weary

it went away
the poem I meant to write
it vanished
with today’s sunlight

it’s gone
a poetic door now closed
like the blood of protesters
scrubbed ‘n hosed

they disappeared
words I thought were so profound
no one wants to hear
pleas from the urban ground

I lost them
all those words I wanted to say
probably wouldn’t have helped
any old way

copyright © 2020 KPM

I can’t breathe…

I can’t breathe.

On 11th May I wrote a poem about my frustration over the late response to the killing of Ahmaud Arbery, about the constant fear I live with that something similar could happen to my brother. Or my brothers-in-law. Or my nephews. Or my great-nephews. Or one of my childhood friends, now grown black men with sons of their own.

And this morning, I read of protests in Minnesota following yet another death of another black person at the hands of police who are supposed to “protect and serve.”

It made my chest and my head ache. The rage I am suppressing makes it hard for me to breathe.

Freddie Gray.
Walter Scott.
Eric Harris.
Phillip White.
Tony Robinson.
Jerame Reid.
Rumain Brisbon.
Tamir Rice, a 12-year-old child from my hometown.
Akai Gurley.
Tanisha Anderson.
Dante Parker.
Ezell Ford.
Michael Brown.
John Crawford.
Eric Garner.
Dontre Hamilton.
Breonna Taylor.
George Floyd.

I could add more names, but I’m not going to. Because those 18 names should not be in a list like the one I’ve typed – such a list should not exist in 21st century America; indeed, in the 21st century world.

As an American black woman who spent the first 43 years of her life in the US, I know not all police are bad. Not all white people are bad. But what I see from abroad, living in Scotland where people are not consumed by race – where the main concern is Celtic or Rangers, Better Together or Independence – concerns me deeply. And I’ll admit, at times I feel guilty that I live in a country where I am safe. Where health care is a guaranteed right. Where no one has ever suggested that I “go back to Africa”.  Where I can wander around a shop without security trailing me because they think “all black people steal”. Where the police actually help you, and on this last one, I am speaking from experience.

This open season on black people grieves me greatly. It goes on and on, the list gets longer, the protests get bigger and the people with the power to do something to stop it appear to be indifferent. But I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised by that, considering the person at the top in the US cares for no one save himself and mammon – what’s a few black lives in comparison to that?

Last night I was on a video call with my best friend of 58 years. In these days of the pandemic, I speak to my family and friends in the States via video calls far more than I did prior to the virus’ intrusion into all our lives. So I’m talking to my friend, and amongst our talk of Covid-19, I tell her of my fear that something will happen to her or my siblings or any of my friends.

“We’re all getting older,” I tell her. “Maybe it’s time to return to the States, so I can spend the remaining years of my life with my siblings…with the people who were first there for me.”

She assures me that she would love to have me back. “You could even stay with me for as long as you want to while you get established again. But, sweetie…you love Scotland! You’ve built a good life for yourself there – you’re safe there, you have health care!”

We finished the conversation shortly afterwards the way we always do: with many cyber-hugs and much blowing of kisses at the monitor. And as I poured another glass of wine before settling down to another night of insomnia and Netflix, the little voice in my head said, “sure you miss your sisters and your brother and your friends, but are you sure you want to return to the US? Why expend your energy and effort and talent in a country that doesn’t want you, where your life has so little value?”

I had no answer to that.

Make America Great Again? What a crock of SHIT.

Make America Generous Again.

Make America Giving Again.

Make America Gentle Again.

K xx

hypnotized

relentlessly
the sun beats down
high above
blackbirds circle round
I wonder why
I don’t feel down
at this incessant quiet

ladybug crawls
across moss-covered cement
lone seagull
makes a daredevil descent
yet my soul
feels no torment
at this continued quiet

in the pond
small bubbles rise
in the trees
a warm wind sighs
at peace
I watch the butterflies
dancing in this quiet

sun-kissed legs
all tanned & browned
eyes closed
thinking thoughts profound
my garden
is now holy ground
where I worship quiet

copyright © 2020 KPM

goodnight garden

goodnight garden
goodnight grass
if it doesn’t rain tomorrow
you’ll get trimmed at last

goodnight garden
goodnight trees
I would love to climb you
but I no longer trust my knees

goodnight garden
goodnight patio table
you’re old ‘n rusty now
but you serve as best you’re able

goodnight garden
goodnight lawn chair
your sturdy embrace
makes me feel as if you care

goodnight garden
goodnight sweet peas
caressing me with a scent
borne by the spring breeze

goodnight garden
goodnight wee pond
the bubbles on your surface
are so nice to look upon

goodnight garden
goodnight sun
of all my friends in nature
you remain my favourite one

goodnight garden
goodnight to each ‘n every flower
thanks for the joy you give me
every day, every hour

copyright © 2020 KPM

 

impotent

boo to you, Boris
Cummings should get the sack
guess it’s not only morals
but leadership you lack

all those people on the front lines
their kids are sat home in tears
while those in power traipse all over
as poor folks struggle with their fears

major fail, Boris
were you ever really sick?
or was it all a PR stunt
you must think we’re pretty thick

you’re every bit as horrid
as your buddy 45
the disregard you show
for people fighting to survive

just once, do right Boris
kick Cummings out
or karma will come for you
of that you should have no doubt!

copyright © 2020 KPM

ritual

gettin’ up in the mornin’
“where are my fags?”
while the kettle’s boilin’
I need those first few drags

before I eat my breakfast
“what happened to my book?”
fiction’s better than the news
it improves the day’s outlook

gotta get some bread ‘n milk
“where’d I put my purse?”
must be fallout from the lockdown
that’s why my memory’s getting’ worse

however,
“where are my keys?”
is somethin’ I no longer say
in my flat or in my garden
that’s where I prefer to stay

copyright © 2020 KPM

an army of angels

they’re coming:
every day their numbers swell
warriors to guard the faithful
from this living hell

carefully bred
specially selected
moving among the living
undetected

memories of love
are their calling card
we welcome them
in these times so hard

a father, a husband
his sister, her brother
a stranger’s child
a devoted mother

they’re coming:
the numbers continue to grow
an army of angels
with hope & blessings to bestow

copyright © 2020 KPM

wind

I listen to the wind
as I lie in bed
ill positioned pillows
propped beneath my troubled head

it speaks to me, this wind
voice a distinctive hallmark
evoking myriad memories
as I shiver in the dark

it’s a drunk dude cursing
a shrieking CSX freight train
a woman loudly screaming
giving birth in blood & pain

howling at my window
swirling dust at the backstairs
the cries of all the demons
which reside in my nightmares

the wind sings to me
my foe & my friend
I listen to its voice
as I wait for night to end

copyright © 2020 KPM

cocktail hour

mmmmmm…
is it too early in the day?
need to get motivated
let’s have a glass of Chardonnay

time for lunch
prawns ‘n linguini
topped off by
a chilled Bellini

a cheeky wee drink
while cooking dinner
Long Island Iced Tea
always a winner

meal over, dishes washed
now comes the movie hour
Budweiser in the bottle
with some nips of Aberlour

3 movies later
another day has passed
a final glass of wine
before getting in bed at last

copyright © 2020 KPM

an OAP works in her garden

more seeds
more plants
more bags of soil
still furloughed
so in my garden I will toil

begonias
pink petunias
geranium showers
Mother Nature ‘n me
together we work for hours

fairy lights
solar lights
busily buzzin’ bees
magpies protestin’
in a warm spring breeze

more tools
more mulch
more white garden stones
there’s naught left but this garden
so to hell with aging bones

copyright © 2020 KPM

my garden