Poetry from Fevers of the Mind Anthologies by Ellen Kirkman

Ellen Kirkman
Your Books

Your mother invited me
to your house,
after you died. Said she wanted me
to help myself to your books.

I felt like a trespasser
intruding upon a private family affair
but she seemed comforted
to have me near.

I helped her pack
your belongings into a crate,
silently purging grief
whilst filling a box for myself.

At home, I unpack slowly
Your books smell of dog and smoke;
of wise counsel
and steadfastness in the face of adversity.

I cradle each one
as you had loved them
before giving them pride of place
upon my shelf.

Wafts of you
still linger
between the pages
and in the space that you left.

Instructions to the Artist

Paint me not as you see me
but who I am
Paint me with watercolours
that bleed,
rich colorful acrylics
covered with oil
then start again.

Paint me with words
that are misinterpreted
Lyrics not my own
but resonate with me
in festivals of dance and destruction.

Paint me in architecture
mathematically incorrect structures
that reach to the skyline
imperfect but standing tall
and proud.

Paint not what you see
But as I am.

Uniquely me.

Conformity

I will not mold
to the shape of the box
you place me in.

I am all sharp angles
and raw, jagged edges
of experience,
with deep fissures
that allow flowing currents of pain
to ooze and escape.

You cannot contain me.
No, nor smack a label
across my heart
and confess to know me.

Your Perfect Offering

These are cracks everywhere:
from the cracks in my ribs
where you pushed me away
to the migraine crack of my mind
whenever I think back on you.
I follow cracks in the pavement
that lead to your door,
cracks in the windows and the tiles on the floor
wherever there is residue
so is a footprint in the dust of you.
Some say you're in heaven now
I believe you're in hell
Every time lightning cracks the sky
the darkness lifts
the light gets in
and I know i'm doing well.

(from Avalanches in Poetry Writings & Art Inspired by Leonard Cohen)

Bio from 2019:

Ellen writes poetry, flash fiction. Links to her work can be found @poeticnihilist . In her spare time, she is a lecturer of English.