pieces of you

the blue potholders you made
you’d said it was your first try
they were far too pretty to use
on a shelf in my kitchen they lie

stationary sent “just because”
those neon sheets so gay & bright
there’s still plenty paper left
but there’s no one I care to write

a scarf sent for my birthday
worn casually ‘round my neck
I fondle it frequently
on those days when I’m a wreck

the first Christmas present you sent me
that soft pink sweater
now I wear it cold or not
cause it makes me feel better

all those letters, all your photos
so carefully, lovingly framed
you smile in each room of my house
my heart is forever maimed

also in the kitchen
on the door of my well-stocked fridge
are all those funny little magnets
reinforcing love’s constant bridge

copyright © 2017 KPM

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battery-powered

in a secret dresser drawer
is a purple sleeping pill
the kind that needs
no prescription to fill
she only needs
to turn it on
& with hardly any effort
for a wee while – grief is gone

nights when her sorrow
is too much to bear
she lights a candle
in her bedroom lair
makes her mind a blank
spreads her long legs wide
flicks that tiny switch
& slips her purple pill inside

it helps her on those nights
when she’s worn out from weeping
when her thoughts turn dark
cause she’s not sleeping
it’s much better than the tears
which leave her pillow wet
& at this point,
she’ll take whatever comfort she can get

she’d rather have
the human touch
but she can’t stand to be
around people much
“time heals all wounds”
they serenely say
“read your Bible” or
“I find it helps to pray”

useless words
in the light of cold sunrise
after another sleepless night
of desperation & unheard cries
she knows she can’t
undo the past
drowning in dismay,
she’s sinking fast

people grieve differently:
you never can tell
what somebody will do
to escape from their personal hell
if she needs battery-powered comfort,
then who are you to begrudge?
heartache does strange things
& you ain’t God, so don’t judge

copyright © 2017 KPM

seen in the classifieds

the ad said:

another owner is needed
for one broken heart
the current owner wants to give it
a brand-new start

the heart’s still working,
blood still pumps
though sometimes it stutters:
it’s faced too many of life’s jumps

the valves & ventricles are good
oxygen still flows
but it often suffers pain
from old betrayals & blows

all arteries & veins
are basically sound
despite the owner feeling
as if she’s been drowned

the owner of this heart
desperately wants to give it away
it’s free to the first taker,
please come collect it today

copyright © 2017 KPM

talkin’ to Mommy

every day the sun still rises
even though you’re gone
can’t help but wonder why it does that,
as I struggle to carry on

I do my usual household chores:
I cook, hang laundry on the line
people tell me I look tired
I lie with a smile – tell them that “I’m fine”

& I wonder why I lie,
when for their thought I don’t give a toss
tell me what to do, Mommy
how do I deal with your loss?

I know how much you missed me,
cause I lived so far away
but distance did not steal our love,
& you still lived, so I was okay

& now I’m lost, Mommy
I’ve passed depression or feeling blue
how do I go on without you –
tell me Mommy, what do I do?

your passing has revived
all my ancient childhood fears
I’m crying in my sleep,
my pillow sags with tears

you were an awesome mother,
the best any kid ever had
it’s as if my heart’s stopped beating,
my life’s now bleak & sad

I hope you hear me, Mommy,
when I talk to you each day
our conversations were unfinished –
so much I didn’t get to say

for the remainder of my life
your absence I will rue
tell me, please, Mommy,
now what do I do?

