44

Reach in search of self doubt
self hate
fear
anger
frustrations
and come up empty.

You have done enough
the universe is so proud of you
and all the light you’ve radiated
has fueled your loved ones
in loving you back, tenfold.

You are miraculous
a picture perfect work in progress
the stage is dress rehearsal
and you’re just getting started.

You have been magic since your birth
and when you get through
the roughest patch
you are magic, even still.

So let’s skip the dramatic clichés
exaggerated can-nots
let’s reach for everything we deserve
even if we’re scared of failing
and let’s walk on stage anyway.

 

This week, I’ve felt a bit of impostor syndrome and suffered the “I can’t do it” mentality. This piece has realigned me–if you’re feeling the same way, please use 44 to realign. Continue to reach and reach and reach.

Love,

ELLE

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43

Silent auction:
all the parts of my body
touched without consent.
Highest bidder
my currency in
all the words
I didn’t say.

Pawned off, no password
no security question that
this was something I wanted;
unauthorized login, unknown server—
are my terms and conditions in such small font
they lay, unadhered?
How do I make Arial
louder?

If only I smiled more, I’d be
grateful
degraded
an arm, grabbed
crowded bar
a leg, grazed
lonely apartment.

I didn’t welcome you here—
didn’t your mother teach you
to never overstay?
Or did your father teach you
it was my fault
for letting you in?
Which is an easier pill to swallow?

If you have liquid courage in your glass,
what do I have
in mine?

 

Thanks to varjakBaby for the prompt, “The handy-dandy computer programmer’s pocket reference”! If I use a prompt you’ve left for me, I’ll give you a shoutout!

42

No halo:
I used to press my fingers into your back
the rebound felt like
wet cement
I thought you would keep me
grounded

There are so many stories
I’ve never told because
I’m ashamed of the moral takeaways
(there aren’t any)

Self destruction like
hurting others
so I could
feel something.

Instead of moving away
leaving this dilapidated apartment
entering plush lawn fronts
instead of seeking more for myself
I just changed the curtains
fluffed the pillows
and stayed
and stayed
and stayed.

 

I know you all often wonder about my writing prompt process, so I’m sure you’ll appreciate where I (swear on my life) got the “no halo” prompt for 42 from.

I hope you’re all enjoying your summers in your nook of the planet!

Love,

ELLE

41

Everything I am
and everything I will become
is already within me.
All the tools I’ll need to cultivate internal growth
are hip-holstered, at my disposal.

I find comfort in that
there is nothing new that will become of me
but the fate that was decided
the day I was born.

Like an abandoned backyard set,
I thanked everyone who entered my life
for all they taught me
as I looked at that empty swing
nostalgic and grateful
for the way they’d leave.

“Everyone you meet has a story to tell you,”
forces us to take those coming and going
as gifts
of shaping us;
that they can’t resist leaving because
that’s what they were meant to do.

The lesson of leaving is not in the longing
clinging to the memory of a back, receding.
The lesson is in dusting off your jeans
and reaching to your hip
to find out what to do next.

 

Thanks to skycielo for the prompt “empty swing set”! If I use a prompt you’ve left for me, I’ll give you a shoutout!

40

Honey, suckle:
perch on this stool
gin and juice and
boys will come buzzing
you’ll see, bumblebee.

Hi, biscus:
across the bar
highballs lined up like
pylons
obstacle course
take the baton
and carry us home.

Tulip:
tight-lipped
making this a game
just makes it more fun.
Like pulling weeds from the garden,
tell me where
to put my hands

Sunflower:
some power you have
over us all
kiss me at my apartment landing,
even the grass dances.

Forget-me-not:
I wake up and you’ve made tea
you’re still here
in my greenhouse
and we’re blooming

 

Happy Canada Day to my fellow Canadian readers. May our country continue to be the True North, strong, and free.

Love,

ELLE

37

Keep the candle alight
so you can see me
even with less.

Crescent moon:
those going through the hardest times
often seem the softest.
Check on the strong friends
because they’ve learned to glow at night
even with only a quarter of themselves.

If you often find solace
against someone else’s shoulder,
always be sure to leave the floor to them
when your tears are dry.

I’ve felt the helplessness
of losing a friend
who couldn’t tell his story
loud enough so I could hear.
Did we fail each other?

There comes a point where it’s up to us
to open our ears
pour some tea
and listen to the strong ones;
their stories of sadness are just as sad
as the ones they gave advice on
when the words came out of your mouth.

 

Thank you to skycielo for giving me the prompt ‘crescent moon’ and AP Christopher for giving me the word ‘solace’! If I use a prompt you’ve left for me, I’ll give you a shoutout if I use it!

35

Sometimes, loving someone
is about leaving them the way they are.
Not everyone belongs on your to-do list,
not everyone is fit to be fixed.

While we may believe that
we’re meant to leave people
better than we found them,
sometimes, we’re just meant to leave.

If I tried to censor every mouth I met that ever
uttered a nasty word,
I’d be a moth
racing towards every light, enticing,
trying
to kill me.

There is no shame giving up
on someone you just couldn’t save
if it means you save yourself from it, too.
There is courage in continuing to keep the door propped open
even after the bad ones got in.
But there isn’t in sewing yourself up
even when you knew it’d
hurt this much after.

Not everyone can be saved from themselves;
it is not your responsibility to save each one.
Sometimes, loving yourself
is about hearing footsteps enter your home
that already sound like someone leaving
and not take this as a challenge, but knowing it’s
just someone on their way out.