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

 

happy birthday, Dr Stonefinger

you’ve missed another birthday
‘n this is a big one
you’d be turnin’ 60
we’d a had such fun

I’ve learned how to cook
so in the oven I would bake
your very own special
extra chocolate birthday cake

just to tease you
61 candles would be on top
‘n the rest of the day
we’d party non-stop

following the
passionate love we’d make
we’d shower together after
then head out to the lake

for a change
you’d defer
you’d let me drive
I’d be your chauffeur

you’d be in charge of music
‘n you would navigate
you’d play air guitar
as we flew down the interstate

but it’s just another daydream
we’ll have no picnic at the beach
you dwell in heaven now
forever out of reach

happy birthday, beautiful boy
my most precious first love
one of the many angels
watching over me from above

happy birthday, Dr Stonefinger
be at peace, whatever you do
no matter where I go
I carry the love I had for you

copyright © 2017 KPM

helpless

once again last night
(though I didn’t want to)
my subconscious betrayed me:
sending me a dream of you
it dragged me, unwilling
back into the past
the bitter ending of a love
I was so sure would last

growing older brings more
than the unexplained ache
it brings unwelcome memories
scenes I’d rather forsake
I have moved on with my life
travelling rocky & joyous ground
yet the ghost of you
persists in hangin’ around

your death nigh destroyed me
deep depression I’ve endured
clawing my way out of darkness
I’ve grown & I’ve matured
I’ve learned how to bend
with wind that blows through summer grass
Corinthians was correct in saying
“this too shall pass”

perhaps I didn’t love you
in the way you thought I should
maybe that causes these dreams
(to be fair, some are good)
I’ll always love you in my way
but a better man I have found
so please, be happy for me
sleep well beneath your burial mound

copyright © 2016 KPM

helpless

home for Christmas

“c’mere, you,” he says
with that endearing, crooked grin
“damn, I’ve missed you….how long has it been?
you know what I’m here for, don’t think of it as a sin
now, how about invitin’ a fella in?”

weary & wary
she opens the door
soundlessly he enters, glidin’ above the polished floor
“you look annoyed,” he jokes, “like this is some hated chore,
please don’t be that way – I just wanted to see you once more.”

he pulls her to him,
kisses her, strokes her hair
they collapse into an overstuffed chair
clothes fall with many a guttural swear
as she drowns in memories of a love that was rare

“c’mere, you,” he says
as at the end she pulls away
the room filling with a murky smoke of gray
in horror she watches as he starts to decay
& she struggles for the strength to hold the past at bay

copyright © 2016 KPM

home-for-christmas

unintentional

I wanted to cut the grass
but the bleedin’ rain refused to pass
disgruntled,
I accepted that was that
rolled up my sleeves
& began to tidy the flat

cleaning is a quiet task
thus I heard my heartbeat ask
for the telly, some music – any kind of sound
for surcease from thoughts that sought to drown

dunno what came over me
but I put on that CD

18 & unburdened
with no worries, no load
singin’ “fuck you speed limit”
racin’ down a summer road
joyous is the look on your beloved face
as the old car shimmies with the bass

just 25, but I feel old –
heartsick & tired
love’s become a dissenting mass
in which we’re both mired
why get so shitty when I only speak the truth?
so easily shattered, the dreams of my youth

what the hell was I thinkin’ – what came over me?
why ever made me put on that CD?

31 & love is almost done
32 & I’m seekin’ an unmarked pawnshop gun
35 & I can only weep
37 & I’ve forgotten how to sleep
at 40 life grows harder by the day
at 42 I said“to hell with this” – upped sticks & ran away

so many memories
I remember all of them
so many movies
of drunken love at 5am
my present life is happy – I know my new life will last
yet my days & night remain haunted by a bitter past

still, everything remains a vital part of me
useless then to wonder, why I put on that CD

copyright © 2015 KPM

unintentional

in a happy place

she saw him from afar
grinning madly as he played guitar
in some hole-in-the-wall bar

he didn’t see her
as she slunk like a cur
through the crowd’s insistent purr

he looked like a bum – he’d never dressed very snappy
still, he looked happy

as tiny as a tomb
yet crowded was the room
where sad souls swayed in Marlboro gloom

suffused by infernal heat
enthralled by the beat
right up front she found a seat

some folks in the audience were loud – rather yappy
yet he looked happy

onstage, his band resembled lords
drums so loud they rattled floorboards
he winked at her as he ran through the chords

pleased she was by this secret glance
signalling as it did another chance
rising, for him did her special dance

he played, he smiled – she no longer felt crappy
grateful to have proof that he was happy

copyright © 2014 KPM

in a happy place

you can’t go home again

Like a jerk, I went back to work after the funeral. I thought it might help…thought it might stop the anguished yelp that kept bursting forth from a throat that ached from too much crying. But it was naptime – the kids were all on their cots, asleep. So I crept into the stairwell, to sneak a smoke and weep.

Murray – the principal and my boss – found me sitting there. A lovely Jewish guy, both gentle and kind, he gently enquired, “Bubeleh, have you lost your mind? I know what you went through today. Is home you need to go – here you should not stay.”

Home? I thought as I drove out the school parking lot on auto-pilot. What home….the house on Milverton Street where we made love til you’d shout? Just a month ago I’d moved out.  My new place in Warrensville Heights? It was ruined – haunted by the memories of our last angry fights.

