Oil pastel, watercolour pencil and marker pen on paper.
Hospital doodle #20
Hospital doodle #15
Hospital doodle #10. Oil pastels, watercolour pencils and marker pen on paper.
When I was a young girl I had a terror of snakes. After watching a movie about a snake venom farm this evolved into fascination. I had a beautiful silver snake bracelet that I thought brought me luck. Snakes are symbols of power, knowledge, healing and transformation in Christianity and myth. They shed their skins and grow new ones. Their venom is used in medicine. So here are two drawings featuring a snake.
Shadows rooted in the sour
grooves that framed
her mouth. Invisible at first,
they bloomed in the living
map of her face, festered
in the lines on her brow,
in the web of crow’s feet
perched on cheekbones
and in every pore
of once perfect skin.
Within the purple moons
beneath shuttered eyes
spread along the wrinkles
of her neck, the valley
between breasts, the soft
folds of belly and genitals,
filling hollows and dimples
right down to the pink tips
of her toes. Eventually
shadows enveloped her
like a miasmic cloak.
In the mirror she saw
memories of memories
and not the shudder
of dust she had become.
In the street, folk saw
a swirl of fog and not
a woman named Margot.
They walked straight
through her and shivered.
Her words became a wild
keening of wind, creatures
of night her only friends.
Bats, moths, owls gathered
safe in her twilight wake.
Spheres of eau de nil slip through, careless.
The island glimmers like crushed glass.
She doesn’t look up when I speak
the sound of silence spiked with roses.
She is wearing a wolf jacket, face tilted
and edged with gold. A fandango is a gift
not for everywoman, she was someone
ten minutes before and her own name
centre stage. Now she prays as the invisible
life of the sea spills skywards. Pink naked
in newspapers, dislocation strikes a pose.
She turns. No place for strangers they say.
The first time is the hardest and she twists
for her dreams. I want to laugh until
I see rain pelting cheekbones and roll-ups.
Where was my power over water?
Anyone else having trouble sleeping?
All photographs by the author
Something is wrong. A grey fog
stinking of wet wool hovers
above my bed when I wake.
I hit reset and instantly a citrus
glow permeates the Sense-o-Net.
Lemon scent cuts through the fug.
Bitter-sweet, my six naked limbs
dissolve like butter on hot toast.
I hit open and the view unreels;
a newborn sun rising from the sea,
a debonair yacht with a white sail,
a labrador chasing a beach ball.
Let’s get this show on the road,
I hit extraterrestrial to transcode.
She has never seen so many of them, diving
in ribbons, mercurial as the heart of a virgin.
She opens her mouth to cry out, joyful
her hot mouth expects a fierce Atlantic roar.
She taps an elegant rhythm as the rocks tease.
Not surprised, they reflect the enduring
equivalence of a human. Five liquid bodies
hurl into the waves. She’s eager to slip
a knot around her waist, slide into the silver
gaping mouth. She believes she will fly
underwater, melding like angler fish, one
into a luminous other. Love lingers
under the scalloped tongue and her smile
disappears into a cave. Words are the agony
of a different folly, wafer thin, hankering
for the heavenly parts of this world.