Today in my heart a vague trembling of stars and all roses are as white as my pain…

mum2

“Hello Mum…” i say

from closed throat
as i choke on tears
of the inevitable.

she is slumped
on one side.
three pillows.
three pillows hold you
and support you as
you gaze through me
with eyes dim
and full of antipsychotic
medicine.
“medicine”
medicine that has taken
my Mother and held her hostage.
it seems dark in here, in there.
there is precious little light
here now…
and it is fading fast.

i wipe the tears from my eyes
and the drool from her chin.
‘medicine’ they say.

her hands, the skin – so soft, flaccid
and thin
like tracing paper
delicate like a trace
of life… where is that spark?

where is that fire?
that spirit?
that beautiful soul?
where is my hero –
where is she?
where did she go?

“oh Mum…” i say
and hold her hand, tight.
i don’t want to let go.

“Mum? Can you hear me?”
i know you’re in there, somewhere…
do you hear me?
do you hear me, crying in the night for you
like i did, as a child,
when the monsters would come
into my dreams.
i need you, Mother.
i need you – but i can’t find you.
i can see you but
you are no longer here,
in my world.
where are you?
where did you go?
i have so many questions, Mother.
so many questions…

“Let me sing to you…” i say, choking
on dread.
i can barely breathe. gravity is
crushing and caving my chest.

i can see you, but
you’re not there.
do you hear me?
please, come back to me.
do you want to come back?
is it better where you are?
away from the grieving for the lost one;
away from the pain and prison of illness
and isolation;
away from the four walls that house you;
away from the loneliness of not hearing
or remembering…
“Oh Mum…” i say
“come back to me…”

come back to this world
where we wait…
where we, your flesh and blood, wait
for you to return.
but…
looking into your eyes, i can tell
that you are
not coming
back…
are you?

Oh Mother.
you are unaware of how my mind
tortures my heart
as i think of you,
now a prisoner of the bones
and flesh that house you…
… and your smile.

i watch you smile at me,
your mouth quivering,
frail… failing.
i think of your voice and
how you loved to sing.
is there music where you are?
because you love music and
you love to
sing…
sing for me, Mother.
sing a song for me
to comfort me –
just like you did when
i was a child.
sing out loud so i know you are there…
so i can follow your voice…
so i can find you.
i know you are in there… somewhere.

where did you go?
you left so quickly.
your eyes are shadows.
your eyes, once teeming with light,
now tired.
tired of seeing.
tired of seeing this
broken slideshow of your life.
do you see me?

do you think of me,
your youngest child.
your youngest daughter.
do you remember my laugh;
my face;
my name?

where are you, Mother?
i wish you could return
so we could take a walk
through the woods
and talk, like
we used to.
where are you, Mother?
i wish you could return
and brush my hair and
you could tell me all about where
you have been… and
what it’s like there.

because…

“i miss you, Mum…”

i seek a moment’s comfort
in knowing in your fugue
state of mind
that you are, perhaps, blissfully
unaware of
what this world has become
without you.

and yet… i am full of fear:
fear of knowing that this is the end;
fear of knowing that you are alone… there;
fear of knowing you are struggling, perhaps,
to return… clutching thoughts
with only fragments of this
and that
and this reality; with only
broken
and dis-
jointed memories and
not knowing
what
is
real.

are you lost?
or are you rambling through
the forest of your mind?
lost in that deep, dark forest.
do you know where you are?
or are you lost – in a manic
panic –
desperately searching
for a way
to come
back.

if you could, would you find your
way back
to me?
to us?
to the world you have left behind?
or…

are you happier in this sedative dream?

what is it like there, Mother?

sleep does not come easy to me these days.
i lie awake, listening to the sea and
think of you, drowning… choking… fighting
for breath… searching
for the familiar… a lifeline… to
fight against the black water
and return to us.

Oh Mother. what am i to do?
what am i to do, without you?
i am not yet ready to be an orphan.
sure, i am a grown woman
but you are my mother.
you gave me life
and now i look
towards the end
of yours.

