THE REBIRTH OF MUSIC

A 1 act 2-scene play

The lamp on the bridge looked older than the bridge itself. The people of the town referred to the bridge, proudly, as the Roman Bridge, impressive and ancient. To the children, however, it was the ‘Roamin’ Bridge: a prehistoric haunted thing that wandered during the wee small hours, returning every magic time with a telling souvenir.

This was how the lamp had appeared, they said, suddenly and weather-worn; a spot light from a theatre past now beaming its enchanted orb across the cobbled span.

Enter the limping woman into the circled skirt of light.

She moves slowly toward its periphery. She rests her elbows onto the railings of the bridge and begins to sob quietly and to swallow soundlessly, as though she is afraid of awakening the moon; bits of her dropping, dropping, hitting the ground like glass beads, unstrung and reckless and splintering like a rosary of disregarded prayers.

The stiletto heel of one of her shoes had snapped off earlier that evening. (A delicate ankle’s noble error!) Removing it from her bag she places it tenderly onto the stone balustrade, steadying it so that its shadow in the lamplight becomes that of a pensive bird anticipating flight.

A passing stray dog stunned by lamplight, attracted by warmth, settles itself at the feet of the woman (one-shoe-on, one-shoe-off) arranging itself comfortably with its chin on its paws and eyes, droopy-lidded, staring straight ahead, so that all three (the woman, the shoe-heel-bird, the dog) are gazing with fused understanding into a yearned for distance.

The whole scene is desperately sad as though all three are witnessing a score of abandoned music floating weightless on a breeze; each priceless page drifting further and further away from each other priceless page, drifting further and further away from them. A fragmented musical dream floating like confetti above the watery face of a sleeping moon and into an unknown void. As though all three (the woman, the shoe-heel-bird, the dog) are powerless

End Act 1, Scene 1

Pan to me, the play’s secret spectator sitting tired as a ghost awaiting the rebirth of music

Act 1 Scene 2

THE REBIRTH OF MUSIC

It has rained, light and prolonged, covering the cobbled village in a polished satin camouflage; buffed and comfortable like a worn grey suit. From an upstairs window two furtive eyes puncture the darkness like iced daggers, assessing the blackened streets, then, content at the gloom, looking away, returning to a friendless bed and broken restless dreams.

From a darkened alleyway below a stranger emerges, carrying with him an elongated suitcase and a leather-bound book with all its pages missing save three: the book’s handwritten dedication (illegible), a moving account of kindness (improbable) and a final and inconclusive sentence ‘…and the memory of you…’ (flawless).

He grips his treasures tight and pads his gentle way fused to shadows, his bandit footsteps guarded, his breath a tender trembling.

Meanwhile the watery moon floats bleary eyed and tranquil as a lily, and time continues the slow march of happenstance.

Meanwhile the bridge’s peculiar trio (the woman, the shoe-heel bird, the dog) fixes its gaze toward kismet withdrawing.

Secure in night’s shelter, the man begins to whistle a floating melody.

Suddenly the woman blinks nervously.

The shoe-heel-bird quivers.

The dog pricks up its ears.

Footsteps approach…heartbeats flutter: A trio breathless and a man bewitched by the moving scene before him crossing the veiled threshold into the lamplight.

With unruffled elegance, he places the suitcase and the book (open at its third and last page) onto the bridge’s railing.

The woman shivers.

The shoe-heel-bird teeters.

The dog growls.

The man does not falter….

With theatrical flair he snaps the locks open (Tick! Tick!) and removes from the case his cherished violin. He taps a fitting rhythm. He plucks the tightened string.

He pauses, momentarily, and then begins to play.

The atmosphere electrifies.

The scene is Chagall and his Satyrs and abandonment and joy.

The woman is dance: barefoot and wild.

The shoe-heel-bird leaps into the night carrying a tune like an olive branch.

The dog begins to serenade the moon.

And somewhere in a galaxy far away a memory is scrawled across the heavens.

The theatre is hushed.

The curtain closes slowly on a lamp-lit silhouette and on hearts inflamed and on the future’s insistence on mystery.

THE END

(mish 2019)

original artwork by mish…mixed media on stretched canvas….

THE BEAUTY OF THEM

Their beauty was, that despite all that had happened, there was no lie in them.

It was a quality that gave them a buoyancy

A glow

Like moons escaping from a hushed sea

Like laughing rain

For them a moment was a moment

Without need of assessment

Without need of forecast

Somehow the air surrounding them seemed fresh born

I wanted to fill my lungs with it

And never speak again

From a distant broken hut a lantern smiled its warmth

I lay my head on my hidden pillow and watched them walk by

Gently

Softly

In the direction of the light

The gods aching for the secret of their truth

Began garlanding the heavens in anticipation

(mish 2019)

original artwork by mish….mixed media on paper…

HOW DO I LOVE ME

How do I love me?

