they say a storm is coming.  this may very well be true.  and although the sky is the perfect shade of blue, clouds are gathering fast.  rain is in the air.  i can smell it.

the concrete step feels warm beneath my bare feet.  the sun is coy and toys with me, playing hide and seek amid the cloud formations.  but there’s a restlessness in the air.  i can feel it in my hair.

it is friday.  3.15 in the afternoon.  it is supposed to be summer. that’s what the calendar states.  summer solstice.  the longest day.

and it has been the longest day.  nothing seems to have gone to plan today.  what is today, anyway?   what is time if nothing but a human construct to organise our lives by?   i feel like i am waiting.  waiting for something to happen.

i sit on my doorstep with a cup of coffee in one hand and an abundance of time in the other.  i watch the trains go by.  there’s something beautiful in their ephemerality.

i marvel at the tiny flowers, violet and yellow, growing up through the cracked and spawling concrete steps up to my home.   such unexpected beauty.  such unexpected strength for something so small and seemingly delicate.

my thoughts turn back to a time when i had a medieval castle on my doorstep; to another time when i had a beach.  and now, it would appear, i have a garden.  a wild garden with wild birds and butterflies.  a wild garden fringed with an abundance of cherry-red lanterns of the fuschia bushes growing down by the railway tracks, tall spikes of  purple and white digitalis salute the pathway, and a lone Himalayan palm tree sways in the breeze.  there is also a mysterious outbuilding hidden amid the trees that overhang my overgrown lawn.  i think i may have a key for that…  a big old rusty key.

maybe i should seek the services of a gardener.   the lawn grass is almost waist high.

the sun, when she shines, warms my face and shoulders.  i close my eyes and listen to the sounds of this supposed summer:   trains, chattering birds, distant music from someone’s transistor radio and people in conversation.

i open my eyes.  squinting, i follow the voices, momentarily sunblind.  it is my neighbours, John and Jess.  they are an elderly couple and they are talking to their gardener.  their garden is perfectly plotted geometry.   the precision of its symmetry whispers a sense of order and calm.

“shall we plant delphiniums?  i just love delphiniums”

another train rolls past.  taking that moment with it.

i look at the wilderness of my garden.  it screams chaos.

i shiver as the sun shies away behind a big black cloud, clearly overshadowed – or so it would seem.   the air is cold.  too cold for a storm, i think.

petrol blue and white magpies chatter with one another, swooping from telegraph wire to tree top, and back again.  even they seem restless.

the gardener fires up his lawn mower.   it splutters and starts, then growls loudly as it cuts up the grass.  the tiny green blades are no match for those big steel ones.   i watch him walk back and forth, steering the grass-cutter, turning their garden lawn into a chess board.  the smell of cut grass is pungent.

the sun, having burned through the cloud, is hotter than before.  it is almost 4.

i tiptoe down the hot concrete steps to the dry stone dyke that divides order from chaos and start up a conversation with the gardener.

for £30 he will cut the lawn and square up the edges, he says.


next week, i say.


words (c) Kat McDonald 2019




letting go: the right time to die


i remember, as a child, everything being so tall… perhaps it’s my earliest memory.  i remember everything being above me… the dining room table… what was there?  the kitchen work surfaces… the bathroom sink, where i would struggle on tip-toes to wash my hands… the book case… the ceiling…  the shelves in my bedroom, stacked with toys, all just beyond my reach… and the sky… the Heavens… seemed so far away in both distance and time.

i remember walking through a forest of legs.  i remember my mother’s legs.  i remember holding onto them in places familiar and places new.  i would cling to them when i was scared, unsure or feeling lost amid the voices and conversations i was not yet old enough to comprehend…  lost, amid the cigarette smoke and the laughter and the music;  lost, in another world, an adult world,  a world i couldn’t fully feel at home in, but home it was.  i remember that with one stroke of my mother’s hand upon my head everything would feel better.  and i loved it when she sang to me.

i remember looking up at my mother, admiring her… how pretty i thought she looked with her hair curled and shining; her face smiling down at me with so much love in her eyes. love, tinged with sadness.

oh, i knew that she loved me. i knew that she cherished me because she told me that i was precious.  precious because 10 weeks before i was born, my mother lost a son.  a son called William, he was 18 years old.  he was just a boy. a beautiful young boy.  a boy that my mother said i looked like.

