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5.5k · Apr 2013
My Oldest Brother
Ellie Stelter Apr 2013
I miss VCR players and Saturday morning cartoons
Star Wars marathons every weekend.
I miss being terrified of the mouldy basement dark
And watching Homestar Runner for hours.
I miss blowing things up in the backyard
And building that tree house, and making ****** movies
On a ****** video camera
With my oldest brother, who in many ways
(such as by blood, and parentage, and legally)
isn’t even my brother at all.

I miss the world the way it used to be,
Before things inside me began to go numb
And other things began to burn like live wires.
I miss the innocence I lost. I miss the cents I lost
To the arcade games and the broken vending machines
To the bullies on the playgrounds
Who even I learned to make excuses for.

I miss the days when a Weezer song
Could fix just about anything at all,
Back when I climbed more trees,
Swung on more swings, ate more candy.
I miss my kidhood, when I thought that
Growing up was going to be just fine.
I miss walking to ****’s for greasy hamburgers.
I miss the way the Space Needle used to
Make me crane my neck to follow its yellow elevators
All the way up to the spinning top.

I miss growing up with you, stuck between Freakmont
And Far East Ballard, going to Archie McPhee’s,
Rubber chickens, refrigerator magnets, hamburger hats,
Bacon soap, Jesus tape, pickle bandaids.
I miss your house that smells like cats
And your wonderful parents, and your too-many brothers.
I miss your kitchen and your living room
And your amazing singing and your air guitar solos.

I don’t want to date you or marry you or *******
But since you started dating that awful girl
Five years ago - FIVE WHOLE YEARS! -
I haven’t seen you all that much.
It wasn’t really a choice, I couldn’t be around her:
She makes you into someone that is not-you.
Someone that is quiet and shy and reserved,
Not loud and strange and outrageous.

I miss you, oldest brother.
I always felt like you understood me in a strange
Sort of distant way. I miss you a lot.
I feel less alone when you’re around.
I hope college changes you, I hope it makes you
Into who you are again. I hope you write more ****** movies
And film them and act in them
And I hope you break up with her
And find someone beautiful who makes you happy,
Who doesn’t make you into not-you.
I miss you, but not the not-you you’ve become.

I miss the first you I ever met,
Too tall, with way too much poofy hair,
And long skinny everything, and thick glasses
And a good sense of humor, and a taste in ****** movies,
Videogames, airsoft guns, horrible puns;
A pyromaniac, a secret fatty, a terrible dancer,
A geeky awkward kid from Tennessee
Who somehow changed everything about me forever.
5.2k · Nov 2013
Goldfish
Ellie Stelter Nov 2013
every night since Rosencrantz died,
I've had dreams about dead goldfish,
their silver and gold scales gleaming sickly
red roses of blood blooming from beneath them
dead and bulging eyes staring at me.

every day I come home to find
Guildenstern still swimming is a gift
but the goldfish are still dead in my dreams.
They are always there
and I never know why.
Their bodies are piling up.
this is literally one of my least favorite things ive ever written pls stop
4.0k · Sep 2011
fix you
Ellie Stelter Sep 2011
I wish I could fix you,
Take all those broken pieces in your head
And glue them together again.
Then maybe you’d see yourself as the person you are
Rather than the one you wish you were.

I wish I could fix you,
Take all those little things about yourself
That you hate and let you love them.
Then maybe you’d learn to be the person you are
Rather than act like the one you wish you were.

I wish I could fix you,
Mend you; make you into someone who believes
In life and love again.
But I can’t. I don’t know who you are
And I don’t know who you wish you were;
All I know is there’s a stranger on the bus
With silver tears falling down, down, down
Trying to hide the emptiness in her eyes.

I wish I could fix you.
3.8k · Sep 2011
(laziness)
Ellie Stelter Sep 2011
I am lazy like
A slow clock,
The hours dripping away off me,
And only occasionally paying attention
While I dream away all of the past and pressing minutes
Into something resembling my own form of happiness,
A small slice of heaven meticulously created
Over the years, and only when my headphones are pulled from my ears.
I have all the time in the world.
I don’t have anything at all to say.
To anyone. Until I am
Perfectly distracted, and you
Kick me in the leg and tell me to stop wasting time.
2.4k · Nov 2011
musicians
Ellie Stelter Nov 2011
at their least
they were silhouettes building
notes out of the crimson fog
slowly swallowing the stage

but all the rest of the night
the bass taught my heart
a new beat pushing
its throbbing hand deep
into my chest and demanding
life and breath

guitars riddled my skin
piano keys pulsating in my fingertips
and the drums
the drums made me dance
up and down and
with my hands in the air
like some wild crazy lover

have you ever heard
three thousand people singing
their voices all rising
heated in the night
its not our faults
if we forget the laws of physics
they abandoned us first

on a scale of one to
netherlands
how dutch is my sweater?
i'd say it's a solid Amsterdam.
2.4k · Apr 2012
Surviving
Ellie Stelter Apr 2012
There are some things you will never see.
But you wish you could. You wish that there were other worlds
Close enough to brush with your fingertips.
You wish that others' dreams, their syntheses of sound,
Would make sense to you. You do not live
In this world of cubicles and blinking lights,
And if you do, you live it a hundred thousand light years away,
On the surface of some other planet.
You're not ever going to grow up. All your life,
You'll keep on imagining worlds beyond the one they swear is real.
You must have your writing because you understand
That life, even this one, is not linear. Life is not
Birth to death, and in between survival.

For now you are surviving.
But you know there is so much more than that.
Ellie Stelter Feb 2013
I've caught a wild wanderlust,
Or perhaps she has caught me,
But either way we find ourselves
Entangled, entwined; unable to pull free.

At first I did think she was merely
Restlessness, but o! what a grave mistake,
For restlessness will pass on by,
But deep are the roots wanderlust will make.

