Ellie Rhodes – 5 poems

Hidden Pages

            

The embroidered cover of my notebook

is freckled with tears. The little, sewn flowers

want to wilt. Each page bears the weight

of glue grasping photos, losing the corners.

            

I was queen of this cardboard box kingdom,

ruler of the folded bedspread and stacked saucepans.

But now I hide from them under a blanket

of inked letters, words indented into my skin.

Flicking through the creased pages I see

faces of summer smiles and winter grins:

ice skating, body boarding, dancing

in the park after our last exam.

These people have skated to East Anglia,

body boarded to Edinburgh, danced

to York. Where are they now? I’m invaded

by neon hair and music that makes the white

walls shudder. Words can only save me.

            

My cardboard fort has broken down,

everything put away in a room that isn’t mine.

Once stood on solid floor-boards, I’ve crumbled

onto my knees, crying into happier times

held together by ink and glue.

           

🍃

4am

            

I’m trapped in a hurricane of fairy-lights.

They twist around the room like hieroglyphics

retelling the tale of how stars

came into existence, one after the other,

until a dark valley became the night sky.

We are cloaked in the universe.

            

You adventure hourlessly in a virtual universe

my explorations are pages ignited by fairy-lights.

We’re next to each other while under different skies.

To my librarian mind, the screen prints out hieroglyphics

you know as HP bars and kill stats as you shoot another

player. His soul rises to the coded stars.

            

We forget that through the window there are stars

that are sailing on the lapping universe

while we swim in another

sea, waves of paper and screen-lights.

The ink starts to spiral into hieroglyphics;

I collapse on the duvet, facing the sky.

            

We don’t check our phones and we can’t read the sky;

our ungodly waking hour is only known to the stars.

You glare when I ask how you read those hieroglyphics

and watch you submit to the will of the universe

who tells us to turn out the lights.

We’re left silently lying next to each other.

            

This is the only time when we’re with no other—

we get to share these moments with the sky.

I can’t tell whether I’m in a room of twinkling lights

or in a duvet field under the stars.

I prefer the idea of watching the universe,

our bodies pressed into the grass like hieroglyphics.

            

I trace the patterns on your bed as if they were hieroglyphics,

your eyebrows rising like I’m from another

planet. I could be offspring of the universe

but a part of me is rooted to ground under these skies.

We’re two fallen stars,

drained of our gases, losing our lights.

Lights that have seen ancient times, the writing of hieroglyphics

and the birth of stars. Memories to no other,

            

only the sky as she watches us from her universe.

           

🍃

Roommates

            

With the rising sun your characters leap

like little flames dancing in their candles,

but the moon persuades a rapid retreat

of all that goodness into your bottles.

Vodka-scented lips let slip the evils

of the human mind; careless thoughts slither

around your dizzy bodies and strangles

your unique selves, as well as your livers.

While your blurry heads snuggle on pillows

sweat and alcohol laced into your clothes,

I’m left scrubbing regret on my tiptoes

my solace found in sticky floors and stoves.

Bitter thoughts crawl through my head at four am;

            

knowing, though pissed off, I’d do it again.

           

🍃

Poet Laureate

            

An empty word document 

tells all too much.

Letters are hieroglyphics. 

I was writing

the new Paradise Lost,

 Dulce et Decorum Est, 

a literary marvel, or

at least one more stanza.

            

Let the words move you, 

let them dance off the pen 

but the tune is a preschooler 

playing recorder first time. 

Remember your syntax, 

your rhyme scheme and verbs 

a vortex of rules: 

poetry’s ten commandments.

            

The moon invades the sky 

and peeks through my window, 

her stars read the screen 

(they seem unimpressed). 

I tell them to fuck off—

smacking the email’s send

and fall to the keyboard,

            

not quite Milton yet.

           

🍃

Distance

            

If God made me greater than any beast

then why can swallows fly and I’m not allowed?

I want wingtips that slice through endless clouds

to be above silk-like fields, pinched and creased.

Given this blessing I would not mistreat

it but use to visit the one I’m vowed

to for life, who picked me out of a crowd

to hold me through victory and defeat.

            

I still pray despairing for arrow wings,

with brick and glass and two hundred miles

between us, my frail voice lost in the winds

though it once ran through fields and over stiles.

Fate tortures me to be so determined

            

to wait for flight so I can see your smile.

           

🍃

Ellie Rhodes

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s