alive, alive-o


i live, with my lover, in a sea-shell upon a distant shore.

we can hear the sea sing all day as it slams onto the shore and breaks – casting echoes like magic spells around the bay. we feel its song resonate and reverberate around and through the pink and unholy curves of our shell’s cathedral vaults and brittle ceiling.

‘Kathryn… come here, my love…’

i feel its pearlesque floor silky smooth beneath my feet as i walk, barefoot, towards my love. the ozone air wafts through its iridescent corridors and toys with my hair and soft fabric of my pale indigo dress. my lover stands with his arm outstretched to me. he stands there, bare of foot and chest. his hair is noticeably longer than it was yesterday and the tips are indigo. his beard is indigo and long enough for me to curl up and fall asleep in, like i have done countless times. he looks good. his denims are indigo and hug his slender frame. i take his hand and he wraps me up in his arms. we hold each other close, swaying to music only he and i can hear. the dance floor is pearly pink and shining. the twinkle of sand particles catch the morning sunlight and scatter patterns of light around inside. our very own private disco in the diamond dust. we defy gravity, spiraling into its hollow core. the canon of our laughter swells and fills the chambers of this hollow shell that we call home and it is the most beautiful noise. he presses me against the wall. urgent. the walls of the shell feel as warm and smooth as the skin on my lover’s back. i love mornings like this.

we walk to the frayed edge where land meets the sea. the sea bears many gifts and fruits of the ocean… today we have an abundance of giant green olives – many of them conveniently pitted and halved. i watch as one of the many giant olives drift ashore. we climb inside and sail out to sea, headed for the distant horizon – to Neighborland’s Grand Market.

Neighborland: a former landfill site, made of reclaimed rice-cakes, stray socks and discarded McDonald’s happy meal toys is home to a population of almost 5000. every Sunday people come from near and far; by air, by land or sea; on foot or gryphon, to peruse the market stalls and haggle with stall holders. there is much bartering or swapping – a goat for poem; a kiss for a bottle of wine; a loaf of bread for a new pair of boots.

we moor our olive at the Lesser Western Pier and head straight for the Neighborland Bar where we order some cocktails. the Barman looks like my brother from Earth, Stewart Munro McDonald. he even has the same sense of humour. i ask the Barman his name. he tells me his name is Arty. the Bar is quiet. there are only the two of us and an albino troll seated near the entrance to the mens’ toilets. he looks a little worse for wear and is muttering to himself. Arty picks up his guitar and begins to play some Faron Young.

“God, my brother would LOVE this place…” i say to my love. we finish our drinks and leave. we have some poems to trade today.

it’s a busy place, patrolled by giant wasps, there is very little crime in Neighborland.

the Market is a colourful, lively hive of activity. we stop at the Hookah pipe corner and swop a poem for some bloodberry elixir.   this is headier than cinnamon, more sour than black cherry and more potent than a vintage port. this will be a sweet delight for us when we return home to the cool comfort of our shell.

music… we hear music…  a strange and haunting sound and decide to follow it… we meander through the crowds of drunks and queers, the jokers and clowns, through the limbo dancers and jazzers, down by the whores selling fake gold and prawns, through the spice trail to a little blue tent at the farthest corner of the Market place. the sound is louder now.  it sounds like nothing we have heard… we enter the tent.

inside the cool darkness of the tent, we let our eyes adjust to the dim shimmer of phosphorescent glowworms, weaving all across the floor. we take off our red shoes and walk, carefully, across the floor to speak with the stall owner. he is a rotund man with a large mop of black curly hair. He is seated, cross-legged, on the floor playing a vintage Electrolux vacuum cleaner. he seems lost in his ‘music’. we take a seat next to him and hold hands as we listen to him play.  sensing our presence, he stops playing, opens his eyes, and says “if you have come to sell me those red shoes, i am not interested…” we laugh. he introduces himself as “Keef”. i offer him nine poems for the Hoover. reluctantly, after much deliberation, he accepts – on the promise that we take good care of it and make music with it. he offers us something to eat “a snake-flavoured cookie, perhaps…. or a juicy glow-worm…?” he says, giddy like a child with a secret…. “and i have some botanical tea.  it’s the best in town…?”