And so! my heart she beats unsteady
For o! I cannot think with a roof over my head -
My heart she needs star-light and moon-light;
Home for me is not four walls and a soft bed

My home is out there, in the world!
Where strangers and friends I shall meet
And the whole wide universe above me,
And any path I choose beneath my feet.

The world is my home and my people are humanity
And nothing has been the same, nor will it be,
Since I caught the wild wanderlust
And away she swept me.
2.2k · Dec 2011
empathy
Ellie Stelter Dec 2011
one of my friends is adored by everyone he knows
the kind of kid who smiles all the time
who can always make anyone laugh
always has something motivational and upbeat to say or sing

once we were sitting in English class
talking about change
and it was quiet between us for a minute
so I said
watching people die is hard
and he said
yeah, it is

and I didn't tell him about my grandfather
who had cancer and died in my house a week later
or my grandmother
who lost her mind eight years ago and slowly deteriorates each day
or my aunt
who had her first open-heart surgery when she was fifteen
and is now a bloated skeleton who lingers in wheelchairs
and doesn't sleep and hallucinates
or my second cousin
who only knows all the "wrong" sorts of people
or my friend
who is breaking slowly, who I cannot fix

I didn't tell him because I'd never heard three simple words like that
overflowing with so much empathy
2.1k · Nov 2013
Ctrl
Ellie Stelter Nov 2013
I used to bury myself in huge jackets.
I'd mope about and hate my curvy body,
hate the way my lips puffed,
my long hair, the way I was soft all over,
the way I was expected to shave
everything but my face.

I used to hate makeup and dresses,
girly movies and shoes and bobby pins.
I hated boybands. I hated pink things.
It took me a long time to realize that
I didn't actually hate these things.
I hated women.

Femininity was lesser. I was not good enough
because of my two X chromosomes,
because of my *****, because of my period.
I was weaker. I was stupider. I was
statistically less likely to succeed,
less likely to be important,
less likely to be loved.

These things weren't right. They were never true.
But it didn't matter, because nine-year-old me
believed them. My opinion didn't start to change
until I was thirteen and I wore a pretty dress
as a character in a home movie we were making
and I walked down the stairs and my friends
whispered whoa.

I began to understand then the power I had.
As a girl I was never lesser. I was never weaker.
Maybe physically, but that was more my personality,
and all those lies I'd told myself about success
about my importance about love
I began to reconsider.
I thought hey wait hold on
this can't be right, I'm not stupid, I'm not weak,
I'm not ugly and I'm not fat
and I'm not any of these things because
I'm a girl.

When I started to see myself as worthy of
other peoples' love, I realized I should love myself.
I don't hide my femininity away in huge jackets anymore.
I don't walk down the street fearful
of the people walking past who seem stronger.
Because in my lipstick and my cute heels,
I am in total control.
1.9k · Nov 2013
contentment
Ellie Stelter Nov 2013
i don't want for anything.
i don't have a single
deep-seated desire
running about in
my brain,
driving me
crazy.

i have everything that i need.
i don't lie awake at night
i don't wonder
i don't ask what if
i don't
i don't

what will it take to convince you
that i don't need anything?
i don't want anything
i am content
i am content
i am content
i am content
i am content

but what if i
1.9k · Dec 2011
Mountain Flower
Ellie Stelter Dec 2011
Lupine, lupine, from where did you come?
Your soft purple springings flow from the paths
And white mountain boulders
To linger in green breezes.

Lupine, lupine, stay a while
Though winter’s on its way I still
Know you can outlast
The inconstant summer sun.

Lupine, lupine, hold me steady
Through the tangled hills I roam
Searching, maybe, for a meaning
Something worthwhile, something to call me home.

Lupine, lupine, don’t forget me!
Let my memory live with you
As under the snowy earth I lie
To await the ending of all time.
1.6k · Jan 2013
Moths by Candlelight
Ellie Stelter Jan 2013
I heard it from the still-winged moth
As he lazed about in candlelight
I heard it from the star-drenched earth
Cradled in the silver night
Your lips in parting whispered it
Your eyes in passing sang
And as the Earth went round the Sun
The galaxies proclaimed
There is no thing that is not alive
No thing that ever was dead
No traveler left forgotten,
No permanent stain of red.

And as the demons at the gate
Shake their blood-soaked hands
And the tortured in the dark do scream
Across the burning lands
There is a still and quiet voice
That comes in the eyes of storms
A voice that's quieter than snow
Yet louder than the cannon booms
And if you listen close, my love,
You'll hear this small still voice
That is carried on the softest wind
And exists by more than choice.

The murderers at the back doors
And the monsters behind the walls
Do beat their war drums louder now
And seek to conquer all
O be not quick to anger, love,
O be not quick to flee
For if you stay and wait a while
And if you listen close to me
There might come a still small voice
Which at once you'll hear
And know the voice of God that says
There is nothing to fear.

The moths by silver candlelight
And stars in their courses exclaim
And the Earth in all its wonder
And o, in all your pain
You know the truth when it is spoken
You know there is no end
For all the stars and universe
For every lover, fighter, friend
There shall be no death that will do us part
There is nothing as can stop my heart.
1.6k · May 2014
inertia
Ellie Stelter May 2014
when i sleep, i dream. when i dream i

i am lost in the woods little bird lost in the woods alone in the woods
so small so young so green
i grow
as i have grown
as i will grow
my mind melts
mutates
i am someone else
i have lost all meaning
everything has lost
all
i am grown
i have grown
i will grow
as i float i am growing
as i fight i am growing
i remember little bird
lost in the woods alone in the woods
all alone
all
who am i? who was i?
who am i becoming?
have i forgotten?
or did i ever know
and where is the future
where is my future
why so intangible
why so unmanageable
where is the knowing
where is the sense of stability
where is the meaning i was promised?
who promised
who said
who
left me alone, all alone, alone, little bird, alone in the woods,
who am i?
(then in a hundred different voices) who am i?
where am i?
why am i?

when i sleep, i dream. when i dream, i am lost. i try to stay awake
to hold my mind awake
an object in motion will stay in motion
oh let not me rest
maybe if i stay awake
if i work harder
all the time
i wont lose.
1.5k · Mar 2012
Whales
Ellie Stelter Mar 2012
Henry says you can’t write poems about whales.
It’s too obscure a metaphor, the biology of behemoths
Is too exact. Too much science going on.

