‘just good enough’ & ‘the longing is sweeter than anything’ by Ramona L. Elke

soft cartel april 2018

just good enough

It is a good time to be mediocre –
all of the best are being recalled by the Muses
or the Gods to great gatherings
to save us all from ourselves and our great disasters.

We continue to inflict ourselves upon ourselves
and refuse to learn any better –
like stubborn children
or religious zealots.

I am relieved to be mediocre
and praise my half-whispering Muses
because their withholdings keeps me safe;
greatness these days is a death sentence.

I am happy to be just good enough.

the longing is sweeter than anything

I collect longing like wells collect wishes.
I would drown face down in it
for a taste of fulfillment.
Just a taste…not too much,
the longing is sweeter than the touch.

Ramona L. Elke is a poet, playwright, and a student of belly dance who pays her bills with her skills as a history teacher/substance use counselor/poetry teacher to defiant adolescents in a small-town, British Columbia high school.  She has been practicing her poetry writing since the tender age of six years, when she was first published as the runner up in a Mother’s Day poem contest.  She has been published in the 2016 and 2017 Poetry Marathon Anthologies.  She also has a collection titled The Reluctant Daughter available on amazon.com.

‘o-o-o-open’ & ‘the devil’s in the details’ by Ramona L. Elke

soft cartel april 2018

o-o-o-open

This vacancy sign in my heart flashes like a lover’s questioning eyes
at closing time –
hopeful and desperate
for any and all contact;
need for release into unnamed desires and longing so profound
you could taste them.

It flashes:
OPEN
the “o” flickering, uncertainly…
trying to decide if it wants to be a pen
or open
or turned off like shaking hands
in back seats of cars in parking lots
as the crowds file home to sleep off the night.

This vacancy sign attracts moths, too –
flying too close to the bug zapper;
falling to their death in noisy conclusions,
scattered on the floor like a crime scene.

That’s how it is in my vacant heart:
no one gets out alive
or whole.
It’s all electricity
in pops and zaps and little explosions
bringing endless, tiny deaths.

But that’s good, right?
Clean out the riff-raff,
the hangers-on,
so that something better comes along
to see that vacancy sign beckoning to the pilgrims in the dark.

the devil’s in the details

It’s unfinished –
like someone got up from the table and left a half-eaten meal,
or left the puzzle with two pieces in their pocket,
with old receipts, or unused tickets, or lint.

There was forward motion propelling things –
maybe not us, maybe not you, but things –
forward to some predetermined finish line that must have faded or become invisible
or cancelled itself in the crossing
because it’s not there now.
I am still moving forward toward the finish line but it’s gone.

There is something incomplete in the way we faded out
to an ending or a conclusion that was inconclusive –
like so many scenes started,
doors opened,
and abandoned because the openness, somehow, became too much to hold
so they were just left lying there,
naked and hopeful,
bleeding possibility all over the place
until it faded into some kind of nothingness
that sounded like a question mark.

Ramona L. Elke is a poet, playwright, and a student of belly dance who pays her bills with her skills as a history teacher/substance use counselor/poetry teacher to defiant adolescents in a small-town, British Columbia high school.  She has been practicing her poetry writing since the tender age of six years, when she was first published as the runner up in a Mother’s Day poem contest.  She has been published in the 2016 and 2017 Poetry Marathon Anthologies.  She also has a collection titled The Reluctant Daughter available on amazon.com.

‘King David of Montreal’ by Ramona L. Elke

soft cartel april 2018

(for L. Cohen)
Sitting amongst your people on the thrown of earth,
or a wooden chair,
crowned with chestnut curls.
You, King David of Montreal, pluck your guitar,
the lyre of modern prophets,
praising the many Bathshebas and Salomés and the other sundry beauties of your bed.

You are God’s most beloved son,
with your voice of Orpheus and hands of Jesus
to heal and bind all at once –
both together.
Even in your sin you were forgiven,
all you had done in passion and greed for love of your song and your word and your touch.

Your sin built temples for those you saw coming in vision and song.
And God was pleased.
Even in your lust and acid-fuelled visions,
God was pleased and loved you best.

Your praise of flesh and spirit,
of tongue and thigh and lips
won you hearts and longing.
They quivered with the frequency of your guitar
when your fingertips caressed the strings.
And yet, God loved you best.

Your lust sanctified all comers,
healed them with your hands;
burned through the many, several excuses to not follow you to bed.
And, yet, you reached the promised land,
God’s most beloved son.

