Stories In Small Spaces (ellen cherry & Bonnie Schupp)

by ellen cherry

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1.
01:12
Poor Books! August 7, 2018 My father said “Don’t dog-ear the pages, It disrespects the book!” I think of him telling me this Most often in Winter When I take more baths And the likelihood of dropping a book In the water becomes high. They swell in complaint, but still let me read. I mean no disrespect. Poor Books! I have torn your dust cover Badly when I crammed you in my bag: My flight is boarding. Poor Books! I have gotten sand in your binding When I saw a seal on Assateague Island: I dropped you in surprise. Poor Books! Marinara sauce smeared on page 25 In my haste to use you as a disguise Sitting outside the market: My old employer walked by. Poor Books! I throw you down the library laundry chute: It’s back to the shelf for you. Poor Books! I’ve stepped on you, slept on you, Smelled you without asking, passed you To strangers, but I won’t bend your pages. I mean no disrespect.
2.
ellen cherry August 14, 2018 When Everything is Orderly When everything is orderly And nothing is askew When everything is tidy I know just what to do For now I have some minutes I have all the time to spare I can sit and contemplate The disastrous and unfair. The wandering and confused The Lovers, so star-crossed The bleeding and the broken The damaged and the Lost The steel we made so strong Being eaten by the rust The bridges falling down The buildings back to dust The promises we made To never hesitate Burn up under the Sun As our shelter dissipates I rearrange my face To show I’m not afraid I will stack my dishes And put my clothes away When everything is orderly And nothing is askew When everything is tidy I don’t know what to do.
3.
02:55
Do Owl It T (pronounce it. It will make sense) ellen cherry August 25, 2018 Fast and slow Above below Push and pull Empty full Start and stop Keep or swap Red or green Kind and mean Moonless night Morning light Birthday wish Our last kiss Should I stay Go away Can’t decide Run and hide Can’t decide Run and hide
4.
I Deserve a Comfortable Chair September 2018 ellen cherry I deserve a comfortable chair. I’ve had a hard week. It’s not just the Cone of Blackness That descended on Sunday And stayed ‘til Tuesday. Returned on Friday at noon for An overnight stay and Drained the color from All landscapes, taste from all food, Made distant and muted, all sounds Including my own voice. It’s the President It’s that senator from Texas It’s the rich evil brothers from Kansas Who just want to own everything It’s the humidity No, it’s the heat No, it’s the humidity It’s a palmetto bug, which is really a roach, Crawling across my carpet The spider on my bedspread And the feral cat meowling upstairs. Living in a basement is not metaphorical. It’s me It’s you It’s me It’s me It’s my email And my tax return I’ve proved myself for 23 years And now my worth is a number printed on a black line. It’s my voicemail Loaded up and unlistened to. I haven’t read a good book in a year. It’s because I don’t have a comfortable chair.
5.
In My Mother’s Arms ellen cherry September 2018 At 3313 Regent Street, Plano, Texas, there is a house that my parents had built in 1974 and it had these arches between the living room and dining room. When the dining room light was on, it threw shadows onto the living room floor. The living room had brown shag rug that I loved to run my fingers through when Bojangles tired of me petting him and moved away, I simply moved my hand down to the carpet. Not as soft as fur, but the repetition of movement was a comfort and he and the rug were almost the same color. Once, a small black cricket popped out from where I was combing and startled me, but it was so small and it stayed for a moment, on the top of single fiber of shag, and even though it’s an impossible memory, I think I saw it breathing and blinking it’s black eye. I must have been a giant. The rug was pulled up and replaced with something shorter and less worth petting and the orange velour couch that was more likely another brown color, but in my mind is orange because it’s the color I prefer, was replaced by a sofa that could seat four--a stiff upright seating arrangement that helped us create the perfect family photo throughout the 1980s. My father snapped a black and white photograph of me, in my mother’s arms, with a blanket around us both, sitting in a chair next to the front door. I still had my chubby forearms with my left thumb in my mouth and we looked at him, through the lens, no smiles but with loving eyes. I wonder what I was thinking and if I knew how warm and enclosed I was in that little sheltered world. It was a comfy Queen Anne chair that was moved every Christmas to accommodate a real evergreen tree that came from a place definitely not in Texas, and it surprises me that I can remember the name of a style of furniture when furniture is not my business.
6.
7.
No one taught me how to speak Into a microphone I had to suss it out I did it all alone First I popped my P’s I meant no great offense Sometimes proximity Really makes no sense The closer that I get The more muffled I become The further that I go The words you’ll hear are none Here is what I’ve found From years of try and fail To make a pretty sound Not a whisper or a wail Find that space between There is no need to shout An inch from the windscreen Let your secrets out
8.
I am confused again Is it now or is it then? Isn’t it strange how Time moves I am confused again I don’t want to feel like this anymore I felt the needle hit the groove That old familiar song I felt the push, I couldn’t move I guess I’ll play along I don’t want to feel like this anymore How do i stand my ground In the middle of a hurricane How do i ride a wild horse no saddle and no reins? I don’t want to feel like this anymore
9.
Not gray but silver hairs I see you glinting through I lean in closer to the mirror Closer than I used to have to do Yes, a bit of tinsel Amongst the light brown strands I watch my fingers write this down And I see my mother’s hands Dash and dot along the thread On my crown this diary of the road I’m grateful to my future self She sent the map in code
10.

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released September 11, 2018

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ellen cherry Baltimore, Maryland

Emmy nominated singer/songwriter ellen cherry (lowercase letters intentional!) is a full-time touring and working performer based in Baltimore, MD. In 2017, ellen presents a new touring project called Portraits in Song that marries her love of storytelling and her passion for history through songs and portraits of interesting women in history to increase love and empathy for all. ... more

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