I like whales. The smooth dorsal curves of their fat bodies
Arching and twisting towards the depths,
The salt spray of their powerful breath,
And their positively massive hearts;
They understand that they are great
Yet there is something still more awesome than they.
There’s more mystery and poetry to biology than people would like.
Especially realists. Life isn’t straightforward and they hate it.
We have some very basic, very general patterns that we follow,
But they’re far too broad to say ‘always’ ever.
Every rule, every law, has been or will be broken.
And the world will keep on turning (until the day it doesn’t),
And the whales will keep on swimming (until the day they don’t).

Henry says you can’t write poetry about whales.
I don’t like Henry very much. I think he’s wrong.
1.5k · Oct 2011
my ghost.
Ellie Stelter Oct 2011
it should bother you
that ive been alone in my room
all afternoon
with my homework and have only done
five problems
it should bother you that
i delete my internet history
day after day after day
but its only because
i dont want anyone to see
that ive been reading the works
of liars and ****** and thieves
it should bother you
that you didnt know this about me
but it doesnt
my inner communism
or socialism
or fascism
or racism
or feminism
or radicalism
should probably be something of your concern
but its not
you dont care that i sit here
and drown in the words of dead poets
or revolutionaries
or just people
no you dont care
you stopped caring when i said
no its my life not yours
and slammed that door in your face
and you took one too many
of those sweet little pills
it should bother you
that youre dead and gone
but it doesnt, it doesnt, it doesnt
and it wont
though you still hang about me
you miserable ghost
just sit there in the air
above my head
and just dont care
no matter what i do
i cant make you go away
cant make you see what i see
cant make you come back to me
1.4k · Nov 2011
The Zombie Problem
Ellie Stelter Nov 2011
I know.
They don't see it.
And it's frustrating.
And it's hard.
But hey, I see it,
I see it and it sickens me too.
I know the feeling, the wanting, the passion;
I know we must eradicate and sterilize and renew;
But you know it'd be genocide, right?
The death of a million yet-unmourned office drones.
And oh, the irony of the high school zombie,
this walking oxymoron, so alive and young
and fresh and full of promise and yet
so
very
dead
already
1.4k · Dec 2013
Existentialist's Love Poem
Ellie Stelter Dec 2013
How would you take the news of my bitter insomnia?
Would you feel conflicted knowing that could I sleep,
I might not still want you? I know that you’re just a heap
Of atoms tied together, cells powered with mitochondria,
And without you I am just succumbing to hypoxia.
You are nothing to the universe, just an ignorant sheep,
And were my head unclouded, no illusions would I keep:
I’d know in lucidity it’s just my acute monophobia.
But you are there still, hiding under my thin skin,
And you’re not going away, and it’s driving me insane.
How could I discount your memory, your incredible smiles,
Your hands rough like heartbeats, your eyes glowing like sin?
You are a heap of molecules, mere bone and membrane:
And your soul is a fire, your ardor drives me for miles.
1.4k · Mar 2012
Unconditionally
Ellie Stelter Mar 2012
El mundo es falso, y las sonrisas son falsas.
Todos los días en que vivimos es simplemente pintado,
Nadie lo quiere decir más.
A todos nos causan nuestros propios problemas.
En algún lugar de su inicio, hacia atrás y hacia atrás y hacia atrás-
Una palabra desagradable, un retorcido pensamiento-
Y ahora es el caos.

Si, de alguna manera, yo podría dispersar las sombras del mundo
Y soportar todo el peso para usted, lo haría.
Me harìa llevar todo el sufrimiento del mundo en mis hombros
Para la humanidad. Ahora lo sé eso.
No puedo creer que alguna vez fui tan egoísta
Para derramar una sola lágrima por mí mismo.
Yo podía soportarlo. Yo podría tomar en el mundo
Si eso significa que ninguno de ustedes tenía que sentir que el dolor por más tiempo.

Se amo incondicionalmente.
The world is fake, and smiles are fake.
Everyday we live is just painted on,
No one means it anymore.
We all cause our own problems.
Somewhere it started, back and back and back -
One unkind word, one twisted thought-
And now it's chaos.

If, somehow, I could dispel the shadows of the world
And bear the entire burden for you, I would.
I would carry all the suffering of the world on my shoulders
For humanity. I know that now.
I can't believe I was ever so selfish
To shed a tear for me.
I could stand it. I could take on the world
If it meant that none of you had to feel that pain any longer.

I love you unconditionally.
1.3k · Jan 2012
balance
Ellie Stelter Jan 2012
imagine a world split four different ways-
a boat that wants to sail north, south, east and west
all of them, all at the same time.
you already know things are going to change
but for now you sit in the boat, the four winds
sipping tea and spinning tales of the north, south, east and west.
it doesn't matter if the seas are stormy
and the waves high, or if everything is flat
and the sails lay limp against their lines,
it matters that for now, you're in that boat
and you gotta keep a clear head and do what you can.
for now.

someday those four winds will escape, heading north, south, east and west,
and you cannot pretend, you could never pretend
that it wasn't going to be that way from the start.
so in the end, no matter how much you want that world to be one,
if north were to saunter south or east slip west,
if south were to cruise north or west sneak east,
it would all unravel and fall to pieces in your lap.
the world isn't perfect like you want it to be
but you can find your own balance, and keep it
from getting worse.
Ellie Stelter Nov 2011
OCD and nervous, uptight and follows the rules.
Handwriting like type. Perfectionist on notebook paper.
Needs to loosen up. Needs to learn how to fail. A lot.
Lots of failure. Lots of breaking the rules. That's what she needs.

