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

torn

worldwide, folks are watching
the chaotic descent of the US of A
& I weep as I watch with them
from my couch in Scotland, UK

like Bruce Springsteen, I was proud
to be born in the USA
now, fake news & a fake president
have swept that pride away

Scotland – though she’s better
remains a part of the UK
a watcher unable to help
as rights & fairness are eroded away

the relationship between the two countries
is intricate & intertwined
a global pandemic, enduring racism
both sides with people who act unkind

the pollution of hate & division
mar both countries’ skies so blue
I feel angry – helpless – scared
there is nothing I can do

my Stateside friends all ask me:
“why do you still care?
you don’t live here anymore –
you live waay over there!”

my Scottish friends all tell me:
“yeah, seems your government’s been overthrown
but why should that trouble you,
when Scotland accepts you as her own!”

I have good answers to both questions
they’re too lengthy to list here
but my answers are not solutions
hence the reason for my fear

I remain torn between two countries
two lands beset by strife
fear, hope, & endless prayer
is the reality of this immigrant’s life

copyright © 2020 KPM

5 months & 3 days

overhead
the Dundee sky
resembles pond scum
pullin’ weeds outdoors
botchin’ the lyrics to Zero 7
a skip – a swivel – a hum

when
a lone ray of sun
escapes from a cloud
God, is that you?
Mom, are you there?
perhaps joy is still allowed

life
is so unstable
death by Covid or racist hate
all blood’s red – all shit stinks
wake up people
before it’s too late

copyright © 2020 KPM

a home in Dundee

everyone needs a sanctuary
mine’s a beige ‘n green dome
a place of love ‘n safety
a carefully created home

thoughtfully chosen
was each room’s colour scheme
to be designed around
an intensely personal theme

happy hours spent in Craft World
to make the wreath for my front door
haunting all the local shops
for the right rug for the lounge floor

with the curtains for each room
I went a little overboard
I wanted what I wanted
so the budget got ignored

lamps, cushions, bookcases
bought ‘n paid for with dispatch
bed linens, bath mats, towels
everything a perfect match

my roots are apparent
about that there’s no mystery
family ‘n friends in frames
honour my unique history

this is my home, my refuge
wherein dwell my fish ‘n me
it’s the place I love the most
my little flat in my bonnie Dundee

copyright © 2020 KPM

a home in Dundee

physical distancing

Let me use my favourite Dundee-ism and say: I’M GOBSMACKED.

I can’t wrap my head around all this. I’m up – been up since 5:45am, but not because I have to go to work…there’s no work for me to go to: when I arrived at my job yesterday morning I was greeted at the door by our head of Health and Safety, who gently told me to go home. “You’ll continue to be paid,” he said. “I can’t give you a precise date on when we expect to re-open….maybe after the Easter holidays.” Shocked into silence, I immediately started to cry, which led to a small bout of hyperventilating. Thankfully, he did not laugh at me.

Thus I’m on Day 2 of the new “social distancing.” A term I’ve grown to hate; humans are largely social creatures by nature, and this term sounds so grim and foreboding. Henceforth, I shall refer to this as “physical distancing”.

If you’ve been reading this blog since its inception, then you’ll know I’ve pretty much always practiced physical distancing. I am a loner by nature, a trait I probably inherited from my father. Although I like people well enough, am known for hugging my friends and blessed with good friends on both sides of the pond who truly love me, I’m not a big fan of humanity. Unlike my Mom (and Anne Frank) I’ve never assumed or believed that people are basically good. Which is probably a good thing, because it means I can be delighted by the rare random acts of kindness I witness on occasion. Unfortunately, I’m not seeing a lot of these lately.

My bonnie Dundee – which you will be aware that I fell in love with upon my first visit – is changed; it’s like a ghost town. The few people who are out and about give you a wide berth – they stare at you with naked suspicion and even fear. As Dundee is tiny, and I’ve been here for 18 years, I know a lot of people – I see them every day on my walk to and from work. We stop and chat, crack jokes, and often we hug.

Covid-19 has changed that. The security guard at the Central Library always stands at the bus stop to have a last fag before starting his work day and as I’m a smoker too, we always pause to say hi to one another and have a wee blether about the weather or what we plan to do at the weekend. He’d switched to standing inside the gates to the Library, and now he’s not there at all, as all the libraries have closed.

The Syrian guy whose family owns my local shop used to be outside every morning sweeping the area in front of the shop clear of fag ends and crisp packets and other litter. We became friends after my 3rd redundancy, when, in desperation, I asked him for a job. He calls me “Miss Lady”. “You too smart to work in a shop,” he told me, “Have faith – you will get job right for you.” (I did).

His name is Bijou, and after that exchange I would visit his shop frequently; usually to buy cigarettes, as my smoking increases when I am stressed, and being unemployed is always stressful. We learned each other’s stories and always parted with a warm clasp of both hands. Now, Bijou doesn’t sweep the front of the shop in the mornings anymore, letting the winds blow the garbage away. He stays inside the shop, and though his voice remains warm and welcoming, his smile is sad and we no longer part with our ritual clasp of hands.

