rules for wraiths & other lost souls

no one knows you’re a ghost
your body they can’t see through
they wouldn’t believe it anyway
so there’s still stuff you hafta do

you gotta get up in the morning
get dressed, make the bed
put your smiley face on
quell the voices in your head

you gotta go to work
cause there’s always bills to pay
pretend to be a “normal” person
despite the grief that darkens each day

you must interact with people
though from society you’d rather retreat
& at certain times of day
you force yourself to eat

you’ve no need (or desire) for food
there’s no wish to dine or sup
cooking’s such a waste of time
when all you swallow comes back up

so you work & cook & clean
feed the fish & watch TV
& every show awakens guilt
from which you cannot flee

you’re a ghost of who you were
the old you has been erased
who is this crazy woman,
by memory constantly chased?

forward the time goes
marching through a winter gray
take it one step at a time
things just might turn out okay

copyright © 2018 KPM

Advertisements

dream of me

I don’t know who said it
I don’t know if it’s true
that when you dream of someone
they’re also dreaming of you

tell me: do you dream of me,
the way I dream of you?
is love what connects us,
or am I simply feelin’ blue?

last night I dreamed of you
in darkness cold & long
I felt you clasp my hand
I smelled your scent so strong

I swear I heard your voice
whispering in my ear
did you know I needed you?
is that why I felt you near?

my thoughts these days are warped
images of death & desire
I sleepwalk through the days,
sub-conscious brain on fire

I wish I knew the reason
for these constant dreams of you
I hope you dream of me
tell me that you do

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

nightlights

right now my life
is kinda rough
the duvet’s warm embrace
is not enough
each night now
my brain cells riot
stealing my peace
disrupting the quiet

concerned about
the dark thoughts I think
I leave my bed
to stand at the kitchen sink
staring out
the wide window
at tenement lights
shining all aglow

there are others like me
who cannot sleep
do they worry? I wonder
all alone, do they weep?
are they anxious
about paying their bills,
or just lost in reveries
of youthful thrills?

the man on the sofa
sitting with shoulders slumped
is he fearful, or heartbroken
because he’s been dumped?
the woman on the bed
whose hands cover her face,
does she feel like she’s trapped
in a precarious place?

there are other folks with problems
people just like me
who hope & pray for an end
to their current misery
this nightly ritual comforts me
it’s familiar, it’s known
those lit windows reassure me
that I am not alone

copyright © 2016 KPM

nightlights

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

just another girl on benefits street

I’ve got a job interview in a couple of hours. This will be my fourth interview since being made redundant last October.

I’m as prepared as I can be. I’ve done some research on the company. I got a good night’s sleep last night. I had a good breakfast this morning. I’m nicely dressed, my hair and my nails are freshly done.

Job interviews make me nervous, though, happily, the nervousness does not show and it doesn’t affect my performance whilst being interviewed: I don’t get all red-faced and sweaty and inarticulate. No, it affects me in unseen ways….my heart pounds in my chest and my stomach cramps and churns.

As this is the fourth time I’ve been made redundant since 2010, one would think I’d be an old pro at this by now. But one never gets used to this: the wait for the invite to interview, the wait for the results, the hope that you’ll get the job you really want, and then having that hope become a desperate prayer for any job at all.

Various factors come into play when you’re job hunting. Will the potential employer think I’m too old? Because, sadly, ageism exists. Will I they trot out that tired old “you’re over-qualified for this post” line again? This is something I’ve heard a lot, and it infuriates me. Why should I be made to feel bad for having gone to college, for having worked hard in a variety of sectors? All the work I’ve done, all my employment experiences only adds to the store of knowledge I can bring to a company.

I hate being unemployed….it wreaks havoc with my self-esteem and my mental and emotional well-being. I hate hearing the slam of the front door as the other tenants in my building leave for work. I’ve always been proud of being self-sufficient, and now I am forced to ask for help from uncaring government agencies: help with council tax, housing benefit, and Job Seeker’s Allowance. I have never in my entire life been on benefits on either side of the pond, and I have found the whole process draining and depressing. Mind you, I am grateful to have been awarded the help I’m currently receiving. But I would much rather work.