That's what I thought when I first met you.
So I gave it to you.
I gave you lying to your parents and jay walking.
I gave you the triumph of city streets after dark with no one around.
I gave you the cold kiss of rain as you run, laughing, for shelter.
I gave you slang terms, for drugs and *** and even in Spanish
I gave you a safe little pane of glass to sit behind and observe public school's inner workings.

But still you are so afraid. Afraid to play Beatles songs
For French tourists underneath the Space Needle on your guitar
Waiting for Julian that fine afternoon. You were afraid of
Benny, the homeless man addicted to crack who I've known my whole life,
The one who taught me to balance rocks on pencils stuck in the ground.
You are afraid to sing on stage and afraid of being yourself around people you don't know.

I want to give you those things too.
Somehow I wish I could teach you confidence but I cannot.
I would give you fearlessness and thick, foreign swear words and show you how to throw a punch
But you're not ready yet. Be innocent, while you still can.
College will ******* up enough, once you get there.
For my dear friend Micaela, whom I met in seventh grade English class.
1.3k · Jan 2012
Doors
Ellie Stelter Jan 2012
I stumbled through the world at midnight
And every door I came to, I knocked
Who are you, what are you doing here?
Questions from sleep-slanted voices,
Their light casting shadows over me.
I told them I was studying.
What are you studying? they always asked
Life, I said. I'm studying life.
You can't be here, they would say
You have to go, study life somewhere else,
I'm trying to sleep. And slam the doors.
Meanwhile I was really just looking for the door
Whose inhabitants would ask me to stay a while
But so far, no one has said come in, you look cold,
Study life somewhere warm.
And so finally I have resolved
That if ever someone comes knocking on my door
Not looking for anything- for food, answers, or a place to stay,
I'll let them in.
Even if it is midnight and they spew some ******* about studying life.
1.2k · Jan 2012
Chantey
Ellie Stelter Jan 2012
All I want is to sail to those far-off lands
Where ships are freedom, where sailors catch the winds
With canvas nets in their coarse and salty hands,
Adventure around corners, and nothing binds
Us to those old worlds that we have left behind.
I want to see the sun rise, brand new each day,
And open new pathways like maps in my mind,
While the deck and the sea beneath me do sway.

The ocean's a goddess, a temptress of men
Who never could keep their feet on solid ground
But rather sought to wander, and now and then
Chase after a daydream, and soon they had found
Their hearts and their eyes filled with love of the sea.
Thus a thousand such souls were stolen by thee.
Iambic Pentameter comes scarily easy to me.
1.2k · Nov 2011
Cough Medicine
Ellie Stelter Nov 2011
I'll be your best friend and your first kiss
I'll keep you safe from the filth
On the streets and
I'll keep you warm and
I'll keep you safe and steady.

I'll stand beside you when you're weak
I'll stay up all night with you when you're scared
I'll make chicken soup for you when you're sick*, you said.

But you're not here now
And for just $20 and a trip to the store
I can have hot Top Ramen and Matt Damon
And the tangy kiss off cough medicine
As it slides in careful milliliters down my throat
1.2k · Apr 2013
Consistency is a Lie
Ellie Stelter Apr 2013
The first time I say your name, it is a new sound on my tongue.
I take it and roll it around a bit, mispronounce a few syllables.
The marks on paper that define you are an absolute work of art.
It is curious and new and alive, and so are you.

I say your name thousands of times, then; again and again
til it is worn thin with familiarity.
Soon I no longer need your name at all: I have expressed
your entire existence in a single breath.

Your name becomes a formality. Like clothing, it is not
entirely necessary. You do not wear it to bed.
On the streets, it is how people recognize you;
but I do not even remember its fullness any longer.

Something changes. Speaking your name is an insult,
a raised voice, a painful twist of annoyance.
I hurl it at you like a sharpened knife and it sticks
deep in your chest, tearing through the parts of you
I once knew with such certainty and confidence.

Then it is a plea for forgiveness. I use your name
As an item to trade with: I will whine out your existence to you
And in return, will you return?
Please say yes. (You don’t.)

Empty beer bottles line the corners of your name.
Sleepless nights fill in the dark serifs and smooth lines.
Your name makes my heart ache in my chest
where it has broken in two, due to you.

The last time I say your name, it is the name of a stranger,
someone I once knew but no longer care for.
You will always be with me, but your name
has moved on. Someone else wears it now.

Consistency is a lie. Your name is a different moment,
means a different person every time it is spoken.
I do not trust in the undefined words that define you,
instead, you are to me still that single breath of pure existence.
1.2k · May 2014
junkie
Ellie Stelter May 2014
i am holding on too tightly
let me fall. let me let go,
let me feel let me hurt
i want that ache again
love ******, im a slave
to heartbreak, i wanna
seek out those kisses
that leave my lips burning
want that fire reignited
deep in my chest again

there's just a shell now
built up like a cage
protect me from harm,
so i thought, but no
it's not letting anything out
it's not letting anything in
and im done im done
with that i need to feel again
i need to be alive again
my heart needs to beat
again. love ******, slave
to comfort, too afraid
of passion, of losing control

so here i am, heart beats
in a cage, needles in my arms,
anesthetized, clinging
on too tight to what my life was
let me fall into the unknown now
before i push myself off this ledge
it's been no fun at all
let me feel
let me fall
1.2k · Nov 2011
Narcotic
Ellie Stelter Nov 2011
Time hasn't been good to you, has it?
It took you in its rough hands and it threw you up against that wall.
It was slow torture to you, all those questions of how and why,
When no one would even tell you who or when or where.
You didn't even know what life was then-
That first sunburst, first roll of thunder,
Didn't make sense, not any at all. Not to you.

