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from Portraits by ellen cherry



238,900 miles away;
it was the year of our lord, 1968.
And I’m willing to bet
with a cosmic sigh,
we encouraged god to avert his eyes
when we dropped the bomb
in ‘45.

It’s not fair:
I wasn’t here to apologize.

I need to clear all this space trash
circling around my head,
and let in the heat of a star
that’s long been dead.

To bring down these thoughts
that are satellites
confounding my sense of wrong and right
proving once again:
I’ll dissatisfy.

It’s my fault:
Like the faithful, I was petrified.

Rooted right here on the planet,
for ages I’ve prayed to the Sun.
To forgive and forget
and remove the regret
of the battle hymns
still on our tongues,
and grant us another whole day
just to breathe and to run.

Weightless, thoughtless, busy with nothing I’ve spent my days
assuming my debts
can be paid
by the words on a page.
Disguising my faults
with a charming sound
a trick that turns trite into profound.
Maybe god is a player who won’t ever lay His cards down.

That’s a joke, but
I don’t feel like laughing now.

I’ve cleared the clouds from eyes and
I cannot be surprised.
No matter how hard
I have studied and yearned,
I see we remain unconcerned.

Politely, we say “no thank you,
we’d rather burn.”

It was luck:
this Accidental Atomic Grandeur.

It’s too late:
on this stage,
there’s no room for amateurs.


from Portraits, released September 17, 2016


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ellen cherry Baltimore, Maryland

I am song & story Alchemist and I want to meet you at the intersection of creativity and recovery. While on tour in Texas, I was struck by an intoxicated driver which resulted in a violent wreck. Through my music and multi-media performances, I explore the pain and joy of recovering one’s body and spirit after extreme trauma. ... more

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