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Elle Wonders

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Reading of From the Beehive

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Reading of Sauveour

Reading of The Albatross

Reading of Swell

Reading of Spare Time

Lionsteeth

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Lionsteeth by Elle Wonders

Acrylic. Canvas panel. 8×10.

 

©Elle Wonders 2017

The Middlemost Winter

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The Middlemost Winter by Elle Wonders

 

Acrylic. Canvas panel. 11×14.

 

©Elle Wonders 2017

Wrath of Saint Flannon

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Wrath of Saint Flannon by Elle Wonders

Acrylic. Stretched canvas. 11×14.

©Elle Wonders 2017

Blink

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Blink by Elle Wonders

Acrylic. Canvas panel. 12×12.

 

©Elle Wonders 2017

The Midlands

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The Midlands by Elle Wonders

Acrylic. Canvas panel. 11×14.

©Elle Wonders 2017

 

The Kelpie of River Spey

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The Kelpie of River Speyer by Elle Wonders

Acrylic. Canvas panel. 11×14.

 

©Elle Wonders 2017

Bird’s Eye

 

Bird's Eye
Bird’s Eye by Elle Wonders

Acrylic. Canvas panel. 12×12

 

©Elle Wonders 2017

Many Moons Ago

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Many Moons Ago by Elle Wonders

Acrylic. Gallery wrapped canvas. 18×24

 

©Elle Wonders 2017

Tethered by Gravity

Excerpt from my novel, “Little Hollows Beckon”:

“When he opened his eyes, there were tears. He tightened his grip around my waist and pulled me in close, coaxing my thigh around his hip. Together we wept for the trials we had faced, and the gratitude we both felt for not being alone in it. We wept for the feelings of hope we had secretly harbored, and the possibility that happiness was something we could both have — something we could give each other. With lips nearly touching, we whispered the things that had gone unsaid, tethered only by the gravity of having found something so impossibly grand.”

Après la Danse

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Après la Danse by Elle Wonders

Acrylic. Canvas panel. 16×20

 

©Elle Wonders 2017

 

A Dot Without Memory

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A Dot Without Memory by Elle Wonders

 

Acrylic. Canvas panel. 16×20

©Elle Wonders 2017

This Is Only A Test

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This Is Only A Test by Elle Wonder

Acrylic. Canvas panel. 11×14.

©Elle Wonders 2017

Radiohead

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Radiohead by Elle Wonders

Acrylic. Canvas panel. 11×14.

 

©Elle Wonders 2017

The Timekeeper

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The Timekeeper by Elle Wonders

Acrylic. Canvas panel. 11×14.

 

©Elle Wonders 2017

La Limoncella

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La Limoncella by Elle Wonders
Acrylics. Canvas panel. 12×12

 

 

©Elle Wonders 2017

The Path of the Ladybird

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Photo of Elle Wonders by E. Andreas

A ladybird lands

In Constantinople

Cover Design Mockup for Travel Memoir

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Cover Design Mockup for Novel

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Hollow Tree at Lanhydrock

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Photo by Peter Levers

When I think of little hollows, I think of a hollow in a tree, or in a thicket of brush. I think of the slight concave area just above a hip, or collar bone. The dip at the top of a man’s shoulder, or the soft depression at the top of a woman’s inner thigh. But I also think of the hollow places we all have inside us, that most will never see. Those small voids that become full when we experience extraordinary love, and intense connection. These are the hollows that draw us in, and make us seek ways to fit together.

This stunning photo is by photographer Peter Levers. It is very similar to the image I have in my mind when writing Little Hollows Beckon, and it captures the mood of my story incredibly well.

Song of Ulysses

This is my first attempt to write song lyrics. I adapted the lyrics from an earlier poem of mine called Odysseus Untied, which is an adaptation of The Odyssey. The lyrics should be sung to the tune of this Blues song by Gus Cannon (1929).

 

Song of Ulysses

 

He hears me callin’, from my verdant well,

He hears me callin’, from deep down where I dwell,

He crosses oceans, for reasons men can’t quell.

 

From my deep waters, I rise to timbered walls,

From wine-dark waters, he listens for my call,

His arms around me, he knows his siren’s song.