You try to forget but it's not like that this time.
You try to talk about something, anything else-
And yet your life just comes spilling out; a torrent,
A cascade, a parade of all your worst daydreams-
****** in front of his face and clogging his ears and nose and mouth,
Congealing in the winter sun. And suddenly you feel that weight fall off your chest,
And stand, leave him there; dying, drowning, choking on your memories.

If anyone needed the drug it was you-
You needed the weightlessness, the carelessness it lent you.
First the Vicodin and then the morphine, always on the hunt
For something stronger, something that could really ****
All that pain and time and **** piling up inside you. And you found it,
Found your release, that sweet drifting sensation it gives you
And no side effects! Or so they swear, all the ones who went before you,
Walked down that road lined with needles
And turned it into one paved with something stronger,
That one drug you'll never get enough of: **words
for someone I know who's had a rough life
1.2k · Jan 2012
Doubt
Ellie Stelter Jan 2012
My soul is small some days -
A pebble, a seashell, a speck on the horizon -
I don’t know who I am and I don’t know
Where I want to be.

Some days, my soul encloses the universe-
I am the light of a star, a thousand worlds yet unseen,
The eternal sky, the phantasmal deep;
I know who I am, I know where to go.

This uncertainty is bad for me, apparently
I was not designed to doubt, but to have faith
And I do! I have the faith of the mustard seed
That grows into the giant tree.

But for today, my soul remains that mustard seed
Though it has begun to sprout and grow, I am
Still tiny, trembling, afraid that I don’t know
Who I am or where to go.

I believe in a God so great, so indescribable
With love infinitely vaster than my soul
On the days it ‘most could touch the edges of eternity.
I know I will not be here forever, so I’ve got to make it count.
There is no room for fear; there is no time for doubt.
1.2k · Nov 2013
Love Yourself
Ellie Stelter Nov 2013
our culture preaches self obsession:
to always be looking at ourselves,
to always be editing, editing, editing,
photoshopping away our scars to look pretty
on a computer screen,
to be focused continuously inwardly,
focused on our own flaws.
our culture preaches self obsession
but not self love.

the things we are born into,
the things we grow into,
people tell us they're not good enough
somehow. there is such a narrow
margin for error. there is such a narrow
road to walk if we want to be thought beautiful.

it took me 16 years to understand
that I was not worthless: I hated
myself for all the things other people
told me I was:
fat because my ribcage didn't
shine through my skin
a ***** for my opinions
a ****, and ugly, because of my body,
because of my face.
is it any wonder
I was so uncomfortable in my own skin?

in the past they told you: love your neighbor
as you love yourself,
but we need a new mantra.
think of the most beautiful person you know
and treat yourself that way.
would you let them starve themselves,
would you let them cut away at their own skin,
would you let them wallow
in self pity, in regret, in fear?
think of the most beautiful person you know
and then understand, that person is you
to someone else.
you are so beautiful.
love yourself.
love yourself.
1.1k · Jan 2012
talk
Ellie Stelter Jan 2012
In my house
It smells like burning nachos
Like pico de gallo left to rot
And beans too long on the stove.

I stand in the doorway
Keys in one hand, doorknob in the other.
It's snowing outside, and I'd forgotten
That I'd asked you over that afternoon,
Just to talk.
Maybe watch TV.

For three and a half years now, we've been best friends.
But there was a different time,
When we didn't talk to each other,
When we let teenage angst and hatred seethe
Between us like some dark and twisted monster.

There are different kinds of anger.
I was mad at you because in the summer
Between seventh and eighth grade, you flaked on me
For those other girls, the ones who wore bikinis
And whose dads had speedboats and sports cars,
Whose boyfriends were in high school,
Who wore black eyeliner and gossiped all the time.
I was mad because you changed yourself for them.
I thought that that was why you were avoiding me.

Today you told me
You were mad at me
Because we liked the same boy.
You said you thought I resented you for it.

I laughed.
This is why we have these talks -
So that, looking back on our junior high selves,
We can make fun of what idiots we are.
1.1k · Feb 2013
The Last Twinkie on Earth
Ellie Stelter Feb 2013
I ate a ******* today.
It was the second ******* I've ever had,
and probably the last one
I'll ever have.
These things were supposed to last
for ******* ever.
They were supposed to outlive
the apocalypse
but now they're
pretty much
gone.

If you think this is some metaphor
for the impermanence of
humanity, or for that teenage
lover you wanted to give yourself
over to, forever,
or for lazy Sunday afternoons
when the world just
floats
on
by,
you are
correct.

We live our lives by impermanent things
we tie our life-lines to twigs
that will snap at the first sign
of the wind. I cannot
un-break your heart,
or tell you that these
things are
unimportant.
They are important.
They are as
important as daydreams, as childhood,
as light and air and food
and water.
But they will not last
forever. They are less eternal
than the footprints you leave
in wet concrete:
those will still be there
in the morning.

And if I cannot tie our impermanent
physicality to the fate of
the last ******* on Earth
in a strange metaphor,
then I do not deserve
to have eaten it at all.
1.1k · Oct 2011
M80
Ellie Stelter Oct 2011
M80
When it's dark outside I'll take
your bandaged hands in mine and we'll
switch on all our own lights,
Write illegal fire across the canvas of
the crysatalised night sky,
Explode with life and love and hope
our star-drenched moon-struck eyes
till white sirens bleed their warning over the city.

Chain-link fences can't hold us back
we know these streets and they know us
all too familiar the scraping of knees
and palms as we skid across the asphalt,
then whisper away into vanishing night,
cursing the cold winter days.
1.0k · May 2014
your days are numbered
Ellie Stelter May 2014
if it's meant to happen,
it will.
but do not think this means
you get to sit
on your *** all day,
waiting for Fate.
Fate's here.
Time's now.
do something about it
disturb the universe
swirl the stars
and they will dance for you

life is good and long
and there are risks
well worth taking
your days
on this green earth
are numbered.
make them count.
im doing this thing where i write a poem every day until the day i move
my days are quite literally numbered right now
Ellie Stelter Feb 2013
I would my life were a movie,
that on the anniversary of your death
I could ride my bike, straight-backed,
hair blowing in the manufactured wind,
to your grave, with a perfect bouquet of flowers
perched in my basket, or else
zipped perilously into a backpack;
and, arriving at your headstone,
donate their impermanent beauty
to your memory, placing them
artistically
beneath the singular, factual phrases
that hold all remembrance of you
in their cold stone embrace.

