Search

Elle Wonders

Do you?

What the Wind Brings

 

The sound

of crackle and tin

as it swirls around

a voice

I don’t recognize.

It’s not his

or my own

but a whisper

that drowns out

sin

with a djinn and tonic.

 

 

 

©Elle Wonders 2017

To Run Again

He says,
baby let’s breathe
and keep talking.
I say,
I must hold tight
and stick to the rails.
He says, breathe.
We can make it work.
Just try with me again.
He says,
I’m standing at your doorway,
are you gonna let me in?
I have butterflies.
I feel so alive.
Girl, I swear to god
don’t leave me here.

So I say,
Breathe.
We’ll keep talking.
Baby, come inside,
spend the night.
Let’s try to run again.

 

 

©Elle Wonders 2017

The Suitcase

What do I do

With the fire in my chest?

“Bring it with us, baby,” you say,

and the twang in your voice

reverberates across the pond.

“Let’s put it in a fucking suitcase,

and bring it with us.”

And we’ll use it as fuel?

“That’s exactly right, girl.

Grab your suitcase full of fire.”

 

 

©Elle Wonders 2017

The Table on Grove

 

I laid dreaming wide
and awake
about the white kitchen table
in the farm house on Grove
with the screen door
that you slammed
every day.

About your strong hands
on the small of my back.
I mean, my shoulders.
I mean, my waist.
As I focus on the grit in your voice.

You’re mine, you whisper
holding my gaze.
The back of my neck.
Holding the table
as you cup my face
and slide
into my smile.

I stroke the chisel of your jaw.
Lead your blue eyes
to mine
and we look down
in wonder
at the way we merge
into soul and hollow.

I’m not going to stop, you tell me.
Not ever, I say.

 

 

©Elle Wonders 2017

Kindling

I forgot how to live

until I woke in a field

with a bundle of kindling

on my chest

that I lit

with your mirror

in the great plain sun.

 

I forgot how to move

until you took

my hand.

“Come with me baby,

I’ll show you, let’s run!”

And we raced

alongside a train

we knew

we couldn’t stop.

 

I forgot how to fall

until I found the leaves

on the path we made

between the trees,

throwing our kite

in the air

and tumbling

down

to the mud caked ground.

 

 

©Elle Wonders 2017

La Limoncella

lalimoncella

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

 

 

©Elle Wonders 2017

The Path of the Ladybird

ladybird clear - Copy
Photo of Elle Wonders by E. Andreas

A ladybird lands

In Constantinople

Cover Design Mockup for Travel Memoir

cover-6

Cover Design Mockup for Novel

final-cover-graduated

Hollow Tree at Lanhydrock

100-hollow-tree
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.

Not Dorothy

 

 

bw-tights
Photo of Elle Wonders by E. Andreas

 

Silver shoes click

A ruby shimmer

A voice of enchantment

The charm, she glimmered.

 

Black and white legs

Perfectly matched

The magical heels

So quickly snatched.

 

The cardinal points

On a compass rose

The obelisks, lecterns

And sundials, all know

 

I am but one of four

I governed the East

Shall I be missed?

No, not in the least.

 

But back in the day

When I was younger

My frock ‘twas shorter

And men did hunger

 

I had a braw lover

His life was taken

From that day forth

Joy was forsaken.

 

Passion turned dark

The mind twisted black

Those things we shared

I’d never get back.

 

Still wicked and weary

It was my time to part

A sad, broken woman

Who once had a heart.

 

 

 

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 of paintings underway, she’s making a name for herself in the art world. But shortly after becoming engaged to Evan Mercer, the handsome attorney who is everything Willa could want in a man, she realizes that 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 the situation challenges Willa’s very sanity because there’s an impossible catch: Jamieson has been dead for three years.