 

My body’s swayin’, I’m rockin’ side to… I’m rockin’ side to side,

I hear him prayin’, he grips me so damn tight,

Now watch me buckle, he does it oh so right.

 

Against our current, I catch his achin’… I catch his achin’ voice,

Against the current, I hear his yearnin’ voice,

He tries to fight it, but knows he has no choice.

 

He heard me callin’, from my verdant well,

He heard me callin’, from deep down where I dwelled,

He crossed the ocean, under my siren spell.

 

Where Echoes Lie

green-cape-with-raven
Artwork by E. Andreas

Excerpt from Little Hollows Beckon:

I stopped when I heard the echo. I held my breath and listened to what sounded like my own weeping. Confused, I opened my eyes and looked around. The raven was perched behind me on the piano, imitating my cries.

Once he had my attention, the pattern of the vocalizations changed, and the tone became deeper and more resonant. It sounded raw and aching. I shivered when I recognized the raven’s new mimicry. It was the same sound I was making last night.

“Jamieson,” I whispered. It wasn’t a question. I was telling him I knew.

Little Hollows Beckon

 

Synopsis

 

After years spent rebuilding her life, Willa Hawthorne feels like things are finally moving forward again. With a successful gallery exhibit behind her and a second collection underway, she’s making a name for herself in the art world. But shortly after becoming engaged to Evan Mercer, the handsome attorney who’s everything Willa could want in a man, she realizes she hasn’t truly gotten over her old boyfriend, Jamieson Corbin. With an uncanny sense of timing, Jamieson returns and pushes his way back into Willa’s life. Her lover’s reappearance not only threatens her relationship with Evan, but the sheer madness of it challenges Willa’s sanity, because there’s an impossible catch: Jamieson has been dead for three years.

From a small idyllic town in Upstate New York to a remote hamlet in the Highlands of Scotland, Willa embarks on a provocative journey of love and betrayal with an unforeseen ally. When the two of them discover long hidden secrets of Corbin Family folklore, they are beckoned to a place where light and darkness intersect, and spiritual boundaries are redrawn. After unearthing painful truths from the past, Willa must reexamine everything she believes about life and death and find a passage that connects the two worlds.

The Cocoon on Glasgow Street

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Photo by Elle Wonders  –  Amish Country, Ontario Canada.

The first time I heard the song “Hey There Delilah,” it was playing on the radio, in my little blue rental car. It was Sunday morning, and I was packing up the Toyota Yaris in Jack’s driveway, rushing to get to the airport in Toronto to catch my flight home.

Jack was busy writing down driving directions on a very small sheet of memo paper, because I realized I had no idea how to get back to the city from his house on Glasgow Street. I leaned against the driver’s side door and watched as Jack concentrated on writing. The sun had turned his hair blonder than ever and it was still tousled from the night before. I reached out and rested my hand on his arm, trying to memorize how it felt when our skin touched. He looked up and smiled because he knew.

I looked around one last time and thought about how much I would miss Waterloo and this old historic house that had become our cocoon for the past ten days. The overgrown vegetable garden, our large sleeping nest in the living room, the bright yellow kitchen where we sang Bob Marley songs while making enormous batches of homemade guacamole, leaving the entire city without avocados.

I thought about our leisurely drive out to Amish Country and how we stopped at a farm to buy peaches. I photographed the Amish family who sold us fresh produce from a large wooden wagon, as their overdressed children ran through waist-high, 19th century fields.

I thought back on the days we spent camping on the dunes of Lake Erie. How we swam all day in the warm waves of that vast lake and then sunned our wet, tired bodies on faded towels. We were so content lying side by side on the shore, pretending that our days weren’t numbered.

I thought of our last evening at the lake and how we relaxed on the beach in our camp chairs. Our feet sunk into the warm sand as we drank the last two cold bottles of Corona from the cooler. The water was calm and our world was right, until the conversation changed gears. Jack started arguing about child labor laws and the gross injustice of retail clothing stores, and sweat factories. In the end, he stormed off, leaving me with a half-finished bottle of warm Corona in my hand and feeling a bit homesick.

