sittin’ next to Sylvia

Summers spent walkin’ by the railroad tracks
Young, smart, beautiful – they always had each other’s backs
Life’s torments had not affected them yet
Verily they’d both learn how to forgive & forget
In reuniting, they rediscovered their youth
And all the words & love came back, bathed by tears & time’s truth

copyright © 2017 KPM

in the basement room

a sagging sofa lives in her basement room
& a soft bed where she listens to the thunder boom
first built by her father for the whole family
gifted to her as eldest child – she lives there happily

in this room her emotions she need not feign
as her deepest thoughts are allowed free rein
the thick walls obliterate the present
just perfect for this dreamy adolescent

her confidence is hard to win
thus not many are invited in
albums on the floor, books on the shelf
most days she’d rather be by herself

reading stories Kafkaesque
writing poems at her second-hand desk
sometimes she strokes the cinder block wall
brain blank, thinking nothing at all

so peaceful there, all on her own
embraced by bricks of rough grey stone
there the light has an astral quality
lending promise to possibility

copyright © 2017 KPM

in-the-basement-room

whistle

she grew up near the railroad tracks
there she & her friends would wander in packs
in jeans with holes that revealed scabby knees
they’d count train cars in the summer breeze

the tracks led to another place
where she had a friend with a smiling face
two dreamy kids, outcasts who didn’t care
finding joy in the secrets they would share

to the tracks she’d often go alone
delighting in being on her own
there to write a lengthy epistle
a childish homage to the train’s whistle

each day the sound awakened her
like sunrise, she knew it would occur
she loved the melancholy song it sang each night
as she lay in bed in the glow of a single light

almost hazy now are those days of her youth
& she’s had to learn many a bitter truth
though life is sunshine marked by stormy rains
comfort can be found in the whistle of passing trains

copyright © 2016 KPM

whistle

when she wuz two

when ah leave da room
fo’ a much-needed pee
a little voice comes through da door:
“aunty kaffie, come get me!”
 
when ah boot up mah laptop
to write a poem or two
a tiny voice demands:
“aunty kaffie, whut you do?”
 
when ah let slip a swear word
a mild one like ‘dayum’ or ‘hell”
da little voice bursts into giggles:
“aunty kaffie, ah’m a tell!”
 
whut when where
how why who
baby gurl is fulla questions
ah’m exhausted thru ‘n thru!
 
copyright © 2014 KPM

Modelling the earrings from Auntie Kaffie

childhood’s corrosion

a proud beige house
now colored rust
untended/unloved
Mommy’s flowers reduced to dust

the picnic table too
bears sorrowful scars
termites ‘n damp rot
leavin’ craters like those on Mars

familiar city streets
now shit splattered ‘n sway-backed
kingdom of the indigent
their faces tired ‘n cracked

childhood’s succumbed to decay
abandonment abounds
urban erosion’s evil echo
she’s haunted by corrosion’s sounds

copyright © 2010-2014 KPM

childhoods corrosion pic

16 dreams

I dreamt I was 16 again
unburdened by weighty thoughts of sin
heart light as a feather
free from care
‘n brave enough
to accept any dare

I dreamt that I was 16 still
with many goals I’d yet to fulfill
idealistic
believing all mankind was good
a day-dreaming dweller
in my own Norwegian Wood

I dreamt I was 16 once more
when the whole world was an open door
caves ‘n mountains
secret spaces
a curious child
exploring other places

now over 50, my heart remains 16
‘n there is much I’ve learned ‘n seen
life ‘n death
some loss ‘n love
bathed in blessings
from high above

copyright © 2014 KPM

16 dreams pic

family follies

o the joys of family dysfunction!
sibling rivalry & riotous rambunction
a perfect house with manicured yard
a simple life that’s often hard
well hidden by a white picket fence
behind which nothing makes much sense
the daddy laughs, the mommy cries
& all the kiddies cover their eyes
with care the daddy’s head is bent
in his daily struggle to pay the rent
the mommy juggles many woes
to keep her kids in food & clothes
for the youngest child all life’s a game
the oldest child carries all the blame
& the middle child has no outlook
being often overlooked
voices raised in a fighting song
over who is right & who is wrong
the son is taught he’s free to choose
the daughters believe they’re doomed to lose
love & hate, cruel or kind
they’re family & forever intertwined

copyright © 2014 KPM

familyfollies pic

lost & found

they share everything but blood
their memories are the same
he knows her by every name
that she was called

they’ve shared everything but blood
time, space, history
a long-lost childhood mystery
that reaches across the ocean

they see each other in their dreams
each traversing a different path
as they dodge God’s mighty wrath
on their way to forgiveness

lost & found pic

copyright © 2014 KPM