I was cryin’ so hard I could barely see. And the sun had come out, shinin’ on my misery.

My car drove itself down Harvard Avenue. It parked itself in the driveway of my parent’s house, the childhood home I hadn’t visited in years, not since that fight with Daddy that’d ended with a suitcase and tears.

I couldn’t get out of the car. I couldn’t get out of the car. I remembered my .22 was in the glove box.

I had to get out of the car.

I stood on the front porch of my childhood home. Rememberin’ playin’ jacks with my sisters on our scabby knees. Studyin’ for endless spelling bees. Barbie dolls with Eleanor an’ Trish. Starin’ at summer stars, makin’ wish after useless wish.

The front door was open. I peered through the rusted mesh of the screen door, determined to turn around and leave if I saw any sign of my father. But he wasn’t there…just  Ma, perched on the edge of the faded floral sofa, sewin’ buttons onto Daddy’s shirts while she watched the end of the afternoon soaps.

“Ma?” I called out as through the screen I peeked. I musta startled her – she leapt up an’ shrieked.

“Shit!” she swore, openin’ the door. “How long you bin standin’ there for? Wasn’t expectin’ no one today, an’ ain’t you sposed to be at work any way?”

“Ma,” I said. “Maaaaaaaaa…” My voice was a plaintive bleat. My eyes hollow holes of grief and defeat, I handed her the program from your funeral before falling, barely hearing my name, which she kept calling: “Kathy…Kathy. Oh Katherine, mah baby…” Pickin’ me up off the floor, sittin’ me on her lap as if I were four again (which is what I wanted her to do just then).

I cried and cried and cried and cried. And my mother (you do know she liked you ‘bout as much as your mother liked me?) stroked my hair and my cheeks as she sighed.

copyright © 2010-2014 KPM

you can't go home again

before dawn

on Thursday nights in bed, I think only of tomorrow
Friday being the one day I’m guaranteed to feel no sorrow
so I cozy up to Eeyore, arrange the pillow beneath my head
& heave a sigh of relief at being safe in my big bed

but once I fall asleep, something happens to me inside
my subconscious always takes me on the wildest ride
yeah, once I fall asleep, I lose the boundaries of home
in familiar but contradictory country I am sent to roam

at Dousha’s old house I walk through the open front door
the rooms & hallways are endless; they’re nothing like before
in the formal dining room are twin girls with bright red hair
though I’m stunned to see them, they act like they’ve always been there

they hurl themselves at my bare legs, planting kisses on my thighs
one of these girls looks “normal”, but the other has funny eyes
they clamor for my attention, but just one twin do I understand
the other twin speaks thickly, as if her words she can’t command

anyway, I hug them both, because they seem to know me
plus I’m curious – they claim there’s something they must show me
yet I cannot overcome the feeling of impending doom
& my feet are heavy as they drag me to the old guest room

a woman cries out behind me, & the twins both fade away
from the room I stand before I hear a guitar begin to play
my legs have turned to water – suddenly I feel fatigued
yet & still I go inside, cause I’m totally intrigued

he lies naked on the bed, the guitar barely covering his dick
Judy’s “man that got away” – the one whose death made me so sick
he looks just the way he used to – golden skinned with piercing eyes
& he’s laughing – damn him! – at my obvious surprise

“C’mere,” he says grinning, & pats the space beside him on the bed
I readily acquiesce (cause I always followed wherever he led)
as soon as I’m beside him, he lays the guitar on the floor
soon I’m naked in his arms – I’m a trusting 19 once more

“Bet ya miss me,” he whispers, his tongue invading my ear
“Bet ya learned that I was right – my soul is always near
Did ya think ya could escape? All too true was my decree:
Forever you’ll be mine, way beyond eternity.”

I dearly long to protest, but somehow I’ve lost my voice
& when he leads me to the kitchen, I follow – I’ve no choice!
in the kitchen he hands me a paintbrush, his big brown eyes mad with glee
& on the walls we paint scenes of gross depravity

magnum opus now completed, he fucks me yet again
we both scream through the saliva that’s sliding down my chin
the assault on my body was endless, twilight bathes the defaced room
so I grab my clothes & flee – my soul I can’t let him consume

in the driveway is a car – a Cadillac ragtop
sobbing with fear, over the door I nimbly hop
I am filled with questions: there’s no key…how do I drive?
but the car spirits me away, & I’m so thankful I’m still alive

my hands are on the wheel, but the car goes where it wants
passing people & places best forgotten, & all my other old haunts
at the corner of Hayden & Euclid I crash into a rock
when I awake, my head is sore, but from the crash, or the alarm clock?

copyright © 2012-2014 KPM

before dawn pic

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

copyright © 2010-2014 KPM

Aging Aphrodite

triggers

the plaintive songs
of Phoebe Snow
recalls the night
that gave birth to woe

on the pungent smell
of gasoline
wafts the image of a boy
in tattered jeans

with the obnoxious sound
of an engine’s roar
she sees him leaning
against the garage door

the raspy sound
of a dry autumn leaf
brings to the surface
an ancient grief

ice cubes
that clink inside a glass
& she’s again engulfed by pain
she thought would pass

copyright © 2009-2014 KPM

mortality