But your ashes rest beneath the waves:
your tomb is the sea,
the sky your eternal epitaph;
and my heart has no physical place
to fix my mourning to.
And so I wander - for I must!
I cannot tie myself to the earth
when to the earth you are not tied,
when the wind carries your voice
and the rivers flow
with what once was your laughter.

The whole world is such a very big grave
for someone once so real as you.
1.0k · Sep 2013
I Hear Music
Ellie Stelter Sep 2013
Some nights as I fall asleep,
There is music that plays in my head.
It is soft and melodic and sad,
And it is never the same.
Upon waking, sometimes I find
The music is still there, lingering
On the edge of my conscious memory.
But I can't make my hands write the notes
down.
I'd sing it for you but
I cannot sing for an orchestra and
It would not be the same.

I compose unwritten symphonies
In the back of my tiger mind, conduct
Strange and ethereal orchestras, become maestro,
Master of the music, queen of the opera,
Of the stage of the whole world if I want,
I can become anything, anyone -
I am a pirate on the high seas, I am a dragon
Soaring over Albion, I am a snowflake,
A child, an action hero, an astronaut,
I am beautiful and powerful and strange
I am hideous and weak and sad
I am all, and none, and the music reaches it crescendo,
The seas of my subconscious roil and churn,
My story reaches its fever pitch and
In bursts the dawn.
And all that was created is destroyed,
The music lost to hand that can't write it down,
A throat that can't sing it out.

Some nights there is only the sound of my breath
And the sirens in the distance as I fall asleep.
But some nights, I hear music.
1.0k · Nov 2011
Sixteen When the World Ends
Ellie Stelter Nov 2011
Sixteen is the age everyone always wanted to be.
Sixteen is rebellious, a freshly sparked fire,
A girl and a boy, living forever in the midnight hours.
Sixteen is freedom. Is dancing. Is music. Is life.
Is when you're supposed to be fully you, as best as you can.
Is the year your lips are round and red as apples,
The year your skin and hair is soft and smooth again,
The year your eyes still flash like two great and ancient stars.
At sixteen, I always thought, I'll cup the world in my hands;
At sixteen, finally someone will love me, finally that star will fall,
Finally, finally, I'll be free.

The world's supposed to end couple months after I turn sixteen.
I guess it won't be able to handle me all grown up like that.
But how the hell did the Mayans know?
1.0k · Jan 2012
pocketwatch
Ellie Stelter Jan 2012
no one could ever understand
why i loved clocks so much
i would hold them to my ears
and listen endlessly to their tickings
i would imagine strange mechanical worlds inside of them
and rub my fingers over their gears and hands,
and if they had eyes i would have seized those too

i only loved them in the daytime, though
their rhythm was too much at night,
it would intrude on my nonsense world
and demand order, which wasn't ever any fun for my dreams
i know others, whose nighttime clocks reminded them
of the horror of the Telltale Heart
which is strange, because i know someone,
someone very dear, and very sick,
whose heart ticks and does not beat
whose hands and eyes and everything
are dying, dying, but her heart
died long ago, so now it ticks,
ticks on and on, ceaselessly, reliant as a clock

i love clocks because they tick
because they beat, and make me think of hearts
that do not fail, even when all else does, or is going to,
and manage to be right at least twice a day
even when they're already broken.
1.0k · Jul 2013
the climbing-tree house
Ellie Stelter Jul 2013
smell of sidewalks after rain as we walked back to the car.
i like to pretend i live here, under the great spreading trees
in an old, beautiful house with someone i love.
i want to grow old in a house like that,
with a big, flowering front yard, a creaky old porch,
a vegetable garden, a jar of buttons, a cat, a climbing-tree.
i want to watch the sun through the leaves,
hear the rain on the roof, fix up its leaks,
paint the walls, frame the pictures,
position little ceramic birds artistically on tables,
fill cases and boxes and shelves and rooms with books
and art and laughter and life and love.
i want to fill a house with my warmth
nest in it, curl up against its walls and breathe it in,
bring fresh flowers to the kitchen,
dance alone in the living room.
my house. my kitchen, my walls, my living room.
i want to fill a whole building with my choices,
with who i choose to be, with who i choose to love.
i don't know what my life will be but
it would be nice to grow old
in a house with a climbing-tree.
955 · Jan 2012
You Are Beautiful
Ellie Stelter Jan 2012
I climb to the top of the mountain; it takes my breath away.
The pain in my lungs in my throat in my legs, it's all worth it
For that one sunrise or sunset or view or just sky and sky and sky,
Stretching up and up, farther than the eye can see, farther than the soul can reach.
The thorns in my feet from the desert trees are beautiful.
They let me know the sun has not won, there is still something stronger.
A red umbrella on a city street. Architecture, the wonderful kind,
The kind you can smell and taste and touch, endless interlocking triangles,
Windows that reflect and multiply and kaleidoscope the clouds.

Today, however, someone tells me that beauty is something different.
I am supposed to find it in photographs, in one immobile two-dimensional perspective.
Yes, the girl with the ruby lips has perfect proportions and smooth skin.
Yes, the waterfall is tall and the spray makes a thousand rainbows.
Yes, the black lines on the white page contrast perfectly, dramatically.
Beauty is a three-dimensional thing, an experience.
I am supposed to find it in photographs?

