stages

where is he now,
she wonders
the first boy who kissed her cheek?
they were five
so unsuspecting
of the havoc that kiss would wreak

‘n whatever
happened to
the first boy who carried her books?
so brave,
with his steamed-up glasses
blue plaid coat with metal hooks

she always smiles
when she remembers
the boy whose virginity she took
those lustful
teenaged kisses
his shocked, delighted look

never
has she forgotten
the boy who played the biggest part
her first passion
her first real love
the boy who left ‘n broke her heart

lovers
husbands, toy-boys
some would say a life of sin
she offers
no apologies
for the life lived way back when

copyright © 2020 KPM

 

gone (top floor boyz 2)

where’d they go,
those top floor boyz,
who used to watch me in the garden?
the smiles ‘n shouts they sent through lockdown
helped a scared heart not to harden

so sad,
I never learned their names
they’d laugh when I would ask
yet they were present every day
overseeing each green task

what happened to
those top floor boyz?
who so cheekily would flirt
while I pulled weeds in the garden
or dug holes in the dirt

where’ve they gone?
are they hiding?
have they gone on holiday?
their crowded windowsills are now empty –
sure hope they haven’t moved away

young boyz,
they were social
mates in every Friday night
smoke clouds waftin’ from their window
as I sipped wine by sunset’s light

guess my top floor boyz
are gone now
‘n though I wish them well
I miss those smiles – I feel abandoned
left alone in lockdown hell

copyright © 2020 KPM

gone

the messenger calls

underground cables compete
with high wires for miles
both carry love & hope
on the wings of childhood smiles

beautiful black women
side by side, they’ve endured much
smart & tactile women
now denied the magic of touch

2-dimensional images
perfect faces on small screens
cyberspace connections
each knows what the other means

“girl, stuff is so fucked up”
“you can’t make me wear this mask”
hey yo, can someone tell me
when our leaders will be called to task?

for the covid-19 numbers?
for racism that remains entrenched?
for the blood of black brothers ‘n sistas
in their blood this world has been drenched

this is a fight we must continue
we must ignore the political games
black, white, asian, polish
we all hafta say their names

‘s time to squash this mess
stand with us, please don’t quit
cause black lives still – they’ll always – matter
gauntlet’s been thrown: will you commit?

copyright © 2020 KPM

afternoon chat

one Sunday Jessie told me
“you know, your life’s amazing”
it was uttered seriously
bright Bellini eyes blazing

these words weren’t new to me
I’d heard this sentiment before
today I understood its meaning
I welcomed that opened door

for many years I sought
the kinda life I’m livin’ now
not bein’ the kinda woman
to bow, to scrape or kowtow

mistakes I may have made
but I own them – they’re all mine
guilt? regrets? mostly banished
all things get sorted in time

cause I’m happily livin’ a life
some folk may not understand
a life that gives me all I need
in a country good & grand

copyright © 2020 KPM

ladies in lockdown

11 weeks of lockdown
has made Annette’s hair long
her eyes are a blue sky
legs shapely & strong

Gail’s hair has grown, too
she’s annoyed by its length
but we all think it’s lovely
& in our agreement there is strength

Marjory’s a blonde bombshell
her hair & her smile outshine the sun
& if she decides to hug you
then half the battle’s won

I’ve chopped my hair off
rockin’ the Angela Davis ‘fro
me & my Scottish crew
meltin’ racism like dirty snow

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

 

my new best friend

10 weeks into lockdown
tryin’ hard to avoid feelin’ blue
but every day it’s a little harder
tryin’ to think of stuff to do

frequently I’m on my laptop
composin’ these wee rhymes
cause I can only clean my house
so many times

I’m wary ‘bout a lotta things
like WhatsApp ‘n Snapchat
Zoom, Twitter, Instagram
I can’t get down with that

never bothered me overmuch
I like livin’ alone
but in these days of the pandemic
I’m often on my mobile phone

then there’s bad weather days
can’t sit out in my yard
stuck inside with a ticking clock
man, them days is kinda hard

I know everyone’s in lockdown
it’s the only sensible choice
yet I cannot help but yearn
for the sound of another’s voice

so much no one knows:
will this nightmare end soon?
it’s so not healthy for me
all this drinking before noon

so much uncertainty:
when will the lockdown end?
tears & over-thinking
I need a hug – I need a friend

I’m pretty sure these days
it ain’t only me
whose closest relationship now
is with their flat-screen TV

so all hail Netflix
give praise to Amazon Prime
for providing celluloid friends
with whom we can spend our time

let’s all give thanks to Netflix
StarzPlay – YouTube – Hulu
2020 has been a washout
I’d never make it without you

copyright © 2020 KPM

top floor boyz

even though it’s in the garden
that she feels almost whole
in this pandemic era
it sometimes feels like a fishbowl

at every other top floor window
there is frequently a face
watching as she writes these poems
in her sacred enclosed space

most days they are silent
mere observers who make no noise
she’s come to think of them
as the top floor boyz

early mornings in the garden
when it’s quiet as the grave
the grey-haired man at his laptop
sends her a smile & a wave

she wonders what he’s doing
for work he seems to have no lack
grateful for the greeting
she always smiles & waves back

the tall guy with the beard
has spider plants in his window
each day he offers a nod
she bobs her head hello

there’s a young boy – a student?
doing dishes at the sink
he calls out, “I love your garden!”
with a smile & a cheeky wink

she’s proud of her wee garden
this compliment she can’t dismiss
so she grins & bows
before blowing him a kiss

the sun moves across the sky
the day grows late
as one by one the top floor boys
their windows they vacate

in peace she sips her wine
on Nelson Street there is no noise
she raises her wineglass high
in a toast to those top floor boyz

copyright © 2020 KPM

someone’s brother, someone’s son

an hour after the sun comes up
I’m outside
sippin’ coffee from my favourite cup
a majestic hawk
soars above my head
I embrace a wonder that replaces my dread

in this space I don’t have to think
of my brother or my nephews
who are always on the brink
of being mistaken
for a “criminal” someone
who can be slain by a “concerned citizen’s” gun

I live with the constant fear
of receiving news
too many others have had to hear
cops with no integrity
a vigilante with a gun
blood on the sidewalk from a brother or a son

in my garden I prefer to stay
out here I can keep
terrible thoughts at bay
watching a lone seagull swoop & dive
praying my brother, my nephews
& all black men will survive

copyright © 2020 KPM

at the end of the 7th week

there’s no guarantee
the sun will shine for long
or that the disc jockey will play
that favourite song
some days it’s awful hard
trying to remain strong
when you gotta go out shopping
in the midst of the quarantine throng

no man is an island
that’s what the poet said
supposedly we need each other
the way we need our daily bread
wish I could see the future
or a shining light ahead
for now I’m happy all alone
other people fill me with dread

until this nightmare’s over
I’ll try to keep a smile on my face
grateful for the bed & walls
that provides me with safe space
I’ll find peace in my garden
roses, lilies, Queen Anne’s lace
& at bedtime each night I’ll pray
for those I love & the whole human race

copyright © 2020 KPM