A poem + art
I still look for you in the lapse
between thunder and lightning.
It’s always nothing when I stop to listen.
I still search for you in the fog by the pier.
I search for love in the ashes of old arguments.
Do you look through your old journals for me?
Do you remember me in fading words?
Maybe I’m still in the folded creases of bed sheets.
Maybe I’m still the warpath on your lips.
Please tell me I’m not the tremble of your hand.
I can’t stand to be the midnight hour.
a first down.
Then a friend loses half their heart months later.
Then another friend, then another.
Four romances buried in six months time.
Makes me wonder what the fuck’s happened to modern love.
Another friend cries she can never make her parents proud,
no matter what good she does.
Searching again. We’re all lost and searching again.
No path. No destination. All our futures stolen from us.
So we’re smoking, fucking the wrong people,
drinking rough oceans.
We’re crying and wiping each other’s tears.
We’re drowning while keeping each other above water.
The other day I stopped a friend from making the mistake
I almost did
when a friend stopped me from taking.
Instead I spent the night walking the cold street.
I needed air. I needed air.
Four months later, drunk and in pain,
I made love to the first girl not you.
All tongue and regret and nothing else.
I’ve been doing lines hoping you appear by the end of them.
I’m looking for hallucinations and escapes.
Through gums I’m looking for an end and a beginning.
Breathing in and speeding out,
I’m taking life in and leaving love out.
You know what that’s like, you know what that’s like,
always taking doubt in and leaving me out.
These blue strings are thinning,
all fading and nothing else.
but I want this.
I need you all at once even if you’re too much.
I’m holding out for hallucinations and escapes.
Somewhere there’s an end but I know somewhere there’s a beginning.
But I’m afraid I’ll die here and realize
you’ve appeared at the end of none of my lines.
Young and on the road, driving, driving…
road trips and new cities.
Looking for unforgettable stories that shroud.
The dust of reminiscing trails.
Kids dealing with life. Kids dealt shitty hands in smoky casinos.
Betrayal in breakups, shitty parents. Escaping. Escaping…
Sad how we don’t think there’ll be healing for ourselves,
yet we tell each other “be strong, be strong,
the days go on and so do you.”
I hope we’re wrong about ourselves.
I hope one day we can all be in our sixties.
We’ll smile and say we made it, we survived.
I wish then to say we visited homes, not graves.
It gets harder every day, but it gets easier all the same.
Elijah Noble El is an award-winning actor, director, and writer from Livonia, Michigan. The author of The Age of Recovery (2015), a full-length debut poetry book. He is the co-founder and chief film curator of Girls Don’t Cry, the film division of Persephone’s Daughters, a literary magazine dedicated to empowering women who have experienced various forms of abuse and degradation. His work has been featured in Straylight Magazine, Hooligan Magazine, Persephone’s Daughters, Exist Magazine, Soul Anatomy, Eastern Michigan University’s Inkstains Anthology, and in Stevenson Spectrum.