Literary Yard

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‘I’m in Love with Walt Whitman’ and other poems

By: Ellison Henderson

I’m in Love with Walt Whitman

What an idea! That one can be a ruler of life.
It’s possible to exist and dance and be
in a field of nothing but grass and wind
I want—I will be the one to conquer
a monstrous world; my beastly life
if only by way of the most barbaric yawp.

This is my dance!
I’m taking it as my own,
I’ll revel in magic my own,
swim in puddles of hope,
dance barefooted in light of my making
slowly, long enough to gather rosebuds,
to hold my own body close.

I’ll lead myself through until my knees give out,
falling in the field where grass tickles my neck,
cheeks burning from giddy girlish laughter,
mind empty, present, and existing only here.

stupid girl

searching for someone to save her; pity her
stand before her and watch her body break
to shatter into girl-shaped shrapnel

go forward
as if you’ve a life to live.
forward like there’s magic in your hands
you’ve been struck by glory, impaled by might

little girl
save yourself; find your fire
dig deep into the earth and become
yes, you are alive, but where has that gotten you?
you must do more; be more
where does existing become living?

go forward
dig deeper and deeper; find what life has to give
so far, you come up with handfuls of gold
go to the woods because you wish to live

Thou Shalt Not Covet

Kiss me finally,
all over with such patient love.
Freckle my skin with reasons to live.
Living is an act of love in itself
for my own self
for my sister I wouldn’t dare to leave behind
I hope one day her joy
her lust for another day
bites me deep,
infects me with an agonizing mortality.
I want nothing more than to want it.
Why are death and I such close friends?

The Devil Does the Foxtrot

figs battery acid lilac dust
licked dew from the tips of leaves
fog covered hills
sweat glistens across the brow

I feel it bubbling down
boiling the skin on my neck
anxiety lust fear darkness salvation
terrifying but true
I’m alone
left to dance with the devil
he bought me a new pair of dancing shoes

do you hear the bells ringing?
a cello in the moonlight
even as I sleep, I sway
step by step
my feet followed shadows in the sun

pale skin on the bottom of my toes
burns on the asphalt, crushes into the gravel
I take a step away,
The hand on my back,
fingers trailing the back of my neck
lead me closer to coals
to dance across the flames

his eyes burn
glowing in the red yellow orange blue
beautiful wonderful hideous
I am not afraid
that is why I am terrified
I am a pyromaniac
Revel in salvation

Jekyll and Hyde

I wish I loved you,
there isn’t much to say other than that.
you’re my body my soul my essence
I should be struck down at the sight of you
your eyes chin shoulders fingers thighs toes
I hope you know that I try
I hope you know
not loving you is not a choice I make
If I could choose, you’d be the sun
and all I’d be is a planet drawn so close
I’m ash I’m nothing I’m dust

Oh god I wish that I loved you
I wish there were days I didn’t want you dead
I wish I looked into the future, and I saw you
instead of some blank space where you might have been
I wish I looked at you
and saw what we’re supposed to look like
I can hardly meet your eyes
Instead, I hurry past, and through the door.

Are we not meant to be? I ask myself too often,
staring at the glow-in-the-dark stars stuck to my ceiling
Am I not your reflection? Are you not my soul?
Maybe those stars are us,
Reaching out our hands so intensely
no matter how hard we try or how far we reach
our fingertips just barely brush
then you twinkle, going dim for a second do long,
my hand has fallen away

Honestly, I really wish that I loved you
The stars are beautiful
The moon is huge and white
Only, I’m standing next to a streetlamp
and the stars aren’t so bright where I am
I turn my head to the ground and continue to walk.

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