Tellin’ it to Ella


I’d have the worst schoolday ever
But I’d come home —and it wasn’t as now, where I cry into a poem, but then, back then, I’d tell it to Ella.
I’d be eternally battered and beaten, my fists filled with fight, bullied blood frightened out of me, a parent who shouted and screamed and paternally doubted me and drew words from the air whenever he could—and he’d cast them and throw them as he yanked out my hair—there’d be tears; there’d be blood—
Then I’d tell it to Ella.

And she’d listen, y’know? No matter which way I’d go, how far I’d take it, and to where—
She’d sing coz she cared.
For her voice became ears
And endowed me with crowns and sceptres and swords
And I collected my thoughts
So that I might face fear with rhyme and rhythm
And allow my own words a reason for living.

This is how it’s been since.
Since that first day
I pressed play
When everything changed:
When my thoughts rearranged, ceaselessly.
Self-hatred is overrated, after all, no matter how hard I fall.
And I did—I fell. Frequently.
But Ella was always there to tell.

Through listening, she saw it all.
But no—it’s more:
She still does.
We make a right pair, the two of us.
One on a tape, on a disc, or a chip
The other a chick with a history, brief, quick
It’s a lie that she died—an existence persisting via song can’t be wrong.

She proves it to me
All the time, every day
Especially those moments
When I have to press play.