Oh Mother.
are you too far gone?
somewhere… in that frail
and useless body
i know you exist.
i know you are in there…
but…
i can’t get to you.
i hope you can hear me?
hear my thoughts?

i hope you can hear me, Mother
as i have not abandoned you.
i am right here.

i worry that in this pergatory
you can see us… see our tears.

“why is it so dark in here?”

is it dark where you are, Mother?
is it?
i wish i could let some light in.

i wish i could just…
i wish…
i…

if you find light in your darkness, Mother,
don’t be afraid.
i have not abandoned you.
i am right here.
i will always be right here.
i hope you find some light
in your forest…
“it’s a beautiful day today, Mum”
“the sun is shining…”

what is that sound?
oh it’s my own voice.

(c) Kat McDonald 2017

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– watching someone you love be consumed with dementia is heart-wrenching… especially so when that someone is your mother… the one who gave you life and light and love.
it’s hard to watch your world become slowly starved of that light as her life slips from her, and you, with certainty of lengthening shadows and loss, can do nothing but wait.

and that weight is unbearable.

today, my heart was broken… more than i ever thought possible.  my Mother had not been allowed any visitors for almost a week as she, sadly, had to be sectioned for her own safety.  today was the first of me seeing her in a little over a week.  the change was, inevitably, a huge departure from the soul i last saw.  she is fading fast, like roses.

mum

my mother, aged 15

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my mother, a keen photographer it would seem…

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my  mother, on her wedding day…

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my mother, with my lost brother, William, who died 10 weeks before i was born. he was 18.

Title borrowed from one of my other heroes… Federico Garcia Lorca:

Autumn Song
November 1918

[translated by DK Fennell]

Today I sense in my heart
a vague tremor of stars,
but I lost my way
in the midst of fog.
The light trims my wings
and the pang of my gloom
will moisten the memories
at the font of knowledge.

All roses are white,
as white as my sorrow,
but the roses are not white
that have snow on them.
Once they dressed in a rainbow.
Besides there’s snow on my soul.
The snow of my soul is
kissed by flakes and scenes
which disappear in shadow
or in light when thought of.

The snow falls from the roses,
but the soul’s remains,
and the grapple of the years
makes a shroud of it.

Will the snow melt
when death takes us?
Or will there then be other snow
and other roses more perfect?
Will there be peace among us
as Christ teaches us?
Or will there never be
a solution to this question?

And if love cheats us?
Who will resurrect us
if twilight buries us
in the scientific truth
of Good, which perhaps doesn’t exist,
and Evil which flutters nearby.

What if hope gives way
and Babel ensues,
what torch will light
the roads on Earth?

If the blue sky is a fantasy,
what will become of innocence?
What will become of the heart
if Love has no arrows?

And if death is death,
what will become of poets?
and things in a cocoon
which no one remembers?
Oh sun of hopes!
Clear water! New moon!
Dull souls of stones!
Today I sense in my heart
a vague tremor of stars
and all roses are
as white as my sorrow.

NEW RELEASE- Wilderness, stunning debut album, by Pilgrims

a sound born in a storm. this is what happened when a bird fell from the sky and foxes followed us home. this is supernatural, homespun honesty. this is soup, at 4am. this is a map of the stars that trace our fate. this is paprika tea. this is animal instinct. this is our story. our music.

this is the sound that came from a gorge . this is what happened when lovers cut each others hair with a samurai sword. this is inside out and up ‘n’ down. this humble creation from this hibernation. baring and purging. this is defining heroes. this is katsu curry & fermented pears. this could be winter. these are our scars. this is our music.

this is the chaos of living with panthers in a house by the sea, where ravens share their secrets with those who speak their language. this is our allegiance to our ancestors and the salt in our Bourbon. two years of travelling around the sun, we are finally home…

BUY NOW – https://pilgrimsuk.bandcamp.com/album…

CONTACT – wearepilgrimsuk@gmail.com

© all rights reserved


into the wild… the making of ‘Wilderness’

“WILDERNESS” – a collection of 13 songs inspired by animals; animals that have been totemic in the relation between a man (Robert Davidson) and a woman (myself, Kat McDonald).

