love travels

deep & sincere
no drama-school act
it’s vast, her love
yet portable & compact

it dwells in her hair
memory & care
it travels on the air
it’s always there

the blood of her childhood
a flow that never ends
thru veins, marrow & music
travel family & friends

an unbroken chain
sweet as sugar cane
love that does not wane
imprinted on her brain

photos at picnics
laughter, hugs & kisses
a woman with two homes
she thinks of all she misses

the Scottish sun shines gold
she remembers being bold
stripped of her blindfold,
from guilt & grief she’ll be paroled

copyright © 2017 KPM

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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

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

a long way from the rock [for SZ]

I remember those youthful days
hangin’ out in my backyard
before we entered life’s oft treacherous maze
before the choices we made grew hard

I remember diaries
those girlhood secrets we would share
you admired my daring
I worshiped those curls in your hair

although our lives were defined
by a vastly different clock
each day our friendship grew stronger
afternoons by the rock

an unlikely pair we made:
your nature was sunny, while mine was like night
you were blessed with tact
I was bullish & forthright

two disparate souls were we
folks were surprised that we were friends
but we ignored them, traversing through life
closer than siblings or twins

we told each other everything
with no worries that we might shock
our friendship was solidified
in those afternoons by the rock

from Barbie dolls to boys we laughed
cryin’ through marriage & divorce
I tried to keep you anchored
as you struggled to keep me on course

eventually we learned the hard way
that all we thought we knew was a lie
children were born, then they grew
together we watched our fathers die

we’ve grown old & wise together
payin’ no mind to that clock
drawin’ strength from our love for each other
& all those afternoons by the rock

copyright © 2015 KPM

IMG_20150427_232211

 

ambivalence

in the photo they are smiling
though she no longer remembers why
such happy smilin’ faces
why do they make her wanna cry?

proud & handsome faces
that fill her with regret
faces that resurrect memories
she’d much rather forget

things that still have the power
to make her aging blood boil
small wonder that she dreads
returnin’ to her native soil

still there are things she misses
her birth land is not without its charms
her family, her friends, Shaker Lake
her mother’s soft encircling arms

she knows it’s time to return
though this journey she’s loathe to take
a good life she’s built in a land she loves
thoughts of leaving it make her heart ache

so she focuses on the good things:
her childhood friends, food & family
knowing she’ll appreciate even more
the moment she returns to her bonnie Dundee

copyright © 2015 KPM

Ambivalence

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

2 little girls

two little girls with hopeful faces
one with wild ginger hair, the other blond with braces
two little girls I almost didn’t see
until they shyly stepped up to me

“Miss,” said the girl with the ginger hair
as the girl with the braces fixed me with a solemn stare
“Miss,” she repeated without artful pretence
“Please, could you give us 62 pence?”

“Our mums gave us money for the bus,
but we spent some at McDonald’s an’ don’t want them to fuss.
They won’t hit us, but they will yell an’ shout,
so we were just wonderin’ – would you help us out?”

I put on a serious face & said in a serious voice:
“Do you realize you may have made an unwise choice?
You’re old enough to know the world is full of dangers,
& I bet your mums’ve told you must never talk to strangers.”

“Yes miss,” the girls agreed, “But we thought you wouldn’t mind.
You see we talked it over, an’ agreed that you looked kind.
Really miss, we’re good girls – we use common sense.
So please, will you give us 62 pence?”

“You’re lucky,” I smiled, “I’m in a good mood.
I just want to go home & have some wine & food.”
reaching in my purse, I handed them a pound
“Now go straight home,” I admonished, “No hangin’ around.”

“Thank you miss,” they both beamed,
their smiles innocent & sweet
then they happily linked hands
& went skippin’ down the street

copyright © 2014 KPM

two little girls

B-movies

the heroine’s been rescued
just in the nick of time
as a long-forgotten child star
scrubs his face of grime

the Wasp Woman has a head
made of papier-mâché
an’ Godzilla has saved Tokyo
its people live another day

the Bride of Frankenstein
is stressin’ over her hairdo
meanwhile Killer Klowns From Outer Space
are busy chasin’ me ‘an you

I pay no mind to those
who think Price & Karloff whack
an’ I make no apologies
for wishin’ I was Karen Black!

copyright © 2010-2014 KPM

B-movies pic

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