merica

for love she crossed an ocean
enduring much pain
well over a decade later
she crossed that same ocean again

in this place she once called home
she is a foreigner – a stranger
first fatherless, now motherless
she feels naught but loss & danger

outside her mother’s apartment
she stands at the end of the drive
bathed in surreal sunlight
thinking of reasons to stay alive

“go back to your own country”
yell teenaged voices from a passing car
her grief morphs into rage:
who do these assholes think they are?

she’d seen all the news reports
in the Times, on the BBC
now, the day after her mother’s death
she’s faced with the ugly reality

“I so don’t wanna be here,”
is what she thinks as she wipes her eyes
“I don’t wanna be in this place,
where such behaviour’s been normalised”

escape to her is granted:
her friend pulls up in the car
relieved when the car moves forward
she tries to process this newest scar

heart shattered by grief
brain dead with shock
she longs for her red front door
with its tarnished, old-fashioned lock

“what happened?” asks her friend
“you all right – you okay?”
sadly she recounts events
as her friend drives the car away

for the moment, she is safe
she sits in the seat & she cries
“what a messed-up thing to happen,
& the day after your Momma dies”

copyright © 2017 KPM

 

Advertisements

bleach (for Alton Sterling & Philando Castile & all the others)

bleach whitens clothes ‘n teeth
it doesn’t whiten skin
coffee, chocolate & mocha
are the colors my people come in

my skin is the colour of sand
my beloved’s skin is white
oblivious to my colour
he holds me close in bed each night

black skin feels just the same
as our white counterparts
but many cops don’t realise that –
they leave black mothers with broken hearts

5 shots or 11
17, 41
the black death toll keeps rising
but true justice is never done

Ghandi, Martin, Mandela
I can hear their calls for peace
but justice endlessly denied
will seek violence as a release

this evening I’ll add bleach to my washing
so my favourite blouse stays white
‘n at bedtime I’ll pray for those 2 black mothers
who’ll cry themselves to sleep tonight

copyright © 2016 KPM

bleach

Ziggy Stardust doesn’t live here any more

Ziggy Stardust doesn’t live here any more
he got on that ship with Major Tom
they closed the hatch an’ locked the door
reckon Ziggy was fed up with this place
he might even be happier, among the stars in space

but I can’t believe I won’t see Ziggy any more
for so many years I loved him
his loss leaves me heart sore
I’d play his music LOUD – how I’d dance & laugh!
(an’ my daddy threatened to break my phonograph)

Ziggy Stardust understood me
if I raged or if I cried
to him I was no oddity
he saw through all my angst & pride
this fellow traveller who dwelled Outside

No, Ziggy Stardust doesn’t live here any more
he left me vinyl, two new CDs
& memories galore
my life will continue, though Ziggy’s gone away
in my head, in my heart, his guitar will always play

copyright © 2016 KPM

ziggy_stardust

mortality

it’s not about
how good is the sex
cause with age dicks shrivel
they lose that thrust & flex
it ain’t about
a big firm tit
time & gravity
turns ‘em both ta shit
your expensive furniture
will get you no reprieve
your flesh will fail
your loved ones will grieve
don’t matter if you got a college degree
you can’t escape the fact
of your mortality
everything you love will rot
the car you love will rust
no one gets out alive
it’s our fate to turn to dust

copyright © 2015 KPM

mortality

it never goes away

disquiet rides in
on the pale horse of dreams
cantering amongst moonbeams
impervious to the screams
of the nightmare tossed

despair saunters in
with a flirtatious dance
staying awhile to dance
offering no hope or chance
to the many lost

death stalks in
eyes burning fever bright
looking neither left nor right
an oft blessed blight
if one cares naught about the cost

copyright © 2015 KPM

it never goes away

atonement’s nightmare

on a dank, dark street corner
crowded with grimy buildings high
a dreamer stands uncertainly
beneath a threatening sky

shadow figures pass her
with casual malice they do stare
an evil wind spits gritty tears
that settles on her perfect hair

she can’t remember where she’s been
or where it is she’s going to
she thinks she’s meant to meet someone
though she’s not sure this is true

a drop of rain assaults her cheek
just before the man appears
with a cry, he clasps her knees
his upturned face is wet with tears

his voice reeks with anguish
as he recounts a hateful tale
of a love he did betray
and a woman he did fail

the dreamer is appalled
yet she is touched by his remorse
her kiss is a benediction
allowing nature to take its course

their bodies battle time
pores secreting bloody sweat
she seeks the one she loved & lost
he vainly tries to escape regret

a roar of thunder coincides
with an orgasm to shatter stone
and as the dreamer fades away
the man learns again he can never atone

copyright © 2014 KPM

atonement

you can’t go home again

Like a jerk, I went back to work after the funeral. I thought it might help…thought it might stop the anguished yelp that kept bursting forth from a throat that ached from too much crying. But it was naptime – the kids were all on their cots, asleep. So I crept into the stairwell, to sneak a smoke and weep.