Still very much in love with Jamieson, Willa encourages his ghostly appearances. She is anxious to discuss the seemingly implausible events with someone, but she’s filled with guilt and cannot confide in Evan. If Evan believed her, it would hurt him to know that Willa wanted Jamie back in her life at any cost, so she reveals the bizarre occurrences to the one person who might be able to help her: Jamieson’s twin brother, Ian. Together, Willa and Ian discover surprising ways to communicate with Jamie, and the two of them forge a strong, sensual bond during this otherworldly experience.

From a small idyllic town in Washington State to a remote hamlet in the Highlands of Scotland, Willa and Ian embark on a provocative journey of love and betrayal. When the pair discover long forgotten secrets of Corbin Family folklore, they are beckoned to a place where light and darkness intersect and spiritual boundaries are redrawn. After unearthing these mysteries, the pair must reexamine everything they believe about life and death and find a passage that connects the two worlds.

Near the Salt Wedge

dsc_0297-2
Photo by Elle Wonders – Spencer Island, Washington

 

What rises above me?

A floating silver orb trails a line of cottonwood trees, and a blue heron drifts solemnly through fog, his beating heart constant and rhythmic like a hand drum. Near the top of a tree, a cone shaped nest sits empty, aching, and abandoned.

 

What grows below me?

A meadow of flaxen grass grows up through parched, tangled weeds. Pools of clear, russet water rest next to flats of loam and mud where tiny footprints confirm early morning journeys. A wide brim of a hat and the ghostly scent of over-ripe gardens haunt the reclaimed earth.

 

What lies beside me?

A broken, hinged gate rests on its haunches keeping nothing inside the pickets of a fence. A weathered roof lies on the ground near an ancient gray tree, bare of branches. Rusted coils of copper lie in a decaying basket full of loss, and a starling in the brush chirps grandly about things of great importance, that no man will understand.

 

What moves inside me?

Lye, vinegar, and sorrow spill from shards of broken mason jars onto strips of faded linen. The rasp of passion drives away resentment, and I become the barn owl without a barn.

 

 

 

 

The First Snow in Oslo

oslo-snow
Photo by Elle Wonders – Oslo, Norway

 

 

In Vigelandsparken there is snow on iron

forged gates, on copper roofed houses and

weathervanes, and on the stone breasts

of young maidens whose twirling hair pulls

the wind into a midwinter dance. The once

leafed giants line the path to a frozen gallery

for lovers to gaze, or not gaze, while their

mittened hands stay warm, and waiting.

 

Snowflakes fall on Sinnataggen – the angry

boy cast in marble who stands defiant above

the swirling river, while on the frozen bridge

below, a real boy sits in a wooden sled. His fur

cap is pulled tight over a fringe of milk-blonde

hair, and a reddened nose, the inscription of

his joy. When the evening sun glimmers, his

sure-footed hound tows him eagerly towards

home, and the awaiting hearth fire.

 

On the path to the monolith, snow falls on a girl

as she’s consumed by a lizard, a rounded mother

suckling her hungry dozen, a proud man cradling

his son, and a heap of boys caught in mid-fight.

She closes her eyes, and he slides the brilliant

diamond ring over a barren tree branch coated in

droplets of ice, and the gilded light of sundown

catch the facets of their years to come.

 

vigeland-park-ring
Photo by E. Andreas – Oslo, Norway

 

 

The Unchanged

14124264_296334197394600_3222552765674393585_o
Photo of Elle Wonders by E. Andreas  –  “Memoires Blanches” by HenriAltersLife

 

They say that death,

doesn’t mean a thing.

I only left you for a bit,

was just down the street.

*

Listen for my voice,

find me in your dream.

We are still the same,

nothing has changed,

and again we shall meet.

Not Kept

10321526_10152506569980917_1637968083760079383_o
Photo by Elle Wonders, 2014

 

A secluded, dark

humming abode.

Not domesticated

not controlled.

Free to forage,

or leave,

or swarm,

as they desire.

A collective storm.

The Cocoon on Glasgow Street

Guelph! 004redish
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.