the tea was a strange brew – of bamboo, garlic and fermented panda poo, served with  a splash of (organic) tiger milk.  Keef holds up a large ewer, full of the bubbling and foul-smelling ‘tea’, and laughs maniacally as we leave the tent.

as we walk away, i hear him, shuffling around inside his tent, slurping down his strange brew and his booming voice reading one of my poems aloud – only it is punctuated with giggles as he picks up glow-worms and eats them “alive alive-o…”

we leave the Market with no more poems in our hearts to sell.

back at the Lesser Western Pier, we clambour back on board our giant green olive and i row back across the sea, to our shell home, while my lover sings Faron Young songs…

words / dream recollection (c) Kat McDonald 2015

– they do say that we should make note of our dreams as soon as we can upon wakening…  as soon as one foot hits the floor, all dreams are lost…

the trapping

Wolves in traps,  1909-1918

i covet the skin

– the hide

– the seek

the light fingerings

and fumble.

fingers, telepathic,

find the skin,


and warm.

i covet the skin

his skin.

for he is my lover

and beneath the cover

of blanket and night,

i search for the warmth

and softness of

his skin.

i want to slip beneath.

it is his skin.

this skin

on my skin

that i covet,


my fingers search,

in the dark.


like a bear trap,

my hand is caught.

i cannot free myself,

nor do i want to


or wrench myself free.

i want to be caught

in the trapping

of his skin,

his eyes,


i covet the skin

and crave the ache

for such beauty

and purity

of his love

– this pain

– this pine

– this quake.

i crave this yearning

and desire

to hold

and never let go.

i crave the wilderness

of his eyes;

i want to run

with the wild animal

that is his mind.

time and time

– again

i willingly run

into this trap…

this tender trap of

his body,

his love,

this lust.



word (c) Kat McDonald 2015

image source: Wikipedia

i am wise to your game…


i know of two sisters;
two sisters,
so alike,
people mistake one
for the other.

two sisters
so alike,
like daughter
and mother…
but who
gave birth
to who?

and Envy…

the ugliest of sisters.

i see you, Jealousy…
oh i see you, there,
standing tall.
even with back turned
to face the wall,
i feel your stare.
those eyes…
… of burning green.
yes, it is true.
how astute of you.
you are taller than i.
what of it?
from across the room,
i feel your watchful eye,
drill to my core.
i look at you.
you are nothing to me
but i am everything to you,
aren’t i?
i feel your pain.
i am not sorry
for what i have,
for what came to me
and resides in me.
why should i be?
why should i
make apologies?
what of you?
where did this insecurity hail from?
your head?
your bed?
oh i feel you watching.
i feel your resentment,
so you choose to belittle.
how very big of you.
yes, you are taller than i
– in stature only.
oh you catch my eye
with unnerving constancy.
every time
i lift my eye
i see you,
staring back at me.
i see you, coil
i hear you hiss.
oh i know you.
i’ve seen your type before.
i know you don’t like me
– you are made of glass,
i can see through you.
and your casual invitation?
i am wise to your game.
there is no contest,
for i have already won
and you are broken.

Envy, oh Envy…
you petty thief!
point those long fingers,
like daggers
or shards of glass,
i will break
them off, lass.
oh i see your smirk,
your smile,
a sphincter;
thin-lipped and tight,
coiled like a whip.
why do you knot yourself
with resentment?
you made quite the entrance,
in this arena…
yet you tried
to fell me
with words you
tell me what i already know.
– what a fool,
for i am impervious
to your cutting blow;
your words of rancour
and begrudging admiration.
oh i know you hate me.
you hate me
i have
what you want.
that is clear.
your judgement is quick
but ill-disposed.
there is coldness
in your eyes.
what do you think
you have been denied?
oh Envy, i pity you.
you are collared,
like a dog;
immobilised by
your own desire.
you are vapid
and paralysed.
what did you think
you had?
i listen to your heart,
your black heart,
as you try
to subjugate me
with your words.
ineffectual words.
i am impervious
to your scathing
and hating.
i am immune
to your disease.
is that all you have?
where is your substance?

