work.

Being jobless at Christmas time is the worst. Big SALE signs in shops and TV adverts which remind me that I have limited funds and most likely won’t be buying any presents for anyone apart from my Mom and my BF this year. Everyone who knows me that Christmas is my favourite time of the year; as an American, my tree always goes up the day after Thanksgiving, which I still celebrate even though I live in the UK as my BF likes the whole ritual of Thanksgiving. But in my current jobless state, the thought of the looming holiday season makes me want to crawl into bed, pull the duvet over my head and not move.

The days all run together when you’re unemployed. My whole comforting routine of get up-eat breakfast-shower & dress-go to work-work-come home-have my tea-make lunch for work tomorrow-iron clothes for work tomorrow-watch a bit of telly and then go to bed was destroyed in a 30-minute meeting.

My sleep pattern has been destroyed as well. I sleep more when I am depressed, and although my GP has increased the dosage of my anti-depressants, they help little. Thus my new routine is:

• get up at 6:30 like I still have a job to go to
• check email for invites to interview and/or “you’ve been unsuccessful” messages
• fill out job applications online until 10 or 11 (unless there aren’t enough suitable ones that day)
• shower & dress
• force myself to eat something (I skip this step 2-3 times a week)
• clean the flat (which seldom needs it)
• lie on sofa with Eeyore & the duckie blanket to watch TV only to fall asleep for 1-2 hours

This routine changes on those days when I’m fortunate enough to have an interview or on Tuesdays, when I am required to attend at the Job Centre to prove I’ve been looking for work. My “work coach” is a nice woman – she thinks I’m “great.” She’s used my CV (details removed) as a model for the other clients at the Centre, and raves about the spreadsheet I created as a tool to keep track of all the posts I’ve applied for: a detailed seven-columned, colour-coded wonder that lists the name of the company, the post applied for, date applied, and all the requisite contact and follow up details. She’s shown my creation to all the other work coaches at the Job Centre, and they all marvel at my “inventiveness” and Jenny’s luck in having a client like me.

But I don’t want to be a “client”. I’d rather be an employee.

I’ve got two friends on benefits – neither of them have worked in years. They don’t understand my grief and depression over losing my job and what I see as my failure to get another job quickly. They keep telling me to “relax”. “There are benefits to being on benefits,” they laughingly told me. Because they’re my friends, I laughed along with them, realising they were only trying to cheer me up. But truthfully, I found their attitude distasteful – the entire benefits culture that exists in the UK is appalling to me.

Luckily, it’s not an attitude I have to share, and I don’t. So as I get ready to leave for this interview, I say a silent prayer that I will soon be blessed with a new full-time post. It’s the only Christmas present I really want.

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putting up the Christmas tree

it’s just a small fibre-optic
Christmas tree
the first big present
he ever gave to me
a tree that he’d bought
for his mother
giving it to me
meant he saw me like no other

a tiny tree
with twinkling lights
it warms my soul
on cold winter nights
a gift from a man I think
was sent from heaven above
a special present that proves
I’m worthy of love

never has he come to me
with empty heart or hands
he’s always there to lead me out
when I’m trapped in the dark lands
gifts & love unbidden
he brings when I am sad
the only constant in my life
this stalwart Scottish lad

so I assemble my little tree
this gift you gave to me with love
& as I do I thank
whatever God exists above
for the blessings in my life
for all the good you do
most of all I thank the Lord
for yet another Christmas with you

copyright © 2016 KPM

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enough

Lord, I’m tryin’ my best to pray
you know – my daily devotions
but I’m heartsick & I’m troubled
by too many emotions:
I feel sorrow & rage
loss, uncertainty & fear
what the hell is happenin’ here?

it’s apparent some folks
know not what they’re doin’
cuz hatred everywhere
is now spewin’
in America’s streets
the KKK dance with glee
while far away immigrants
fear for their family

Syria & Brexit
the Dakota pipeline
but the rich get richer,
which they think is just fine
meanwhile the poor & the middle class
doubt their vote, doubt their worth
since a psycho’s been elected president
of the most powerful nation on earth

folks are homeless, folks are hungry
recession has them in a hole
some have been made redundant,
forced to go on the dole
but still our so-called leaders
put on their X-Factor show
while the lines at the food bank continue to grow

they tell us to have courage
to be patient & wait
while thousands of confused children
line up at a border gate
have hope, the powerful tell us
they say all is not lost
but they’re safe in their mansions
shielded from the true human cost

I’m just one person
who knows not what to do
an ordinary person
strugglin’ daily just like you
a woman who loves & is loved
struggling to stay alive
who thinks we all need to be kinder
if mankind is to survive

copyright © 2016 KPM

enough

healing

she’s haunted
by events from her past
events & memories she wishes
did not last

but by this he is not bothered
for him her past holds no fright
he’s the shoulder she can lean on
the arms that enfold her every night

she’s been wounded
by words said, by deeds done
& he’s strong enough to face this,
though he’s the only one

the man who’s always there,
whose jokes bring a smile
the hand to hold that banishes
the darkness for a while

she’s damaged
but that doesn’t frighten him
each secret that he learns
only serves to enlighten him

aids him in dealing with her
on those days when she’s depressed
a blessing that means
her emotions don’t need to be supressed

copyright © 2016 KPM

healing