i remember looking up at a particular photograph.  i remember wondering why the boy in the photo made my mother cry and wondered if the reason she often cried when she held me was because of him, or me.  i remember, one day, taking that photograph and stuffing it face-down in a drawer.  i didn’t want my mother to be unhappy any more, and the boy in the photograph seemed to make her unhappy.  all of the time.

she went crazy, tearing open cupboards and drawers… then she found it.  she asked me why i put it ‘there‘…  i told her.  and, again, she cried.  it was then she told me the story of William: the brother i never knew.  the brother who she would, understandably, pine for for all her days.

time, forever the paradox, hushes that memory and that day seems so far away – in both time and distance.

today i went to visit her in hospital.  she is 90.  she is frail.  she is small.

today her eyes are still tinged with sadness, but they still teem with love when i walk in the room.

she is a shadow of her former self.  she is not eating and is barely drinking.  she is not well, neither physically nor mentally.  i wonder if she is just biding her time here with us. i wonder if she is simply tired of the struggle… tired of the pain… the loss and the hopelessness.  has she given in?  has she lost the will to continue on, in this cracked and useless mortal coil?

she tells me she’s done, yet she asks me if i’m happy.

“yes!!” i say… with resounding cheer in my voice.  “i am very happy.  the happiest i have ever been”

… and yet upon hearing the resignation in her voice, i am the saddest girl on Earth.

as i fold my arms around her bony frame, i am reminded of my own mortality and the cruelty of death and loss.  i feel like i am losing her and if i hold her too tightly, she may just disappear from me altogether and leave me in a blind panic.

a panic.  just like a time when i was a little girl, shopping with my mother and father, and losing her amid a strange, deep and dark forest of strangers’ legs and loud voices, and hideously patterned floor.  i remember looking… searching… frantic for my her, for her legs to cling to… for her hands to stroke my head… for her voice… that song in her voice.

i was lost.

at a loss, and lost – as i feel right now.

but today, i am taller.  my mind, still curious, is now awakened to the weird fairtytales that were once adult conversations.  the smoke has cleared and i’ve learned to dance to the music. i have found my voice and i have travelled to the other side of the world.  i no longer search for her legs to cling to and hide behind… oh… but what i wouldn’t give to be able to be a child again… for one day… to be, once again, with my able mother and have her hold me and tell me everything is going to be alright.

because it’s not…

… she isn’t going to get better.  her body is failing and her mind is permanently on vacation; it has a one-way ticket out of here.

i wish I could keep her here, now… or in that memory… but maybe i am not enough… maybe my brothers… her grandchildren… maybe a visit from her other daughter…?  or  maybe… maybe our family is not enough to keep her here.  i mean… how could it be? it’s incomplete.  someone is missing… someone vital… someone who could have sealed the cracks.

tonight, i stood tall and gazed up at the ceiling… there are cracks in the ceiling… some big, some small… many irreparable.  just like those memories of childhood, when i would gaze up in wonder.  the mystery is no longer a mystery.  the cracks no longer hold mystery;  she is no longer a mystery, but yet i marvel at how she managed to go on after such loss.  i know what she wants.  the cracks are beginning to show. they are deepening stress fractures from bearing such a load.  life. loss. death.  death of a son.  death of her parents.  death of her sisters and brother.  death of her husband and my father.  death of friends.  death of her able body.  death of hope.

but her mind is, strangely, liberated.  i take comfort in that.

sitting side by side on her hospital bed, haplessly covered with a stained blue blanket, we talk.  she tells me she’s done.  she tells me she is tired.  she tells me things that only her eyes can convey.

as a grown-up, i now understand. i get it. but oh it is hard to bear.  hard to hear.  hard to accept. but not hard to comprehend.

she is trapped inside ‘this useless body’ – she is imprisoned. imprisoned in ward 3.  imprisoned in her dementia and silent world.  it is no wonder she prefers to escape with sleep.  sleep ‘to pass the time until…’

‘until what, Mum?  elevenses? visiting hours?’ i ask, choking on my own throat.

