autumn in the kingdom of Alba

another Friday morning
once again I open my eyes
to another spectacular
Scottish sunrise

my heart still beats
with its heavy load
yet I smile when I think
of strollin’ down Perth Road

my walk to work is soothing
daily exercise
checkin’ out the people
& the changin’ Dundee skies

a time for me to think
in the chilly mornin’ peace
a time for silent prayer
hopin’ sorrow will decrease

copyright © 2017 KPM

 

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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

on the A92

the sun came out
once we hit the A92
light that kicked aside the clouds
suspended in a sky of blue

in rolling fields
sat scattered hay bales
tenement blocks
housing spiders & snails

cottages hug the road
adorned with wild flowers
emerald hills glisten
from an early morning shower

a lone motorcyclist
rides into the wind
along the horizon
turbines lazily spin

so many times
we’ve cruised the A92
so many memories
of me & you

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

reclaiming Glasgow

in the car
she loves to ride
craning her head
from side to side
pleased by this country’s
wide open spaces
& the expressions she sees
on other drivers’ faces

for another adventure
she is ready
watching his beloved hands
hold the steering wheel steady
as they ride through the rain
on their way to Glasgow
Springsteen encourages them
from the radio

it’s overcast in Alba
today there’s not much sun
but this doesn’t spoil her mood
she’s not deterred from having fun
safely seated next to the person
whose presence is most dear
hypnotized by Scottish skies
& a road ahead that’s clear

once Glasgow was synonymous
with much stress & pain
a solicitor made a mistake
& her life headed down the drain
thankfully she’s entered
into a happier season
so every day she thanks God
for the judge who saw reason

thus for this new adventure
she is more than ready
glancing at her boyfriend’s hands
as they hold the wheel steady
she sings along with Springsteen
on the car radio
rocketing through the rain
she’s set to reclaim Glasgow

copyright © 2017 KPM

a little kindness

Wednesday. No spectacular sunrise this morning: my beloved Dundee sky is cloudy, interspersed with patches of murky blue-grey. For a change, I did not awaken early – I had a good night’s sleep, untroubled by anxiety and nightmare dreams of sleeping on the street. This is probably down to something nice which happened to me yesterday, which I’ll get to in a bit.

I’ve entered my seventh week of being unemployed and on benefits. Thankfully, I was awarded the full council tax and housing benefit, so maybe those dreams of living on the street will stop now. I’ve spoken with all my creditors, who – surprisingly – have been very kind and have agreed to put my various accounts on hold for the next month.

I’ve submitted 41 job applications since I was made redundant, and – I admit it – cried over the 17 “you’ve been unsuccessful on this occasion” letters/emails I’ve received. I’ve been on six job interviews since November 1st, and I’m certain I’ll be attending more, as the closing dates for some of the applications I’ve submitted have not yet arrived. So although some days are harder than others, I keep filling out those applications, praying, and trying my hardest to remain positive.

My sixth interview was yesterday. It was a panel interview with a company I’m familiar with and would love to work for. It’s not a permanent post, just an 18-month contract, but I’m cool with that. The day before the interview I did my hair and nails, and got my eyebrows done, raiding my holiday jar for the £7.99 – the holiday jar is something my boyfriend and I put all our spare change into so we’ll have extra money for our summer hols – and thank God for that jar, because it’s also been providing me with bus fare so I can go on interviews. I ironed the outfit I planned to wear, assembled all the documents – passport, uni diploma, etc. – I’d been asked to bring with me, and read up on the company so I could impress them with my knowledge. I was prepared.

The interview went well. I could tell they were impressed because they told me they were: “Wow,” they said, “Your store of knowledge and your skill set is impressive!” It was a good interview, and after telling me they had more candidates to see and hoped to let everyone know the outcome by Friday, they shook my hand, wished me Merry Christmas, and I departed.

I had planned to walk home, as the company was only a 25-minute walk from my flat, and I needed the exercise. I used to walk to and from work every day, as my previous job was not that far from my home, and I missed that daily walk. But as I was walking, it started to rain, and of course while I was making sure I’d packed everything I needed for the interview, I’d neglected to pack my brolly. A quick check of my wallet showed I had the money, so I decided to treat myself to a ride home.

Chatting with the taxi driver on the way home, when he learned I was coming from a job interview following a redundancy back in October, he shared with me that his wife had been made redundant from Angus Council just last week. He was really reassuring…“You & my missus are both smart & beautiful,” he said firmly. “You’ll both get something soon.” When we got to my flat, I opened my wallet to pay him, and he patted my hand and said, “On you go, doll. Best of luck to you.”

I was gobsmacked. But I don’t know why….I’ve learned in my 14 years here, that’s just the way the Scots are.

I never planned to be in this place: unemployed at Christmas time, on benefits, uncertain over the future. I don’t think anyone ever plans to be in such a place. Which is what makes kindness so important. That taxi driver might have seen a “smart and beautiful” woman – he might even have seen a confident woman. But on the inside was a woman who was deeply depressed – even close to suicidal, and he will probably never know how that small act of kindness renewed and restored me.

The internet meme is true. We should all be kinder than we need to be, cause you never know what someone is going through.

a-little-kindness

Aphrodite’s child revisited

thoughts both beautiful & obscure
a heart as dark as it is pure
the sum of everything she’s sown
is Aphrodite’s child full-grown

lost lovers like so much debris
the strong gnarled arms of her family tree
the reflection of tiny lines on her face
as she grows old in another place

without & within the doors are open
a little wiser & well used to copin’
at childhood’s demise she will not mope
yet loves & writes with childlike hope

she works / she cleans / she cooks / she eats
then dreams at night on crisp linen sheets
unspoken wishes in a brain that’s yearning
dark desires that keep her stomach churning

a woman alone without a womb
at peace in Eden’s grey & green room
where angels look down from the walls
& memory dwells in hallowed halls

she lives with the voices of the ages
& with the Magi regularly engages
no matter that her arteries harden
there is joy amongst the words in her garden

what care she for the grey in her hair –
she, who’s endured the black dog’s glare?
she’s happy with the witch doctor’s pills
& the damp embrace of the Scottish hills

there’s no fear in the mistakes she accepts
just anger & grief & ashen regrets
yet she will fight a wee bit longer
& every battle will make her stronger

rejecting the role, rejoicing in the place
her duelling done with style & grace
demons & tricksters & stealers of hearts
felled at her feet with poison-pen darts

no matter that her waist grows thick
her breasts remain firm & her mind is quick
immune to anybody’s taunts
serenely meeting her needs & wants

barely free, torn between two homes
inside her head she endlessly roams
divided mind with heart still wild
is aging Aphrodite’s child

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Aging Aphrodite