oh sisters…
i pity you.
ugly, twisted sisters…
i see through you
and your ménage à trois.
i am wise to you,
and the games you play…
i pity you.
i truly do.

i hope, one day,
you will find peace,
find love,
find a lover…
it is that you so sorely covet
i hope, one day,
you heal the wounds
that makes you sick.
but you cannot
contage me,
you will not cage me,
or enrage me.
you are horrid.
i feel nothing for you.


gentle rose-coloured
and a kiss
upon your forehead.

(c) Kat McDonald 2015

karma sutra

this crushing pain,
on my chest,
is love.

the world spins.
and spin she does
with faithful and fateful

hateful in her headstrong determination;
she overlooks,
with flippancy
and nonchalance,
the rocks she throws off
that hit, every time,
with insidious precision.

cold, callous, calculated –
they hit.
they break.
they destroy.
but she doesn’t care.
why should she?
she has no heart.
she is made of stone,
she is stoning.

the body, bruised.
the mind, splintered.

i watch,
from within
and outwith,
her relentless trajectory.
with every sunrise
she brings chaos,

what to do
except be there;
to repair the broken threads,
to rebuild the crumbling walls,
to love,
to touch,
to listen?

and i listen.
i listen hard.

my ears, and heart,
to hear her
and rationale.
my fuse is short;
my trajectory, shorter.

she spins
in a wake of emotional carnage
i watch
as his boat struggles –
amid the flood of her Charybdis –
to remain afloat;
breaking apart.

it breaks the heart.

oh this ache.
this yearning –
borne of unsurmountable frustration –
drives harder.
there is no rhyme
nor reason;
no rosy hue in her rationale.

all is monochrome.

fighting fire
with fire,
i am immovable.
i will not bow to her.
i will not watch her seek and destroy,
or play him like a toy.
this lioness heart,
fiercely protective,
will savage;
ravage the bare bones
of her causal agent.
i am immune
to her disease.

she is sick.

this crushing pain,
on my chest,
is love.

love will prevail,
nurture and protect.
l’amour est un cas de force majeure.

(c) Kat McDonald 2014

for Robert Davidson, my heart and my home.

“The snow goose need not bathe to make itself white. Neither need you do anything but be yourself.” Lao Tzu.


night light


wild eyes
– eyes that fight
fire with fire
and puncture
this heart
with desire.
wild, wild eyes
– sharp,
as surgeon’s knife,
cut to the soul.
in their infinite focus,
fiercely protective.
wide eyes
– so calm and pacific,
murmuring unspokens.
wide eyes that yield
a haven
– to feel safe in –
safe from the storms
of this vortex mind
and its contaminations.
wise eyes,
eyes that cut
through the murk
and the mire
– that dampen,
and strangle like wire.
[Oh bright eyes…
how you illuminate me!]
bright eyes
– brilliant, backlit
and blue;
most beautiful
eyes that see through
any self-imposed maze
of self-doubt.
[thank you, bright eyes
-for all that you are, and
know that you are…]
– a night light for this child,
– a hearth in the wild,
– my wilderness,
– my fuel,
– my fire,
– my inspired.

image & words (c) Kat McDonald 2014

love is a fridge full of vegetables

love is bread, broken and torn at 3 am

i thought i knew what Love was. but i was wrong.
so wrong…

and then it hit me.

and it hit me hard.

Love is a shirt, a soiled sweater or a pair of socks.
anything that evokes that feeling
when you inhale the lingering scent of moments before.
moments that transcend the space/time continuum,
where you find yourself whisked back into their arms,
only to awaken hours later
in a pile of dirty laundry.

