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 Apr 2014 Ellie Stelter
Claire G
The thing is that there was so much I could have done differently,
But it was too dark to see and the night was broken all over
So bits of it fell through, collapsed and disappeared, rose above the tide—
Every hour I asked myself where I was,
Every hour there was nothing to think but that you were there
And those were your arms, around the waist of somebody else.

You looked at me like we knew each other and I drank myself dry
There on the beach, I drank so everyone laughed at the things that I said
But there was still your mouth, blowing smoke rings, and your eyes cast sideways
As I threw rocks into the river instead of throwing myself,
And you asked me to come along with the rest, to one party, then the next one
For the life of me, was there another reason that I went?

The last party had two things to offer: strangers and bedrooms.
Everything else was empty beer cans and the way you looked at me.
I rose and fell like waves, I was somebody’s friend, then I was a drunken guest,
And I announced to the room that nothing mattered
Because my senses were flattened, somber; I knew I was there for one reason
I knew I’d laugh about it the next day and wonder why I hurt so badly.

But I am not strong enough to let it be; I was not so drunk that I couldn't hear you
I am not so healed that I don’t want you to want me.
On the contrary, think of me.
Think of me, please, miss my hands and my mouth and my sidelong lashes,
Swim through liquor by night until the morning cuts open your middle
Until you hurt in a way that is treacherous, blinding, until you’re left with nothing else.
 Mar 2014 Ellie Stelter
Claire G
I am on the dusty plank between winter and spring,          the end

Of February snapping closed over 28, and                             I am

Impervious to the way time has                                          too eagerly

Bounded out of reach—not that I would even,                     awaiting

My certain departure,

Think of drawing myself up straight

And using it for more than finding ways

To stay cold.

I do not want to die,
but what a bother it is,

keeping this up.
 Feb 2014 Ellie Stelter
Claire G
Snagged and spindled on my sweater cuffs,
Memories spray forward in sparks.
The scent of new linoleum,
The stoic hush of the phone line,
And my bedroom window, sealed tight
Against the ghosts of you and I
Kissing barefoot on the lawn.
 Feb 2014 Ellie Stelter
Claire G
Every morning I paint over purple rinds
Of exhaustion beneath my irises.
Every morning I curl my joints inwards;
I have nowhere to go anymore.

In the end, where am I?
Slandered, spoiled, sea-sick,
Misfit, ragtag, falling star,
Washed up to age-old shores
And confined within their limits.

Nobody can join us, nobody
Will join us, it’s a matter
Of admitting that you’re broken
It’s a matter of building walls around
Your own disembodied pieces.

I watch only through breaks in the smoke,
When on occasion the edges
Fall into sharp clarity,
Like a kaleidoscope of bad dreams;
My dull eyes take in the present
With regard to nothing but the past;
He falls in love with a girl who is
Beautifully, dangerously naïve.

Like the flicking of a lighter,
Life sparks and jumps forward--
Not the steady flame that follows,
I am the curling hush of ash.
 Feb 2014 Ellie Stelter
Claire G
There’s something real ******* intimidating about a blank white screen.
It’s like there’s a glaring eye in every pixel,
and the cursor, in its intervals, stands stiff and haughty,

blinking again and again like a demand or like a question--
how, why,
                  when, what, why, why?

Camellia, you’re crazy;
          Camellia, you’re lost;

Camellia, there’s ***** beneath your bed—
lock the door and stop answering your phone.
 Feb 2014 Ellie Stelter
Claire G
What to do, what to
Do when a young boy dies?

Tell everyone you loved him,
Draw up meaningless old memories,
Stretch him between your fingers like
Cobwebs and old chewing gum?
He was your ping-pong partner,
Sat in front of you in Algebra,
Rode your bus?
He lived four houses down the road,
Wore the same jeans,
Walked the same halls?
Or was he your best friend?

I didn’t know the dead boy.
I know a living one who did.
One who went on church missions
Went to parties;
Smoked with him,
Set up dates for him,
Now there is so much
I have to say,
But I won’t say it;
I will make things worse,
I will lose it, break down the walls,
I will fall into him again
Out of sorrow.

All the way home I bang the steering wheel
And shout obscenities at the empty
Windshield, frost-fingered,

I am so sorry.
for Christian
i'm not looking for pinpointed lights
in the sky or my veins like
emission spectra of petals you leave
around my aorta
with daisy chain bracelets
whilst holding my heart like a
baby hedgehog or a shard
of glass left from broke-into car
windows our getaway driver, misery,
scattered across the pavement of your
gaze i met for five exact seconds
i remember, clean as new linen,
the geometry of your living room
seventy-six centimetres from your
glasses or the symmetry of the
bridge of your nose or the sound
of your soft exhalation.

to three decimal places i
was in love with you, then.

the rain need not spell it out in
morse for me to know that. the
sun need not rise to devour sleep;
through the ten factorial seconds of
each six-week fraction of my
i dream of you.
so baby, can you teach me how
to paint over the crests of
these scars;

how to sketch the webs of our veins
over all this silence
that has taken hold of what used to be,
shaping into what we can’t see -
remapping the worlds that
we made poems and prose and clichés out of
together -- together.

or maybe you could teach me how
to chisel back the hope in our bones,
mold the spaces left between
the borders of my thumb to my ring,
into space that might hold something more
than just a few shades of white
and a paper heart that never learnt that stars
all die before they reach our field of vision anyway.

better yet, come teach me how
a goldfish learns that nothing more
than seven seconds is worth learning,
yet here i am still standing still
and wishing you could somehow come back.

i need to learn
the sharpest D
will always be E flat,
no sweeter;

so maybe, you could teach me how
to paint over these nightmares.
Humanity i love you
because you would rather black the boots of
success than enquire whose soul dangles from his
watch-chain which would be embarrassing for both

parties and because you
unflinchingly applaud all
songs containing the words country home and
mother when sung at the old howard

Humanity i love you because
when you’re hard up you pawn your
intelligence to buy a drink and when
you’re flush pride keeps

you from the pawn shop and
because you are continually committing
nuisances but more
especially in your own house

Humanity i love you because you
are perpetually putting the secret of
life in your pants and forgetting
it’s there and sitting down

on it
and because you are
forever making poems in the lap
of death Humanity

i hate you
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