EXCERPTS FROM “SELAH”
A Hebrew word of unknown meaning at the end of verses in the Psalms: perhaps a musical direction,
but traditionally interpreted as a blessing meaning “forever”
Maybe the shape of my mouth is the word itself - I am looking for.
My body is a plum-sweet alphabet. It does this thing
like rapture, like I’m unsure and atlas.
I want to scream
eyes closed: this is me without
I lift my lips again to the black-smudgy wall
I am a dog with a human face
They had to use a machine to defrost my brain once they found me
under the bone-coloured sky
in the park, on the riverbank.
I couldn’t open my mouth, the first time.
The friends in my bed laugh
at the half-empty glasses and beer cans around us.
All I could say:
some hours, melodies.
His eyes were a sleepy-valium blue &
they rain inside me
I used to run into the streets with men three times my height
return in the morning, tapping the back-window:
to find dad spooning cereal into his mouth
he would not ask me where I’d been.
I am the daughter of people who cannot swim
I was patient
when I had you
I plucked majesty
from your karaoke song.
It was a strange pageant,
I want to live like common people
the mystery won’t leave me alone
I wanted to be a human
On my knees
all mouth, no arms.
like the movies
Up to the flumes of happiness, never been,
Eleanor is based in Brooklyn, New York. Originally from the U.K., her chapbook Selah is Forthcoming [Bottlecap Press, 2023], her work has been featured in Freedom Press, Yale's Architectural Broadsheet: Paprika, Spam and more. She is the author of The Hairy Manifesto, which she self-published with the support of Creative Scotland - it can be found at The Good Press. She is currently a poetry MFA candidate at Columbia University.
'Selah' is a long poem that is forthcoming from Eleanor Tennyson. Like a series of slides from a film reel, the poems of 'Selah' are the residue of the recent past. This therianthropic speaker does not remember the past alone. Since her past repeats itself constantly, the past thus evolves and creates something new at every moment. This is poetry on the forces of love and its fragments.
Header photography by Amanda Bylone (@brothbaby66)
Amanda Bylone is an artist based out of Los Angeles, California originally from Atlantic City, New Jersey. While primarily an oil painter, her photographs focus on her Southern California surroundings and moments of spontaneity and beauty. Her official website is amandabylone.com.
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