[the big sle..?]

but her mind is on holiday, she changes direction, and once again i am that little girl lost.

so… should i patch up the ceiling… could i patch it up?  could i patch her up?  if only i could, yet i wonder…  if i should?  i feel as though i am losing her, little by little, crack by crack and splinter.

maybe i should let her go…  or have i lost her already?


(c) Kat McDonald 2017





my hands had grown back…


it was a quiet time. a time where the only sounds are the sounds of my breath and the gentle tinkle of a wind chime in the next room, as a brisk sea breeze trickles in through the open window and tickles its delicate copper pipes. it was a time of late afternoon calm. it was unexpected and unwanted.

at first, i could not believe what i was seeing. the colours… the jagged outline.  a wild surprise.  a hallucinogenic reprise…?  it followed my gaze.  everywhere i looked, it was all i could see.  was i seeing things?  i placed a cool palm over my right eye.  i could still see it.  i placed a cool palm over my left eye.  again, i could still see it.  this wasn’t retinal. this was ocular.

no pain. only colours.  colours and jagged shapes.  with every blink it danced.  it flitted and flirted with me, as it danced across the room, across my screen, across my bare white emulsioned wall, redecorating my room like a psychedelic DMT-infused 1970s wallpaper.

with each blink, the jagged shapes grew and grew and grew.  within 15 minutes i could barely see my previous reality.  everything had been swallowed by this strange morphing organism before my eyes.  no guitar, no walls, no cool palm across my eye. this thing had swallowed everything. maybe it would devour me too, or turn me inside out. but i was not afraid.

i had seen it before. seven years ago.

in my relaxed, yet curious, state, i ventured outside into the April sunshine. the sky looked terrifying, but beautiful. birds would fly into its jagged mouth and disappear. buildings disappeared. trees disappeared. everything i looked at seemed to disappear. even my own hands disappeared.

i returned to the cool shade of my apartment. i could not see the front door, but i knew it had to exist as i had, merely moments before, exited from it. i stepped in through the jagged fray and into my bedroom, closed the blinds and kicked off my boots. they too vanished, into the jagged clutches of this strangely beguiling entity. i stripped naked and threw my clothes into its hungry jaws.

naked, i fumbled and felt my way to the kitchen for a glass of water. the floor seemed to fall away with each step. i then stumbled through to the cool sanctuary of my bedroom where i slipped beneath the duvet and closed my eyes. the smell and feel of freshly laundered cotton felt incredible against my skin. i lay down in the darkened room, a perfect calm. the twisted jagged rainbows continued to morph and move around, dancing behind my shut eyes, like strange protoplasm.

hypnotised by its beauty, i fell asleep.

one hour later, i awoke to discover the entity had gone… perhaps it had folded in on itself. perhaps it had devoured itself. perhaps…

my clothes lay jumbled on the bedroom floor. one boot was in the hallway, the other beneath my bed. everything looked spat out, but dry.

my hands had grown back.

i opened the blinds.

i could see.

i could see.

i could see.

(c) Kat McDonald 2016

– ever had an ocular migraine? there is no pain. i am no stranger to migraines and they can be debilitating. ocular migraines? i’ve had three. this was the third and most spectacular. as beautiful as they are, they are not something i want to see again any time soon… if you have not had an ocular migraine before, do not panic. they only last 30-45 mins. there is no pain. but if they persist, seek medical attention.



who are they?
who are these
old souls,
that walk among us,
clad in black feathers?

do you see them?
do you hear them?
because they speak to us,
in ancient

and they are watching,
waiting for our Death.

and they speak of us.

in cabbal and clique
they gather
to scold us:
to scold us for our own
trite flights
of fancy;
our sycophantic
fanciful worship
of false prophets.

they mock us,
laugh at our ineptitude,
our ignorance
and vapid existence.
if you listen… you too
will hear them…
chattering among themselves-
hooded and
in their plotting.

i see the way they look at us
with incisive intel
and devisive intent

but who can blame them?

we are lame.
cripple and incompetent.
our cognition,

i know we have failed,
as a race
we fell from grace
could this be their
coup de grâce?
but… here’s the caveat:

they never forget your face…

so you and i
to make this world a better place;
little by little
we whittle
and strive
to enhance this life
in this space
and time
we call ‘now’.

words (c) Kat McDonald 2016
lead image: from The Solitude of Ravens by Masahisa Fukase, taken before he sadly plunged into a coma…

the other image, found on Rebloggy – apologies for the name of photographer remaining unknown. damn you internet!!

