the boy in the Pink Floyd t-shirt

hey you
Pink Floyd pretty
alone & aimless in this empty city

I’m alone
& lonely, too
bet together we could find sumthin’ to do

lemme take you to
my secret place
it’s a no-fly, no-hate space

it’s sweet – solitary
with no one to mind us
& a gate we can lock behind us

can’t make no promises
about the weather
but I’ll gift you with an angel feather

& we’ll both be safe
from humanity’s hell
behind stone walls where goddesses dwell

copyright © 2020 KPM

only my window box is winning

take a moment to observe
the flowers in my window box
the way they hold each other up
though each plant has had hard knocks

each bloom, each plant is separate
growing at a different rate
yet somehow they coexist
ain’t that lovely? I think it’s great

beautiful, the way they mingle
the way they manage to get along
in such a tiny, defined space
they sing a harmonious, scented song

look at the flowers in my box
free from hatred, immune to greed
sunshine, water, a little love
‘n they’re happy – that’s all they need

the flowers in my window box
they all grew from a tiny seed
if only mankind were more like them
realising we’re all part of the same breed

we could kill off all the bad stuff
truly make a new beginning
sadly, assholes are in power
only my window box is winning

copyright © 2020 KPM

only my window box is winning

 

idle thoughts

frequently she wonders
about other populations
their thoughts on the virus ‘n hate
now pulverizing nations

so many tenement buildings
four or eight flats to a floor
where chats on the stairs have stopped
now people scurry out the door

endless rows of duplexes
front gardens colourful ‘n neat
small faces peer from windows
as Mummy makes something to eat

in the gleaming multis
reaching for a heavenly sky
women water plants on balconies
listening to songs that makes them cry

worldwide there are houses
where unseen people dwell
old folk, single folk, families
making their way through uncertainty’s hell

copyright © 2020 KPM

morning parade

my neighbour leads the way
bang on at 10 past 8
pack on back, bag in hand
yeah, I can relate

old dude in an indy ref cap
is next to walk down the hill
winds tuggin’ at his beard
fixin’ a rolly-up with neat skill

there’s a woman with a child
the bairn’s unsteady on her feet
their hands are linked together
as they traverse the cobblestone street

the skinny kid walks his bike
he sports a Just Eat uniform
grey clouds hover overhead
for his sake, I hope it don’t storm

on the other side of the street
an old woman walks up the hill
Aldi’s bag clasped to her chest
from the top some celery stalks spill

another day of hoping
I’ll get that for which I’ve prayed
wrapped in silence at my desk
watchin’ another morning parade

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

on Saturday morning

Things are changing far too quickly for me.

In the post below, writing of the changes I’d observed throughout Dundee since Covid-19 took over the world and my general thoughts and feelings surrounding this, I also wrote of my friend Josh, my young student friend whom I know through my work who had moved in with me.

Our first day and night as roomies was a good one; I had so much fun. A loner since childhood, I’ve always been content and comfortable with my own company and have always preferred to live alone. And apart from my two husbands Clinton & Tyrone, followed by Bryon (who almost 32 years later I still find it difficult to talk about) and Colin, the guy I originally moved to Scotland for, I have always lived alone.

That first day and night, Josh and I shared our fears, bolstered each other up, quickly agreed on what he’d pay while living with me, made a list of words we would both avoid using in order to keep our spirits up, and watched senseless movies while eating junk food until we both started to doze off mid-sentence.

“Are you sure about this?” Josh asked for what had to be the 22nd time as together we made up the sofa bed where he would sleep. “I truly appreciate this, but I don’t want to intrude, and I don’t want to interfere with your time with John.”

“For fucks sake, stop asking me that,” I groaned. “We’re good, babes. I wouldn’t have offered if I didn’t mean it. These are interesting times and there are no rules – all rule books have gone out the window. You’re okay, I’m okay, we’re safe here. Love you…here’s the remotes – see you in the morning.” And I covered him with the duvet, the same way I cover my Scottish bestie JoJo when she stays with me.

“Can you turn the telly and the light out please?” he asked. “Think I’m just gonna go to sleep.” So I did that, and then tiptoed away to my own bed.

I kept getting up throughout the night. My sleep was thin, my dreams disturbed and all the Pepsi we’d drunk earlier meant I kept needing to pee. And each time I got up to go to the loo, I would peek in on Josh, like any mother checking on her child, thinking how funny and strange and yet wonderful it was that I, who had made the decision at the tender age of nine to never have children, had ended up in the latter years of my life as a mother figure to so many. In truth, every time someone calls me “Mumma” or “Mum” or “Ma”, I am deeply honoured. I hope the people who call me by this name know how honoured and humbled I am that they have awarded me with this sobriquet.

The next morning I awakened at 7am. I peered into the living room at Josh, who was blissfully asleep, looking all of 12 years old. I took my laptop, tablet and mobile into the kitchen, where I answered FB messages, texts, worked on my novel and chain-smoked and drank coffee. When I went into the living room at 9am to feed the fish, Josh was awake.

“Hey, you’re awake!” I said. “Morning! You okay….you sleep okay?”

“Morning,” he said, smiling. “Yeah, I’m okay…musta been more tired than I realised.”

