Elliott Bell

writer, poet, artist, expat

Tag: Depression


Sometime ago I fell apart
In a bout of stormy weather.
I had to tie myself in knots
Just to keep together.

Rain-soaked knots resist my attempts
To pull them loose and free.
But I ignore their frayed contempt
Determined to see them be.

For I have a new form in mind,
Something smooth and clean.
A pattern for these threads of mine,
I pick at them and dream.



If I were to disappear –
How many people would notice?
How long would it take?
I count my fingers.


That sounds about right.
I wonder where I’d go
In this hypothetical scenario?

Perhaps I ran away –
In the woods I’d take my chances
Nesting in branches,
Eating toadstools and worms
As free as the birds.

Or maybe I was nabbed –
Tied up in a van
Of a bad, bad man,
This predator of prey
Would haul me away.

Maybe I’d simply be gone
Not even I would know where –
Floating in space or the depths of the sea
Nothing but darkness cradling me.

I don’t know why I think of these things.
But I wonder at the number of strings –
Strapping me in and soundly in place,
Steering my hands and swaying my face.

Would people see
If I ever let go?
Snipped the strings,
Stopped the show?

If I collapsed
And leaked through the floor,
Would anyone notice
I wasn’t here anymore?


I gave my heart away to you –
It was an easy thing to do.
And when you placed it back in my hands,
You’d tied to it new heart-strands.

I didn’t notice immediately
Your little tugs and pulls on me.
You were an artist with your hands
I fell neatly into careful plans,
Not knowing what was happening,
So adept was your handling.

As you pulled on each strand,
I’d move in tandem with your hand,
Fearing the lonely touch of cold
That I’d feel if you lost hold.

Over time your pull intensified
As you came to realize
I’d do anything to stay your fingers
From tugging on my tender triggers.

But now you’re left pulling rather hard
To reach the tender past the scarred,
And I hold my heart gingerly
To keep it from further injury.

I don’t know what the future brings
But I can’t maintain these tangled strings.
I hope you’ll do as I have asked –
Let go the strands that you’ve amassed,
Let them fall away and fall apart
From my bruised and bleeding heart.

Don’t Be a Downer

Despite drinking despondence deeply
And driving dangerously this descent,
As I dangle over depths of destruction,
I daren’t declare that my dogged dissent
Is a dismal disguise for denial.
I dodge the D-word determinedly,
Deaf and dumb, I defend my diminished dignity
Though damned to darkness eventually.


Damaged hands hover hushed
Recalling raw edges’ bite
That turn the slightest brush
Of softness into blight.

I slip on my shield,
Lovely gloves of numb,
That I blindly wield
‘Til senses succumb.


To sever me from you
Is to face trauma long delayed,
As each year of love to undo
Must in pain be paid.
To stay is to grow more weary,
Slowly crumble, fray and fade.
Yet I bide my time and tarry,
Too weak to wield the blade.

The Spaces Between

I live for the spaces between:
The moments when no one is looking.

The dip in time when stopped at a red,
When the silence settles as I watch the sun set
Behind the traffic signal’s silhouette.

The brief respite when you leave;
I sink into the sudden space and wonder,
Do you know how alone you are?

In the stillness of the empty room,
I gather stray pieces back into myself
Before the peace is broken.

All it takes is a rush of air,
A spoken word, an opened door
Before the stillness shatters.

Then it’s back to being busy
Back to holding poses
So that no one notices
I’m only held together

’til the next moment between.


I’d touch and tap politely,
Barely a stiff breeze.
You’d pound your point deliberately
Exhausting me with ease.

Perhaps you were too rough
Or I should’ve been more tough –
But the imbalance has left me reeling,
Sick of the bobbing and the weaving.

So I finally threw a punch.
And now you can’t get up.
It isn’t what I wanted,
But I’d had enough.


I told you I was running late
Without further explanation.
I went to the empty park,
Sat still and breathed in conifers,
Tried to lose myself in petrichor
Staring out over green hills of houses,
Until my lie ran out.
Then I put my thoughts back in their box
And receded back to you.


I got so cold out there
That I built brick walls.
I hoard what heat I have,
Wrapped in rust red halls.
Now you say it’s warm
On the other side –
I hope you’ll forgive me
If I stay inside.