on Christmas Eve

On Christmas Eve I woke up at ten past nine. And I felt pretty good, considering the fact that the first thought I had when I awakened was “it’s Christmas Eve and my Mom is not here.”

I’ve been struggling in the run up to Christmas this year. It seems unfair…it feels wrong, that Christmas should just go on when Ma is not here to enjoy it. My Mom loved Christmas. The tree, the lights, the decorations. The Nat King Cole Christmas album. She loved it when I was a kid – even now I can see the look of joy on her face as she watched me and my brother and sisters open our presents – and she loved it even more once she’d become a grandmother and then a great-grandmother.

So I decorated my wee flat the way I’ve always done, putting the tree up the day after Thanksgiving. Adorning the fireplace mantle with the red and green tinsel garland, the dancing Santa, the Christmas Eeyore, the black singing angels and the lighted Christmas village my boyfriend John surprised me with two years ago.

I hung stockings for me and John and strung fairy lights over the tops of the bookcases; I even hung fairy lights on the palm tree in my bedroom. I found a place to display every Christmas card I received…they’re in the living room, the kitchen and my wee PC closet. In the act of decorating, I hoped to bring Mom’s spirit closer to me….I hoped that from her perch in heaven – reunited with my Dad at last – she would see all the decorations and smile.

This year, my first Christmas without my mother, I have received more cards and presents than I ever have in my life. And I get it: my friends, my work colleagues, knowing that this is going to be hard for me, have showered me with the next best thing to my Mom’s unconditional love: their love.

Thank you everybody, and Merry Christmas.

Merry Christmas, Ma. Love you….say hi to Daddy for me.

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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

bramble boy

it’s early autumn
when he first comes
as seagulls fight
o’er cracker crumbs
her heart beats
like African drums
when she spies the bramble boy

autumn’s not
her favourite time of year
the days grow short
the skies are drear
yet she feels peace
seeing he is near
her steadfast bramble boy

leaves leap from trees
those we love die
the summer sun
deserts the sky
when the geese fly south
she wants to cry
‘til she sees the bramble boy

each September
in her garden appears
accompanied by the sound
of insectile cheers
he’ll spend the winter
quieting all her fears
her beloved bramble boy

copyright © 2017 KPM

smoky kisses

on days when life
leaves her a wreck
she remembers a cold
& rain-soaked deck
clasped hands put
reality in check
smoky kisses planted
against a lover’s neck

in his neck
is a throbbing vein
is that heartache –
his own private pain?
nothin’ to lose
& everything to gain
endless smoky kisses
in a cold summer rain

when guilt & regret
start to creep
when loneliness
prods her to weep
when thoughts grow
unbearably deep
the memory of smoky kisses
lulls her to sleep

copyright © 2017 KPM

a girl can dream

I have this fantasy
of you & me
in a little home
on the edge of the North Sea

in the winter months
we’re bound to get some chills
but we’re happy in our house
nestled by the Scottish hills

it’ll have spacious rooms
& ceilings high
& a skylight above the bed
so we can see the night sky

& when it’s time to cook
we both pitch in
in our proper
country kitchen

we’ll be lucky enough
that we can both work from home
& at night we’re lulled to sleep
by the sound of sea foam

it’s saved me
this fantasy
& one day we’ll get it,
our home by the North Sea

copyright © 2017 KPM

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

deciphering the message

when I stepped into the garden
church bells began to ring
was that the sign I’d asked for
did it mean anything?

would I now be suffused with
a faith I could not doubt?
would my tears be replaced
by a triumphant shout?

when I stepped into the garden
when those bells began to chime
was that a divine message
that I’d be rescued one more time?

would I now be granted
a glimpse into that light?
would I be assured the path I choose
is the one that’s right?

perhaps I need to get busy
building a garden that is new
one large enough to encompass
souls as big as me & you

copyright © 2017 KPM

lipstick kisses (for my sister Kim)

she’s punch drunk
sittin’ peaceful in the sun
too-much-wine-with-lunch drunk
& the feelin’ is like fun

today the sun is out
black dog’s asleep – she got no blues
sun’s as warm as her mother’s arms
& the mailman brought good news

from afar the letter came
in an envelope of brown
words from a beloved sister
that made her dance around

& the letter was sealed
with kisses of lipstick
memories of home
pierce like an ice pick

but she’s happy
in spite of this
the familiar handwriting
suffusing her with bliss

remembering secrets
they’d tirelessly share
those times her baby sister
would lovingly braid this author’s hair

she hears tiny footsteps following her
remembers teaching her sister to walk
she can hear her sister’s voice
echoes of their every talk

& now she has a letter
sealed with lipstick kisses
she says a prayer for her little sister
as she smiles & reminisces

lipstick kisses on a letter
like their Mother used to do
from one sister to another
lipstick kisses: “I Love You”

copyright © 2017 KPM

 

makin’ tea for John

my baby likes to eat
but on Friday nights, when he’s beat
he likes it light
so I try to do it up right

I play CDs while I wait
dancin’ as I make up a cold plate
done, I’m like “girl, look at you –
that looks like a plate your Mama would do!”

& that makes me smile
(& I cry for a little while)
but I stop, cuz dude’ll soon be here
need to think of other things to serve to my dear

pre-heat the oven, I get out the dishes
still smilin’ & musin’ on old wishes
pizza, crab claws, fish goujons
yeah, me & bae’ll get our eat on

another summer Friday night
(& in my mind I see Mommy, framed by sunlight)
I wait for John, dance to Stanley Clarke
with a heart that – for now – has banished the dark

copyright © 2017 KPM

as the storm approaches

everywhere I look
as far as my eyes can see
everywhere I look
there’s another memory

when the sun is hiding
when skies are fat with storm clouds gray
I remember all those summers
the tunes that we would play

something simple I’ll be doing
hoovering or mopping the floor
when – unexpectedly – I hear
your laughter at my door

I remember washing the car
while you drank beer on the deck
asleep, I often dream
of the taste of salt on your neck

I don’t know why I love you
I’m oft unsure if you love me
so far apart we are
love is futility

sometimes I wish I didn’t love you
I wish the past would set me free
but you’re the keeper of all my secrets
so I need you to love me

copyright © 2017 KPM