Dog-Faced Honey

I am on the run.
I am chasing. Again, I am chasing.
I am on something.
Blood hurries to the carpet.
I am on something and blood hurries
to the carpet like a dog from a house fire.
Something is burning and the rot pushes people away.

I am still in the green forest, gone gray,
looking to get found again.
I am still in the forest, womb-torn,
and these wolves will not fucking starve.
Not tonight, no.
Tree-tied, fire in my hand, I am eaten alive every night,
only for my eyes to open come morning.
Nothing noble in the mythology of sacrifice.
No greater good to sacrifice for. No greater good.
No good in this world.

This life has nothing for me.
I thought it did. I prayed it did.
This life has nothing for me, and so I close my eyes.
Horror enough for one life. Too many abandoned houses for one life.
I’ve seen too much. I‘ve been through too much.
Pain is something frightening smiling in the darkness,
where it’s only the two of us,
and it whispers that it will not starve tonight.

Light exits the room and so I put another line in the problem,
stains stains stains.
She exits the room and I beg like a fool, like a boy in love.
There’s nothing poetic in giving up.
Nothing okay in turning your back on the ones who stand with you.

I am on the run. I am searching for something again,
but I don’t know what.
I am looking to get lost again.

Rootless once more, I don’t know where I’m going.
I put my head down at night and think I am alone,
cause no one ever told me that death had such a soft kiss,
that it can feel like a gentle lover when all you want
is to be touched by anything that says it loves you.
Death says it wants to touch me, and so I close my eyes.

I am still in that gray forest she left me in.
Loneliness finds me there, takes me by the hand.
It wears a white mask and does not speak,
but somehow there is still the wind. Somehow, still words.
I’m all that’s loyal.
I’m the only one that will never leave you.
I will always be there.
I will take you home. I will bring you home.

I want to say that I had a home, that it burned down.
But no words form. There are no words that can be said.
Nothing ever saves anything so there’s no point.
Still, after all this time I still look to save everything,
I play it all back in my mind,
how do you keep the light in the room?

But there are no words.

I do not move. I cannot.
I’m comatose in a land long forgotten,
an island where the lighthouse burned down.
I forget how to breathe unless I hyperventilate.
I forget how to live alone.

There’s gore on the floor, sinew and bone and names.
Panic sets in and I try to put it all back into a ruined stomach.
I’ll die here and the last thing I’ll hear are fucking names.

For a moment, just for a moment,
I thought I’d end up okay.
I was so close to finally living a good life.
I was so close to finally ending up happy.
She showed me that everyone can find peace,
then she disappeared.
She was a light that was guiding me, then it disappeared.
For a moment, just for a moment,
I thought I’d be able to stop running now.
I thought this would be my home now.

I knew this was where I belonged, but fear takes hold.
Fear makes a feast out of our love.
She looks at my hand in hers and thinks of sister, father,
thinks of culture and religion,
and she says maybe we weren’t meant for this life.
Maybe another world, maybe a better world,
and light exits the room.
We are in a forest burning down.
Lost, I cry out. I cry out for her hand.

We must escape together.
I know you’re scared, I am too.
But I am with you. I am with you.

But something brings the change of heart..
She turns and does not look back.
She says, I no longer need you.
She says, Don’t burn, but do not find me.
Do not come looking for me.

I see her take the hand of someone,
A stranger,
someone the same as her and them,
someone easier,
and they run through the ash and the leaves.
In another world, all I can say,
and I sit and close my eyes.

This life has nothing for me,
but for a moment, just for a moment,
I thought we’d grow old together.
But now I close my eyes.
Horror enough for one life. Betrayal enough for one life.
Death kisses my neck and pulls up my shirt.

Death lays me down and says it loves me,
says that it will be the one to stay.
This life has nothing for me.
I thought it did. I prayed it did.
This life has nothing for me, and so I close my eyes.

 

MAYBE YOU WERE MEANT TO BE THE DIFFERENT ROAD

Somewhere there is pleasantry.
Yet somewhere there is a beast.
There is hunger.
It’s knuckles grazing your stomach.
It’s pushing your rib cage apart.
For every storm, the sun.
For every darkness, the light.
What am I to do when I love you?
What am I to do when I love you so?

Blackened ways bring nothing new to the path.
In the dark I find out what I am. In the dark I realize
I bring nothing new to my story.
More isolation, more bitterness, more loneliness,
because I cannot listen to the lightness of the heart now.
Because I cannot begin to forgive you.

Dragging destruction, baggage at my door,
Drifting for a place to sleep, for a nice meal.
Nowhere’s home now.
I’m looking up at the moon and whispering your name in my sleep.
My open hands tremble because they’re without.
Every night I sleep alone. Every night I remember your voice,
in fear of forgetting it.

Maybe you were meant to be different, like they tell me.
Maybe you were meant to be the different road, the forgiveness I give.
But I thought if I forgave you’d think what you did was right.
I thought if I ran you’d come after me,
but I look back and there’s nothing but the trees now.
Now I tremble because I am without.

In the night you slit my throat and asked me to understand,
but what am I to do when I miss you?
What am I to do when I miss you so?


ELIJAH NOBLE EL is a twenty-one year old actor and writer from Livonia, Michigan and is the author of The Age of Recovery (2015), a debut full length poetry book. He is the co-founder of Girls Don’t Cry, the film division of the literary magazine Persephone’s Daughters, a magazine aimed at empowering women who have experienced various forms of abuse and degradation. In 2013 his short story, “Oblivion,” received the Award of Excellence in Literature from the Michigan PTSA Reflections. He co-wrote the play Off with Her Head (2013), which won the 2014 Lansing State Journal Thespie Awards “Special Award.” He also wrote the short film, Dog-Faced Honey (2016), which was nominated for Best Writing from the Top Indie Film Awards. His work has been featured in The Rising Phoenix Review, Straylight Magazine, Hooligan Magazine, Persephone’s Daughters, Exist Magazine, Soul Anatomy, The Odyssey, Eastern Michigan University’s Inkstains Anthology, and elsewhere.