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…

A RUINED LIFE CAN MEND

He drank as though he’d murdered someone in the moonlight and had realised all too late how beautiful they had been and how very little time there was and how disinterested the stars.

It was strange this dark epiphany

It was music

It was a sword of unbearable sweetness

He placed his bottle beside him

It wobbled a little

(So did he)

Then turned to watch the early evening crowds ferrying their groaning repetitions back and forth along the boulevard like mice imprisoned on a treadmill

What sort of lives, he thought, are these that study the clock and beg from heaven?

That gnaw on promised glory

And dance to the torment of their foes

What sort of lives content with chasing shadows?

He wanted to shout at them his drunken revelation

Of how he’d been shot through with both blade and harp

Of how ruined lives can mend

And love be rediscovered

And of just how big a heart can grow when one decides to care

(mish 2020)

…original artwork by mish…soft pastels on paper…

ALL THAT WILL BE HAS ALREADY BEEN

All that will be has already been

Eons move in circles

A nomad sun emerges and reemerges

The silenced moon drowns and resurrects

Past visitors return in some form or other to the scenes of their crimes

their losses

their loves

Dreams clash in orbits

The water’s skin ices over

again and again

Then melts into coils of ageless destinations

Ancient stones reminisce the blessings of rain

And beliefs and poor decisions spin in perpetuity

In the face of such power of vanquish and return

I stand like a chalice of songs

My life a riot of fantasies

A faltering breath between two doors

and the road ahead a twisted wound

A curl of cigarette smoke

A turmoil-in-waiting

A lasso

(mish 2020)

‘THE SWAN’…original artwork by mish…soft pastel on paper…

ALL THINGS THAT CLOTHE ME IN YOU

I am, in this instant, at my loveliest

Each future moment shall strip away at me slowly, slowly like a lover before dawn

Till naked as a serpent at the rebirth of skin I shall surrender to time’s theft

But for now, oh majestic diversion, sweet breath and sunsets and the honeyed, silken comfort of all things that clothe me in you

(mish 2020)

original artwork by mish….mixed media on paper…