El Baile

La bailaora
“La Bailaora” by  HenriAltersLife – Photo of Elle Wonders by E. Andreas

 

El Baile

Her ruby dress
the click of heels
The way she turns
the things he feels
Unwavering gaze
a sway of hips
Her open fan
his parted lips

She makes him wait
his body hums
Her heart beats fast
his fingers strum
A blaze of red
her fire blooms
His swelling chest
it fills the room

He builds it up
she sets it free
He holds her close
she turns the key
A fever-pitch
their frantic want
First touch will slay
last touch will haunt

Into the Glistening

13913601_285620631799290_5081533852375282543_o
Photo of Elle Wonders by E. Andreas – Artwork by HenriAltersLife

 

Into the Glistening

 

His shoulders drive against the cool silt,

and I am there, blocking out the stars as I make

my way slowly, bit by bit, with a gentleness

I know he’s forgotten.

 

Our mouths meet with every push and pull

– like magnets guiding us into perfect limerence.

And for the first time, there are no words.

 

His lungs expand, and his willing heart doubles.

He sends himself deeper, and his low, sonorous

keening fills my mouth. He’s here. He’s close.

 

With measured breath, I move against the

languor of eventide. With our lexicon of

resistance, I ask him again and again, and

he answers each one of my calls with

greets of surrender.

 

He gives me, without pause, that which is mine,

and he calls the rest his own: all that he’s

touched, and all that he has yet to discover.

Only me, he says. Only mine. No one else.

 

Every movement is a query bringing him closer

to freedom, wanted or not. He clutches and

shields me against the peril of his yearning, and

I move against our confines, burying us further

into the glistening.

 

The quivering warmth funnels down, resonating

through the hush of the chamber. And there is a

calm in everything. A spectacular dance of phosphenes.

Welcome home, I tell him.

 

© Elle Wonders 2009–2016

 

Ode to a Corbie

Ode to a Corbie copyright
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

visual-stories-copyright
Artwork by HenriAltersLife

 

Kidnapped for the Ages

13701252_281798325514854_1263039335268886003_o
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

13738135_281798318848188_3555104409671331569_o
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

13731796_279957395698947_7950911828886101857_o
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

The Shambles

622664_10151136205500917_719108178_o
Photo by E. Wonders,  Whidbey Island

She wanders through a grand old Victorian, long abandoned and forgotten. There are dusty, tattered cloths draped over the once-lovely furnishings, and it’s dark inside. The only light comes from the grime-glazed windows that glow with a diffused softness, and sunbeams that filter down through gaps in the buckled roof. But it’s enough for her to see her way through the shambles. She knows these halls all too well.

She moves from room to room, pausing, observing, reflecting. She does this day after day -the same rooms, the same path, until she sees It. It’s standing in the foyer, at the base of the staircase, looking up at her. She walks down the splintered stairs, and without speaking, It leads her towards the large front door. It has come to collect her, hoping that she won’t want to stay there. But she doesn’t want to stay, of course. She never has. She very much wants to be somewhere else. She just hadn’t noticed the front door until now. Has it been there all along?

Hand in hand, they step over the threshold, down the front steps, and into a field. The clouds drift overhead, revealing the sun, and she smiles. It leads her further into the field, and when she feels the warm breeze on her skin, she laughs. It leads her further still, and she feels Its arms wrapped around her. She feels connected and loved and full of life. And then she hears Its voice, as It tells her goodbye.

Stunned, she watches It walk far out into the field, and down a slope, until It is almost out of sight. It disappears without looking back, so she turns her gaze back to the house. It has been a long time since she has seen it from the outside, and she notices the extent of the disrepair.

She doesn’t want to go back inside, but she’s exhausted. Her heart is broken, and what she needs now is rest. She realizes there might be other options, but sees no other path in the tall grass. As she walks, she takes in the sights. These are the things that people see every day, she marvels to herself. And that burst of joy she had as they walked together just moments before – that is what others must feel all the time.