I love your laugh because it is imperfect;
Because your skin is freckled, your body less than impressive,
Your face disproportionately skewed when you smile,
Because you exist outside and beyond three dimensions,
You are beautiful.
So many things can be erased in photographs, like context
And subtext and imperfections. To take a photograph and make it perfect
Is to lie. I don't want to lie to you. I don't want you to lie to me.
Stop living life through a camera lens. Take off your rose-colored glasses and just see.
943 · Nov 2011
Esperanza (Hope)
Ellie Stelter Nov 2011
Oh, ******, my little Spanish sorrow,
Me encanta la camino captó la luz en tus ojos
Me encanta la forma tus sueños flotan a través del mundo de dormir
Oh, osito, my little love,
Tú, que hace reír a todo el mundo,
Y tú, que me hace cantar,
Te amo, y no puedo ayudar pero de amar todo de ti.
Oh Catalina, my lost one,
Te extraño, y me da dolor en mi corazón
Te extraño, y me da dolor a amarte así
Oh, mi amor, mi vida, mi sueño, mi esperanza,
¡Lo poco de tu me queda!
Oh ******, my little Spanish sorrow,
I love the way you caught the light in your eyes
I love the way your dreams float through the world of sleep
Oh little bear, my little love,
You, who makes the whole world laugh,
And you, that makes me sing;
I love you, and I cannot help but love all of you.
Oh Catalina, my lost one,
I miss you, and it makes my heart ache,
I miss you, and it gives me pain to love you so.
Oh, my love, my life, my dream, my hope,
What little I have left of you!
939 · Dec 2011
Tick-Tick
Ellie Stelter Dec 2011
My aunt slept for six months,
All of fall and most of winter.
Sometimes she'd talk, but it was nonsense.
Sometimes her glassy blue eyes
Would click open and roll about,
Stretching the sunken yellow paper of her face.
Her skull was bare and the neat square
Of black stitches made my stomach writhe.
And everything that proved she was human was gone-
Consciousness absent, eyes closed, skin warped;
Just that faltering mechanical tick-tick in her chest where her beating heart should've been.

A little girl with thick arms and waist and everything
And stringy blonde hair and startled blue eyes
Stood by her bed and silently the tears dripped down
Again and again, the first time was the hardest.
Her father stood next to her, wearing thin, clutching both their hands.
She stirred, the withering woman in the bed,
And hope painted their faces before dying in their eyes;
Smiles still plastered to their teeth.

I remember her best on a perfect January day, years and years ago,
When things were alright, before I knew she was sick,
Her feet buried in the sand, palm trees swaying in the background
Explaining the complex lives of sea turtles to me
In a blue and green bikini, greying hair, thick sunglasses
And that straight scar drawn down her chest,
A thick ridge, a wound opened and reopened too many times;
Making her heart tick-tick instead of beat-beat.

If she dies I will never forgive her doctors.
Too much medication kills you fast as any poison,
But they trust too much in the dose,
And focus on the numbers on the screen
Rather than the fear in our eyes,
Rather than the fading tick-tick of her heart,
Refusing to listen even when they began to make severe mistakes,
And that's where these cataclysmic months started.
The ICU is fatal. It breeds hopelessness
And plants the first temptations of suicide.
Ellie Stelter Nov 2011
"You're a killer, son. 
I can see it in your eyes. 
I don't know when it'll happen-
Maybe the first day on the front line,
Maybe when the guy next to you
In the trenches gets his head 
Blown to bits, but some day
You'll snap. 
And it'll all become a game to you. 
And it's a game you're good at. 
And it's a game you like."
These are the words the veteran spoke
Over my father. This is who he said
My father would be. And so he ran away. 

My father took up his pen and he wrote
And he took up the mainsheet and pulled it in
Til the sail hugged the wind, and he did it for years,
But it wasn't enough for him. In the end
He studied business and now he's an
Entrepreneur, building homes and food and lives.
Recently he's been talking about starting to
Sail again. He could've been world champion, you know. 
He says he left to start a family. 

There are days when I look in the mirror,
Deep into the eyes I inherited from my father,
And wonder. In them I see his own passion 
For the written word, for the wind caught
In the sail and the water stormy and deep beneath. 
But I know there's something else in there too,
And there are days when I hope to God it's not
That same look his honorably discharged uncle saw
And scarred him with so many years ago. 
But even worse, there are times I pray it is.
869 · Jan 2013
and the tide
Ellie Stelter Jan 2013
I want to bury my heart deep beneath the sea
and never have to feel its ache or break again
I want to cast that pain away deep beneath the waves
and never have to look back and see it

I want it to sink away to melt away to be gone
for good or so I think but then then you're the there
and I want to feel it I want to feel all of it every
heartache every teardrop every bend and break

cause you're worth it, you know that? you're worth
every lifetime of **** every awful lonely night and day
and all the times I pretend to be OK
and you're worth every drop of sweat and blood

every minor pang of guilt and every scream
of brutal agony and alone or together you're what
we're all looking for that person that one thing
that makes life worth living

and deep down we'd all tear apart the world to find you
cause with out you we want to sink away want to
bury our hearts deep beneath the sea and I
will not build my life on these smaller truths
I'll build it around you

you're what makes my heart worth beating
and without you it might as well just
burn or be buried or rot away
melt away sink away drift away
and the tide
pulls my heartbeat
away.
I swear to god I haven't been writing a bunch of poetry in almost no time at all. It's a bunch of old stuff from over the summer and through the fall.
793 · Nov 2011
Headache
Ellie Stelter Nov 2011
sound pounds through my head
the sharp click of the forks against plates
and the scuff of my boots on the floor
light refracts against my eyes and my retinas cry
there's itches all over i cannot scratch
and each smell is a toxic chemical
forcing their way through slim, crowded canals,
synapses, etc.; into my throbbing head.
and all that's left is this image
and sound and smell and itch
of you making some other girl laugh,
and no matter how hard i try,
no matter how much i want to
take your hands and kiss your face,
i'm not strong enough. i can't do it.
i can't let myself go like that
without knowing
without seeing and breathing and believing
that you want it too.
you see, the problem is, when i look in your eyes,
i can't tell if it's your passion burning
or mine reflected that i see.
757 · Nov 2013
Winter Sonnet
Ellie Stelter Nov 2013
How elegant the sunshine seems
as the rain pours down on the earth!
What luminous and golden beams
shower the Southern world with mirth!

