Our lucent teeth spark the rainbow dark.
Here, we do not use words like love.
Instead, we speak with hands that hold
as shoulders tussle
the roughhouse rougher.
In the absence of daylight,
we are just two young men,
silent save for giggle and shoe scuff:
we do not rouse suspicion when touching.
from ‘Night Orchids’
In this volume, Scott-Patrick Mitchell propels us into the seething mess of the methamphetamine crisis in Australia today. These poems roil and scratch, exploring the precarious life of addiction and its sleep deprivation. From an unsteady and unsavoury life, we are released into the joy of a recovery made through sheer hard work.
Even in the disintegration, the poet points us towards love and carries tenderness every day in memory. Scott-Patrick Mitchell’s decades of spoken-word practice has enabled a fine tuning on the page when, for so many readers, we enter into an alien zone of unknowing.
Scott-Patrick Mitchell is a WA-based non-binary poet who is a guest on unceded Whadjuk Noongar land. SPM’s work appears in Contemporary Australian Poetry, The Fremantle Press Anthology of Western Australian Poetry, Solid Air, Stories of Perth and Going Postal. A seasoned performance poet, Mitchell has toured Australia with works that have fused language and minimal baroque. A focus for the poet is in building community through their work with Perth Poetry Festival and WA Poets Inc’s Emerging Writers Program. They live with two black cats, Beowulf and Bones.
“This work will change readers — it will reach deep into their psyches and have them checking their interior lives, as well as how they live their lives in the shared world. Scott-Patrick Mitchell is a remarkable poet who shifts and realigns language, because it must be placed under pressure, given the pressures we live under. Confronting the trauma of addiction, we move with the poet through to being ‘clean’, and all the complexities around that new clarity. A poet of intense empathy with others and who has a unique way of processing ideas that arise from experience, they travel the streets of Perth, and the contradictions of private grief and communal presence, with phenomenal linguistic skill. This is the book that comes after and beyond Michael Dransfield’s Drug Poems. It is a lodestar book — a book you will never forget.” – JOHN KINSELLA