Being jobless at Christmas time is the worst. Big SALE signs in shops and TV adverts which remind me that I have limited funds and most likely won’t be buying any presents for anyone apart from my Mom and my BF this year. Everyone who knows me that Christmas is my favourite time of the year; as an American, my tree always goes up the day after Thanksgiving, which I still celebrate even though I live in the UK as my BF likes the whole ritual of Thanksgiving. But in my current jobless state, the thought of the looming holiday season makes me want to crawl into bed, pull the duvet over my head and not move.

The days all run together when you’re unemployed. My whole comforting routine of get up-eat breakfast-shower & dress-go to work-work-come home-have my tea-make lunch for work tomorrow-iron clothes for work tomorrow-watch a bit of telly and then go to bed was destroyed in a 30-minute meeting.

My sleep pattern has been destroyed as well. I sleep more when I am depressed, and although my GP has increased the dosage of my anti-depressants, they help little. Thus my new routine is:

• get up at 6:30 like I still have a job to go to
• check email for invites to interview and/or “you’ve been unsuccessful” messages
• fill out job applications online until 10 or 11 (unless there aren’t enough suitable ones that day)
• shower & dress
• force myself to eat something (I skip this step 2-3 times a week)
• clean the flat (which seldom needs it)
• lie on sofa with Eeyore & the duckie blanket to watch TV only to fall asleep for 1-2 hours

This routine changes on those days when I’m fortunate enough to have an interview or on Tuesdays, when I am required to attend at the Job Centre to prove I’ve been looking for work. My “work coach” is a nice woman – she thinks I’m “great.” She’s used my CV (details removed) as a model for the other clients at the Centre, and raves about the spreadsheet I created as a tool to keep track of all the posts I’ve applied for: a detailed seven-columned, colour-coded wonder that lists the name of the company, the post applied for, date applied, and all the requisite contact and follow up details. She’s shown my creation to all the other work coaches at the Job Centre, and they all marvel at my “inventiveness” and Jenny’s luck in having a client like me.

But I don’t want to be a “client”. I’d rather be an employee.

I’ve got two friends on benefits – neither of them have worked in years. They don’t understand my grief and depression over losing my job and what I see as my failure to get another job quickly. They keep telling me to “relax”. “There are benefits to being on benefits,” they laughingly told me. Because they’re my friends, I laughed along with them, realising they were only trying to cheer me up. But truthfully, I found their attitude distasteful – the entire benefits culture that exists in the UK is appalling to me.

Luckily, it’s not an attitude I have to share, and I don’t. So as I get ready to leave for this interview, I say a silent prayer that I will soon be blessed with a new full-time post. It’s the only Christmas present I really want.

SANYO DIGITAL CAMERA

healing

she’s haunted
by events from her past
events & memories she wishes
did not last

but by this he is not bothered
for him her past holds no fright
he’s the shoulder she can lean on
the arms that enfold her every night

she’s been wounded
by words said, by deeds done
& he’s strong enough to face this,
though he’s the only one

the man who’s always there,
whose jokes bring a smile
the hand to hold that banishes
the darkness for a while

she’s damaged
but that doesn’t frighten him
each secret that he learns
only serves to enlighten him

aids him in dealing with her
on those days when she’s depressed
a blessing that means
her emotions don’t need to be supressed

copyright © 2016 KPM

healing

the fourth time

y’all ken she loves
her bonnie Dundee
but in November it ain’t a place
she likes to be

grey skies & cold winds
means she can’t sit in her yard
& gardenin’ season’s ended –
she always takes that hard

her new jobless state
saw her go on the dole
each visit to the Job Centre
destroys a bit of her soul

every day she’s online
sendin’ out her CV
kickin’ aside that black dog
with his attendant misery

she’ll not give up –
that ain’t sumthin’ she’d evah do
her persistence (& God’s help)
will see her through

copyright © 2016 KPM

People queuing outside a job centre

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

 

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