Murray – the principal and my boss – found me sitting there. A lovely Jewish guy, both gentle and kind, he gently enquired, “Bubeleh, have you lost your mind? I know what you went through today. Is home you need to go – here you should not stay.”

Home? I thought as I drove out the school parking lot on auto-pilot. What home….the house on Milverton Street where we made love til you’d shout? Just a month ago I’d moved out.  My new place in Warrensville Heights? It was ruined – haunted by the memories of our last angry fights.

I was cryin’ so hard I could barely see. And the sun had come out, shinin’ on my misery.

My car drove itself down Harvard Avenue. It parked itself in the driveway of my parent’s house, the childhood home I hadn’t visited in years, not since that fight with Daddy that’d ended with a suitcase and tears.

I couldn’t get out of the car. I couldn’t get out of the car. I remembered my .22 was in the glove box.

I had to get out of the car.

I stood on the front porch of my childhood home. Rememberin’ playin’ jacks with my sisters on our scabby knees. Studyin’ for endless spelling bees. Barbie dolls with Eleanor an’ Trish. Starin’ at summer stars, makin’ wish after useless wish.

The front door was open. I peered through the rusted mesh of the screen door, determined to turn around and leave if I saw any sign of my father. But he wasn’t there…just  Ma, perched on the edge of the faded floral sofa, sewin’ buttons onto Daddy’s shirts while she watched the end of the afternoon soaps.

“Ma?” I called out as through the screen I peeked. I musta startled her – she leapt up an’ shrieked.

“Shit!” she swore, openin’ the door. “How long you bin standin’ there for? Wasn’t expectin’ no one today, an’ ain’t you sposed to be at work any way?”

“Ma,” I said. “Maaaaaaaaa…” My voice was a plaintive bleat. My eyes hollow holes of grief and defeat, I handed her the program from your funeral before falling, barely hearing my name, which she kept calling: “Kathy…Kathy. Oh Katherine, mah baby…” Pickin’ me up off the floor, sittin’ me on her lap as if I were four again (which is what I wanted her to do just then).

I cried and cried and cried and cried. And my mother (you do know she liked you ‘bout as much as your mother liked me?) stroked my hair and my cheeks as she sighed.

copyright © 2010-2014 KPM

you can't go home again

Aphrodite’s child

at the tender age of ten
come the attentions of the men
merry monkeys who endeavoured to appear innocent
as they praised her parents for producing
“such a beautiful child!”
& her parents – wishing not to appear too proud
responded with “she pretty, but she wild!”

bony bare-legged black boys
made her gifts of their most-prized toys
& watery-eyed white boys wistfully wished
for a way to get her alone
(they wanted no witnesses when they asked to walk her home)
moody & mesmerizing
teasing & tantalizing
fully aware that she’s everybody’s baby
neither affirmative nor negative, always a murmured “maybe”

the boy next door is on the precipice of manhood
know-it-all 19 to her tentative 13
& goddess status is no guarantee
against infallibility
fooled by flowers & flattery she falls from the pedestal
eager to believe this is love
(unable to perceive it’s merely lust)
too soon she is forlorn & forgotten
her “love” reduced to ashes & dust

the powerful patriarch plays with thoughts of slaughter
of the upstart who dared to seduce his daughter
quietly the queen mother dissuades him
using her womanly wiles to persuade him
to hunt for an Hephaestus for their errant Aphrodite:
“lest this attention make her vainglorious,
before she develops appetites notorious!
already she’s caroused in the conjugal bed –
to save her face (& ours) she must be wed!”

the peeved papa searches for a suitor well-bred & well-read,
one who’ll welcome such a treasure to his lonely bachelor’s bed
still grieving, before she can find her voice
the goddess is girded to a man not of her choice
a slovenly adoring ass, incapable of original thought
like Judas, her father sold –
like a slave, she is bought

despite her outrage at her father’s wrong
her sense of filial duty remains strong
she decides to make a go of this life
& at first she is a wonderful wife
she cooks/she cleans/she hides her gloom
a lady in company, a whore in their bedroom
of course he’s happy with his lot
but she’s not – she needs another
& so determines to take a lover

in a greasy garage with oil on the floor
she stumbles on the key to desire’s door
fully equipped with all the arrogance of youth
he’s self-important & uncouth
yet free from all taint of sin, & – blessed bonus! –
a veritable virgin
her stars are lucky (or the gods are kind)
so without examining sub or conscious mind
eyes shining, lips swollen & wet,
she decisively draws him into her net