Jack was ten years younger than me. He was not long out of college and was still at the age where he thought he could change the world. I loved that about him, but his strong opinions were sometimes a point of contention. So when he didn’t return after our argument, I packed up the folding chairs and walked back to our campsite, seeking refuge from the now swarming mosquitoes. Meanwhile, Jack walked inland and meandered through trails of low brush, strolling obliviously past the numerous signs that warned of dangerous parasites and the high threat of lime disease. Just after dark, he showed up at our tent with an apology and a tick. Once the small bloodsucking insect was killed, I calmed down and we made up.

When we woke the next morning, we saw that Jack had also brought poison ivy back with him to the tent, because two oval rashes appeared on the insides of my thighs. Within a few weeks the rashes healed, but the poison ivy left scars. Six months later the scars were completely gone. I cried the day I noticed their absence.

“Hey there Delilah, don’t you worry about the distance, I’m right there if you get lonely, give this song another listen, close your eyes… I’m by your side.” We said our aching goodbyes and with a brave smile I backed out of the gravel driveway. With a heavy heart, Jack waved as I left our cocoon and eased my way back into the world he helped me put back together. And as promised, he was there by my side, every time I closed my eyes and visited Glasgow Street.

Ode to a Corbie

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Photo of E. Wonders by E. Andreas  –  Artwork by HenriAltersLife

 

Ode to a Corbie

 

Swift an’ black, wi’ feaithers sleek

He looms atop th’ branches.

Wi’ time, an’ tide, an’ moors sae bleak

His battered sool, entrances.

 

Mirk ushers in, oan corbie wings

Deid silence. Ah wait an’ listen.

Fur th’ lest c-r-r-r-ruuuck! tae me, he sings

Passion stirs, an’ mah een, they glisten.

 

A yearnin’ quaver, rises up frae th’ glens

Roosed by his calls, his tooch, an’ his need.

Frae his swellin’ soonds, a’m oan edge, he kens

Fur his keen, whetted glances, Ah heed.

 

When love’s een close, nae glancin’ back

Yit charms an’ spells sometimes daur.

With his unearthly grasp, Ah shaa ne’er lack

Each other’s longings an’ vices, we baur.

 

Th’ sharp, duple pitch, shaa ne’er be far

Fur oor wayward ambition, lies a nether.

Mooths against skin, mak’ e’erlastin’ scars

Stronger than time, is oor tether.

Tho ne’er was he, a raven pure an’ reit,

Forever blows th’ win’ thru mah bones.

A new wicked yearnin’ micht willin’ tak’ flight

Upon th’ day, his black heart, atones.

 

© Elle Wonders – 2016

 


 

Ode to a Corbie (English Translation)

 

Swift and black, with feathers sleek

He looms, atop the branches.

With time, and tide, and moors so bleak

His battered soul, entrances.

 

The dark ushers in, on corbie wings

Dead silence. I await, and listen.

For the last C-r-r-r-ruuuck! to me, he sings

Passion stirs, and my eyes, they glisten.

 

A yearning quaver, rises up from the glens

Roused by his calls, his touch, and his need.

From his swelling sounds, I’m on edge, he kens

For his keen, whetted glances, I heed.

 

When love’s eyes close, no glancing back

Yet charms, and spells, sometimes dare.

With his unearthly grasp, I shall never lack

Each other’s longings, and vices, we bare.

 

The sharp, duple pitch, shall never be far

For our wayward ambition, lies a nether.

Mouths against skin, make everlasting scars

Stronger than time, is our tether.

 
Though never was he, a raven pure and right

Forever blows, the wind thru my bones.

A new wicked yearning, might willing take flight

Upon the day, his black heart, atones.

 

© Elle Wonders – 2016

 

 

Visual Stories

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Artwork by HenriAltersLife

 

Kidnapped for the Ages

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Photo of Elle Wonders by E. Andreas  –  Artwork by HenriAltersLife

“Because she was the trigger, the bullet and the gun.”

-E. Wonders, Dirty Little Shrine

Inside a Nocturne

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Photo of Elle Wonders by E. Andreas  –  Artwork by HenriAltersLife

 

“The sound of it opened a new world inside her heart, and it swallowed her whole, from the inside out.”

-E. Wonders

The Path of the Not Undeserving

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Photo of Elle Wonders by E. Andreas  –  Artwork by HenriAltersLife

 

He wanders down the path for the not undeserving, to a place where sometimes is enough. A place where electricity surges and hums through his chest, as the yellow light filters down through the canopy, glimmering like a bright spirit who understands – one of the happy few.