copyright © 2017 KPM

no thunderstorms in Dundee (for Ellie G)

in Eleanor’s bed
I lay safe ‘n warm
peacefully listening to
a Cleveland thunderstorm
though my heart is heavy
I feel a touch of glee,
as I listen to the thunder,
so rare in my Dundee

cause there’s no thunderstorms in Dundee
thus I snatch this moment of glee
it’s a fact that often bothers me,
no thunderstorms in Dundee

in Eleanor’s room
there’s nothing frightening
I’m content under the covers,
watching the lightning
my heart may feel a touch of gloom,
but I’m lovin’ those flashes –
the way they
light up the room

cause there’s no lightning in Dundee
so I revel in this glee
it’s a fact that often disturbs me
the lack of lightning in Dundee

in Eleanor’s room
with its cool green walls
I’m comforted knowing
Miz Gregory’s across the hall
the bed might be unfamiliar,
but I’ve got my Eeyore,
so I just listen to the thunder,
knowin’ there’s love outside that door

all too soon I’ll be on that plane
carryin’ my photos & my pain
takin’ back the love of many friends & family
hopin’ for a thunderstorm in Dundee

copyright © 2017 KPM

we are the Patton kids (for my brother & sisters)

four adult children
born of one father & one mother
a brother & three sisters,
we’re unlike any other

four children born from love
we were no accident or mistake
my brother & my 3 sisters
deeply bound by heartache

he makes everybody laugh,
my brother, the only son
whenever he is present
everybody has much fun

my middle sister can be quite bossy
& she’s the one who keeps the peace
she dimed us out when we were younger
but her love for us will never cease

last but not least is the youngest
everybody’s baby girl
watching her grow has been amazing,
seeing the young woman unfurl

I am the eldest child
Mommy called me her “firstborn”
her curious child, the one who left
once I was happy, now I’m forlorn

we are the Patton kids
we’ve endured many a childish spat
forever bound by grief & love & blood
time & distance can never change that

copyright © 2017 KPM

the people who love me

there are people who love me
though I don’t know why
tenderly caring for me
when I cry
wiping my face
until it’s dry
they shelter me
should I utter the faintest sigh

so many people love me
it’s sometimes hard to believe
they love me right or wrong
they love me when I grieve
when I’m falling
they pull me to my feet with a heave
when I’m hurting
strong arms around me weave

why do these people love me?
that’s something I’ve never known
they love by email
Skype & phone
love that burns brighter
than the sun ever shone
I’m reassured by their love
it means I’m never alone

copyright © 2017 KPM

on the last night in Cleveland

on that last night in Cleveland
it’s the engine’s roar that calls
Bob Seger & the 5th period bell
that echoes in JFK’s halls

she’s safe with her friend in the Nissan
encased in a blue cocoon
out-running Billy Idol’s “White Wedding”
chased by a full spring moon

271 North to 90 West
a road she knows so well
racin’ through the night
speedin’ away from this new hell

Coventry is all lit up
tequila keeps misery at bay
the bar’s filled with cheering people
watchin’ the Indians play

he is silent at her side
they feel no need to talk
neither asks “what are you thinkin’?”
as through shared memories they walk

time to reverse the process
90 West to 77 South
radio volume’s cranked louder
speakers blastin’ Bush’s “Mouth”

she makes him stop on the corner
she walks to the Gregory house alone
she doesn’t look back or wave goodbye
thinking of her mother’s love, which shone

copyright © 2017 KPM

 

under the full Cleveland moon

her childhood street
is oh-so-quiet
her heart is in turmoil,
brain cells a riot

options she has,
choices to make
what dreams can she keep?
which hopes to forsake?

a good life is not promised,
luck turns on a dime
the only certainty is death
& she’s running out of time

she knows one day she’ll return –
triumphant – & soon
these are the thoughts she thinks
standing beneath a full Cleveland moon

copyright (c) 2017 KPM

entreaty at 2am

give her back
Lord please, hit <rewind>
take me back to another time
to when my Mom was still alive
& I could pull my little car into the drive
to see her standin’ on the front porch

do me this favour
Lord, send me back to before
I need to see my Momma open that front door
wanna hear the way her footsteps beat
voice floatin’ behind her “baby, you want sumthin to eat?”
cause I can’t carry this torch

I won’t ask for nothin’ else
Lord, just rectify this mistake
can’t bear the thought she’s gone…endlessly I shake
I need my Mom back, to quiet my fears
to dry my brother & sisters tears
cause my heart’s broke & my skin is scorched

copyright © 2017 KPM