& he is willing, & he adores her
in abject abasement he grovels before her
in his eyes a kind of madness burns
but before she knows it, the tables have turned
now she’s hypnotized/mesmerized
a body enslaved & paralyzed
a heart beating hard with love & trust
a woman laid low on the alter of lust

her adoration makes her crazy
the constant worship makes him lazy
but he’s there:
to her & for her,
a ballsy sibyl that can do no wrong
seducing her & swamping her
with love’s sensual song

she is swept away from her stupid spouse
from father & family &
the hated husband’s house
o infidel! o infamy!
poisoned by passion & pride
convinced of invincibility
as long as he’s at her side
the world is theirs, for so she arranges
then Chance erupts, & everything changes

into their interlude falls cold white snow
& he dances with a demon
in a place she dare not go
he dances while she dreams & schemes
of a way to win him back,
but the demon brings a Darkness
that forebodes a future black

thunder & lightning, all that is frightening
is passed through the end of a phone
snow surrounds, then topples
Eros from his throne
the sea rages & swells
the sacred shell doth shatter
Death rescinds love
now her life does not matter

lamenting & lost
in a tempest she is tossed
& she drinks as she cries
she screams/she shrieks/she sighs
in vain she tries to understand
why the gods have withdrawn their hands
the Muses warn she must repent
before the Parent Gods relent

doomed by love
damned by her loss
she flees Olympus
the last line is crossed
so she wanders with whispering voices in her head
capering cacophonous demi-gods
on her journey to the Dead

bleeding/bruised/broken
she wanders without will
seeking potions sweet & noxious
to render heart & body still
a tightly entwined rope
around her slender saddened neck
surely somewhere, something or someone
can put this grief in check

in her woe she is wanton
open to forces beyond her ken
so she roams, restless & reckless
lying with many men
some are nice (& some are not)
most are total shits
something better soon must beckon
so one day she simply quits

she runs/she hides
she makes a brand new home
& her eyes reveal acceptance
of a life that’s lived alone
she buries herself with Art & books
her new life is quiet & pure
to strangers passing on the street
she appears serene & sure
& other lonely souls believe she’s found a magic cure

eyes downcast or hidden
she lives this way for many years
a helpful & happy exterior
swimming in solitary tears
& she dare not admit (especially to herself)
that life & love are passing
while she dwells on this dusty shelf
then one day the gods relent at last
& send her one who obliterates the past

on a hot & hazy morning
sun shining in her eyes
the Divinity appears behind her
transported from the skies
he smiles at her, & she is bewitched
he speaks & she listens, totally transfixed
his demeanor is somehow both gentle & grand
awed & acquiescent, she allows him to claim her hand

he guides her to the garden she’d created for herself
& there he does things to her
that divests the dust from the shelf
her body is a blank book that he writes in
her mind is a fountain that he delights in
then he tells her that he loves her
his voice confident & strong
the words deliver her from the darkness
that has hidden her heart for so long

the chains have been cut
the past has been banished
the monsters of memory that hounded her have vanished
all that once hurt her he has abolished
the demons that dogged her he destroyed & demolished
the goddess has been restored
no longer afraid or alone
in the heart of the Divinity
Aphrodite’s child has found a home

copyright © 1994 -2014 KPM

Lust

triggers

the plaintive songs
of Phoebe Snow
recalls the night
that gave birth to woe

on the pungent smell
of gasoline
wafts the image of a boy
in tattered jeans

with the obnoxious sound
of an engine’s roar
she sees him leaning
against the garage door

the raspy sound
of a dry autumn leaf
brings to the surface
an ancient grief

ice cubes
that clink inside a glass
& she’s again engulfed by pain
she thought would pass

copyright © 2009-2014 KPM

mortality

deviant

(it all started with the flies)

he hated buzzin’ flies, you see
blamed it on his OCD
he hated germs – flies crawl in shit
so he pulled their wings off, bit by bit

(he liked their struggles)

one day he took a small earthworm
sliced it in half, laughed to see it squirm
beneath a rosebush hid a garter snake
that he battered with a garden rake

(he needed something bigger)

with an old aluminum baseball bat
he beat to death a neighbor’s cat
enjoyin’ the meaty thud thud thud
annoyed by the lack of significant blood

(he’d be doin’ everyone a favor if he)

waylaid the local bully after school one day
enticin’ him with xbox an’ a new game to play
with blank detachment he slit the bully’s throat
buried the body after cleanin’ the xbox remote

(he got away with it)

copyright © 2014 KPM

deviant pic