Let me count the ways…

I love me like a monsoon of raindrops

Like a winter of snowflakes

Like a gale of summer blossoms

Like the tears of a thousand hearts

Like the pain of a thousand wars

Like choirs of children’s laughter

Like the scent of oceans

Like still desert nights

Like ineffable beauty resounding

Like the incomprehensible measure of stars

I love me in the way that breath splits itself into galaxies of dreams that wash me clean

I love me in the endless ruins of anguish that I’m unable to explain

I love me like a celestial storm

I love me dismantled

A mess of blood and salt on heartless marble floors

(mish 2019)

‘MAE’…original painting by mish… acrylic on raw canvas…

MY HERO IS

The one who dares follow me down dark alleyways

That allows my secrets

That does not question motive

That hears beguiling melody in the shredding shriek of rain

And gets drunk on the dusky, fragrant water of the night

The one whose hands cradle sunsets and caress the fragile dawn

And stitch shrouds with blood stained needles

And with tears

The one who continues to continue

The one who refuses to kneel on the hemorrhaging cobblestones of hypocrisy

And whose tender spirit, trampled, still nurtures with throb and with spasm The one with martyred hearts buried silent in the memory of his blood

The one who advances bravely

Unprepared and without a lamp as guide

Into a wounded future

Insatiable like hunger

And unrestrained

like love

(mish 2021)

…’ARIEL’ original artwork by mish…mixed media on paper

REMEMBERING

Memories

Yellowing at the edges

Parched as deserts

Their ink bleached and frayed

Taking up swathes of precious time-space

Space that they never really merited

Impersonating realities

Entertaining fools

(and fooling none)

Memories

That sound like finger nails scraping down blackboards

That sting like the pain of removing sutures that have embedded themselves in the scalp

Repellent

Bleeding

Prone to infection

And yet constantly revisited on waves of nostalgia for what is dead

And dead again

And again

Killing god was easier than this

This tantalizing, cerebral self-harm

(mish 2021)

original artwork by mish 2021 mixed media on paper

GODS THAT MAKE NOISE IN THE BEDROOM

All winter we had hungered for the scent of fresh rain and apples

Rain that sounds like children laughing

Shy, blushing, dew-drenched apples

On the warmer days we would set off to the sun-kissed corners of the forest clearings, cramming our pockets with late winter crocuses

Delighting in their colour and swooning into the arms of their perfume

We would chase one another in spreading circles

gently coaxing our hearts from their hideouts

Freeing our blood

Drunk on breath

Alive and spirited and in love

When the sun left and the shadows grew and everything became hushed

(No birdcalls

no whisperings

no crackling of leaves

Like the quiet before storms

or tears

or rage)

we returned, whole-souled,

to banality

Moonflowers opened and stars kissed glass lagoons

and church bells chimed their siren call

and the righteous marched to worship,

(coiffured and pompous and as inflated as the price of gold)

And we, blushed as apples and laughing like rain, wished them sweaty summer nights

And gods that make noise in the bedroom

(mish 2021)

…a study in pinks and blues…small watercolour by mish…

WISDOM

We sat together in the fading light of day

Silent and sad

I handed her a bowl of fruit for comfort

She smiled

limply

And then she said ‘the tiny seeds of the berries

Of the blueberries,

The raspberries,

They catch in my teeth’

‘They feel grainy and rough as though grit and silt had remained undigested within the growing fruit

As though they were pockets of pain that the fruit could not assimilate

As though they were precious little nuggets of confusion

And it made me wonder if that is how it was with me”

I mean to the rodents and the bugs that gnawed upon my flesh during my many and varied rebirths

Did I catch in their teeth?

Did they misconstrue my sorrow?

The grit and silt and stony road of love and pain and anguish

The struggle that has linked me to the sky?

She told me this (and I tell it to you verbatim) the week after her father had had been buried

She was so young

No more than fifteen years of age and yet everything she said was her heart and her blood and the seasons on fire and homecomings

(mish 2020)

‘TALULLAH’…original artwork by mish…soft pastel and ink on watercolour paper.

SATURDAY MORNING

Saturday morning:

Stretched nakedness on sheet

And sleepy swaying smile

The aroma of coffee

dancing and steaming

alive with the anthems of plantations

The clock

tick, tick

pounding its lineal pathway though the orbit of the planets

and failing

The morning breeze playing with the bedroom’s

lace-trimmed curtains as though they were a virgin’s undergarments and the breeze a mighty frigate that had crossed hungry oceans to bear witness to such tantalizing loveliness

(mish 2020)

…original artwork by mish…watercolour on paper…

THE STORM

There was no moon that night

The storm had advanced like a war

Brooding and wary

With trigger happy clouds

And projectile rain

Every now and then lightning would crack the sky apart

Deafening and shameless

As though the voices of past heroes were echoing messages that we refused to absorb

As though they were mad as hell

and bent on destruction

As though all would soon be over

Then the dawn arrived with its chants and its promise and its delicate tale of ‘yes’ leaving me ecstatic… as though I, crouched and steadfast in some dark, cold laboratory, had fashioned it single-handedly from homespun recipes and fizzing explosions of colour.

Ecstatic

As though I’d somehow invented tenderness

(mish 2020)

…original artwork by mish…acrylic on canvas cloth…

IT WAS A GOOD DAY

We moved about the morning like subtle arrangements

Like wildflowers in a jar on a sill in the breeze

Easy and tender

It was a good day

Outside the garden was preparing its fiesta

The birds with their aching ballads

The jewelled prisms of dewdrops

The rousing perfumes

A sudden shot of silver from a webbed sail

The garlanded branch

The trickling sugared sap

The attentiveness of ants

A butterfly

In these moments the earth flourished and our bodies escaped their spiritual prisons

In these moments our shadows forgave us

(mish 2019)

…original artwork by mish…acrylic on worn cloth…