Poems by Ella Chappell
Between the moon and me there's a zinnia
A zinnia with seven petals - orange -
has bloomed in space.
Why? We ask NASA, the zinnia?
It's a delicate plant
that demands a certain terroir,
and it's one small step
from a tomato.
In my greatest fantasy
a man chokes on zinnia petals grown in space.
His face is puckered and he's a tongue
just for a stamen,
voracious with seven semi-translucent flames
descending the throat where bees go.
The place where they connect to your stomach
is where I feel you.
Feel it pink at your semi-translucent bile.
My greatest fantasy.
Eyes are a problem in space -
no gravity to drag the moisture around the sockets.
Roots are a problem in space.
Petals are a problem in space -
no gravity to pull beauty in a certain direction.
Nowadays I handle flowers like I handle myself;
I'm holding up a bucket of colour by the chin
turning its blush to the light:
Where have you been?
You're spinning so fast
and looking so hard
it's impossible to keep your hooks in the tiny motes.
This is why the petals uncrush
on a temper bound for solitude
and you really have nothing to do with it.
A great way to go back home
In a message to you I used the words 'common enemy':
The only way I know to make friends is to have a common enemy.
and now the algorithms won't let me forget it.
I said to you
my body as the common enemy.
I said to you understand
as the greatest explosion
of the smallest and the blackest space.
My body as the common enemy.
My body as the common enemy.
My words as the common enemy,
shifting through time,
rattling like teeth in a dream, I'm
every moment, as the common enemy,
running in reverse.
I'm this poem, which took all of time till now
I'm miming along to the lyrics of a song I love
as I'm leaning in to kiss you.
I'm not waiting - never waiting - for the pixelated image of a stained glass window to load,
knowing it's better that way. Knowing
I'm missing - already -
brushed pine, sourdough starter,
and all your other words that mean: me & you, in no other time but now.
I'm the carefully hidden euphoria in the background of your selfie,
the very same on which gulls panhandle on their way up a twist of heat.
If these numbers are shaping my choices
then the logic itself is flawed
else the Thames wouldn't be flinting ochre -
a sequence of scales that pulls beneath me
like a weightless delirium at the centre of boredom,
It is not the same thing to say it was the best thing to say
You say: the best thing ever is when you have to be a good day.
I'm miming along to the lyrics of a song I love while I lean in to kiss you.
I'm every moment I've experienced running in reverse.
I'm this poem, which took all of time till now to create.
I'm not waiting for the pixelated image of the stained glass window to load,
knowing it's better that way.
Im a branch of a branch, branching, branched and unbranched.
I'm holding hands with my mother, who holds hands with hers,
and down this unbroken, flawless chain,
we hold hands with the leafing oak,
uncrumpling its memories of sunshine, just now, in March,
psyched, so psyched,
clasping hands with wings
or reflections of wings
typically blue, or grey, or black, or flinting ochre - sky -
pulled through beneath me, Shard and Wharf to the East.
All my anger comes from everything being beautiful
and everything ending
Oh! My, pragmatic chaos.
Oh my, I have forgotten.
Unreal city, all I am is waiting on the weightless curation of personality.
Meet me on my way down to the place
where the mythology of myself glows so bright, it burns
thick onto my retina, relaying over and over each moment,
each time I blink: blue and red, with a vibrancy to parody crocus
or vintage 3D.
Unreal city: a gull panhandles on your fluctuations,
as do I, fighting the urge for another slip
into love and out again, another drink.
Another day, unbidden yet reluctant to relinquish.
A man's hand on my thigh -
understand my body
as the emergent phenomenon
of the greatest explosion
in the history of stars.
It's easier that way.
The whole of life as the act of wheeling in the numbness of numbers.
The whole of life as the gloaming of another.
The whole of life as life as the friend of a friend.
The whole of life as life as the common enemy.
About the poet
Ella Chappell has an MA in Poetry from the University of East Anglia. Her work has appeared in various places including Elbow Room, Badrobot Poetry, Ink, Sweat & Tears and 17 Poets. Ella was the winner of the Southbank Centre 2014 Shot Through the Heart film poem competition. She has recently published a first collection, Moonrise (As Yet Untitled, 2016).