“That’s understandable,” I told him. “You’ve had a helluva week.” Josh is president of the SRC (Student Representative Council) where I work, and he’d been working non-stop to make sure the SRC members, the students on campus and pretty much everybody (the author of this piece included!) was okay and still getting the support they needed in the run up to the sad but inevitable closure.

“Hope I wasn’t loud,” he said. “I talk in my sleep, and my flatmates have told me I swear at people in my sleep.”

“You’re good, baby,” I told him. “I’ve talked in my sleep for years. I also cry, laugh, and cuss people out. I’m prone to nightmares, which got worse after my Mom passed…I’m always punching and hitting John in my sleep; thank God he understands and knows what to do on those nights when the nightmares are really bad. Plus, I fart in my sleep, so don’t worry: you’re good.”

It was sunny that day….Friday 20th March, the first day of spring. We had our showers. We chatted about how torn he felt between remaining in Dundee and going home to be with his family, something I well understand, as I have been dealing with this dilemma for 18 years. After coffee, we gave each other some alone time: there were things he needed to do, and I decided to go outside and work in my garden. After that we walked into City Centre, revelling in the sunshine, the sight of people on the streets and the fact that Burger King – which we’d both been craving – was still open.

Josh, needing to return to his student flat and pack things up, had packed the bag he’d brought to my house and taken it with him for his trip into town. “Just in case I need to bring more stuff to yours, or I decide it’s best for me to go home and be with my folks,” he explained.

“Got it,” I said. “Whatever you do, I’ll support you – you know where I am.” We hugged each other tightly; I kissed him his cheek. He headed off down the Perth Road and I went into the Overgate to have a wee wander through Primark.

Josh is gone now; I no longer have a roommate. After much soul searching – which I watched him do, listening to him while he did it – he made the decision to go back to England to be with his family. And I admire him so much for making that decision.

I’m doing a lot of soul-searching now, just as my friend Josh did. I have lived in Scotland for 18 years. I’m heavily emotionally invested in this country – I have grown old here. My partner John is here.

I wish I knew what to do. At any rate, the decision may soon be taken out of my hands: as more events get cancelled, as more and more businesses close their doors, I wouldn’t be surprised at all to see a ban on all flights imposed in the near future.

For the moment, I’m going to shove that thought aside. I’ve been given the gift of another day: I woke up in a cosy, comfortable space that is familiar and well loved. The sun is shining, John is in his usual spot on the sofa with a cuppie and his book of the moment, Planet Rock is playing Steely Dan, and I have pots of sweet peas, lilies and violas to plant in my garden.

The worst thing that ever happened to me was the death of my mom. Somehow, I got through that. I’m not over it, and probably never will be, but I got through it. So I’ll get through this, too.

Y’all stay safe.

K  xxx

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

different

ain’t never liked any kinda peas
an’ I refuse to eat macaroni & cheese
like to eat whatever
whenever I please
reckon that makes me different

I never wanted kids, even though I like them
like my milk fat – to hell with this skimmed
gimme the darkness
I need all the lights dimmed
suppose that makes me different

I like rap music – the hardness in its flow
I see nuthin’ charmin’ in winter snow
I can be seduced by hard winds that blow
but mess with me once an’ you’re forever my foe
out the door & out my life you go

I’m versatile, speakin’ posh or slang
love bad boys unafraid of the jail door’s clang
forever loyal
to the peeps in my gang
guess that makes me different

happy to give those I love whatever they need
definitely not a follower – I’d rather lead
brutal honesty
has always been my creed
that’s why folks see me as different

don’t give a shit about your station or race
or if your CDs are in order on your bookcase
I’m not bothered by an ugly face
or if your family thinks you’re a disgrace
I prefer people who carve out their own space

the world’s grown dangerous – chaos runs rife
safety is non-existent – no place is free from strife
so I’ll make my own peace
live my own life
don’t think that makes me so different

copyright © 2015 KPM

different

disillusioned

well I’ll be damned
what’s this I see?
dissension in the church
just don’t seem right to me

the flower arrangers can’t decide
if they should accept the flowers
donated by the bride

the volunteers who do
the coffee & the tea
are havin’ a mad hair-pullin’ spree

the cleaners is all upset
they get mad, makes ‘em nervous
such a mess left behind after every service!

the vestry is snide
gossip runs rife
this stuff is spoilin’ my religious life

do the angels fight in heaven?
Ariel & Metatron?
Jesus would weep to see what’s goin’ on

this is not how things
is sposed to be
surely this is not Christianity

I’m losin’ my religion
I’m sad & kinda pissed
when did the love vanish?
perhaps I’ll join the atheists!

copyright © 2015 KPM

disillusioned

God’s children

we may have different colored skins
but we all commit the same tired sins
our differences can provoke a violent reaction
yet sometimes there is calm interaction

our hopes & dreams are largely the same
but when things go wrong it’s each other we blame
& though we may belong to different nations
we have the same trials & tribulations

we’re all God’s children
though we may sing a different song
we’re all God’s children
we should learn to get along

we all have families, we all work
we all have little things that drive us berserk
we all have things we’re frightened of
we all have people that we love

so it shouldn’t matter what language we speak
or be a competition between the strong & the weak
no man is an island made of granite
we gotta learn to peacefully share this planet

cause we’re all we’re all God’s children
though we may sing a different song
we’re all God’s children
it’s time for us to get along

copyright © 2008-2014 KPM

God's Children