-E. Wonders, The Dirty Little Shrine

Into Darkness

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Photo of Elle Wonders by E. Andreas – Artwork by HenriAltersLife

 

Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there, wondering, fearing, doubting, dreaming dreams no mortal ever dared to dream before.

– Edgar Allan Poe

 

The Weight of Want

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Photo of Elle Wonders by E. Andreas  –  Artwork by HenriAltersLife

 

“He draws a pastèque bath in a large wooden tub, and they sit nestled in bunches of melon, crushed under the weight of want.”

– E. Wonders, The Dirty Little Shrine

Le Bzou

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Photo of Elle Wonders by E. Andreas   –   Artwork by HenriAltersLife

Et que ce n’est pas chose étrange
S’il en est tant que le loup mange.
Je dis le loup, car tous les loups
Ne sont pas de la mesme sorte :
Il en est d’une humeur accorte,
Sans bruit, sans fiel et sans couroux,
Qui, privez, complaisans et doux,
Suivent les jeunes demoiselles
Jusque dans les maisons, jusque dans les ruelles.
Mais, hélas. Qui ne sçait que ces loups doucereux
De tous les loups sont les plus dangereux.

-Charles Perrault

 

Umbra

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Photo of Elle Wonders by E. Andreas   –   Artwork by HenriAltersLife

It came in rushes, then slowed – that longing for a place that wasn’t enough. Her skin glowed around his shadow, and with her ear to his heart, she let it pulse.

– Elle Wonders, Pour Mon Bzou

Alteration

Hygrangea
Photo of Elle Wonders by E. Andreas

 

A new bud darkens.
Engulfing heartache blossoms,
Altering a mind.

-E. Wonders

 

Found

 

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Photo of Elle Wonders by E. Andreas – Artwork by HenriAltersLife

 

“It’s evening in the morning when he finds his dirty little shrine. She is surrounded by torches that coax the truth like he coaxes the sound that her tongue cannot make.”

– E. Wonders, The Dirty Little Shrine

Awakening

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Photo of Elle Wonders by E. Andreas   –   Artwork by HenriAltersLife

 

“The forest is dark and damp, and she feels the soft, loamy earth underneath her. The night brings them fear, and awakening, and a language that has no home.”

-Elle Wonders, The Dirty Little Shrine

A Life Ephemeral

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Photo of Elle Wonders by E. Andreas   –   Artwork by HenriAltersLife

 

“It was a trap, but not a trap. It was an epoch of abundance. An embarrassment of words…”

-Elle Wonders, Pour Mon Bzou.

Mon Coeur

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Photo of Elle Wonders by E. Andreas  –  Artwork by HenriAltersLife

Mapa da Boa (The Good Map)

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Detail from the 1502 Cantino Planisphere

She guides him to shore, at the south end of the archipelago, and he uncovers the map in a place where beauty never lies. “There is a very thin line that sometimes I fail to see,” he tells her, and slowly he builds a bridge between what he feels and what he understands. Together they will travel there and back again.

She wriggles her bottom into the cool sand and encourages the fray at the hem of her skirt, as she watches him smooth the delicate bronze surface. His eyes dance as he tries to decipher each symbol, and his hands trace each line of longitude and latitude, pausing at the places where they meet, and she unravels.

It’s a map not unlike other maps, but his hands are methodical, and his gaze pushes deep. His heavy heart pours over every inch, and he sees what others haven’t. “I know I shouldn’t say, but, your eyes…” he tells her. “I have to focus, to not get lost.” The way he says it, makes other men sound hollow, like conch shells. Disoriented, but trusting, he tucks her voice into his shirt pocket to be his compass. “Keep helping me, woman,” he whispers along with her soft sounds.

At ten paces away he already misses her scent. Her thoughts. The way his hands might rest on her hips. “Keep me close,” she calls to him. “Yes, I’ll keep you,” he informs her as he rolls up his sleeves, “But only the brave dares into the unknown, seeking the new.” She carries his words to the far corner of the map, where she bathes.