She stops and tries to remember how It made her smile and laugh, and the delight she felt at the nearness they shared. But it already felt like so long ago. She tries to form a smile again, but the smile doesn’t come. She tries to recreate her easy laugh, but it now sounds weak and hollow. She knows she might be able to do these things again, but she has no idea how. So she climbs the broken steps, turns the knob on the front door, and walks back into the place she is destined to return to.

Back in the foyer, she closes the door behind her. As soon as the large frame clicks shut, the door vanishes once again. So she goes back to her wandering. She holds close her new memories, hoping they will be enough until the door to the other world appears once more.

 

©Elle Wonders 2016

 

 

 

Into Darkness

13734998_278862585808428_2397742841999317168_o
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

 

What She Becomes

.5
Photo by E. Wonders, taken in her back garden.

When she can no longer be with him, and stir him in the ways he longs to be stirred, she finds other ways to move him.

When the unforgiving sun is beating down, and the wind is still, she is a cool gust of air, spiraling around him, whooshing past his ear, emanating the sounds he will no longer hear.

At night, when he doubts if his hand will ever trace the distinct arc of her hip, she becomes a flash of light, illuminating the dark sky, reminding him of his power, and how he sent jolts of bliss through her body.

In the early morning hours, before the rays of sun creep above the desert horizon, and the earth is still cold, she becomes a fiery orb that grows deep in his core, radiating from every point of his body, until he is warm and spent.

And on the days when he doesn’t need her help, she sprouts swift, feathered wings, and darts around the garden until she settles his attention. When she feels his focused, penetrative gaze, she lands on a flowering vine, so that she can watch him delight in a wonder.

 

The Weight of Want

13652302_274303699597650_1605216935_n
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

O’er

 

angel
Photo taken in Bonaventure Cemetery

 

Him: You’re staggeringly beautiful.

Her: I am staggeringly lost.

Him: You’re so genuine.

Her: I’m genuinely alone.

(sharing, admiring, connecting)

Him: I wish you the best.

Her: I wish we could go back to the beginning.

Le Bzou

alternate bzou art with copyright
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

Transparent 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.

– 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

 

Found with copyright
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

Awakening with copyright
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

Life Ephemeral with copyright
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.

The Verge

trees
Photo taken at Wallace Falls

 

We stand in a clearing of dense forest at the

edge of a river big enough to swallow us both

(if only we’d let it). You spot a white shirt up

in a tree, and we say maybe we should throw

our shirts up into the tree because this seems

like a place where shirts are not needed. But

instead we just linger for a long while amidst

the young saplings and smooth river stones,

taking great care not to look at each other.

 

When the day begins to fade and your face is

no longer sprinkled with sunlight, we walk

quietly back to the car. We have not left

behind any shirts for the next pair to find,

and regret swallows us whole.

Mon Coeur

13644155_273525963008757_456603880_n(1)
Photo of Elle Wonders by E. Andreas  –  Artwork by HenriAltersLife

Last Night in Harlem

 

hughes

(to Langston Hughes)

 

We’re standing on the corner of

Lenox Avenue and 142nd Street,

and you’re wearing my favorite

tweed, two button suit. Your

sepia toned fedora sits atop your

head, slightly askew, casting a

shadow over your right eye.

I reach out playfully to raise

the brim, but you grab my wrist,

taking in the dappled scent of

bergamot and rose.

 

At dinner, you loosen the knot

of your paisley tie and lean in

close, over the polished mahogany.

I place a box in front of you. It’s

a russet toned handkerchief –

an early birthday gift that matches

your suit perfectly. Did you think

I wouldn’t get it right? I’ve spent

seventy-two years looking for this

exact color.

Mapa da Boa (The Good Map)

Map da Boa with eye
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

 

50
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

Poet chamber with copyright
Photo of Elle Wonders by E. Andreas   –   Artwork by HenriAltersLife

 

Betrayal

13503111_264375603923793_7593212982381331824_o
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

Her Fire Begins with copyright
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

 

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: