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Mike’s Painting


Mike flambéed his paintings –

Summoning petrol saints and smoke in broken alleys

police would stop and stare

not caring for his permit; learning from his flaming art

how far and deep an artist carves

a soul

to keep a brain at bay.


He’d layer paint in trowel slabs and


with brushes, pushing rainbows

over rainbows,

mushing torrent-flows of oozy oils, loosely toiled

into rough gilt


He’d capture Echo’s worlds in swirls and trap the abstract pulse of life;

the secrets lying rich behind the dreary here and now:


the silent scaffold


power towering through his talent onto easelled blocks.


If anyone could capture love, or trap the seas or strip thin a breeze from a wind

it was him:

the light magician

fighting to forge everything from nothing –

seeing all and painting over writings on walls.




And so Westmorland coursed its way forward

called him to draw it, forced through its squally rawness, broad and coarse as gutted gorse

he saw it, fought and caught it;

tamed it

lay it exhausted on drawing board floor.


He drank water and wine whilst chalking lines:

a feint white life breathing through canvas.


He harnessed life

like transfusing Galatea’s muse from the ether to one fixed view:


a truth


receding in hues of coal greens and Ariel blues:

lost fields

rabid waters

cracked sunrise moors


nearly distant,

under-flown by

a phoenix.

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