J Ellison is a poet, storyteller, and pursuer of other creative endeavours. their work is currently mostly concerned with the self, nature, folklore, and the never-ending unravelling of catholic guilt. but sometimes they do fun things, too!
"I wrote this in a poetry workshop this last summer which was on poems about journeys - literal and more abstract. This poem, as I worked on it, took on a bit of a life of its own, just something that I didn't know needed to be written, but made itself known anyways. It's about loving the violent beauty of nature, about trying to reconnect with your childhood and failing, and about growing as a person beyond the constraints of the body."
red car, red heart
Picture a car rattling down a street
Which is quiet, rain-wet, and sad.
A long grey line going south late at night,
Mountains ahead, concrete earth below, sea behind.
Picture the car: it’s red, like a beating heart,
Picture its breath rattling like old age
And picture me within it.
The rain is softly knocking on the windows
Asking for just a moment of my time.
Droplets racing down the glass and I
Always bet on the losing one.
Headlights pass into the grey sheet wall
Ahead the dark shapes of the Alps rise
Like shattered teeth from a wolf’s jaw.
Sleep takes the mind and the body
And it is dreamless and dark
Headlights pass and move on
Going North to the sea, endless sea,
And I, asleep, washed up by the tide
At the foot of a mountain taller than god
Here, beating heart, I am awake.
Picture a car, crashed in a ditch,
Picture it wrapped around a tree,
Picture flames licking its body clean
Sometime in August or July
Summer lightning lighting the scene
And picture me, asleep at the wheel,
Folded into a prayer like a wish.