the Sylvia Plath syndrome

I get it:
you heard voices in your head
I hear the voices, too
whether awake or lyin’ in bed

did those voices sing to you?
did they sometimes shriek?
my voices are never shy
these bitches are never meek

my voices are relentless
they come from afar
words meant for both of us
inside a shared bell jar

the language of love
with all its contradictions
our youthful past filled
with false predilections

believe me, I get it:
the voices in the head
perhaps I should be worried,
cause they don’t fill me with dread

copyright © 2017 KPM

speeding

“know how fast you were goin’?”
the officer said
while the music pounded
in her head

bemused, the officer moaned,
“you were way past 55
flirting, she smiled – she winked:
“ ’s a good day to be alive”

“cause when you’re my age
you don’t care one little bit
when you’re over 55
you cease to give a shit”

the officer stepped back
rapidly he blinked his eyes
his young & hairless face
wore a look of surprise

he was open-mouthed
stammerin’ & shufflin’ his feet
dude was like,
“you can’t drive that fast on this street”

to which she laughed, saying,
“ whatcha want: you want me to cry?
son, everyone gets older
you & me, we’re gonna die

I get you’re safety-conscious
that makes sense – it’s also sweet
but my blood is boilin’
in this summer heat

you look at me & see
another person growin’ old
but beneath this settin’ sun
sits a woman whose heart is bold

from trouble
I have never shied
I’m a woman joyous
I’ve laughed as I’ve cried

I have triumphed
I have lost
been true to myself
no matter the cost

life is fleetin’, son
hell, it’s downright scary
& surely you can’t blame me:
I’m entranced by Bryan Ferry!

so accept my smile
along with my prayer for you
do what you think
you gotta do

cause when you’re my age
you don’t care one little bit
 once you reach my age
you just don’t give a shit”

the officer was charmed
reduced to a young man meek
bowing, he tipped his hat
then shyly patted her cheek

he got into his car
nothing did he have to say
he never saw the kiss she blew
before they both drove away

copyright © 2017 KPM

time zones

when it’s 12pm here
it’s 8am there
she’s making her lunch
as her sisters dress with care
though miles apart
the same sky is above
& she can feel their love

3pm here
but there it’s 10am
as she works in her garden
she thinks of them
smiles at the memory
of her mother
feeling the love
of her sisters & brother

6pm where she lives
means lunchtime where they are
she remembers their closeness
times they’d jokingly spar
though her love for them
is tinged with regret
they share the same blood
this she’ll never forget

bedtime in Dundee
dinner time in Ohio
she’s watching TV in bed
as outside Scottish winds blow
she says a prayer for them
all the people that she loves
asleep, she dreams of them
the stars they share shine above

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presence

she is there
reflected in the bathroom mirror
gazing out with eyes
strong & clear

she is there
cupped in the palm of my left hand
a firm yet gentle tug
which each morning helps me stand

& he is there
a sentinel beside my bed
the loving voice of reason
that speaks softly in my head

he is there
whenever I am most afraid
when I feel I can’t go on
his memory lends me aid

they’re all there
watching out for me
collective protection
that forces demons to flee

God is there
in the stormy skies above
shedding His precious tears
on the garden that I love

God is there
in my fingers on these keys
He’s my partner’s arms
giving me a gentle squeeze

God is here
on my skin, in my heart
assuring me that all is well
as I make a brand-new start

copyright © 2017 KPM

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

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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