How excellent, in retrospect,
is Summer's passing glance;
how gorgeously do we reflect
upon our August dance!

Yet Winter soon will claim her own
with snow and cold grey ice,
and how I long to see my home
gleaming with the frozen lights!

Summer's a lover in a golden crown,
But Winter's a goddess in a silver shroud.
729 · Apr 2013
in chains
Ellie Stelter Apr 2013
i want to think
that i am a Creative
that i have a
Free Spirit

but
everywhere
i am
in chains.

i am a slave
to the silence
at 3 a.m.
and the way
it breathes
calm inspiration

i am a slave
to the moments
in which i feel
alive, in which
i feel the wonder
and delight
of life
flowing
through me

i am a slave
to the books
i stay up all night
reading
and the art i
take a step closer to
to breathe in
and i am a slave
to the words
that i write.
718 · Mar 2012
Today
Ellie Stelter Mar 2012
Today I am a crumpled can.
I am a satsuma left to shrivel in the sun.
I am a star gone supernova,
I implode, cave into myself
With a kind of sick brilliance.

In my holocaust of thought,
There is no peace.
There is only war.
There are only battles to be won.
I am no longer allowed to lose this race.

Normally my veins are filled with blood,
But today it is octane and oxygen
Chemicals clashing and consuming me in flame.
I am luminescent with disease.
My skin glows bright with fear.

Inside my skull, something is raging.
I keep my head down, cast my eyes to the ground,
Concentrate on forward movement.
I cannot think for all that sadness and fear.
I didn't know my eyes could hold so many tears.

Today, I am a crumpled can, a satsuma left to rot.
I sit on the sidelines and wait for my walls to give in.
Ellie Stelter Oct 2011
My father's father was never the best sort of person. Once
He gave me a necklace. It was a pink crystal
On a single black cord. I never liked it much,
And cannot say why I wore it, but I can still see
His thin frame, sick even then, with that white
Surprise of hair shooting out like a cloud from his head,
Aged eyes hidden by dark glasses (the refusal to grow old),
Folding in half to sit next to me on the robin's blue eggshell
Porch, and me rubbing my feet still against the concrete steps
As my brothers dueled with lightsabers across the dead July grass.

I can only grasp at the few other things that I remember about him-
The smell of cigarettes & alcohol clinging to the walls of the guest bedroom;
His sunken face (soul gone for hours yet);
and the oxygen machine into which he breathed his last. His funeral
was a circle of strangers, standing
Somewhere out in the woods around his jar of ashes.
Someone, probably my father, played a song on his guitar,
Bittersweet notes echoing and echoing through the September of the trees.

It's a song we sing at camp, in the summertime,
And by the time its last note is just a whisper,
I excuse myself and slip away to look up at the stars and because
I can still feel my own life force fading into the night, like his ashes-
The last fragments of a shattered life,
Left to the mercy of the northern wind.
687 · Sep 2011
Straitjacket
Ellie Stelter Sep 2011
In a city where it's all about control
The students and the teachers are the oppressed today
This entire school is just a straitjacket
Waiting to reach its fingers of conformity up and around our throats,
Waiting to twist all the differences out of us,
Waiting to write a curriculum, a test that can be taken,
One to measure our minds, our thoughts, our hearts

Don't those ******* know
It's not their job to compare us?
And besides, you can't gauge emotion
Or tell me that my heart is below average
You can't say to me that I'm not thinking properly.

*******, there's no "right thought" I can have.
It's not a matter of how much I love or who.
You can't look at me once and say you know my soul.
But you would love that, wouldn't you? You'd love
To label everything, and neatly shelve it away,
In some great and empty vault, where you'll only constrain its potential.
By writing such a test you would be condemning all of us to eternal emptiness.
A general "*******" to the superintendents of schools who are making stupid decisions without any real experience.
685 · Nov 2013
A Way (I Were)
Ellie Stelter Nov 2013
Were I a shoe, I would squeak;
For O! to have a tongue
And not be able to speak.

And were I the sea, I would roar;
From dawn to dusk, at everything,
For, being great, I'd want still more.

Were I a swallow, I'd take wing
And make sweet music till I ceased to be -
I would not be a bird who cannot sing.

And were I your heart, I'd show you to love
And teach you the ways of beautiful things,
From us here on Earth to the stars up above.

Were I a flute, were I an axe,
Were I a wish, were I the rain,
Or were I a candle, made of wax;

It matters little, it matters not;
I'd still find a way to say what I thought.
684 · Sep 2015
end-of-summer rain
Ellie Stelter Sep 2015
it’s been a night for the books
one of those times when i just
hit the ground running and forgot
how to know when to stop

now i’m riding out the edge of my last high,
working on some way to live forever tonight
at peace with where i’ve landed
proud of how i’ve handled it

driving home alone through the arboretum
rain-smell coming in through vents, and him
barely in my head anymore, shadows
of trees waving through the windows

i won’t let myself become a god
to some kid in a grown-up facade
i’m not perfect or powerful
i’m not here to be beautiful

there’s been girls and there’s been boys
and they’ve been real or they’ve been toys
but i’m letting them all go, murmuring
i won’t let myself fall in love with remembering

i want it to stick with me like those dreams
that threaten to burst the sky’s seams
hanging on my shoulders all day,
washing the real world away.

i want them to see the universes i hold in me,
i want them to need what i need,
i want to wade into the water waist-deep
and never come out, just float in the sea

as soon as we’re apart, their voices crescendo
like tidal waves from far away and long ago,
vibrations that I know are real,
but no longer care to feel.
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