pieces of you

the blue potholders you made
you’d said it was your first try
they were far too pretty to use
on a shelf in my kitchen they lie

stationary sent “just because”
those neon sheets so gay & bright
there’s still plenty paper left
but there’s no one I care to write

a scarf sent for my birthday
worn casually ‘round my neck
I fondle it frequently
on those days when I’m a wreck

the first Christmas present you sent me
that soft pink sweater
now I wear it cold or not
cause it makes me feel better

all those letters, all your photos
so carefully, lovingly framed
you smile in each room of my house
my heart is forever maimed

also in the kitchen
on the door of my well-stocked fridge
are all those funny little magnets
reinforcing love’s constant bridge

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

entreaty at 2am

give her back
Lord please, hit <rewind>
take me back to another time
to when my Mom was still alive
& I could pull my little car into the drive
to see her standin’ on the front porch

do me this favour
Lord, send me back to before
I need to see my Momma open that front door
wanna hear the way her footsteps beat
voice floatin’ behind her “baby, you want sumthin to eat?”
cause I can’t carry this torch

I won’t ask for nothin’ else
Lord, just rectify this mistake
can’t bear the thought she’s gone…endlessly I shake
I need my Mom back, to quiet my fears
to dry my brother & sisters tears
cause my heart’s broke & my skin is scorched

copyright © 2017 KPM

72 hours

I took a walk
on the beach tonight
passin’ people drinkin’
by a campfire’s light
there were stars in the sky
they shone so bright
& two of them were my mother’s eyes

under a cold dark sky
I walked in my homeland
listening to the waves
as the kissed the damp sand
still feeling that last touch
of my mother’s hand
beneath the gaze of her starry eyes

someone wake me from this nightmare
I’d like a reprieve
this new reality
I don’t want to believe
my tears mingle with the lake
as all alone I grieve
thinkin’ of my mother’s eyes

copyright © 2017 KPM

undefeated

2016
has been one helluva year
lost my job & people I loved
I’ve shed many a tear
so many times
I felt a right cretin
but I marched on:
I’ve not yet been beaten

a long year it was
with nights I wished I weren’t alive
still I got up every day
fightin’ hard to survive
watchin’ helplessly
as my childhood faded
but with God’s mercy
I’ve been aided

I don’t know
what my future may hold
I can only do my best
as I watch each day unfold
disregard the fact that by life
I have sometimes been mistreated
next year I will conquer:
I will not be defeated

copyright © 2016 KPM

undefeated

helpless

once again last night
(though I didn’t want to)
my subconscious betrayed me:
sending me a dream of you
it dragged me, unwilling
back into the past
the bitter ending of a love
I was so sure would last

growing older brings more
than the unexplained ache
it brings unwelcome memories
scenes I’d rather forsake
I have moved on with my life
travelling rocky & joyous ground
yet the ghost of you
persists in hangin’ around

your death nigh destroyed me
deep depression I’ve endured
clawing my way out of darkness
I’ve grown & I’ve matured
I’ve learned how to bend
with wind that blows through summer grass
Corinthians was correct in saying
“this too shall pass”

perhaps I didn’t love you
in the way you thought I should
maybe that causes these dreams
(to be fair, some are good)
I’ll always love you in my way
but a better man I have found
so please, be happy for me
sleep well beneath your burial mound

copyright © 2016 KPM

helpless

in praise of cowboys & angels (elegy for George Michael)

I can see him as a cowboy
I imagine the plains he rides
as he lopes around the ranch
with sexy, long-legged strides

a light shines from his eyes
unshielded from the sun’s glare
revelling in the summer heat
the Santa Ana wind that loves his hair

in my mind’s eye there’s an image
of this cowboy in his saddle
doin’ what he loves
as he fights a private battle

he tends his sheep & pigs
around the cattle he rides in rings
his muscles throbbing pleasantly
as he composes the songs he sings

so angelic was this cowboy
with love stamped upon his face
that the Lord could not resist
taking him to a better place

gone was this cowboy, this angel
a flawed & human soul
composer of the background music
which made so many people whole

& those who loved the cowboy wept
they pulled their hair, they cried
aghast & unbelieving:
surely their muse had not died?

his music had been a crucial part
of my most formative years
I freely admit the morning after
I awakened covered in tears

but these tears I shed are quiet
aloud I will not weep
I’ll celebrate Jesus & Christmas
& pray for the cowboy’s restful sleep

copyright © KPM 2016

george-michael

poet’s dance (in memory of Leonard Cohen 1934-2016)

dance with me, Leonard
for today I’m feelin’ bad
an’ it never bothers you
when I’m morose or sad
never do you question
the negative shit I feel
when I cannot get
my black dog to heel

sing to me, Leonard
demon doubt draws near
you can hold him at bay
with your voice in my hear
those dulcet tones
fill me with hope
any song you wanna sing
helps me to cope

so dance with me, Leonard
cause I feel a bit depressed
listenin’ to your music
will return me to my best
one dance, dear Leonard
one more spin around the floor
before we both depart
through death’s dark door

copyright © 2016 KPM

poets-dance

the calendar says summer is over

today I’m feelin’ sad
an’ I’m unsure as to why
could be the unwelcome knowledge
that all those I love will one day die

could be the arrival of autumn
a season I’ve come to hate
as dead leaves dance through dark nights
I’m reminded of my loved ones fate

maybe it’s the simple fact
that my mirror says I’ve grown older
possessor of eyes that water
as autumn winds blow ever colder

those who were my idols
heroes, friends & family
cancer, heart attacks, accidents, old age
kidnap all those who once loved me

an’ yet I’m not much bothered
by the thought this’ll happen to me
my death will come as a relief
at last the black dog will let me be

copyright © 2016 KPM

the calendar says summer is over

 

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