She soaks in the current, and he notices that when she’s silent, she looks down to her right, to wonder. His attentive grasp makes her cheeks blush rouge and she casts her eyes downward, in her favorite cardinal direction. “Also…” he adds, “Your lips… they tremble slightly before you bite them.” Flustered, she says it’s the biting that makes her lips tremble, not the other way around. “That, I do not know,” he muses. “I saw it not just once, and possibly more than twice – but I know you do not tremble for the casual.”

***

When daybreak comes, he feels naked, and yet there are still many miles between them. “Be as good as you’d like to for me,” he tells her. She warms, and in her mind she is good. “You have my full attention,” she tells him, but his coyness makes him look away, and so she does the same for him, giving him a place to be. “No, keep watching,” he tells her. “The shyness will leave, and then something else will arrive.” He sees a wave of tension wash over her. “Don’t be afraid of me,” he implores. “Let me be afraid of me.” But she wasn’t afraid of him. She was afraid of the things that were not him. But as always, the gap was still there, and the bridge was not yet built. What was the catalyst? He did not know, but it was undeniably happening.

“Three senses to go,” he reminds her, and she imagines checking off each box. “I could kiss you goodbye now,” he mused. “Both sides. Left, and right.” But, would that be both taste and touch? Neither of them ask out loud. “A good kiss can stop a clock. And a heart,” she whispers over his shoulder, and over the sound of the empty shells. “Find me soon,” she tells him. “I’ve found you once already,” he reminds her.

She is the last thing he thinks of when drifting off, the first thing when he wakes, and everything in between. He wishes he would have murmured these things into her ear, while still in the place of half-sleep, but now he can only tell her with his eyes. “You should have looked for me there,” she speaks to his silence. “That’s where you would have found me.”

He looks East then West, and wonders how often she must get lost. How many times must he continue to find her? “I believe you are always found. I just happen to tell you,” he assures her, resting his cheek against her forehead, “But those things that I find with you, are sometimes almost unbearable.”

“But do you enjoy the unbearable?” she asks, hopeful. “I want whatever can be,” he confesses. “Both the affliction and the cure.” His words rang in her chest, and it took her back to where she dwells –amidst the push and pull, the call and response. It was their dance, and they moved with the tides. “But the details, how they slay!” she wails, as the first one struck deep. It made her legs buckle, and brought her to her knees, in the wet sand. He’s fond of reciprocation, you see.

***

He reads the map when she sleeps, and then reads it again. When he awakens her, they begin to build a confessional from all that they have. A sacred place, where words can be stripped bare. A sanctuary for thirst and ambition. “How long can you wait?” he asks. Her heartbeat matches his pauses, because never is too long. “If you stare like that, not long at all,” she replies with eyes blazing aquamarine.

At nightfall, they cross a bridge into their place of abandon, where she confesses, and he absolves her eager heart, again and again, in a language not her own. He will demand more confessions until his head swims in them, because he is her salve, and she is his Isolde.

He reminds her that absolution does not come without sacrifice, and peril, so she stands close to the wall of inhibition – their own prime meridian – and she understands what she must relinquish in order to give. “Come closer, still. Tell me dearly,” he whispers urgently until she leans in far, and shows him those unwritten parts of the map. He kisses every scar, and they bless the darkness that shields them. They vow to never find their way back.

“Do you love me in these hours?” she asks, as he re-discovers each region. “I don’t know time with you,” he tells her. “You are always with me, whether you want it or not. You are now forever responsible for what you have tamed, and what you have set free.”

When the fever dissipates, he watches with graceful sorrow, as she wades out far into the wine-dark sea, and turns to look back at him. “I will find you,” he assures her. “I always do.”

© Elle Wonders 2009–2016

 

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Mapa da Boa, by Elle Wonders. Acrylics. Canvas panel. 11×14.

Sanctuary

Castle photo with copyright
Photo of Elle Wonders by E. Andreas   –   Artwork by HenriAltersLife

 

“When he awakens her, they begin to build a confessional from all that they have. A sacred place, where words can be stripped bare. A sanctuary for thirst and ambition.”

– Elle Wonders, Mapa da Boa.

La Chambre du Poète

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Photo of Elle Wonders by E. Andreas   –   Artwork by HenriAltersLife

 

Betrayal

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Photo of Elle Wonders by E. Andreas   –   Artwork by HenriAltersLife

 

 

Excerpt from Pour Mon Bzou:

“A blaze of epiphany. Like baneberries in dim light, he could not have imagined the whites of her eyes. Her stare caught his flaws, like fireflies in a bell jar, and his good fortune wandered off like a gypsy.”

