Elliott Bell

writer, poet, artist, expat

Tag: Relationships

Leaning In

A breath, a touch, a sidelong glance
After each I had a chance,
Say stop, slow down, let’s hold back,
But with the years of love I lack,
I can’t, I couldn’t, I never will
Resist your warmth while holding still.
Instead I’ll lean into your heat
I seek to glow beneath these sheets,
My head resting above your heart,
And attempt again to restart.



Wind snaps my strings and off I go!

Pulled by gusts above, below –
To be a kite is a fine, fun thing,
But also rather frightening,
As all that ties me to the ground
Is a lonely string by which I’m bound.
You stroll up to it so casually
I flinch awaiting casualty,
No longer able to tell apart
Fear from hope inside my heart.


I didn’t know it was dark in here
‘Til you came in with light.
I thought that I could see just fine
With my gloom-adjusted sight.

But ever since you wandered in
Lantern in hand aglow,
I see the filth I’ve been living in
When before I did not know.

I hang my head, overwhelmed
By the mess I have to clean.
Wishing it were dark again,
It shames me to be seen.

You stand tall above me
Pristine lantern swaying
I fear this dank, dark dirt of mine
Will stain you just by staying.


The sun was warm upon my face
I closed my eyes and felt it’s grace
Warming me from inside out,
I lost myself, forgot my doubts
And let myself love the sun,
For September, we were one.

But now October is creeping in
And the air’s begun to chill,
The falling leaves reminding me
That there is winter still.

So I will guard inside of me
This ember not yet done,
Lit soft and unexpectedly
By the warm September sun.


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.


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.


Everyday while I’m away
I paint you darkly in my mind.
And every night when I come home,
I’m still surprised to find
That there are stars in the black,
There’s something shining through,
Beams of light that pull me back,
Tying me to you.


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.


For the thoughtless breath when our hands clasp,
I see the horizon brightening –
A careless brush of your fingertips
I feel my shoulders lightening.

Though our orbits cannot collide
Longer than an instant,
For that second I cease to hide
Despite all my resistance.

When you look me in the eye,
I can’t help the silent sigh
Of relief at being seen-
And found worth something.


Every time he calls me sweet
Or looks with love in his eyes,
I swallow the sting of my deceit,
Draped as I am in lies.

I’m the worst kind of woman,
Nothing worth keeping here,
For though my love is wooden,
I speak words he wants to hear.

If he could see into my heart,
How hollow it’s become
I know that he would fall apart
And I would be the cause.

I can’t decide which is worse
To use honesty to slay him
Or stay on my present course
And drown while I save him.