Ramona L. Elke is a poet, playwright, and a student of belly dance who pays her bills with her skills as a history teacher/substance use counselor/poetry teacher to defiant adolescents in a small-town, British Columbia high school.  She has been practicing her poetry writing since the tender age of six years, when she was first published as the runner up in a Mother’s Day poem contest.  She has been published in the 2016 and 2017 Poetry Marathon Anthologies.  She also has a collection titled The Reluctant Daughter available on amazon.com.

‘Walking in Destruction…Again’ by Ramona L. Elke

soft cartel april 2018

It’s a drag around day.
An: “I swear I had the energy a few moments ago but now it’s gone” kind of day.
A day where Frustration reigns supreme and Hope becomes the handmaiden of Despair.

It’s a “fuck all of you fucking morons,” kind of day.
A day when a torch and a sledgehammer would emblazon the flag of my nation
and the calls for freedom would be accompanied by sharp echoes of destruction:
an avalanche of collapsing concrete and shattering glass.

It’s a “well, that wasteland looks inviting,” kind of day.
A day when Solitude seduces me and the desire to punch people in their stupid faces sings so loudly through my sinews I can hear it ringing in my ears.

In a perfect world, where all of my roughness is smothered,
I wonder if I have any more “get up and go,” or if apathy hums to me until I fall, soundly to sleep.

Ramona L. Elke is a poet, playwright, and a student of belly dance who pays her bills with her skills as a history teacher/substance use counselor/poetry teacher to defiant adolescents in a small-town, British Columbia high school.  She has been practicing her poetry writing since the tender age of six years, when she was first published as the runner up in a Mother’s Day poem contest.  She has been published in the 2016 and 2017 Poetry Marathon Anthologies.  She also has a collection titled The Reluctant Daughter available on amazon.com.

‘Stepping Stones’ by Ramona L. Elke

soft cartel april 2018

These delicate stepping stones
bruise our feet from time to time.
We wander,
barefoot and blind,
over slipping, sharp surfaces
feeling ever forward –
in darkness and light –
to find firmer footing;
prayerfully nudging forward
for places to stand where the world won’t give way beneath us.

These delicate stepping stones
make us slip up,
trip up,
cut our feet,
bruise our souls,
forcing us to our knees
when we do not honour what it is to be upright at these times.
We pray for drier places to walk –
grip and grace –
but are constantly tripped up by our tears…
greasing our movement forward
until we are forced to stop,
stand still,
and weep
before stumbling forward once more.

These delicate stepping stones,
guide the soul’s way
like bread crumbs out of the forest,
routes home we could not see for searching…
illuminated by whispers of promises held in secret
only to be activated by absence –
or as a last resort to feel alive,
when all else fails to do so…
when these delicate stepping stones
can hold our souls
no more.

 

For Heather and her father

Ramona L. Elke is a poet, playwright, and a student of belly dance who pays her bills with her skills as a history teacher/substance use counselor/poetry teacher to defiant adolescents in a small-town, British Columbia high school.  She has been practicing her poetry writing since the tender age of six years, when she was first published as the runner up in a Mother’s Day poem contest.  She has been published in the 2016 and 2017 Poetry Marathon Anthologies.  She also has a collection titled The Reluctant Daughter available on amazon.com.

‘Martyrs, All’ by Ramona L. Elke

soft cartel april 2018

My sister wears my mother’s cancer like a crown of thorns,
fashioned herself,
in her tissue paper hands while she wept for the child she would never be again.
I watch from the ground and hold out my hands to catch her tears,
pulling them away at the last second,
terrified they will burn holes in my palms –
stigmata for the whole world to see what I have been working so hard to hide…
my martyrdom has been worn before now;
called out to the world and recited back to me
in angry, shouting text messages by my sister messiah,
to give her lift off her cross…
the struggle only dug the nails in deeper…
the pain more acute and exquisite.

I ran the trail of tears to the Golgotha in my back yard
to take on suffering of the dead so I didn’t have to face the dying.
…didn’t own that until now
because it’s easier to mourn strangers long dead
than to repent the pain brought to the living
and those deathbed pleas for forgiveness are so much harder to make
under duress and ignorance of what exactly forgiveness was needed for.

I will pull out the old iron maiden,
run to the hills,
leaving the crown to the bowing head of my sister.

Ramona L. Elke is a poet, playwright, and a student of belly dance who pays her bills with her skills as a history teacher/substance use counselor/poetry teacher to defiant adolescents in a small-town, British Columbia high school.  She has been practicing her poetry writing since the tender age of six years, when she was first published as the runner up in a Mother’s Day poem contest.  She has been published in the 2016 and 2017 Poetry Marathon Anthologies.  She also has a collection titled The Reluctant Daughter available on amazon.com.