 

The Fire Begins

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Photo of Elle Wonders by E. Andreas   –   Artwork by HenriAltersLife

 

 

Excerpt from The Dirty Little Shrine:

“She sees the hunger in his face, but not in his heart, because like the sound on her tongue, it has been hidden. “If my heart was pulled out of my chest and put, beating, in front of you, would you know what it wants?” he asks. Look how easily he betrays his heart for her, ripping it out of his chest like an Aztec god. She just nods as they sit in their dinner bath, and play like warriors, and he sees how her fire begins in her mouth. Like a dragon.

And there was feeling back in his chest.”

 

Pour Mon Bzou

final bzou art with copyright
Photo of Elle Wonders by E. Andreas   –   Artwork by HenriAltersLife

 

It came in rushes, then slowed – that longing for a place that wasn’t enough. Her skin glowed around his shadow, and with her ear to his heart, she let it pulse.

It was a trap, but not a trap. It was an epoch of abundance. An embarrassment of words, tongues, and gods; all of them unforgiving. Déshabiller du regard. Je veux te déshabiller du regard. She didn’t know if her tongue could do that. If a tongue can be a god, is that too much? There is no too much.

His hands were his method of divination. His words fluttered, and threatened. How did he plan to betray her, if not like that? She would no longer be his, this man who ruled with an iron wand.

Oceans closed.

“Crush my enemies, and I’ll revere you,” he told her, but he was his only enemy, and it kept her wakeful. “Do I have to send you to bed, L’Aigle Noir?”

They shot glances at each other like arrows, daring the other not to flinch, and succumb to their story; a tale that weaved blades of dry grass through fear, then arousal, then back to fear again. How can you know what makes a spirit burn? To not feel the sting is either very lucky, or unlucky. She changed her mind often.

He discovered there was a word she did not have, so he tried to teach her. Elle est troublante – like a volcano blooming. “Can a volcano bloom?” This was the afterthought, as he watched her float across the horizon.

And so they waited. Delayed. Paused. But didn’t postpone. Never that. They played at the edge, getting closer and closer. There was falling and catching. There was stumbling.  Tu me manques. J’ai envie de toi. J’ai envie de te toucher.

He kept track, and she lost track. When the strands were drawn together, they forgot so that they could start again. They wanted to get lost and not find their way back. But they weren’t too far gone. They were barely far enough. But alas, they arrived at a spark, unwavering, and dense.

Time stopped.

“It’s as if you are missing a heart,” she told him. “You can share however you’d like to share, but do share.”

“There is no hiding. I am missing a heart,” he said. “We were fledglings, unwise, and now we’re worse. I could die any minute. That I do not want, except a little; la petit mort.” How quickly they hatched, matured, mated, and perished. A life ephemeral.

A blaze of epiphany. Like baneberries in dim light, he could not have imagined the whites of her eyes. Her stare caught his flaws, like fireflies in a bell jar, and his good fortune wandered off like a gypsy.

“I felt it,” he professed, “but I kept it deep down in my heart where it’s dark, and didn’t tell you.”

She kept walking, and didn’t look back to see the anguish and devilry that lit up his face.

“Like you said,” he called after her, “Pour mon bzou.”

 

 

© Elle Wonders 2009–2016

 

 

Around Ireland with an Englishman and a Potato

PicMonkey CollageGenre: Memoir/Satire

Synopsis

 

In her early forties, during a period of restlessness, Elle Wonders narrowly escapes a mid-life crisis by planning not one, but three trips to Europe. After two back-to-back vacations, first to England, and then to Norway, Elle embarks on a ten day road trip around Ireland and Northern Ireland with her favorite Englishman and their newly adopted potato. This sometimes witty and poignant memoir chronicles the many shenanigans they attend to in country pubs, old graveyards, and long winding roads that inevitably lead to stinging nettles and a cuppa tea.

In their quest for freedom and alcohol, and with nary a travel itinerary or GPS in site, Elle and Pierre (her very English traveling companion with a French name) navigate their way past real-life zombies, stressful roundabouts, and locals who insist on telling them six irrelevant stories when all they want is directions to a nearby petrol station before their rental car runs out of fuel (and Pierre runs out of bacon flavored crisps).