And I get that. He – like me and many other people – is afraid. And fear and uncertainly makes people do strange things. Me personally, fear causes me to react angrily – I find I am frequently angry since this whole mess began. I am angry that I have three friends currently stuck in foreign countries hoping they can get home. I am angry that the kids where I work will not get to walk across the stage in Caird Hall to get their degrees following four years of hard graft in English, Anthropology, Political Science and other subjects – they will have no Grad Ball. I am angry that there are unscrupulous people taking advantage of the elderly by offering to go to the shops for them, taking their money and not returning. I am angry that the asshole who lives in the building behind me thinks it’s funny to build a toilet roll pyramid in his window. I am angry at people who still aren’t taking this unprecedented event seriously. Mostly, I’m angry at the people in power who failed to act quickly.

Having said that, I realise anger is no good; it’s certainly not good for my physical health or my mental state, which I’ve fought so hard to regain following the death of my Mom. So I remind myself frequently to just BREATHE. I clean my wee home, which I am grateful for. I thank God that my family and my friends are still safe, and bless the technology that allows me to speak with them and see their faces daily. I take joy in the fact that outside my kitchen window with its new curtains things are blooming in my tiny garden and the weather is now good enough that I can hang my washing outdoors.

I check on my elderly neighbours Jack and Sarah every day. And I try to be a comfort to Josh, one of my beloved kids from work who is staying with me for the moment. He’s such a sweetie, and he’s so young, and this is so scary. I’ve been told I’m not the easiest person to live with, and that may be true. But I’ll be damned if I let someone – anyone – I care about go through this current uncertainty alone.

No man is an island; we ARE in this together. So take care of one another, and STAY SAFE.

K xxx

Sunday correspondence

Dundee sun shines
& she’s wide awake
determined that from this day
nothing but joy will she take

from the crisp curtains that hang
at the window frame
they’re 10 years old,
but she loves them just the same

to her plants
scattered everywhere
& the gray streaks that dot
her unmanageable hair

her house is clean
fresh laundry dances on the line
her belly’s full & nothing hurts
in her wee world all’s just fine

so she laughs at the way
the sunlight streams
while slim fingers on the keyboard
propel her closer to her dreams

copyright © 2020 KPM

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

 

time zones

when it’s 12pm here
it’s 8am there
she’s making her lunch
as her sisters dress with care
though miles apart
the same sky is above
& she can feel their love

3pm here
but there it’s 10am
as she works in her garden
she thinks of them
smiles at the memory
of her mother
feeling the love
of her sisters & brother

6pm where she lives
means lunchtime where they are
she remembers their closeness
times they’d jokingly spar
though her love for them
is tinged with regret
they share the same blood
this she’ll never forget

bedtime in Dundee
dinner time in Ohio
she’s watching TV in bed
as outside Scottish winds blow
she says a prayer for them
all the people that she loves
asleep, she dreams of them
the stars they share shine above

copyright © 2017 KPM

no thunderstorms in Dundee (for Ellie G)

in Eleanor’s bed
I lay safe ‘n warm
peacefully listening to
a Cleveland thunderstorm
though my heart is heavy
I feel a touch of glee,
as I listen to the thunder,
so rare in my Dundee

cause there’s no thunderstorms in Dundee
thus I snatch this moment of glee
it’s a fact that often bothers me,
no thunderstorms in Dundee

in Eleanor’s room
there’s nothing frightening
I’m content under the covers,
watching the lightning
my heart may feel a touch of gloom,
but I’m lovin’ those flashes –
the way they
light up the room

cause there’s no lightning in Dundee
so I revel in this glee
it’s a fact that often disturbs me
the lack of lightning in Dundee

in Eleanor’s room
with its cool green walls
I’m comforted knowing
Miz Gregory’s across the hall
the bed might be unfamiliar,
but I’ve got my Eeyore,
so I just listen to the thunder,
knowin’ there’s love outside that door

all too soon I’ll be on that plane
carryin’ my photos & my pain
takin’ back the love of many friends & family
hopin’ for a thunderstorm in Dundee

copyright © 2017 KPM

the amorous couple in the Tesco aisle

listen my children
here’s a tale to make you smile
‘bout some kids I saw
in the Metro Tesco aisle

young couple in their early 20s
out for a bit of fun
& totally oblivious
to everyone

punk rockers they were –
or maybe they were Goth
both had spiky hair & piercings
fully covered in black cloth

the girl’s hair was magenta
the boy’s a brilliant sky blue
& they gazed upon each other
with eyes that shone like dew

they stood like perfect statues
in the middle of the floor
hands clasped & lips locked
while shoppers ambled round the store

some shoppers looked upon them
with mingled scorn and disgust
but they didn’t bother me:
I rather admired their lust

it’s a natural emotion
neither dirty nor stealthy
they were happy showing their love,
so to me, that made them healthy

I paid for my purchases
pretending not to watch them kiss
hoping my face did not reveal
my envy at their bliss

as I walked up the hill alone
on my face was a wistful smile
rememberin’ my days as part of a couple
like the one in the Tesco aisle

copyright © 2009-2014 KPM

amorous couple pic