Pretend Lovers

I want you to unwrap me;
I want to see your eyes smile
As you discover everything that was too much, or too little, for the others
And say I am exciting, I am yours, I am worth it.

I don’t want you to know me;
I don’t want you to see my darkness, my pain, the monsters I hide.
Stop, don’t come any closer, don’t become one of them,
Let’s stay away from each other.

Be a stranger to me, as I am to you.
Be a mystery to me, as I wish I were to you.
Look at me as if I am a perfect, new me.
Don’t say anything. Don’t ruin it.

This time is not ours.
I borrow your scent, and drink from the thought of you
But this is me, and I cannot live off of this.
A voice in me relentlessly whispers, chastises, condemns.

I’ll quit while there is still some memory to smile about,
Before you tire of my whimpering,
Before my conscience starts winning,
Before my shine is dulled and I blow my cover.


The Struggle/ Istorbo Ka

The pen is back.

The pen is back.

To Have and Not to Hold

In between your coming and your going I struggle

To be kind to myself,

And recall at which point precisely did I open the

Unguarded gates of my heart

To your impermanent but decidedly charming affections.


Was it the jokes, the banter,

The immediate exchange of thoughts and pasts,

As if we had known each other for years?

Did I know before I actually saw you that

You would disturb my already cluttered mind?


Were you playing one of your games

And did I lose again, unaware of the rules,

Or of the fact that I was taking part in it?

I want to go back and talk to myself

And warn her against you.


For what I found irresistible I now

Doubt as mere generic kindness

And an occasional exercise of your flirting muscles.

My only wish is that you do not deny

Any part that you took in this whole mess.


There must be a room somewhere

Where I can review not the events but your thoughts,

Your motivations, your real reactions.

For I heard what I wanted to hear,

And it was that you liked what you saw in me.


Now, fogged still by emotions stirred

That were long thought dead or protected,

I hear soundbites that pierce rather than comfort.

I remember the ending, the cold distancing,

And the washing of the hands.


You who wooed but insisted it was part of the plan,

To whom I acquiesced, too naïve to resist,

You swept me off my feet then put me down.

Such actions should be criminalized, and your punishment:

Severe and permanent solitary confinement.


If you were surprised how fast I developed

A liking for our uninterrupted conversations and our

Seemingly mutual joy at each discovery about the other,

Let me assure you that it struck me as odd too.

I watched myself fall as if I had never been vigilant of such madness before.


It is up to me I know to uplift my spirits

And believe that you had genuine care and concern for my feelings,

But I have not as yet developed the wings for such freedom.

We acted the way we said men and women often do:

Women feel. Men flee.


I will not apologize for not knowing

That I would be this vulnerable,

And I should accept your refusal to participate anymore.

But give me the space to remember

That once, you found me beautiful.




There is a huge imbalance between our time together

And the depth of my reaction;

It surprised me.


There is a massive disproportion between my letter

And your reply.

It hurt me.


There is a great inconsistency between your words

And your actions-

It confused me.


There is a mammoth mistake that I owned

And you did not,

It left me cold.


There is a mountain of truths I must climb

And you refuse to-

It seems unfair.


There is a terrifying distance

Between you and me.

It emptied me.



Smooth Talker

Smooth Talker

There and not there
In the space where I thought I had met you,
I have found a pebble.
All my love reduced to a pebble.
Unlike some people, I refuse to talk to a pebble.

Sometimes I see shadows moving,
hear voices whispering,
and think, My rescuers have come.
With tools and spectacles, they study the pebble,
which I insist is not mine, and they leave.

I have memories in chaos.
Words, songs, scenes, moments:
All mishandled; best forgotten.
I look for recognition, and ask
If you have left the key with me.

You made me see beyond this space and time,
Challenged me to reach,
Encouraged me to leap,
And left me in the air.
I should not be so surprised.

With teetering faith and questions upon questions,
I walk back and forth.
Your pebble is a smooth pendant I hang on my neck,
A rock weighing me down,
The universe outside of me.

I am at once a feeling being,
Exposed for the world to see,
And I am free.
What can a pebble do to me?

— Ella,  July 29, 2009

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