In typical style, the exasperating pair spend their days on the open road quarreling over the rules of food-ordering etiquette, and the proper way to read (and fold) a genuine, paper road map. They narrowly escape a run-in with traveler-folk, stumble upon a stampede of (semi) wild sheep, and very nearly steal the sweetest dog ever from a small village beach. But they experience true enlightenment during a long, drunken night in Galway, where in a seemingly normal pub, they encounter evil fiddlers who play never-ending songs and an assortment of old Irish men who distract Elle with non-stop dancing while their sons plot marriage proposals.

By the time this journey of madness and delight comes to an end, the exhausted duo discover the secret to cross-cultural friendship, the value of rust-free water, and the fact that petrol stations that sell bonafide Irish potatoes is what you will find at the end of a rainbow.

Oh, and there may or may not be a bit of nudity along the way. And quite possibly crown theft, leprechauns, and a small amount of crying. But not necessarily in that order.

 

 

© Elle Wonders 2009–2016

Silver Vine

Silver Vine
Photo of Elle Wonders by E. Andreas

 

Cross-Pollination

Cross-Pollination
Photo of Elle Wonders by E. Andreas

 

Mon Coeur, Que le Diable l’emporte

elle rouge photo
Photo of Elle Wonders by E. Andreas   –   Artwork by HenriAltersLife

 

C’est Lou qu’on la nommait

Il est des loups de toute sorte
Je connais le plus inhumain
Mon cœur que le diable l’emporte
Et qu’il le dépose à sa porte
N’est plus qu’un jouet dans sa main

Guillaume Apollinaire (1880 – 1918)

There are wolves of all kind.
I know the most inhuman.
My heart, the devil takes,
and deposits at his door,
is no more than a toy in his hand.

 

The Dirty Little Shrine

elle rouge photo
Photo of Elle Wonders by E. Andreas   –   Artwork by HenriAltersLife

 

He wanders down the path for the not undeserving, to a place where sometimes is enough. A place where electricity surges and hums through his chest, as the yellow light filters down through the canopy, glimmering like a bright spirit who understands – one of the happy few.

And there were oceans.

It’s evening in the morning when he finds his dirty little shrine. She is surrounded by torches that coax the truth like he coaxes the sound that her tongue cannot make. He says they are hidden, but she says they are gone. So they sit on a bed of pine needles, and he tells her their story. Her mouth glows with the light of her mind, and his words unlock a vertigo that makes her want to jump. He sees movement in her eyes, but she doesn’t run. “The face wants what the face wants,” she tells him, as she raises her soft cloak. He watches as a slow French word slips off her tongue, and bends.

And all the moments were God.

“I bleed,” he tells her. “Bleed with me then,” she says. And so they bleed together. He draws a pastèque bath in a large wooden tub, and they sit nestled in bunches of melon, crushed under the weight of want. They smile together as the juice runs down their elbows. “This shrine is not going to get any cleaner,” he warns her, knowing the pastèque will eat itself.

And the drum was full of life.

She sees the hunger in his face, but not in his heart, because like the sound on her tongue, it has been hidden. “If my heart was pulled out of my chest and put, beating, in front of you, would you know what it wants?” he asks. Look how easily he betrays his heart for her, ripping it out of his chest like an Aztec god. She just nods as they sit in their dinner bath, and play like warriors, and he sees how her fire begins in her mouth. Like a dragon.

And there was feeling back in his chest.

He crosses lines like he crosses seas, and together they build their new conviction. They tape off the boundaries of their church, and he reminds her that she is the shrine. “Yes, I am ours,” she tells him, and they blend their flavors until they both suffer, because he can’t wish it otherwise. “But only a little,” he tells her, as his pulse quickens.

And there was breathing.

The forest is dark and damp, and she feels the soft, loamy earth underneath her. The night brings them fear, and awakening, and a language that has no home. He gives her paper thin kisses and whispers those other things – but not all out loud, and even some of them not at all, but they are still there. The sound of her rhythm, and the tang of his anguish sit on the edge of on their lips, and they bleed together, kidnapped for the ages.

