summer solstice

it’s still light
as I walk through Riverside Park
it’s still light
when I need it to be dark

I need it to be dark
don’t want no one to see my face
I need it to be dark
as I walk through the grievin’ place

it’s still light
why has the sun not gone?
it’s still light
shinin’ on a life gone wrong

I need it to be dark
a camouflage for all my fears
I need it to be dark
so no one can see my tears

but it’s still light
& following me is a lone sunbeam
it’s still fuckin’ daylight
my heart aches – I wanna scream

copyright © 2017 KPM

the last birthday

life goes on
it’s in the footsteps above my head
the metal clang of the mail slot
a sound which I now dread

the daily tasks I perform
around my tiny abode
the hum of the bus to Perth
as it rolls over the road

life goes on
with each new bloom on my plants
the washing that flaps on the line
my t-shirts, socks & pants

it’s the canned laughter
comin’ from my TV
it’s the food I sometimes cook
that evokes your memory

life goes on
though you have said good-bye
no longer can you comfort me
on those days & nights I cry

yes, life goes on:
you’re at peace with God on high
life goes on,
& somehow, so must I

copyright © 2017 KPM

suicidal

so young they are
each in their high-viz vest
she can see their concern
how they’re both struggling to do their best
an anonymous phone call
from someone who wants her to live
their assistance is unexpected
but it’s all they have to give

so young these PCs are
firmly entrenched in their belief
they still have faith in law & order
what do they know of grief?
do they know about obituaries,
the goodbye glance in a mother’s eye?
have they any knowledge of guilt so heavy
it makes one want to die?

yet now, here they sit
in the Sunday sunset’s gloom
non-judgemental as they admire
her tidy living room
“have you seen your doctor?
is there someone you can phone?”
so earnest in their desire
not to leave her all alone

she dries her tears & smiles
(she’s been here before)
reassures them both
as she walks them to the door
“thank you for your time,”
she says, gliding across the floor
“so sorry for all the bother –
you don’t need to come back anymore”

copyright © 2017 KPM

somethin’ to smile about

morning sunshine
clematis on the vine
coffee steamin’ hot
spaghetti in a pot

fish swimmin’ in their tank
a walk along the river bank
ironin’ my partner’s shirt
plungin’ my hands deep into dirt

freshly done hair
friends who show they care
knowin’ what comes next
an unexpected text

the poem that takes shape
the spider that didn’t escape
the shoes that went on sale
letters from home in the mail

Saturday mornin’ & Planet Rock
finally findin’ that missin’ sock
a bra that fits just right
Scotland’s luminescent light

in the car – away we go
Bowie on the radio
Sunday evenin’ glass of wine
your hand, always holding mine

copyright © 2017 KPM

no one like you (for my Mother 1935-2017)

there’s no one like you
that’s why ever since you left
all the people who loved you
are endlessly bereft

poster mother for contentment
smilin’ as each child made their bed
every day your children remember
the wise & funny things you said

they think of breakfasts you made
all those school lunches, too
discipline, food & love:
it was your special glue

there’s no one like you
that smile, that glorious hair
& the rare gift of acceptance
despite the burdens you had to bear

your life wasn’t always easy
yet your faith remained steadfast
you gave love to all you met
joyous memories that will last

such grief your children feel
as they remember all your care
though a higher plane you’ve entered
each child feels that you’re still there

there will never be another
as wonderful as you
thus your children watch the skies
hoping to glimpse your residue

copyright © 2017 KPM

ghosts

they’re relentless, those ghosts
oft unwelcome by their hosts
but she doesn’t mind:
calls them all by their names
puts their faces on display
in expensive photo frames

these ghosts are often cruel
they break every rule
but she deals with it:
when they kick down her door
she quickly repairs it –
just another household chore

her ghosts are resolute
never are they mute
but she no longer cares:
she knows how to carry on
one foot in front of the other
until they’ve all gone

copyright © 2017 KPM

an assertion of control

water in the fish tank’s dirty
she dutifully changes it
when she’s struggling with uncertainty
her furniture – she rearranges it
when she’s seized by darkness
that seeks to destroy her soul
she thinks of things to do
to regain control

there are always clothes to wash
which she lovingly hangs outdoors
she beats back all dust & dirt
hoovering & mopping the floors
when it feels as if her demons
are on a mighty roll
she resorts to relentless cleaning
as a measure of control

she’s not an indecisive person
though she lives on sanity’s border
(& no, she doesn’t have
a delusional order)
it’s true she thinks too much
but life’s events are oft intense
she does what she feels she has to do
to get her world to make some sense

so when she’s overwhelmed by the chaos
that’s spreading across the globe
she re-pots all her plants
or cleans out her vast wardrobe
when she’s standing on the edge
of that fabled rabbit hole
she thinks of things to do
to re-assert control

copyright © 2017 KPM

more than memory

you are there
as I prepare
my lunch of tuna fish
once you made it for me
expressing your deepest wish
with childhood’s culinary spree

when I drink iced tea
your face I see
fine beads of sweat
as you worked in the garden
no matter what happened
never did your big heart harden

in everything I do
I feel you
it’s in the way I iron
my partner’s favourite shirt
he’s always there – like you,
shielding me from hurt

when I garden, when I sleep
when I’m mired in depression deep
when I hold my partner’s hand
when I’m missing my home land
when I’m talking on the phone
when I feel most scared & all alone

you’re still there
so this pain I must bear
because you loved me
I can be strong
because you loved me
I’ll learn to sing another song

copyright © 2017 KPM

unglued

I keep waking
my hands shaking
getting dressed,
button holes defy me
time speaks a new language
as days fly by me

feels like my soul
is no longer whole
& it keeps raining
3 days of endless night
a bottomless pit
where I can find no light

off I trot
face wet & hot
all my meds
my doctor has doubled
but they heal nothing
my heart remains troubled

just one more touch
I’m smoking too much
so unconcerned
if I should die
all cares, all sorrows
away they’d fly

feels like I’m failing
flailing
one foot in front of the other
through air that’s foul & dense
trying hard to come to terms
with a world that makes no sense

copyright © 2017 KPM

8 years strong (for JBM)

on Friday evenings
when that buzzer rings
her palms get a bit damp
her wounded heart sings

she quickly checks her hair
making sure it’s free of frizz
before admitting the only person
who sees her for who she truly is

he never enters empty-handed
he brings his smile with the flowers & wine
& when he wraps his arms around her
everything in her life is just fine

leaning against the kitchen counter
she pretends not to watch his much-loved face
as she drinks that 1st glass of wine
while arranging her flowers in a vase

casually they talk – they share stories
about their respective work week
revelling in his Scottish brogue,
cause she loves to hear him speak

a big man he is
with a presence that fills the room
for the moment, she is safe
the demons can’t enforce their gloom

how did she get so lucky?
to find a man who does not dread,
a man who is not frightened
of the darkness that lives in her head

he’s stayed with her through joblessness
remaining steadfast in belief
now he holds her close at night
as she struggles with loss & grief

he doesn’t like to see her cry
but he knows enough to let her be
he does what little things he can
he’s a man who’ll never flee

many battles she’s fought in this decade
she’s wept through many a night
but she’ll win – she has no doubts
his love will lead her into the light

copyright © 2017 KPM