a sound born in a storm. this is what happened when a bird fell from the sky and foxes followed us home. this is supernatural, homespun honesty. this is soup, at 4am. this is a map of the stars that trace our fate. this is paprika tea. this is animal instinct. this is our story. our music.

this is the sound that came from a gorge . this is what happened when lovers cut each others hair with a samurai sword. this is inside out and up ‘n’ down. this humble creation from this hibernation. baring and purging. this is defining heroes. this is katsu curry & fermented pears. this could be winter. these are our scars. this is our music.

this is the chaos of living with panthers in a house by the sea, where ravens share their secrets with those who speak their language. this is our allegiance to our ancestors and the salt in our Bourbon. two years of travelling the sun, we are finally home.

Source: into the wild… the making of ‘Wilderness’

Listen to WILDERNESS >> HERE <<

soon…

soon

“soon….. x” he wrote.

“soon….. x”

 

[Oh the unquantifiable wait.
the undeniable weight.
oh the irrefutable beauty
of monosyllabic
poetry.

four letters. infinite variables. one critical
sum, happening in my head… quicker than
i can convey verbally
and i can be verbose.

soon = absolute x.

i was good at math
but you know that
don’t you?]

 

 

(c) Kat McDonald 2016

 

 

the strongest march…

the strongest march

clouds, slowly, gather
in the bluest sky
reflected in
my altruistic
eye
as sirens wail their
woeful cry
i watch the ants
of July suck
upon a glob
of spit.
the strongest march
‘cross to the bone
dry side, near a dismantled rone;
whilst the weak
get stuck amidst,
or trampled.

clouds gather, now, at quickened
pace;
the sun no longer the white
furnace.
a cooler breeze now strikes my soul
like a hammer on
an anvil.
i hear Thor’s roar
a battlecry that rips
the sky wide open
and raindrops
splatter

down,
in a shower
of Hellfire.
what of the ants?
i watch them struggle
as they run amok
seeking cover
between the cracks,
under the crock,
or beneath
the flower, foot and flock.
as the strongest march
on, flight of
foot and brace
themselves for
their struggle and plight;
whilst the weak
get stuck in
mud.

(c) Kat McDonald 2016

– a stormy lunch hour, fulfilled by the company of ants.

Hollywould, if she could

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cheap tinsel and smog – is all that you are. a cityful of fake folk and folklore; of deplorable schism and schizophrenic notion. Ah… Hollywould… if she could.
she’s a whoredom. she is like a box of adders; a modern-day Medusa; a mother with viper womb and crooked fangs.
Hollywould – the painted piranha; a fickledom where unforgiven forgotten pariah see only what they wanna.
blinding,
binding
like a cursed spell. look out, boys! she will poison your well being, and cheapen your aspirations.
she will deliver another suckerpunch, a blow below the belt, crushing the dreams of stardom of each new city-dweller.
watch your step.
wow… she’s something else!
a knock-out with glass jaw but she will always be the first to throw.
she’s a fault line but no great shakes. beneath the mask it’s, clearly, all fake. like the mountains she makes; and struggles, self-baked, of tremendous tremor.
[yawn…!]

“are those freckles real or are they melanin implants?”

[oh jesus…]

’tis becoming a seismic bore: predictable, needling or
just needy, like that waitress on a 16 hour shift.
Hollywould, if she could, for a cuntful of tips.
oh see how she is gifted – with envy-green eyes and marshmallow lips. Oh how those breasts, augmented, uplift.
and how that mouth can swear and prey.
that mouth…
Oh that pretty mouth and its infamy. it spews, spills and thrills; what’s it to be? spit or swallow?
guzzle ’til full, or remain forever hollow.
she’s the lying breath of the dying, or maybe she is just like our dying star, or a vagrant on the casting couch.
she will play you, work you – she’s no slouch.
is she fashionably contradictory or just prettily vacant?
and so it goes on – irrefutably blatant.
from upbeat to down beat – to a dead heat in heartbeat
and hysteria. with no pretty flowers downtown to adorn her
– only painted thorns, all shorn and forlorn there.
a plastic rose in a plastic surgeon’s clinic, its artificiality, leeching – its cheap scent and gaud leaves them nauseous and retching.
while the artist outside, on the kerb, is sketching.
Oh Hollywould – is a hall of mirror and delusion.
in a violent reality of wild superficiality, she thrives on and jives with collision and war.
warring, wearing and wearing thin, wearing down.
oh Hollywould – a dumb little clown; a piss-stinking parody of a circus town.
attention-seeking, she swings to and fro; a trapeze, a trap… she’ll cum and she’ll go.
fickle, sickle, scythe, and sick.
calculating and heartless, with a swinging brick.
Oh Hollywould, if she could, of that i am sure – cast her aspersions, as she walks out the door, with precision
like a whaler’s harpoon, direct and damaging in her oblivious lampoon.
Queen of the Damned, or  just damned Drama Queen.
“do as i say
or i’ll scream and i’ll scream…!”
and she will, ’till you’re down upon wounded knee;
she will have you jump through hoops of blowjobs and fire, ’til you please
or appease or get stuck in her mire.
one thing for sure…