Because she was the trigger, the bullet and the gun.

 

 

© Elle Wonders 2009–2016

 

Waiting


Elle raspberries 1
Photo of Elle Wonders by E. Andreas

 

Straying from the Flock

Elle raspberries 2
Photo of Elle Wonders by E. Andreas

 

Odysseus, Untied

Summoned by my call, he

draws me from my verdant

well. From the deep water,

I slowly rise, swaying, smashing

against the current – snaring

myself in his unrelenting grip.

With his arms tight around my

waist, he pulls me until my spine

crushes against timbered walls.

 

With the weight of his words –

now wrathful, breathless –

and a fiery flick of his tongue,

I buckle; I shatter into a thousand

drops of silver.

 

© Elle Wonders 2014–2016

 

From the Beehive

I am from the beehive,

from the call of swamp frogs

on damp August nights.

I am from my grandmother’s

hand mirror, and her

soft Russian accent

(Thick and sweet –

like love.)

I’m from piroshky

and pelmini dumplings.

I am from women,

and other living things.

 

I’m from a long gravel road,

a fence lined pasture,

and fresh cut wood

whose fiery sparks burn holes

in the hearth rug.

I am from the climbing vines

of sugar snap peas,

from patches of wild strawberries

and broken terra cotta.

I’m from the blackest watermelon seed,

and from bales of the greenest alfalfa.

 

I’m from rock salt and the labyrinth,

the dark woods just beyond our boundary.

I’m from “Never depend on a man.”

and “Build a brick wall.”

I’m from brooding night skies,

and wide open windows.

I’m from the rifle buried

beneath my winter clothes.

I’m from panic and haste.

I am from the hornet’s nest.

_____________________________

 

© Elle Wonders 2014–2016

(Format riffed from George Ella Lyon)

Jesus Flies

Quick, before you go
tell me

what kind of car would Jesus
drive if he lived

today? Would it be a powder
blue Volvo, or something

shiny, and black? I hope he drives
a vintage two-seater,

something he could flaunt and enjoy
in middle age;

a gift to himself and the girl
of his dreams.

 

Up and over hills
he would fly

past you and I
satisfyingly

“I would totally marry him,”
say the single

thirty-somethings as they watch
him go by,

checking their makeup in

the rear view mirror.

 

 

© Elle Wonders 2014–2016

Around Ireland with an Englishman and a Potato

irish potato

Genre: Memoir/Satire

Synopsis

In her early forties, during a period of restlessness, Elle Wonders narrowly escapes a mid-life crisis by planning not one, but three trips to Europe. After two back-to-back vacations, first to England, and then to Norway, Elle embarks on a ten day road trip around Ireland and Northern Ireland, with her favorite Englishman and their newly adopted potato. This sometimes witty and poignant memoir chronicles the many shenanigans they attend to in country pubs, old graveyards, and long winding roads that inevitably lead to stinging nettles and a cuppa tea.

In their quest for freedom and alcohol, and with nary a travel itinerary or GPS in site, Elle and Pierre (her very English traveling companion with a French name), navigate their way past real-life zombies, stressful roundabouts, and locals who insist on telling them six irrelevant stories, when all they want is directions to a nearby petrol station, before their rental car runs out of fuel (and Pierre runs out of bacon flavored crisps).

In typical style, the exasperating pair spend their days on the open road quarreling over the rules of food-ordering etiquette, and the proper way to read (and fold) a genuine, paper road map. They narrowly escape a run-in with traveler-folk, stumble upon a stampede of (semi) wild sheep, and very nearly steal the sweetest dog ever from a small village beach. But they experience true enlightenment during a long, drunken night in Galway, where in a seemingly normal pub, they encounter evil fiddlers who play never-ending songs, and an assortment of old Irish men who distract Elle with non-stop dancing, while their sons plot marriage proposals.

By the time this journey of madness and delight comes to an end, the exhausted duo discover the secret to cross-cultural friendship, the value of rust-free water, and the fact that petrol stations that sell bonafide Irish potatoes, is what you will find at the end of a rainbow.

Oh, and there may or may not be a bit of nudity along the way. And quite possibly crown theft, leprechauns, and a small amount of crying. But not necessarily in that order.

 

 

© Elle Wonders 2009–2016

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