winter, apparently


it is winter, apparently.

she is flawless.
her seemless cold sterility remains the perfect neurotoxin.
as particles of ice gather
in the nape of the neck,
i feel her grip

she leans heavy.
she weeps tears of snow.

i swallow hard
and bite
and fight
the flood of blood that swells the head with her nonsense.

i make no bones about it.
i hate winter.

these tears of ice are not real
they are plastic.
fake and feigned.
like her sisters, she too will pass.

but this blood she spills
and spews and spits,
stains, like cheap red wine.

this time.
what is it this time?
a storm, a blizzard?
another war?

she seeks attention,
someone to love,
but who could love this… this… this monster…?

unyielding. unloving.

stillborn, and yet
the birthing blood still flows
sticky and red.

constantly wiped clean.

but it stains.
permanently sullied.

her crimson footprints define our paths
paths crossed, and double-crossed.

she is necessary.
she is loved, by some.

she is a test
of my endurance, of my strength.

what will she next give birth to?
will we still be at war, with everyone?

what will this new year hold for winter,
when her young sister returns;
arms laden with hope?

© Kat McDonald 2015
the world is fucked.

they are just words…


mother  never   chant  dream     crush sweet        recall   water   drive   peach         friend   honey   light                 music   please

   drunk   smell              forest      breast    through   those     shine   spring                smooth   could

 storm   purple   frantic  watch    smear   finger   summer     did

 her      all   fast   mad his   raw   sun     rip   sit                        time

head   from   the     rain   meat                                              lake    have   mist              suit   want    skin  from   lust                cool    sing   play      less   bare     milk

wind   shot

pant   feet      fluff   some   rust   lazy                 hair

 ship   away   need   beat   lick   ache   with  want  stop   butt said   enormous   petal  the   you

 language   when  the our

gorgeous    swim              the  and           repulsive    soar  wax   you    luscious   moan     him  you   whisper   about    was       ask   goddess   above                            why  say   delirious     blue               who   and bitter     blood               sordid   woman   pound heave    garden         picture  puppy    spray                 trudge    beneath    fiddle

  drool              though  languid    moon    sweat                             scream   shadow   lather   juice    beauty   worship   death    mean  tongue   sausage               hot             TV   day    cry   run   sea    use   lie   arm   have                pink   like     the   blow                  over  here   like live

show    rock  pole    like   life          balance   pool   black  will  urge   their   girl   there   tiny   were  men   can           these  boil                      must  love  what             with  how

 rose   you              gown   has  but                they  together

boy  red    man  symphony    sky  sleep    but  elaborate        eat              and   dress  apparatus   bed   and  still     thousand   sad   put  after              diamond   one  not  ugly


OMFG! a big f*@king thank you!



just a little THANK YOU to all of you out there, in WordPress Land, that have followed my INNER FOCUS blog thingy… i am blown away by the fact that i have almost 1000 followers. i never anticipated this. i am really touched. i write for myself, not for anyone or any reason. i just write.

[it’s cheaper than therapy]

i enjoy reading your comments about my writing, and answering your questions about where my inspiration comes from etc.  truth is, i can’t pinpoint it to one specific thing.  i read alot.  and i am a photographer and musician, so words and imagery are vital to me.

i try, where possible, to put both visual imagery and written imagery to good use.  i am often vague, cryptic and explicit. a paradox.

but that’s life, isn’t it?

anyway… i am rambling.

this is just a short wee post as a means of thanks – to you all – for the loyal visitations to my page, for your constructive criticism and conviction in my writing. sometimes i have precious little belief in myself and think “oh what the hell! publish and be damned… nobody reads it anyway” but almost 1000 followers – WOW!

i am, genuinely, moved by how my inner focus has been received here.  thank you, thank you, thank you…

IF you want to view my OTHER wordpress account, visit here – it is a series of true stories (equal parts funny and tragic) based on my love/hate relationship with public transport.  it’s called ‘Life’s Rich Pageant’.

[sounds boring…]

it isn’t.  you may laugh, you may cry… you may even LIKE it!  🙂

thank you all for taking me into your hearts and minds.


