losing Eden

is it possible
that God has grown
angry with us?
disgusted by our petty differences
the way we forever fight ‘n fuss

perhaps the Lord
has had enough
of so many spiteful lies
maybe it’s not climate change,
but retribution from heaven’s skies

ever wonder
if the Almighty
regrets humans – His creations?
a buncha selfish hedonists
living only for sensation

could well be
God’s furious
with all the killing ‘n the hate
I know if I were God
I’d put a lock on heaven’s gate

if I were God
I’d be pissed off
no matter what the sin
I’d be angry at the lack of love:
I’d wipe everything out ‘n start again

just suppose
that God has feelings
the way you ‘n I do
if someone spits on all your gifts
wouldn’t you want to start anew?

copyright © 2020 KPM

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

a Dundee Sunday storm

it was 16:05
when the sun came out
a huge smile crossed her face
she almost gave a shout

her sweet peas had survived
Mother Nature’s latest storm
‘n it smelled like Sunday dinner
inside where she was safe ‘n warm

another day of Skyping
all the people that she loves
cyber hugs ‘n kisses
cell phone’s electronic shoves

how did mankind end up here?
she struggles to understand
the hatred, the dissension
hallmarks of a once proud land

copyright © 2020 KPM

needy

I need a day off

from the odd destructive thought
& the awful trackie bottoms I impulse bought

tryin’ to convince myself that everything’s “just fine”
when it’s obviously not; or why that 3rd bottle of wine?

I need to get away

from Daily Sun pics of people in breadlines
the BBC’s panic-inducing headlines

lyin’ to myself that everything’s “okay”
when fat-faced so-called leaders still hold sway

I need a hero

a person I trust to rescue me
to bolster my hopes with a firm “wait & see”

to laugh with me at my new lockdown girth
to hug me, to kiss me, to tell me my life has worth

I need someone
to help me defuse

these festering
these fiery
lockdown & protest blues

copyright © 2020 KPM

awakening

‘s nice when you get up
after a toss-and-turnin’ night
sleepwalk into a room
all awash in rain-grey light

have some water, take your pills
that first cuppie to drink
bees batter the window in vain,
tryin’ to reach a bouquet of pink

everything is tidy
rugs bear no sign of dirt
the gleam ‘n shine of lemon wax
house plants healthy & inert

2nd cup of coffee
2nd cigarette
“will I turn on the TV?
nah, the news is bad, I bet”

outside the watery window
a few folks walk up & down
the Deliveroo guy, a nurse
makin’ their silent way into town

hang the washing out today?
best not to take that chance
outdoors the rain & wind
execute a wet Wednesday dance

a final cup of coffee
last night’s nightmare fades away
breakfast / bathe / get dressed
sit at my desk & write all day

copyright © 2020 KPM

 

see you at the movies

I wish I had a shut-off switch for my brain. My Mom, many of my childhood friends, my boyfriend John and even my freaking therapist have all told me I think too much: “over-thinking” is the term. I think.

I’ve just returned from my daily visit across the road to my elderly neighbours. In our pre-Corona lives, I’d go inside their house. We’d sit in the lounge and have coffee and swap anecdotes and share the photos on our respective mobiles. Now, they stand in their doorway and I stand outside at a distance far greater than is recommended by the government.

I ask them how they’re getting on, how they’re feeling. “Och aye, we’re all right,” Sarah assures me with typical Scottish stoicism.

“’s no what ye said this morning,” Jack says, laughing so hard his zimmer wobbles. I am instantly alarmed – what if he falls?

“Shut it,” Sarah snaps. This gentle woman, whom I’ve never seen anything other than calm, serene and smiling. I never imagined she was capable of using such a harsh tone of voice.

Jack is still laughing. “Oi Kath,” he tells me, winking one rheumy eye, “Ye best keep checking in on us. No doubt you’ll find her trying to bury me in the garden one day!”

Sarah gives me a pained smile. It’s evident that – like me, like so many other people – this new “normal” is beginning to take a toll on her. We exchange further pleasantries and then I head back across the road to my flat.

It’s 12:15 and there’s absolutely nothing for me to do. I pour myself a glass of iced tea and plop down on the sofa in my sunny living room, too disconsolate to even turn on the telly, always my favourite distraction.

Is it just me, or has it occurred to anyone else that life in lockdown is a bit like the Home Alone movie? Except it’s a really shitty final instalment with no comic relief. I’m a loner by nature (“anti-social” Mom used to call me; my boyfriend does, too). I’ve lived alone for the majority of my adult life. So one month into lockdown, I can honestly say I’m not doing too bad: 95% out of 100. Though I do have my days…days when I feel restless and weepy and my thoughts run away with me.

That said, living alone never bothered me much. According to government figures released last year, an aging population and an increase in the number of young people living alone means more than a third of households in Scotland are filled by single occupants, about 885,000 people. I have many young friends who live alone, but it didn’t really bother them: they had active social lives filled with pub quizzes and club nights and regular meals out in restaurants or at friends’ homes.

