swappin’

right now, shit is complicated
cuz I’m bearin’ a heavy load
makes it hard for me ta decide
if it’s time for me ta hit the road

this country – this man I love
they’d both be hard to leave
& if I give them up
is it just because I grieve?

mah Daddy is long dead
& now, so is my Mother
yet there’s family that love me
I’ve two sisters & a brother

long ago I left them
for a love I thought would never die
more fool me,
cuz that turned out to be a lie

now that my beloved Mother
has been laid to rest
I’m thinkin’ I shoulda stayed
with those who loved & knew me best

that said, leaving Scotland
would make me unbearably sad
for the life I’ve constructed here
has not been all bad

my heart, my brain burn
lit by the consciousness molotov
I struggle with reality:
all life is a trade-off

copyright © 2017 KPM

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speeding

“know how fast you were goin’?”
the officer said
while the music pounded
in her head

bemused, the officer moaned,
“you were way past 55
flirting, she smiled – she winked:
“ ’s a good day to be alive”

“cause when you’re my age
you don’t care one little bit
when you’re over 55
you cease to give a shit”

the officer stepped back
rapidly he blinked his eyes
his young & hairless face
wore a look of surprise

he was open-mouthed
stammerin’ & shufflin’ his feet
dude was like,
“you can’t drive that fast on this street”

to which she laughed, saying,
“ whatcha want: you want me to cry?
son, everyone gets older
you & me, we’re gonna die

I get you’re safety-conscious
that makes sense – it’s also sweet
but my blood is boilin’
in this summer heat

you look at me & see
another person growin’ old
but beneath this settin’ sun
sits a woman whose heart is bold

from trouble
I have never shied
I’m a woman joyous
I’ve laughed as I’ve cried

I have triumphed
I have lost
been true to myself
no matter the cost

life is fleetin’, son
hell, it’s downright scary
& surely you can’t blame me:
I’m entranced by Bryan Ferry!

so accept my smile
along with my prayer for you
do what you think
you gotta do

cause when you’re my age
you don’t care one little bit
 once you reach my age
you just don’t give a shit”

the officer was charmed
reduced to a young man meek
bowing, he tipped his hat
then shyly patted her cheek

he got into his car
nothing did he have to say
he never saw the kiss she blew
before they both drove away

copyright © 2017 KPM

under the full Cleveland moon

her childhood street
is oh-so-quiet
her heart is in turmoil,
brain cells a riot

options she has,
choices to make
what dreams can she keep?
which hopes to forsake?

a good life is not promised,
luck turns on a dime
the only certainty is death
& she’s running out of time

she knows one day she’ll return –
triumphant – & soon
these are the thoughts she thinks
standing beneath a full Cleveland moon

copyright (c) 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

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

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

escape route

when misfortune appears
with its unwelcome shape
that’s when she finds
she needs an escape
the comfort of
a celluloid hug
a technicolour
high-definition drug

she can only handle
so much stress
so on those occasions when things
dissolve into a mess
when her life is as bad
as life sometimes gets
she takes a mental health break
with her beloved box sets

since childhood
she has loved TV
it’s a fact she admits
honestly
there are those who’d argue
that the boob tube is bad
but she loves those memories
of watchin’ telly with her dad

the Fisher family
on Six Feet Under
restore to her
a sense of wonder
she can laugh at their exploits,
which banish her doubt
reassured that everything
will work itself out

she shoves away
all thoughts of defeat
when engrossed in
Homicide: Life on the Street
inspired by the way
Frank always gets his man,
she resolutely develops
her own new & better plan

still, there are those times
when she’s suffused with dread
when the darkness invades
her heart & head
at those times
she takes to her bed
& fights her demons like the crew
on The Walking Dead

she resists the temptation
to wallow in self-pity
with help from the girls
of Sex & The City
by their trials & triumphs
she is transported
restored in her belief
that her problems will soon be sorted

so she’s unemployed just now –
it’s a temporary state
she refuses to fall for
the black dog’s bait
she has God,
she has friends, she has family
soon her life will return
to what it ought to be

for now, she’ll keep submitting
those job applications
sure she’ll soon be successful
in achieving her aspirations
& for all those times
she’s beset by fear in the night
there’s always a box set
to set her mind right

copyright © 2016 KPM

escape-routes

welcome home

single she is, no one’s wife,
happy with her solitary life

the rows of DVDs on shelves
old ceramic Christmas elves
memories of love displayed on tables & walls
a bed piled high with animals & dolls
fish swimming in their colourful tank
nestled by books in alphabetical rank

remotes on the coffee table in a military line
dust-free surfaces glowing in winter sunshine
window sills crammed with welcoming plants
wardrobes that house shoes, sweaters, pants
her favourite rooms have been freshly painted
& nothing in this space by hatred is tainted

middle-aged she is, no longer svelte
just handlin’ life, no matter what cards she’s dealt

copyright © 2016 KPM

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different

ain’t never liked any kinda peas
an’ I refuse to eat macaroni & cheese
like to eat whatever
whenever I please
reckon that makes me different

I never wanted kids, even though I like them
like my milk fat – to hell with this skimmed
gimme the darkness
I need all the lights dimmed
suppose that makes me different

I like rap music – the hardness in its flow
I see nuthin’ charmin’ in winter snow
I can be seduced by hard winds that blow
but mess with me once an’ you’re forever my foe
out the door & out my life you go

I’m versatile, speakin’ posh or slang
love bad boys unafraid of the jail door’s clang
forever loyal
to the peeps in my gang
guess that makes me different

happy to give those I love whatever they need
definitely not a follower – I’d rather lead
brutal honesty
has always been my creed
that’s why folks see me as different

don’t give a shit about your station or race
or if your CDs are in order on your bookcase
I’m not bothered by an ugly face
or if your family thinks you’re a disgrace
I prefer people who carve out their own space

the world’s grown dangerous – chaos runs rife
safety is non-existent – no place is free from strife
so I’ll make my own peace
live my own life
don’t think that makes me so different

copyright © 2015 KPM

different

unintentional

I wanted to cut the grass
but the bleedin’ rain refused to pass
disgruntled,
I accepted that was that
rolled up my sleeves
& began to tidy the flat

cleaning is a quiet task
thus I heard my heartbeat ask
for the telly, some music – any kind of sound
for surcease from thoughts that sought to drown

dunno what came over me
but I put on that CD

18 & unburdened
with no worries, no load
singin’ “fuck you speed limit”
racin’ down a summer road
joyous is the look on your beloved face
as the old car shimmies with the bass

just 25, but I feel old –
heartsick & tired
love’s become a dissenting mass
in which we’re both mired
why get so shitty when I only speak the truth?
so easily shattered, the dreams of my youth

what the hell was I thinkin’ – what came over me?
why ever made me put on that CD?

31 & love is almost done
32 & I’m seekin’ an unmarked pawnshop gun
35 & I can only weep
37 & I’ve forgotten how to sleep
at 40 life grows harder by the day
at 42 I said“to hell with this” – upped sticks & ran away

so many memories
I remember all of them
so many movies
of drunken love at 5am
my present life is happy – I know my new life will last
yet my days & night remain haunted by a bitter past

still, everything remains a vital part of me
useless then to wonder, why I put on that CD

copyright © 2015 KPM

unintentional