Yukio Mishima

Mishima is one of the major influences on my prose writing – one that no one might suspect. I discovered him way back in the 70’s reading about the filming of The Sailor Who Fell From Grace With The Sea. I quickly became obsessed – think of doing that without the Internet – ordering books through a local book store or via mail from the publisher.

little blue chair
little blue chair

I don’t know when I found out he was gay. That certainly quickened my pulse. I read everything I could get and tracked things down as they became available in English. Plus some biographies.

‘His first major work, Confessions of a Mask (1949), dealt with his discovery of his own homosexuality. The narrator concludes, that he would have to wear a mask of ‘normality’ before other people to protect himself from social scorn.’

Mask and Forbidden Colors showed me gay life far removed from North America and even though he wrote about a difficult and repressed experiences it showed me that gay was everywhere, so to speak. That I wasn’t alone in it. He also showed me that one could write about it without porn.

very blue door
very blue door

Although I was already a fan of ‘serious’ writers like Fowler, Heller, Dickens – Mishima was my first real experience of another culture, another world. His epic The Sea of Fertility made it clear that even a queer could write monumental, complex and engaging literature.

another blue chair
another blue chair

I was let down by the film Mishima. As much as I enjoyed seeing scene from his books on the screen it did’t seem to capture his spirit – not that I know what it is but I wasn’t there.

writing sample
writing sample

this is an old piece – written under the influence of Mishima

WordPress removed – for some reason – all enjambments & spaces

Chrysanthemum

The sword

as sunrise

Highlights

the water

Flash cuts of red

A silver bird

A black curve

At the vision’s edge

Cautiously circling

Hedging

Toward another perfect landing

A black curve

A slowly forming oval

Figures into connections

Linear sensibility

Practicing the new motion

The cutting motion

Of ends realized

I cage

With sun and steel

The silver birds

Hoping

To dissect their eyes

To find what they see

Beyond my sight

I know they see more

They feed from other hands

I will not rest

Till I’ve emptied their hollow bones

Of soaring fluids

I must know more

Than the aching birth of flight

I must feel more

Than the caress of turbulence

I must have their sight

A feathered rhapsody

In a shimmering celebration

Another perfect landing

On an endless spiral

Of consecrated breath

Breath held

As long as possible

Released

To line a formed cloud

I release the silver birds

They soar and shimmer

Beyond all edges

Black round flickers

Their eyes intact

They see black curves

They fly spirals

The black curves are death

A vision I leave to them

Till my own bones

Are so hollow

All that remains is silver

From within the cloud

A silver bird

Wings on straw bones

A floating airfoil song

A crescendo of invention

A moment of escape

A curve of celebration

For this perfect landing

The vision

as heartbeat

Reflects

the edge

Fresh curves of black

gull uncaged
gull uncaged

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