Kat x

sweet codeine


Oh codeine. you are an evil mistress. you are a cold-hearted, unfeeling, temptress… you prey upon my vulnerability, my susceptibility – yet you are exquisite.

to feel, or not to feel, that choice is mine. but i am enslaved by you, and your charms. i am your whore.

with you, it’s all too easy: not to feel, not to care.

when i am with you, i succumb to your effortless ability to soothe my pain. i feel myself falling, flailing, in your soft yielding arms.


you won’t let me go. you are a possessive and obsessive lover. jealousy beyond control.
you won’t let me go. you have me in your clutches.

you render me numb, in full submission to your dominatrix ways and wiles.

Oh codeine. sweet codeine, you colour my dreams.

sometimes i find myself floating out over the sea, looking down upon your circling gulls and oil-tankers; other times i find myself swimming in an underground lake where the water is pink and the cavernous ceiling rises, infinitely, above me like a cathedral. every sigh echoes like angels’ voices; every splash makes concentric patterns that ring out like chimes from a bell, with crystal clarity and unfathomable beauty.

with you, i no longer know reality like i used to. you have shown me new realities, and they are beautiful.

take me, please… i know i shouldn’t but… you can be so sweet…

in my reverie, i opened my eyes and, the blinds at my bedroom window, the world outside was painted red. not just any shade of red, bright arterial red. everything and everyone was red: the sky, the trees, the sea, the birds, the oil-tankers, the traffic, the houses and high-rises… everything was red.

everything. even NYC.

alas, sweet codeine, with you, i never know where you will take me: out on a limb, out on a ledge. and over.

and it is all too beautiful. but too easy. so i must leave you.

i hope we never meet again. you are a dangerous beauty.

my head aches. my skin is crawling. i sense you. you have me in your crosshair.

you are addictive, my love, but i’m onto you.

goodbye, sweet codeine.

’twas fun…

(c) Kat McDonald 2015 – image found on Instagram @nois9

– cracked ribs and codeine: a strange, but true, story.

i seized your fire


oh you were wild
yet caged;
i could feel your pain
and enslavement;
and penned.
i saw the way
you looked at me,
burning bright,
you could tear me apart
with one touch
or slight.

yet your eye…
that yellow eye,
you roared
your most primal scream.
do you dream?
or is it wrath?
directed at me,
or your captors?

i watched you,
raging inside.
you were restless,
yet resigned.
oh that sadness
in your yellow eye
still haunts me.
i watched you,
watching me.
you connected with me.
i, too, want your freedom.
as i wanted my own.
did you sense that?

did you see
my cage?
for i, too, was contained.
i too have roared
and paced the floor.
but that day,
i stood, in melancholy,
watching you circle
and pound,
and claw at the concrete ground.
i watched you,
through tears,
from a safe
distance, on edge;
on the edge
of many unknowns.

i had so many questions
i knew you would answer.
and you did.
“do not fear”
you said.
me, unfazed
by your closeness,
crossed over
into your den.
you could tear me up,
you could hear me out;
you knew me.
you knew i was coming.
i stood, close.

i watched you
from a safe distance,
with barrier
i sat with you,
as you looked into my soul.
your yellow eye, a drill,
bored into my skull.

to some, your burning fire
makes the blood run cold,
but i felt safe with you.

in your yellow eye,
i saw my path.
in you, your strength
and grace,
i fell.
you taught me well.
“be brave”
you said,
with outstretched claw
“for i am right here
with you…”

we sat, in silence.
our eyes connected.
our hearts, both wild
and free.
it was then
i connected with thee.
i breathed with thee.
just as some may fear
your symmetry
i felt safe
as i lay down with thee;
safe, in knowing you
and i are one
and the same.

i looked
into that yellow eye,
as my lover,
new and knew
the ‘why’
and ‘what’
i had to do.

who dare frame me,
or contain me?
your distant deeps
and endless skies
opened up for me,
like no other,
you entered me
– twisting the sinews
of my heart.
no barriers
to hold apart,
but endless skies
to shelter
and cover.
from that moment
we were lovers.

i seized your fire.

you, forever,
walk with me.

(c) Kat McDonald 2015

– thanks Robert, for uncaging, for waiting, for loving and knowing… then and now…
– thanks Tibor, for mirroring back to me what i knew all along…

image (c) Kat McDonald Photography