… this is no town for a child.

(c) Kat McDonald 2016

pink lemonade for a blue girl

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barefoot on cool grass,
summer has spoken
in soft
dulcet tones:
of honey-bee drones
and the hum of distant traffic.

grateful flowers herald her arrival
with trumpets blaring blue and yellow.

she moves,
with sand in her shoes,
but still…
she’s here…
but only just.

i hear her
in the sea’s breath
and the depth of tide;
in gulls’ cries
and the clink of ice.

(c) Kat McDonald 2016

cafe insomnia

cafe insomnia

where do you go
in the daytime,
when shadows are short
where d’you hide?
i know you are out there
somewhere…
waiting…
just biding your time.
are you watching
when i’m ordering coffee,
your bitterness stronger
than mine?
are you there when i slip underwater,
holding me ransom with rhyme?
when i lay
on the couch, with my guitar,
do you hope that i break
a string?
you choke on my neck
like a capo.
God, you must hate it
when i start to sing.
but it’s the smallest of hours
that you savour.
when shadows bleed into the night.
i acknowledge you in bed beside me,
your cursed cold-handed humour,
as i struggle to just stay alive.

(c) Kat McDonald

– writers’ block exercise: a 10 minute poem about any chosen subject. last night’s subject was ‘insomnia’ – equal parts curse & gift.

for my whale brothers and sisters…

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this planet is small,
too small.
sometimes, it seems, there is
nowhere to hide when
what’s inside presides,
pervades,
prevails;
when the storm
shreds the sails
leaving no safe harbour.
soon,
there will be
no trees to breathe
no rivers to cry –
and the oceans will be salt
flat graveyards
for my whale brothers
and sisters to die (in).

this planet is home.
it is my home, it is your home.
she is ancient and beauty full –
once carefree and colour full.
cut her, she bleeds;
and yet she continues
to breathe and pirouette
around the Sun – the chosen, and only,
one.
and on and on
and on and on, she yields,
selflessly, with
wisdom and generosity, just like
my birth mother.
But still we press
upon her –
prey, greedily, upon her.
we cut her to the quick
don’t you see?
it’s our very own existence that
is making her sick.
’tis not cognitive dissonance
– we are but blind
and bumptious.
our selfish genes –
cocksure, precocious;
they do not see
nor do they care.
they continue to
rape
and assault her.

in the name of opium, religion
sanctimony or devotion, tell me
which God(head) has the
biggest and most powerful
Warhead?
beware!
wake up, people!
we do not have options:
we have nowhere else to go.
this is not a movie.
this is real.
wake the fuck up, Dorothy!
we’re not in Kansas anymore.
and you’re right:
“there IS no place like home…”
this IS our home.

we have nowhere else to go,
when this home is spoiled
and wrecked.
so sad a picture!
what a legacy we leave
in the damage we weave, into
the fabric of us.
when WILL we
realise the extent… when
it’s our OWN extinction event?
it is already too late.
do we care of our fate?
we should… like i say,
it’s not like we have options.
we can not just up and leave;
no other place to resettle
this will be the ultimate
test
of our mettle.

this planet is blue.
i can see why

 

 

 
can’t you?

(c) Kat McDonald 2016