The same applies to my older friends, living alone due to divorce or the death of their spouse/partner. They may not have enjoyed living alone, but they had activities to offset their solitude:  they sang in choirs, volunteered in charity shops, and had regular lunches with friends or nights out in the Ferry.

Corona has put the brakes on everything. I’m lucky in so many ways; though I live in a tenement building, I have decent neighbours and a private garden. Yet I can’t help but think of the many people who live in tenements or multis or cities with limited access to green space – what are they supposed to do? What about people stuck with the ASBO neighbours from hell? And why am I thinking about stuff like this? There’s nothing I can do about it, so why do I sometimes feel guilty when I sit in my wee garden on a sunny spring day sipping Chardonnay?

I need brakes for my brain.

Know what else I can’t help but think about? All those end-of-the-world movies that I grew up watching on Sundays at Shaker Theatre with my siblings or Friday nights with the boyfriend of the moment at Miles Drive-In. Vincent Price in The Last Man on Earth. Charlton Heston in Soylent Green. Ray Milland in Panic in the Year Zero.

I can’t exclude the more recent crop of disaster films: The Road. 2012. War of the Worlds. Daybreakers. The Crazies. 28 Days Later. Contagion with Laurence Fishburne, which is currently showing on Netflix – can’t believe they are showing that now!

For me, movie fan that I have always been, this virus and its accompanying restrictions is an extraordinary, extreme and extremely unwelcome case of life imitating art. Masks, panic buying, boarded-up shops, deserted streets, lack of essential supplies, frantic efforts to find a vaccine. That shit is supposed to stay on Hollywood film lots or cinema screens….

Oh wait, all the cinemas are closed.

no backsies

“Sike!” 

“Gotcha!” 

“April Fool!”

Following a night in which I got very little sleep, I awakened to a beautiful sunrise – it looked like it was going to be another cracker of a day. Standing at the kitchen sink while I waited for the kettle to boil, I stared out the window at my cherished garden. It looked reassuringly normal. The hostas were starting to bloom. Tiny blue tits were busy pulling bits off the coir baskets that held my pansies to make nests. The ivy along the fence was still; no breeze yet.

The calendar on the wall informed me it was Wednesday “1st April, but I had serious doubts that I would turn on BBC Breakfast to hear any of the news presenters say “April Fool.”

By this – my 15th day of lockdown – I would’ve not only forgiven but joyously kissed the feet of anyone in power who said “April Fool.”

There were small things I could do to maintain a semblance of normalcy. That first cup of coffee and a cigarette, which I had at my desk while checking my email. These days it was mostly spam: cruel messages from cruel people selling face masks “guaranteed to protect your loved ones from coronavirus!” Emails from dodgy people containing even dodgier links to videos purporting to tell you “what your government doesn’t want you to know about Covid-19!” Emails from the HR department at my job explaining how the furlough programme worked and how long it would last before we could (hopefully) return to work, “this date being subject to change based on government advice.”

There were the usual morning things I did everyday pre-lockdown: make the bed. That takes two minutes. Feed the fish. That kills another minute, and it’s not a task I perform every day, as their feeding schedule is every other day. Work on my novel, which I deeply enjoy doing first thing in the morning, and which usually uses up one or two hours. Unfortunately, this morning I only managed three paragraphs; my treacherous brain was insisting on going off on tangents I did not wish to explore.

There’s always breakfast. Depending on what I felt like eating, cooking was always a good way to spend the time. A grilled cheese sandwich…perhaps a BLT with pickles. Bacon and pancakes? Something simple, like salmon on toast with cream cheese, or my all-time favourite: sausage and hash browns with toast? I knew I was lucky to have choices, to have food in the fridge and the freezer and well-stocked cupboards. Wondering how many people were not as lucky turned my stomach into a small hard knot – I no longer felt like cooking…I didn’t even feel hungry any more. Instead, I lit another cigarette and made another cup of coffee, averting my gaze from the bottles of gin and wine as I did so. I do not want to end up a fat alcoholic at the end of this.

If only I knew when it would end…if there were a concrete day on the calendar I could circle in my favourite shade of green to look forward to.

If only somebody could say “April Fool” and all this would just go away.

“There are no backsies for this,” the annoying little man in my head whispered.

A large glass of wine silenced him.

here be dreams

beneath the green shade she lay
mullin’ over the events of yet another day
attuned for Morpheus’ bittersweet lie
as she listens to the seagulls cry

beneath the green shade all is cozy & warm
sandy walls shakin’ with the thunderstorm
once more she waits for Hypnos to tell her why
she finds comfort in the seagulls cry

beneath the green shade she is safe & at peace
sure that her happiness will only increase
the Oneiroi will appear by & by
echoin’ the seagulls’ cry

copyright © 2014 KPM

here be dreams

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

what the cow thought

she lay atop a grassy knoll
this elderly Holstein
her coat the color of chalk ‘n coal
what thoughts run through her mind?

she remembers an endless field
where silver fish leapt from a stream
the swishing of the tail she’d wield
against the insects that would teem

or perhaps she dreams of a day
before the humans came
when she was still young enough to play
and possessed her own special name

copyright © 2014 KPM

what the cow thought