Love is a little notepad.
a diary,
leather-bound and bejewelled.
scribbles and musings. words.
words that will be given when full.
words that hold more than mere thought.
words that hold emotion, raw.
re-read, re-lived.
words that breathe, and bleed-
tattooed into the heart, mind and soul.

Love is a hard-drive full of photographs,
like the heart, a hard-drive full of memories.
photographs of that face.
that face that you long to hold,
and kiss.
that face that you miss
with such overwhelming frequency
and intensity.

Love is a fridge full of vegetables and fruit.
because food, like Love, is something to be shared.
bread, broken and torn at 3am.
soup, warm and spiced, for the soul.
a cup of tea-
made with love
and delivered by the gentle hand
that you crave.

Love is a bed.
a bed where Love is made.
an unmade bed.
sheets tangled
and perfumed.
stained, with Love
and dreams and tears of completeness.

Love is a wild, dynamic space.
from being inside –
not knowing where one begins
and the other ends.
to that empty place
when Love leaves the room
– even if it is just for 5 minutes,
it echoes when alone.
can you feel it?
i can.
because Love consumes.
every thought. every action.
from shopping and washing dishes
and making a home for it;
to travelling through the unknown
into the very arms of it.

Love stirs time.
waking moments.
a year in the blink of an eye.
but Love is centuries old.
Love has always been there,
it seems.
with curious familiarity,
and ease.

Love leads us home.

Love pulls in all directions.
but never pulls apart.
because Love is why.
a pen, once held;
a cup, from which those lips
drank so freely, smiling,
makes us happy;
a pillow, indented;
a guitar, tuned;
a poem; a sketch;
a song-
i can’t be wrong.

Love is a gift.
bestowed with trust
respect and
patient nurturing.
Love is the ultimate friendship,
loyal and unquestioning.
Love is Love-
it must not be given lightly
nor taken for granted.

Love is more than a feeling.
it is an awakening.
the love i know
saved me,
paved me a way back to me.
back to he.
a way back home.
Love is he.
he is home.

when you know Love,
and all that it means to you,
you feel alive.
tripping on the world, differently,
colours vibrate.
you vibrate.

and it’s the little things.
it’s in everything.
it’s in all your wishes and fears.
it is all that you are,
and want to be.

Love is a sickness.
a wonderful, beautiful sickness.
homesick for that next moment
and the ones gone before.

to remain in that moment…

Love shall prevail.
nurture and protect.

it is not just about the ‘three little words’
– it is more
– it is the implicit words.
a kiss-
a touch-
a listening ear-
a hand to hold-
a comfort blanket,
when alone, or cold.

if you love someone be sure you let them feel it.
because once you know Love…
you will never feel alone.

(c) Kat McDonald 2014

for the one i Love…

a house full of butterflies


in a house full of butterflies
my heart resides.
a house,
a home,
a haven for the heart
and one hundred butterflies.
i watch them come-
they return, again this year.
i watch
as they cling to the walls
with no fear of falling;
like lovers cling to each other
with no fear of tomorrow.
i watch
as they wing to the window,
but choose not to leave;
like lovers’ fulfillment.
i watch
as they flutter in light and breeze;
like lovers’ adulation.
i watch
as they hold tight in the night;
like lovers sleeping.
oh what beauty! oh what love!
home is where the heart resides;
the heart and one hundred butterflies.
i watch them
as they dance in each chamber;
like the butterflies
in the four chambers of my heart.
i watch them come-
with no fear of trap nor pin.
i watch them come-
on beautiful beating wing
of velvet, red and gold.
i watch them come-
like gentle pilgrims
their message is true, and old.
they tell me i am safe here,
they tell me i am loved.
a hope,
a home,
a haven for the heart
and butterfly.
they tell me home is
where the heart resides.
this is home.
a home for love
and one hundred butterflies.

(c) Kat McDonald 2014

– for Robert: for in both his heart and home magic resides…

do you dream of horses, my gentle Centaur?


cotton on bones
bones on cotton
on a bed of fresh fern green
i watch you sleep.
sleeping arms,
long and slender
like strips of willow rest
by either side.
the head is tilted towards me
your mind, a whip,
lies coiled and contained;
folded up, locked inside
the sleeping skull;
the mind, tamed and tempered
only fleeting, in dreams
‘are you close, or
are you far away, my love?’
i impart my thoughts
upon you
with a temporal kiss.
you open your eyes
and gaze at me
eyes, turquoise and back-lit.
you are still asleep.
forehead to forehead
we talk.
limbs extended, arms entwined
for a kiss.
you move to untangle
restless, like a mustang,
with kicking feet.
‘do you dream of horses, my gentle Centaur?’
i kiss the flank
and watch you roll
in cotton crisp, and tangled.
you face the sea breeze
lingering in the open window
fingering your spine,
a crustacean fossil,
i have known you forever.
you have always been there
like bedrock.
i touch the curve
with endless fascination.
my fingers trace down
like lazy waves lap
a sweeping shore.
your body, my favourite beach.
i nuzzle in.
i am the Big Spoon.
i bury my face
in the fragrance of your hair,
softly tumbling down your back,
silken threads unfurled
flaxen and spun with thyme.
i plant another kiss
upon the nape
and drape
myself around you.
i crave you but i leave you
i slip my hand inside
yours and feel your fingers curl
around, protect,
held close to heart.
beating heart.
i nestle my head
where your wings once were
and slide
my ploughing, furloughing hand
across the hip,
boned and keen,
skin taut as snare.
my hand between thighs
i chase your breath
the rev of a sigh
fuels, ignites
the horsepower of the sex.
the mind sleeps
the body very much awake.
‘well, hello…’
i promise.
i chase your breath
the pushes and the pulls
in and out
like a summer tide.
i lie still
upon my beach
and listen.
i listen, hard.
the cocoon is silent
but for the gentle machinations
of our syncopated breathing.
‘oh my love, my heart’
my heart…
when near you
she gathers pace,
begins to race
like pony on beach,
i nestle in close
and plant five tiny kisses
and hope that they grow.
on golden shoulder.
‘oh love,
you are the cool side of the pillow…
you are that tall glass of water
by my bed’
this bed, a craft, a portal
this bed.
this bedrock.
this familiarity.
you are family
– ancient and familiar.
feels like i have known you
before forever.
between these ancient bones and whispers of mind
there are words and songs
and spates of twin behaviour.
we think the same, we wear each others clothes.
we came from the same old furnace of the same old dying star.
we are on vacation here.
‘pilgrims!’ says Juliet.
it is true
we don’t belong here,
but we belong together.
and this…
in this quiet time
is when i really see you.
when my mind drinks in all that you are
and is left swimming, intoxicated
in the softness of your gentle love.
when my heart soaks up spillage,
of spit, sweat and semen,
like a sponge,
and i am left
teeming with fluid, emotion.
so much water inside.
words elude me
but happy tears prick my eyes.
all i can do,
until you awake,
is silence my heart
and wait for those eyes.
i close my eyes
and nestle into your back.
i listen
to the breath –
a sound i cannot not hear.
the day that tide stops
is the day
i pack up and go home.

(c) Kat McDonald 2014

for my gentle Centaur, my lover and fellow writer/weirdo…

image (c) Kat McDonald Photography 2013



lovers’ kisses
like hummingbirds;
their love is a hunger,
driven by need.
a need to share
a need to feed
and nurture…

their beating wings,
a heartbeat,
strumming a song
– a birdsong
– a love song…

their love is a thirst;
an unquenchable first.
a flower, open.
a mouth, open.
a kiss…

oh quickening heart,
fluttering fast,
like tiny wings…
oh quivering mouth
with rapid kisses
that sing…

my little bird,
i hold you
like a flower.
soft smacking kisses

oh this heart beats faster now.

this heart never felt so alive…

(c) Kat McDonald 2014

for Robert… *kiss, kiss, kiss, kiss, kiss*

image courtesy of The Hummingbird Society